DBusiness Daily Update: State Announces $1.8M in Grants for EV Charging Stations, Ann Arbor Kroger Store Finishes $3.5M Renovation, 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.
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map of Michigan coronavirus cases by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of May 8

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.

State Announces $1.8M in Grants for 88 Electric Vehicle Charging Sites
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has announced Charge Up grants totaling more than $1.8 million to help install 88 fast charging stations for private and commercial electric vehicles along key travel routes throughout the state.

The program partially funds direct-current fast chargers based on a 2019 EGLE Energy Services-funded study that advocates for continuous, worry-free EV travel across Michigan with connections to high-traveled Midwest and Canadian routes. The grants are funded through Michigan’s allocation from the Volkswagen diesel settlement.

“Adding another 88 EV chargers — with commitment from private industry, utilities, and state support — builds needed infrastructure for Michigan’s mobility evolution,” says Liesl Clark, director of EGLE. “It’s an exciting time for the driving public as we see auto manufacturers and utilities right here in Michigan embrace this move to a cleaner mobility technology.”

Facilitating the expansion of a statewide EV charging infrastructure is designed to accelerate electric vehicle adoption in Michigan, a key focus area of the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. Growing consumer acceptance of electric vehicles is a key component to reaching the goal of the MI Healthy Climate Plan of statewide carbon neutrality by 2050.

Charge Up Michigan offers up to $70,000 per charging station to public or private entities in partnership with a host site and the utility that serves the area. EGLE, the grant recipient and utility each pay a third of the cost for site preparation, charger installation, connections to the electrical power grid, signage, and network fees.

Many of the charging stations funded by the grants are expected to be operational by the end of the year:

  • Sunrise Stores (Fort Gratiot, Smiths Creek, Capac and Kimball): eight charging outlets ($200,000)
  • Traverse City Light and Power, 15 outlets ($173,763.03)
  • Red E Charging (Detroit, Waterford and Wixom): six outlets ($157,743)
  • EV Build (Rogers City and Mackinaw City): six outlets ($125,580)
  • City of Ann Arbor: four outlets ($70,000)
  • Dean Arbour Ford (West Branch): two outlets ($70,000)
  • Diatomic Energy (Belle Isle State Park, Detroit): two outlets ($70,000)
  • Great Lakes Energy (Scottville): four outlets ($70,000)
  • Summit Place Properties II (Waterford): four outlets ($70,000)
  • TNT Equipment (Sandusky): four outlets ($70,000)
  • Sunrise (Houghton Lake): two outlets ($55,750)
  • Hawks Petroleum (Howard City): two outlets ($53,350)
  • Ford & Haggerty Inc. (Canton): two outlets ($50,000)
  • Lee Road Inc. (Brighton): two outlets ($50,000)
  • McNichols & Wyoming Inc. (Detroit): two outlets ($50,000)
  • Royal Gas and Oil (Farmington): two outlets ($50,000)
  • Speedy Q Market (Port Huron): two outlets ($50,000)
  • Sunny’s Food Mart (Pleasant Ridge): two outlets ($50,000)
  • Wakeland Oil (Brighton): two outlets ($50,000)
  • Washtenaw Food & Gas Inc. (Ann Arbor): two outlets ($50,000)
  • Zourob Enterprises (Romulus): two outlets ($50,000)
  • McCormick LLC (Whitehall): two outlets ($49,845)

Amended grants from previous rounds include:

  • Blarney Castle Oil (Manistee and Petoskey): four outlets ($111,700)
  • Meijer (Ann Arbor): two outlets (50 kW) ($40,000)
  • Hage Automotive (Jackson Airport): three outlets (50 kW) ($30,679)

Since the launch of the Charge Up Michigan program, EGLE has allocated more than $4 million for chargers at 76 locations with a total of 182 charging station outlets. Each charging station has at least two outlets, allowing multiple vehicles to charge simultaneously. More than half of the approved direct current fast charger projects have been installed and are operational, making them publicly available for EV drivers at any time.

The goal of the program is to complete the statewide charging network by 2030. Funding is still available, and applications are encouraged from host sites throughout the Upper Peninsula, as well as in the northwest, southwest, and southeast Lower Peninsula.

Ann Arbor Kroger Store Finishes $3.5M Renovation
The Kroger store at 400 S. Maple Road in Ann Arbor has completed a $3.5 million renovation project.

The renovation to the 55,441-square-foot store included expanding the Kroger Pickup area, grab-and-go cases throughout the store and updates to the Starbucks and Murray’s Cheese kiosks.

Detroit-based Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Experts Release ‘Hard Reset’
Detroiters Marlo Rencher and Marlin Williams have released “Hard Reset: Framing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as the New Normal,” a book that serves as a guide for those who want to facilitate change within their organizations.

The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats. Learn more at hardresetinclusion.com.

Rencher is an entrepreneur, anthropologist, and educator with more than two decades of experience in start-up and small business development. Williams has more than 20 years’ experience as a global diversity and inclusion officer for two Fortune 500 companies.

“Writing this book has been on my mind for a number of years, but in 2020 there was a series of events,” says Williams. “First, we had our pandemic and you could see the disparity between the people who could work from home and those who couldn’t. Then there was the murder of George Floyd — that just took us to a different place. This book is for anybody who is curious about diversity, equity and inclusion and doing something about it.”

Rencher and Williams co-wrote the book during the global COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of racial reckoning while the world was under lock-down orders, allowing an opportunity of self-reflection — and revelation. The authors recognized this was a critical moment — an opportunity to help people shift their mindsets and build equity and inclusion into the normal course of doing business.

“We need to take a reset, a refresh. We need to have much more real conversations,” says Rencher. “We’re at a point generationally where a lot of the fake things are being stripped away. Ultimately what encourages me is that corporations are starting to realize it’s in their best interest to be inclusive. Hopefully we can play a part in helping people to make some changes.”

“Hard Reset” addresses:

  • How to make long-term change that provides financial and strategic value for your organization.
  • How to accurately assess organizational friction points that make equity and inclusion more difficult.
  • How to use data to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • How to reinvent employee resource groups.
  • How to do your work and protect your peace.

“We are gleaning from real life experiences and it’s not sugar coated,” Williams says. “I want (this book) to start a conversation, I’d like it to end some conversations, I’d like it to leave people more enlightened, asking more questions, and understanding that we’re more alike than we are different.”

Mackinac Island Prepares for 73rd Annual Lilac Festival
Mackinac Island’s 73rd Annual Lilac Festival is set to take place June 4-13 as a hybrid of in-person and virtual events with the health and safety of the island community, employees, and guests as the priority.

Festivities for the 10-day Lilac Festival include the coronation of the Lilac Festival queen, court, and princess, the Lilac Festival poster reveal, daily walking tours, and planting sessions with lilac expert Jeff Young, the Lilac Festival Run/Walk, and the Michigan Cornhole Tournament.

This year will also mark the release of “Lilacs: A Fortnight of Fragrance on Mackinac Island,” a new book written by lifelong Mackinac Island summer resident Sue Allen and master gardener Jeff “The Lilac Man” Young.

In addition to in-person programming on the island, lilac enthusiasts everywhere can enjoy virtual content through Mackinac Island Tourism’s social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

“We are so thrilled to safely welcome certain events back for the 2021 Lilac Festival — including the run/walk and, of course, Jeff Young’s treasured walking tours and planting sessions,” said Tim Hygh, executive director of Mackinac Island Tourism. “One of the gifts of the 2020 season was the ability to provide outstanding Mackinac Island experiences to new and returning enthusiasts virtually from the comfort of their homes, and we plan to continue that through virtual programming this year.

“This hybrid model enables everyone to enjoy Mackinac Island’s rich traditions and history. Whether here in person or tuning in through social media, we’re eager to show off the island’s gorgeous lilacs this spring.”

For more information on the festival, visit here.

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