You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2008.

We have known Mark Wilson since the late 1970’s, when he first became

 the golf pro at Hickory Hills Golf Club or was it Forest Hills Golf? Lots of things

 have changed at our course but he hasn’t changed a bit, he is still the

friendliest, most professional golf pro we have ever known.

Mark is going to be inducted into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of

fame on Aug 21, 2008.  An honor Mark has well earned.

Let me tell you a little about Mark’s accomplishments.  He is a Michigan native

and has resided in Grand Rapids since graduating from college. He is also a

Rhodes scholar, lest you think golfers aren’t cerebral.

Mark has been fascinated and personally involved in the PGA Rules of Golf

for as long as I can remember.  These days you might see him on TV standing

next to Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods at any premier PGA event and

giving some unwelcome news about his golf ball and/or penalty strokes. 

You see, Mark is the Chairman of the PGA of America Rules Committee

He travels around the world to PGA golf events to be available for a ruling.

Be aware if you ask a question about the rules, he will quote the page number

 or decision rendered about your question.

Members at Watermark have tried for years to stump Mark but we finally have

given up. When you see him, ask  “When was the last time you played

golf?   With all his duties he seldom has the time. Maybe after this year when

his term as chair of the PGA rules expires.


An excerpt from the Watermark Newsletter about Mark:


Mark Wilson, our Head Professional, has served the

membership of Watermark Country Club for over 25

Years.  He is responsible for overseeing the total golf

operation at Watermark.  His exceptional attention to

detail has produced years of quality and consistency

in both our regular and tournament play.  Mark is

currently the chairman of the PGA of America Rules

Committee.  He has served at all the PGA Tour major tournaments, several

European Tour tournaments as well as every Ryder Cup since 1995. Our

membership is proud to have him as our pro and look forward to many more

years with him in that role.



Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame


Typically this story goes in the other direction. The large corporation buys out

a locally successful business and relocates the core to their home offices,

sooner or later. Here in West Michigan we have seen this happen frequently

to some of our large local companies.  Many long time employees lose their

jobs, must scramble to find a comparative position or relocate.  That is why

this is so newsworthy! We are encouraged for the local area by this

one reversal….

Do you think they have read  ” Small is Beautiful ” by E.F. Schumacher?


Transnation Title Agency Press Release:


National Company Goes Local

LandAmerica Financial Group (NYSE LFG) announced on July 1,

2008 that it has sold its twelve West Michigan Transnation

Title Insurance operations to a group of its senior Michigan

executives and key Western Michigan employees.

The purchaser, OFTA, LLC, has formed several title agencies and will

 be commonly known as Transnation Title Agency of Michigan. The agency

 has entered into a long term exclusive contract with LandAmerica and

will issue title insurance policies through LandAmerica’s two primary

underwriters, Lawyers Title Insurance Company and Commonwealth Land

 Title Insurance Company.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Transnation Title Agency of Michigan is led by Monte Reinert who most recently

served as the Michigan Manager for LandAmerica’s title operations. Joining

Reinert on the executive team will be title industry veterans Tom Olson, Tom

Host, Sharlene Shineldecker, Steve Barnum, William VanHulle, Ed Tuma,

and Gary Opper.

Reinert indicated that this transaction was quite unique within the title industry

 in the sense that a major underwriter had agreed to sell what is considered by

many to be its jewel operation in the Midwest. “We were successful in

demonstrating to LandAmerica that by selling the operations to us, we could

actually help LandAmerica increase its market share and operating margins

which, over the past few years, have become the overriding focus of all the

 national title insurance companies. That focus has resulted in strategies aimed

 at reducing costs through standardization of processes and centralization.

Centralization simply means that large segments of our day to day work is

relocated to work centers in other partsof the country. That strategy goes

 against our group’s belief that superior service can best be

achieved through the efforts of highly trained and dedicated people

that customers know and can interact with on a local basis.”

Transnation executive Tom Olson stated that as unique as it was for

LandAmerica to sell a prime title operation, it is even more unique

that the agency will be wholly owned by a large number of its

 75 employees rather than just a few individuals oroutside

investors. “It is exciting for me that so many employees were able to

 become direct owners of this venture. We believe that our ownership

structure will empower employees at the local level to make decisions,

 solve problems, and take whatever action necessary to get the job

done for our customers.”

Reinert further stated that Transnation was instrumental in negotiating with

LandAmerica to keep the Zeeland title production center from being closed and

relocated to Twinsburg. Ohio. This not only prevented most of the

positions associated with the Zeeland location from being

eliminated, it allows for Transnation to keep the preparation of its

 title products in the hands of local experts familiar with the title

intricacies of West Michigan.

Transnation will be a full service title operation offering title insurance

and related title products for both residential and commercial transactions,

transaction management, escrow and closing services, mobile and bi-lingual

closings, 1031 Exchanges, customer marketing materials, builder

services, and customer information services.


Copyright 2008 ~ All rights reserved

Terry Westbrook Five Star Real Estate LLC

Summer and outdoor concerts just seem to go together. If you haven’t

attended one yet this summer, time to remedy that.  Tuesday Night Free

Summer Concerts at John Collins Park in East Grand Rapids might

be just what you were looking for. 

Pack a light supper or buy one there, just dig out the lawn chairs  and

spend an evening listening to music.

Ahhh, summertime and the livin’ is easy…


Summer Daisies

Summer Daisies




Tuesday August 5 – Jeff Large

 Local artist who has a far ranging style that is

 not specific to any one genre but plays from

 the heart.


Tuesday August 19 – Wonderland Jazz Ensemble 

 Five experienced musicians that are drawn together to

 pursue a traditional jazz blended with original compositions

 and innovative arrangements

 http://cdbaby/cd/wonderland jazz


 Place: John Collins Park on Reeds Lake, East Grand Rapids 

Time: 7 pm

Concerts will be canceled if weather is inclement.

Sponsored by City of East Grand Rapids & United Bank of Michigan

The update for the Villas of Ada, Ada MI  is that the bulldozers have moved

in, three existing homes have been torn down and are on their way out.  We

have been watching the progress every day as we drive by. The road has

 been closed this week to hook up sewer and water. At the present it looks

 more destructive than constructive, but that is what the building

process is all about. 


villas of ada under construction

villas of ada under construction

Villas of Ada construction continues

Villas of Ada construction continues



A large home was here but is gone now. The one on the right is the only one

left of the three existing homes being removed.

Villas of Ada Construction

Villas of Ada Construction


Our neighborhood connects to this parcel on the right. We can hear the dozers

 and land movers working away all day.  These photos are taken from Hall Street.

The Ada Drive entrance is at the other end of this development.  Check out my

other blog article about Villas of Ada.


If you would like further information about Ada Homes, please

contact your neighborhood specialist,



Terry Westbrook  – Five Star Real Estate –

Copyright 2008  All rights reserved

Photos of Villas of Ada parcel development by Terry Westbrook

The East Village subdivision off of Ada Drive in Ada Township is a fairly

new development. The new housing construction started in 2005 and

is still continuing to date. You can buy a resale home or a new home

in this centrally located housing development.  Near both public and

private schools, East Village is also close to the Forest Hills and 28th

Street shopping areas. The Ada Bike or Walking Trail also connects

this area on Ada Drive with the village of Ada and the village of Cascade.

East Village is also close by the expressway for easy access to many

different parts of our greater Grand Rapids area quickly.  Large,

executive style homes with many amenities and extras are the rule for

this neighborhood. If you would like to start with a brand new house,

this may be the place for you to call home.

Mature Oak Tree ~ Ada MI

Mature Oak Tree ~ Ada MI



                       East Village Market Report July 2008

                                  8 For Sale,  3 Pending,  4 SOLD

Address                            Status      Price         Sq Ft    $/Sq Ft   DOM

707 Village Springs Dr  For Sale   339,900    1895    179.36       49

459 Morraine Hill  Dr     For Sale   414,900    2480     167.29     131

524 Village Springs Dr  For Sale   424,000    3180    133.33       81

572 Village Springs Dr  For Sale   449,900    2926    153.75       48   

632 Village Springs Dr  For Sale   459,000    2760    166.30       47

5130 W Village Trail     For Sale    499,000    3099    161.01       47

5010 W Village Court   For Sale    499,900     3175    157.16    118  

5050 Clear Springs Dr  For Sale    574,900     2784    206.50      13

644 Village Springs Dr  Pending   459,900    2825     162.79    190

4862 Meadow Springs Trl  Pending 499,900   3175   157.44      75

5010 W Village Court   Pending    499,900     3175    157.16    118 

669 Village Springs Dr  SOLD        349,900    2016    173.56      28 

4969 Meadow Springs Trl    SOLD    479,900   2914   164.68      51

527 Village Springs Dr      SOLD      470,000    2757    170.47     58

4862 Meadow Springs Trl  SOLD     489,900   3175   157.44      75


If you would like further information about Ada Homes, please

contact me directly

Cascade Woods is an established neighborhood of large, executive

 style homes. Most of these homes were built in the 1960’s and

1970’s, although there are a few newer homes that were built recently

in the area. Close to the village of Cascade and the Thornapple River,

 this heavily wooded area has been a Grand Rapids desired suburban

place to live for  decades.  Part of the Forest Hills School District,

which draws many families, there is also the river and it’s picturesque

 appeal.  The drive down Thornapple River Drive between Ada and Cascade

in the fall is one of the prettiest drives in the greater Grand Rapids area.

Thornapple River in Autumn

Thornapple River in Autumn


               Cascade Woods Residential Real Estate

                         Market Report July 2008

         13 Homes For Sale (FS),  2 Pending,  8 SOLD

Address                   Status    Price      Sq Ft    $/SqFt  DOM

 7063 Thorncrest       FS      159,500  1808      88.21    96

2600 River Edge Dr   FS     209,900   2928     71.68     11

2740 Cascade Spgs  FS      227,900    2161    105.46  179

7399 Lime Hollow     FS     249,900      3085    81.00     12

7469 Lime Hollow     FS      249,900    2592     96.41     56

7382 Treeline Dr       FS     288,000    1876    153.51  118     

2627 Shadowbrook   FS     295,900   2822    104.85    46

2909 Cascade Spgs  FS      329,000   1872    175.74  268

2669 Cascade Spgs   FS     399,000   2590    154.05  151

2424 River Edge Dr   FS     399,900   1979    202.07   129

2521 Pebblebrook     FS     394,900   2600    151.88    34

2515 Cascade Spgs   FS     650,000   2613    248.75   402

2597 Cascade Spgs   FS    850,000   3795     223.97    103

7049 Oran Dr             Pdg   179,000  1649     108.55   271

2441 Cascade Spgs  Pdg    649,900  2101   309.32   251

2573 Cascade Spgs  SOLD 395,000  2695    146.56   118

2838 Cascade Spgs SOLD  125,000  1768    70.70      22

2662 Cascade Spgs SOLD  190,000  2004      94.81   195

2770 Hayward          SOLD  225,000  2385     94.33     12

2680 Shadowbrook  SOLD  306,000   3068    99.73  177

2438 River Edge Dr  SOLD  337,500   2306  146.35    81

7386 Cascade Terr    SOLD  208,000  2186   95.15    182

7356 Treeline Dr       SOLD   243,000  2306    105.37   47





If you would like further information about Cascade Homes,

please contact me directly.


Terry Westbrook  – Five Star Real Estate – Copyright 2008  All rights reserved

photo of Cascade Dam on the Thornapple River by Bonnie Westbrook


Hidden Hills is an established neighborhood of homes off Cascade Road

and 30th Street in Cascade Township, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids

 Home construction started here in the 1960’s housing boom in the Forest

 Hills School District and has continued through to today. There are new

homes still being built in this neighborhood.

Mid-size homes with quality construction are the rule, this suburban

subdivision area has been a desirable  place to live in the Grand Rapids

home market for many years. 

Median prices for homes in the Forest Hills School District for 2007-2008

were $235,000.


forsythia cascade mi


                          Hidden Hills, Cascade Township

                     Residential Real Estate Market Report 

          July 2008     ~     12 For Sale, 3 Pending, 3  SOLD


Address                         Status       Price         SqFt     $/SqFt  DOM

7857 Aspenwood         For Sale   369,900   2150    172.04    160

7982 30th St                  For Sale  164,900   1669      98.80      43

3447 Hidden Hills          For Sale  169,900   2200      77.22   116

7745 Whitburn Ct        For Sale   339,900   2756    123.33      12

7705 Tobemory           For Sale    239,900   2238    106.33     41

3464 Hidden Hills        For Sale    199,900    1734   115.28      34

7569 Woodvale           For Sale   183,900    2238      82.17      37

7764 Kirkwall Dr          For Sale   249,900   2212    112.97     48

3400 N.Applecrest Ct For Sale   248,900   2433    102.30     23

7626 Candlewood Dr  For Sale    350,000   2856   122.54   173

7575  30th St                For Sale    359,900   1920   187.44  187

3303 Whitburn  Ct       For Sale    399,900   3153   126.83     40

3282 Hidden Hills         Pending    194,900   1512   128.90     77

3135 Bannockburn      Pending    237,000   2211   107.19    20

 3122 Torian Ct             Pending   585,000   3000   195.00  132

3082 Torian Ct               SOLD        443,500   3158   153.57   121

3464 Hidden Hills         SOLD        137,900    1734      79.52     13

3510 Hidden Hills         SOLD        197,000    2046      96.28    87


If you would like further information about Cascade Homes,

please contact me directly. 


Terry Westbrook  – Five Star Real Estate – Copyright 2008  All rights reserved

photo of Spring Flowering Forsythia by Bonnie Westbrook


The Residences at Watermark are on and near Watermark Golf

Course  off Cascade Road.   If you don’t like golf, or like to look

at a well manicured course, or get defensive when a stray ball rolls

 into your “yard” you probably would be better off not buying a

home or condo here. Of course you would be missing out on the

best golf course in Grand Rapids (no prejudice here, just the facts,


Yes, I play Watermark golf course every chance I get. It is a

premier course with a friendly group of players.

The Single family homes and Condos make this a very attractive

place to live. There is access off Cascade Road and Spaulding Drive,

 you are close to the airport, close to 28th Street shopping, close to

 I96 expressway and close to Cascade, Ada, and Forest Hills

schools and shopping areas.

watermark residences entrance cascade mi

Watermark Residences July 2008 Market Report

          2 Sold, 3 Pending, 8 For Sale


Address                  Status        Price         Sq Ft    $/Sq Ft    DOM

1991 Talamore Ct  For Sale    475,000   1908     248.95      38

1664 Watermark  For Sale    459,900    2085    220.57     177

2020 Watermark   For Sale   525,000    2130    246.47     152

2064 Watermark  For Sale    559,900    3423    163.56     124

1803 Watermark  For Sale    599,000    2958    202.50     173

2201 Watermark   For Sale   625,000    3137    199.23     125

1969 Watermark  For Sale    724,900    3720    194.86     171

1908 Talamore Ct  Pending   499,900    2115     236.35       10

2093 Stickley Dr.  Pending    465,000    1908     243.71    116                                          

2202 Watermark  Pending    449,000    2860     156.99      85

2024 Feathery Ct.   SOLD      525,000     3146     166.87    103

2096 Watermark    SOLD      650,000     2388     272.19      79 


If you would like further information about Cascade Homes,

please contact me directly. 


Terry Westbrook  – Five Star Real Estate – Copyright 2008  All rights reserved

photo of Watermark Residences Entrance by Bonnie Westbrook

Friday Night !! – Free Movies!! – John Collins Park- East Grand Rapids MI

 Friday night is free movie night at John Collins Park in East Grand Rapids

 this summer.  The city of East Grand Rapids will be showing family rated

movies on a huge drive in movie screen at sundown.  The 2008 Movies

 in the Park is sponsored by Macatawa Bank. Bring your lawn chairs or a

 blanket for the show.  There will be a popcorn machine and an ice cream

 wagon available if you get the munchies.


Jed's SMALL serving of popcorn by psd.



The movies scheduled:

Friday August 1 – The Game Plan

Friday August 15 – Cars

Friday August 29 – National Treasure

*List of movies may change due to availability


Saturday, August 2nd, 2008 in Grand Rapids, Michigan:

The weather is supposed to be warm and sunny.


What ya Gonna Do??

Get yourself a ticket for the Silver Maple Music Festival!

One day, Seven Bands

at Fifth Third Ball Park, Comstock Park, Michigan

Kids under 12 are free and the gates open at 11 am.

Festivities start at Noon. Tickets are $40 and available

through the West Michigan Whitecaps website

Bands Featured are:

Big Leg Mama
Greensky Bluegrass
The Milroys
Donna the Buffalo
The Ragbirds
Railroad Earth
For details, see Silver Maple Music Festival

Grand Rapids Photos


July 2008
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