COVID-19 Update: Affordable Housing Coming to New Center, Michigan Energy Entrepreneur Launches New Enterprise, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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map of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Aug. 18

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

New Milwaukee Junction Development Will Bring Affordable Housing to New Center
Construction has begun on an $8 million, 22,845-square-foot, four-story, affordable-housing development in the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood of the New Center area (northwest area of I-75 and I-94).

Slated to open in May 2021, the development at 258 E. Milwaukee St., will be a component of the neighborhood revitalization work being implemented in New Center, and according to the city’s Housing and Revitalization Department, will serve as “a beacon of mixed income housing in an area of the city that is seeing increasing rents and demand.”

Developed by Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance and Bingham Farms-based MHT Housing, the Milwaukee Junction Apartments will offer 25 units of housing with 20 of them offered at affordable rates, ranging from 40 percent to 80 percent average median income. This translates to $454 to $945 a month, with water included. The affordability of these units is made possible through Low-Income Housing Tax Credits through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, and support from the Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department and the Detroit Housing Commission.

“We know that those who are making the least sometimes need the most help,” says Cleophus Bradley, director of community development for the Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance. “We also believe that affordable housing done right, that does the most good, means creating housing options that are every bit as good as non-affordable housing. Just because they cannot afford to pay more does not mean they deserve less.”

For that reason, there will be no difference between the units designated as affordable and the market rate units, helping to ensure quality housing for Detroiters, no matter their income. The DCPA is dedicated to strengthening residents’ quality of life through community activism and social programs, as well as spiritual support.

The building will feature a large community room, private parking, and a bike storage room. The units will offer amenities such as central air-conditioning, in-unit washers and dryers, and energy-efficient LED lighting. The building also offers bus and QLINE stops within walking distance. The development also will feature about 1,800 square feet of ground-floor retail space to serve residents of the property and neighbors in the community alike.

The Milwaukee Junction effort will be managed by Continental Construction & Management, a subsidiary of MHT Housing.

Michigan Energy Entrepreneur Launches New Company
Niel M. Rootare, an entrepreneur with a record of starting companies in the energy sector, has founded Silver Wolf Midstream, a Detroit-based energy and renewables infrastructure company focused on the acquisition and operation of projects throughout the U.S.

The company is focused on developing a portfolio of existing infrastructure assets and converting their operations for clean energy and renewable resources.

“So many of our energy-related challenges can be solved through existing infrastructure that simply needs to be reimagined and repurposed,” says Rootare, CEO of Silver Wolf Midstream.  “Our vision is to find new ways to deliver critical resources from energy delivery to clean and sustainable water, in a way that enhances our environmental footprint and offers new commercially sound solutions to the market.”

The new company’s leadership team boasts more than 70 collective years of building, operating, growing, and managing oil and gas assets.

Silver Wolf Midstream has engaged Boustead Securities LLC and Winston and Strawn LLP for its first project, which will offer solutions for propane demand throughout Michigan and the Great Lakes.

MSU Offers Free Support Programs for Michigan’s School Districts
Michigan State University in East Lansing has created a number of support programs and materials to help Michigan’s K-12 school districts prepare for online instruction this fall.

Among these programs is the Foundations of Successful Online Teaching and Learning series that was collaboratively developed by MSU’s Enhanced Digital Learning Initiative and Okemos Public Schools. This series is designed to help teachers understand and adopt the mindsets of successful online instructors, the core principles of meaningful online learning experiences and the best practices of online pedagogy.

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all made physical modifications to the ways we teach, conduct research and interact, but MSU’s land-grant mission and purpose are strong and persistent,” says Teresa Woodruff, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at MSU. “Through these programs, our commitment to student success and academic excellence reaches far beyond our MSU classrooms.”

The program offers free access to a district-specific, five-module Google Classroom site. Teachers can navigate through the site at their own pace and communicate with peers in their local districts as they work through modules covering:

  • Class design and planning
  • Online assessment and feedback
  • Groups and collaboration
  • Universal design for learning and accessible community building
  • Meaningful engagement and interactions

The program can be modified, supplemented with added content, or customized upon request. For information, visit here.

Macomb County PPE Manufacturing Grant Virtual Information Session Slated for Aug. 26
A virtual information session concerning the Industry 4.0 PPE Resilience Grants Program for Macomb County manufacturers will take place on Aug. 26 at 11 a.m.

The session, offered by Automation Alley and Macomb County, will help small- and medium-sized county manufacturers decide if they qualify for grants to purchase Industry 4.0 digital technologies and become part of the region’s distributive manufacturing network.

The program goal is to build a product independence pipeline with up to 300 small- and medium-sized manufacturers from Macomb and Oakland Counties. These manufacturers would help fight the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics without having to rely on other countries to produce critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers, hospitals, first responders and residents.

The Industry 4.0 PPE Resilience Grants Program is funded by $10 million from Oakland County and $2 million from Macomb County. The session will be led by Vicky Rad, Macomb County director of planning and economic development, and Tom Kelly, Automation Alley executive director and CEO.

To register, visit here.

The Science Behind Safe Busing at U-M During COVID-19
In an effort to design a safe campus bus system for the fall semester in light of COVID-19, University of Michigan researchers in Ann Arbor simulated how aerosol particles exhaled from passengers sitting in any seat would travel through the vehicle under different conditions.

In addition to developing physics-based computer models of aerosol dispersion — and validating them with experiments using water vapor — they also used algorithms to overhaul routes, reducing passengers’ time on buses to minimize possible exposure to the virus. The university’s bus fleet provided an estimated 8 million rides between its three Ann Arbor campuses last year.

After considering the researchers’ conclusions, U-M announced that beginning Aug. 24, all bus riders and drivers must wear face coverings, windows will remain open, capacity will be reduced to nearly half and all previous routes will be replaced by a high-frequency hub-and-spoke routing system, among other changes.

“We conducted a wide range of simulation tests based on possible demand patterns in the fall semester,” explains Siqian Shen, a U-M associate professor of industrial and operations engineering. “Our results show that the new design can satisfy peak-hour demand and will help passengers stay safe by having all routes shorter than 15 minutes. Most passengers will still only take one bus to reach their destination and all passengers can find nearby bus stops within five minutes’ walk of their starting and ending locations.”

BGCSM to Host Virtual Panel with Pistons Coach to Discuss Mental Health During COVID-19
Everyone Has a Story and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan are hosting “The Right Conversation,” a Zoom panel discussion to provide mental and emotional wellness tools for student athletes.

Student athletes, especially seniors hoping for college scholarships, could become anxious, and stressed as their seasons are cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel will educate them on how to understand and manage their mental health and overall wellness.

The panel will include Detroit Pistons Head Coach Dwane Casey, Pistons General Manager Troy Weaver, J.S. DuBois, founder of Everyone Has a Story, and others.

To register, visit here.

Baker College to Conduct Many Fall Courses Virtually
Baker College, with campuses in Auburn Hills, Cadillac, Jackson, Muskegon, and Owosso, is implementing a phased approach to the start of its fall semester that begins Aug. 24.

The school will not invite the full student population to return to campus. Instead, Baker will offer three instructional delivery methods:  In-person, lab-based courses offered at one of its campus locations; virtual, lecture-based courses that will be delivered at the same regularly scheduled time as the intended campus-based class; and Traditional Baker Online classes offered in an eight-week session format.

Further, although the semester will end as scheduled on Dec. 13, the in-person, on-campus lab classes will transition to virtual instruction after Nov. 25.  All online courses and virtual classes offered at scheduled class times will continue as normal for the full semester.

For more information, visit here.

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