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.
Opening Day for USPBL at Jimmy Johns Field in Utica is Friday
Opening Day for the United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), powered by United Wholesale Mortgage is Friday at 7:05 p.m. with a game between three-time champion Utica Unicorns and the Eastside Diamond Hoppers.
The game is presented by OUR Credit Union and will feature a pre-game ring ceremony and championship flag raising for the Unicorns, Magnet Schedule giveaway courtesy of Liberty Tax, the USPBL Dance Crew, and bat dog JJ The Field General.
Tickets are on sale at uspbl.com, by calling the box office at 248-759-5278, or by visiting the box office in person at Jimmy John’s Field. Box office hours are Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The league’s 2022 promotional schedule is as follows:
- Magnet Schedule (courtesy of Liberty Tax), May 20.
- Top Gun Themed T-Shirt (courtesy of The Long Drink), May 21.
- Bark in the Park T-Shirt (courtesy of Happy Tails Learning Center for Dogs), May 29.
- Memorial Day Hat (courtesy of Chief Financial Credit Union), May 30.
- Unicornios de Utica Hispanic Night T-Shirt (courtesy of the Ideal Group), June 16.
- Ted Lasso Visor, Aviator Sunglasses, Mustaches (courtesy of Pepsi), June 23.
- Independence Day Youth T-Shirt (courtesy of OUR Credit Union), July 3.
- Darth Lancer Bobblehead (Utica Unicorns Mascot Lancelot), Aug. 4.
The 2022 season will run May 20-Sept. 11. Theme nights are Oldies Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays, Friday Firework Spectacular Shows, Live Music Saturdays, and Sunday Fun Days.
For the complete promotional schedule, visit here.
Consumers Energy Signs Solar Energy Agreements with Genesee, Hillsdale Counties
Consumers Energy in Jackson announced agreements to add 300 megawatts of clean energy — enough to power about 150,000 homes — from two Michigan solar projects being developed in Genesee and Hillsdale counties.
The solar developments are part of the company’s Clean Energy Plan to increase renewable energy, eliminate coal electricity by 2025, and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040. Both projects are being developed by Ranger Power, a utility-scale solar development company based in Chicago.
“Providing 300 megawatts of clean energy for our customers is a commitment to our planet, the people of Michigan and contributes to the prosperity of communities where solar projects are sited,” says Timothy Sparks, vice president of electric grid integration at Consumers Energy. “We are pleased to reach this agreement with a valued partner that is helping us bring to life a vision to provide a clean energy transformation that benefits Michiganders, both current and future generations.”
Consumers Energy would purchase power from Confluence Solar in Genesee County and Heartwood Solar in Hillsdale County. The agreements are being reviewed by the Michigan Public Service Commission.
The new solar projects are each 150 megawatts and scheduled to begin operating by year-end 2024. Ranger Power will own and operate the sites.
The $200 million Confluence Solar project is expected to create up to 250 jobs in Genesee County during construction and generate more than $25 million in new property tax revenues over the lifetime of the project. The new tax revenues will benefit several local taxing jurisdictions including Genesee County, Flushing and Montrose Townships, Flushing and Montrose schools, Genesee Intermediate School District, Mott Community College, and the local airport, library, and transportation authorities.
Ranger Power’s $150 million Heartwood Solar project will create a similar number of jobs in Hillsdale County and generate nearly $19 million in new property tax revenues over the lifetime of the project. The new tax revenues will benefit several local taxing jurisdictions, including Hillsdale County; Allen and Fayette Townships; Jonesville Community Schools; Hillsdale Intermediate School District; and the Jonesville District Library.
Fifth Third Bank Expands Early Pay to Gig Workers and Beyond
Fifth Third Bank has expanded its Early Pay program to include income received from gig work as well as some forms of government and retirement benefits, allowing customers access to their paychecks up to two days early.
“We want to make sure all of our customers have fast access to their liquidity, regardless of where they work,” says Tim Spence, president of Fifth Third Bank. “You should have the same banking services regardless of whether you file a 1099, a W2, or are retired. This is Fifth Third’s latest offering in a comprehensive suite of products and services focused on continued innovative solutions.”
Customers with a Fifth Third Momentum Checking account can automatically get their paycheck faster; up to two days early (after one direct deposit). Since Early Pay launched in 2021, hundreds of thousands of accounts have received their pay up to two days early. Fifth Third is continuously evaluating and improving the Momentum Banking suite so its customers can live better and bank easier.
Ascension Michigan Receives Transportation Grant from American Cancer Society
Detroit-based Ascension Michigan was awarded a $15,000 transportation grant from the American Cancer Society (ACS) to help alleviate the financial burden of transportation for cancer patients served by Ascension hospitals across the state. The grant will allow Ascension Michigan to assist hundreds of cancer patients with rides to treatment throughout the rest of the year.
Ascension Michigan was among 400 health systems to receive transportation grants totaling $5.7 million in 2022. Based on assistance provided through previous grant funding, these total grants will provide more than 228,000 rides to treatment for nearly 17,000 people.
Last year, Ascension Michigan also received a $15,000 ACS transportation grant, which served 593 patients with 3,280 rides to or from cancer treatment over a six-month timeframe.
“Some patients don’t have access to transportation or are too fatigued or sick to drive themselves,” says Dr. Kathy Goss, regional vice president of Cancer Control for the American Cancer Society. “The Society collaborates with hospital partners to reach individuals in areas with high burdens of cancer and limited or no access to transportation because even the best treatment can’t work if a patient can’t get there.”
Bailey Park Neighborhood Development Corp. to Host McDougall-Hunt Beautification Day May 21
Bailey Park Neighborhood Development Corp.’s annual volunteer Spring Beautification Day will take place at 9 a.m. on May 21 at Bailey Park (2701 Elmwood St.) in Detroit.
Volunteer activities will include:
- Install fencing around the playground.
- Refill the playground with mulch.
- Sidewalk art.
- Light landscaping including planting flowers throughout the park.
- Support for neighborhood home repair projects.
This year’s Beautification Day is sponsored by Foresters Financial, which supported the Park’s Kaboom Playground build in 2019. Other supporters include Comerica Bank, which will facilitate home repair projects with volunteers and supplies; and local business Zeidman’s Jewelry, which will sponsor a food truck during the event. Other community partners include Hunt Street Station, St. Paul AME Church, People’s Missionary Baptist Church, Detroit Vacant Land, Detroit Boxing Gym, and Detroit Rising Development.
MoGo Bikeshare Organization Celebrates 5th Year with Free Ride Day
This month, MoGo, metro Detroit’s nonprofit bikeshare organization, will celebrate five years of operation. The May 23 anniversary commemorates five years to the day that MoGo launched in Detroit and comes on the heels of reaching the 500,000-ride-milestone.
To celebrate the five-year anniversary, MoGo will be conducting a Free Ride Day May 19. It also is offering 50 percent off rides every third Thursday in October, 50 percent off annual passes from May 20-24, and a community celebration at the Dequindre Cut Freight Yard May 22.
The May 22 festivities will begin at 3 p.m., followed by a bike ride with refreshments available upon return. The celebration coincides with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s summer kick-off. Information on all of these events can be found on mogodetroit.org.
Michigan Science Center to Reopen IMAX Theatre June 9
The Michigan Science Center (MiSci) in Detroit will reopen its IMAX Dome Theatre with a ribbon-cutting event at 9 a.m. on June 9, followed by a showing of “Asteroid Hunters.”
The theater will have 239 new, custom-designed seats featuring FreeForm Trim technology designed and donated by Magna.
“We are grateful to Magna for providing state-of-the-art seating for our IMAX Dome Theatre, which will allow our guests to relax in comfort while viewing inspirational and thought-provoking shows,” says Christian Greer, president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center. “A large screen with 360-degree views provides an unforgettable experience for our guests and helps us achieve our mission of putting you at the center of science. We would not be able to offer these immersive opportunities without the help of generous sponsors like Magna.”
Magna’s FreeForm Trim technology is designed to enhance vehicle seat comfort and expand automakers’ brand through endless design possibilities.
Magna’s collaboration with the Michigan Science Center is rooted in a common goal to promote and inspire STEM and FIRST Robotics in the local communities the organizations serve.
Michigan State Police Partners with WCCCD on Urban Policing Strategies
A new partnership between the Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) and the Michigan State Police (MSP) will create a structured series of programs aimed at forging greater understanding between the police and diverse communities in urban policing areas including Wayne County.
An independent study commissioned by the Michigan State Police (MSP) found racial and ethnic disparities in the frequency and outcomes of traffic stops conducted by troopers in 2020. In January of 2022, MSP Director Col. Joe Gasper released the report and announced a five-point response plan. Included in this plan is a commitment to evaluate policies, increase community engagement and expand educational opportunities for MSP members.
Beginning this summer, WCCCD will be hosting community focus groups on urban policing, as well as additional forums to engage community members and other stakeholders around community-focused policies and practices.
“Our mission has always been to create pathways to better lives through learning,” says Curtis L. Ivery, chancellor of WCCCD. “This partnership is part of that mission, and our enduring focus on fostering equity and inclusion in education. We welcome the opportunity to create avenues of greater understanding and knowledge that can help to produce better policies and experiences for the communities that we serve and allow every individual to live with dignity and peace.”
Black Leaders Detroit CEO Planning Bike Ride to Mackinaw Policy Conference
Dwan Dandridge, CEO of Black Leaders Detroit is riding a bike from Detroit to Mackinaw City for the second consecutive year to attend the Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference.
Last year’s ride was to bring awareness at the Mackinac Policy Conference for the need of more equitable funding for Black owned businesses in Detroit. This year’s theme is Ride for Equity with plans to have community conversations along the way.
The Ride for Equity begins May 22 at 8 a.m. with a ceremonial ride launch from the campus of Marygrove Conservancy (Detroit) to Ferndale. From the Ferndale, Dandrige will continue his journey over a seven-day period, riding roughly 50 miles per day.
Ride for Equity will visit the following cities:
- May 22 — Detroit to Lapeer — 57-mile ride.
- May 23 — Lapeer to Saginaw — 59-mile ride.
- May 24 — Saginaw to Clare — 59-mile ride.
- May 25 — Clare to Cadillac — 52-mile ride.
- May 26 — Cadillac to Eastport — 63-mile ride.
- May 27 — Eastport to Petoskey — 36-mile ride.
- May 28 — Petoskey to Mackinaw City — 70-mile ride.
Ride for Equity will cover in total 377 miles from Detroit to Mackinaw City.
A new addition to Black Leaders Detroit Ride for Equity is a special community conversation component, Speak for Yourself, where in Saginaw, Clare, and Petoskey, Dandridge, will be hosting post-ride conversations with bike riders, community partners, advocates, and civic leaders in the area. The intent of Speak for Yourself is to have frank and open conversations regarding equity issues in these communities to establish and build new relationships, friendships, and synergy to connect-the-dots that reveal as Michiganians we have more in common than not.
MotorCities at Home Virtual Zoom Programs Continue with Albert Kahn’s Legacy May 25
MotorCities National Heritage Area is continuing its series of free virtual programs discussing automotive and labor history topics at noon on May 25 with “Detroit’s Industrial Architect: Albert Kahn” presented by veteran journalist John Gallagher.
Gallagher is a founding board member of the Albert Kahn Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit that honors the life, innovations, and global influence of Detroit’s great architect Kahn. His presentation for Jewish History Month will blend a review of Kahn’s career with a look at how the foundation is using lectures, tours, and a new exhibit now open at the Detroit Historical Museum to tell Kahn’s story.
FIA, Shea Automotive Presenting Group **The PARTY: A Vintage Circus, presented by the
The Flint Institute of Arts and Shea Automotive Group are teaming up to present the return of the FIA fundraiser The Party on the grounds of the FIA on June 4.
The event is the largest fundraising event for FIA programs and exhibitions each year, but has been paused for the last two summers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s Vintage Circus theme will transform the museum into an old-fashioned circus, with live entertainment, dancing, signature cocktails, unique photo opportunities, food catered by Redwood Steakhouse and Brewery, and more.
Tickets for The Party are $130 in advance or $150 at the door. They can be purchased online through June 1 at 5 p.m., or at the door during the event on June 4. The PARTY is from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m., with valet parking available at the FIA’s Kearsley Street entrance.
To purchase tickets, visit here.
Ally Secures Kane Brown to Headline Community Concert at 2022 Ally Challenge
Tournament officials announced that Kane Brown will headline the fifth annual Community Concert presented by Ally on Aug. 27 following the second round of competition at The Ally Challenge presented by McLaren at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc.
“The Ally Challenge will once again bring world-class entertainment to our tournament weekend, fulfilling our promise to make The Ally Challenge the premier event in the Flint/Grand Blanc area,” says Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer, Ally. “These concerts make both Friday and Saturday can’t miss days at the tournament and we hope they’ll get a lot of the community out to Warwick Hills to support local charities.”
The Friday evening concert, following the first round of competition, will take place at the tournament’s famous 17th hole. Further details regarding the Friday concert will be announced soon.
In related news, tickets for the 2022 Ally Challenge presented by McLaren are now on sale. Special introductory pricing and best offers will be available through June 10. For a complete listing of ticket options please visit the tournament website.
Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Co. Announces New Priority Boarding Option
Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Co. has announced a new Priority Boarding option that allows passengers to board early to select their preferred seating.
Passengers who choose Priority Boarding have an opportunity to purchase a ticket for a specific date and time to travel to and from Mackinac Island. A limited number of seats have been reserved for Priority Boarding on each ferry and can be purchased anytime up to 30 minutes prior to ferry departure, at a cost of $43 for adults, $31 for children (ages 5 -12), and children aged 4 and under are free.
Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Co. will donate $2 from every Priority Boarding purchase to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. One hundred percent of the monies donated by Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Co. go directly to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s lifesaving mission: Finding cures.