Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Timur and Team Are Raising Funds for Delivery Vehicles to Help Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine
Timur and Team, a group of residents in Kharkiv, Ukraine (near the eastern border with Russia), are braving the roads in some of the hardest hit areas of the city to deliver food, water, medical supplies, diapers, and other vital necessities to their neighbors.
Their small fleet of vehicles has gotten smaller as Russian shells have destroyed one after another. They are now traversing dangerous fighting points more and more frequently in their two remaining cars so they can continue serving the 2,500 families who rely on them. To go on providing this essential lifeline, they need a truck or a van.
Their efforts are the only lifeline to these residents, mostly seniors, and women with children, who cannot evacuate.
Timur and his friends regularly embark on extremely dangerous trips to neighboring towns to purchase basic necessities like food, water, and diapers. Their cars have been shot at by Russian invaders, and team members have sustained injuries making deliveries.
Over the course of the last few weeks many of their vehicles were damaged by shelling and the single small truck they were renting to serve 2,500 families is no longer available. They are down to two personal cars in which they now make many more trips, dramatically increasing the team’s risk as they drive past intense fighting points more and more often.
Real Help for Ukraine is a group of entrepreneurs led by metro Detroit business owners Jenny Feterovich and Vladimir Gendelman, both members of EO Detroit (Entrepreneurs Organization), supporting grassroots organizations like Timur and Team.
The projects currently include efforts to help refugees in Poland and Romania, feed those unable to evacuate, assist the Ukrainian LGBTQ community, and feed and relocate orphans. These entrepreneurs are volunteering their time and expertise, so every penny donated goes directly to these vital aid projects.
To help Timur and Team get a vehicle or to support related humanitarian projects, visit realhelpforukraine.org/real-projects and scroll down to see “Urgent Appeal for Delivery Vehicles in Kharkiv” project.
Madison Heights City Council Approves Demolition of Electro-Plating Solutions Site
Madison Heights City Council has awarded a contract to Rochester Hills-based The Adams Group for the demolition of the Electro-Plating Services site at 945 E. 10 Mile Road, beginning April 22.
The site first gained attention after the discovery in December 2019 of contamination linked to the site that had breached I-696 in Madison Heights in the form of a green ooze. The city of Madison Heights has been working closely for the past two years with county, state, and federal officials to clean up the site and clear the way for demolition, including more than $3.1 million in cleanup spending by the EPA.
City Manager Melissa Marsh explained that two grants totaling $750,000 will cover the cost of the demolition.
Gary Sayers, who owned Electro-Plating Services until it was shut down by state regulators in 2016, had been sentenced to one year in federal prison in November 2019 for illegal storage of hazardous chemicals. After serving part of his sentence at the Morgantown Federal Correctional Institute in West Virginia, he was released from prison and ordered to home confinement. He also was ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution.
At the time of its discovery, the green ooze seen on I-696 was found to contain high levels of hexavalent chromium, trichloroethylene, and nonstick PFAS compounds. As of January 2021, however, the EPA reported that the Electro-Plating site has groundwater that no longer showed excessive levels of contaminants migrating off-site.
The state shut down Electro-Plating Services in 2016, due to decades of chemical mismanagement. The business operated for nearly 50 years.
City of Detroit to Host Minority Business Summit April 23
The city of Detroit is hosting a free Minority Business Summit to share information on the contracting and procurement process within city government from 1-4 p.m. on April 23 at Wayne County Community College District’s Downtown Campus. There’s a limit to the first 100 people at WCCD but the event also can be viewed virtually.
The event is hosted by City Council Members Mary Waters, Angela Calloway, and Latisha Johnson along with Toni Stewart-Limmitt, associate director of the city’s Office of Contracting and Procurement. Detroit City Council President Mary Sheffield and Council Member Gabriela Santiago-Romero also will participate.
In addition, attendees will learn details about the recently announced Motor City Contractor Fund designed to help Detroit-based minority businesses gain access to funding.
With several projects planned in the coming months, the city is in need of myriad goods and services. Plus, there’s a need for construction workers to handle the work associated with ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) projects, Proposal N bond work, and the Detroit Land Bank.
“Many small and minority business owners are frustrated by what they feel is not a transparent process to gain contracts with the City of Detroit,” Waters says. “My goal is to pull back the curtain and de-mystify the process of contracting with government entities.”
Stewart-Limmitt says, “We will continue to outreach and engage wherever we can to encourage small, Detroit-based minority owned businesses to take part in the city’s bid opportunities. This Summit will provide important information and insight in the procurement process.”
Those presenting at the Summit include Jill Bryant with the Detroit Building Authority, Tenika R. Griggs, director of the Compliance, Civil Rights, Inclusion, and Opportunity Department; and Monica Daniels, finance asset manager at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. All participants must register here.
To attend virtually via Zoom, visit here. The meeting ID is 456 768 3180 and the passcode is 1008. The number to Zoom by phone is 312-626-6799.
GAN Announces Launch of PlayEagle.com by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
GAN Limited, a California-based North American B2B technology provider of real money internet gaming solutions and an international B2C operator of Internet sports betting, today announced the launch of iGaming and online sports betting for Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, which owns and operates Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort.
Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort is the largest casino in the state of Michigan, with a 210,000-square-foot casino facility that offers thousands of slot machines and the widest variety of floor games available in the Midwest. It also possesses an extremely sizeable database of patrons, who the parties anticipate converting into active online players via GAN’s patented iBridge loyalty platform.
“We are excited to leverage GAN’s proven technical capability, product offering and marketing performance in the State of Michigan to support our iGaming and online sports betting now operational on PlayEagle.com,” says Melinda Coffin, CEO of Soaring Eagle. “GAN’s enterprise software and marketing expertise will help drive improved adoption and retention of our online offering for current and future players and we look forward to seeing the newly-launched online business complement our established retail gaming business in the coming years.”
As previously announced under the terms of the agreement, GAN has deployed the company’s GameSTACK enterprise software platform onto the client’s technical infrastructure deployed on-property. GAN has collaborated with the client to design and develop its iGaming and sports betting front-end web application together with counterpart native Apple iOS and Android apps.
GAN will deploy its patented iBridge Framework to optimally monetize the Soaring Eagle patron database and leverage its on-property retail loyalty program later this year. Lastly, the scope of the previously announced agreement has been expanded to include fully managed marketing by GAN via the company’s marketing services team specialists employed to drive online user acquisition and player retention acting in collaboration with Soaring Eagle’s on-property retail marketing and player development teams.
The announcement marks GAN’s fourth client in the state of Michigan and GAN’s 10th client for real money online gambling technology in the U.S. and, inclusive of Simulated Gaming, GAN’s ninth Native American tribal gaming operator client.
Oakland County Treasurer Updates 2001 County Investment Policy
Oakland County Treasurer Robert Wittenberg announced that the county’s 2001 investment policy has been updated in collaboration with and approval of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.
The new investment policy, according to Wittenberg, continues to safeguard the county’s financial assets and liquidity, and enables greater flexibility, diversification, and the opportunity for a higher return on investment, creates additional considerations for local lending and environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles, and implements a five-year policy review.
“Since beginning my tenure on July 1, 2021, we have been collaboratively working with our stakeholders, external advisors and professional associations to better respond and capitalize on changing investment market conditions,” Wittenberg says. “Our new investment policy is fiscally responsible, socially conscious, and also enables us to diversify our investing strategy while protecting taxpayer dollars.”
In accordance with Michigan Public Act 20 of 1943, as amended, (“PA 20”) (MCL 129.91 to 129.97a) the Investment of Surplus Funds of Political Subdivisions, Oakland County’s new investment policy provides greater flexibility and diversification in response to market conditions and the opportunity for higher rates of return. Additionally, the policy provides consideration for institutions prioritizing investment and lending in Oakland County as well as evaluating their ESG standards along with a policy review every five years by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.
“This revised policy will help guide us to better invest in our local communities, and it will ensure our county revenues work to strengthen our economy and improve the lives of residents,” says David T. Woodward, chairman of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. “The board looks forward to working with Treasurer Robert Wittenberg to implement this sound and forward-thinking policy.”
The Oakland County Treasurer’s Office also engaged, Oakland County Management and Budget, Oakland County’s municipal advisor, and professional associations in the development of the policy and will now submit the policy to the Association of Public Treasurers of the United States and Canada for certification as a Model Investment Policy.
To review the county’s new investment policy, visit here.
CCS Student Miriam Wong Wins 2022 Detroit Grand Prix Poster Contest
With a design that represents a connection to family and the emotion of the final Grand Prix to be run at Belle Isle Park, College for Creative Studies senior Miriam Wong won the 2022 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear Official Poster Competition.
The final judging took place at CCS in Detroit. The final poster will be unveiled in early May and be available for purchase online at www.DetroitGP.com in advance of the upcoming Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, June 3-5 on Belle Isle.
The 2022 design competition marks the 10th consecutive year that the Grand Prix and CCS have worked together to provide students at the Detroit art college the opportunity to create the official poster to represent the annual summer racing festival in the Motor City. For the fourth year in a row, fans also were included in the selection process as all five of the final poster entries were shared on the Grand Prix social media channels with followers encouraged to vote for their favorite design. The fan vote was factored into the final selection process, along with the choices of seven-person judging panel that evaluated each of the final designs.
“What these students at CCS are able to create each and every year as a part of the poster competition continues to amaze the judging panel,” says Bud Denker, chairman of the Detroit Grand Prix, who also served as a judge. “There was a lot of discussion among the judges on each of the designs, because the students all did a great job. It was a tough decision, but the emotion and celebration of the Grand Prix and its history on Belle Isle in Miriam’s design really connected with the judges and will connect with our Grand Prix fans around the world.”
With an eye toward the future and the Grand Prix’s return to its original home on the streets of downtown Detroit in 2023, Wong’s design captured the fun and excitement of the event while also symbolizing the final race on Belle Isle. Honoring the cars that compete at the Grand Prix, the winning entry reflects both NTT IndyCar Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship cars driving by the iconic Scott Fountain on Belle Isle as a family celebrates by waving the checkered flag to symbolize the end of an era for the event on Belle Isle.
“I really like drawing emotional scenes and heartfelt scenes and I really like inspiring people and making people happy,” Wong says. “That was a huge message behind (the design) and a big inspiration. I thought since this event revolves around those emotions specifically, it was a good opportunity to use that whole family and community aspect.”
CCS student Bella Ignagni finished second in the competition while the design created by Lauren Pitylak was selected as the third-place entry.
Wreaths Across America’s National Tour Will Make Stops in Michigan
Wreaths Across America’s Mobile Education Exhibit’s national tour will be arriving in Michigan this May thanks to support from Grand Rapids-based Meijer.
“The goal of the Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit (MME) is to bring the community together and teach patriotism while remembering the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes,” says Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. “This exhibit provides the opportunity for people to safely participate in something that is both educational and inspiring while supporting and giving back to the communities it visits.”
The MEE achieves this goal by bringing the local community, veterans, active-duty military, and their families together through interactive exhibits, short films, and shared stories. The exhibit serves as a mobile museum, educating visitors about the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes as well as serving as an official ‘welcome home’ station for our nation’s Vietnam Veterans.
The stops in Michigan will include:
- Taylor, May 27, Load One
- Grand Blanc, May 31, Creasy Bicentennial Park
- Lansing, June 2, Meijer private event
- Brighton, June 4, 200 E. Grand River
- Grand Rapids, June 5, 2190 E. Beltline Ave. NE
- Boyne City, June 7, Veterans Park
The public tours for the MEE are free and open to the public with social distancing, sanitation, and COVID-19 safety procedures in place to protect the health of all visitors in accordance with the CDCs recommendation for large gatherings stemming from concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fifth Third Foundation Awards Grant to the Motown Museum
The Fifth Third Foundation announced its support of the Motown Museum with a $250,000 grant to support the institution’s $55 million expansion campaign, which is designed to grow the museum campus to a world-class entertainment, education, and cultural tourist destination.
The donation is part of Fifth Third’s accelerating racial equality, equity, and inclusion initiative and represents Fifth Third Foundation’s second-largest gift to a Detroit cultural institution.
“We are proud to support the Motown Museum,” says David Girodat, regional president of Fifth Third. “It’s a privilege to play a small part in its rich musical and cultural legacy, as well as to ensure and inspire the next generation of talent and entrepreneurs.”
The grant will help the Motown Museum transform the current site into a 50,000-square-foot cultural destination featuring interactive exhibits, a performance art theater, a professional recording studio, and an education hub that will serve as a community gathering space.
Fifth Third and other supporters are part of a transformative project that will be an extension of the community spurring social and economic change. The expanded museum is expected to revitalize the Northwest Goldberg district by becoming a catalyst for new business and commerce, creating more than 200 jobs and serving as a gather place for the local community.
“We’re full of gratitude for Fifth Third Bank and their generous gift for our expansion,” says Robin Terry, chairwoman and CEO of the Motown Museum. “As a civic-minded organization, they have made a meaningful impact on Detroit’s vibrant arts and culture community, and we’re incredibly appreciative of their support.”
Dino & Dragon Stroll Returns to Canterbury Village to Benefit Ill Children
The Dino & Dragon Stroll, produced by CV Events in Lake Orion, is returning to Canterbury Village May 19-22 and May 28-29 with opening night (May 19) benefitting Jay’s Juniors, a program that takes chronic or terminally ill children to Disney World.
“We are proud to once again partner with Jay’s Juniors to help children and their families,” says Keith Aldridge, owner of Canterbury Village. “It means a lot to us to be able to support such a great cause.”
Dino & Dragon Stroll is billed as the only North American tour that lets participants walk-thru and get up close to life-like and life-size dinosaurs and dragons.
The event transports Canterbury Village to the Mesozoic Era with prehistoric dinosaurs from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, and some dragons. Creatures feature moving heads, necks, tails, wings, eyes blinking, mouths that open and close, breathing movements, synchronized sounds, roars, and other amazing details that make them look real and alive. Some of the stand over 28 feet tall and are longer than 60 feet.
Tickets are on sale now here. Canterbury Village is located at 2359 Joslyn Ct. in Lake Orion.
JVS + Kadima to Offer New ‘Women to Work’ Course
JVS + Kadima in Southfield are offering a free, four-week course titled “Women to Work,’ which provides skills to women needing immediate employment.
An information meeting will be conducted the morning of April 28 and the course will take place from 9 a.m.-noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays between May 3-26 at JVS + Kadima’s headquarters (29699 Southfield Road).
The course provides in-depth vocational assessments, resume writing, advice on networking, financial management, and other skills to land a job quickly. Employment-related group counseling and emotional support, plus stress management will have an even more important role in this year’s program, as many women have felt isolated, anxious, and even despondent during the recent pandemic years.
“Along with the practical aspects of job searching, such as learning interview techniques and having a great resume, we focus on the emotional aspects of a woman’s life,” says Judy Richmond, a career counselor and coordinator of “Women to Work.” “Life has been extremely challenging for many women in the last couple of years, and it is our mission is to support them and build their self-confidence.”
For more information on “Women to Work” and to register for the program, contact Richmond at 248-233-4232 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MotoFest Ride and Festival Returns to Detroit June 4
Enthusiastic motorcyclists will make the 32-mile trek between the Axemen Detroit Clubhouse and the Wolverine Harley-Davidson dealership as part of the second MotoFest Ride and Festival on June 4.
MotoFest raises thousands of dollars for local nonprofits. In addition to the 32-mile trek, there’s a festival featuring live entertainment, food and beverage vendors, and interactive health and wellness activities for all festival attendees. This event is sponsored by Sowing Empowerment and Economic Development Inc., also known as SEED; Wolverine Harley-Davidson, the Axemen Detroit Motorcycle Club; and State Farm Insurance.
“We’re excited to be riding again in Detroit to promote access to resources for the health and wellness of our communities city-wide,” says Nichole Mattison, vice president of SEED.
David Derksen, president of Axemen Detroit Motorcycle Club, says, “We are proud to be a part of this worthwhile cause. We invite all riders and enthusiasts to join us this year. You can ride, run, or drive. You just have to get there.”
Ticket options are available for purchase online.