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.
The Parade Co. Announces Star-studded Lineup for Thanksgiving Parade
The Parade Co. has announced its lineup of celebrities taking part in this year’s America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Gardner White, led by grand marshals Calvin Johnson and Bishop Edgar Van, and honorary grand marshal Marla Drutz.
The 95th installment of the great Detroit tradition will feature musical acts, Olympians, and a Little League baseball team.
“We have this amazing tradition in our city and for nearly a century, America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Gardner White has brought our community together in a very special way,” says Tony Michaels, president and CEO of The Parade Co. “We are elated to have these exceptional individuals joining us on Woodward Avenue and across much of America on Thanksgiving morning.”
Johnson is a Detroit Lions legend and pro Football Hall of Famer known to many as “Megatron.” Vann is a major contributor to the greater good for Detroit and communities around the world via faith-based and motivational platforms. Drutz is the longtime WDIV-TV vice president and general manager who is retiring later this year.
The opening act of the parade will be a performance of “Circle of Life” by the cast of Disney’s Broadway musical “The Lion King.” They will be joined by the Detroit Youth Choir, directed by Anthony White.
Another choir participating in the parade in 2021 is the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences Choir, directed by Angela Kee.
Celebrities who will be riding floats include:
- Catie DeLoof, U.S. Olympian and bronze medalist in swimming.
- Amanda Chidester, U.S. Olympian and silver medalist in softball.
- James Piot, the Michigan State University golfer who won the 2021 U.S. Amateur Championship.
- Katherine Nye, U.S. Olympian and gold medalist in weightlifting.
- Michael Hixon, U.S. Olympian and silver medalist in Diving at the 2016 Rio Games.
- Rachel Mac, a finalist on NBC’s “The Voice Season 20.”
- Taylor North Baseball Team, champions of the 2021 Little League World Series.
- Santa Claus.
Also in the line-up are five new floats created and built by The Parade Co. artists. New floats will debut this year from Central Michigan University, Delta Dental, General Motors, Henry Ford Health System, and the Skillman Foundation.
One of The Parade Co.’s most important fundraisers, the Hob Nobble Gobble presented by Ford Motor Co., will take place Nov, 19 at Ford Field. Guests will be treated to a performance by Big Boi of the hip-hop group Outkast. Tickets are limited and available at theparade.org.
Detroit-Windsor Tunnel to Remain Cashless After Reopening Nov. 8
The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel will be fully reopened for vaccinated, nonessential travel to the U.S. effective Nov. 8, and it will remain cashless on the Detroit side of the border for those vehicles traveling to Canada.
The Canadian side of the border will continue to accept cash tolls through the end of the year, at which point cash will no longer be accepted as a form of payment.
The new cashless process is simple: Travelers can sign up for an electronic Nexpress account, load up their account and receive a toll discount on every trip. Additionally, customers can continue to use credit and debit cards or mobile payments in the lane. Learn more at DWTunnel.com.
“It will be great to see our customers again, and we offer our thanks for the patience shown as we continue to navigate through this global pandemic together,” says Neal Belitsky, president of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. “We are happy to announce that we are reopening border travel to the U.S. through the tunnel to vaccinated, nonessential travelers, and we will be working with our partners in the U.S. and Canadian governments to ensure a safe return to service.”
Transit Windsor’s tunnel bus service currently remains suspended.
Health screenings at points of entry may be required per U.S. and Canadian government guidelines. Prior to crossing the border, visitors to the United States should consult the Department of Homeland Security website to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria to enter the country. American visitors to Canada should continue to consult the Public Health Agency of Canada website for entry eligibility requirements.
Restaurant and Lodging Group Honors Hospitality Industry Leaders
The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association in Lansing honored the hospitality industry’s top leaders at the Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner Nov. 3 at MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit.
The Stars of the Industry awards recognize outstanding members of all roles within Michigan’s hospitality industry who have demonstrated professionalism and creativity while going above and beyond to contribute to the positive image of the industry.
“We are delighted to recognize some of the hospitality industry’s finest leaders and innovators in the state,” says Justin Winslow, president and CEO of MRLA. “These professionals make a positive impact on the industry, the guest experience, and the career paths of associates in their respective organizations.”
Those honored included:
- Hospitality Star of the Year, Mark and Liz Ware of Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island.
- The North Star: Employee of the Year, Scott Parkhurst of Restaurant Partners Management in Traverse City.
- Restaurant Manager of the Year, Brandon Massnick of Old City Hall Restaurant in Bay City.
- General Manager of the Year, Mike Costello of the Inn at Bay Harbor.
- Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year, Becca Lawrukovich of the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth Township.
- Women in Hospitality Leadership Award, Christina Post of Anna’s House in Grandville.
- The Heart of the House Award, Chef Carl Clarke of AC Hotel in Grand Rapids.
- CVB Star of the Year, Katherine Johnson of the Ann Arbor CVB.
- Sustainability Recognition Award, Leigh Farrell of Suburban Inns in Grand Rapids.
- Guest Relations Hotel Star of the Year, Gary Keoleian of The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.
- Front of the House Restaurant Star of the Year, Jaslyn Staten of Margaux restaurant in JW Marriott in Grand Rapids.
- Engineering + Operations Star of the Year, Astrit Nacollari of The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.
- Room Attendant Star of the Year, Rene Cherwinski of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.
- Sales and Marketing Star of the Year, Amanda Bushor of DoubleTree by Hilton Port Huron.
- Seasonal Operator of the Year, Frank and Lyn Marro of Marrro’s Italian Restaurant in Saugatuck.
- HR Professional of the Year, Ryan Macy of Island House Hotel and Callewaert Family Business Collective on Mackinac Island.
- Allied Partner Award, Republic National Distributing Co.
Lawrence Tech to Offer 50 $80K Scholarships to Wayne-Westland Students
Officials of Lawrence Technological University in Southfield and the Wayne-Westland Community Schools signed an agreement Wednesday to offer students college scholarships to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering, arts and architecture, or mathematics (STEAM) disciplines.
The Blue Devil Wayne-Westland Scholars program will provide scholarships to 50 Wayne-Westland students from the district’s two high schools, Westland John Glenn and Wayne Memorial High School, as well as its William D. Ford Career-Technical Center. Each scholarship is worth $80,000.
“This new partnership accomplishes several of our goals as a school district,” says John Dignan, superintendent of the Wayne-Westland Community Schools. “We want to create more STEAM scholars to fill the huge talent gap in those disciplines. This gap is especially severe in Southeast Michigan.”
The agreement between LTU and the Wayne-Westland schools creates a partnership between the two educational institutions. In addition to providing the scholarships, LTU also has pledged to:
- Design middle school summer camps in the STEAM disciplines that will provide educational and career exploration for students in the middle schools.
- Host Wayne-Westland students in its “Extreme Science Saturdays” program.
- Establish a focused STEAM exploration day for Wayne-Westland middle schools.
- Host campus tours for Wayne-Westland students.
- Provide workshops for Wayne-Westland teachers in teaching techniques known as Active Collaborative Learning and Project-Based Learning.
“The programs and degrees Lawrence Tech offers in the STEAM disciplines lead to exciting, well-paying careers that can help solve some of society’s biggest problems, from sustainability to better health care,” says Virinder Moudgil, president of LTU president. “Higher education improves people’s lives in profound ways, and we’re happy to partner with the Wayne-Westland Community Schools to offer more opportunities for their students.”
97.9 WJLB Hosts 38th Annual Coats for Kids Radiothon
Detroit hip-hop and R&B radio station 97.9 WJLB-FM is raising money and collecting coats and other winter accessories during its 38th annual Coats for Kids Radiothon sponsored by The MolinaCares Accord to benefit The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit.
This year, the event returns in-person from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at RollerCade Detroit, located at 2130 Schaefer Highway in Detroit.
The Salvation Army 2021 Coats for Kids campaign provides coats and other winter accessories to children in need across metro Detroit. Listeners can drop off new children’s coats – infant through adult sizes – throughout the event.
Listeners who are not able to attend the Coats for Kids drive can still support the cause by donating online at salmich.org or texting COAT to 24365. A donation of $25 will help provide a coat and other winter accessories to keep one child warm this winter.
“Keeping families warm with proper clothing during bitter cold Michigan winters is not an easy task,” says Maj. Tim Meyer, general secretary and metro Detroit area commander (regional chief operating officer) for The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division. “We are so grateful for our longstanding partnership with WJLB for the Coats for Kids Radiothon. Their efforts and support help ensure no child in metro Detroit is left without a coat.”
Families in need of winter coats and accessories for their children this season can contact their local Salvation Army corps community center for assistance. A complete listing of locations is available at salmich.org. Additional corporate support for the 2021 Coats for Kids Radiothon is provided by the Ford Motor Co. Fund.
MSU Receives $15M from USAID to Empower Youth Success in Kenya
Michigan State University in East Lansing has received a $15 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to serve 300,000 youth in Kenya and help create job opportunities that can improve their lives and transform their communities.
In the USAID Empowered Youth project, MSU will partner with two other universities and youth organizations across Kenya to provide training on life skills training and starter funds to empower young people to work together in ways that support local economies.
Continuing high unemployment in Kenya disproportionately affect the livelihood and well-being of people ages 15-24, a large part of the population. The economic climate can be especially challenging for youth who lack formal education, have disabilities or are at-risk adolescent girls.
“We often see youth, especially in Africa, as lacking something instead of being great partners who can lead transformation themselves,” says Leapetswe Malete, project director and associate professor in the MSU Department of Kinesiology, where he also is part of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports. “We need to change this way of thinking about youth’s role in society. If we do that in Kenya, we are likely to have an impact in the region and across the continent on how to engage youth effectively as development partners.”
The interdisciplinary project engages multiple partners at MSU, including the College of Education; the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Global Innovations in Development, Education and Scholarship, or Global IDEAS; the Global Youth Advancement Network; and the Center for Gender in Global Context. EGU and USIU are members of the Alliance for African Partnership, an MSU-founded consortium that includes MSU, 10 leading African universities and a distinguished network of African research institutes.
Other key partners, the National Youth Bunge Association and the National Cooperative Business Association Cooperative League of the United States of America, will play an important role in mobilizing youth from six counties during the first year and later expanding to 20 additional counties.
Over five years, the project will strengthen local partner capacity to serve larger, especially vulnerable and more diverse groups of youth through peer-to-peer mentoring, skills building and information sharing. It will progressively transfer responsibility to local champions and systems, increase county government and private sector buy-in as well as foster participation in supporting youth initiatives.
New Mural in Sherwood Forest Summons Black Creators
There is a new mural in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood of Detroit featuring Static, the Black superhero created by Milestone Comics, calling all diverse aspiring comic creators to apply for a chance to learn from the very best.
Ally recently teamed up with WarnerMedia and DC Comics to create the Milestone Initiative, an initiative that aims to identify, support, and elevate emerging Black and diverse writers and artists within the comic book industry and superhero genre. Black and diverse writers and illustrators can apply to the week-long Milestone Summit here by Nov. 14 where they’ll receive access to tools and education related to a career in comics.
Ally commissioned local artist Ijania Cortez to design and paint the mural of Static. Because Milestone’s fictional universe, Dakotaverse, is inspired by Detroit, Ijania’s homage to the Static character offers a special nod to the city as well. The new mural at 19344 Livernois.