COVID-19 Update: Sparrow Constructing New Outpatient Surgery Center, FCA Lights Pentastar Purple in Observance of LGBTQ Issues, 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 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.

Sparrow Constructing New Outpatient Surgery Center in Lansing
Sparrow Health System is building a three-story, 100,000-square-foot outpatient surgery center and medical office facility to support the growth of same-day surgeries on Michigan Avenue at its Sparrow Hospital in campus in Lansing.

The project, which will occupy several lots near the northwest corner of Michigan and Pennsylvania, is designed to increase convenience and access to patients while also keeping jobs in the area and providing potential employment growth. It is in response to a rise in outpatient surgeries and will free up capacity for inpatient procedures at Sparrow Hospital.

As the region’s only community-based and community-governed health system, Sparrow says it is committed to improving access and quality of care for Lansing and surrounding communities.

The project continues the hospital’s investment in the Michigan Avenue corridor. Sparrow has been a cornerstone of the corridor for more than 100 years.

FCA Lights Pentastar Purple in Observance of LGBTQ History
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Auburn Hills, in honor and support of its LGBTQ employees, communities, and issues, will light the 960-square-foot glass Pentastar on top of its 15-story tower purple Oct. 11-25 in observance of LGBTQ history, National Coming Out Day, and National Spirit Day.

As part of the tribute, the company will fly a rainbow flag outside of its Auburn Hills complex and many of its 22 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. FCA will conduct a month-long series of informational programming for employees that includes tributes to current and historical LGBTQ figures from Michigan and the LGBTQ movement.

The nearly month-long observance builds on the company’s long-standing support of LGBTQ employees, communities, and issues.

“FCA is committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive business environment in which all people and ideas are welcomed, appreciated, and respected,” says Mark Chernoby, chief technical compliance officer, head of vehicle safety and regulatory compliance, and executive sponsor of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Business Resource Group at FCA. “Our diverse business culture represents different people and ideas that engage collaboratively to create brands and products that make us attractive in the marketplace, and support and sustain our success.”

National Coming Out Day is observed internationally on Oct. 11. National Spirit Day is an annual LGBTQ awareness day observed on the third Thursday in October, promoting LGBTQ youth and honoring LGBTQ victims of suicide.

“On behalf of the members of GALA at FCA, we are proud to work for a company that shows us so much support and respect,” saya Greg Hawkins, chair of GALA. “Because of this support, we work in a culture that allows any employee to be as out and honest about their lives as possible.”

As part of its commitment to diversity and inclusion, FCA supports 10 business resource groups whose objectives include promoting a positive awareness of diverse people and issues within the company and ensuring that the company’s products meet the expectations of diverse customers.

FCA BRGs represent a range of affinity communities that include African ancestry, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, women, Middle Eastern, disability, veteran, working parents, and LGBTQ.

DesignConnect Announces Winners of High School Design Contest
DesignConnect, partnered with DTE Beacon Park Foundation and Downtown Detroit Partnership, has awarded big cash prizes to the winners of the Design Our Future Competition at Beacon Park.

The contest was for students in Detroit public high schools and the theme was an inclusive Detroit in 2050. The winners are:

  • 1st place, Mahbuba Sumiya, Ben Carson High School ($3,000).
  • 2nd place, Dea’onne Reynolds, Detroit School of Arts ($2,000).
  • 3rd place, Tasnim Dina, Ben Carson High School ($1,000).

Brooke Snow and Imani Stowers from Detroit School of Arts received honorary mentions for their designs and also received cash awards.

“My team and I are so thrilled to award these five hardworking and talented young women,” says Jocelyn Chen, founder of DesignConnect. “We have witnessed the benefit of individual mentoring, which is a key component of the competition and of our programming. All five finalists were paired with professional designers for an eight-week mentorship via Zoom after they were selected as finalists. Their designs have progressed tremendously because of this process, and they have matured as young designers who use their creative talents for problem solving.”

DesignConnect is a nonprofit established in 2018 to provide career pathways in creative design for inner-city middle and high school students through exposure, mentoring, and financial assistance.

For more information, visit here.

New Buddy’s Pizza in Troy, Inspired by Detroit Roots, to Open Oct. 26
Buddy’s Pizza, the birthplace of the original Detroit-style pizza, is opening a new location in Troy at 3 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 26.

The new restaurant, located at 987 Wilshire Drive, Suite D, will open with tables spaced to accommodate social distancing and 50 percent dining capacity with carryout also available.

The Troy location is approximately 6,734 square feet with room for 200 guests, including more than 40 seats on the outdoor patio. Inspired by Buddy’s original Detroit location at Six Mile Road and Conant, the new restaurant will have a retro feel with industrial materials, vintage photos, neon elements, and automotive-inspired decor. The space offers open sightlines across the entire restaurant with a large U-shaped bar situated in the middle.

“We pride ourselves on honoring our Detroit heritage through everything we do at Buddy’s,” says Burton Heiss, CEO of  Buddy’s Pizza. “We drew on our Detroit roots when designing this new restaurant, while still incorporating mid-century modern updates to give guests a familiar yet new and exciting feel when dining with us. We look forward to bringing families and friends together and becoming a staple in the Troy community.”

Hours will be limited at first (3-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 3-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday). The store expects to open at 11 a.m. beginning Nov. 9.

The Troy location will be the first restaurant to sell newly designed merchandise through an in-store retail display where customers can purchase Detroit-style pizza and Buddy’s clothing and memorabilia. Additionally, for the first time, Buddy’s will give guests a connected dining experience and a look into where the original Detroit-style pizza is made with a glass block window between the dining room and kitchen.

To celebrate the Troy location opening, Buddy’s Pizza will partner with a local organization to donate proceeds from its opening day.

Buddy’s Pizza invites community members who are interested in joining the team in Troy to apply here.

Detroit Plaindealer Historical Marker to be Unveiled Oct. 15
The Detroit Historical Society’s Black Historic Sites Committee will be unveiling the recently rediscovered Detroit Plaindealer Michigan Historical Marker on Oct. 15 at 1:30 p.m. at Capitol Park and then moving to Shelby and State, at the southwest corner of the Westin Book Cadillac.

The Plaindealer was Detroit’s first African American newspaper, founded in 1883 by brothers Benjamin and Robert Pelham Jr., along with Walter H. Stowers and W.H. Anderson. An interstate weekly that reached communities as far away as the Dakotas, the paper mainly targeted populations in southeast Michigan, Canada, and Ohio. Although it ceased publication in 1894, The Plaindealer’s editors went on to pursue careers in public life, with Benjamin Pelham becoming one of the most influential African American leaders in Detroit. (Before helping found The Plaindealer, he also is credited with starting The Venture, the first Black newspaper in the state of Michigan.)

The Detroit Historical Department won approval for a Plaindealer marker, which was fabricated in 1977 but never erected. It recently was found in storage at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum and shared immediately with the Black Historic Sites Committee. To date, no explanation has been uncovered for why it was never installed.

Plante Moran Invests in Team Members Amid Pandemic
One of the nation’s largest accounting, tax and consulting firms recently unveiled its new Work-From-Home Remedies program, which offers perks and work-life flexibility for its staff.

Among the benefits, built around four pillars – technology, flexibility, recharging, and finances – are:

  • Up to $2,000 to help working parents defray the additional costs of daycare, tutors, and virtual learning costs necessitated by the pandemic.
  • Extra funds to upgrade home offices, as well as two external computer monitors, a keyboard, mouse, and docking station.
  • Greater flexibility in scheduling, including the ability to take off a few hours to support their children’s online learning or wholesale reduce weekly hours for one, two, or more months.
  • A three-day weekend mid-October as the firm pauses to encourage a “battery recharge” for all employees.
  • Expansion of its current athletic reimbursement policy to cover costs for in-home athletic equipment, such as treadmills, and free weights.
  • A challenge program to combat meeting fatigue by shaving 25 percent off all virtual meetings.

“The last six months have been challenging for all of us, particularly those who are working parents,” says Jim Proppe, managing partner at Plante Moran. “As we worked through the details of this program, we thought about the things we could do to address their biggest challenges and provide some relief.”

Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss to Host Cybersecurity Webinar
Southfield law firm Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss is hosting a webinar on cybersecurity on Oct. 29 from 2-3 p.m.

The webinar will address:

  • Today’s latest threats and trends.
  • Examples and implications of a data breach.
  • Best practices to help avert an attack.
  • Learning to identify a potential threat.
  • The first steps when a data breach occurs.

The webinar will be followed by a Q&A session.

For more information, visit here.

Kroger Partners to Expand Access to Flu Shots for Detroiters
The Kroger Co., Neighborhood Service Organization, and the Detroit Health Department have partnered this flu season to protect residents and children ages 7 and older with two community drive-thru vaccination clinics.

The drive-thru clinics will be open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and Thursday, Oct. 15, in the parking lot behind NSO headquarters at 882 Oakman Blvd. in Detroit. Free and no-cost vaccinations for both the uninsured and underinsured will be available.

“Detroiters have successfully managed the spread of COVID-19 in our city and I am confident they will continue to prioritize their health by getting a flu shot, especially as we continue to deal with the pandemic,” says Denise Fair, chief public health officer for the Detroit Health Department. “Our data already shows we are on track to surpass last year’s number of residents getting a flu shot, and the drive thru clinics will make it easier for more Detroiter’s to protect themselves from this potentially serious respiratory infection.”

Flu shots will be administered at the drive-thru clinics safely and quickly by a Kroger Health pharmacist or student pharmacist. Children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Residents can remain in their vehicles while receiving their vaccine; anyone without a vehicle will also be accommodated. Masks or protective face coverings must be worn to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Appointments for the drive-thru clinics are recommended, but not required. Appointments can be booked here, and residents should plan to arrive at their scheduled time to join the line of cars at NSO. Residents also may complete their pre-visit paperwork online to reduce contact and promote physical distancing. Many insurance companies cover the flu shot with no co-pay.

ImageSoft Expanding Online Dispute Resolution Capabilities to USA and Canada
Soutfield’s ImageSoft is adding its online dispute resolution technology to its existing paperless technology solutions.

Courts and mediators around the world have a clear mandate to resolve legal cases online and to improve fairness and access to justice for all. ImageSoft has established a comprehensive partnership with Resolve Disputes Online, a U.K.-based software company.

ImageSoft will provide RDO technology – designed and developed by a team of international lawyers, UN justice leaders, judges, mediators, and legal IT professionals who share a passion for improving access to justice – to the USA and Canada markets.

ImageSoft says it will leverage its existing full-service team of technology professionals in the U.S. and Canada and host the technology in the U.S.

“We’re very excited to partner with ImageSoft in the USA and Canada,” says Joe Al-Khayat, co-founder of RDO. “They bring tremendous knowledge of the justice market having served courts throughout the U.S.; and they also have a large team of professionals that is known to provide exceptional service and support to customers.”

Scott Bade, president of ImageSoft, says, “Courts and mediators around the world have been slowly adopting ODR technology for several years, but the pandemic has really made this a necessity. The technology has been proven; it makes the court better and it improves fairness and access to justice for the citizens. We share a passion with RDO for helping people and providing great service – they’re good people doing good work, and we’re excited to provide RDO technology to our existing customers and to new customers in the U.S.A. and Canada.”

For more information about the RDO platform, visit here.

Consumers Energy Removes Retired, De-energized Cables in the Straits of Mackinac
Consumers Energy in Jackson recently removed long-retired energy infrastructure from the Straits of Mackinac as part of its commitment to protect Michigan’s environment.

The company pulled up 46-kilovolt electric cables that had been de-energized since their retirement in 1990, along with concrete mats and grounding cables associated with the lines. Removing the cables improves safety in the straits and enhances the state’s waterways by reducing the odds of incidents such as an alleged tugboat anchor strike in 2018. Materials from the removed cables were salvaged and recycled to the extent possible to help offset the project costs and promote sustainable practices.

The cables, installed in 1956, once supplied electricity to the Upper Peninsula.

“Consumers Energy has long stood for the health and safety of the public and the protection of our state’s waterways,” says Dennis Dobbs, vice president of enterprise project management and environmental services at Consumers Energy. “After learning of the 2018 alleged anchor strike on our cable, we began to investigate the best way to leave the Straits of Mackinac and the entire state in a better place.”

Consumers Energy says it worked closely with key stakeholders, including the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for permitting to remove the exposed, retired electric cables from the bottomlands in the Straits of Mackinac. The removal project took roughly five months and was completed with zero safety incidents.

MSU Civil Engineers Help Michigan Evaluate Distracted Driving
Civil engineers at Michigan State University in East Lansing are helping the state of Michigan evaluate methods for enforcing violations of distracted driving and dangerous cell phone use.

In a study led by MSU Foundation professor Peter Savolainen and associate professor Tim Gates, dynamic message signs are being used off-and-on to help alert drivers of the “highly visible enforcement” that started Oct. 5 and runs through Oct. 19.

Savolainen and Gates — both faculty members in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering — are working with police agencies in Kent and Wayne counties to help determine if targeted safety messages have any measurable impact on driver behavior.

“Distracted driving, and cell phone use specifically, continue to be significant traffic safety concerns nationwide,” Savolainen says. “This project aims to assess the effectiveness of high visibility enforcement, in combination with different types of messages that discourage cell phone use by drivers.”

Dynamic message signs are roadside signs with easily changeable electronic messages, Savolainen explained.

“The study is basically focused on determining the degree to which targeted law enforcement, the use of safety-focused content on dynamic message signs, and the combination of these two approaches are able to reduce the degree of distracted driving,” he notes.

Participating law enforcement agencies are the Detroit Police Department, Michigan State Police Second District, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Rapids Police Department, Wyoming Police Department, MSP Sixth District, and Kent County Sheriff’s Office. They will conduct up to 1,000 hours of distracted driving enforcement.

In 2019, 70 people were killed in Michigan in distracted driving crashes.

This research is part of a nationwide project sponsored by the National Safety Council. It will continue again from April 5-26, 2021.

Fifth-Third Bank to Celebrate $32B Community Commitment with Virtual Event
Fifth-Third Bank will celebrate its $32 billion community commitment with a 90-minute virtual event Oct. 29 at 4 p.m.

During the event, bank leaders – including Chairman, President and CEO Greg Carmichael and representatives of several community partners – will commemorate its landmark commitment and all that it has accomplished.

“We made a $32 billion community commitment because we believe that, when individual lives are better, our communities are better,” says Carmichael. “We’ve collaborated and worked hard for transformation because, when our communities are strong, we’re all stronger.”

To register, visit here.