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Each day, Michigan is made a better place to live through the efforts — large and small — of private citizens and public servants. Bridge will feature those inspiring stories.

One year later, a brighter holiday for homeless EMU students

Last Christmas, Ramone Williams was living out of a van. Today, he’s a college graduate with an office job, and the inspiration for a communitywide effort to help the homeless.

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Half a world away from the Middle East, a reporter finds black gold

Some of the best journalism on Iraq’s oil industry comes out of a company based in Kalamazoo. That’s right.

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Bullets over Cleveland?

One Michigan entrepreneur, a purveyor of online sex toys, is selling bargain-priced bulletproof vests to folks attending the Republican National Convention this week.

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For inspirational homeless student, graduation day

Ramone Williams completes his journey for a degree from Eastern Michigan University. Now he must find a job.

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Bringing high school students to the floor of the state Capitol

The Michigan Student Caucus program allows students to debate and address real-world issues that affect young people and present solutions to the Michigan Legislature.

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In Iraq, a Detroit DJ fights ISIS on the airwaves

Noor Matti’s Christian-Iraqi family risked their lives to get to Detroit after the first Gulf War. Now Matti is relying on the values, and music, he learned in the Motor City to help struggling refugees.

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How one plucky Michigan town is rebuilding its housing market

Land banks were conceived to help counties stabilize property values in a changing economy. But Oakland County doesn’t have a land bank. So tiny Hazel Park essentially created its own, and is beginning to reap the benefits.

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What’s so good about land banks? A Q&A

Want to take a chance on a piece of property the last owner couldn’t handle?

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Kalamazoo – the city that runs

Borgess Run Camp in Kalamazoo has persuaded more than a thousand out-of-shape residents to hit the streets

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Three tips for getting your community off the couch

Grand Rapids is following the Borgess model to get its residents running. Follow these guidelines and your city can do the same.

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Poverty in paradise:

Postcard: How a git-’er-done spirit helps one rural school district

Every school bus that stays on the road represents more money for the classroom at Inland Lakes Schools. The district’s mechanic is onboard. Plus, three more looks at life Up North too complicated to fit on a postcard.

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Lansing bank president breaks barriers, restores profits

Paula Cunningham helped revive Lansing’s Capitol National Bank after the Great Recession, while changing perceptions about what a banking leader should look like.

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Bank president looking out for next generation

Paula Cunningham has impressed Lansing leaders with her quiet efforts to mentor African-American children in the community.

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Wayne State scholar gains national standing as a respectful voice for LGBT rights

While the debate over gay rights and same-sex marriage has gotten strident at times, John Corvino rarely raises his voice.

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Rare book collector Ed Surovell started with little, now traces ‘footprints of mankind’

Edward Surovell made his mark selling houses — thousands of them across southeast Michigan with trademark blue lawn signs. But his passion is books. One-of-a-kind-books. Michigan books published in the 1800s. The affable 73-year-old Ann Arbor real estate broker has acquired nearly […]

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A multi-talented horse spreads joy across Michigan

Clifford is quite accomplished. He’s an abstract painter, a dancer and the subject of a published biography, and goes on statewide tours to spread the message of empathy. He also has four hooves and a tail. Clifford , also known as “Clifford […]

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Warehouse lofts in Grand Rapids fill fast due to affordable housing program

For years, the massive century-old brick furniture warehouse stood vacant in Grand Rapids as one developer after another took a pass. Thanks to a federal tax credit program, Baker Lofts opened for business earlier this year and is filled with dozens of […]

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Look Ma! We’re doing it on three wheels!

You can tell a lot about where the state’s economy has been and where it’s heading by examining this year’s Michigan 50 Companies to Watch list. In one case, the future is being built on three wheels. “This is one of the […]

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