DBusiness Daily Update: Detroit Pistons, CODE313 to Host Steam Slam Technology Event for Students, and More

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.
Steam Slam 2022 will introduce students to drone simulators, robots, LED lights, 3-D printing, Brainpads, and instruction from local STEAM experts. // Courtesy of CODE313
Steam Slam 2022 will introduce students to drone simulators, robots, LED lights, 3-D printing, Brainpads, and instruction from local STEAM experts. // Courtesy of CODE313

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.

Pistons, CODE313 to Host Steam Slam Technology Event for Students

The Detroit Pistons and CODE313 are hosting the Steam Slam 2022 hands-on technology event from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on April 22 at the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center in Midtown Detroit.

The free, in-person event features more than 20 “engaging and innovative” workshops introducing students to drone simulators, robots, LED lights, 3-D printing, Brainpads, and instruction from local STEAM experts.

The Performance Center is located at 6201 2nd Ave. and parking is available on the street nearby and inside the attached garage.

“It’s crucial that we continue our mission of providing equitable access to STEAM education,” says Bartel Welch, founder and executive director of CODE313. “Having our event in person again will give our youth the opportunity to engage with STEAM professionals and participate in hands-on activities in a way that’s nearly impossible to duplicate in a virtual environment.”

The event, sponsored by DTE, Everstream, and General Electric, will expose students to analytical problem solving, a foundational skill that can help them build anything they might imagine as they pursue high-tech jobs of the future.

“We are proud to partner with CODE313 to use the game of basketball as a vehicle to provide STEAM programming, events, and activities to students across metro Detroit, and give them the opportunity to discover new areas of learning,” says Chris Economeas, director of community and social responsibility for the NBA team.

Cloud Cannabis to Open Dispensary in New Baltimore on April 26

Troy-based Cloud Cannabis Co. will open its newest recreational store in New Baltimore (35269 Cricklewood Blvd.) on April 26. It is the company’s eighth store in Michigan.

Cloud Cannabis is hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. that day and will provide Cloud gear and product samples.

New Baltimore is a limited-license city, making Cloud Cannabis one of only three recreational dispensaries in the city. The New Baltimore dispensary has more than 2,000-square-feet of space.

In addition to the retail location, Cloud will utilize the additional 10,000 square feet of warehouse space behind the store for a state-of-the-art distribution center. This distribution center will service the company’s expanding footprint in Michigan to ensure its stores have the best product selection with just-in-time inventory.

“It’s exciting that Michigan’s cannabis industry is growing so rapidly, and our goal at Cloud is to continue playing a major role in that growth,” says Michael Leporowski, director of retail operations at Cloud Cannabis. “We’re proud of the deep roots we’re building in Michigan and are looking forward to sharing our education and products with the New Baltimore community.”

For more information, visit here.

Michigan Community Colleges Receive $750K Grant from Kresge Foundation

Kresge Foundation’s Education Program has awarded a $750,000 grant to the Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) in an effort to strengthen the success of Michigan’s community college students.

The Kresge Foundation has been a long-time supporter of Michigan’s community colleges, helping fund the creation of the Michigan Center for Student Success at the MCCA in 2011. This year’s grant will support the center’s operations, developmental education work and other student success priorities.

“We are extremely proud of the impact the Michigan Center for Student Success has had for community college students since its inception in 2011,” says Brandy Johnson, president of the MCCA. “We are grateful for Kresge’s continued support, ensuring the success of our students now and into their futures.”

The Kresge Foundation’s continued investment has resulted in significant success on behalf of Michigan’s community college students, including:

  • Participation in Degrees When Due, which facilitates reverse transfer between community colleges and universities.
  • Execution of Project Win-Win to award degrees to students who have met degree requirements but did not receive the degree.
  • Implementation of the Accelerated Learning Program, which uses a co-requisite model to support underprepared students to complete English in one semester.
  • Funding of Michigan’s six-year Guided Pathways Institute to support the implementation of institution-wide student success practices.
  • Support of the annual Student Success Summit, Michigan’s premiere student success event, attended by nearly 500 faculty, staff, and administrators from the state’s community colleges.

“The Kresge Foundation is committed to the success of Michigan’s community college students,” says Caroline Altman Smith, deputy director of the Kresge Foundation’s Education Program. “We are so proud of all that the Michigan Center for Student Success has accomplished in the past decade and are excited about the work ahead to continue to support the states’ community colleges and the students they serve.”

Park West Gallery Conducting Special Auction to Benefit Ukrainian Relief Efforts

Last month, Park West Gallery in Southfield raised more than $500,000 to help the Ukrainian people during one of its online art auction weekends. One month later, the world’s largest art dealer is conducting another online experience aimed at raising more funds for Ukraine.

Starting today, Park West is kicking off a weekend of online events, including live-streaming art auctions on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Ten percent of the proceeds from all sales from the weekend auctions will be donated to ongoing relief efforts within Ukraine.

“Our collectors came out in force the last time we did this,” says John Block, executive vice president of Park West and one of the auctioneers for this upcoming weekend’s auctions. “I was incredibly moved by their generosity, and I’m so happy to continue raising funds for such an important cause. As a global community, we can’t forget what’s going on in Ukraine right now, and we’re proud to support the Ukrainian people.”

The online art auctions once again will feature a wide variety of classic and contemporary artists, many of whom have personal ties to Ukraine and eastern Europe.

The weekend’s featured artists include two American artists with Ukrainian roots — Anatole Krasnyansky who was born in Kiev and the late Igor Medvedev who came from Kharkov — and two artists who originally come from Romania — the former child prodigy Alexandra Nechita and abstract artist András Markós.

Some of the other featured artists this weekend are New York’s Mark Kostabi (who comes from an Estonian family), Yaacov Agam, Autumn de Forest, and James Coleman. The online event also will feature a special collection of etchings from the Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn.

Anyone can attend the auctions. Interested parties can register here.

NOTE: Park West Gallery will donate proceeds from artworks sold that are paid in full at the conclusion of the auction. The donation being made by Park West Gallery will not offer a tax benefit to collectors.

Star Line Mackinac Island Hydro-Jet Ferry Changes Name to Mackinac Island Ferry Co.

Star Line Mackinac Island Hydro-Jet Ferry, based in St. Ignace, has changed its name to Mackinac Island Ferry Co. and introduced a new logo for the new brand, which will be fully rolled out by the end of 2023.

During the transition, the company will be referred to as Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Company.

The new name is designed to place all brand assets currently owned under the Mackinac Island Ferry Co. umbrella of brands. Mackinac Island Ferry Co. owns the Star Line Mackinac Island Hydro-Jet Ferry branded fleet of ferries, the former Arnold Line Ferry fleet, and Mackinac Marine Services (MMS) shipyard.

“The new name is easily recognizable to our customers and, while our name will change, we continue to be committed to providing the same great service, enjoyable rides and on time arrivals and departures that our guests have become accustomed to,” says Jerry Fetty, CEO of Mackinac Island Ferry Co. “This collection of Mackinac Island Ferry companies has been a prominent group of legacy Michigan brands since 1878. From a business perspective, the strategic name change is a result of their accumulation under one company, allowing us to leverage a single brand name.”

The new Mackinac Island Ferry Co. logo uses a font that harkens back to a simpler time, much like the feeling Mackinac Island visitors experience during their island excursions. As part of a natural transition of the brand name, the Star Line brand logo will continue to be used during this summer season and then will be phased out through 2023. Visitors will begin to see the new logo added onto the Star Line dock signage throughout summer 2022.

For more information, visit here.

Invention Convention Returns to The Henry Ford April 30

Invention Convention Michigan presented by Delta Dental of Michigan returns to Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation Saturday, April 30. The event returns to The Henry Ford campus after two years of a virtual celebrations with more than 160 students from grades 3-12 showcasing their innovative problem-solving skills.

More than 1,200 students from across the state of Michigan participated in regional youth inventor competitions throughout the year. Students taking part in Invention Convention Michigan were nominated by their teachers and judges during those regional competitions.

Invention Convention Michigan utilizes the Invention Convention Curriculum to task students with identifying a problem, creating a solution, testing it, and then presenting it to a judging panel. Students will compete in three age brackets: grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

Winners will be announced during a special ceremony taking place in the museum plaza at 1:30 pm. One Grand Prize winner along with first-, second-, and third-place winners from each grade bracket will be awarded. Several sponsored industry and category awards also will be announced during the ceremony.

Selected winners will be invited to compete at Raytheon Technologies Invention Convention U.S. Nationals taking place inside Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation June 1-3.

Visit here for more information.

Michigan’s T.A. Gentry Supply Acquired by Munch’s Supply in Illinois

T.A. Gentry Supply Inc., with branches in Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Holland, has been acquired by Munch’s Supply, an Illinois-based heating, ventilation, and air conditioning distributor, expanding Munch’s footprint to 70 locations in 17 states and one Canadian province.

“We couldn’t have made it 50 years without the tremendous support from our customers and team members,” says Patrick Gentry, president of T.A. Gentry Supply. “I am very happy to find a trusted company like Munch’s to continue the T.A. Gentry Supply Inc. legacy.”

Bob Munch of Munch’s Supply, says, “The T.A. Gentry Supply Inc. acquisition is part of our long-term strategy to expand into the plumbing segment in the Michigan market. The company will continue to operate under the T.A. Gentry Supply Inc. name and its three locations will nicely complement our HVAC offerings in our eight Munch and Tommark locations.

“With the help of dedicated staff and a great culture, Patrick and his family have done a wonderful job growing the company. We are excited to build on the tremendous foundation that they have established.”

St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center Expands into New Pontiac Location

the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center (SVSF), is expanding its free Adult Education and GED services with a new Pontiac location.

The new facility will be located in the Oakland County Michigan Works! Pontiac office, under the auspices of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit.

As a member of the Pontiac Chamber of Commerce, SVSF developed the expansion through the support of the Pontiac United Education Coalition and Pontiac Literacy Council. Work on the facility started on in March.

“This new collaborative will provide educational services, employment assistance and community enrichment in Pontiac and the surrounding areas,” says Audrean Williams, assistant director of adult education and career navigator for SVSF who has been leading the expansion effort. “We will work together to prepare enrolled residents for improved possibilities and a better future.”

The new location will join the existing six locations across the city of Detroit, as well as the SVSF children’s programs on its main campus in Detroit.

“Goodwill Detroit is thrilled to make adult education services available to even more people through this partnership,” says Dan Varner, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit. “We are here to help people overcome employment barriers, and adding SVSF’s adult education and GED services will help even more people gain the education or credential they need so they can get the job they want.”

For more information, visit here.

Eisenhower Dance Detroit Presents ‘Anew’ May 6

Eisenhower Dance Detroit and artistic director Stephanie Pizzo will be presenting a program titled “Anew” at 8 p.m. on May 6 at Detroit Country Day’s Seligman Performing Arts Center in Beverly Hills.

Part of the program will be Norbert De La Cruz III, recipient of the 2022 Guggenheim Award, in “Legacy Island,” which celebrates the discovery of personal joy. Also, Pizzo’s multi-media work, “State of Mind.”

In addition, Maleek Washington, recent winner of the Bessie Award as a choreographer debuts his latest work with the Eisenhower Dance Detroit Dancers. Internationally known choreographers, “B-boy,” Rauf, “Rubberlegz,” Yasit, and James Gregg, creator of “Melt,” which forms dancers’ bodies into sculpture shapes and movement that defies the human eye, also will be performing.

Tickets for “Anew” can be purchased here.

LifeLab Kids Foundation Building Interactive Therapy Garden for Special Needs Children

LifeLab Kids Foundation in Ferndale is building an Interactive Therapy Garden to enrich the lives of children with special needs by creating a multi-sensory learning environment that will not only provide stimulating play outdoors but will help to build confidence and social interaction skills needed for lifelong independence.

Supporting organizations include Cunningham-Limp, which will lead all construction activities; DesignTeam Plus Inc., providing the architecture and design; Storey Engineering Group, providing civil engineering; Felino Pascual and Associates, providing the landscape architecture.

“From day 1, I had the vision for creating an inclusive environment focused on fitness, health, and wellness,” says Jai Reddy, founder of LifeLab Kids. “I now know with confidence that this vision will become a reality. We are looking forward to growing this partnership with Cunningham-Limp as we continue to grow with the families we serve while building life skills as well as vocational skills. This is something I have always wanted not only for my son but other youth and adults within the special needs community.”

Cunningham-Limp (C-L) has designated this project as its 2022 Community Impact Project and will donate necessary services for its construction. In addition, LifeLab Kids has received a donation from C-L client First Holdings Corp., which is developing a 94-unit apartment building down the street in the Iron Ridge District. In addition to contributing to the foundation, the developer encouraged C-L to leverage the staff deployed to their apartment project to execute the project for LifeLabs.

“What could possibly be more impactful than creating a place where kids can discover their potential, allowing them to lead an unlimited life while championing health, wellness, respect, inclusion, innovation, collaboration, passion, and hope,” says Sam Ashley Jr., president of Cunningham-Limp. “We simply see no greater opportunity to make a positive impact than what this project offers and are excited to play a small role.”

The project will include:

  • Interactive Therapy Garden — An outdoor therapy environment providing innovative and therapeutic services to help students of all abilities see past their limitations and lead to full lives.
  • Unlimited Play Park — Within the garden will be a sensory play park intentionally crafted to break down barriers and create an inclusive space for all children to learn, play, and grow together.
  • Multi-Use Sports Court — A safe space to not only encourage the movement of the body to help one’s mind and spirit but give access to youth who may not always be able to take part in traditional playgrounds, sports teams, recess, or gym class.

For more information, visit Lifelabkids.org.

Detroit River Coalition Hosts Earth Day Community Art Exhibition At Belle Isle Aquarium April 22-24

The Belle Isle Conservancy and Detroit River Coalition are joining forces this Earth Day to present a mixed media art exhibition titled “Art + Earth.”   The special show of community art is designed to evoke conversation and create connections between our daily lives, our communities, the environment, and climate justice. The art will be on exhibit to the public at the Belle Isle Aquarium April 22 – 24, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The exhibition put out a call in January and received over 90 submissions. As a result, the exhibition features 35 artists that represent a wide range of media under the themes: climate change, climate justice, Earth Day, environmental conservation, stewardship, intersectional environmentalism, marine debris, single-use plastic, ocean conservation, Great Lakes, and the Detroit River. There is also a Student Voices section featuring younger artists.

Special to the show is a dry tank exhibition designed by Metropolitan Museum of Design Detroit called “Biomimicry on Belle Isle.”

“We are so excited to be able to feature a wide range of voices in our inaugural Earth Day exhibition,” says Genevieve Rattray Nowak, director of environmental initiatives and affairs for the Belle Isle Conservancy. “The show highlights many different diverse ideas towards climate change, and we can’t wait for the public to experience it.”

For more information, visit www.belleisleconservancy.org.