Still Time to Support Michigan Small Businesses

Still Time to Support Michigan Small Businesses

Contact: Kathleen Achtenberg achtenbergk@michigan.org

June 30, 2020

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is reminding Michiganders that there is still time to support small businesses participating in the MI Local Biz community crowdfunding program. Launched in early June, more than 100 campaigns utilizing this crowdfunding for COVID-19 recovery efforts will be expiring over the coming days and weeks, with many still seeking support from the public to meet their crowdfunding goals. MEDC will provide up to $5,000 in matching funds per business to help them as they work to recover from the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Small businesses around the state are taking part in the MI Local Biz program and while many businesses have already reached their crowdfunding goals, many more need additional support to help get them to the finish line. This program is a unique opportunity for patrons of these small businesses to help them in a time of need,” said Michele Wildman, Senior Vice President of Community Development at the MEDC. “Michigan’s small businesses and traditional downtowns are a vital part of the state’s economy, and MI Local Biz offers innovative access to capital for those businesses that have experienced a loss in revenue directly related to the COVID-19 crisis.”

Earlier in June, MEDC announced that approximately 100 small businesses around the state were chosen to participate in the MI Local Biz crowdfunding program as a way to raise funds as they work to recover from the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The program builds on the MEDC’s successful Public Spaces Community Places (PSCP) program, which allows residents to use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities. Projects that reach their fundraising goals then receive a matching grant from MEDC.

More than 60 businesses around the state are still actively raising funds through the MI Local Biz program – in communities ranging from Houghton in the Upper Peninsula, to Benton Harbor in Southwest Michigan, to Spring Lake in West Michigan, to the Lake Michigan port city of Manistee, to Port Huron at the easternmost point of the state.

Examples of the types of businesses still participating include restaurants/bars/coffee shops, cafes, salons/day spas, yoga studios, historic theaters, retail shops, art galleries, recreation businesses, and many other small businesses retailing products or providing services in a face-to-face physical location within the state of Michigan.

Layla’s Cool Pops in Kalamazoo successfully leveraged MI Local Biz to not only meet but exceed its crowdfunding goal of $5,000. Established in 2016 by then 11-year-old Layla, Layla’s Cool Pops is a youth-owned and operated baking business seeking to “eliminate homelessness one sweet at a time.” Layla’s Cool Pops is becoming a business with a significant community impact. Currently, Layla’s Cool Pops donates weekly to a local community nonprofit whose focus is on providing supports and services to the homeless community and other vulnerable community groups.

“We are truly honored and blessed to be a part of the MEDC/MI Patronicity campaign. The vast community support has completely changed the trajectory of Layla’s Cool Pops and the impact that we will be able to make together,” said Luchara Wallace, co-owner and Layla’s mother. “We are now imagining additional possibilities that might allow us to provide affordable housing sooner than we thought possible and it is all because of the support of our community. Together we will eliminate homelessness one sweet at a time.”

In Marquette, Velodrome Coffee Company was founded with the goal of not only serving its community but supporting coffee farmers around the globe with an emphasis on sharing their coffee and their stories. When the COVID-19 outbreak hit Michigan, Velodrome was experiencing some of its greatest business growth to date. Through the MI Local Biz program, Velodrome also exceeded its $5,000 crowdfunding goal, having raised more than $7,300 from community members to support its future success. Today, the company is looking to reopen its doors, rehire its employees, build an outdoor seating experience and find additional ways to support coffee farmers directly.

“Receiving this grant through our community’s support will be a massive help to Velodrome as we navigate rebuilding from the shutdown caused by Covid-19,” said Velodrome Coffee Company Founder and Co-Owner Brice Sturmer. “We feel overwhelmed with kindness. We’re excited to continue our mission of roasting personally sourced coffees and bringing the stories of coffee farmers across the globe to our customers.”

MI Local Biz allows for a small business to utilize donation-based crowdfunding through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity’s existing platform and to receive a 1:1 matching grant from MEDC of up to $5,000. Funds must be used by the businesses for working capital needs to maintain ongoing operations during and through the COVID-19 crisis. MEDC will provide a total of $500,000 in matching grants to the participating businesses statewide.

Individuals interested in learning more and supporting businesses in their communities can visit https://www.patronicity.com/milocalbiz. The page includes a list of all the businesses running campaigns through the program, and there is also a map showing the locations of them throughout the state.

To learn more about MEDC’s COVID-19 response programs and the impact they are having on economic recovery efforts, visit michiganbusiness.org/covid19response. Other resources for economic reopening efforts as well as businesses across Michigan struggling with economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus can be found online at michiganbusiness.org/covid19. The MEDC has also developed a FAQ for Michigan businesses and communities at michiganbusiness.org/covid19-faq.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Whitmer Releases MI Safe Schools Roadmap

Whitmer Releases MI Safe Schools Roadmap

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 30, 2020

Media Contact: Press@Michigan.gov

 

Governor Whitmer Releases MI Safe Schools Roadmap, Directs School Districts to Develop Return to School Plans

Roadmap includes guidance on PPE, hygiene and cleaning protocols, athletics, and more

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap, a comprehensive document to help districts create local plans for in-person learning in the fall. The Roadmap outlines a number of safety protocols for schools to implement in each phase of the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan. The governor also signed Executive Order 2020-142, which provides a structure to support all schools in Michigan as they plan for a return of PreK-12 education in the fall.

“Our students, parents, and educators have made incredible sacrifices during our battle with COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “Thanks to our aggressive action against this virus, the teachers who have found creative ways to reach their students, and the heroes on the front lines, I am optimistic that we will return to in-person learning in the fall. The MI SafeSchools Return to School Roadmap will help provide schools with the  guidance they need as they enact strict safety measures to continue protecting educators, students, and their families. I will continue working closely with the Return to Learn Advisory Council and experts in epidemiology and public health to ensure we get this right, but we also need more flexibility and financial support from the federal government. This crisis has had serious implications on our budget, and we need federal support if we’re going to get this right for our kids.”

“The most important thing we can do as we prepare to reopen school buildings in the fall is closely examine the data and remain vigilant in our steps to fight this virus,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “I will continue to work closely with Governor Whitmer and the Return to Learn Advisory Council to ensure we continue to put the health and safety of our students and educators first. We will remain nimble to protect students, educators, and their families.”

Executive Order 2020-142 requires school districts to adopt a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan laying out how they will protect students and educators across the various phases of the Michigan Safe Start Plan. The MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap offers guidelines as to the types of safety protocols that will be required or recommended at each phase. In recognition that these protocols will cost money, the Governor also announced that she was allocating $256 million to support the districts in implementing their local plans as part of the bipartisan budget agreement the Senate Majority Leader, the Speaker of the House, and the governor announced yesterday.

The safety protocols detailed in the MI Safe Schools Roadmap includes guidance on  the use of PPE, good hygiene, cleaning/disinfecting, spacing in classrooms, screening for symptoms, athletics, and more. The Roadmap also recognizes the impact COVID-19 has had on students’ and educators’ metal health, and offers guidance on how schools can address this issue.

Governor Whitmer will continue to use the MI Safe Start Plan as the highest-level governing framework for determining if and when it is safe to resume in-person instruction.

“All of us on the Return to Learn Advisory Council share a commitment to marrying science and evidence, and practicality and local needs to ensure the health and safety of our students and educators,” said Tonya Allen, President and CEO of The Skillman Foundation and Chair of the Return to Learn Advisory Council. “We are proud to have a leader in the governor’s office who is committed to working with parents, teachers, and students to make sure we get this right. We will remain vigilant and flexible, helping ensure safety protocols are in place in every Michigan school.”

“The governor’s MI Safe Schools Roadmap is a thoughtful, comprehensive plan that puts the health and safety of our students and educators first, balancing this priority with the importance of in-school education,” said David Hecker, President of AFT Michigan. “Our teachers and support staff are eager and ready to implement safety measures in our schools to ensure everyone who steps foot in them is protected from the spread of COVID-19. I applaud the governor’s leadership and unwavering commitment to our students during this time, and look forward to working closely with her as we continue to protect Michiganders from this virus.”

On June 3, the governor announced a group of 25 leaders in health care and education to serve on the COVID-19 Return to Learn Advisory Council. The council is chaired by Tonya Allen, and includes public health experts, a pediatrician, educators, school administrators, school board members, community leaders, parents, and students. The Council will continue to work closely with the governor as she continues to put the health and safety of our students and educators first. On June 17, 2020, Governor Whitmer announced that Michigan schools may resume in-person learning in phase 4 of the MI Safe Start plan, with strict safety measures in place.

The Advisory Council was created to identify the critical issues that must be addressed, provide valuable input to inform the process of returning to school, and ensure a smooth and safe transition back to school. The Council will act in an advisory capacity to the Governor and the COVID-19 Task Force on Education, and will continue to develop recommendations regarding the safe, equitable, and efficient K-12 return to school in the Fall.

To view the governor’s MI Safe Schools Roadmap, click here. To view Executive Order 2020-142, click the link below:

Board selects Benjamin Kirby as Superintendent

Board selects Benjamin Kirby as Superintendent

 

The LOCS Board of Education has selected Benjamin Kirby as the district’s next Superintendent, poised to lead the district into the next generation.

Mr. Kirby, currently the Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services in South Lyon Community Schools, was selected by the unanimous 7-0 vote at the special remote board meeting on Monday, June 29.

“After an extremely thorough process, the Board took the step unanimously to hire Mr. Ben Kirby,” LOCS Board of Education President Jim Weidman said. “The community looks forward to his leadership in Lake Orion Community Schools.”

The Board members shared their thoughts about the process and their rationale to support Mr. Kirby.

With the Board’s endorsement of Mr. Kirby, negotiations will begin on a contract, intending for him to be formally approved at a special July 6 board meeting.

Mr. Kirby’s scheduled official start date in the district is July 20, 2020.

“I’m incredibly thankful, humbled and honored to be selected as the new Lake Orion Community Schools Superintendent,” Mr. Kirby said. “I look forward to building relationships with the Board, staff, students and community. Go Dragons!”

The Board announced LOCS Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Rick Arnett will be the Superintendent designee until Mr. Kirby officially begins.

Mr. Kirby succeeds retiring Superintendent Marion Ginopolis, whose 10-year tenure in LOCS concludes Tuesday, June 30, with her final day of district employment.

An assistant superintendent in South Lyon since January 2018, Mr. Kirby was responsible for all aspects of Human Resources and Public Relations as well as overseeing the Transportation and Athletic Departments. Prior to joining South Lyon, Mr. Kirby worked as an associate superintendent in Ionia Public Schools from July 2007 – January 2018.

Mr. Kirby earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Michigan State University, a Masters in educational leadership from Western Michigan University and an Educational Specialist degree in Leadership from Grand Valley State University.

The Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education is thrilled to have Mr. Kirby join the current administrative team and looks forward to many prosperous years under his leadership.

315 North Lapeer Street, Lake Orion, MI 48362

248-693-5400

 

The LOCS Board of Education has selected Benjamin Kirby as the district’s next Superintendent, poised to lead the district into the next generation.

Mr. Kirby, currently the Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services in South Lyon Community Schools, was selected by the unanimous 7-0 vote at the special remote board meeting on Monday, June 29.

“After an extremely thorough process, the Board took the step unanimously to hire Mr. Ben Kirby,” LOCS Board of Education President Jim Weidman said. “The community looks forward to his leadership in Lake Orion Community Schools.”

The Board members shared their thoughts about the process and their rationale to support Mr. Kirby.

With the Board’s endorsement of Mr. Kirby, negotiations will begin on a contract, intending for him to be formally approved at a special July 6 board meeting.

Mr. Kirby’s scheduled official start date in the district is July 20, 2020.

“I’m incredibly thankful, humbled and honored to be selected as the new Lake Orion Community Schools Superintendent,” Mr. Kirby said. “I look forward to building relationships with the Board, staff, students and community. Go Dragons!”

The Board announced LOCS Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Rick Arnett will be the Superintendent designee until Mr. Kirby officially begins.

Mr. Kirby succeeds retiring Superintendent Marion Ginopolis, whose 10-year tenure in LOCS concludes Tuesday, June 30, with her final day of district employment.

An assistant superintendent in South Lyon since January 2018, Mr. Kirby was responsible for all aspects of Human Resources and Public Relations as well as overseeing the Transportation and Athletic Departments. Prior to joining South Lyon, Mr. Kirby worked as an associate superintendent in Ionia Public Schools from July 2007 – January 2018.

Mr. Kirby earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Michigan State University, a Masters in educational leadership from Western Michigan University and an Educational Specialist degree in Leadership from Grand Valley State University.

The Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education is thrilled to have Mr. Kirby join the current administrative team and looks forward to many prosperous years under his leadership.

315 North Lapeer Street, Lake Orion, MI 48362

248-693-5400

grant will support 4,950 new jobs in Detroit

grant will support 4,950 new jobs in Detroit

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2020
CONTACT: Jeff Cranson, MDOT Director of Communications, 517-648-8247, CransonJ@Michigan.gov

Gov. Whitmer announces transportation economic development grant that will support 4,950 new jobs in Detroit

June 30, 2020 — The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has awarded a state transportation economic development grant to the City of Detroit that will support 4,950 new jobs on the city’s east side. The grant will help fund infrastructure improvements related to the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) new and expanded production facilities in the city of Detroit announced last year.

FCA is converting its Mack Avenue Engine Complex into the future assembly site for the next-generation Jeep® Grand Cherokee and an all-new, three-row full-size Jeep SUV, along with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models. The project will generate a total investment of $1.6 billion and create 3,850 new FCA jobs in Detroit. The new facility will be the first new assembly plant to be built within Detroit’s city limits in nearly three decades.

FCA will also invest $900 million in its Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP), also in Detroit, to retool and modernize it for continued production of the Dodge Durango and next generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, creating an additional 1,100 new FCA jobs in the city.

Combined, these investments total more than $2,500,000,000, which will be supported by a Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) Category A grant of $2,817,000, at a private/public investment ratio of more than 887-to-1.

FCA, headquartered in Auburn Hills, is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles family of companies. FCA analyzed future industrial production plans at its existing locations in Michigan, Illinois, and Mexico. The company decided to locate its manufacturing facilities here in Michigan at a re-tooled Jefferson North Assembly Plant and at a new facility at the location of its former Mack Avenue engine plant.

The anticipated increase of commercial and employee traffic on Conner Street relating to these investments, if left unaddressed, would have led to transportation and logistical delays. In addition to inadequate road capacity, the current bike lanes on both sides of Conner Street from Jefferson Avenue to I-94 would create conflicts with the increased truck and employee traffic. Also, poor pavement conditions would have impacted long-term access to the facilities.

To increase road capacity, lanes will be added through a combination of lane reconfiguration and widening for portions of the route. To increase safety and limit the possibility of conflicts between bicyclists and FCA traffic, the City of Detroit will reconfigure the bike lanes to the east side of Conner Street. The city will resurface portions of the roads and perform concrete repair work. The project also includes new bus stops and turnouts. The City’s commitment to addressing these issues was a significant factor in FCA choosing Detroit for these investments.

“FCA appreciates the coordination of efforts between the City of Detroit and MDOT to secure funding for local road improvements that will support the addition of 5,000 new jobs at our Mack and Jefferson North Assembly plants,” said Marc Brazeau, head of Logistics – North America, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. “We are equally pleased that these improvements will benefit local residents and businesses, as accommodations will be made for bicyclists and pedestrian access to local core services and recreational facilities.”

“Michigan is the undisputed automotive capital of the world. I am pleased that FCA chose the Motor City for major investments in these two plants and that we were able to work with the City of Detroit to support the associated infrastructure improvements,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “Transportation investments support economic opportunity. As a state, we must invest more in our roads so that employees have safe routes to work and companies have unimpeded access to markets.”

The total project cost is $3,912,498, including $2,817,000 in TEDF Category A funding and $1,095,498 (28 percent) from the City of Detroit.

Enacted in 1987 and reauthorized in 1993, the TEDF helps finance highway, road and street projects that are critical to the movement of people and products, and getting workers to their jobs, materials to growers and manufacturers, and finished goods to consumers.

TEDF “Category A” or “Targeted Industries Program” grants provide state funding for public roadway improvements that allow road agencies to respond quickly to the transportation needs of expanding companies and eliminate inadequate roadways as an obstacle to private investment and job creation. Eligible road agencies include MDOT, county road commissions, cities and villages. More information about the program is available online at www.Michigan.gov/TEDF.

Flags lowered to Honor Former State Senator Art Miller, Jr.  

Flags lowered to Honor Former State Senator Art Miller, Jr.  

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

June 30, 2020

Contact: Press@michigan.gov

 

Gov. Whitmer Lowers Flags to Honor Former State Senator Art Miller, Jr. 

 

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer has directed U.S. and Michigan flags within the state capitol complex to be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 to honor the life and service of former state Senator Art Miller and coincide with his funeral.

 

“Art Miller was truly one of the greatest leaders to serve in the Michigan State Senate because he understood people and knew how to get things done,” Whitmer said. “He worked tirelessly on behalf of Michiganders and his constituents, continuing to earn their trust and respect over the years. My thoughts are with the Miller family — the thing in his remarkable life of which he was most proud.”

 

Art Miller was born in Detroit on July 11, 1946. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University before entering public service as President of the Warren City Council in 1971.

 

In 1977, Art won his campaign to represent Warren in the Michigan State Senate, which he held for 26 years. During his time in the state Senate, he served as Democratic leader for 10 years, championing issues, such as public education and labor rights. After leaving office due to term limits, Art continued to serve Warren residents on behalf of the City of Warren through his consulting firm until his death.

 

Senator Miller passed away on Thursday, June 25 at the age of 73. Miller and his wife, Marsha, would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary next month. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children Holly, Nicole, Arthur III, Derek; and several grandchildren.

 

The State of Michigan recognizes the duty, honor, and selfless service of Senator Art Miller by lowering flags to half-staff within the State Capitol Complex.

 

To lower flags to half-staff, flags should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The process is reversed before the flag is lowered for the day.

 

Flags should be returned to full-staff on Thursday, July 2, 2020.