COVID-19 Update: Detroit TV Stations Launch NEXTGEN TV and Motown 3.0 Test Track, Farmington Hills’ The Care Team Acquires InTeliCare Home Health and Hospice, 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 by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Dec. 10

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.

Five Detroit TV Stations Collaborating to Launch NEXTGEN TV and Motown 3.0 Test Track
Five local TV stations are banding together to launch NEXTGEN TV in Detroit and the Motown 3.0 Open Test Track.

ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV, NBC affiliate WDIV-TV, CBS owned and operated station WWJ-TV, MyNetworkTV affiliate and NEXTGEN TV host station WMYD-TV20, and Fox Television owned and operated station WJBK-TV now are offering the new NEXTGEN TV service through a collaborative effort.

In addition to providing an improved way for broadcasters to reach viewers with advanced emergency alerting, NEXTGEN TV offers viewers improved video color, sharper images, and deeper contrast. Voice + dialogue enhancement brings voices to the foreground. Viewers will experience movie theater-quality sound that enables a viewer to hear every voice clearly and offers consistent volume across channels. NEXTGEN TV also is enhanced with Internet content to get the most out of live sports, live news, live events and more, in real time.

The broadcast advance also signals the beginning of another project – the launch of the “Motown 3.0 Open Test Track” for merging automotive applications with NEXTGEN TV powered by the ATSC 3.0 standard. In addition to a better viewing and listening experience for consumers, NEXTGEN TV also will provide an avenue for advanced emergency alerting information for mobile viewers in future vehicles equipped with NEXTGEN TV receivers.

“The goal of the Motown 3.0 Test Track is to provide another research and development environment for the automotive industry to road test proof-of-concepts and connected car solutions using the Internet Protocol capabilities of the new broadcast TV standard,” says Brian Lawlor, president of local media at E.W Scripps Co.

“Advances in core TV broadcast technologies made possible by ATSC 3.0 give terrestrial broadcasters new abilities to deliver infotainment and IP data services to an infinite number of vehicles simultaneously, as well as to the displays and devices in them – whether on-the-go or in the garage. In the future, automobile makers will be able to, for example, update millions of in-car systems simultaneously at a comparatively low cost to today’s manual systems. This is just one of the exciting innovations we see available through this IP capability.”

Initial participants in the Motown 3.0 Open Test Track initiative include LG Electronics, Amazon Web Services, and LTN Global. Triveni Digital is providing the ATSC 3.0 Broadcast Chain including the Non-Real-Time content delivery infrastructure and receiver software. Additional collaborators include Pearl TV, the Phoenix Model Market partners, The E.W. Scripps Company, ViacomCBS, Fox Television, and Graham Media.

Detroit joins the early adopters in rolling out the new third-generation digital TV broadcast technology that has the potential to revolutionize how TV viewers interact with their home screens. Viewers can learn more about NEXTGEN TV by visiting here.

By merging over-the-air TV with the internet, NEXTGEN TV is designed to change the way viewers watch live broadcast television. Local stations can now personalize their news, sports, live events, and shows with interactive features that give viewers the content most relevant to them. NEXTGEN TV is a feature built into select new TV models from LG Electronics, Samsung, and Sony.

Farmington Hills’ The Care Team Acquires InTeliCare Home Health and Hospice
The Care Team (TCT), a hospice and home health provider based in Farmington Hills, has completed the acquisition of InTeliCare Home Health and Hospice. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

This transaction marks TCT’s first acquisition since partnering with Denver’s Revelstoke Capital Partners and serves as a key building block for positioning the company as one of the leading home health and hospice providers in the Great Lakes region.

“The Care Team and InTeliCare share similar cultures and a strong commitment to patient care, clinical excellence and compliance.,” says Jason Laing, founder and CEO of TCT. “We see a tremendous opportunity to combine the strengths and capabilities of both companies.”

Henry Ford Hospital is First in U.S. to Test Colostomy Bag Alternative
Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit is the first in the U.S. to perform an investigational procedure that provides an alternative to a colostomy bag for patients undergoing colorectal or coloanal surgery.

The procedure involves installing the CG-100 Intraluminal Bypass Device, developed by Israel’s Colospan Ltd., which is a silicone tubular sheath using a designated delivery system. The protective sheath is held in place by a mechanism that consists of inflatable balloons and an extra-luminal ring which encircles the colon, which prevents the sheath from moving downstream while protecting the anastomosis site.

After approximately 10 days, when the risk for anastomotic leakage is reduced and the anastomosis integrity is confirmed, the sheath and ring are removed without any surgical intervention. The CG-100 Intraluminal Bypass Device has been approved for use in the European Union and in Israel.

HFH is the only site in Michigan – and just one of 12 sites nationwide – that will be enrolling colorectal cancer patients in the clinical trial.

“There are limited options for patients who undergo a low resection of the colon,” says Dr. Craig Reickert, head of the Colon and Rectal Surgery Division at Henry Ford Cancer Institute. “Because the CG-100 device allows us to perform only a single minimally invasive procedure, the hope is that it can safely reduce the need for stoma and allow for a more comfortable and easy recovery, which increases the patient’s quality of life and allows them to avoid the complications that some encounter with a stoma.”

For more information about the device, visit here. People 22-65 years old who are scheduled to undergo coloanal or colorectal surgery with stoma placement due to colorectal cancer can inquire about the study by calling (313) 916-4477.

State Gaming Control Board Approves 15 Online Gaming Platform Licenses
The Michigan Gaming Control Board has approved provisional licenses for 15 platform providers who will support commercial and tribal casinos’ online gaming and sports betting offerings.

“The MGCB now can approve provisional licenses following the filing of the administrative rules for online gaming and sports betting Dec. 2 with the Office of the Great Seal,” says Richard S. Kalm, executive director of the MGCB. “The platform providers still must meet other regulatory requirements before online gaming and sports betting can launch in Michigan. The launch date will depend on how quickly they can fulfill the requirements.”

Before launch happens, the platform providers must complete additional regulatory requirements including independent testing of platforms and games and MGCB approval of their internal controls, which ensure gaming integrity. The firms also must secure occupational licenses for certain employees.

“The platform providers’ ability to meet the requirements of the laws and rules will determine which entities can be licensed for launch first,” Kalm said.

Since mid-May, the MGCB has accepted applications, communicated licensing requirements, and reviewed internal controls and branding submissions from prospective operators, platform providers running the gaming technology, suppliers, and vendors.

The agency has allowed operators and platform providers to launch applications in the various app stores prior to launch. Michigan residents may download the apps and create accounts, but wagers cannot be placed until approval is granted to launch.

For a list of the gaming platforms approved for licenses, visit here.

Bipartisan Commission Created to Educate State on COVID-19 Vaccine
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has created a bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission within the Department of Health and Human Services to help raise awareness of the safety and effectiveness of an approved COVID-19 vaccine and educate the people of this state.

The commission will be chaired by: Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II; former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley; Chief Medical Executive and DHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun; Detroit Pistons player Blake Griffin; Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, associate professor of pediatrics and C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health; SER Metro CEO Eva Dewaelsche; Soumit Pendharkar, health administrator for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians; Spectrum Health President and CEO Tina Freese-Decker; and Jamie Brown, president of the Michigan Nurses Association. The commission will consist of at least 50 members.

The Protect Michigan Commission will serve in an advisory capacity to Whitmer and DHHS, and will, among other things, provide public leadership to elevate and reinforce the importance of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, identify barriers that may impede the acceptance of an approved COVID-19 vaccine by Michigan residents, including identifying areas or groups within this state that are likely to experience vaccine hesitancy, and develop an outreach action plan designed to overcome these barriers. The Commission must complete its work and submit a brief final report to the governor by Dec. 31, 2021.

Currently, Pfizer and Moderna have submitted requests for emergency use authorization of COVID-19 vaccines to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Khaldun and her team at DHHS are developing a plan to distribute the vaccine in Michigan, with a focus on the most vulnerable populations, frontline workers, and educators. The initial groups to be vaccinated will be critical workers in our health care systems, including those working in hospitals, first responders, and more.

To apply to serve on the Protect Michigan Commission, visit here and apply by Dec. 28.

To view the executive order creating the commission, visit here.

New Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Marketing Campaign Features Actress Kathryn Hahn
The Chrysler brand of Auburn Hills’ Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and actress Kathryn Hahn are teaming for a new advertising campaign for the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

Spanning television, digital, and social media – including Chrysler brand’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels – the campaign “Drive a Hybrid” features Hahn as a disapproving game show host quizzing contestants on the merits of driving the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

Debuting with the new video “Game Show,” the 30-second spot features Hahn as the host of a question-and-answer program where in a matter-of-fact manner she asks the contestants, “why don’t you drive a hybrid?” As each participant responds with some false stigmas attributed to hybrid vehicles, Hahn rejects their responses, points out the many features of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and that there is no reason not to own one.

“I got to realize my dream of being a game show host and help customers realize the many benefits of owning a hybrid vehicle,” says Hahn.

To view the “Game Show” spot, created in partnership with Doner ad agency, visit here.

Home Point Financial Launches New Homebuying Experience
Ann Arbor-based Home Point Financial announced it has rebranded to Homepoint, which reflects the company’s commitment to redefining the homebuying and homeownership experience.

As part of the rebrand, Homepoint has introduced a suite of new resources for its customers, including a renovated website and a new mobile app for its Homeownership Platform, which helps customers manage and make the most of their home investment. Through this digital offering, customers can access documents, make payments, and discover new products and services that support healthy homeownership habits. To date, more than 75 percent of Homepoint customers use the HOP as their primary mode of engagement.

“For most Americans, their home is one of their single most valuable assets, representing a crucial element of their broader financial lives,” says Ginger Wilcox, chief experience officer at Homepoint. “I’ve been part of the company’s ongoing commitment to reimagining the entire homebuying and homeownership experience, and it has been an exciting and inspiring journey. We believe this new brand more accurately reflects our company’s commitment to placing people – our associates, partners and customers – first.”

DMC Sinai-Grace Offering Robotic Bladder Surgery
The robotic surgery team at DMC Sinai Grace Hospital is using a less-invasive robotic procedure to treat bladder cancer.

The procedure involves surgeons creating a new bladder using parts of the colon for bladder cancer patients. It requires a small number of incisions just a few millimeters in length. The small incisions create a passageway for special surgical instruments and a fiber-optic instrument called a laparoscope, which allows surgeons to see the surgical area on the screen.

During this procedure, surgeons cut away the cancerous bladder and remove it through the anus, which eliminates the need for large incision. Using the robotic instruments, surgeons then create a new bladder using a portion of the colon known as the sigmoid.

“Our goal is provide patients with a less-invasive surgical option that involves less trauma and pain, minimal scarring, faster recovery, and shorter hospital stays,” says Dr. Shaheen Alanee, a urologic surgeon on staff at DMC Sinai Grace Hospital.

The surgery requires a combined team approach involving two physicians. At Sinai-Grace, Alanee, and Dr. AbuBaker Ali, a surgeon who specializes in colorectal surgery, work together to perform the procedure.

Alanee says one patient has been treated using this technique. He says the results of that treatment are promising. Details of the treatment are outlined in a manuscript published in the most recent edition of the journal Colorectal Disease.

Flagstar Bank Distributes $1M to Support Small Businesses Owned by People of Color
Troy-based Flagstar Bank announced it will be awarding grants of $5,000 to more than 50 local businesses owned by people of color and a total of 180 enterprises in Flagstar’s banking markets. The grants are designed to assist businesses whose operating expenses have been impacted by COVID-19.

“Based on the overwhelming response we’ve received, I think we’ve struck at the heart of a huge need in our communities,” says Alessandro DiNello, president and CEO of Flagstar Bank. “The economic impact of the pandemic has hit small businesses hard, and small businesses owned by people of color even harder. We are pleased and proud to provide critical funding at such a critical time in the life cycle of these businesses.”

Small businesses with diverse ownership, revenues of no more than $1 million that operate in Flagstar’s footprint of Michigan; Fort Wayne and South Bend, Ind.; and the High Desert of San Bernardino County, Calif., were eligible.

More than 1,200 businesses applied for the grants made available through 10 Flagstar nonprofit partners with a mission to serve people of color in Michigan, Indiana, and California.

For a complete list of recipients, visit here.

Local Musicians Benefit from The Beats Go On… Initiative
Organizers of Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats presented by Flagstar Bank announced that more than $431,000 was raised through this year’s The Beats Go On…, an initiative to raise funds in support of local musicians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through virtual and limited-capacity drive-in concerts Labor Day weekend.

Of the total raised, $83,043 comprised the Arts, Beats & Eats Musicians Fund, which includes dollars raised through direct donations from individuals, non-profit organizations, corporate sponsors, and The Beats Go On GoFundMe campaign, and will be shared among 247 qualifying musicians and musical acts whose pre-COVID-19 earnings were more than 50 percent generated by music-related and band performance income.

Virtual performances, as well as live performances at the festival’s drive-in showcase, generated $132,486 of direct support for musicians through personal fundraisers.  An additional 200 musicians who did not qualify for grant support were supported by these funds.

“Although the pandemic and subsequent health and safety measures mandated by the CDC and State of Michigan prevented us from moving forward with the annual Arts, Beats & Eats festival, we quickly pivoted to offer a meaningful initiative with events to support musicians and artists, while also delivering music, art and food to the community at large, albeit a bit different,” says Jon Witz, event producer. “Arts, Beats and Eats is a Labor Day weekend tradition and we appreciated efforts to continue its spirit under safe conditions this year, while also bringing music back to life both live and virtually and spotlighting local talent who had their work stop in their tracks.”

Oakland County partnered with “The Beats Go On…” to provide financial support to musicians and artists with a matching grant through its CARES Act. The matching grant – totaling $215,529 – will support 120 individuals who receive 50 percent of their income from their work as a musician for qualifying expenses, such as health care, rent or mortgage payments, utility payments, food and groceries, digital access, transportation needs, and childcare.

Arts, Beats & Eats plans to return Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 3-6, 2021. Visit here or call 248-541-7550 for the most recent event updates.

Peterson Family Foundation Partners with Old Navy to Donate 120 Coats
The foundation started by Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson and his wife, Ashley, have teamed with Old Navy to distribute 120 coats to students at Detroit’s Downtown Boxing Gym (6445 E. Vernor Highway) on Dec. 15 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. The couple will appear virtually via TV monitors at the gym so they can interact with students as they pick-up their coats.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made this an especially challenging year for the children and families served by the free academic and athletic program on the city’s east side.

Suttons Bay Winery Introduces New Sparkling Wine for Holiday Season
The Mawby winery in Suttons Bay (north of Traverse City) says “Sex is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday months.”

Sex is the winery’s new Rosé sparkling wine that will be available in all Meijer stores throughout the Midwest (Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan).

A brut blend of Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Riesling and Muscat grapes, the wine has rip red fruit aromas, soft fruit flavors, and a smooth, rounded finish, according to Mawby. The grapes are hand-picked and whole cluster pressed. The juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks, then blended with reserve wines and fermented a second time in a closed tank, filtered, dosaged, and bottled.

“We have had a wonderful relationship with Meijer in Michigan,” says Mike Laing, co-owner and operator at Mawby. “We are excited for the opportunity to share Sex with new and existing customers, in more markets, through this partnership.”

MSU Study Connects Diabetes and Air Pollution to Interstitial Lung Disease
A new study from Michigan State University in East Lansing recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives connects insulin resistance and repetitive ozone exposure to the development of interstitial lung disease.

“Our findings are especially important today as we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, where we have great concern regarding the convergence of health effects from air pollution and SARS-CoV-2 in susceptible populations like people with diabetes,” says James Wagner, lead author and associate professor for the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation.

Ozone – a gas often referred to as “smog” – is known to intensify certain lung diseases, such as asthma and rhinitis, which are primarily upper airway diseases. But recent epidemiology suggests an association between high ozone concentrations and adverse health effects in the deep lung, which cause difficulty breathing due to lung restriction and stiffness.

“More than 170,000 people in the U.S. suffer from interstitial lung disease,” says Jack Harkema,  a professor of veterinary medicine, and director of the Laboratory for Environmental and Toxicologic Pathology and the Mobile Air Research Laboratories at MSU. “Furthermore, Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance are recently suggested risk factors for developing pulmonary fibrosis.”

In the study, Wagner, Harkema and their collaborators from Duke University’s Department of Medicine, studied healthy mice, mice with mild insulin resistance and mice with marked insulin resistance. The study found a direct relationship between insulin resistance levels and the severity of lung inflammation and scarring, or fibrosis. Diabetes-prone mice were particularly susceptible to inflammation and tissue remodeling caused by repeated ozone exposure.

To review the study in full, visit here.

Holiday Helpers 2 You Coming to Gardner White in Novi
Holiday Helpers 2 You, Detroit’s first gift-wrapping and holiday concierge, is bringing gift wrapping to Gardner White’s Novi location (43825 Oak Drive) Dec. 12-13 and 18-24 and offering its services free to essential workers Dec. 21-22 from noon-2 p.m.

The complimentary Holiday Helpers essential workers service hours are for individuals in the medical field, postal service, firefighters, and police officers. Gifts will be wrapped on a first-come first-serve basis with a limit of four packages per essential worker.

“The Holiday Helpers 2 You team is looking forward to bringing the joy of beautifully wrapped gifts to families, friends, co-workers, and more this holiday season,” says Tatiana Grant, spokesperson for Holiday Helpers 2 You. “We know how stressful and different this season will be with social distancing and families not being able to see each other in-person. So, we believe that our services are a great touchpoint and way of allowing families to share beautifully wrapped gifts, if they aren’t able to gather.”

Wrapping prices start at $5 and include the wrap, bow, and tag. Additional accessories and boxes also can be purchased.

For more information, visit here, email, or call 248-914-4578.

Forgotten Harvest’s Hope for the Holidays to Help Those in Need this Holiday Season
Oak Park nonprofit Forgotten Harvest, in partnership with the Kroger Co. of Michigan, will provide 6,000 meals to the hungry in time for the holidays as part of its Hope for the Holidays meal volunteer repack event Dec. 18.

Hope for the Holidays will provide shelf-stable and fresh food items such as eggs, milk, cheese, frozen green beans, elbow noodles, stuffing, and cake mix, along with a turkey breast and pork loin.

“We are so grateful to Kroger and our community partners for helping, especially during this critical time of need,” says Kirk Mayes, CEO of Forgotten Harvest. “This event will provide accessibility to healthy food options for families dealing with food insecurity.”

Rachel Hurst, corporate affairs manager of The Kroger Co. of Michigan, says, “We are proud to join forces with Forgotten Harvest and provide healthier food options to our communities in need. This is a great event that shows the true meaning of the holidays – to give.”

Individuals and groups, coordinated through Forgotten Harvest, will package meals Dec. 18 from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. and begin distribution to the following pantries through Dec. 22:

  • Woodside Bible Church (Pontiac)
  • Prayer Temple of Love (Highland Park)
  • Warren City Hall
  • Van Buren Township (Romulus)
  • Matrix Human Services (Detroit)
  • Second Ebenezer (Detroit)

For more information on Hope for the Holidays and other Forgotten Harvest initiatives visit here.

Grosse Pointe News Announces New Ownership
Grosse Pointe resident Sean Cotton has purchased the Grosse Pointe News from John and Terry Minnis, who will stay with the publication as publisher and vice president, respectively.

Cotton is the fifth owner of Grosse Pointe News and says he views the newspaper “as an institution dedicated to fostering the continuing sense of community and the quality of life in the Grosse Pointes.”

The Grosse Pointe News is a weekly publication that reaches readers in print and online. It has been in publication for 80 years, without interruption. Cotton says he hopes that with expanded coverage, improved infrastructure, and a bigger online presence, and more, he can make the positive changes needed to continue the paper’s longstanding presence.