fbpx
Andy Balaskovitz

Andy Balaskovitz

 
 
Managing editor, covers energy, policy and economic development.

Twitter: @ABalaskovitz
Email: [email protected]

Wednesday, 30 September 2020 13:55

E-scooters have arrived in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS — After two years of planning, the city of Grand Rapids has launched an e-scooter sharing program. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Passenger travel has steadily rebounded since the depths of the pandemic slowdown, but Grand Rapids airport officials are concerned about the uncertainty over future business travel as well as a looming CARES Act deadline that could cause tens of thousands of layoffs at airlines.

It’s not enough to announce diversity, equity and inclusion hiring commitments, it takes leadership teams that reflect more cultures.

Sunday, 27 September 2020 10:54

Q&A: Keli Christopher Founder, STEM Greenhouse

Keli Christopher founded the Grand Rapids-based nonprofit STEM Greenhouse six years ago to help K-12 students — in particular, children of color — along an academic path more comfortable than she experienced. As the first Black person to receive a Ph.D. in agricultural engineering from the University of Illinois, Christopher endured a challenging and isolated path through higher education. Her mission now is to increase students’ exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the greater Grand Rapids area, where she still sees a diversity gap in STEM education. Earlier this month, Christopher was a featured speaker at the Southeast Grand Rapids Community and Economic Development Conference hosted by the Grand Rapids African-American Community Task Force. In an interview with MiBiz, Christopher discussed inequities in the nonprofit sector as well as the ongoing barriers to engaging more non-white students in STEM education.

Dozens of Michigan independent music venue owners are calling on state officials to create a $10 million pandemic relief fund to help them avoid closing permanently.

Michigan’s two major investor-owned utilities are joining other large Midwest power companies in pledging to build out an interstate charging network to support more widespread electric vehicle adoption.

CROCKERY TOWNSHIP — Agri-Med LLC has added a third recreational cannabis dispensary to its West Michigan portfolio as its Exit 9 Provisionary in Crockery Township is now authorized for both medical and adult-use sales.

GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County municipal officials and business advocacy groups have released an area “welcome plan” meant to address concerns among the immigrant community, including restoring trust with law enforcement agencies and promoting equity in education and business opportunities.

GRAND RAPIDS — Gerald R. Ford International Airport officials have announced a new expansion project meant to eventually support nonstop international commercial flights.

The trade group for Michigan’s hospitality industry has launched a new campaign seeking state support to further reopen ahead of what’s expected to be a challenging fall and winter after the tourism season ends.

In early May, MiBiz began featuring small businesses across Western and Southwestern Michigan in a section called “Coping with COVID-19.” The goal was to tell the stories of small businesses adjusting to the global pandemic and capture their outlook at this historic point in time.

Family-owned businesses have been key contributors to West Michigan’s culture around charitable giving, but the COVID-19 pandemic and lingering questions around a seeming lack of succession planning may change the nature of that philanthropy in both the short and long term.

GREENVILLE — Castle Brewing Co. has been acquired by a new team hoping to bring brewing experience and possibly a new concept to the Montcalm County brewpub.

LANSING — State officials have reached a $35.2 million settlement with a company that will fund the cleanup of underground petroleum pollution at 79 sites statewide, including more than a dozen in Southwest and West Michigan.

LANSING — A bipartisan bill package in the state Legislature would create a pilot program and new tax incentive to promote affordable housing, business development and blight elimination projects in economically distressed areas of Michigan.

DTE Energy plans to significantly expand its solar energy portfolio in the next two years to support growing corporate demand for renewable energy contracts.

Since the Bay Mills Indian Community announced plans in August to launch a vertically integrated cannabis business, accusations about the state’s unwillingness to work with the tribe and the state’s own relative silence highlight what tribal experts say is a complicated web of state regulation and tribal sovereignty.

PORTAGE — The Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport is among more than a dozen U.S. airports where American Airlines plans to suspend service in October because of low demand and a lack of additional federal pandemic relief.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has released $60 million to help disadvantaged students access learning devices, wireless internet, mental health services and other remote learning materials as school districts return with a mix of in-person and virtual instruction.

Michigan leads the nation in the number of employees participating in work sharing, a program that allows partially laid off employees to continue working while still qualifying for a portion of unemployment benefits.

GRAND RAPIDS — A food vendor at Gerald R. Ford International Airport has notified state officials that 84 temporary furloughs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may become permanent layoffs by Oct. 15.

Consumers Energy is hosting a series of virtual public forums over the next several months to gather public input on the next phase of its long-term clean energy plan.

Superintendent Leadriane Roby took the helm at Grand Rapids Public Schools roughly three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and was immediately thrown into an immersive process with district staff and students’ parents over how exactly the district would function at the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Sam Gregoire went from college student to small business owner within a few months, driven by the reality that many K-12 schools wouldn’t be returning to in-person instruction this fall.

A Grand Rapids-based startup is applying sanitization techniques long used in the food processing industry to a broader range of facilities in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces.

An employee health screening program that includes dozens of Kent County businesses is helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community and keep key statistics at a relatively low and steady rate, health experts said today.

LANSING — Four Michigan tribes have been granted permission to participate in a regulatory case involving plans to tunnel the Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, giving three of them an opportunity to formally assert their treaty rights this way for the first time.

The Grand Rapids City Commission is considering a $250,000 contribution to an emergency pandemic relief fund for undocumented immigrants and mixed status families who reside in the city and need housing assistance.

Nearly 4,000 small businesses across a 13-county region of West Michigan have applied for state pandemic relief grants.

The Grand Rapids City Commission will meet next week to consider two potential November ballot proposals based on recommendations to improve citywide elections. The proposals would move city elections to even-numbered years and require general elections regardless of the amount of votes gained during a primary.