Mar 10, 2008

Still a chance to make your voice heard in the Envision Michigan contest

The welcome signs of spring in Michigan is also signaling an end to a contest that is bringing home the beauty and joy of living in Michigan.

Since October the nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank The Center for Michigan has been sponsoring the weekly Envision Michigan Story Competition, but the deadline for submitting entries is April 30.

Every week since October, the center has been choosing from submissions of essays, photos and multimedia presentations illustrating what people love about Michigan, what they dislike about Michigan and their vision for Michigan’s future. The 26 weekly winners receive a $50 Meijer gift card and a chance for the grand prize of a $12,000 scholarship to one of Michigan’s public colleges and universities and other prizes.

Past winners include essays and photos about Michigan’s natural beauty and resources, the joys of four distinct seasons, family vacations and Michigan from a hot-air balloon.

In addition to the weekly and grand prizes, there is also a first-place prize that consists of a $5,000 scholarship to a Michigan public university. Additional prizes include four second-place awards of $2,337.50 scholarships and four third-place prizes of $1,000 travel vouchers to a selected Michigan resort. Fourth prize is a $500 vacation package to metro-Detroit and fifth place is a $500 vacation package to The Betsie Bay Inn in Frankfort.

The Center for Michigan was founded by Phil Power in 2006 as what he calls a "think-and-do tank.” Power is a former University of Michigan Regent, but since 1965 until he sold the company in 2006, Power was the owner and publisher of Suburban Communications Corporation, that published the Observed and Eccentric weekly newspapers, Hometown Newspapers and Community Newspapers in the Lansing area.

The Center's stated objective is to “assist our state through its current period of wrenching economic trouble and to lay the foundation of informed hope for a better future Michigan. It will help develop and execute comprehensive, long-range and, in some cases, radical policy solutions to transform Michigan's business, economic, political and cultural climate.”

Power is the center's president and director, but its steering committee includes a mix of people from Michigan’s academic community, political leaders and business leaders, such as Paul Hillegonds, senior vice president at DTE Energy and former Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives; well-known journalist Jack Lessenberry; former Gov. William Milliken, and Doug Rothwell, the former CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

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