COVID-19 Update: America’s Thanksgiving Parade to be TV-only Event, Local Restaurants Honored by Wine Spectator, 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.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Sept. 24

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.

America’s Thanksgiving Parade to be TV-only Event in 2020
America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Gardner-White will be a television-only event this year to prevent spectators from gathering in a compressed footprint during the COVID-19 pandemic. WDIV Local 4 is the parade’s exclusive television partner.

“We have an extraordinary passion in bringing America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Gardner-White to our community and believe this is an opportunity to show the country how our remarkable city and people have come together to make this beloved tradition happen,” says Tony Michaels, president and CEO of The Parade Co. “Our team has reviewed every aspect with the city of Detroit and the Detroit Police Department to ensure a safe environment. This is truly Detroit’s greatest tradition.”

The Parade Co. also announced details for its signature events, including:

The 38th Annual Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot will take place as a virtual race this year and will not take place downtown. Registration is now open here. Runners have the option of the 10K and 5K S3 Turkey Trot and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Mashed Potato Mile. The event benefits the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation.

Hob Nobble Gobble presented by Ford Motor Co. is postponed for 2020 and will return to Ford Field on Nov. 19, 2021. This is The Parade Co.’s largest fundraiser of the year.

America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Gardner-White is syndicated nationally reaching more than 185 television markets across the country. News/Talk 760 WJR’s Paul W. Smith and Entercom’s WOMC 104.3 also broadcast special parade shows. Additional details will be announced. For more information, visit here.

Local Restaurants Honored by Wine Spectator
Wine Spectator magazine has honored 36 area restaurants in its annual 2020 Restaurant Awards, which honor the world’s best restaurants for wine.

The local establishments are part of 3,776 dining destinations from all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 79 countries internationally recognized.

“This year’s Wine Spectator Restaurant Award program celebrates restaurants’ resilience, dedication, and bravery during these unprecedented times,” says Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator. “We hope that all of our award winners and the people who make them special will find their way through the crisis to once again welcome us through their doors. We look forward to raising a glass together, and to new beginnings.”

Launched in 1981, the Restaurant Awards are judged on three levels: Award of Excellence, Best of Award of Excellence, and the Grand Award—with 2,289; 1,387; and 100 winners this year in each respective category.

The Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers. Best of Award of Excellence recipients offer more extensive selections with significant vintage depth and excellent breadth across multiple regions. The Grand Award is the program’s highest honor; this elite group comprises the world’s best wine programs, which deliver serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vantages, excellent harmony with the menu, and superior presentation, according to the magazine.

Four of the honored local restaurants qualified for the Best of Award of Excellence. They are: The Capital Grille in Troy, The Rigby Grille in Birmingham, and Ann Arbor’s The Blue Llama Jazz Club and The Earle.

Local Award of Excellence winners include:

  • Aventura in Ann Arbor.
  • Big Rock Chop House in Birmingham.
  • Bill’s Eat and Drink in Bloomfield Hills.
  • Cantoro Trattoria in Plymouth.
  • The Chop House in Ann Arbor.
  • Compari’s on the Park in Plymouth.
  • Eddie V’s Prime Seafood in Troy.
  • Fiamma Grille in Plymouth.
  • Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bars in Birmingham and Livonia.
  • Fogo de Chão in Troy.
  • Gaucho Brazilian SteakHouse in Northville.
  • Gratzi in Ann Arbor.
  • Hyde Park Prime Steakhouses in Birmingham and Northville.
  • Iridescence at the MotorCity Casino in Detroit.
  • Joe Muer Seafood in Detroit.
  • Morton’s Steakhouse in Troy.
  • Neros Steakhouse at Caesars Windsor in Windsor.
  • Ocean Prime in Troy.
  • Paesano Restaurant and Wine Bar in Ann Arbor.
  • Prime and Proper in Detroit.
  • The Rattlesnake Club in Detroit.
  • The Sardine Room in Plymouth.
  • Sava’s in Ann Arbor.
  • Seasons 52 in Troy.
  • Streetside Seafood in Birmingham.
  • Toasted Oak Grill and Market at the Renaissance Baronette Hotel Detroit-Novi in Novi.
  • Tria – An American Brasserie at The Henry in Dearborn.
  • Vertical Detroit in Detroit.
  • Weber’s Restaurant in Ann Arbor.
  • Wolfgang Puck Steak at the MGM Grand in Detroit.

Forecast: New Vehicle Retail Sales Make a Comeback in 3Q
The third quarter represents a positive turning point for the automotive industry despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to analysts at Edmunds, a popular automotive research site with an office in Detroit.

Edmunds forecasts 3,850,707 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S., which reflects an 11 percent decrease from the third quarter of 2019 but a 30.6 percent increase compared to the second quarter of the year.

“Third-quarter sales make at least two things apparent: Most of the doomsday scenarios forecasted at the beginning of the pandemic fortunately did not hold true, and the American consumer stepped up to become one of the many heroes in this chapter of resilience for the automotive industry,” says Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds.

“Consistently lower interest rates encouraged new-car buyers — who were less likely to be financially hindered by the economic fallout of the pandemic — to pull the trigger on a purchase. Rising used-vehicle prices also likely made the new car market more appealing for shoppers on the fence between the two. And car owners also got to leverage the extra value that trade-ins are commanding during COVID-19 to offset the cost of their next purchase.”

Edmunds forecasts that General Motors Co. in Detroit will sell 634,2261 vehicles in the quarter. Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn checks in with a 534,290-vehicle forecast. Auburn Hills’ FCA is expected to sell 513,872 in the period.

Although retail sales have shown positive growth, Edmunds notes that fleet sales continue to struggle during the pandemic. Edmunds estimates that fleet transactions will account for 10.8 percent of total sales for the third quarter, compared to 17.2 percent in the third quarter of 2019 and 13.2 percent last quarter.

Michigan Gets $13.6M in Federal Funds for Adult Education
Nearly 100 Michigan organizations have received a total of $13.6 million in U.S. Department of Education funding to improve access to adult education.

The grants, which represent an increase of nearly 13 percent over the previous program year, are part of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.

The announcement coincided with National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, celebrated Sept. 21-25 this year to raise awareness about the importance of adult education and increase visibility for the work of teachers, administrators, and adult learners.

“There’s a strong correlation between educational attainment and income,” says Stephanie Beckhorn, director of the state Office of Employment and Training. “Supporting programs that allow adults to make meaningful educational progress creates pathways to better jobs and financial stability for workers and their families. It also helps address the skills gap that challenges the success of Michigan businesses and our state’s prosperity.”

The 97 adult education providers across the state approved for AEFLA funding represent a net increase of 11 providers and includes providers of general instruction, institutional and/or integrated English literacy and civics education.

For more information about adult education in Michigan, visit here.

Employee-developed Mobile App Debuts on 2021 Ram 1500 TRX
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX will be the first Fiat Chrysler Automobiles vehicle to feature the new Know & Go mobile app, developed by a group of FCA employees.

“We created the Know & Go app as a way for customers to interact with and learn about their vehicles throughout their ownership lifecycle and personal experiences,” says Carolina Harris, manager of feature innovation Manager at FCA and co-creator of Know & Go.

The Know & Go mobile app will be available through the customer’s preferred app store. After purchasing a vehicle, customers will have the ability to download the app.

“With all of the content on the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, the Know & Go mobile app highlights the many new features and capabilities our customers will enjoy in a creative, exciting and engaging way,” adds Mimi Nguyen, program manager of propulsion systems and product development and co-creator of Know & Go.

The Know & Go mobile app uses the camera on a smartphone and incorporates augmented reality to view a vehicle’s feature. Simply point the camera at the part of the vehicle you wish to learn more about and the name and a description will be overlaid on the image.

Know & Go mobile app features include:

  • Augmented-reality discovery of features.
  • Self-discovery of features.
  • Push notifications of undiscovered features.
  • Feature overview and how-to videos.
  • Feature-specific owner’s manual pages.

Wayne State to Opening of STEM Innovation Learning Center Oct. 1
Wayne State University in Detroit will open its new STEM Innovation Learning Center on Thursday, Oct. 1, and host virtual pop-up mini events throughout the day from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Students, faculty, staff, and the community are invited to join the celebration. RSVP here.

The virtual event will include remarks from university and state leadership, a tour of the building, a drone flyover, and more. Construction on the project, which was made possible by a $14.75 million commitment from the state of Michigan as well as bond proceeds to WSU, began in March 2019.

“Now more than ever is a time for innovation and optimism, and this facility will help further a culture of collaboration and creativity across disciplines,” says Tonya Matthews, associate provost for inclusive workforce development and director of the STEM Innovation Learning Center. “Students, faculty and the city of Detroit will benefit from the ideas and opportunities generated within this cutting-edge, state-of-the-art learning space for years to come.”

This fall, the building will soft open with limited access while equipment is moved in and final systems are tested. The STEM Innovation Learning Center, however, has already begun to play a role in achieving Wayne State’s vision for STEM education and research for current and future Warriors through various community partnerships that could build upon the spirit of inclusive, collaborative STEM.

The building will serve as a campus hub for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching and learning innovation, and it features 100,000 square feet of flexible classrooms, seminar spaces, and instructional labs that include state-of-the-art technology to support hands-on and project-based learning. To enhance the sparks of creativity and collaboration that the STEM Innovation Learning Center seeks to support, the building also includes a maker space, a hacker space with virtual and augmented reality capabilities, and a 3-D printing lab.

While the facility’s primary purpose is to serve WSU students and faculty, it also will serve as a new hub for Wayne K-12 programming, supporting students from the greater Detroit area with experiences in and exposure to hands-on, creative learning situations that ignite their interest in science and technology. Currently, WSU’s STEM programs take place in a number of venues across campus.

In Related News: The nuclear physics group at Wayne State recently completed a major upgrade to one of the giant particle detectors at CERN, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, located in Switzerland. This upgrade, built in the basement of the Wayne State Physics Building, will allow researchers to study the types of extreme matter that was present shortly after the universe was formed in the Big Bang.

Major upgrades of the ALICE experiment (A Large Ion Collider experiment) – a detector dedicated to heavy-ion physics at the CERN Large Hadron Collider – are in progress to speed up the data readout speed and sharpen the resolution.

One such upgrade to the ALICE Time Projection Chamber (TPC) has been completed, including new detectors fabricated and tested at WSU. To accomplish this work, a new clean room was built in Wayne State’s Physics Building in 2015 with support from the Office of the Vice President for Research, the College of Liberal Arts and Science, and the physics department. This enabled construction funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) from 2016 to 2019, which supported the fabrication of the Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) foils needed to update the ALICE TPC.

The foils were recently invented at CERN and provide factors of 100 in readout speed of the TPC, considerably reducing various backgrounds that make exciting new physics results less certain. The downside to this GEM technology is that these detectors can be killed by invisible pieces of dust. The detectors must therefore always be handled and tested in the cleanest possible environments, which is why Wayne State’s new clean room was created.

The fabrication and testing of the final GEM detectors for the ALICE TPC was performed from 2017 to 2019 by Oleg Grachov and Fred Pompei (now retired). The DOE project called for the fabrication of the 160 GEM foils needed for 40 GEM chambers (four foils/chamber, with four spares) using foils from CERN and special frames built by industry. It was soon realized that the frames could be built better and cheaper in house at Wayne State.

The work at Wayne State ended about a year ago with the completion of more than 200 usable framed foils and a total of 47 TPC GEM chambers ready to install into the ALICE TPC. Once the new detectors were installed, the newly renovated TPC was extensively tested for several months. The TPC was recently lowered into position 600 feet below the ground in the ALICE interaction hall, marking the successful completion of the TPC upgrade.