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.
Michigan’s Property Tax Appeal Deadline Extended to Aug. 31
Michigan has extended its property tax appeal deadline to Aug. 31 and applies to all property types: commercial, industrial, agricultural, and residential.
The extension is an acknowledgement that both government offices and property owners didn’t have the capacity during peak of COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan to respond to previous tax review deadlines.
According to Stewart Mandell, a partner and leader of Honigman’s Tax Appeals Practice Group, says earlier this year a lot of commercial and industrial real estate property owners across the state were having trouble getting their assessment information. COVID-19 precautions caused many government offices to close to switch to limited schedules. In addition, property owners were dealing with other matters.
More than in any prior year, with government offices closed, and the absence of assessment information that is usually online, attorneys have seen taxpayers unable to obtain their 2020 assessment information, not to mention the difficulties of evaluating property taxation. Commercial property owners were simply working to stay afloat.
The original tax deadline was May 31. The new deadline gives 11 additional weeks to review summer tax assessments and respond.
“Usually, come February, we’re getting inundated with assessment notices, and people were already overwhelmed dealing with the pandemic and didn’t receive their assessments,” says Mandell. “We knew there was trouble.”
The issue was compounded since so many government offices were shut down. Many jurisdictions haven’t gotten their property tax information.
At the end of 2019, a number of properties were in financial distress, which affected their owners’ ability to pay taxes-among them malls, other retail, and hotels. Many office properties also had high vacancy rates. Even late last year, trends with retail and office valuations would cause an owner to consider an appeal; the pandemic exacerbated the situation.
“It’s not just coronavirus driving tax appeals this year,” Mandell says. “There are other things going on that have caused this.”
Michigan Counties Set to Receive $1.3M in Emergency Aid for Veterans
Michigan counties are securing and distributing $1.3 million in COVID-19 emergency funding to veterans through the state’s new County Veteran Service Fund Emergency Relief program.
To date, 12 counties have been approved for a total of nearly $1.1 million in CVSF-ER funding, while eight other counties are close to securing another $253,819 in the emergency relief assistance – for a working total of $1.3 million. Eligible veterans from all eras – both wartime and peacetime – in participating counties can use the money to make home and vehicle repairs, pay medical expenses, and meet other needs determined emergent.
In addition, at least 16 counties so far are either participating or plan to participate in a CVSF-ER grocery voucher program for veterans through the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and Meijer. As the central coordinating agency for Michigan’s 550,000-plus veterans and their families, the MVAA facilitates the CVSF-ER program.
While the emergency assistance can help veterans hurt by the COVID-19 global pandemic, it also applies to emergent needs stemming from the central Michigan flooding in May. Both Midland and Gladwin counties, which were devastated by flooding, recently applied for and were approved for CVSF-ER grants.
MVAA Director Zaneta Adams says Michigan veterans – especially peacetime-era veterans – often struggle to find benefits, which makes the CVSF-ER program a particularly beneficial resource.
“For those counties that opt-in, veterans of all eras can take advantage of emergency funding opportunities in their respective counties, while also becoming more familiar with resources that are available to them and their families,” Adams says. “No matter which era they served in, they deserve support when they need it the most, especially during these trying and uncertain times.”
Counties that have secured CVSF-ER funding thus far are Calhoun, Gladwin, Gogebic, Iosco, Kent, Marquette, Midland, Missaukee, Muskegon, Oakland, Wayne, and Wexford.
Counties working to secure CVSF-ER funding are Cheboygan, Eaton, Genesee, Ionia, Isabella, Kalamazoo, Mecosta and Roscommon.
The deadline for counties to apply for the CVSF-ER grant program is June 30. Counties can contact MVAA’s Karen Rowlader at email@example.com or 517-243-7675 for more information.
Ascension Michigan, the health care system headquartered in Warren, recently updated its visitor guidelines to reflect Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s revised direction for health care facilities.
“Our nation has experienced some challenging times during this pandemic, but we continue to celebrate patient recovery stories every day,” says Maureen Chadwick, chief nursing officer at Ascension Michigan. “It’s important we all do our part by following CDC guidelines and hospital protocol to protect one another, so more lives are saved.”
The health system will continue to enforce safety measures including masking and social distancing to lessen the spread of COVID-19 and prevent a second surge. Ascension Michigan’s new visitor guidelines are as follows:
- Patients suspected to have or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 are not allowed visitors.
- All visitors are required to complete a screening for entry.
- Visitors are limited to one per patient at any given time.
- Visiting hours may vary, please ask the patient’s care team.
- It is highly recommended that visitors are at least 18 years old and are not in a high-risk health category such as older adults and those with underlying medical conditions
- Visitors must wear a mask and practice social distancing while in a patient’s room and any area of the facility.
- Visitors should stay in the patient room and/or designated area and limit traveling to other areas of the facility.
- Visitors should wash their hands and use hand sanitizer before and after their visit.
In Related News: Lansing-based Sparrow says it has immediate job openings for more than 115 full-and-part-time positions. The positions are in environmental services; food and nutrition; pharmacy clerks and technicians at Pharmacy Plus; phlebotomists; and security ambassadors and security entrance coordinator. Pay varies based on position and experience and the jobs offer health, dental, and vision benefits. For more information, visit here, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 517-364-5858.
Five New Virtual Automation Events Planned for Fall
The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) in Ann Arbor has scheduled a lineup of five new virtual events taking place this fall.
As COVID-19 continues to make it difficult or impossible to hold large gatherings, A3 is transitioning the following 2020 in-person conferences to virtual events as well as adding two new events:
- RIA Robotics Week: Sept. 8-11 (new)
- International Robot Safety Conference: Oct. 6-8
- Autonomous Mobile Robot Conference: Oct. 26-27
- AI & Smart Automation Conference: Oct. 28-29 (new)
- MCMA TechCon: Nov. 9-10
The in-person Collaborative Robots, Advanced Vision and AI Conference has been postponed until the Fall of 2021. However, A3’s Robotic Grinding and Finishing Conference, slated for Dec. 2-3 in St. Paul, Minnesota, will take place in-person if possible, and online if not.
“As the adoption of automation is expected to increase dramatically coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that A3 provide high-quality education on how to successfully apply robotics, AI, machine vision, motion control, and related automation technologies,” says Jeff Burnstein, president of A3 president. “We’re very excited to reach thousands of people virtually this year while planning our return to live events such as Automate 2021 next year.”
Agendas, keynote speakers, and specific conference session topics will be released for each event within the coming weeks. For sponsorship opportunities, email Jim Hamilton at email@example.com or call 734-929-3268 for more information. Those interested in speaking opportunities can contact Robert Huschka at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-929-9364.
Beaumont Virtual Walk for Miracles to Take Place Aug. 8
Beaumont Children’s annual Walk for Miracles – now renamed the Walk for Miracle Workers – will bring the community together, virtually, on Saturday, Aug. 8. An online kickoff celebration will take place at 9 a.m. Participants are asked to register online, create teams, and use Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ Crowdfunding page to raise money.
In addition to supporting the pediatric programs and services of Beaumont Children’s, proceeds from this year’s event will also support Beaumont’s health care heroes.
Beaumont Children’s, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, is part of the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. Hospitals are open 24/7/365 to provide care that children and adults need. The dedication of physicians, nurses, and medical staff during a pandemic does not come without cost. Donations to Beaumont’s COVID-19 Employee Support Fund assists frontline caregivers with childcare, housing, and transportation needs.
“The ripple effect of the impact of caring for COVID-19 patients affects every aspect of treatment and services offered by Beaumont Children’s,” says John Fox, president and CEO of Beaumont Health and Walk for Miracle Workers chairman. “Important funding is needed to sustain current and new programs in the hospital setting. Hosting the virtual walk will help support these services and bring the community together to thank all front-line workers – health care, first responders, and service providers.”
Those participating in the virtual event may decide to walk or run a desired route of their choosing, as well as create their own timing for their event on Aug. 8. Social media will be a connective thread tying participants together. If a team is gathering (not more than 10 individuals at one location), safe social distancing practices should be practiced.
Beaumont Children’s/CMN team will help motivate participants by hosting contests to inspire teams to reach fundraising milestones including “most unique location,” “most spirited,” “best costumes,” and more. Winning teams will receive gift cards supporting local restaurants.
Upon registration, each entry will receive a participant kit that includes tips on raising funds, a racing bib, and other event gifts and information. Participants also will receive a finisher’s certificate and medal.
During the event, each registrant is encouraged to share his or her experience using #BeaumontMiracleWorkers on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and sharing on Beaumont Children’s Facebook page.
A registration fee of $30 per person is required. To register, visit here.
Rocket Mortgage Classic Opens Online Merchandise Shop
Even though the Rocket Mortgage Classic will be played without fans in attendance July 2-5 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament online merchandise shop is open.
Event merchandise gives golf fans the opportunity to don the newest tournament-branded apparel while supporting the tournament’s primary charitable mission of ensuring all Detroit households are fit with access to the internet, devices and technology.
Net proceeds from the tournament’s virtual merchandise outlet will be used to advance the Rocket Mortgage Classic’s new, multi-year “Changing the Course” initiative, a social responsibility campaign shared with its title sponsor, Rocket Mortgage.
The tournament’s vision of “Changing the Course” is a Detroit where every resident has access to the technology, internet, and digital literacy that is the baseline for education and opportunity in today’s economy. The COVID-19 pandemic shined a spotlight on digital inequality across Detroit, as 30 percent of the city’s households lack internet access and internet-supported devices.
The online shop is carrying a specially customized Drive Detroit T-shirt – featuring the silhouette of a swinging golfer set within the backdrop of the Detroit skyline – which was designed by Detroit residents Tyler Stewart, SaLena Gulledge, and Kamaree Cornelius. Stewart, Gulledge and Cornelius are students at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and won the first Rocket Mortgage Classic T-Shirt Design Contest.
For more information, visit here.