DBusiness Daily Update: Two New Keith Famie Detroit Documentaries Are in Production, 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.
Rev. Lawrence Rodgers of the Second Baptist Church in Detroit discusses the Underground Railroad for “Detroit: City of Churches.” // Courtesy of Keith Famie
Rev. Lawrence Rodgers of the Second Baptist Church in Detroit discusses the Underground Railroad for “Detroit: City of Churches.” // Courtesy of Keith Famie

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.

Two New Keith Famie Detroit Documentaries Are in Production

Keith Famie, a film director, producer, and principal of Visionalist Entertainment Productions in Wixom, is working on two documentaries: “Detroit: A City of Hot Rods and Muscle Cars” and “Detroit: The City of Churches.”

“Detroit: A City of Hot Rods and Muscle Cars” will dive beneath the hood of Detroit’s muscle car traditions, tracking down the original enthusiasts, the first shade tree mechanics, and car collectors who came back from World War II with a different view of themselves and their place in the world.

This film is slated for release later this year or the first half of 2023. To be broadcast on Detroit Public Television, the premiere is scheduled to take place at one of Detroit’s iconic theaters and include a display of hot rods and muscle cars. An illustrated book will accompany the film’s release.

The movie’s website can be found here and its trailer can be viewed here.

Due largely to the automotive industry attracting people from every race and culture, Detroit boasts more churches per square mile than any other city in the country. They include Gothic cathedrals, hand-painted storefront missions, and everything in between.

“Detroit: The City of Churches,” will explore the city’s rich collection of historical houses of worship, from the Catholic Basilica of Ste. Anne Detroit, founded by French explorers on July 26, 1701, two days after founding Fort Pontchartrain on the banks of the Detroit River, to the Second Baptist Church of Detroit, Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, and more.

It is scheduled for release on Detroit Public Television prior to the holiday season. A website for the film includes three trailers to view.

Signature Associates, Lino Realty Confirm ICON Sale to Bedrock

Signature Associates in Southfield and Lino Realty today confirmed the sale of The ICON in Detroit to Bedrock.

The ICON, the former UAW-GM Training Center located at 200 Walker St., is a 420,000-square foot office/tech campus situated on 18.2 acres along the Detroit River.

One of the city’s most visible properties, The ICON offers panoramic views of Detroit and Canada. The campus is comprised of an eight-story office tower, three-story conference center and three-story atrium lobby with 880 parking spaces.

John Boyd and David Miller of Signature Associates and Lino Scamardella and Michael Scamardella of Lino Realty represented M & M Iconic Venture during the transaction.

Former Hiller’s VP Brings New Fast-food Concept to Metro Detroit

Philadelphia-based healthy fast-food franchises Saladworks and Frutta Bowls have come together at Crosswinds Mall in West Bloomfield Township with Justin Hiller, a former vice president of Hiller’s Markets, at the helm. His grandfather, Sidney Hiller, founded Hiller’s Markets and his father, Jim Hiller, ran the local supermarket chain for decades.

The new 2,000-square-foot location at 4301 Orchard Lake Road, the first co-branded restaurant of its kind, opened just before the holidays and features made-to-order salads, Açai bowls, wraps, smoothies, protein bites, and more.

“The food service industry has played an integral role in my life, and I have a passion for the retail food space,” Hiller says. “I’m excited to be able to offer fresh, healthy food to this community again.”

Saladworks spent years creating a menu that caters to a wide variety of nutritional needs and diets from vegetarian and vegan to Keto, Paleo, and Whole 30, Hiller says. The menu includes 12 chef-created signature salads or guests can build their own with a base of greens, grains (or both), and their choice of more than 65 ingredients.

Any salad can be made into a wrap or bowl. Frutta Bowls are packed with vitamin-rich superfoods that are high in antioxidants, providing energizing “fuel” for the body and mind. There are also soups, signature sandwiches, panini melts, protein bites, and a kid’s menu. The restaurant offers dine-in, carry-out, delivery, and catering options.

“Our ‘build your own’ salads are the most popular by far,” Hiller says. “I was drawn to Saladworks and Frutta Bowls because they’re all about being original, and there are so many amazing options to choose from.”

Hiller says his goal is to open multiple Saladworks and Frutta Bowls locations across Michigan. The new location has 15 employees and is currently hiring. To learn more, visit here.

In-person Family Art-making Programs Return to the Detroit Institute of Arts

Two family art-making programs will return to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) this month, with Drawing in the Galleries and Drop-In Workshops resuming this weekend.

The free programs will be offered two weekends a month and all materials are provided. Masks are required for all visitors to the DIA, regardless of vaccination status. To control capacity, admission to the museum must be reserved in advance online at www.dia.org or by calling 313-833-7900. Admission is free for DIA members and residents of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.

“We are looking forward to the return of both of these popular family programs,” says Zachary Frieling, studio coordinator at DIA. “After almost two years of creating art-making projects for families at home, we are looking forward to welcoming them back in person.”

The January dates are as follows:

  • 14 — Drawing in the Galleries in Rivera Court, 6-8:30 p.m.
  • 15 — Drop-In Workshop, Neighborhood Collage, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • 21 — Drawing in the Galleries in the Great Hall, 6-8:30 p.m.
  • 22 — Drop-In Workshop, Paper Dolls, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Proof of vaccination or negative test required to attend events in the Studio, DFT Auditorium or Lecture Hall. Children ages 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated may attend workshops accompanied by an adult who is either fully vaccinated or has a negative test.

EMU’s College of Engineering and Technology Receives $42K STEM Grant

The GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti has received a $42,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation to support the college’s Digital Divas program spearheaded by the Office of K-12 STEM Outreach as well as after-school programming.

The grant will support educational needs with the creation of two 30-minute pilot television programs highlighting Digital Divas, a program designed to attract more female students to STEM careers. The pilot series will be available to all school districts throughout Michigan. In addition, EMU will purchase and distribute after-school math kits to fifth-grade students in the coming months.

“The AT&T Foundation is proud to work with Eastern Michigan University on its efforts to connect local youth with STEM and technology experiences,” says David Lewis, president of AT&T Michigan. “These efforts are opening up the minds of Michigan’s youth, making an everlasting impact in their lives and futures.”

This is not the first time AT&T supported EMU through funding. Previously, AT&T provided grants to support Digital Divas and Digital Dudes programming and Project Lead the Way.

“Grants from companies and foundations like AT&T provide the support that allows EMU to expand student resources and services,” says James Smith, president of EMU. “As a result, we’ve been able to modernize classrooms and labs, and connect students with research opportunities that make them marketable in an ever-changing workforce.”

Red Wings Alumni Face off for Cancer Against Rochester First Responders

Detroit Red Wings alumni hockey players will take to the ice against the Guardians Ice Hockey team to benefit local families facing cancer at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 30 at Suburban Ice Rochester.

The charity game featuring Rochester’s police, fire, and EMS will benefit New Day Foundation for Families, a Michigan nonprofit dedicated to reducing the financial burden and emotional stress caused by cancer.

Admission is $15 per person at the door or in advance here; children younger than 5 are free. Doors open at 1:15 p.m. Other activities including the Chuck-a-Puck contest and a gift basket raffle also will be available.

“Although we can’t change a cancer diagnosis, we can offer programs and services that directly impact the outcome,” says Gina Kell Spehn, co-founder and president of New Day. “Last year alone, we helped more than 1,400 patients, caregivers, and family members stay in their homes, maintain reliable transportation, and have protection from foreclosure, bankruptcy, hunger and utility shut offs.”

Sponsorships are available for the hockey game on the New Day website.

This event marks the beginning of a weeklong matching donation campaign. Make a donation to New Day in memory of a loved one or to honor a cancer survivor and it will be matched by another donor, up to $10,000. To donate on behalf of someone, visit the website, text NEWDAYFF to 56651, or Venmo @newdayff.

Kevin’s Song to Host Virtual Conference on Inequality in Suicide Prevention

Michigan’s largest conference on suicide — the Kevin’s Song 6th Annual Virtual Conference on Suicide — Equity and Equality in Suicide Prevention: Expanding the Conversation and Offering Solutions — will take place virtually, live and streamed, Jan. 27-29.

The three-day online symposium expands on last year’s conversation about the challenges that contribute to inequalities regarding suicide prevention and offers solutions for change.

The conference, which will be produced by Detroit Public Television (DPTV), will feature a roster of experts in the field of suicide with general and breakout sessions and supportive resources for up to 1,000 participants.

“Going into the second year of the pandemic, it has never been more important for us to provide support and awareness of mental health issues and the potential for suicide,” says Gail Urso, co-founder of Kevin’s Song. “In the current pandemic environment, many individuals are feeling isolated, depressed, and anxious.

“Many have lost loved ones or seen them face health challenges while others have dealt with their own serious illnesses. Now, more than ever, we need to reach out and let them know they are not alone, especially those who have experienced cultural biases and other social inequities. We not only intend to address these challenges head on at this year’s conference but offer solutions for change as well. We invite anyone affected by suicide to please join us.”

Registration for the conference will be $150 to attend all three days and $100 for the School Summit only. For those who are only interested in attending the Saturday Survivor Program, which is free of charge, advanced registration is encouraged but the entire program can be viewed on Facebook. Student rates are available.

Visit here for a full program agenda and information on how to register.

Make A Blanket Week Creates Blankets for Hospitalized Children

Fleece & Thank You, Michigan’s largest provider of comfort care to hospitalized children, is hosting Make A Blanket Week: Macomb, presented by First State Bank and sponsored by the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce Jan. 15-22.

The event’s goal is to make 350 fleece-tie blankets with video messages of support to comfort children facing extended stays in hospitals across Michigan. Community members and groups from Macomb County and surrounding areas are invited to participate. Participants will be entered into a raffle to win free wings for a year from the Detroit Wing Co.

“First and foremost, we are a community bank so giving back to the community is always top priority” says Eugene Lovell, president and CEO of First State Bank. “We are proud to present and sponsor Make a Blanket Week, which will bring the community together in a united act of service.”

To participate in Make A Blanket Week: Macomb, register here. Once registered, participants can pick up a blanket kit between noon-3 p.m. on Jan. 15, at First State Bank located at 41240 Hayes Road in Clinton Township. Participants also will have an opportunity to fundraise for the cause.

Others willing to donate can visit here.

“We are grateful to our sponsors First State Bank and the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce for joining us to help us in our goal of providing blankets to Michigan children who every year face extended hospital treatments,” says Nicholas Kristock, co-founder and executive director of Fleece & Thank You. “This Make A Blanket Week is a unique way to unite communities together in the shared goal of bringing comfort to the hearts of children in the hospital.”