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.
Bedrock Launches Free Holly Trolley Rides During Holiday Season
Bedrock is inviting everyone to take free festive Holly Trolley rides around downtown Detroit this holiday season through Jan. 7, 2024.
The crimson-painted and decorated Holly Trolley makes five stops in downtown Detroit to assist visitors with shopping, exploring, and enjoying the season.
FIRST STOP: Book Tower | 1265 Washington Blvd.
The historic, newly renovated Book Tower is a must-see this holiday season. In addition to the artful indoor allure, the outside of the tower is now “Decked Out” with holiday décor! Parked outside of Book Tower for the season is a vintage 1949 Ford Club Coupe surrounded by a grand display of lush evergreen trees, making this first stop full of Instagram-able moments. Inside Book Tower is the Historic Exhibition; Bar Rotunda, an all-day café with food and beverages; Le Suprême, a French restaurant; Kamper’s, an indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge; and so much more.
SECOND STOP: Capitol Park | Corner of State and Shelby Streets
Hop off for some baba ghanouj at Leila or a flatbread at Eatóri Market! Or consider taking a stroll through Capitol Park to see the famous “We Love Detroit” photo spot …it’s a great place to pose for your family holiday cards! Speaking of the holidays, this is also an ideal stop to shop locally for your holiday gifts.
THIRD STOP: Campus Martius Park
Buckle up riders because this third stop is non-stop fun, featuring Monroe Street Midway, 1001 Winter Wonders, and Cadillac Lodge. Head over to Monroe Street Midway for winter bumper cars, an arctic slide, puck-putt, and an arcade; or you can explore 1001 Woodward Avenue to visit Santa and capture magical photos of your family throughout our winter wonderland! And don’t forget about the Downtown Detroit Markets, where you can purchase holiday gifts from 17 local small businesses. If by the end you’ve worked up an appetite, food and other refreshments will be available for purchase at Cadillac Lodge.
FOURTH STOP: Parker’s Alley, The Belt, and Greektown
This next stop is for our history buffs and holiday shoppers; Historic Parker’s Alley, in the heart of downtown Detroit, and next to Shinola Hotel, was named after one of Detroit’s first Black landowners. The Alley is now lined with specially curated shops and is adjacent to Woodward Avenue where there are many other fantastic options for you to wrap up your holiday gift lists.
FIFTH STOP: Columbia Street | Corner of Elizabeth Street and Woodward Avenue
Our final stop is Columbia Street near the upper portion of Woodward Avenue. If you already have tickets to a show or event, you know where you’re headed. If not, check out what’s happening at Fox Theatre, The Fillmore Detroit, Little Caesars Arena, and the Detroit Opera House. There are also many bars, shops, and restaurants in the area, like Mom’s Spaghetti.
The Holly Trolley runs from 4-8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and from noon-8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Today is National Utility Scam Awareness Day
On this, National Utility Scam Awareness Day, DTE Energy in Detroit is making its customers aware of new scams.
Using new technology, scammers are posing as DTE by using lookalike phone numbers, emails, and text messages. These “energy imposters” trick customers into sending money by threatening to disconnect service within a matter of hours or even minutes. Unfortunately, sometimes the threat of losing their energy service scares customers into sharing sensitive financial information and losing large sums of money.
Another popular ruse involves scammers asking DTE customers to send unusual forms of payment, such as Green Dot pre-paid debit cards, Western Union, Bitcoin, Cash App, or Zelle. Another popular scam comes through text message, where the scammers will send a bar code or URL that can be used at popular retailers to pay their bill with cash. None of these methods are viable for payment to DTE.
It’s critical for customers to recognize the red flags of energy scammers so they do not fall victim to a scam. Trust your gut when a call, text, email, or home visit doesn’t seem right. If you are unsure of a potential DTE representative over the phone or at your door, call DTE customer service at 800-477-4747. If payment is truly required on a customer account, DTE’s customer service team can help you arrange a payment.
Here’s what DTE wants all customers to know:
- DTE does not threaten immediate shut off if a bill isn’t paid on the spot.
- Even if your Caller ID shows DTE Energy, it may still be an imposter.
- DTE does not ask for unusual forms of payment such as Green Dot, Cash App,
- Western Union, Bitcoin, Zelle, or any type of gift card.
- DTE does not visit homes to threaten shutoff or collect payment for a late bill.
- DTE does not use aggressive tactics to get into a customer’s home.
- DTE does not claim a customer is entitled to a refund or rebate and ask for a bank account or credit card information to make the alleged refund.
- DTE does not ask for your personal information for a government program that claims to reduce energy bills.
For more information, visit here.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Expands Behavioral Health Crisis Services to Medicare Population
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are expanding crisis services to the Medicare population for those in behavioral crises to receive prompt and appropriate health treatment.
Blue Cross has been developing crisis services for three years with success in HMO and PPO lines of business. It expanded access to commercial members in November 2022 and continues to grow by serving Medicare Advantage members starting in January 2024.
Through partnerships with community organizations to manage urgent crisis needs, Blue Cross covers crisis services across the lower peninsula of Michigan with providers who serve patients face-to-face or virtually. Combining crisis services with traditional behavioral health care creates a streamlined continuum of care, designed to effectively coordinate care over time. Facilitating individualized care enables providers to deliver the right care in the right setting at the right time with the goals of achieving short and long-term remission.
“The emergency room has been a go-to resource for behavioral crises for well-over 70 years, but some do not need that level of care, or the environment can be inherently less settling even though lifesaving in many circumstances,” says Dr. William Beecroft, medical director of behavioral health at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
“Having access to a safe, specialized facility that accurately assesses, diagnoses, plans and modifies treatments as needed makes the world of difference when needing stabilization during a crisis. The public and private partnerships that make these services possible are extremely beneficial to our members and we’re thrilled to expand crisis services to the Medicare population in the new year.”
For a current list of provider facilities, please visit the bcbsm.com/crisiscare. To learn more about crisis services, go to MIBluesPerspectives.com.
Michigan Passes Legislation to Protect Living Organ Donors
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) of Michigan commended Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature for their actions in protecting living organ donors and promoting living organ donation across the state.
The recently passed Living Donor Protection Act prevents insurers from denying, limiting coverage, or charging higher premiums to living organ donors solely based on their status as a living donor. This legislation ensures that the act of giving the gift of life through organ donation will not result in undue financial burden or discrimination against donors.
Michigan is now the 32nd state in the United States to enact such crucial protections for living organ donors, recognizing the importance of removing barriers to donation and ensuring access to life-saving transplants.
Living donor protections alleviate one of the obstacles to organ donation and provide an opportunity to increase the number of living donors statewide. The Living Donor Protection Act is a critical step in addressing the organ shortage crisis, as it encourages more individuals to consider living donation as a viable option, according to NKF. In Michigan, there currently are 1,975 people waiting for a kidney. With nearly 100,000 Americans waiting for a kidney transplant and countless others in need of various organs, this legislation promotes a culture of compassion.
“We’re excited that Michigan has joined the other trailblazing states to pass the LDP,” says Linda Smith-Wheelock, president and CEO of the NKF. “Living donors are heroes in our eyes and we’re thrilled to have them protected in this way.”
For more information, visit voices.kidney.org.
Consumers Energy Supports Five Michigan Service Organizations with Electric Vehicles
Consumers Energy in Jackson is providing electric vehicles to five organizations in West Michigan and the Great Lakes Bay region, extending the energy provider’s commitment to power Michigan’s EV transformation.
Consumers Energy is helping the following organizations transition to EVs. They should be receiving their vehicles by the middle of next year:
· Messiah Baptist Church in Grand Rapids — One Ford e-transit van with wheelchair accessibility and charging station
· Greater Grand Rapids NAACP — One Chevrolet Bolt and charging station
· Ionia Dial-A-Ride — Two Ford e-transit vans with wheelchair accessibility and two charging stations
· Mass Transportation Authority in Flint — One Ford e-transit van with wheelchair accessibility and charging station
· Midland Dial-A-Ride — One Ford e-transit van with wheelchair accessibility and charging station
The organizations are receiving EVs in partnership with PowerMIFleet), a Consumers Energy program providing expertise and financial rebates to businesses considering electric vehicles. PowerMIFleet sets aside funds to promote equitable access to clean transportation, supporting nonprofits and customer fleets that serve disadvantaged communities. Consumers Energy also is helping 11 Michigan school districts to add electric buses.
Learn more about Consumers Energy’s EV programs at ConsumersEnergy.com/EV.
Detroit Tigers, Meijer Donate $137K Through Striking Out Hunger Initiative
The Detroit Tigers Foundation and Grand Rapids-based Meijer will be donating $137,400 to the Meijer Simply Give program that helps feed hungry families by stocking the shelves of food pantries across the Midwest.
As part of a multi-year extended partnership, the Detroit Tigers Foundation and Meijer combined to contribute $100 for every opponent strikeout during the Tigers season. The inaugural season saw the Tigers strike out 1,374 opponents, equating to the $137,400 donation.
“As Michigan-based organizations, the Detroit Tigers and Meijer are united by our shared commitment to community impact,” says Ryan Gustafson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Ilitch Sports + Entertainment. “Our extended partnership underscores our common values and dedication to making a meaningful difference in Michigan.”
Simply Give has helped feed families across the Midwest by stocking the shelves of local food pantries since November 2008. The program has generated more than $80 million in donations to food pantries thanks to the continued generosity and support of Meijer customers, team members and food pantry partners, who are committed to helping those experiencing food insecurity.
Parallel ENT & Allergy Adds West Michigan’s Michigan ENT & Allergy Specialists
Texas-based Parallel ENT & Allergy has added Michigan ENT & Allergy Specialists in Holland as a Parallel supported practice. Parallel will provide non-clinical, practice management services to support high-quality patient care.
With the addition of Michigan ENT & Allergy Specialists, Parallel is now supporting 93 providers and 443 employees across 19 locations in five states.
Michigan ENT & Allergy Specialists provides otolaryngology care for all ages. As part of complete ear, nose, and throat care, the practice also offers sinus and rhinology care, treatment for balance and dizziness disorders and comprehensive audiology services.
The practice has six locations throughout Michigan: Holland (main office), Grandville, Grand Rapids, Allegan, Grand Haven, and Hastings, with a total staff of 92 including six board-certified physicians, nine clinical audiologists, five board-certified physician assistants, and five physical therapists. Michigan ENT & Allergy Specialists is affiliated with Trinity Health, Corewell Health, and University of Michigan Health – West.
City of Royal Oak Announces Community Opportunity Fund Grant Recipients
The city of Royal Oak announced that nine nonprofit organizations that directly support Royal Oak residents and the community will receive $278,000 through the city’s Community Opportunity Fund Grants program.
The disbursements were made through a resolution unanimously approved at the Nov. 13 meeting of the Royal Oak City Commission.
The awards include:
· $50,000 to Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit, which provides social and emotional support services for those impacted by cancer, including the underserved.
· $50,000 to South Oakland Citizens for the Homeless, which offers professional and volunteer support services that address the needs of the homeless and impoverished neighbors, guiding them towards self-sufficiency.
· $45,000 to the Metro Detroit Youth Club, which works to empower youth to reach their full potential through safe, accessible and inclusive experiences that open doors to a bright future.
· $43,000 to Royal Oak Youth Assistance, which aims to reduce the incidence of youth delinquency, abuse and neglect through community involvement.
· $25,000 to Blessings in a Backpack, which provides school-age children who are experiencing food insecurity with a bag that contains enough food to provide six meals over the course of a weekend.
· $25,000 to the Royal Oak Historical Society, which is dedicated to preserving local heritage through education and community engagement.
· $25,000 to Honor Flight Michigan Legacy, Inc., which was established to honor Michigan’s legacy of ingenuity, sacrifice and commitment on the war front and home front through the creation of the Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial, inspiring visitors to meet the challenges of today.
· $10,000 to Teen Clean Closet, which provides hygiene items and distributes them to those in need in the Royal Oak community through a series of “mini-closets” hosted at local schools and community locations.
· $5,000 to Suburban Hockey Foundation, which promotes youth mental and physical health through ice sports.
Through these investments, the city says it expects that more than 2,000 Royal Oak residents will directly benefit from programming by these nonprofits. The city of Royal Oak will be facilitating these grant awards over the coming weeks, allowing the organizations to further their respective missions, as well as ensure the continued support of Royal Oak residents through the end of 2023 and beyond.
A decision regarding another potential Community Opportunity Fund Grant recipient will be made at the Royal Oak City Commission’s next meeting.
Belleville’s Ascent Recognized Among Top 50 U.S. and Top 50 Global 3PL Providers
Ascent Global Logistics in Belleville has been recognized as one of the top 50 U.S. third-party logistics providers (3PLs) by Armstrong & Associates.
Ranked 29th on the list, this acknowledgment is a testament to Ascent’s persistent focus on operational excellence, adaptability to evolving market dynamics through results-driven solutions, and responsiveness to customer needs, according to the company. Additionally, Ascent has achieved a significant milestone by being named to the Armstrong and Associates Top Global 3PLs list, showcasing the company’s global reach and strong network of providers on both domestic and international scales.
This marks the second consecutive year Ascent has been named to the Top 50 U.S. 3PLs list.
Report: Citizen Satisfaction with Federal Government Services Improves
Citizen satisfaction with U.S. federal government services continues to improve, advancing 2.9 percent to a score of 68.2 (out of 100), according to the Ann Arbor-based American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Federal Government Report 2023.
This positive momentum builds upon an even larger gain last year, when citizen satisfaction jumped 4.6 percent.
“Collectively, these two large gains have returned citizen satisfaction to levels not seen since long before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Forrest Morgeson, associate professor of marketing at Michigan State University and director of research emeritus at the ACSI. “The data suggests that citizens are happier with their federal government interactions than at any time since 2018.”
The improvement is driven by substantial gains across all four performance areas measured by the ACSI Federal Government Report — process, information, customer service, and website.
For the second straight year, citizens report healthy improvements in the efficiency and ease of government processes (up 6.1 percent to 70) and the ease of accessing and clarity of information (up 4.3 percent to 72). Meanwhile, after small dips on the courtesy and professionalism of customer service and perceptions of government website quality in 2022, both measures skyrocket. The former is up 8.3 percent to 78 in 2023 while the latter soars 13 percent to 78.
The ACSI Federal Government Report does not attempt to measure public opinion of or satisfaction with politics, politicians, or political parties. Nonetheless, factors like political party affiliation are likely to influence citizens’ perceptions of the government services they receive, per ACSI data. These effects are likely growing stronger, as the current highly polarized political landscape has caused individuals to view all manner of issues through the lens of their political affiliations.
Satisfaction among Democrats (71) and the relatively small group of “Other Party” supporters (56) is unchanged year over year, but it improves among Republicans (up 1.5 percent to 67) and Independents (up 4.8 percent to 66). These gains are largely responsible for the overall improvement in citizen satisfaction with the federal government.
The ACSI Federal Government Report 2023 is based on interviews with 847 users, chosen at random and contacted via email throughout the year.
Stellantis Mobilizes the Next Generation During Global Student Awards Program
The Stellantis Student Awards program concluded its second year celebrating more than 600 graduates of Stellantis employees for their dedication to continuous learning and education with a monetary award.
This year, the applicants were asked to explain how they would offer decarbonized mobility that is affordable and accessible to all.
Stellantis Chairman John Elkann and CEO Carlos Tavares recognized the award recipients during an online ceremony, including the six regional winners of the Sergio Marchionne Award of Excellence. Forty-six percent of the more than 600 award winners applied for the secondary recognition, by submitting a video answering the question, “What does a great company to work for mean to you?” The six regional winners – including five women – were given the opportunity to interview for a position within Stellantis.
Sergio Marchionne Award winners included:
· Yutong Wu, China
· Boiketlo Mokoena, Middle East and Africa
· Delia Alfonso Lomba, Enlarged Europe
· Mehmet Tascioglu, North America
· Vaishnavi Mangesh Kodalkar, India and Asia Pacific
· Paula Luiza Correa da Silva Santos, South America
“We are proud to support students from various cultures and regions around the world,” says Elkann. “For nearly 30 years, the Student Awards have celebrated young, diverse talent. It is our responsibility to continue this tradition, which reflects Stellantis’ positive contributions to our communities.”
Originally established as a regional program 27 years ago, the Stellantis Student Awards concludes its second year as a global program, representing six regions and 24 countries, continuing the same spirit that education and learning will contribute to a sustainable future for everyone. Since 1996, nearly 15,000 high school and university graduates have been recognized.
DIA to Host Lecture Exploring Rarely Discussed Portraits of Paul Cezanne
The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will host Susan Sidlauskas, distinguished professor of the history and theory of modern art at Rutgers University, for a lecture titled “Cézanne’s Other: Hortense Fiquet Cézanne, as Painted by Her Husband, Paul” at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 30 in the DIA’s Lecture Hall.
The event is part of the DIA’s celebrated and ongoing Bonnie Ann Larson Modern European Artists Series.
“Cézanne’s Other: Hortense Fiquet Cézanne, as Painted by Her Husband, Paul” is free with registration. Tickets can be reserved here.
“We are thrilled to welcome esteemed scholar Dr. Susan Sidlauskas to the DIA,” says Jill Shaw, head of the James Pearson Duffy Department of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Rebecca A. Boylan and Thomas W. Sidlik Curator of European Art, 1850-1970, at the DIA. “We look forward to Dr. Sidlauskas’s discussion of the portraits that Paul Cézanne made of his wife, Hortense, one spectacular example of which is in the DIA’s collection (Madame Cézanne, 1886–1887). These paintings — often viewed as ‘unattractive’ or ‘uninteresting’— are also among the artist’s most iconic works.”
Cézanne produced most of the paintings of Hortense during his period of greatest experimentation. The lecture will demonstrate and examine how Hortense was Cézanne’s most significant “other.”
Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams Opens Dec. 8 at Corewell Health’s Beaumont Royal Oak
Beaumont Children’s at Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak is preparing to light the night for its littlest patients with its holiday tradition, Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams, Dec. 8-23.
The community is invited to support pediatric patients and their families who find themselves in the hospital during the winter holidays. At 8 p.m. for 10 minutes each night, friends and neighbors of all ages will show their support by shining beams of light up to the windows of the pediatric unit.
Pediatric patients return the festive glow with flashlights of their own. The event was conceived to raise the spirits of children who might feel isolated or have difficulty settling in for a good night’s sleep during the winter holidays.
“We are proud to offer this extraordinary experience to our patients and their families,” says Lisa Muma, co-leader of the Moonbeams program. “Through the community’s incredible and heartwarming efforts, patients, families, and even members of our health care team feel cherished and supported during what might otherwise be an isolating time.”
This year, the Moonbeams team is working with local organizations to provide a sensory-friendly version of the traditional experience for children and adults who may be sensitive to stimulation.
“As caregivers, we recognized that the flashing lights and booming sounds that often comes with our event precluded an audience who would not only enjoy participating but have so much to offer our patients,” says Kathleen Grobbel, co-leader of Moonbeams and manager of the Child Life program at Beaumont Children’s. “Making the magic of Moonbeams available to our entire community is important. And this was one way we thought we could help achieve that.”
During the low-sensory, pre-event on Dec. 7, there will be a support table with stress balls, fidget toys, ear plugs, and colored paper to cover flashlights to help individuals with special needs enjoy the event. If you or someone you know is interested in participating and could benefit from a calm environment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange.
Attendees are asked to arrive by 7:45 p.m. to leave time for parking, and carpooling is recommended. Participants should gather on the sidewalk near the Medical Office Building and across from the east entrance. Buses and groups of 10 or more are asked to register online.
Parking is also available in the small parking lot across from the north parking deck and just east of the Medical Office Building on the Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak campus.
For additional information, visit beaumont.org/moonbeams.