DBusiness Daily Update: Michigan DNR Announces $1.8M in Grants to Benefit Michigan Fisheries, 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.
Twelve fish habitat conservation projects in streams and lakes across the state will share close to $1.8 million. // Stock Photo
Twelve fish habitat conservation projects in streams and lakes across the state will share close to $1.8 million. // Stock Photo

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.

Michigan DNR Announces $1.8M in Grants to Benefit 12 Streams and Lakes

Twelve fish habitat conservation projects in streams and lakes across the state will share close to $1.8 million in Fisheries Habitat Grants administered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The projects, supported by an additional $1.6 million in matching partner contributions, will rehabilitate and protect fish habitat that provides the foundation for Michigan’s world-class fisheries. Four of the funded projects are identified by the DNR as priority habitat conservation projects.

“These projects are critical to improving and maintaining populations of fishes and other aquatic species,” says Joe Nohner, a resource analyst with the DNR Fisheries Division. “They will improve fish migration in over 210 miles of Michigan streams and make these areas safer for people through the removal or replacement of five dams and 11 culverts.

“Additionally, projects will reconnect northern pike spawning marshes to Stone Ledge Lake, add woody habitat structures to the East Branch of the Au Sable River and the shorelines of Au Train Lake, and improve stream habitat by planting trees to cool water temperatures, reduce erosion and, eventually, provide woody habitat for trout.”

Projects (and locations) funded by the Fisheries Habitat Grant program include:

Michigan DNR Wildlife Division – Petobego Dam removal and Tobeco Creek restoration (Grand Traverse County), $265,000.

River Raisin Watershed Council – Upper River Raisin Watershed restoration and connectivity (Jackson County), $252,000.

Ram Nek Ranch – Chub Creek stream restoration and connectivity (Crawford County), $203,988.

Conservation Resource Alliance – Spanning the headwaters of the Jordan River and Deer Creek (Antrim and Charlevoix counties), $200,000.

Huron Pines – Pigeon River headwaters: brook trout habitat restoration (Otsego County), $150,500.

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay – Riparian buffer restoration on Kids Creek (Grand Traverse County), $149,200.

Huron Pines – West Branch Tittabawassee River dam removal (Roscommon County), $125,500.

Cadillac Area Land Conservancy – Stone Ledge Lake fisheries habitat restoration (Wexford County), $109,400.

Muskegon Conservation District – Rio Grande Creek dam removal, Phase II (Muskegon County), $107,500.

Conservation Resource Alliance – East Branch Maple River aquatic organism passage (Emmet County), $100,000.

Upper Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development Council – Au Train Lake Cooperative Habitat Enhancement Initiative (Alger County), $89,200.

Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter of Trout Unlimited – East Branch of the Au Sable stream habitat restoration (Crawford County), $38,000.

Fisheries Habitat Grant funding is available annually to local, state, federal and tribal governments and nonprofit groups through an open, competitive process. The next request for proposals is expected to be announced in October.

Learn more about the Fisheries Habitat Grant program here.

New Investments Expected to Create Nearly 700 Jobs Across Michigan

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) has approved projects — including a business expansion by a global aluminum producer in Cassopolis, redevelopment of the former GM Warren Transmission Plant, and a community revitalization project in Bay City — representing a total capital investment of $330 million and could result in nearly 700 jobs.

Hydro Aluminum Metals USA in recycles aluminum into new aluminum extrusion ingots for variety of uses. Hydro plans to construct a new facility in the village of Cassopolis where it will bring a new product line to support the electric vehicle market as well as other applications. The facility will be the first manufacturing operation to be located in the Southwest Michigan Advanced Research and Technology (SMART) Park in Cassopolis.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $150 million and create up to 67 new well-paying jobs, supported by $1.5 million in Community Development Block Grant funds. Individuals interested in careers with Hydro should visit here.

The Warren Transmission Redevelopment Project will redevelop 117 acres that previously housed the former General Motors Warren Transmission Plant in the city of Warren. The project will include the construction of three new buildings containing 1.4 million square feet of space that will support tenants in the light industrial, manufacturing, subassembly work and distribution industries. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $180 million and when fully occupied, could result in the creation of 600 full-time equivalent jobs.

The 1108 Water Street project will redevelop two adjacent historic buildings in downtown Bay City. When completed, the development will include first-floor space that will be occupied by North Peak Brewing Co. and Kilkenny Irish Pub, with three loft-style apartments on the second floor.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $4.8 million and result in the creation of 30 full-time equivalent jobs. Once complete, it should contribute to the vibrancy, density and walkability of historic downtown Bay City.

The MSF also approved $3 million in grant funding to support Industry 4.0 awareness and preparedness and increase technology adoption with six nonprofit organizations being approved by MSF to administer the grant funding across the state. The grant program will provide assistance to small manufacturers looking to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies and in turn, make transformational change to business, process and culture.

Bingham Farms’ Sunvera Group Announces Partnership with Wilkinson Eye Center

Sunvera Group, a management services organization in Bingham Farms, has formed a new partnership with Wilkinson Eye Center, an ophthalmology practice with locations in Clarkston and Pontiac.

Wilkinson Eye Center offers comprehensive eye care and specialty services, including cataract surgery, glaucoma management, macular degeneration, and diabetic eye care. Dr. Scott Wilkinson established and has led Wilkinson Eye Center for more than 30 years.

Sunvera now provides support services to 15 clinical locations and two surgery centers across Michigan and Ohio, with the Wilkinson partnership furthering its growth within the metro Detroit region.

“We’re very excited to welcome the Wilkinson Eye Center team into our organization,” says Greg Nodland, CEO of Sunvera Group. “We look forward to working with yet another team of world-class eye care specialists to meet our common goals of providing exceptional, high-quality eye care to the Michigan region.”

Wilkinson says, “For over 30 years, our experienced team has been dedicated to delivering the most advanced and personalized ophthalmic care to patients in metro Detroit. We look forward to continuing that tradition alongside a group like Sunvera, which is equally dedicated to excellence in eye care and eye surgery for many years to come.”

The Townsend Hotel Earns 2022 Forbes Four Star Honors

The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham has earned a 2022 Four-Star rating from Forbes Travel Guide for the ninth year in a row and its Rugby Grill is the only Michigan restaurant on this year’s Forbes “Recommended” list.

“The two Penthouse Suites are worth the splurge — they each have gas fireplaces, large living areas dressed in soft shades of white, and full gourmet kitchens,” writes the Forbes inspector who visited The Townsend. “In fact, a chef of the hotel can prepare a meal for you and your guests in the suite.

“Electric car drivers will more than appreciate the hotel’s three charging stations — two are designated for Tesla vehicles and the third is a universal charging station designed to give power to all other electric cars.”

About the hotel’s restaurant, the publication writes: “The Rugby Grille has an elegant yet comfortable vibe where you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here, it’s all classic-meets-contemporary fare including a Wine Spectator Two-Glass Award Winning wine list with a focus on local, sustainable ingredients.”

To view the The Townsend Hotel’s Forbes Travel Guide web page, visit here.

SpartanNash, Specialty Food Partners Team Up to Expand Food Offerings for Customers

Grand Rapids-based SpartanNash and Specialty Food Partners in Connecticut are partnering to for a new online platform called SpartanNash SpecialtyDirect that will expand SpartanNash’s specialty and local food selection for independent grocers and customers across the U.S.

SpartanNash SpecialtyDirect delivers enhanced offerings and empowers SpartanNash’s 2,100 independent grocer customers to seamlessly browse thousands of newly available product options, place orders, and pay consolidated invoices. As grocers face growing demands from shoppers seeking new, unique, and local specialty products, this process will save retailers time and operational resources in sourcing those items.

“It’s our promise to continue bringing the best innovation for our customers as shopping habits evolve,” says Bennett Morgan, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer at SpartanNash. “We’re here to ensure independent grocers have everything they need to respond to their customers’ tastes and preferences, without taking away from their valuable time spent managing their grocery stores, servicing their shoppers and supporting their in-store team members. As a customer-focused food solutions company, this is just another distribution benefit we can offer our independent customers to deliver on the ingredients for a better life.”

SpartanNash worked with SFP to update the back-end system to ensure a seamless technology solution, including proper invoice flow, easy ordering, and clearly communicated deliveries. SpartanNash SpecialtyDirect makes SpartanNash-supported independent grocery customers more competitive by increasing access to the specialty, seasonal and local items to tailor their product assortment to meet their shoppers’ appetites.

KSI Kitchen & Bath Opens Design Center in Grand Rapids

KSI Kitchen & Bath (KSI), headquartered in Wixom, has opened a new design center in Grand Rapids, featuring elegant kitchen and bath displays in a variety of styles ranging from the traditional and transitional to the contemporary.

“We’re very excited to open our new Grand Rapids design center,” says Tony Achatz, president and CEO of KSI. “Supporting our planned growth strategy, this new location allows us to better serve the kitchen and bath design needs of west Michigan homeowners and the building community. This beautiful space exudes our mission — to operate with a customer-centric focus that delivers exceptional experiences through excellent service and best-in-class design.”

The new KSI Kitchen & Bath Grand Rapids design center is KSI’s second location in west Michigan after acquiring Starlite Kitchens of Byron Center in March 2021.

Ralph Wilson Gateway and Trail Open on Belle Isle

The first phase of the Ralph Wilson Gateway and Trail now is open on Belle Isle, and construction has begun on the new Eugene and Elaine C. Driker Trail on the east end of the island park.

Located on the eastern end of Belle Isle, the Ralph Wilson Gateway serves as the official southern trailhead for Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail, which is considered the longest state-designated trail in the nation. It stretches more than 2,000 miles across the state along two separate hiking and biking routes, connecting communities between Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the western tip of the Upper Peninsula.

The new gateway greets visitors with a park/trail kiosk, a small plaza area with a pergola and picnic tables, a new parking lot, and a path to reach the recently installed “One World … Under Michigan Stars” — a glass-and-steel sculpture designed by Erik and Israel Nordin of the Detroit Design Center.

“Michigan is known as the Trails State for many good reasons, and none more fitting than what we are celebrating today,” said Dan Eichinger, director of the DNR at ribbon cutting ceremonies yesterday. “The Iron Belle Trail, now more than 70 percent complete, is built segment by segment through partnerships just like this. This foundation of support is echoed by the recent record investment in state and local parks announced just last month by Gov. (Gretchen) Whitmer, setting up more outdoor recreation facilities and resources for the future.”

The new Ralph Wilson Trail, which serves as the first segment of the larger Iron Belle Trail, provides a six-mile, off-road, and dedicated pathway for pedestrians and cyclists around the entire island. The first half of the trail is complete, taking visitors from the gateway along the beach side of the island to MacArthur Bridge. The construction for the remaining half of the trail and gap along the shoreline will begin later this year.

Tuesday’s festivities also recognized the start of construction of the new Eugene and Elaine C. Driker Trail that will allow visitors to walk from the new Ralph Wilson Gateway into the more natural environment of the island around a portion of the Blue Heron Lagoon and past the Livingston Memorial Lighthouse.

“Belle Isle, with its history, natural beauty, attractions and recreation opportunities, is a treasure for southeast Michigan and everyone who spends time here,” says Ron Olson, chief of parks and recreation at DNR. “We’re gratified to see these trailhead resources and miles of new trail becoming a reality, because they’ll make for an even richer, more memorable visitor experience.”

For trail maps and the latest information on the Iron Belle Trail, visit here.

Documentary on Fashion Designer Elie Tahari Headlines the Detroit Jewish Film Festival.

The documentary film “The United States of Fashion Designer Elie Tahari” is highlighting the Lenore Marwil Detroit Jewish Film Festival April 24-May 8 at the Berman Center for the Performing Arts in West Bloomfield.

“The United States of Fashion Designer Elie Tahari” is the first feature documentary directed and produced by David Serero, who has received Best Director on a Documentary honors at the Berlin Independent Film Festival as well as other honors.

Tahari has been living the American Dream for more than 50 years. He came to New York in 1971, from Israel, with less than $100 in his pocket, slept on benches in Central Park, and went on to build a billion-dollar fashion empire. There are thousands of fashion companies worldwide, but only three have lasted for more than 45 years globally and are still run by their founders: Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Elie Tahari.

The documentary tells the life of Elie Tahari from his birth and origins (born in Israel to Iranian parents) through his achievements and legacy. Part of the documentary also is dedicated to Tahari’s creative process and endurance in the fashion world.

“In this documentary, you’ll discover the whole inspiring story of Elie Tahari and his fashion world and process, as rarely shown before,” Serero says. “I want this film to be loved by fashion lovers and connoisseurs and the ones who are not familiar with that important artistic environment. This documentary is educative, inspiring, and a celebration.”

The trailer for the film can be seen here. For a full list of films being shown, visit here.

Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation to Celebrate International Jazz Day April 30

Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation will host a live, in-person International Jazz Day Youth Invitational for Detroit Public Schools Community District student jazz bands at Wayne State University in Detroit on April 30.

Bands from Bates Academy, Cass Technical High School, Detroit School of Arts High School, Edward ‘Duke’ Ellington Conservatory of Music & Art at Beckham Academy, Martin Luther King Jr. High School, and Renaissance High School are slated to participate.

Approximately 80 students will take part in jazz workshops and clinics given by Wayne State University faculty and national jazz trumpeter, composer, producer, and vocalist Theo Croker.

Later that evening, the Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Rocket Mortgage will announce its 2022 lineup for Labor Day weekend during a livestream preview event that includes a live, in-person performance from the 2022 Artist-in-Residence Chucho Valdés. The livestream can be seen here, on Facebook, and on You Tube.

The events will take place at WSU’s Hilberry Theatre on Wayne State’s campus (future home of Gretchen C. Valade Jazz Center), 4743 Cass Ave. in Detroit.

JVS + Kadima to Offer Free Drop-in Job Search Assistance and Open Computer Lab Accessibility

JVS + Kadima in Southfield and its computer training division, the Hermelin ORT Resource Center (29699 Southfield Road), will have free drop-in sessions for metro Detroiters looking to use a computer as part of their job search.

In addition, JVS staff will be on-site and available to assist with resumes, cover letters, job searches, LinkedIn setup, and to help complete online job applications. The initiative is part of a pilot program aimed at increasing access to computers for job seekers. Sessions will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday in May and June, beginning May 3. No registration is necessary and job seekers can just drop-in.

Winning Futures in Warren Looking for Career Mentors, Hiring Three Positions

Winning Futures, a nonprofit in Warren that empowers high school students to succeed, is looking for mentors, hiring three staffers, and preparing for its annual golf fundraiser.

Those interested in being a career mentor for the 2022-23 school year, coaching metro Detroit students as they learn job readiness skills, explore careers, and develop goals, can visit here.

To apply to be a full-time marketing coordinator, a program associate for college success mentoring, or a classroom assistant, visit here.

Winning Futures is planning its annual golf tournament Sept. 12 at Indianwood Country Club in Lake Orion. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available here.

In other Winning Futures news, Tim Mailley, global head of the Ford business as Yazaki North America, has joined the board of directors. Also, $108,000 has been awarded to students via the organization’s College Support Fund.

Winning Futures’ sold out Corks & Forks event, chaired by Pete Hockey, global commodity director – body interior at Ford Motor Co. raised $400,000.

Vince and Joe’s Presents $30K Check to St. Jude Research Hospital

Vince and Joe’s Gourmet Market in Clinton Township presented a check for $30,000 to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Kailey Vowles, Development Officer for St. Jude Research Hospital accepted the donation, which will support St. Jude’s mission of research, treatment, and prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases.

To date Vince and Joe’s has donated more than $100,000 to St. Jude’s. Donations come from 50 percent of one week of sales of the Vince and Joe’s house-made Italian breads along with customer donations at the register. This year, Vince and Joe’s matched the customer donations bringing the total donation to $30,000, above and beyond any donation made thus far. Vince and Joe’s recycled bags also have the St. Jude logo on them and a portion of all sales for both the shopping bag and the insulated food bag goes to St. Jude as well.

The store’s locations in Clinton Township and Shelby Township, contributed to this donation.

Suburban Propane Donates Travel Trailer Camper to Spur Red Cross Blood Donations

Suburban Propane, which has locations in Oxford, Brighton, and Fenton, has donated a travel trailer camper to the American Red Cross, which blood donors will have a chance to win when they come to give blood now through May 19

The Red Cross says this spring, “it’s critically important the Red Cross maintains a readily available blood supply for those who rely on transfusions for treatment. Since donated blood has a limited shelf life, supplies must be constantly replenished to ensure a sufficient inventory of blood products. With no substitution for blood and no way to manufacture it, volunteer donors are the only source of blood products for patients with sickle cell disease, car accident victims and parents experiencing difficult childbirths.”

In addition to being entered to win the camper, those who give blood also will receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice, all courtesy of Suburban Propane.

“We are honored to join our longtime partners at the American Red Cross and football legend Jerry Rice to raise awareness about the need for blood this spring,” says Nandini Sankara, a spokesperson for Suburban Propane. “This effort is a wonderful addition to our SuburbanCares initiative, aimed at giving back to our local communities throughout the nation, and we are delighted to sponsor the camper giveaway in hopes of motivating even more people to donate blood and give the gift of life.”

As a blood donor himself, Rice urges individuals to roll up a sleeve and take pride in the lifesaving impact they’re making. “Here’s your chance to make a difference. You never know who you might be helping. It could be a friend or family member who needs blood — and that’s why it’s so important.”

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, platelets or plasma, download the Red Cross blood donor app, visit RedCrossBlood.org, or call 1-800-733-2767.