Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
City of Mackinac Island Receives Certified Local Government Status
The city of Mackinac Island in Mackinac County has been accepted into the Certified Local Government (CLG) program, following confirmation from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.
“Mackinac Island is a special place, defined, in part, by its connection to the past,” says Mark A. Rodman, the state’s historic preservation officer. “The Island’s cultural and historical significance underlie its stature as a world-class destination and live on today in the efforts of the city of Mackinac Island, Mackinac Island State Park, and others who work to preserve and share the story of the island’s history. We are excited to welcome the city to the CLG program and look forward to working alongside the city in its ongoing preservation journey.”
The Certified Local Government program is a partnership among local, state, and national governments focused on promoting historic preservation at the local level. The National Park Service administers the program in coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office. Certification makes the city eligible for specialized technical assistance and programming from the SHPO.
Participation in the CLG program also makes the community eligible for federal grants provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior and administered by the SHPO. These grants may be used for a variety of preservation activities, such as historic resource surveys, National Register of Historic Places nominations, educational and heritage tourism initiatives, pre-development plans and studies, and rehabilitation of certain historic properties. The CLG program will provide the city of Mackinac Island with funding opportunities and additional tools to meet its preservation goals.
HUD Sending $57.5M to Detroit for Flood Recovery, Prevention
The U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency is allocating $57.5 million in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to help the city of Detroit recover from disasters and build inclusive resilience to climate change.
Detroit was hit as hard during the massive rainstorm June 25-26, 2021. The flood disaster recovery grant awarded by HUD represents funding that is needed for the city’s efforts to protect residents living in its most flood-prone neighborhoods.
“We will be working closely with HUD officials to fully understand the guidelines and regulations attached to this funding, and will pursue permanent measures to protect residents in Jefferson Chalmers from rising water levels along the Detroit River, as well as from basement flooding due to the type of historic rains we saw last year and expect to see again,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
“I can’t thank Sec. (Martha) Fudge enough for providing this badly needed funding to our city and for her continued confidence in our ability to do the most good with the resources HUD provides us.”
One Detroit CU, Detroit-based Bankjoy Team Up to Launch Mobile Banking 2.0
One Detroit Credit Union, with $56 million in assets and more than11,000 members, is launching the new Mobile Banking 2.0 app March 28 with its long-standing partner and digital banking provider Bankjoy.
Mobile Banking 2.0 represents a significant upgrade to the credit union’s current mobile banking platform, the company says. Both based in Detroit, One Detroit Credit Union has partnered with Bankjoy for its online and mobile banking technology since 2017 and is continuing that partnership to elevate the member experience and expand services to underserved residents.
Created by credit union executives, Bankjoy delivers modern banking technology, including mobile, online, e-statements, online account opening, online loan application, and conversational AI to banks and credit unions of all sizes. The platform features integrations to upgrade the digital baking experience and provide products with advanced features, simple navigation, and a modern look and feel. Additionally, Bankjoy streamlines payments, including A2A and P2P, to deliver a true, end-to-end digital service ecosystem.
Among the credit union’s upgrades, which will immediately be available to members when the app launches, are:
- Streamlined user experience design, making it simple for members to manage their accounts.
- A weekly spending widget to help with household budgeting.
- Ability to block or unblock a debit card in the app.
- Upgrades to the loan features, giving members more power to manage loan payments.
Members currently using online and mobile banking will be able to keep their existing login when the new app launches.
“A key part of our mission is to help people in our community who have been overlooked by the mainstream banking system by providing them with credible, fair and reasonably priced financial products and services,” says Joumana Mcdad, executive vice president of One Detroit. “By working with Bankjoy, we are maintaining that commitment, ensuring that our members can bank how and when they want through the best digital tools available. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Bankjoy team.”
For more information, visit here.
Wynk THC and CBD Infused Seltzers Arrive in Michigan
Wynk THC & Seltzer, a Pennsylvania-based cannabis beverage, now is available throughout Michigan through an exclusive partnership with Ascend Wellness Holdings.
“Microdosing a THC and CBD blend is a great way to experience a relaxed feeling, without the more pronounced high associated with other consumption methods,” says Casey Parzych, co-founder and president of Wynk. “Because Wynk is fast-acting, the consumption feels similar to enjoying alcohol-based hard seltzer, but without the super sweet flavor, alcohol, calories, or hangover.”
Featuring all-natural flavors of Juicy Mango, Lime Twist, and Black Cherry Fizz, each 8.4 ounce can of Wynk has a 1:1 ratio of 2.5 milligrams of THC and CBD and delivers a light, relaxing buzz that is felt in less than 15 minutes and lasts for around 90 minutes, according to the maker.
“AWH is committed to expanding our offerings across all sectors of the cannabis industry, catering to consumer preferences and providing the finest products on the market,” says Frank Perullo, co-founder and president of Ascend Wellness Holdings. “Cannabis beverages are gaining major traction among consumers, making Wynk a great partner to introduce in an expanding market like Michigan. Our team is excited to add Wynk to our portfolio.”
Comerica Bank Free Prix Day Returns June 3 at Detroit Grand Prix
On Friday, June 3, Comerica Bank will again support a tradition that began with the very first Detroit Grand Prix in 1982 by sponsoring Comerica Bank Free Prix Day and providing free access to fans at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.
This marks the ninth year of Comerica Bank supporting Free Prix Day and giving fans the opportunity to experience all the racing and activities of the Grand Prix on Belle Isle at no charge. Visitors will be welcome in the paddock — the locker room of motorsports — to see the Grand Prix teams and drivers work on their cars, watch all the auto racing action on track and experience the interactive games, displays, and family fun at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park free of charge.
“Free Prix Day began at the downtown Detroit circuit in 1982, and we are proud to continue to build on that tradition, thanks to our partners at Comerica Bank,” says Michael Montri, president of the Detroit Grand Prix. “We love welcoming everyone in our community to the Grand Prix and, with Comerica’s support, fans will be able to experience everything our event has to offer for the final race weekend on Belle Isle before it returns to downtown Detroit in 2023. Comerica Bank Free Prix Day is unique to Detroit and a great way to wave the green flag on race weekend in the Motor City.”
To celebrate the return of Free Prix Day in 2022, Comerica Bank and the Grand Prix will host a virtual engagement today with more than a dozen Southeastern Michigan high schools and community groups focused on motorsports and career opportunities in racing.
The students will have the opportunity to connect with a number of Grand Prix-related guests, including Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires driver and former Grand Prix Trans Am Series winner Ernie Francis Jr. of the minority-led Force Indy race team. The students also will learn about running a race team from Force Indy team principal Rod Reid, who will also talk about the Nexgeneracers (NXG) karting and life skills youth development program that expanded to Detroit last year and continues to grow locally in 2022.
General Motors Co. Sports Car Program Manager Laura Klauser will talk about her path to leading the championship-winning Corvette and Cadillac racing teams. Comerica Bank Executive Vice President, Technology and Operations Megan Crespi and Montri will share their experiences with the students as well.
Women in Leadership Symposium Slated for March 29
The Michigan Diversity Council will host its annual Women in Leadership Symposium (WILS) virtually from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on March 29.
The theme of the program is “The Paragon of Womanhood: Restoration, Reintegration and Reemergence” and will focus on topics such as adaptation and flexibility to changing tides in work structure, pay equity, and interpersonal relationships.
“As we embark on two decades of progress, the Women in Leadership Symposium highlights the legacy of excellence and advocacy for women’s equality in workplaces and communities,” says Angeles Valenciano, CEO of the National Diversity Council. “We invite you to join us for the Michigan WILS to restore, reintegrate and reemerge.”
The conference will feature a keynote by Florine Mark, Weight Watchers ambassador, wellness influencer, author, motivational speaker, and podcast host. Panels will be conducted by speakers including Kristen Holt, president and CEO of GreenPath Financial Wellness; Linda Apsey, president and CEO of ITC Holding Corp.; Ane McNeil, chief human resource officer and senior vice president of Trinity Health; Robin Carter-Cooper, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Oakland County; and moderator, Darlene King, executive director of the Michigan Diversity Council.
1-800-Self-Storage.Com Facilities Collecting Donations for Ukraine
Oak Park-based 1-800-Self-Storage.com facilities are serving as drop-off sites for the community to collect new and unopened goods and help facilitate them being sent to Ukraine.
“Members of the metro Detroit community have seen the suffering in the Ukraine and want to contribute and make a difference.” says Eugene Sherizen, principal of 1-800-Self-Storage.com. “We are fortunate to have the space to store donations, vehicles to help transport humanitarian supplies, and connections to make sure the needed items get to where they will be most impactful.
“With more than one dozen drop-off points available through use of our facilities, drop-off is convenient and together we can make a life-changing difference for those in the war zone and refugees relocated across Europe.”
To kick-off the campaign, Sherizen and the team at 1-800-Self-Storage.com donated medical gear, including stretchers, surgical tables, a dental chair, tactical first aid kits, and other medical equipment, to help outfit a field surgical hospital.
1-800-Self-Storage.com also partnered with the Ukrainian-American Crisis Response Committee, Razom, and SHARE Ukraine to identify needed items and arrange overseas transportation and delivery of donations in the Ukraine and surrounding region.
Urgent medical supplies will be flown into the Ukraine, and the company already has sent its shipment of field surgical equipment. Additional items will be sent via ocean shipping containers.
Items accepted for donation include:
- Shampoo/soap (travel size)
- Feminine hygiene products
- First aid kits
- Headlamps (camping)
- New blankets, including baby blankets
- New Towels
- Diapers/baby supplies
- Children’s OTC medication and vitamins
- Adult OTC medications
- Water purification filters and tablets
- Lightweight camping utensils and disposables
- Camping mattresses
- Sleeping bags
- Power banks/solar power
- Reflective emergency blankets
- New, empty water canisters (10-20 liter capacity)
- Professional medical supplies
Items can be dropped off at any of the following 1-800-Self-Storage.com locations between 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays:
- 42360 Ann Arbor Road, Plymouth Township
- Stow & Go Self Storage of Plymouth, 41999 Ann Arbor Road, Plymouth Township
- 19180 Allen Road, Melvindale
- 29686 Beck Road, Wixom
- 20900 Hall Road, Clinton Township
- 26660 Greenfield, Oak Park
- 3846 Rochester Road, Troy
- 2477 West Maple, Troy
- 1330 Coolidge Highway, Troy
- 8134 Embury Road, Grand Blanc
- Better Storage, 7282 Fenton Road, Grand Blanc
- Durand Self Storage, 1003 N Saginaw St., Durand
Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial to Break Ground April 7 in Royal Oak
Ground will be broken at 2 p.m. on April 7 for Phase 1 of the Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial, honoring the state’s legacy of sacrifice, ingenuity, and commitment on the warfront and home front during WWII.
Contributions from individuals, civic organizations, and local corporations, along with the cooperation of the city of Royal Oak, have helped pave the way for the multi-phase project to begin. The nonprofit organization has worked toward building this memorial that will provide a year-round, multipurpose destination telling Michigan’s WWII story for generations to come. Additionally, The Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial will be a resource for educational programs, events, and veteran outreach.
Local and state officials will be in attendance joining numerous veteran organizations including the Tuskegee Airmen, Disabled American Veterans, Michigan Jewish War Veterans, American Legion, Montford Point Marines, VFW, Military Order of the Purple Heart Dept. of MI, Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, the Navy League, and the Red, White and Blue Star Mothers/Chapter MI-198. Color Guard from American Legion Post #253 of Royal Oak will open the festivities followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Karen Newman, whose inspiring rendition became a tradition at Detroit Red Wings home games for more than 30 years.
“We have looked forward to the day when our Michigan WWII veterans and members of our greatest generation help us break ground for the memorial that will forever recognize and teach about their extraordinary legacy,” says John Maten, president of the organization. “Their stories have inspired us and the looks on their faces as we stand shoulder to shoulder with them as the first shovels break the ground will be forever remembered. Current events in Ukraine are a solemn reminder that freedom is not free and that we owe a great debt of gratitude to all those who sacrifice so much to preserve it.”
The memorial is designed by architect Michael Gordon of Moiseev/Gordon Associates Inc. in Royal Oak, whose father was a WWII veteran. Phase 1 will include the laying of more than 1,200 donated Walk of Honor paver bricks, installation of the first full-sized statue, and flag poles representing all branches of service.
“The visual impact of Phase 1 is certain to provide the catalyst for generating donations needed for future phases of the memorial,” says Maten.
Further information about the memorial and how to donate, including paver bricks to honor loved ones, is available here.
Motor City Cruise Clinch NBA G League Playoff Spot
With Grand Rapids’ loss to the Westchester Knicks on Monday night, the Motor City Cruise have clinched a spot in the 2021-22 NBA G League Playoffs. Seedings for the postseason will be announced at a later date.
With five games left in the regular season, the Cruise have a record of 19-8 and currently are in second place in the Eastern Conference behind Raptors 905, G League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors. The top two teams in each conference will earn a first-round bye, while the top four teams will guarantee themselves a home playoff game. The playoffs will begin April 5 with a single-elimination format up until the finals, which is a best-of-three series played in the participating teams’ home arenas.
“Clinching a playoff berth in our inaugural season is an incredible accomplishment,” says Rob Murphy, president and general manager of the Cruise. “I’m proud of our coaching staff, players, and organization for their commitment, dedication, and sacrifice throughout the season. We’re excited about the opportunity to compete for a championship and continue the winning tradition here in Detroit.”
Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County Receives Gift from MacKenzie Scott
Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County, along with Habitat for Humanity International, and 83 U.S. Habitat affiliate organizations, recently received $436 million in unrestricted giving from American author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.
Habitat Oakland received $5 million of the total donation, which will help further Habitat Oakland’s vision of a world where everyone has equitable access to a safe, decent, and attainable place to call home.
“A gift of this size is unprecedented in Habitat History,” says Tim Ruggles, executive director and CEO of Habitat Oakland. “We will stay focused on our strategic vision and utilize this gift to secure future gifts. This gift is the seal of approval that gives the green light to our community and additional donors to leverage further support.”
Over the next three years, Habitat Oakland will use the $5 million donation to further support its programs, including: homeownership, one-on-one financial coaching, critical home repair, and neighborhood revitalization.
“This funding will have a huge impact on the current housing crisis in Oakland County,” Ruggles says. “It will provide more attainable housing units for individuals that have been economically squeezed out of the housing market and create a community where everyone has a decent place to live.”
To contribute to Habitat Oakland, visit here.