COVID-19 Update: Jeep Expands Cherokee Lineup, Detroit Foundation Hotel and Apparatus Room to Reopen Oct. 4, 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 Oct. 1

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.

Jeep Expands Cherokee Lineup with New Latitude LUX Model
The Jeep brand of Auburn Hills’ Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is introducing the new 2021 Cherokee Latitude LUX model that the company says delivers consumers an “unmatched” level of comfort, luxury, and safety in the midsize SUV segment.

“The new 2021 Cherokee Latitude LUX truly enhances the Jeep lineup and is a direct reflection of what our customers want and value the most in their vehicle – everyday practicality, exceptional comfort, with outstanding ride and handling characteristics,” says Jim Morrison, head of the Jeep brand at FCA North America. “As the most capable midsize sport-utility vehicle, the Jeep Cherokee continues to offer consumers the ultimate blend of all-weather 4×4 capability and even more standard amenities at an incredible value.”

The new Cherokee Latitude LUX joins Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, and Trailhawk models in the Cherokee lineup. With an MSRP of $30,145 for 4×2 models and $31,645 for 4×4 models (plus $1,495 destination), Cherokee Latitude LUX models currently are available for sale and order through local Jeep dealers.

The Jeep Cherokee Latitude LUX includes a host of standard premium amenities, including Nappa leather seats, power front seats with power lumbar adjuster, heated front seats, premium-wrapped heated steering wheel, remote start, windshield wiper deicer, and the latest Uconnect system with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Available features include dual-pane panoramic sunroof, premium nine-speaker Alpine sound system and 8.4-inch touchscreen radio.

Standard safety and security features on Jeep Cherokee Latitude LUX models include:

  • Full-speed forward collision warning with active braking.
  • Suite of premium LED lighting, including headlamps, taillamps and fog lamps.
  • Blind-spot monitoring.
  • Rear cross path detection.
  • LaneSense lane departure warning with lane keep assist.
  • ParkView rear backup camera and park assist with dynamic grid lines.
  • Rain-sensing wipers.

The Cherokee Latitude LUX comes standard with the 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with engine stop-start technology and high-efficient nine-speed automatic transmission. As the only V-6 engine in its class, the Cherokee Latitude LUX delivers 29 mpg highway and best-in-class towing capability (up to 4,500 pounds). The 2.0-liter I-4 turbocharged engine, one of the most technologically advanced engines in the automotive industry, is optional.

The Latitude LUX comes standard with the Jeep brand’s Selec-Terrain traction control system, which allows the driver to choose between five modes for optimal on- and off-road performance.

Optional features on the 2021 Cherokee Latitude LUX model include:

  • Comfort and Convenience Group: Security alarm, power liftgate, auto-dimming rearview mirror, air conditioning with dual-zone automatic temperature control, universal garage door opener, 115-volt power outlet, 8.4-in. touchscreen radio and 7-in. full-color thin-film transistor display.
  • Sun and Sound Group: Dual-pane panoramic sunroof and premium Alpine
  • nine-speaker sound system with subwoofer.
  • Trailer Tow Group: Heavy-duty engine cooling, transmission auxiliary oil cooler, Class III hitch receiver, four- and seven-pin trailer-tow wiring harness and full-size spare tire (4×4 models only).

In Related News: Jeep sponsored a two-day event recently – Detroit4Fest powered by Jeep – at Holly Oaks ORV Park in Holly where off-road enthusiasts were able to put their vehicles through their paces.

“It’s an opportunity for people to take their Jeeps and do things they never thought possible,” says Tom Zielinski, organizer of the event. “Imagine climbing a hill so steep that all you can see is sky, crawling up a small mountain of boulders or crossing a mud pit that wants to suck you in like quicksand? Drivers get to experience the full capabilities of their Jeeps in a safe, controlled environment.”

Jeep was the main sponsor for the event, but owners of other 4x4s also participated. Ford Motor Co. also showed up to exercise its new Bronco and stir up a little friendly rivalry.

Detroit Foundation Hotel, Apparatus Room to Reopen Oct. 4
The Detroit Foundation Hotel, and its flagship restaurant Apparatus Room, is reopening its doors Oct. 4 after temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hotel located in the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters at 250 W Larned St. will welcome back visitors and locals with enhanced sanitation and safety protocols.

“It is our privilege to welcome back guests to Detroit Foundation Hotel and Apparatus Room,” says Philip Salud, general manager of Detroit Foundation Hotel. “We have always been more than just a hotel, but a place for the community to come together and it is our hope to continue to be that, while keeping safety and well-being the top priority.”

Extensive sanitation protocols have been implemented to ensure the health, safety, and comfort of all guests and staff. Temperature checks will be provided upon entering the hotel for both guests and employees, and contactless check-in will be an amenity to guests. Masks will be required in all public spaces and social distancing will be enforced per state guidelines. All rooms will remain vacant for 48 hours after being thoroughly cleaned with an electrostatic sprayer.

The Apparatus Room is open Thursdays-Saturday from 5-10 p.m. and Sunday 5-9 p.m. Reservations can be made here, and the new menu can be viewed here. 

Michigan Economic Leaders Form Group to Increase Competitive Initiatives
Economic developers from across the state recently partnered to form Economic Development Leaders for Michigan (EDLM) to protect and advance economic development initiatives through direct legislative advocacy as the state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The priority of the EDLM, say organizers, is to drive long-term economic growth and keep Michigan competitive in terms of state and local incentives for business retention, expansion, attraction, startup creation, and support for early stage companies.

The 12-member coalition is led by CEOs with more than 350 years of economic development experience and representing 84 percent of Michigan’s population and 89 percent of the state gross domestic product (GDP).

“Our state economy faces unprecedented challenges and uncertainty in the aftermath of a global pandemic,” said the organization in a group statement. “As we chart a path forward, 12 of the state’s leading economic development organizations are collaborating to strengthen critical economic development initiatives and make our voices heard.

“In order to secure Michigan’s economic future and protect the gains of the past decade, we must seize opportunities for growth and remain committed to our statewide economic development strategy. Economic Development Leaders for Michigan will accelerate Michigan’s economy and keep Michigan on the map during this critical time.”

Along with others, EDLM members recently partnered with the Michigan legislature and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to administer $100 million in restart grants to help small businesses keep their doors open and their employees on payroll. As Michigan moves from a short-term restart strategy to a long-term economic outlook, EDLM says it is committed to retaining and growing businesses across Michigan’s wide variety of geographies and fostering a resilient economic environment.

Survey Sheds Light on Best Practices for Leading a Blended Remote-onsite Workforce
Employers are innovating and developing unique approaches to manage a blended workforce of employees working from home and returning to the office, according to the results of a survey conducted by Sigred Solutions, an Ann Arbor-based management recruiting and leadership advisory firm.

The Global Engagement and Culture Survey results show that maintaining company culture and engagement are issues with which companies are struggling as they decide how and when to bring their employees back to the office.

“What struck us from the interviews was the overall messages of positivity,” says Kristi Stepp, a partner with Sigred Solutions. “Yes, these are challenging times, but the companies we interviewed were all working closely with their employees to pull through together.”

Among the survey findings:

Hiring during COVID-19: The traditional ways of recruiting have changed and they have seen several conflicting trends for both employers and candidates. The recruiting process has sped up. Video interviewing has replaced in-person interviews, and scheduling has become faster.

Maintaining company culture and engagement: The survey suggests on-going engagement is supported by five core elements: employee motivators; mutual trust between employees and employers; communication, perceived fairness of the policies, and safety.

Employee motivators: As companies define their return-to-office plan and future work-from-home policies, it will be crucial to understand what is important for employees and to ensure that they are feeling valued by the company, and that they are having an impact. Further, as the workforce continues to have a high WFH component, it will be increasingly important for employers to ensure that managers are providing sufficient feedback and recognition to workers that they don’t see every day.

Mutual trust: Working from home requires an increase in the level of trust between the employee and manager, and vice-versa.

Communication: Is central to maintaining engagement and having a successful blended work-from-home/return-to-office approach. Companies were very deliberate in trying to “over communicate.”

Perceived fairness and safety: Employers have gone to great lengths to ensure that their COVID-19 policies are seen as fair and that any return-to-office procedures are equitable.

Social justice and COVID-19: While companies were dealing with the impact of COVID-19, the death of George Floyd prompted one of the largest protest movements in recent history and led to deep soul searching on the part of many organizational leaders.

Survey results were obtained from more than 100 respondents in 11 sectors across three continents. In addition, Sigred Solutions spoke to more than 25 leaders at global automotive and manufacturing equipment suppliers, financial services companies, health care and insurance providers, and airlines, as well as non-profit social service organizations.

To request a copy of the survey results, visit here.

Children’s Miracle Network Grants Nearly $1M Beaumont Children’s
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has announced financial support of nearly $1 million for programs of Beaumont Children’s to enhance pediatric programs at Beaumont locations for fall/winter 2020.

“Beaumont Children’s has enjoyed a more than 30-year relationship with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” says Tom McGannon, vice president of community engagement for the Beaumont Health Foundation. “In that time, CMN donations of more than $70 million have helped us pioneer new health care solutions for children and provide access to the latest research and technology.”

CMN funding supports pediatric programs at all eight Beaumont Hospitals (Dearborn, Farmington Hills, Grosse Pointe, Royal Oak, Trenton, Taylor, Troy, and Wayne), as well as Beaumont Health Center, Center for Exceptional Families, and other outpatient sites.

One area of funding for 2020 included a nearly $400,000 donation to purchase 115 halo bassinets, updating current bassinettes throughout the health system.

Other areas that will benefit from the 2020 CMN grants include:

  • Pediatric Neurology and Epilepsy – video monitoring equipment and specially trained therapists.
  • Pediatric Rehabilitation – iPads, gait training device, Armeo Senso device for upper extremity strengthening, adaptive and sensory equipment, and modality tools.
  • Speech, Vision and Audiology – vision screening tools, audiology software, and vocal cord assessment device.
  • Mother Baby units – phototherapy system, breastfeeding equipment, Boppy pillows, bereavement program expansion.
  • NICU – oxygen analyzer and delivery system, Giraffe Omnibed, feeding tube placement equipment, and doppler fetal monitor (ultrasound).
  • Pediatrics – infant CPR kits, infant seats, infant blood pressure cuffs, Panda warmers, finger monitors, phototherapy equipment, infant resuscitator, phototherapy system, isolette infant transportation, and fetal monitoring system.
  • Education – materials for trauma prevention, breast feeding, childhood cancer awareness, and child advocacy and protection.
  • Bereavement – program expansion.
  • Child Life Services – specially trained therapists.

These projects are expected to impact the lives of more than 65,600 children and their families.

APACC to Host Webinars
Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce is hosting webinars later this month to assist businesses with working with the state of Michigan and utilizing LinkeIn.

Contracting with the State of Michigan will take place Oct. 21 from 10-11 a.m. Visit here to register.

Moving Networking Relationships along using LinkedIn will take place Oct. 28 from 1-2 p.m. Visit here to register.

St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center Expanding
St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center (SVSF) in Detroit, is adding foundational skills services for metro Detroit and expanding its reach into Pontiac, through grants from Detroit Employment Solutions Corp. and United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

Beginning this month, SVSF will be adding the Foundational Skills Services program for the community. It is focused on men and women whose reading level is below the sixth grade and may not be able to fill out a job application. SVSF offers initially remote (and post-COVID, in person) one-on-one tutoring to improve a person’s reading level, which then allows for individuals to prepare for a GED/high school equivalency test.

Heading the effort will be SVSF’s newest staff leader, Audrean Williams, the non-profit’s Adult Basic Education Manager. Williams has nearly 50 years in education, having spent 47 with the Wayne County Community College District as well as having taught in the Detroit Public Schools system. She is also the former director of Detroit’s Youth Development Commission.

“Offering guidance, providing opportunities, ensuring connections and supporting the community are all components of an effective adult education program,” says Audrean Williams, manager of adult basic education for the nonprofit. “I am pleased to join an effective team that understands the challenges and pursued success of adult learners.”

Further funding from the United Way will enable SVSF to expand its free remote adult education program to Pontiac residents. Services will include foundational skills, GED tutoring, and workforce development preparation. Services will be available remotely for Pontiac residents in need of adult educational assistance.

Suburban Collection to ‘Drive Away Hunger’ with Gleaners Community Food Bank
The Suburban Collection in Troy announced the launch of Drive Away Hunger, a fundraising campaign engaging staff and community, to raise 1 million meals for Gleaners Community Food Bank by the end of 2020.

“For decades Gleaners has been an unwavering lifeline for those facing hunger and continues to rise to the occasion now, when they are needed more than ever,” says David Fischer Jr., president and CEO of The Suburban Collection. “Across The Suburban Collection, our team members are enthusiastic and determined to meet the one million meal goal in support of Gleaners’ work for our community.”

The Suburban Collection’s leadership and 3,000 team members across its southeast Michigan locations will cooperate toward the million-meal goal through such activities as Jeans Days, where employees can make a donation in exchange for a more casual Friday attire; raffles for employee perks; and location-specific fundraising initiatives. Customers and the community are encouraged to participate by donating in-store or participating in The Suburban Collection’s virtual food drive through Gleaners here.

New U-M Immunology Study Seeks Answers on Coronavirus Reinfections
University of Michigan immunology researchers in Ann Arbor are conducting a study to investigate the level and duration of protection afforded by natural infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 among U-M employees, including first responders, essential workers, and anyone regularly working on campus.

Researchers hope to learn details about the level and duration of protection afforded by natural infection with the novel coronavirus, and examine immunological risk factors for infection outcome and the immune response to infection across the disease spectrum.

This will include exploring potential correlates of protection as well as examining the duration of detectable antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 following infection.

“Basically we want to answer the question of if you’ve had SARS-COV-2 or been exposed to before, can you get it again? And if you can get it again, what does that infection look like?” says Aubree Gordon, associate professor of epidemiology at U-M’s School of Public Health, who is leading the project along with pathologist Riccardo Valdez from Michigan Medicine.

“Maybe you can get infected again, but you don’t really get sick and you don’t shed virus. Maybe you don’t get sick but can transmit the virus. And then, of course, there’s the possibility that it doesn’t protect or that the protection period is limited.”

The study also aims to look at correlates of protection, measurable signs that someone is immune. While typical correlates of protection against viruses are antibodies, the study will also examine T-cells, an important cell of the immune system.

Researchers hope to enroll 5,000 U-M workers who regularly work on campus or at U-M facilities, including health care providers and essential workers. They will be followed for at least a year. Researchers will collect a blood sample every other month to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Since the study will use U-M pathology labs for the main serological testing, results will be returned to participants throughout the study.

The study is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in cooperation with the National Cancer Institute through Mount Sinai. It also received $452,409 from the U-M Biosciences Initiative and Office of the Vice President for Research.