1.Bravo to the city of Holland! The city just won the "International Communities in Bloom" contest. Holland was up against cities in Belgium and Canada. Over the summer, judges visited each city and ranked them in several areas, including landscape and floral displays. And of course, the tulips factored into their decision -- the judges specifically mentioned the hundreds of thousands of tulips planted each year... comparing the landscape to paintings by famous artists.
2. A "Hell's Kitchen" contestant will soon be creating cuisine at the Bil-Mar restaurant in Grand Haven. This comes as the lakeshore eatery has a new owner. The Noto's family who run "Noto's Italian Dining" in Cascade have purchased Bil-Mar and they have named Season 3 "Hell's Kitchen" contestant Robert Hessee as executive chef. The owners of the Bil-Mar plan to retire, but they still wanted the restaurant to carry on.
3. When Artprize kicks off tomorrow, you might notice that you'll have better cell service as you make your way through downtown Grand Rapids. Verizon wireless is setting up small antennas, that are called small cells. They work with Verizon's existing coverage, to enhance 4G capacity in more heavily trafficked areas. For now, Verizon is only putting up four of the small cells, but they plan to install dozens more in Grand Rapids over the next year.
4. In preparation for Artprize, one company is trying to set a new Guinness world record. Comfort Research will spend the next few days stuffing what could be the biggest bean bag chair ever. This is the same company that invited everyone to nap for charity earlier this month. Organizers expect the bean bag will weigh more than 13 hundred pounds, and stand about 25 feet tall. The bag is on the roof of "Lambert, Edwards, and Associates" and it's expected to be finished by noon tomorrow.
5. Bean bags, Beanie Babies and bankruptcy. The Wall Street Journal reports that Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 protection late last night. It comes amid the company's reported five billion dollar debt. They're also planning to close some under-performing stores. Toys R Us is among several other big retailers affected by the massive increase in online shopping.