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Homeless Angels sets up home base for coordinating outreach

Jessep Magoon doesn't believe that everyone who holds up a cardboard sign and asks for help is doing so to support a drug or alcohol addiction.
That's why Magoon asked a friend to create a sign for his grassroots cause that helps redefine perceptions of the homeless.
In mid-April, Magoon's sign for the Homeless Angels found a permanent home in the window of their first brick and mortar office.
"It fit perfectly," says Magoon of the portable sign he has used for outreach events. "It was one of those fate things—that this place was meant to be."
Magoon co-founded the Homeless Angels with Mike Karl in November 2013. The idea, he says, is to provide a resource that bridges the gap between the homeless and local agencies.
Until April, the Homeless Angels was run from the streets. Volunteers met in parks, parking lots, churches or other supportive organizations to coordinate outreach and "street teams" to help Greater Lansing's homeless.
"Since the beginning, our big focus has been street outreach and building relationships with people who might otherwise fall through the cracks," says Magoon who is also a student at Lansing Community College. "But since we didn't have a home base it was hard to do client intake. We did everything by laptop and cell phone, and knew as we got more innovative we would need an office."
Directly across from the State capitol, the 900-square foot office at 328 W. Ottawa Street is easy-to-access, wired for Internet, has ample storage space for a food pantry and supplies, and is staffed by a core group of about 10 volunteers. There's even a washer and dryer on site to clean cloths or blankets for homeless clients. Rent, Magoon says, is funded by donations made through GoFundMe, with other services supported through community fundraisers and donations.
Magoon says his drive to build the volunteer non-profit is fueled by his past struggles with addiction. He finds inspiration, too, in the depth of understanding held by Karl, who previously lived on the streets.
"We know there are underlying factors and a story behind why people are homeless," says Magoon. "Our hope is to shed a positive light on a negative situation, and to show the community that the homeless are not just stereotypes, but people needing help to get them back into society."
Source: Jessep Magoon, Co-founder, Homeless Angels
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Music lover brings vision from the road with amphitheater development

Bob Jordan spent 20 years on the road in the music business getting his start as a mixer for Fleetwood Mac. Now he's home with a vision to bring bands to mid-Michigan's backyard.
Along with business partner Cheryl McCullough, Jordan aspires to break ground this summer on a 15,000-seat outdoor music amphitheater in Windsor Township. Located on 100 acres just a quarter mile off I-69, the $20 million dollar project will be a state-of-the-art theater that gives music fans a local option for high-end musical acts from April through October. Slated to open in 2015, the Mid-Michigan Music Theater will create 250 seasonal and 75 annual jobs.
"Lansing needs this," says Jordan, a resident of Williamston Township. "It's hard to get to DTE, Van Andel, FireKeepers or Soaring Eagle during the week. People really want this here."
The Mid-Michigan Music Theater will feature national headliners as well as local and regional acts. The layout will feature plenty of big screens, a scalable stage for big or small acts, and ample ceiling height for large or elaborate shows. Opening plans for the inaugural season include a two-day festival showcasing mid-Michigan performers.
"We're also looking into the engineering of having a roof that can close over the fixed seating area, similar to a football stadium," says Jordan. "That way we can do events in the winter and not have to depend on the weather."
Jordan says the theater will give back to the community through fundraisers, food drives, and ticket giveaways to non-profit organizations. He also envisions awarding percentages of parking fees to groups that serve as attendants during events.
Jordan has his sights on building a "green" arena using Michigan contractors. He's also seeking LEED certification. A crowd funding campaign on the arena website is open to community members interested in contributing to or investing in the project.
"We're going to do as much to support the community as we can," says Jordan. "That's important to us."
Source: Bob Jordan, Mid-Michigan Music Theater
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Veteran pediatrician founds first-of-its-kind ADHD center in Lansing

Now that he has cut back to working part-time, Dr. Lewis D. Resnick has time to devote full attention to serving a population with special needs.
In August 2013, the semi-retired pediatrician opened the Great Lakes ADHD Center within Great Lakes Pediatric Associates at 3400 Pine Tree Road in Lansing. It's a center, Resnick says, that focuses solely on diagnostics, care and education related to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder—a condition that can apply to children and adults who have difficulty paying attention, whether they are hyperactive or not. Resnick's ADHD center is the first resource of its type in Greater Lansing.
"There is a drastic shortage across the country for specialists or child psychiatrists, and a waiting list of months even for people with strong insurance," says Resnick. "That's one reason why I didn't retire. I felt there were a lot of people and families out there who need help."
Resnick has practiced pediatrics since the 1970s, and has lived in Michigan since 1977. He joined Great Lakes Pediatrics in 2012 after working at Blue Care Network and in private practice in Mason.
Throughout his career, Resnick has kept a watchful eye on ADHD treatment and trends. What he's discovered, he says, is how well some kids respond to specific care, and how some go from struggling or failing in school to being very successful.
"What that said to me is that these kids were doing better than anyone thought," he says. "Once they got help, they could demonstrate that they had been learning and could learn well."
Resnick's goal is to erase misunderstandings about ADHD, and to help families address individual needs within particular situations, particularly school. As part of his practice, Resnick regularly works with Greater Lansing school districts to help educators reorient their techniques for students who exhibit ADHD traits, and to help teachers devise strategies that build on a student's strengths.
"Cutting back from practicing general pediatrics has allowed me the time to talk with schools and to correspond with people about their ADHD concerns," Resnick says. "That's something I couldn't do with my regular practice."
The Great Lakes ADHD Center is currently taking new patients and is available for consultation.
Source: Dr. Lewis D. Resnick, founder, Great Lakes ADHD Center
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Ciena Healthcare Management expands footprint of Delta facility, adds 30 more jobs

Plans for a new rehabilitation facility in Delta Township have grown in scope after an enthusiastic reception prompted the health care company to take a second look.
Southfield-based Ciena Healthcare Management is expanding the blueprint of the 78,000-square-foot Regency at Lansing West by several thousand feet to accommodate 120 beds—up 20 from the 100 announced at the December 2013 groundbreaking. The increase, says CEO Mohammad Qazi, adds $1 million to the $9.1 million investment, as well as 30 more full-time jobs.
"We're also excited that we're creating construction jobs during the building phase," says Qazi, who estimates the now 150 full-time staff jobs will bring about $6 million in salaries to the local economy. "The community response has been very positive. We're anxious to get open."
Regency at Lansing West is the first Ciena facility in mid-Michigan and joins a network of 34 other company-run centers in the state. The facility will be located on Broadbent Road off Interstate 96 and is slated to open in fall 2014.
The single story building will feature private and semi-private rooms, common areas, a restaurant with chef-prepared food, and a library, lounge and salon. Regency at Lansing West, Qazi says, is a departure from older health and rehab facilities built in the '60s and '70s, and mirrors the "medical hospitality model" in which customers are regarded as guests, not patients.
"Most of the guests we will have will be coming direct from the hospital for a couple weeks of rehabilitation, and will range in age from 60 to 70," he says. "Since we are looking to meet the needs and expectations of a relatively younger population, this will be a very different environment, with lots of amenities."
Source: Mohammad Qazi, president, Ciena Healthcare
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Students climb toward new careers at Lansing Community College

The demand for line workers is climbing, and Lansing Community College is poised to help students reach new heights through a growing Electrical Utility Lineworker Program.
"I've heard figures from a local utility company that half of their line workers will retire in the next three years," says Matt Dunham, program director for the Utility and Energy Systems Program at LCC.
Dunham says about 53,000 jobs are projected to open up nationally for line workers before 2020, with median salaries of more than $63,000. In Michigan, about 100 or more jobs are expected to be available in 2014. The need for skilled line workers has bubbled up even more after record-breaking ice and snowstorms in early winter tested the response times of mid-Michigan utilities.
Last summer, LCC doubled the size of its line worker training program by opening the six-acre, $2.1 million Great Lakes Center for Utility Training with support from the Board of Water & Light. Three adjunct instructors were hired in 2013 and one in 2012 to facilitate training.
Since 2008, the LCC's line worker program has trained and certified more than 60 people through a school to work partnership with Consumers Energy. About 50 percent of those graduates have gone on to work at the utility, while others have secured employment through contractors associated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The college also partners with the Lansing Board of Water & Light to provide classroom training for 12 occupational apprenticeships at the municipal utility.
Students interested in learning more about LCC's selective admissions program for utility line workers should attend one of three information sessions on Feb. 5, Feb. 17 or March 13. Further information is also available on the program website.
Source: Matthew Dunham, program director, LCC Utility and Energy Systems Program
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Revive Holistic Health inspires healthy living through products and services

Maryann Lefevre Hancock grew up in Grand Ledge, went to high school in St. Johns, and soon noticed that all her friends were moving other places for jobs. That's when she decided she wanted to stay and be part of helping Lansing become a healthier place.
"Lansing is really changing," says Hancock, owner of Revive Holistic Health, a provider of massage and holistic health services in Greater Lansing. "It's refreshing to see all the massage places, yoga, and whole food stores and to see that people are really getting into more natural and healthy ways of living."
Hancock started out on her own doing massage about 15 years ago after learning her trade at Douglas J. Her home-based business grew steadily and in late 2013, she decided to officially incorporate and expand her services, particularly after pursing her education and certification through the Naturopathic Institute of Therapies and Education in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
Services through Revive Holistic health include therapeutic massage, holistic health consultations and follow-up, as well as doula services for expectant and new mothers. She also also provides chair massage to several area businesses, salons, state government offices and senior centers.
Hancock recently teamed up with a second doula as demand surged in the last year. She also expanded her line of herbal and homeopathic products to meet increasing interest in addressing some health symptoms through herbal remedies and diet.
While Hancock sees some clientele in a home-based setting, she recently began providing massage and therapeutic services through a shared office at 2583 Delhi Commerce Drive in Holt.
"My parents had both ended up with life-threatening illnesses at a young age," says Hancock. "Just watching my mother go through what she did inspired me to live a healthier lifestyle and to do what I do."
Source: Maryann Lefevre Hancock, owner, Revive Holistic Health
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Superior Data Strategies opens South Lansing office, adds staff

Aaron Fuller likes to keep business close to home.
In Fall 2013, the entrepreneur expanded his IT business from his home-based office to a building close to his South Lansing neighborhood.
"I'm broadening my capabilities," says Fuller, founder of Superior Data Strategies. "When you're just one person, you can only do one slice."
Fuller says the newly renovated space at 3132 S. Pennsylvania Ave. will enable his information technologies and services company to grow to the next level. Started in 2010, the company provides data modeling, assessment, strategic planning, vendor management, enterprise architecture, data warehousing and business intelligence to local and national clients.
"I got to the point where my clients were coming to me and asking for more," says Fuller, who also provides on-site training and education. "I knew I would either have to step back or grow. I went with the option of growth."
Fuller recently hired Brian Lund as the company's new senior consultant. The East Lansing resident joins two additional SDS team members who were added to the company roster in the past year.
The building's owner, Fuller says, updated the previously foreclosed building by installing new floors, ceiling lighting and other basic renovations. Over time, Fuller hopes to add a few more touches that will bring contemporary ambience to the 1980s structure.
Fuller reflects that he could have taken off for work in bigger metro areas, but that his close family ties and belief in Michigan kept him grounded.
"I believe that it's going to get better here," says Fuller. "And I want to be a part of that, of making Lansing a place where people want to move because it's a great place to live and work."
Source: Aaron Fuller, Founder, Superior Data Strategies
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Indoor Grow Store opens first of two stores, creates 13 jobs

Some people put up with the things that aggravate them; others just change them. Alex Manuel is among the latter, and the result has been a new invention, one new retail store, another in the works and plans to grow his business all over the state. 
The Indoor Grow Store opened two months ago on S. Cedar, and it all began with Manuel's desire to make the process of indoor growing better. When growing the indoor plants, he was dissatisfied with the local prices of supplies, as well as the devices available to trim the plants. 
"I bought a machine and it was nothing. It was bad," says Manuel. "I invented my own trimmer. It’s the best in the country." 
To solve the problem of the steep prices on local growing supplies, he then opened his own store. Manuel says his prices at the 2,000 square foot South Lansing store are lower, not only than other stores, but also most online stores. 
Manuel will open second, larger Indoor Grow Store near the Lansing Mall in six to eight weeks. After that, he says, the sky is the limit for expansion.
"We are planning to have a store in every city in Michigan," says Manuel. "If I stay healthy, we are going to expand as much as we can."
The current Indoor Grow Store employs a staff of five. The forthcoming store will employ seven to eight workers and will be in a 5,800 square foot location.

Source: Alex Manuel
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

VOA, Sparrow partner to open medical clinic for homeless with $60M potential impact

The Volunteers of America Michigan (VOAMI) serviced more than 4,000 unique homeless people in the Lansing area last year. Patrick Patterson, executive vice president of VOAMI has been witnessing up to 400 of those in need resorting to emergency healthcare services because of a lack of access to medical care for years.
"It's just been a long to watch the pain and suffering," Patterson says, "and the medical costs."
Thanks to a partnership with Sparrow, VOAMI a new medical clinic will soon be available to the homeless in Lansing. The clinic will be located at the VOAMI site on N. Larch St., and is expected to serve serve an estimated 3,400 each year, many of whom are currently unable to access the government health benefits available to them.
The better access to healthcare will certainly benefit the area homeless, but Patterson says the economic impact will also benefit all of Lansing. 
"We're looking at an opportunity of $60 million a year," he says, "This could bring significant economic stimulus to Lansing."
Work on the 6,400 square foot development has begun, and Patterson is hoping for a January or February 2014 opening. The $800,000 project will be funded by a federal grant and Sparrow, and the clinic will be staffed by Sparrow personnel.

Source: Patrick Patterson, Volunteers of America Michigan
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

New Dreamcenter to bring job training, opportunities to South Lansing

Eaglevision Ministries has been working to empower people in Lansing to become job-ready for years. Now they'll be able to expand upon that work with the grand opening of their International DreamCenter.
"The DreamCenter is a relatively new concept," says Eaglevision Executive Director Dr. LaClaire Bouknight. "It's basically a center that works to have a major impact on the community."
The International DreamCenter is located at 2200 S. Cedar, where Eaglevision has had programming in the past, but now is expanding its use through the entire building. It is located near the organization's microenterprises, Dreamworks Detailing and Dreamcones & Deli. 
Though its six workforce development programs and these businesses, Eaglevision Ministries gives job training opportunities to job seekers with barriers to employment, such as lack of experience or past incarceration. 
"We have people who want to work but have no real, credible work experience," Bouknight says. "It gives us a chance to give them, not just the skills for the job, but the soft skills of the chain of command in a workplace and how to work with customers." 

Source: Dr. LaClaire Bouknight, International DreamCenter
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Ollie's Bargain Outlet opens in 37,000 sq ft South Lansing location

What's not to like about brand name products at bargain prices? Starting today, that's exactly what can be found at the Southfield Shopping Center on the corner of St. Joe and S. Waverly, at the new Ollie's Bargain Outlet
"We are a value-oriented store," says Ollie's VP of Real Estate, Jerry Altland. "We sell name-brand products at cheap prices."
Ollie's carries a wide variety of product, from apparel to electronics to grocery items. The new 37,000 square foot store will open as part of the Pennsylvania-based bargain chain's recent push to open new locations in Michigan. 
"Lansing is a nice sized city, and we're moving right across the state," Altland says. "We're trying to fill in from Detroit through the central part of Michigan." 
The new Ollie's will celebrate its grand opening on Lansing's southside today with NASCAR star Kasey Kahne in attendance. A new Ollie's is opening in Ypsilanti on the same day, with a Flint location soon to follow.

Source: Jerry Altland, Ollie's Bargain Outlet
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

New resale shop opens on Southside, offers space to sellers

After reselling items of their own for some time, Al Labrecque and Karen Greer decided to make a business out of the practice, opening Alveda's Resale Shop on S. Waverly in March. 
"We wanted to open something on the south side of town, because there's nothing like this on this side of Lansing," says Labrecque. "We talked about it and decided to do it."
The new 1,200 square foot store sells a variety of new and resale items, including toys, collectables, electronics and more. In addition to selling their own items, Labrecque and Greer have 12 small rental booths for other resellers. Two booths are currently occupied, and the remainder are available for rental. 
"Our goal was to be different," Labrecque says. "I've been told we look at lot nicer and we have some better stuff than the other shops."
Alveda's Resale Shop will celebrate its grand opening this Friday. The store currently employs both owners, as well as receiving staffing help from a family member. 

Source: Al Labrecque, Alveda's Resale Shop
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Hannah's Koney Island owner to open Athena's Diner on S. Cedar

Fans of Greek cuisine will have a new place to get their fix when the new Athena's Diner opens on S. Cedar St. in the former Jon's Country Burger building. The new restaurant, which will serve both Greek and American fare, will be owned by local restaurateur, Anton Prenaj. 
Area diners may be familiar with Prenaj's restaurant of eight years, Hannah’s Koney Island in East Lansing's Hannah Plaza. The new Athena's Diner, says Prenaj, will be both similar to and different from his existing restaurant.
"We will have great food, and our service will be very nice," he says. "It's not going to be a Coney Island, but it will be a family diner."
Prenaj hopes to open Athena's Diner in about one month, and expects to employ a staff of about 15 employees.  

Source: Anton Prenaj, Athena's Diner
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

La Fontaine Ford opens near Jolly and Cedar, grows staff

There’s a new kind of Ford shopping experience near Jolly and Cedar in Lansing. La Fontaine Ford opened its doors on December 14, bringing changes to the dealership formally known as the Central Truck Center. 
“They were selling Ford trucks and Kenworth semis,” says John Berghoefer, general sales manager for La Fontaine Ford. “They took the Kenworth sales and moved that, and we took over the truck part of it.”
Berghoefer explains that while semi sales used to be the primary emphasis of the dealership, the new business plans to sell a much higher volume of Ford trucks and SUVs. 
“We're already hoping we can sell this month what they would sell in a year,” says Berghoefer. “Our expectations for this dealership are huge. I think we can meet them.”
The seven-acre dealership now employs a staff of 30, and soon will hire even more. According to Berghoefer, about 40 percent of the existing staff is made up of new jobs, and the remaining positions were retained from the former dealership. 

Family Restaurant opens on Southside, creates 11 jobs

The Family Restaurant on South Cedar lives up to its name in two ways. Not only is the new business owned by three siblings, but it offers a menu comparable to any traditional American family dinner table. 
“We’re probably the only ones doing this style of home-style cooking,” says part-owner Dennis Jasman. “We have meatloaf, liver and onions, and we usually have four or five types of meat on the buffet.”
For Jasman and his sisters Linda Huett and Sandra Pitchford, the restaurant business has been the family business since their mother owned restaurants in Cheboygan and Flint. 
“My two sisters and me have always wanted to run a restaurant together,” says Jasman.
The 135-seat restaurant opened in August after some significant clean up and renovation of the existing building, which had been vacant for some time prior. The siblings chose the location because of its high traffic and proximity to their home on Lansing's Southside. The business, Jasman says, is about serving the public as much as it’s about business.
“We don’t’ want to get rich,” he says. “I guess basically we like meeting people. If you’re not satisfied with your meal, we’ll do what we can to make you satisfied. If you want something we don’t have and you’ve got an extra ten minutes, I’ll run down the store and get it for you.” 
The Family Restaurant currently employs a staff of eleven. Jasman says the large selection of hot buffet items is the eatery’s specialty.
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