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Andy Balaskovitz

Andy Balaskovitz

 
 
Managing editor, covers energy, policy and economic development.

Twitter: @ABalaskovitz
Email: [email protected]

GRAND RAPIDS — BarFly Ventures LLC — the parent company of HopCat, Stella’s Lounge and Grand Rapids Brewing Co. — has sold its assets as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

key program that has incentivized small-scale solar projects in recent years is nearing its cap in two utility service territories.

For more than 45 years, Purple East has been a stalwart alternative lifestyle retailer in Grand Rapids, gaining a reputation for selling an assortment of clothing, glass pipes and smoking accessories.

GRAND RAPIDS — United Methodist Community House will receive $1 million in state funding for an early childhood education and senior activity center planned on the city’s disadvantaged southeast side.

Michigan nonprofits operating in the workforce development and housing sectors see a need to raise awareness among clients following new statewide criminal justice reforms.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state’s top public health official expressed concern Wednesday about the rising trend of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since the Michigan Supreme Court struck down dozens of executive orders earlier this month.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020 14:30

BASF to close Muskegon-area facility by 2022

MUSKEGON TWP. — Multinational chemical producer BASF announced this week that it’s closing its herbicide production facility in Muskegon Township by 2022.

State lawmakers advanced a pair of bills last month that nonprofit organizations across Michigan say would help restore charitable contributions to community foundations, homeless shelters and food banks.

On Sept. 23, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a target for Michigan to be carbon neutral by 2050. While that’s certainly a lofty goal, questions remain over what hitting the target will actually mean in practice. Over the next year, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) will submit a MI Healthy Climate Plan to Whitmer that essentially acts as a roadmap. It will begin to detail ways the state and private sector — including utilities and industrial and commercial entities — can start chipping away at the carbon reduction goal while also outlining strategies for offsetting carbon emissions. Whitmer’s announcement made Michigan the fifth state with a long-term carbon neutral target, and the first in the Midwest. EGLE Director Liesl Clark recently spoke with MiBiz to discuss the climate goal and the pandemic’s effect on the clean energy sector.

County health departments and business groups are still evaluating the potentially far-reaching legal effects of a Michigan Supreme Court opinion Friday, but a continued focus on stemming the public health crisis and keeping workplaces safe remains.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to clarify when a major ruling from Friday afternoon takes effect, saying unemployment benefits for more than 800,000 Michigan residents are in jeopardy.

GRAND RAPIDS — A downtown Grand Rapids amphitheater appears to be the most plausible of the major downtown development projects now being pursued by Grand Action.

WALKER — Online retail giant Amazon.com Inc. is proposing a 113,000-square-foot package sorting and delivery facility in Walker, just north of I-96. 

GRAND RAPIDS — The business group that pushed several major developments over the past 25 years is now focused on a downtown convention center expansion, an amphitheater and a professional soccer stadium.

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.