DBusiness Daily Update: Life Remodeled and 5,000+ Volunteers Begin Six Day Project in Detroit, 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.
people trim vines the have grown around a chain link fence
More than 5,000 volunteers are taking part in Life Remodeled’s Six Day Project this week. // Courtesy of Life Remodeled

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.

Life Remodeled and 5,000+ Volunteers Begin Six Day Project in Detroit

More than 5,000 volunteers with trash bags, lawnmowers, weed whackers, and more are fanning out across four square miles of Detroit this week as part of Life Remodeled’s Six Day Project — a cleanup and neighborhood beautification effort that first started in 2014.

The nonprofit’s Durfee Innovation Society at 2470 Collingwood St. is the epicenter of the project which runs through Oct. 9. Volunteers will be clearing yards, removing brush, picking up debris, and more, every day, rain or shine.

“With COVID-19 and the isolation so many of us have experienced, it will be great to see people from all walks of life and from all over metro Detroit come together safely outdoors once again to clean up, empower, and spread positivity across our community,” says Chris Lambert, founder and CEO of Life Remodeled. “Neighborhoods that have experienced population loss, like the area we’re targeting, need extra attention and support. We are proud that our blight removal efforts have been proven to reduce crime and create safer places for Detroit residents to live, work and play.”

Over the years, the Six Day Project has attracted more than 68,000 volunteers and helped to beautify more than 1,600 blocks.

Midway Dental Supply in Livonia Partners with Dental AI Provider Pearl

Livonia-based Midway Dental Supply is partnering with California dental AI provider Pearl that will add the latter’s Practice Intelligence AI solution to Midway’s product sales and distribution inventory.

As a result, Midway’s 15,000 dental customers will gain a clear entry point to dentistry’s future with Pearl’s AI-powered clinical performance software, according to the companies.

Midway says it is transforming the dental supply industry into something new and progressive. Its sales teams assist dental practices in making the best purchasing decisions to serve their patients’ needs.

“Pearl is the gold standard of dental AI products,” says Steve Kizy, president of Midway. “We’re excited to offer their products to our growing list of innovative and tech-savvy customers.”

Pearl’s suite of computer vision solutions is aimed at elevating the standard of dental care by improving precision and consistency across the field. Practice Intelligence applies the company’s radiologic machine learning algorithms to uncover actionable clinical insights that dental practices can apply to elevate patient care and financial outcomes.

“The decision to form this partnership was a natural one, since Pearl and Midway share a commitment to advancing transformative technologies within the dental category,” says Ophir Tanz, founder and CEO of Pearl. “This partnership will give an expansive group of innovative dental professionals incredible access to a powerful new AI product developed to augment the important work dentists perform for patients around the world.”

Alta Equipment Group Announces Innovate 21 Event

Alta Equipment Group Inc., headquartered in Livonia, is staging its Innovate 21 conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. on Oct. 14.

Innovate 21, organized by Alta Material Handling, is designed to showcase the latest innovations in robotics, automation, electrification, and energy solutions. It will feature the Nikola Tre BEV, the first product offering of the Alta Commercial Electric Vehicle segment.

Alta is Nikola’s exclusive authorized dealer for Class 8 BEV/FCEV trucks in the NY, NJ, eastern Pennsylvania and New England markets. The Tre BEV, Nikola’s first battery-electric vehicle is scheduled to begin large scale production at the end of Q1 2022. The unit will house a 753kwh battery pack and will travel up to 350 miles per charge and has a charge time of approximately 120-minutes.

“Our theme for Innovate is Delivering Tomorrow’s Promise, Today,” says Alan Hammersley, president of Alta Material Handling, “The innovative technology of the Nikola Tre BEV is a great example of how our key partners are helping us demonstrate just that at the event.”

Ryan Greenawalt, CEO of Alta, says, “We are excited to have Nikola participate at Innovate 21 and that the Nikola Tre BEV will also be on display at our event. This will allow customers to get a firsthand look at the first of several Nikola electric vehicles that will eventually become a part of Alta’s equipment portfolio.”

An Evening for Fair Lane Raises Funds to Continue Estate Restoration

Friends and supporters of Fair Lane, a National Historic Landmark and independent non-profit organization in Dearborn, gathered Sept. 1 for an opportunity to experience the estate of Clara and Henry Ford.

Guests had the opportunity to see the restoration that has been underway in recent years as well as enjoy Fair Lane’s gardens and grounds.

Proceeds from the sold-out event support the ongoing restoration of the Fair Lane. Honorary co-chairs were Cynthia and Edsel B. Ford II and Lia and Jim Farley.

“For over 30 years, Cynthia and I have had the pleasure of hosting an event to raise funds to preserve and protect Fair Lane, the iconic home of my great-grandparents” says Ford, chairman of Fair Lane. “This year, we were especially pleased to be able to welcome guests to the grounds of estate on a beautiful summer evening.”

A highlight of the evening included display of a special 2021 Ford Bronco specially designed for and inspired by Fair Lane. The vehicle is black-on-black and hosts a number of features personally designed by world champion drifter and off-road racing champion Vaughn Gittin Jr.

To enter the sweepstakes to win the one-of-a-kind Bronco, visit here. The winning ticket will be drawn Dec. 20.

Detroit Housing for the Future Fund Brings 28 Units of Affordable Housing to City

Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corp. (Detroit LISC) says work has begun on The Charlotte, at 10210 Second Ave. at Glynn Court, in the Gateway Community in District 5.

Developers Tom Anderton and Adam Noel of Charlotte Detroit LLC tapped the Detroit Housing for the Future Fund (DHFF) for a $2.55 million loan that will help turn the abandoned 1923-built, three-story apartment building into 28 units of quality affordable housing.

The $3.19 million redevelopment includes 12 one-bedroom units, 13 two-bedroom units with three studio apartments. The developers intend to offer 32 percent of the building at 60 percent area median income (AMI). The remaining units will remain affordable and not exceed 80 percent AMI.  Over the past five years, the developers have continued to invest in the streets just north of the Boston-Edison neighborhood. The developers’ efforts thus far have resulted in 63 units available. This project will be its fifth building and brings the developers’ portfolio to just more than 100 units.

The scope of the project includes full unit rehabs, a new roof, new windows, and new HVAC system. Amenities will include on-site laundry facilities, large common areas inside and out, and plenty of greenspace. It is slated to open early next year.

Lawrence Tech Team Wins Self-Drive Championship

The Autonomous Campus Transport (ACTor) team from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, has won the Self-Drive category of the annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) for the fourth time. It brings home the 2021 RoboNation championship banner and a check for $3,000.

“Technologies for self-driving vehicles are at the forefront of the future of the auto industry,” says Virinder Moudgil, president of LTU.

IGVC was established in 1993 by the U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center, formerly known as TARDEC, host school Oakland University, and the AUVSI. RoboNation began operation in 2009 with support from AUVSI to provide hands-on educational experiences that offer students a way to solve global challenges.

Faculty advisors to the team are C.J. Chung, professor of computer science at LTU; Nick Paul, an LTU alumnus and adjunct professor of computer science; Joe DeRose, an adjunct professor of mechanical engineering who is studying for a master’s degree in computer science at LTU; and Mitchell Pleune, a computer science graduate of LTU.

Team members are LTU computer science students Thomas Brefeld, Justin Dombecki, James Golding, and Joseph Schulte.

“Using a real vehicle is important for developing robust self-drive algorithms, as simulation has a ‘reality gap’ and testing in the real world cultivates motivation,” says Chung.

LTU currently has two drive-by-wire electric vehicles to develop self-driving algorithms.

City of Detroit Seeks Bids to Help Preserve Historic Dr. Ossian Sweet House

The City of Detroit is seeking proposals to help preserve the Dr. Ossian Sweet House, a prominent civil rights landmark on the city’s east side.

The city received a $500,000 grant from the African American Civil Rights program of the Historic Preservation Fund of the National Park Service that will help turn the house into an interactive museum and centerpiece of the city’s parks plan.

The Dr. Ossian Sweet House is one of the largest surviving civil rights landmarks in the city. In 1925, after purchasing a home in an all-white neighborhood on Detroit’s east side, Black physician Dr. Ossian Sweet and several others attempted to defend this house at 2905 Garland Ave. against an angry mob of white neighbors who attacked the house. In the melee, a white man was shot and killed. Sweet was a prominent member of the affluent Black upper class in Detroit and his actions in defending his home resulted in a criminal trial that captivated the nation. Nationally renowned defense attorney Clarence Darrow was retained by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to defend Sweet.

The trial — The People v. Ossian Sweet, Gladys Sweet, et. al. — is one of the most important early civil rights cases in American history, as it laid the foundation for the principal that Black people have equal rights under the law.

For more information about the project, visit here and click on Open Bids in Oracle, then search for Historic Dr. Ossoan Sweet Rehab.

Priority Health Extends Support to Provide Diapers and Infant Sleep Sacks to Area Families

Grand Rapids-based Priority Health is extending its support of the Metropolitan Detroit Diaper Bank (MDDB) through the month of October, donating an additional 90,000 diapers to families in need. Further, Priority Health is donating 900 sleep sacks to the MDDB to encourage safe sleep practices and raise awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Since September, Priority Health has partnered with the MDDB and already has distributed 90,000 diapers to metro Detroit families in need.

October is Safe Sleep and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. According to the CDC, nearly 3,400 babies in the United States die unexpectedly each year, and these deaths often happen during sleep or in a baby’s sleep area. The use of blankets is not recommended for babies less than a year old due to the risk of SIDS. Sleep sacks are encouraged as the better, safer alternative for keeping infants warm.

“We are happy to continue providing diapers for families in Southeast Michigan and are grateful for partners like the Metropolitan Detroit Diaper Bank and the work they do to support our communities,” says Shannon Wilson, vice president of state markets east at Priority Health. “Infant health is a priority for us, and we’re thankful for this opportunity to not only bring awareness to safe sleep practices, but also provide resources for families to keep the most vulnerable members of our community protected.”

Each month, parents can make a request for diapers via the Metropolitan Detroit Diaper Bank’s online form and select a specific pickup location, date, and time. Families also can request a sleep sack at any of the MDDB’s 13 distribution sites throughout Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Please see the MDDB website for more information.

Detroit Film Theatre at DIA Reopens for In-person Screenings Oct. 15

The Detroit Institute of Arts’ Detroit Film Theatre (DFT) reopens to filmgoers on Friday, Oct. 15 with a new documentary film by Todd Haynes on The Velvet Underground.

Tickets are on sale online and at the box office by calling 313-833-7900.

Haynes’s documentary about the seminal band The Velvet Underground mirrors its members’ experimentation and formal innovation. Combining contemporary interviews and archival documentation with avant-garde film from the era, the director constructs a cinematic collage that is as much about New York of the ’60s as it is about the rise and fall of one of rock and roll’s most revered bands: a group that became a cultural touchstone by being of their time, yet timeless; literary yet realistic; rooted in high art and street culture, according to the director.

“We are thrilled to welcome filmgoers safely back to the theater after a 19-month closure,” says Elliot Wilhelm, DFT director and curator of film for the DIA. “So many extraordinary films have gone unreleased in the last year-and-a-half that our challenge has been to refine that list to fit a regular-sized DFT season. Happily, this also gives us the opportunity to present films that will be enhanced enormously by seeing them on the big screen, providing the communal experience we’ve all missed.”

All film attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination and masks are required for all attendees. Children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated may attend screenings with a fully vaccinated adult and must wear a mask. Capacity for film will be limited to 30 percent to allow for audience distance.

For a full schedule of films, showing times, and COVID-19 precautions, visit the events page on the DIA website.