Andy Balaskovitz

Andy Balaskovitz

Managing editor, covers energy, policy and economic development.

Twitter: @ABalaskovitz
Email: [email protected]

Sunday, 15 August 2021 15:20

Philanthropy steps in where ‘broken’ municipal funding system has failed, advocates say

A recent $400 million donation to the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence has again raised questions about Michigan’s municipal funding model and broader issues around philanthropy paying for basic governmental services.

Sunday, 01 August 2021 17:01

LGBTQ ballot initiative regroups, readies court challenge after signature setback

The committee behind a statewide ballot initiative to expand civil rights protections for LGBTQ people is prepared for a legal battle after state election officials ruled the campaign had an insufficient number of public signatures to advance the proposal.

Sunday, 01 August 2021 17:27

Passenger travel rebounds as West Mich. airports eye capital projects

Airport officials in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Muskegon have yet to see passenger travel fully rebound to 2019 levels, but they remain optimistic about the gradual return of business travel and their ability to support capital investments.

Sunday, 01 August 2021 17:01

$200K grant to support delivery program for food-insecure seniors

The Food Bank Council of Michigan is partnering with state officials and local food banks to help reduce food insecurity among senior residents, an ongoing problem that was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021 16:11

Catholic Church bankrolling opposition to biz-backed LGBTQ rights expansion

The Michigan Catholic Conference has contributed nearly $240,000 to a campaign committee opposing a business-backed initiative to expand Michigan’s civil rights law to include protections for LGBTQ individuals.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021 12:27

Consumers Energy unveils ‘win-win’ solar project on former Cadillac brownfield property

CADILLAC — Consumers Energy has unveiled a new “brownfield to brightfield” solar project that converted formerly abandoned industrial property into a clean energy power source.

Sunday, 18 July 2021 17:25

Michigan study brings much-needed data to national debate over donor advised funds

New research from Grand Valley State University is shining an unusual spotlight on the spending activity of donor advised funds, an emerging philanthropic tool that’s gaining speed with relatively little regulatory oversight.

Sunday, 18 July 2021 17:17

Michigan tribes prepare for millions of dollars in federal COVID-19 aid

Hundreds of millions of dollars in American Rescue Plan funding will pour into Michigan’s federally recognized American Indian tribes, but most are still awaiting final amounts and facing key questions about how to spend the money.

Sunday, 18 July 2021 13:19

Tribal enterprises persist as gaming revenues tank during pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on tribal casino gaming revenue, officials with the non-gaming economic development arms of several Michigan tribes say their flow of capital and projects largely held steady.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021 11:56

Ann Arbor company leans on automation to maximize lifespan of wind turbines

ANN ARBOR — A Southeast Michigan company that started by inspecting wind turbine components by drone has evolved to provide more complex asset management that’s meant to maximize the output of a growing renewable energy sector.

Sunday, 04 July 2021 17:40

‘It’s complicated’: Advocates give Consumers Energy’s long-term plan mixed reviews

Environmental and ratepayer advocates are withholding their full-throated support for Consumers Energy’s new long-term energy plan that eliminates coal usage by 2025, citing concerns over potential rate effects and the scale of ongoing fossil fuel reliance.

Sunday, 04 July 2021 16:20

First-of-its-kind study of GR to guide long-term development

GRAND RAPIDS — As the city updates its nearly 20-year-old Master Plan to guide future development, local officials say a first-of-its-kind study last year can help ensure equitable outcomes while providing the best return on investments.

Sunday, 04 July 2021 16:00

Lawmakers, nonprofits again pursue state charitable tax credits

new legislation session in Lansing this year has brought another attempt to reinstate tax credits for charitable contributions to homeless shelters, food kitchens, food banks or community foundations.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021 16:55

Metro Health — University of Michigan Health renamed to University of Michigan Health-West

WYOMING — Metro Health — University of Michigan Health has been renamed to University of Michigan Health-West in what health system officials say is a “natural next step” that will help “fulfill our destiny.”

Tuesday, 29 June 2021 09:42

Entrepreneur scorecard details struggles, optimism for Michigan small businesses

Michigan’s small businesses were disproportionately harmed compared to other industries during the pandemic with significant declines in revenue and the number of businesses operating, but experts remain optimistic about a strong post-pandemic recovery.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021 11:32

Grants to support 3-year planning process around Palisades closure

COVERT TOWNSHIP — Local officials in Southwest Michigan got a more than $1.2 million boost last week to advance their efforts to prepare for the impending closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant. 

Sunday, 20 June 2021 17:40

Muskegon transit agency replaces some fixed routes with Uber-like program

MUSKEGON — Facing ongoing budget constraints, the Muskegon Area Transit System (MATS) is launching a new program this week that aims to cut costs while providing the same level of service through an on-demand platform similar to Uber and Lyft.

Sunday, 20 June 2021 17:30

SE Mich. solar installer opens Byron Center showroom amid hot market

BYRON CENTER — After selling off his telecommunications firm in the mid-2000s, Adam Harris ventured into another emerging technology field poised for rapid growth: renewable energy.

Monday, 14 June 2021 16:33

State legislation would expand commercial clean energy financing program

A financing tool that helps businesses fund clean energy and energy efficiency projects would be expanded to include additional properties and water quality efforts under legislation announced last week.

Monday, 07 June 2021 12:49

Consumers Energy launches electric vehicle program for businesses

JACKSON — Investor-owned utility Consumers Energy has launched a new electric vehicle program that provides rebates and consultation to businesses looking to transition to electrified fleets.

Sunday, 06 June 2021 12:00

Affordable housing remains in focus as nonprofit exec takes new role

For nearly 13 years, Jeremy DeRoo has played an integral role in seeking equity within disadvantaged Grand Rapids neighborhoods, particularly when it comes to housing and development opportunities.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021 13:46

State lawmakers consider bill to preempt local natural gas restrictions

Michigan lawmakers have joined nearly two dozen other states looking to stop local climate change efforts that involve electrifying various building and transportation components to reduce carbon emissions.

Monday, 24 May 2021 13:44

Whitmer updates COVID-19 workplace safety guidelines

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has announced “slimmed down” COVID-19 emergency safety rules that begin to ease workplace restrictions and guidelines for employers.

Sunday, 23 May 2021 18:35

Incoming MEDC leader cites ‘transferrable challenges’ with move to Michigan

Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced a transition in leadership last week that will bring economic development expertise from the bayous of Louisiana to the peninsulas of Michigan.

Sunday, 23 May 2021 19:00

MiBiz, Energy News Network partner on statewide energy newsletter

June 1 marks the start of a new partnership between MiBiz and St. Paul, Minn.-based nonprofit Energy News Network. For myself, though, it’s more of a reunion.

Sunday, 23 May 2021 12:47

Nonprofits partner on new early childhood education center in southeast Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS — A trio of nonprofits are partnering to develop a roughly $5 million facility this fall to help meet ongoing needs for early childhood education in a historically disadvantaged part of the city.

Sunday, 23 May 2021 11:39

Former Cornerstone University president leaves legacy of growth, investment

Dr. Joe Stowell presided over his last commencement at Cornerstone University on May 8 after more than a decade overseeing substantial campus growth and investment. In his 13-year tenure, Cornerstone invested millions of dollars in new campus facilities and expanded program offerings, including the new $3.5 million Mary De Witt Center of Nursing in April and a planned bachelor of science in nursing.

Monday, 17 May 2021 16:57

Biz leaders survey: Most companies plan gradual return to office

Michigan business leaders expect a strong third and fourth quarter this year as vaccinations and federal stimulus funds are deployed, while most companies expect a gradual return to in-person work, according to a survey by a statewide business roundtable.

Thursday, 13 May 2021 17:46

Line 5 critics challenge business advocates on shutdown potential

Business advocacy groups from around the Great Lakes argued this week that shutting down Line 5 would lead to a crisis in regional oil and gas markets, although pipeline critics say that forecast is overblown.

Sunday, 09 May 2021 17:55

Biz, labor groups spar over state’s ‘permanent’ COVID-19 workplace rules

While Michigan is making progress to vaccinate the vast majority of residents against COVID-19, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration wants to put in place long-term workplace safeguards in case the virus still maintains a presence here.

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