EEOC sues Herbruck Poultry Ranch for disability harassment
A federal agency has charged Michigan’s largest egg producer with harassing a line worker and then retaliating against her for reporting the behavior.
Artificial barrier or lack of understanding? Tribal entities struggle to secure key minority business certification
Business entities owned by West Michigan-based Native American tribes face a surprising roadblock in gaining access to programs used to grow minority-owned businesses. While tribally-owned businesses often receive the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) disadvantaged business certification, they have not found similar success when it comes to getting “minority business enterprise” (MBE) certification through the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC).
Growers amping up contingency plans for climate change
Discussions about global warming often concern what could happen in the future, but West Michigan fruit growers are adapting to changes in the climate that have already been happening for decades. Jeff VanderWerff, a fourth-generation grower at Sparta-based VanderWerff Farms LLC, said he and his brother, Joe VanderWerff, spend more time than they care to admit watching changing climate patterns.
With latest raise, BarFly targets $7M in funding, plans 3-4 new HopCat locations
GRAND RAPIDS — The company that owns and operates the HopCat craft beer bar chain has secured another $6 million in capital it will use to open three to four more locations in 2019 and 2020, MiBiz has learned. In confirming BarFly Ventures LLC’s latest round of fundraising, founder and owner Mark Sellers told MiBiz approximately $5 million of the funding came from one new investor while $1 million came from Sellers himself. The company is still in the process of raising another $1 million from existing investors to reach its $7 million goal.
Redefining skills may be the key to filling the gap
Recent research has indicated the so-called skills gap of the past decade may have been associated more with expectations of employers than the qualifications of the workforce. Millions of jobs were lost in the U.S. during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, and for years after the economic decline officially yielded, high unemployment rates persisted. Even with large pools of job seekers, employers reported difficulty in finding candidates with acceptable skills, credentialing or postsecondary education. Many experts dubbed the phenomenon a “skills gap.”
FINDING MOMENTUM: The Rapid secures nearly $1 million to study ways to spur growth along Silver Line route
A new effort aims to find ways to kickstart economic growth along The Rapid’s Silver Line bus route from Grand Rapids though southern Kent County.
Lakeshore community foundation shatters fundraising record
The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area surpassed its all-time record in fundraising in 2018, receiving close to $21 million in contributions.
After latest acquisition, Riveridge to represent half of Michigan’s fresh apple market
SPARTA — Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc., the largest supplier of Michigan apples, has acquired the sales operation of Sparta-based Jack Brown Produce Inc.
Tribune TV stations go dark amid contract standoff
Approximately 6 million television viewers in more than 20 markets, including West Michigan, have lost access to local news, sports and entertainment programming because of a contract dispute between two mega media groups.
‘HUGE WIN’: What the 2018 Farm Bill means for Michigan’s ag industry
Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill provides much-needed certainty and support — and not just for Michigan farmers. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the Farm Bill, is a multi-faceted piece of legislation that affects Michigan’s farmers and farm workers, equipment manufacturers, food processing businesses, retailers, and many other people across the state.
Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Tami VandenBerg, MiLegalize
Years of mobilization around the movement to legalize marijuana in Michigan bore fruit in 2018. Now, Tami VandenBerg, a board member of the organization that helped bring the legalization initiative to voters, predicts the ways the ‘green rush’ will start to reshape the region’s economy.
Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss
As the top city official in Michigan’s second-largest city, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss is hopeful to continue the momentum heading into 2019. Bliss, who is entering the last year of her first term in office, says encouraging collaboration to tackle complex community issues remains one of her top concerns.
Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Deanna Rolffs, Inner City Christian Federation
Since 2011, median home prices have increased by nearly 70 percent while per capita income went up by only 11 percent. Now, Deanna Rolffs, vice president of housing and family services at ICCF, has a waitlist of more than 700 families who are in need of safe, affordable housing. Going into 2019, she thinks community leadership and collaboration could be the key to solving the region’s housing crisis.
Saranac firm agrees to cease operations after food safety violations
A federal court ordered a West Michigan-based food manufacturer of ready-to-eat foods, including prepared salads, dips, and sauces, to discontinue selling food products until the company complies with federal regulations and other requirements.
Future of local TV stations uncertain as Tribune agrees to $4.1 billion deal with Nexstar
GRAND RAPIDS — The proposed mega-merger between Chicago-based Tribune Media Co. and Texas-based Nexstar Media Group Inc. could mean changes ahead for West Michigan TV stations.