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.
GM Expands Commitment to Responsible Water Management
General Motors Co. in Detroit plans to reduce water intensity of its operations by 35 percent by 2035, compared to a 2010 baseline, which could result in enough savings to fill about 4,254 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The automaker also has signed the CEO Water Mandate — a UN Global Compact initiative — joining other global business leaders to address key challenges around water security and further aligning to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“The CEO Water Mandate will help us accelerate our water stewardship goals and contribute to the UN SDGs,” says Kristen Siemen, chief sustainability officer at GM. “As we continue to drive efficiencies in our own manufacturing, we will also work with other endorsing companies to establish, implement and advocate for water stewardship practices that promote corporate water management that benefit people, our communities and our environment.”
Moving forward, the company will map its water progress and achievements against the mandate’s six core commitment areas: direct operations; supply chain and watershed management; collective action; public policy; community engagement; and transparency.
While GM’s operations are not water intensive, water is required for some manufacturing processes. The company says it is committed to using water responsibly and efficiently, especially in water-stressed regions.
A zero liquid discharge system in the San Luis Potosí Assembly plant in Mexico minimizes the reliance on well water withdrawal, purifying and transforming wastewater into reusable water for the facility’s paint and machining processes, as well as irrigation.
A stormwater reuse system at GM’s Factory ZERO plant in Detroit, formerly Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, reuses stormwater in its cooling towers and manufacturing processes. The plant also installed additional stormwater ponds and filtration equipment to limit stormwater discharge to the Detroit River. Additionally, the stormwater ponds help reduce stormwater discharge to the city of Detroit, limiting water stress during heavy storm events.
The company regularly conducts water treasure hunts to help train local plant employees in identifying water efficiency opportunities and implementing solutions.
More information about the company’s sustainability initiatives can be found here.
Emagine Announces Plans to Show Live Entertainment
Troy-based Emagine Entertainment and Litchfield Productions of Detroit are teaming up to premiere LIVE @ Emagine at the 270 seat EMAX at Emagine Royal Oak starting in April.
Beginning April 9, LIVE @ Emagine will feature local, regional, or national music acts, DJ’s or comedians.
“Bringing a variety of entertainment options to our guests is what we envisioned when we started Emagine,” says Paul Glantz, co-founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment. “We always wanted it to be about the magic of movies and more. We strive to provide our guests with an exceptional experience every time they visit an Emagine, and these live shows will deliver an intimate evening of entertainment that is sure to delight everyone that attends.”
Each show will be ticketed separately, and seating will be spaced to current COVID mandates. Seating options include a private box for up to 15 people, luxury recliners, high-top tables and chairs, or main floor seats. Each option is available at different prices. The theater will enforce all of the latest COVID-19 health and safety regulations, including social distancing and mask wearing guidelines.
“We are very excited to bring live entertainment to our venues,” says Anthony LaVerde, CEO of Emagine Entertainment. “Live entertainment is a natural for our venues. We are confident that our guests will enjoy all of the great programming we have for this series beginning this April. This will be the first of many new entertainment concepts we are bringing to Emagine.”
Emagine says the LIVE experience will feature all of the amenities guests have come to expect at Emagine, including interactive lighting, leading AV technology, and a full bar with enhanced concessions.
Live @ Emagine will debut with Ann Arbor native Laith Al-Saadi, a Season 10 finalist of NBC’s “The Voice,” who be performing his blend of blues, soul and classic rock. The next night, comedian Spencer James will perform. James won the World Series of Comedy in Las Vegas.
The coming weeks will feature live performances from Kari Holmes, Lisa Mary, Nicole New, Ben Sharkey, The Three Men and a Tenor, and more.
“We are thrilled to partner with Emagine Entertainment to bring our production expertise together for this exciting project,” says David Klann, partner at Litchfield Productions. “We have produced a wide variety of exceptional events nationwide with major artists and are thrilled with the level of talent that we have booked for these events.”
For the full schedule and to buy tickets, visit here.
Dodge Launches New Security Feature for Charger and Challenger Muscle Cars
The Dodge brand of Auburn Hills’ Stellantis has unveiled a software upgrade designed to further thwart theft of Charger and Challenger models equipped with 392-cu.-in. HEMI V-8 or supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V-8 engines. Dodge expects the new security feature to be available late in the second quarter of 2021.
Using the Dodge owner’s four-digit security code, the enhanced deterrence feature limits the vehicle’s engine speed to idle (675 rpm) and helps prevent auto theft.
“Today, Dodge is launching a new owner-customized ‘double verification’ security system,” says Tim Kuniskis, CEO of the Dodge brand for Stellantis. “When flashed into the computer of affected 2015 or newer Dodge muscle cars, the protective software will limit the engine output to less than 3 horsepower, foiling fast getaways and joyrides.”
The software upgrade can be installed free of charge by any Dodge dealer on 2015 through 2021 model-year Dodge muscle cars. The complimentary enhancement applies second-level vehicle security encryption via Dodge’s Uconnect 4C infotainment system.
“More than 150 cars are stolen every day in the United States,” adds Kuniskis. “For any car owner, it’s terrible, it’s a hassle and it’s a personal violation. Though statistically rare, car thieves have targeted the high-horsepower Dodge muscle cars, and we want the Dodge ‘brotherhood’ to know we’re taking quick action and covering their backs.”
At idle, these engines produce approximately 2.8 horsepower and 22 lb.-ft. of torque. As a result, Dodge’s enhanced security measures have a secondary public safety benefit by preventing criminal police evasion and high-speed chases of stolen vehicles.
Double encryption has become common on consumer online accounts and adds a second layer of owner protection against vehicle theft. The four-digit encryption code is designed to discourage key-code-spoofing thieves.
Dodge says it will continue to pursue other enhancements to vehicle-theft deterrence in order to protect owners’ investments.
Owners of 2015 through 2021 Dodge Challenger SRT or Charger SRT models equipped with 392-cu.-in. HEMI V-8 or supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V-8 engines, as well as owners of 2019-2021 Scat Packs equipped with 392-cu.-in HEMI V-8 engines, should contact their local Dodge dealer to schedule a free Security Mode installation appointment.
BetMGM Launches Online Poker in Michigan
BetMGM has launched BetMGM Poker in Michigan, giving customers access to benefits tied to MGM Grand Detroit and MGM Resorts’ casino-resorts nationwide.
Michigan joins New Jersey as the second state in the U.S. to introduce BetMGM Poker, the company’s primary online poker offering powered by partypoker US network. This follows the January launch of BetMGM’s online sports betting and casino offerings in Michigan.
“The launch of BetMGM Poker in Michigan fully rounds out our premier gaming portfolio in the state,” says Adam Greenblatt, CEO of BetMGM. “BetMGM’s sports betting and casino offerings have been met with incredible early success in Michigan and we’re thrilled to provide players with another exciting gaming option.”
By downloading the BetMGM Poker mobile app, players in Michigan now can join poker rooms with players statewide. BetMGM Poker features a rotating number of poker variants, signature poker tournaments, and cash-games of all buy-in levels. Its single account integration with BetMGM’s sports betting and casino mobile app allows players to easily manage their funds with one wallet.
“The demand for online poker in Michigan was made clear by players across the state,” says Ray Stefanelli, director of poker for BetMGM. “BetMGM Poker is proud to offer them a seat at our tables and we’re confident that BetMGM Michigan customers will enjoy an engaging, reliable and fun poker experience.”
To celebrate the arrival of BetMGM Poker in Michigan, new players are eligible for a $25 bonus and a 100 percent deposit match bonus, up to $600. All BetMGM players in the state will be invited to a $50,000 Freeroll Invitational Tournament scheduled Sunday, April 4.
Physicians Group Urges State to Include Doctors in COVID-19 Vaccine Administration
The Michigan Academy of Family Physicians is urging the state to include primary care physicians in the vaccination process before public vaccine eligibility begins on April 5.
The organization stressed that as vaccine supply increases, including primary care physicians more directly in vaccination efforts will help alleviate the burden that is currently placed on local public health departments and health care systems.
“It’s been a long year for everyone as we have navigated this public health crisis,” says Dr. Mark Hamed, president of the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians. “We have made great progress but have a long way to go, and that is why we believe it is time to bring Michigan’s primary care physicians into vaccination administration efforts. As we near time for the general public to be eligible for vaccines, demand will be high, and we are ready to step up and help.”
Primary care doctors traditionally administer around half of all non-COVID adult vaccinations, protecting patients against pneumonia, measles, polio, influenza, and other vaccine-preventable diseases. Boosting capacity by including family physicians in COVID-19 vaccine allocation, when supply is available, will help the state reach its goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the population sooner. Including primary care physicians in vaccine efforts also will help the state move toward achieving herd immunity more quickly, according to the group.
A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that eight out of 10 people are likely to rely on the advice of their primary care physician before deciding whether to get immunized. Family physicians play a critical role in countering vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, building local community trust and serving as a source of science-based information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Michigan Works! Southeast to Host Virtual Career Exploration Event
Michigan Works! Southeast will be hosting what it calls the region’s largest virtual career exploration event, called MiCareerQuest South, on April 22 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
During the event, 40 employers will showcase their careers to more than 3,000 students and job seekers through interactive, virtual booths. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak directly with employers and learn about our region’s in-demand industries such as healthcare, construction, advanced manufacturing, and more.
The event is designed for middle and high school students. Adult Job seekers currently enrolled in Michigan Works! Southeast’s services are invited to attend as well.
“This isn’t your typical career fair,” says Shamar Herron, executive director of Michigan Works! Southeast. “It’s an opportunity for individuals to learn about the growing industries right here in Southeast Michigan.”
Potential attendees and exhibitors can register here. A confirmation email and calendar invite, along with additional details about the event, will be provided after registration.
Lawrence Tech Plans Full Return to Campus for Fall 2021 Semester
Lawrence Technological University in Southfield is planning a return to mostly in-person instruction in the Fall 2021 semester, which begins Aug. 23.
“With the anticipation that a significant set of restrictions related to in-person classes will be lifted, we are planning a full return to offering our classes on campus for both undergraduate and graduate students at the same rate we offered on-campus courses prior to the pandemic,” says Tarek Sobh, provost and chief academic officer at LTU.
Sobh adds that “all necessary precautions will still continue to be enforced as we adapt back to an on-campus course schedule.”
Lawrence Tech shifted to online instruction shortly after the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. In the Fall 2020 semester, instruction was offered in a blend of on-campus, online, and hybrid formats — and students, when given the choice, expressed a clear preference for in-person classes. Lawrence Tech’s residence halls were available throughout the 2020-2021 academic year.
Most classes in the Summer 2021 semester, which runs from May 16 to July 28, will continue to be online, except for some laboratories and studio classes in architecture and design.
In Related News: Albion College in Albion, west of Jackson, has announced plans to return to 100 percent in-person instruction for the Fall 2021 academic semester.
As a result of advanced testing protocols including more than 8,000 tests administered since January 2021, and responsible decision making on behalf of students, faculty, and staff, many elements of the on-campus experience at Albion College have remained intact. Fall 2021 will mark the return to full in-person classes with appropriate COVID-19 policies in place, as well as the return to the standard academic calendar from the module approach taken last year.
“With extraordinary cooperation, collaboration, and effort from our students, faculty, and staff alike, our campus has maintained an incredibly low COVID-19 positivity rate throughout the pandemic,” says Mathew Johnson, president of Albion College. “We’ve taken action as a community to mitigate the spread and the Spring 2021 semester has been our best yet in terms of risk management.”
Johnson says Albion is working closely with local health authorities to ensure a safe return in the fall.