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.
MSU Documentary ‘American Exile’ Premieres Nov. 16 Nationwide on PBS
A documentary on the deportation of United States veterans — “American Exile” — made by Michigan State University professors John J. Valadez and Carleen L. Hsu will air nationally in primetime Nov. 16 on PBS.
Filmed over the course of seven years, “American Exile” is the story of two unlikely war hero brothers who became veterans’ rights activists after being threatened with deportation — and learning that thousands of fellow veterans faced the same crisis.
The film is the first in MSU’s history to be nationally broadcast and has proven instrumental in changing the policy to stop the deportation of veterans.
Fifty years ago, Valente and Manuel Valenzuela both volunteered and fought in the Vietnam War and returned to the U.S. decorated and disabled. Now approaching their 70s, they decide to don their uniforms for one last fight to bring deported veterans and their families home. It’s a mission that will leave one brother exiled in a foreign land while the other will go all the way to the White House. Their fight would eventually help change national policy and, with it, the lives of veterans across the nation.
“Nowhere in America is the pathway to citizenship more wrought than for immigrant veterans,” Valadez says. “There are thousands of immigrants who have served in the U.S. armed forces and have fought in wars defending America that have been deported. Their lives are put in danger after having access to Veterans Affairs benefits cut off; seven known veterans died after deportation in the time it took us to make the film.”
Susi Elkins, director of broadcasting and general manager at WKAR, which co-produced the film, says, “It’s a remarkable achievement that ‘American Exile’ was produced by MSU faculty and students, and will air in communities across the country. This film tells an important story of courage and resilience, and WKAR is proud to present this work, ensuring these stories are told across the PBS network.”
WKAR and community partners invite the public to join the conversation at a special preview screening of the film on Veterans Day, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m., ahead of the national broadcast on PBS.
Elkins will host the in-person event, which includes comments from MSU President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., presentation of the full hour-long film, and panel discussion with filmmakers Valadez and Hsu. Joining them will be Manuel Valenzuela and Olivia Segura, both of whom appear in the film. The discussion will be moderated by Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at MSU.
The in-person event will be conducted in the WKAR studios on the MSU campus and also will be streamed live. Free registration is required for limited in-person seating. For more information and to RSVP, visit here.
Stoneridge in Novi Sells Minority Interest in Minda Stoneridge Instruments Ltd.
Novi-based Stoneridge Inc., a designer and manufacturer of highly engineered electrical and electronic vehicle systems, today announced the company agreed to sell its minority interest in Minda Stoneridge Instruments Ltd., which represents 49 percent of the total outstanding equity to Minda Corp. Ltd. for $21.5 million equivalent Indian Rupee payable in U.S dollars at closing.
The parties expect to close the transaction by December 30, 2021, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
“This transaction allows Stoneridge to continue its transformation by aligning our resources with our greatest areas of opportunity,” says Jon DeGaynor, president and CEO of Stoneridge. “We value the partnership we have developed with Minda through MSIL and wish them continued success going forward.”
Prior to entering into the SPA, the company and Minda owned 49 percent and 51 percent, respectively, of MSIL. MSIL is based in India and manufactures electronics, instrumentation equipment, and sensors primarily for the motorcycle, commercial vehicle, and automotive markets.
Esports Group Immortals Relocates HQ to Metro Detroit
Esports organization Immortals announced Tuesday it is relocating its headquarters to the Great Lakes Region (GLR) with a hub in metro Detroit and spokes in other region cities.
“As a Michigander and a University of Michigan alumnus, I know personally how much value gaming, through Immortals, can deliver to Great Lakes communities. We’ve observed the strides the GLR has made in making itself a destination of choice for growing companies, technological innovation, entrepreneurs, and emerging industries. All of these characteristics make the GLR an ideal market for competitive gaming, and Immortals aims to bring that opportunity to life.”
Immortals says that while the demographics of the GLR suggest immense demand for gaming and esports, the region is undersupplied with events, activations, and other experiences.
“Immortals is in a position to be the gateway of esports and gaming in the Great Lakes, and to expose residents of all ages to very special and connective elements that gaming uniquely delivers,” Sherman says.
For more information, visit here.
SBA Helped 2,400+ Michigan Small Businesses Access $1.7B in 2021
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Michigan District helped the state’s small businesses access a record-breaking $1.7 billion in capital via its signature loan programs in fiscal year 2021, which ended on Sept. 30, 2021.
“Small businesses are the engine of our economy and this $1.7 billion in capital contributes to job creation and economic development throughout Michigan,” says Laketa Henderson, Michigan district director of SBA.
In Michigan, the SBA backed 2,461 loans and guaranteed an additional $1 billion more than in 2020. That included a more than 30 percent rise in 504 loans, which contributed to fully exhausting the national funding authority for the first time in the program’s history. The 504 loans help small businesses get long-term, fixed-interest capital to acquire fixed assets such as real estate, additional machinery, equipment, and construction efforts, maximizing their cash flow as they grow and promoting economic development.
Additionally, SBA’s 7(a) loan program had a more than 20 percent growth in loans in Michigan, with 2,146 7(a) loans totaling $1.55 billion for FY 21 and the microloan program, which can be essential for providing new businesses with solid capital footing, helped 70 small businesses, typically start-up and under-represented entrepreneurs, access more than $2 million.
Across the nation, the federal agency backed more than $44.8 billion in loans to thousands of entrepreneurs who, without the SBA, would otherwise be unable to access loans at reasonable rates.
Butzel to Host 34th Annual Labor, Employment, Benefits, and Immigration Law Forum
The Detroit law firm Butzel is hosting its 34th Annual Labor, Employment, Employee Benefits, and Immigration Law Forum in a virtual format from 8 a.m. to noon on Nov. 17.
The program will provide attendees with information on a wide variety of labor, employment, employee benefits, and immigration issues facing employers, with a focus on COVID-related issues.
Attendees should register for the welcome and introduction session and then register for one webinar in each workshop session.
“We have developed seven targeted workshops to address the most pressing workplace issues,” says Daniel B. Tukel, chair of Butzel’s Labor, Employment, and Employee Benefits Department. “Our four-hour webinar is packed with a lot of important content designed for human resources professionals, general counsel, and business owners.”
Workshop topics include:
- The Evolving Workplace During and After COVID
- Remote Work
- Rethinking Employee Benefits in the COVID-19 Era
- Accommodations In The Age Of COVID
- Protecting Your Trade Secrets in Our New Work Environment
- Politics in the Workplace
- Immigration During COVID: The New Reality and Impact on Employers and Foreign Nationals
The registration fee is $49 per person. Presentation recordings will be made available
Talis Healthcare Teams with Wayne Health to Open Outpatient Infusion Clinic in Detroit
Talis Healthcare, a national leader in infusion services, has teamed with Wayne Health, a nonprofit physician practice group affiliated with the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, to open a new outpatient infusion clinic in midtown Detroit.
The new clinic, at 400 Mack Detroit Health Center, offers convenient access to infusion care to treat immunological and inflammatory diseases.
The clinic serves patients with conditions such as systemic lupus, Crohn’s disease, connective tissue diseases, multiple sclerosis, and other neuropathies that can improve through treatment with biological agents.
Talis will serve as Wayne Health’s operational partner for the clinic.
“The use of biologic agents is growing and has become a treatment of choice for many diseases with an inflammatory or immunologic basis,” says Dr. Aris Q. Urbanes, medical director of the Wayne Health Infusion Clinic. “Many of these diseases disproportionately affect specific populations and have an environmental component to their cause and course. The opening of this clinic will greatly enhance the care we are able to offer these patients.”
Patients can contact the Wayne Health Infusion Clinic by calling 313-448-9870 or by emailing InfusionClinic@med.wayne.edu.
In Related News: Wayne State University has announced its 2021 Urban One Health Symposium, “Urban Environmental Stressors as Determinants of Health and Resilience,” will take place virtually Dec. 2-3.
It will feature local and international speakers, and attract attendees from academic research, education, public health, urban planning, medical and environmental law, and engineering, government, community organizations, and many more.
One Health is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a collaborative, multisectoral and transdisciplinary approach that works at the local, regional, national, and global levels to achieve optimal health outcomes that recognize the interconnection between people, plants, animals, and their shared environment.
For more information and to register, visit here.
MSU Foundation Wins Emerging Park Award at AURP 2021 International Conference
The Association of University Research Parks (AURP) has named Michigan State University Foundation in East Lansing the recipient of their 2021 Emerging Research Park Award.
The award, presented at the 26th Annual Awards of Excellence ceremony on Oct. 19 at the AURP 2021 International Conference in Salt Lake City, is given to a research park that is building an “exceptional ecosystem that supports bringing technology from inception to market, leading to sustainable growth, job creation and contributing to the economic health of the region.”
In the last seven years, the MSU Foundation and Michigan State University have made significant contributions to the region and the state by supporting a robust environment for innovation, entrepreneurship, corporate relationships, and commercialization activities. MSU and the MSU Foundation have made strategic investments, grown operations, and added new square footage to its footprint in East Lansing and Grand Rapids.
“We are honored to be selected as Emerging Research Park at this year’s AURP Conference,” says Jeff Smith, director of real estate at the MSU Foundation. “Our role is to assist Michigan State University in enhancing the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation by providing flexible spaces and shared resources that allow us to keep new startup companies in our area, while bringing established companies that collaborate with students, faculty and staff on campus.”
AAA Finds Better Behavior Behind the Wheel, But There’s Room for Improvement
A new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in Dearborn finds unsafe driving behaviors, including red-light running, drowsy driving, and driving impaired on cannabis or alcohol, have declined in the past three years, but other risky behavior continues.
Drivers still admitting to speeding and using a handheld cell phone, posing a danger on the roadways, according to the new survey data. As more Americans return to the daily commute, AAA reminds all motorists to practice safe driving behaviors by focusing on the task of driving, keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
“Based on self-reported driving behaviors from our annual survey of traffic safety culture, it is encouraging to see more drivers recognize the danger of certain activities behind the wheel,” says David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “However, the ultimate goal is to see the majority of drivers form safe driving habits and practice them.”
The new data are from the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index (TSCI), highlighting the gap between drivers’ attitudes and reported behaviors. The following shows some of the improvements in unsafe driving behaviors from 2018 to 2020.
While fewer Americans took to the roads in 2020 due to the pandemic, those who did appeared to take greater risks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that an estimated 38,680 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes — an increase of 7.2 percent and the largest number of fatalities since 2007. The numbers for 2021 look even worse, as NHTSA estimates 8,730 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the first three months of the year.
While the reasons for this increase are being studied, the AAA Foundation’s TSCI reveals some areas of admitted driving behavior that remain stubbornly high, despite declining since 2018: speeding and using a cell phone. Unfortunately, drivers who participated in the TSCI survey admit to risky driving behaviors despite knowing that loved ones, family, or friends would strongly disapprove. Cell phone use is one such area where perception and behavior do not match.
“AAA has some positive news to share about trends in safer driving behaviors, but it’s not quite time to declare victory,” says Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “Downward trends in self-reported impaired driving, red-light running, and drowsy driving is the kind of progress we need to curb the recent spikes in traffic fatalities. It’s my hope we are turning a corner. I know we can do better.”
The full report can be viewed here.
Salvation Army’s Rock the Red Kettle Concert Series Returns with a Twist
The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division is launching its Rock the Red Kettle concert series Nov. 4 to ensure Hope Marches On for individuals and families in need.
Rock the Red Kettle will feature musical acts as they take the stage select evenings in November and December. New this year, the nonprofit’s concert series fundraiser returns with a hybrid twist. Local musicians will perform either live in-person concerts or virtual Facebook concerts to raise funds for the nonprofit through a virtual red kettle fundraising page.
Interested fans can attend in-person events listed here or tune into The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division’s Facebook page for watch parties to fight hunger and homelessness by donating to a band’s virtual red kettle.
“Rock the Red Kettle is all about coming together, enjoying the musical talents and giving back to the community,” says Maj. Timothy Meyer, general secretary and metro Detroit area commander (regional COO) for The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division. “We’re thrilled to be able to gather in person again this year in addition to our virtual concerts. When you give to a Rock the Red Kettle musical event, in-person or online, Hope Marches On for our neighbors in need.”
The series runs through Dec. 31 with a variety of artists from different genres.
The Salvation Army’s 2021 Red Kettle Christmas Campaign fundraising goal is $8.3 million.
Mariners’ Church Commemorates Sailors Lost in the Great Lakes Nov. 14
The annual Great Lakes Memorial service at Mariners’ Church of Detroit will take place at 3 p.m. on Nov. 14. It pays tribute to all the sailors who have lost their lives on the lakes.
While “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” is the best known of all Great Lakes disasters due to the Gordon Lightfoot ballad, there have been more than 6,000 shipwrecks recorded on the Great Lakes with more than 30,000 sailors lost.
“We tend to think of the natural beauty of the lakes rather the natural turmoil they can cause,” says Fr. Jeffrey Hubbard, pastor of Mariners’ Church. “They can turn fast, and they can wreak havoc. Our service reminds people of the lakes’ potential treachery while at the same time commemorating the lives of sailors lost.”
This year’s Great Lakes Memorial service will include an honor guard of Great Lakes-related maritime and military personnel as well as the Mariners’ Church professional choir. The service is open to all.
The service also will be live streamed on YouTube so people who are unable to attend in person can still participate. For further information, visit here.
The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Announces FY22 Grant Awards
The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs in Lansing has approved a total of more than $10.7 million in grants to 507 applicants for arts and culture projects in Michigan. Grants were awarded to organizations in 60 counties around Michigan.
“Michigan’s countless arts and cultural organizations make our communities more welcoming and vibrant places to live and contribute to our high quality of life,” says Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “The grants from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs grants provide access to arts and cultural programming in places and to people that may not have access without the work of incredible local organizations.”
MCACA received 594 applications requesting $20,109,063 million for fiscal year 2022 programs. MCACA used a peer review process over the course of 90 days of panel reviews to adjudicate the 594 grant applications and made recommendations to the Governor’s Council. Overall, the applications were adjudicated by over 150 peer reviewers during the open panel process. Nearly 500 interested members of the public attended the panels online.
“It is wonderful to see so many great grant applications,” says Alison Watson, director of MCACA. “Especially during these times, it is a strong affirmation that the field is still vibrant and the value of our programs is appreciated. We really credit Governor Whitmer and the legislature for showing confidence in MCACA by supporting our appropriation.”
For a complete list of grant awards, visit here.