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.
Internet Gaming and Sports Betting Earns $89.2M in February
Internet gaming and sports betting operators in Michigan reported $89.2 million in gross receipts for February.
Internet gaming gross receipts were $79.7 million. Internet sports betting operators received $9.5 million in total gross sports betting receipts and reported a total of $301.9 million wagered during the for month.
“Michigan residents and visitors continued to show strong interest in internet gaming and sports betting during a snowy and cold February,” says Richard S. Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board. “The internet gaming taxes more than tripled, but that’s what we expected with a full month of gaming. This means more funding for the city of Detroit, K-12 education, economic development, and tribal communities.”
The operators delivered approximately $14.1 million in taxes and payments to the state of Michigan for February, $14 million from internet gaming.
The state receives 70 percent of the total tax from the commercial internet gaming operators and 80 percent of the total payment from tribal operators. The tax and payment rate ranges from 20 percent to 28 percent based on yearly adjusted gross receipts.
For internet sports betting, commercial operators pay 70 percent of the 8.4 percent tax to the state and 30 percent to the city of Detroit. Tribal operators make an 8.4 percent payment to the state on adjusted gross sports betting receipts.
The three Detroit casinos reported city wagering taxes and municipal services fees of $4,394,176 for February. Tribal operators reported $1,336,633 of wagering payments to the tribes’ governing bodies.
Stefanini to Host Virtual Career Open House March 18
Stefanini Group, a global digital solutions provider in Southfield, will host a virtual career open house event to hire more than 30 IT help desk technicians on Thursday, March 18, from 1-5 p.m.
The company is looking for talented professionals who enjoy helping customers resolve their technical issues and provide support for computer systems, software, and hardware issues.
Interviews will be conducted during the event for qualified candidates who are able to provide customer service, have knowledge of web-based applications and personal computers (PC & Mac), have experience providing professional end-user support and maintenance actions, and are looking for an opportunity to advance their technical careers. Relevant experience with help desk support, troubleshooting, etc., can be a distinguishing skill. The wage for help desk technicians starts at $13 per hour.
Positions will start in a remote capacity, to ensure employee safety and proper guidelines mandated by the state of Michigan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stefanini employees have access to benefits, including: free online learning courses; opportunity for internal growth/promotion; qualified tuition reimbursement; casual work attire; health/dental/vision/life plan; 401K; paid vacation and sick leave; flex spending for health, dependent care, transportation, and more.
New Project to Digitize Michigan Lake and Fish Records, Looking for Climate Trends
University of Michigan researchers will enlist the help of citizen scientists in a new project to digitize thousands of historical records — some dating back more than a century — about Michigan inland lake conditions and fish abundances.
Scientists will feed the digitized data into computer models to study the impacts of climate change and other factors on the fish in Michigan’s inland lakes.
The lake survey data were originally collected on tens of thousands of 5-by-7 paper observation cards that are archived at the Institute for Fisheries Research, a collaboration between the university and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
“Starting more than a century ago, lake surveys have been used to understand how fish were distributed across the state, which lakes would support sport fishing and how lakes should be managed,” says Karen Alofs, an aquatic ecologist and an assistant professor at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability who is the project’s co-leader.
“Digitizing this historical data will allow us to analyze trends in fish communities over time and to relate those trends to a warming climate and to other environmental changes and management decisions.”
The crowdsourcing project launched Tuesday and is funded by a $90,000 grant from U-M’s Michigan Institute for Data Science. The team includes researchers from the School for Environment and Sustainability, School of Information, Museum of Zoology, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan Library and Shapiro Design Lab, as well as the Institute for Fisheries Research and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The project will use the Zooniverse crowdsourcing platform to engage the public. No previous knowledge or special expertise is required of volunteers, just a willingness to help transcribe historical data about fish species, abundance and size, as well as lake environmental characteristics and sampling details. To join the project, visit here.
Since 1995, lake survey data have been entered into an electronic database that is readily accessible online. But before then, the information was meticulously recorded on paper cards, creating a detailed, decades-spanning record of how the diversity, abundance and growth of various fish species have changed at specific Michigan locations over time.
This is the dataset that will be mined in the new crowdsourcing project, which is formally known as the Collections, Heterogeneous data, and Next Generation Ecological Studies (CHANGES) project.
More than 40,000 of the digitally scanned survey cards from more than 3,000 Michigan inland lakes will be used in the study. Michigan has about 11,000 inland lakes greater than five acres in size and about 6,500 lakes greater than 10 acres. The historical surveys usually focused on larger lakes with public access.
Most of the survey cards in the Zooniverse project were collected from the 1920s through the 1950s, but some are older. The oldest card to be used in the project is from 1889 and describes a survey at Stony Lake in Jackson County. Under “number and kinds of fish taken,” the card lists largemouth bass, rock bass, bluegill, perch, grass pike, gar pike, bullhead, warmouth and dogfish (an older common name for bowfin).
Over the decades, the state’s inland lakes and freshwater ecosystems have faced a variety of pressures, ranging from habitat loss to nonnative species invasions and a warming climate.
“Michigan’s inland lakes have been gradually warming for decades and are expected to continue warming in coming decades,” Alofs says. “As these lakes have warmed, the communities of fish living in them have also changed. Through this project, we hope to better understand the extent of those changes and their implications for the resilience of the state’s fish populations in the future.”
The CHANGES project also will develop new ways to pair fish specimens and field notes from the U-M Museum of Zoology collections with data from historical lake surveys archived on cards at the Institute of Fisheries Research.
Davenport University Plans Return to ‘New Normal’ for Fall Semester
Davenport University in Grand Rapids announced Tuesday it will be returning for the Fall 2021 semester offering a more normal college experience. The university plans to offer in-person classes, on-campus social activities, sporting events, and a more traditional campus environment.
“Our students have done an outstanding job of honoring the safety protocols we put in place to protect the health and safety of our community,” says Richard J. Pappas, president of Davenport University. “I’m confident that with the vaccine more readily available and our responsible student population, we will be able to provide the on-campus college experience this fall our students have come to expect.”
The university plans to offer:
- In-class instruction.
- Fall sports.
- In-person, on-campus activities, including Student Life.
- Campus tours for prospective students and high school groups.
- Cafeterias and other foodservice offerings for in-person dining at the W.A. Lettinga Campus in Grand Rapids.
- Student housing with private rooms for up to 850 students.
- Online, real-time virtual, and hybrid class options.
“We are encouraging all of our students, faculty, and staff to get the vaccine when eligible,” says Pappas. “By doing so, we’ll be able to honor our commitment to offering the best learning options and college experience for our students this fall.”
Davenport says it remains committed to putting the health and safety of its university community first and following the guidance of public health officials. The university will maintain its strict cleaning protocols across all of its campuses. It will also continue to operate its Coronavirus Preparedness Taskforce, a team with representatives from across the organization, to monitor the situation regularly and inform the university of any recommended changes.
As additional Fall 2021 details are available, updates will be posted to davenport.edu.