DBusiness Daily Update: Pedini of Detroit Brings Italian Style to U.S. Home Design, USA Weightlifting Kicks Off Nationals Week Saturday at the TCF Center, 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.
Pedini of Detroit is offering customers an opportunity to consult with Italian kitchen designers via Zoom. // Photo courtesy of Pedini of Detroit
Pedini of Detroit is offering customers an opportunity to consult with Italian kitchen designers via Zoom. // Courtesy of Pedini of Detroit

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.

Pedini of Detroit Brings Italian Style to U.S. Home Design via Zoom

Kitchen and interior home designer company Pedini of Detroit has launched an international one-on-one designer experience for customers in the downtown showroom.

The Pedini Experience pairs a person who wants a new kitchen or closet space in their home with the company’s Italy-based designer. The experience transcends borders and brings a global perspective to one’s home, the company says.

“This is like buying a custom-made Ferarri after looking at the car in the showroom and then talking to a designer about the particular way you want the car to look and feel while driving,” says Francesco Verdini, Pedini’s Italian-based international export manager. “People love to be able to say to their friends, ‘I had this built and shipped directly from Italy.’ When you can say that about your kitchen or closet, well now you are not just talking about a nice stove, you are talking about a whole new level of appreciation and craftmanship while standing in your home.”

Ravi Chhatwal, co-owner of Pedini of Detroit, agrees. “One of the lessons learned from the pandemic is that collaboration and cooperation is possible across thousands of miles thanks to the proliferation of Zoom.

“This kind of effort is normally reserved for top executives of multinational companies but we bring global collaboration from the c-suite to the living room,” says Chhatwal. “Quite frankly, there is nothing like this in the retail space and it’s only in Detroit.”

Pedini of Detroit is the company’s flagship showroom located downtown on Congress in the shadow of the TCF Center. Pedini SPA, headquartered in Lucrezia, Italy, has been producing luxury modern kitchens since 1956 in Italy and is well known for contemporary kitchen designs, advanced smart kitchen technology, as well as the vast range and quality of materials.

For more information, visit here.

USA Weightlifting Kicks Off Nationals Week Saturday at the TCF Center

USA Weightlifting is hosting lifters of all ages to Detroit starting Saturday to compete in the Nike USA Weightlifting Nationals Week powered by Rogue Fitness, June 26-July 4 at the TCF Center in Detroit.

Nationals Week is the first fully in-person competition for USA Weightlifting since March 2020.

The event will culminating in the overall National Championships remaining on two platforms at the end of the week.

More than 1,500 athletes spanning all age and bodyweight categories will take the platform.

Categories include:

  • National Youth Championships (athletes aged 17 and under) — June 25-28
  • National Junior Championships (athletes aged 18-21) — June 29-July 1
  • National U25 Championships (athletes aged 21-25) — July 2-4
  • National Championships (qualified athletes of any age) — July 2-4

USA Weightlifting is planning to host an Olympian send-off on Friday, July 2 at 5 p.m. The event will give the weightlifting community an opportunity to wish Team USA Weightlifting well as their departure for Tokyo 2020 nears.

More information can be found here. Tickets are available here.

State Senate Panel Finds No Fraud in 2020 Election

The Michigan State Senate Oversight Committee has released its report on the 2020 election, in response to claims of fraud and other electoral wrongdoing, and has uncovered “no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud in Michigan’s prosecution of the 2020 election.”

“At this point, I feel confident to assert the results of the Michigan election are accurately represented by the certified and audited results,” wrote State Sen. Edward McBroom, a Republican who represents much of the Upper Penninsula, in the introduction to the document. “While the Committee was unable to exhaust every possibility, we were able to delve thoroughly into enough to reasonably reach this conclusion.”

Among the claims and results of the investigation:

Deceased and non-residents voting: The committee concluded that most were false. There were two claims of deceased individuals casting votes that were found to be true; one was a clerical error while the other was a timing issue.

Unsolicited absentee voter ballot and application mass mailings: There was no evidence presented to the committee indicating that hundreds of thousands of absentee voter ballots were mailed to Michigan voters without previously being requested.

Nursing home-bound parents or other family members with dementia voted: While the committee was unable to reach any conclusions regarding the extent of such claims, additional training and clear instructions to caretakers or facility staff ought to be provided in such circumstances to clarify how and when such voting assistance is appropriate. The Committee also recommends pre-filled out applications from any source be disallowed as well.

Rights and duties of poll challengers/watchers improperly or unlawfully restricted: The committee found no evidence fraudulent activities were undertaken or that such actions led to irreparable harm to ballots or vote counting. Numerous safeguards, particularly the partisan makeup of the election boards themselves, were not lost, despite these actions.

Errors in Antrim County: While extremely disappointed and frustrated with the obvious avoidable errors, the committee commends the efforts of the Antrim County clerk, staff, and many volunteers that corrected these errors and gave their time for the canvass and hand recount.

Jurisdictions reporting more than 100 percent voter turnout: The committee found these claims to be not true.

Thousands of ballots were “dumped” at the TCF Center on election night/the next morning:

Those drawing such conclusions in their affidavits and testimony were asked to provide proof that something illegal actually occurred but no proof that ballots were fraudulent was provided or found by the committee in testimony or in subpoenaed records.

Priority Health Launches PriorityMOM Pilot

Priority Health in Grand Rapids announced today that it is launching a pilot of a new maternity management program, PriorityMOM. The goal of this program is not only to walk expectant mothers through their pregnancy, but also to reduce the total cost of maternity care, reduce preterm births and postpartum readmissions, and offer support. This pilot will be initially available to most fully funded groups and subscribers.

Information on PriorityMOM will be sent out to members this month. If they qualify and join the program, participants will receive a welcome gift of a blood pressure cuff, a baby sleep sack, and an overview of the program. Priority Health also is offering a $50 gift card to mothers upon completion of the program.

Expectant mothers who are enrolled in PriorityMOM will receive additional resources that cover common pregnancy issues such as hypertension, mental health, and diabetes. Priority Health also has partnered with Ovia for participants to have access to a free pregnancy tracker and Byram for covered breast pumps.

“As both an insurance provider and part of a health care system, we have the ability to collaboratively look at our current maternity management programs, and identify opportunities within both education and care,” says Karen Meyerson, director of commercial care management at Priority Health. “Through the pilot launch of PriorityMOM, we are able to provide our members with an affordable, accessible and innovative maternity program that is geared to meet their needs throughout their pregnancy.”

U-M Receives Part of $1.2M NSF Grant to Create Resource for Privacy Documentation

A University of Michigan School of Information research team in Ann Arbor has received part of a $1.2 million grant in NSF’s Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace program to build a search engine and other tools to help collect and classify billions of privacy documents on the web.

The overall goal of the work led by Penn State University researchers is to make the web safer for users by helping scientists study the data practices of online services and what they disclose in privacy policies and other documents.

The team that also includes a member of the Future of Privacy Forum will develop large-scale techniques for interpretation of materials, create tools for research and practical use, and develop mechanisms for crawling the web to locate and index the documents. The forum is an education and advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

“This multidisciplinary project will dramatically improve researchers’, practitioners’, and policymakers’ capabilities for analyzing and understanding the state of digital privacy, including the effects of regulation,” says Florian Schaub, assistant professor at the School of Information and principal investigator of the U-M team.

“The goal is to create an infrastructure and tools that researchers can readily use rather than having to build up their own data collection and analysis pipelines from scratch, as is currently the status quo.”

The search engine — called PrivaSeer — will use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to help researchers collect, review, and analyze documents including privacy policies, terms of service agreements, cookie policies, privacy bills and laws, regulatory guidelines, and other related texts on the web.

The search engine also can offer insights into how policies change and help users navigate the complex field of online privacy, says C. Lee Giles, professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State.

“One of the reasons to have a privacy policy search engine is that you can get an idea about how different companies treat their user privacy currently and over time,” says Giles. “This can also inform users how they may want to react to those companies.”

A preliminary version of the PrivaSeer search engine is available here.

MOT Partners with City to Expand Outreach Beyond the Opera House

The Michigan Opera Theatre and the City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department have joined forces to bring opera to Detroit neighborhoods.

Opera in the Parks is a summer-long series in which MOT’s Touring Ensemble will perform free, one-hour concerts at various parks throughout the city. Performances will include a mix of favorites from opera, Broadway, and the American songbook.

The schedule is as follows:

  • July 9, 5:30 p.m., Rosedale Park Community Center (18445 Scarsdale)
  • July 16, 5:30 p.m., Balduck Park (18151 E. Warren)
  • July 23, 5:30 p.m., AB Ford Park (100 Lenox)
  • 6, 5:30 p.m., Palmer Park (910 Merrill Plaisance St.)
  • 20, 5:30 p.m., Riverside Park (3085 W. Jefferson Ave.)
  • 27, 5:30 p.m., LaSalle Park (2351 N. LaSalle Blvd.)
  • 10, noon, Spirit Plaza (2 Woodward Ave.)

Cultural Center Planning Initiative to Host Virtual Community Meeting June 28

The Cultural Center Planning Initiative (CCPI), a comprehensive planning project focused on creating a vibrant and connected cultural district for the city of Detroit, is hosting a free community webinar on Monday, June 28 at 6 p.m.

The session will provide an overview of the proposed design for the Cultural Center Planning Initiative along with the digital strategy for the district. For more information, visit here.

To register for the community meeting, visit here. The meeting also will be streamed here.

Berkley Street Art Fest Returns Aug. 7

After the pandemic forced it to take a year off, the annual Berkley Street Art Fest is returning to downtown Berkley on Saturday, Aug. 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The celebration of art and music includes the return of the professional and aspiring chalk artists who will create colorful street art with chances to win prizes, a DJ, and an exploration of downtown Berkley’s many murals.

New this year is the Shop for Good Village, a curated collection of handmade product makers and sellers, with a primary focus of “Doing Good” on a local or global scale.

Artisans interested in applying for a space within the Shop for Good Village should visit here and register by July 16.

Shop for Good Village will offer upcycled/recycled items, ethically produced handmade global products, vegan and/or organic handmade products, and handmade products benefitting local at-risk and special-needs communities. Because this is a first-year addition to the festival, the organizers are actively seeking to get word out about the opportunity to participate.

“We’re so glad to be able to host the Berkley Street Art Fest again this year, but time for our artists to apply is limited and we’re hoping people spread the word as we work to cultivate the best of the best,” says Darlene Rothman, executive director of the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce. “This is an incredibly unique opportunity and we expect a strong interest from our neighbors and those participating in the Shop for Good Village.”

The Berkley Street Art Fest’s Shop for Good Village, chalk-art competition, and DJ will be located on Coolidge Hwy. between Catalpa and Beverly. Guests will have the opportunity to explore all of Downtown Berkley in search of its murals.

The Berkley Street Art Fest is made possible by the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce and presented by the MSU Federal Credit Union. For more information, visit here.