COVID-19 Update: Metro Detroit Law Firms Merge, Detroit Casinos Report $69.3M in August Revenue, 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.
graph of daily Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge

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.

Metro Detroit Law Firms Announce Merger
Detroit-based Hickey, Hauck, Bishoff & Jeffers and Livonia-based Seabolt Law Firm have merged. Effective Sept. 1, the combined firm began operating as Hickey, Hauck, Bishoff, Jeffers & Seabolt in downtown Detroit.

The merger of the two firms results in a firm with 10 attorneys with plans for further growth. HHBJS will continue to provide litigation support and business counseling for clients in a range of industries including automotive, health care, insurance, and construction, among others.

“Our attorneys look forward to offering our clients additional experience and an expanded range of legal services,” says Patrick Hickey, an HHBJS member.

HHBJS provides legal solutions to clients in a number of areas, including automotive supply chain counseling and litigation, privately held business disputes, employment, trade secret and non-compete counseling and litigation, class actions, insurance and ERISA disputes, contract disputes, U.C.C. sales disputes, health care industry disputes, internal investigations, construction litigation, manufacturers sales representative disputes, and mediation and arbitration services.

“We learned through years of working together — both as allies and adversaries — prior to the merger that our attorneys, practices, and approach to the practice of law are complementary, so we determined that uniting our firms made great sense,” says Scott Seabolt. “Together, we offer strong legal counsel to meet a wide spectrum of litigation needs for clients across Michigan, and we look forward to executing our shared vision for the firm.”

Detroit Casinos Report $69.3M August Revenue After 15% Capacity Reopening
The three Detroit casinos reported $69.3 million in monthly aggregate revenue in August after reopening at 15 percent capacity following a 4½-month shutdown due to COVID-19 health concerns.

The casinos’ revenue for slots and table games was down 42 percent compared with August 2019 results and has declined 62 percent year to date against last year.

Compared with August 2019 results, revenue fell 46 percent to $28.6 million at MGM Grand Detroit, 37.5 percent to $25 million at MotorCity, and 41.5 percent to $15.7 million at Greektown.

The market shares during August were:

  • MGM, 41 percent.
  • MotorCity, 36 percent.
  • Greektown, 23 percent.

During August, the three Detroit casinos paid $5.6 million in taxes to the state of Michigan compared with $9.7 million for the same month last year. The three Detroit casinos reported submitting $8.3 million in wagering taxes and development agreement payments to the city of Detroit during the month.

A new area for gaming, retail sports betting, started in earnest for the Detroit casinos in August and brought in a combined $1.97 million in qualified adjusted gross receipts. MGM made $932,601, MotorCity collected $493,275, and Greektown earned $551,176. Qualified adjusted gross receipts are gross sports betting receipts minus the monetary value of free play incentives provided to and wagered by bettors.

The state received $74,733 in retail sports betting taxes from the Detroit casinos during August and the casinos reported submitting $91,340 in retail sports betting taxes to the city of Detroit.

Year to date through August 31, aggregate retail sports betting qualified adjusted gross receipts were:

  • MGM, $1,017,297.
  • MotorCity, $498,224.
  • Greektown, $567,080.

Fantasy contest operators reported total adjusted July revenues of $881,204 and paid taxes of $74,021 to the state of Michigan. Year to date through July 31, fantasy contest operators reported $4.9 million in aggregate fantasy contest adjusted revenues and paid the state of Michigan $414,445 in taxes.

Cloud Cannabis Co. Expands to Ann Arbor
Cloud Cannabis will open its first metro Detroit location at 1760 Plymouth Rd. in Ann Arbor at 11 a.m. on Sept. 29. The new Ann Arbor store will be open for medical and recreational use, beginning with curbside only to ensure the safety of employees and customers.

The jobs created at the new Ann Arbor store are part of more than 200 jobs Cloud Cannabis will create as the company expands across Michigan.

Through its access to one of the widest and best assortments of flower, Cloud Cannabis can design experiences tailored to each customer’s unique needs and wants. The Cloud Cannabis team educates customers – from enthusiasts to the occasional users – and provides recommendations on products and dosage that align with each customer’s lifestyle.

Cloud Cannabis co-founder and chief development officer John McLeod is a former Detroit Police Department officer who became addicted to prescription pain medication after he sustained an injury while on duty. He credits cannabis for helping him stop using prescription medication and for saving his life and marriage.

“Cloud Cannabis is unique because education is at the core of our business, and our team approaches each product recommendation with a teacher’s heart,” says McLeod. “Our mantra is ‘patients over profits,’ and our goal is for Cloud Cannabis to become the go-to resource to help customers live higher by creating a higher version of themselves – a faster runner, a better friend, a more focused student and more.”

Webinar Explores Downtown Retail in Post-pandemic
What will retail shopping look like in the post-pandemic era, and once people return from home for their shopping experiences? Find out at a webinar hosted by Michigan ASLA on Friday, Sept. 18 from 3:30-5 p.m.

The shopping experience has evolved to meet the ever-changing desires of the public. This evolution has gone from rural markets, to towns, cities, suburban shopping malls, big box stores, to the internet, and recently, back to main street.  Since March, U.S. retail and restaurant sales have declined by 50 percent, 50,000 stores have closed, and more than 75 percent of shopping centers are forecast to close by 2025.

This session will highlight the opportunities for Michigan small towns, cities, and suburban commercial centers during these uncertain times. Visit here to register.

Great Lakes Water Authority Graduates Inaugural Class of 20 Apprentices
The Great Lakes Water Authority in Detroit has graduated its first cohort of apprentices from the authority’s inaugural three-year EICT-I (Electrical Instrumentation Control Technician – Instrumentation) Apprenticeship Program. Of the 20 graduates from the award-winning program, 19 accepted full-time positions with GLWA.

Developed in partnership with Focus: HOPE and Henry Ford College, and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor, the apprenticeship program demonstrates a “learn-while-you-earn” model with on-the-job training and education at no cost to the participants.

“GLWA created its apprenticeship program to help close the gap in the availability of highly trained talent to adequately fill skilled technician roles imperative to our core business of water and wastewater treatment,” says Terri Tabor Conerway, chief organizational development officer of GLWA. “It can take a new employee two to three years to learn the competencies needed to successfully fulfill the daily tasks required of a skilled water sector position, so on-the-job training is an essential part of the program. GLWA is committed to investing in these areas, as this program is crucial to attracting and maintaining the highly-trained talent the Authority needs to provide water of unquestionable quality and safe and sanitary wastewater treatment to the people of southeast Michigan.”

As part of the program, apprentices worked one-on-one with GLWA journey worker mentors and rotated assignments every six months to gain experience in repairing, testing, calibrating and installing instruments and control systems, in addition to attending customized courses designed specifically by GLWA journey workers at Henry Ford College.

Upon graduation, the apprentices had successfully completed the requirements set forth in the USDOL Standards of Apprenticeship, including 5,200 hours of on-the-job-learning, meeting all learning competencies. In addition, they completed 575 hours of related educational instruction (32 course credits) at Henry Ford College. The apprentices now hold their USDOL Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship.

Marathon Announces New Round of Giving in Southwest Detroit
Marathon Petroleum Corp. has announced several community-benefit grants to support southwest Detroit and drive tangible community change. Recent gifts are highlighted by a donation of $45,000 to Detroit at Work’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program.

MPC’s year-to-date contributions amount to $351,000 to a variety of Detroit-area organizations.

“It’s Marathon’s job to fuel the community, which includes being a good neighbor and supporting Southwest Detroit,” says Dave Leaver, general manager of the Detroit Refinery. “We’re proud of the work we do with and for Detroit residents.”

The Marathon Petroleum Foundation is funding GDYT over two years, providing technology, and supplies for GDYT participants. Marathon’s Detroit Refinery previously established a partnership with Detroit at Work in an effort to prepare and hire more Detroiters for refinery operations roles. MPC plans to provide in-kind support by conducting information sessions, hosting resume and interview workshops, and encouraging additional Detroit resident applications during hiring processes. The youth from the GDYT program will serve as a talent pipeline for Detroit at Work job listings.

MPC recently made more than $15,000 in additional contributions to organizations dedicated to the southwest Detroit infrastructure, educational resources and basic needs.

Men’s Health Event Offers Free Drive-through Health Screenings
The Michigan Institute of Urology’s Men’s Health Foundation will host its 10th annual Men’s Health Event on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., offering free drive-through screenings at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds.

Services will include vital screenings, a bloodwork panel, flu vaccinations, COVID-19 nasal swab and antibody testing, and HIV testing. All tests are offered without participants leaving their vehicles. with a new approach in a new environment to comply with current health and safety standards.

Metro Detroit-area men 18 years and older with or without insurance are encouraged to get in the driver’s seat and take control of their health during this event.

“This is an opportunity for those who are delaying their health care services to start them in a very safe environment,” says Dr. Michael Lutz, president and founder of the MIU Men’s Health Foundation and a urologist with the Michigan Institute of Urology. “It’s also a chance to kick off a healthier lifestyle for those who may have been ignoring it. Our screenings save lives, and we have the most in-depth blood screening panel available at a free health event.”

Advanced registration is available by texting MHE 2020 to 483-55 or online here. Email questions to Detailed descriptions of all blood tests and screenings are available here. Men who choose to participate in the blood screening tests will receive a copy and explanation of their results by text or by mail for those without a smartphone.

DIA’s 8th Annual Community Exhibition Honoring El Día de Muertos Begins Sept. 26
The Detroit Institute of Arts, in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate of Detroit, will display 12 ofrenda altars, or offerings, created by local artists from Saturday, Sept. 26 to Sunday, Nov. 8 in celebration of Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), which honors the life and memory of lost loved ones.

The eighth annual exhibition, designed to familiarize visitors with ofrendas and the Day of the Dead tradition, builds a sense of community as visitors identify with the reasons and ways people honor the deceased while collectively taking part in the act of remembering. Expanding every year, the display has become one of the DIA’s most popular exhibitions.

“Detroit has a vibrant Mexican American community and honoring this important cultural and artistic tradition is just one of the ways we are working toward bringing all members of our communities together,” says Salvador Salort-Pons, director of the DIA. “Visitors from all backgrounds will make their own personal connections to each of these ofrendas, as well as to the local artists who created them.”

This year, 27 proposals were submitted from local artists and 12 were selected to be on display. All submissions were juried by a selection committee of DIA staff and local community members of Mexican heritage. A 13th altar, featuring objects and decorations arranged on tables submitted by DIA staff as well as projected images of lost loved ones submitted by the public via social media, will act as a community ofrenda, a place for DIA visitors to grieve collectively, especially in light of the loss in our communities due to COVID-19. Within the exhibition, the museum will formally recognize the impact of COVID-19 on our region and globally.

Those interested in adding to the community ofrenda can share a photo on social media on this post using the hashtag #DIAOfrendas2020 by including the names of lost loved ones and the years they lived. The museum’s interpretation team will update the community ofrenda as submissions are received.

DIA admission tickets can be reserved online in advance here or by calling 313-833-4005. Tickets are be timed to control attendance levels so a limited number of tickets will be available for each time slot. Admission is free for residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

Gleaners and Weingartz ‘Mow Down Hunger’ to Provide 1M Meals
Gleaners Community Food Bank and Weingartz have partnered for the 11th annual Mow Down Hunger campaign, which runs Sept. 14 to Oct. 6.

Weingartz, a Michigan-based and family owned retailer of outdoor power equipment, will match donations dollar-for-dollar up to 1 million meals. With the Weingartz match, each dollar donated to Gleaners provides six nutritious meals to hungry children in southeast Michigan.

“We know kids and families have a lot to worry about this school year with so many changes in how students will learn, but with help from our community, hunger won’t be among them,” says Gerry Brisson, president and CEO of Gleaners. “Every child deserves to know where their next meal is coming from every day. We are so grateful for the support of Weingartz and our community to make sure students get the nutritious meals they need at this incredibly important time.”

More than 310,000 children in southeast Michigan rely on free or reduced-cost breakfasts and lunches at school to provide two of their three daily meals. With many schools relying on virtual and/or hybrid instruction for now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important to get children the food they may be missing while not within school buildings.

Funds raised through the Mow Down Hunger campaign will benefit Gleaners’ programs that fight child hunger. Gleaners is working with school districts to employ a variety of distribution models to meet their unique needs to provide the nutritious food kids and their families deserve.

Gleaners plans to continue its emergency food distribution efforts, including drive-through sites and food box distributions across the five counties it serves to remain a reliable food source for families continuing to struggle through the pandemic.

Those interested in donating to the Mow Down Hunger campaign can do so here, by calling 855-315-FOOD (3663), or mailing checks to Gleaners Community Food Bank, P.O. Box 44050, Detroit, MI 48244-0050. Monetary donations will also be accepted at Weingartz stores.

Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber to Honor Downriver Women in Business
The Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber will host its 4th annual Women of Achievement Awards presented by Beaumont Health on Friday, Oct. 16 at 11 a.m. as a virtual event to be broadcast live at from the Heinz C. Prechter Educational and Performing Arts Center at the Downriver Campus of Wayne County Community College District in Taylor.

The ceremony will showcase outstanding women in business and community leadership in the Downriver region, and will honor the legacy and memory of former Trenton mayor Kyle Stack with the first annual “Kyle F. Stack Leadership Award.” The event will include a keynote address by Stephanie Prechter, daughter of the late automotive entrepreneur Heinz Prechter.

In addition to the Stack Leadership Award, the chamber will recognize some of the most outstanding women in the region with the Entrepreneur Award and Unsung Heroine Award,  along with another new addition to the event inspiring and honoring young women in business, the Distinguished Young Woman Award.

The 2020 award recipients have been announced, and include: Kyle F. Stack Leadership Award recipients Joann Gonyea, Parks and Recreation director at the city of Trenton; and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell; Entrepreneur Award recipient Michelle Saward of The Saward Team of eXp Realty; Unsung Heroine Award recipient Carrie Tittle of Tittle Brothers Construction; and Distinguished Young Woman Award recipient Chelsea Fell of Advantage One Credit Union.

“This signature event has become one of our region’s most highly anticipated celebrations of the year,” says Ronald J. Hinrichs, president and CEO of the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber. “It is vital that we honor and celebrate Downriver’s outstanding women in business and community leadership, and recognize their strong leadership that has resulted in the growth and success of our community. This premier awards celebration provides that tremendous opportunity to the Downriver community.”

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Launches Kids’ Clean Water Calendar Contest
Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash has launched the 16th annual Kids’ Clean Water Calendar Contest.

Open to fourth- and fifth-grade students who attend school in Oakland County, the contest features children’s drawings to encourage members of the community to keep Oakland County’s waters clean.

Using the 2021 Kids’ Clean Water Calendar theme of “We Can All Help to Keep Oakland County’s Lakes, Streams, Rivers, and Watersheds Clean,” students are encouraged to use their creativity to promote environmental stewardship and the simple things we can all do to prevent pollution in lakes, streams, rivers and watersheds. Sample topics include recycling, water conservation, and cleaning up after your pet. More topics can be found on the calendar contest portion of the Oakland County website.

The artwork of 48 student artists will be featured in the calendar and on the WRC’s website. All contest participants will receive a free copy of the calendar.

“Oakland County is home to more than 1,400 lakes and five watersheds, so we all have a special responsibility to be good stewards of these water resources and the land that surrounds them,” says Nash. “It is never too early to start promoting environmental conservation and this contest is the perfect way to encourage Oakland County’s youngest residents to make their mark maintaining our environment.”

Artwork may consist of crayon, marker, colored pencil or paint and should be drawn on standard 8½ by 11-inch paper. Only one entry per student is permitted. Artwork must be submitted online through the calendar contest website and will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 9, at 5 p.m.

More than 5,000 copies of the calendar are printed and available for free thanks to the sponsorship of Pure Water Oakland, a nonprofit in Waterford dedicated to protecting Oakland County’s water resources through education and community outreach. Since the contest’s inception, the WRC has received nearly 14,000 submissions with 78,000 calendars being printed and distributed.