DBusiness Daily Update: Pontiac Receives Certified Local Government Status Supporting Historic Preservation, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Pontiac has received Certified Local Government status, which will support historic preservation and rehabilitation in the city. // Courtesy of the State of Michigan
Pontiac has received Certified Local Government status, which will support historic preservation and rehabilitation in the city. // Courtesy of the State of Michigan

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Pontiac Receives Certified Local Government Status Supporting Historic Preservation

The Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) announced today that the city of Pontiac has been accepted to the Certified Local Government (CLG) program following confirmation from the National Park Service.

“The city of Pontiac has worked diligently in the last several years to strengthen its historic preservation program and find additional ways to recognize and celebrate the city’s history,” says Martha MacFarlane-Faes, deputy state historic preservation officer. “We are excited to welcome the City of Pontiac to the CLG program and look forward to working alongside the city to build on its preservation activities.”

The CLG program is a partnership among local, state, and national governments focused on promoting historic preservation at the local level. The National Park Service administers the program in coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office. Certification makes the city of Pontiac eligible for specialized technical assistance and programming from the SHPO.

Participation in the CLG program also makes the community eligible for federal grants provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior and administered by the SHPO. These grants may be used for a variety of preservation activities, such as historic resource surveys, National Register of Historic Places nominations, educational and heritage tourism initiatives, pre-development plans and studies, and rehabilitation of certain historic properties.

“The historic districts in Pontiac showcase the rich history and prominence that exist in the city of Pontiac,” says Donovan Smith, city planner who led the effort to become a CLG. “The Certified Local Government designation will greatly support the growth and preservation of our historic neighborhoods and the residents that live and work within them.”

Founded in 1818 and incorporated as a city in 1861, Pontiac grew during the nineteenth century following the arrival of the railroad, which supported growth of the downtown and the rise of industry. Woolen and grist mills were established along the Clinton River, and the city also became home to several prominent carriage manufacturing companies. The latter set the stage for the evolution of the automobile industry during the twentieth century, which fueled continued growth and development through the mid-century.

Today, the city’s history is reflected in its numerous local historic districts, including the Pontiac Commercial District, Modern Housing District, Fairgrove Historic District, and Franklin Boulevard Historic District. Several of these districts are also listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as are individual sites such as Casa del Rey Apartments, Central School, Eagle Theater, Oak Hill Cemetery, and Elmer R. Webster School.

Pontiac joins a growing network of more than 2,000 Certified Local Governments across the country, including 38 other Michigan communities.

Bloomfield Hills’ O’Keefe to Host Cannabis Business Seminar with Operators, Consultants

O’Keefe, a Bloomfield Hills-based business consulting agency, is hosting a cannabis seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 13 from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Detroit Athletic Club, where panelists currently active in the industry will discuss operations and will be joined by consultants to cover post-merger integrations, turnaround, and reorganization.

The panel is comprised of Robert T. Hoban, a corporate M&A attorney and leader of Clark Hill’s cannabis industry group; Marco Eadie, managing director at O’Keefe and leader of its corporate finance group; John McLeod, co-founder and head of new markets at Cloud Cannabis Co.; Matthew Rizzo, managing director at O’Keefe who is active as a consultant and corporate turnaround advisor in the cannabis market; Erik Schumacher, principal of advisory and tax services at Rehmann and member of its cannabis industry group; and Randy Tagawa, CEO of Tagawa Greenhouse.

During the seminar, the panel will consider the current state of the industry and look forward at the local and national outlook. They will also discuss the key questions investors should ask before entering the market, including investor recourse and M&A in cannabis.

Due to limited capacity, the event is invite only.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Reduces Premiums with Extension of Federal Subsidies

The extension of Affordable Care Act health insurance subsidies included in the Inflation Reduction Act, recently signed into law by President Joe Biden, will provide immediate dividends for Michigan residents.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan filed new rates for its individual ACA plans with Michigan regulators, adjusting them down for the open enrollment period set to open this fall. With the inclusion of the subsidies, BCBSM PPO plans originally filed average rate decrease went from -2.8 percent in the initial filing to -3.1 percent. BCN HMO’s originally filed rate increase went from an average of 8.6 percent down to 8.1 percent.

“The Affordable Care Act was designed to keep private health insurance rates affordable for individuals and families. The tax credits provided to consumers are a big part of that affordability equation,” says Daniel J. Loepp, president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

“The work by Congress and the Biden Administration to extend these tax credits will provide additional relief to our individual members and their families, by allowing Blue Cross to adjust their premiums downward.”

Big Sean and The Sean Anderson Foundation Announce 2022 DON Weekend Schedule

Multi-platinum artist, philanthropist and entrepreneur Big Sean is excited to return to Detroit for the 4th annual Detroit’s On Now (DON) Weekend presented by the Sean Anderson Foundation (SAF) in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan and Detroit city councilperson Mary Sheffield’s Occupy The Corner Initiative.

DON Weekend is presented by The Detroit Pistons, The Mullick Foundation, MGM Grand, and DUO Restaurant & Lounge.

The weekend will run from Thursday, Aug. 25 to Saturday, Aug. 27 and include a special announcement surrounding the 3rd Sean Anderson Foundation Content & Production Music Studio — slated to be built in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan: Highland Park Campus.

Big Sean previously opened recording studios for Detroit’s youth at Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan: Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus, as well as the Lloyd H. Diehl Campus. Sean also unveiled a recording studio at his alma mater, Cass Technical High School.

“After playing one of my all-time favorite shows at Detroit’s Mo Pop Festival a couple weeks ago, I can’t wait to return to the city and feel it’s incredible energy,” says Big Sean. “I’m constantly inspired by Detroit and the city’s beautiful people. It’s a blessing to be able to give back to the city that made me.”

Kicking off with a VIP movie premiere of “God Said Give ’Em Drum Machines” on Thursday and the intimate DON Awards Ceremony on Friday, DON Weekend will also include Saturday’s annual Block Party featuring the celebrity kickball tournament, carnival games, community services, live performances, and more.

This year, attendees will also be able to participate in DON Talks. These panel conversations will include black men in fashion, the healing discussion, creative fund talk and workshop, and helping children find their passion and achieve their goals. DON Talks and the Block Party require registration via Eventbrite. Click here to do so.

The full weekend schedule can be found below:

Thursday: Freep Film Festival Movie Premiere from 7 p.m. to 9:30pm with a 6:30pm Red Carpet at Michigan Science Center.

Friday: VIP Reception (invite only) at 6 p.m. that features an industry club and pony ride activation and a basketball court activation for BGCSM youth and families.

The DON Awards presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. and will hand out the Moves Award for the Detroit-based brand of the year; the Friday Night Cypher Award winners; the DON LIFE Award for the nonprofit of the year; the One (Wo)Man Can Change the World Award for the youth rising star of the year; the Marvin & Chardonnay Award for the restaurant of the year; and the Baddest Award for the Detroit youth athlete of the year.

Saturday: DON Talks will take place from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Each talk is held inside the Diehl Club and requires separate registration on Eventbrite.

The Block Party will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and feature carnival games, pinewood derby races, kids arts and crafts, a BGCSM sports league youth kickball tournament, an e-gaming tournament, soap box cars display, an outdoor art walk, a Grand Prix photo station, community wrap around services, pony ride demonstrations, and industry clubs demonstrations.

Baldwin House Society to Host Dignity and Hope: An Autumn Affair Event on Sept. 22

Baldwin House Society Supporting Older Adults (BSSOA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Birmingham, is hosting its 14th annual fundraising event on Sept. 22 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The BSSOA is the philanthropic arm of Baldwin House Senior Living.  With 7 locations throughout Oakland, Wayne and Macomb Counties and two in the greater Grand Rapids area, the organization recognizes the importance of taking care of the senior community, providing older adults with dignity and hope.

“I consider it my duty and our duty as a company to advocate and provide for our at-risk seniors,” says Rob Gillette CEO of Baldwin House Senior Living and founder of BSSOA. “Virtually every man and woman who is a senior has contributed to their community. Now it’s our turn to give back to them.”

The BSSOA’s mission is to support under-served older adults in need today and to invest in meaningful research for a better tomorrow, with 70 percent of dollars raised going to outreach and 30 percent going for research.

Research shows that 40 percent of middle-income adults will live in poverty in retirement. The society provides grants to Michigan’s income-eligible older adults through partnerships with community agencies and organizations, delivering furnace repairs, ramps, emergency roof repairs, delinquent utility payments, bug infestation mitigation, and much more, allowing seniors to remain in their homes in a safe and healthy environment.

This year, there are two different programs being offered at the Dignity and Hope, An Autumn Affair event:

Dignity & Hope Celebration: The $150 ticket allows guests to enjoy a full fall tasting menu with cuisine prepared by the top chefs from Baldwin House Senior Living locations throughout the state as well as 2 drink tickets. In addition, the celebration ticket includes a hayride around Birmingham and other fall fun. The Baldwin House Resident Choir is also scheduled to perform.

Hayride & Fall Fun: The $10 ticket includes a Hayride around Birmingham and other fun fall activities. Perfect for children and families.

To purchase tickets and support the BSSOA, please go to:  baldwinsociety.org, email:  tmarolf@baldwinhouseseniors.com or call/text for more information:  248 933 2069

Sparrow Eaton 5K Run/Walk supports enhanced Oncology and Infusion Services

The 14th annual live life. Nspired. 5K run and 1.5-mile family walk will be held Saturday, Sept. 10, at Sparrow Eaton Hospital in memory of Natalie Freiburger, a courageous, young local girl who lost her battle with ovarian cancer in 2008.

“New this year, we are excited to announce that all proceeds will support the enhancement of Sparrow Eaton Hospital’s Oncology and Infusion Services,” says Jacob Campbell, cirector of AL!VE operations. “We hope that those who are inspired to run, or walk, for this cause will consider registering as their investment is about caring for all of our neighbors.”

Sparrow Eaton Hospital announced earlier this year plans to bring this critical care closer to home in Eaton County by adding an oncology clinic practice and infusion center.

“With philanthropic support through events like live life. Nspired and other giving, we can further expand access to essential oncology services across the entire region,” says Helen Johnson, president of Sparrow Eaton Hospital.

The event will include prizes for all age divisions, raffles, and a route through the heart of downtown Charlotte where hundreds of parade spectators will cheer on participants. Music, snacks, and drinks will be located at the finish line and awards will be presented at the conclusion of the race.

Sparrow Eaton Hospital encourages all ages and abilities to attend our live life. Nspired. event — as a participant or a spectator.  For more information regarding price, registration, packet-pick-up and race day details, visit livelifeinspired.org.

Washtenaw Community College selected by Amazon as Education Partner

Washtenaw Community College (WCC) in Ann Arbor announced it has been selected as an education partner for Amazon’s Career Choice program, providing Amazon’s hourly employees access to academic degrees and professional development courses.

“Developing the current and future workforce is one of our primary missions, and we are proud of this opportunity to partner with Amazon to provide high quality educational options that will ultimately benefit employees and families,” says Rose B. Bellanca, president of WCC.

WCC offers 137 associate degrees and certificates, including 45 completely online programs, as well as fast-track and accelerated programs.

Enrollment and registration is ongoing for the Fall semester that begins Monday, August 29. Additional start dates for a compressed semester begin September 21, October 5 and October 20.

Amazon’s Career Choice program is an education benefit that empowers employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere. The program meets individual learners where they are on their education journey through a variety of education and upskilling opportunities, including pre-paid college tuition and industry certifications designed to lead to in-demand jobs.

Amazon employs about 26,000 people throughout Michigan and operates 16 facilities in the state. In the U.S., the company is investing $1.2 billion to upskill more than 300,000 employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs.

Amazon says its Career Choice program has a rigorous selection process for third-party partner educators, choosing partners that are focused on helping employees through their education programs, assisting them with job placements, and overall offering education that leads to career success.

“We’re looking forward to Washtenaw Community College coming on board as an education partner for Career Choice, adding to the hundreds of best-in-class offerings available to our employees,” says Tammy Thiemann, global program lead of Amazon’s Career Choice program. We’re committed to empowering our employees by providing them access to the education and training they need to grow their careers, whether that’s with us or elsewhere.

“We have intentionally cultivated a partner network of third-party educators and employers committed to providing excellent education, job placement resources, and continuous improvements to the experience. Today, over 80,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice and we’ve seen first-hand how it can transform their lives.”

To learn more about the program at WCC, click here.