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Eaton Rapids : Innovation & Job News

28 Eaton Rapids Articles | Page: | Show All

Camp helps youth improve athletic movement

Young athletes between the ages of 6 and 10 will have the opportunity to improve their athletic movement through an expansion to the Speed and Athletic Enhancement camps offered by the Spartan Nutrition and Performance Program (SNAPP).

SNAPP supports young athletes in the Lansing area by providing training, testing, sports nutrition expertise and a research library at Michigan State University.

“Physical education has been cut out of the public school curriculum in the last decade,” stated Joe Eisenmann, director of SNAPP and professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University. “This program is in response to a call out from the community and parents of younger athletes who want to help their children develop fundamental motor skills.”

The FUNdamentals of Athletic Movement is scheduled for every Sunday from 6p.m. to 7p.m. starting April 27, 2014 and ending on May 25, 2014. The camp will be held at Hannah Community Center in East Lansing. For more information or to register, visit SNAPP.msu.edu or call 517-884-6133.

Source: Joe Eisenmann, Spartan Nutrition and Performance Program
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Attracting wild bees to farms proves a good investment

Attracting wild bees to farms by investing in planting their natural habitat will provide higher harvest yields and will pay for itself in 4 years according to research studies out of Michigan State University.

Historically, wild bees would have had access to a more diverse range of wildflowers to sustain them throughout the growing season. Currently, beekeepers transport honey bees into the area incurring a nationwide expense of $14 billion. This practice will not replace that practice but may supplement the cost.

“It will take some time and patience to realize the return, said Rufus Isaacs, professor and extension specialist in the entomology department. “The Initial cost of planting can be covered by government programs that will help farmers see a return more quickly.”

The study was conducted in farms in western and northern Michigan because they are #1 in the nation for blueberry and tart cherry production. However, the research published in the study is useful for farmers across the state that grow fruits, vegetables and nut varieties that require the pollination of bees.

Blaauw was the lead author on the paper and is now at Rutgers University. Isaacs’ research is funded by the USDA and MSU’s AgBioResearch. 
 
Source: Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor 

Hunt for Points and discover culture in your community

A scavenger hunt app created to help community members discover culture in their own community will be releasing an updated version.  The concept for Pointillism was inspired by the Dirty Feet Adventure race whose tag line is ‘Never Stop Exploring’.

“We wanted to create a similar experience that people could do on their own time,” said Jeff Smith, CEO. “We wanted people to get out into the community and discover it in a fun way.”

 Smith and his team partnered with Lansing Give Camp to create the early stages of the app and eventually developed Pointillism into a mobile map where users could check in to unique local sites and earn points on a leaderboard.
The new version will allow users to create private scavenger hunts with as many points of interest as they want. The potential for commercial use is extensive. Michigan State University is interested in setting up a private hunt for incoming freshman to help them get familiar with the campus. This feature is available for a fee with a cost structure based on the amount of users able to participate.

Pointillism has already been utilized by participants of Be A Tourist In Your Own Town.

 “People may not know the awesome things in their own community. Pointillism works to provide users with an insider’s view on a new community while competing against others.” said Smith.
 
 Source: Jeff Smith, Pointillism
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

GTRI and Prima Civitas team up to enhance Michigan's talent pipeline

Global Talent Retention Initiative(GTRI) and Prima Civitas team up to expand Michigan’s talent pipeline in an effort to cultivate greater economic prosperity for the state.

“Our goal is attracting and retaining talent, whether it comes from within our borders or beyond.” said Prima Civitas CEO Arnold Weinfeld. “Michigan is in catch up mode when it comes to having a highly skilled labor force for the kinds of high wage jobs that are present in our economy today.”

Due to the lack of skilled labor in our country, this initiative is one that encourages an enhancement to our statewide diversity while creating a community that is attractive and welcoming to the immigrant population. This diversity is expected to also attract a younger generation that enjoys diverse surroundings and experiences. Additionally, attracting international students and helping employers sponsor them drives up wages in Michigan because of prevailing wages.

“You are losing half of your talent pool if you don’t consider international students,” asserted GTRI's Director, Athena Trentin. “We don’t have enough engineering students with Masters Degrees or PHDs in Michigan right now. “

Currently, 40% of engineering degrees are awarded to international students with 50% of the degrees earned at the PHD level. 

Source: Arnold Weinfeld, Prima Civitas and Athena Trenton, Global Talent Retention Initiative
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Two Men and a Truck launches Career Move Month

Two Men and a Truck launches Career Move Month in March with a goal of accepting 10,000 applications and hiring 1,000 people nationwide, 24 people in the Greater Lansing area.

"This is an opportunity to showcase the careers and potential for career advancement with Two Men and a Truck,” said President Randy Shacka. “It’s also a way to proactively plan for the busy season between May and September.”

Career Move Month began in 2013 with 1,000 applicants and 550 people hired nationwide.  The local business has seen impressive growth this year signing their largest number of new franchisees and hitting their highest revenues ever. As a system, their focus turned towards improving sales processes and finding the right people to help continue this growth.

“It was the perfect storm of people, processes and technology.  We had to ask ourselves what we could do differently to sustain our growth,” said Shacka, who originally started as an intern with the expanding company. “Companies do not make great companies. People do.”

The diverse positions available will range from movers and drivers to sales and management. The increase in staffing at the Lansing corporate office will require a 7 million dollar expansion of the Greater Lansing home office. 

In addition to the reinvestment in the economic improvement of the Mid-Michigan area, Two Men and a Truck will donate $5,000 to 5 different Dress for Success locations to support career advancement for low-income women nationwide.
Interested candidates can search for existing opportunities at careers.twomenandatruck.com.

Source: Randy Shacka, Two Men and a Truck
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor


4-H Renewable Energy Camp introduces local students to innovative technologies

Local youth between the ages of 13 and 19 are invited to apply to attend the 4-H Renewable Energy Camp.

Starting June 23rd, students will reside in dorms to experience college life and participate in off campus tours around the state to learn about the unique role the state of Michigan plays in renewable energy.

Topics of study will include solar, wind and cellulose power sources. Instructors will show students the process of growing crops like soy beans, corn and sugar cane specifically for the purpose of converting them into energy that can be utilized by the community they live in.

“It will be a dynamic experience that exposes children to renewable energy and how they might be a part of it,” said Jacob Dedecker, Stem Program Leader for MSU Extension. “We provide youth with examples of what careers look like now and what they may be like in the future.”

There will also be a Teen Challenge component of the camp announced in the future.  Participants will work with leading researchers and industry leaders to find solutions to renewable energy problems and make their own experiments.

While creating awareness for the work that Michigan State University and local industries do within the different facets of renewable energy technology, the camp organizers seek to highlight successes and initial endeavors in the field for students interested in pursuing a career in the field.

The application for the camp is available online here. The cost of the camp is $190 for 4-H members and $200 for non-members. The fee includes meals, lodging and camp materials. 

Source: Jacob Dedecker, MSU Extension
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Cooley Law School supports legal writing competition

Students across the state will compete for prize money, publication and recognition through the Innovation and Intellectual Property (IP) Legal Writing Competition co-sponsored by the Intellectual Property Law Section (IPLS) of the State Bar of Michigan and Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
 
“Across the world, the industries generating jobs are those based on new technologies,” emphasized Prof. Barry, “This is one strategy to create an environment statewide where those kinds of business can prosper.”
 
Professor David C. Barry is a Professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, a private, nonprofit, independent law school and director of the Graduate Program in Intellectual Property Law.
 
“Regardless of where Michigan students eventually practice, they will have more insight into IP and be better equipped to advise their future clients.” stated Barry.
 
Open to all students enrolled in a Michigan law school, the deadline to submit entries is May 15, 2014. The IPLS provides volunteer judges who review the papers and select a winner. In addition to winning prize money, awardees have their original work published in the IPLS Proceedings journal and are recognized at their annual IP seminar in March. 

Source: Professor David C. Barry, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Eaton Rapids' Loving Hands Homecare experiencing growth, accepting new clients

Catherine Dotts, owner and operator of Loving Hands Homecare Agency in Eaton Rapids, is passionate about providing care to those in need. After working in the homecare industry for over 20 years, Catherine made the big step to entrepreneurship almost 4 years ago.
 
“We are a small business,” Dotts says, “our employees are like our family, as well as our clients. Being a small business means we are capable of providing one on one personal care for our clients."
 
Dotts and husband James employ a staff of 26, all of whom are dedicated to helping clients lead independent lifestyles within their own homes. They anticipate continued growth over the upcoming year, and are currently seeking to make additions to their diverse caregiving staff.
 
“We have been welcomed into the Lansing area with open arms, we really have been able to grow to this point with Lansing's help,” Dotts explains. “Programs through the Tri-County Office on Aging are excellent, and is one organization we have had the pleasure of being able to partner with. We are grateful for all the wonderful opportunities Lansing has provided our company.”

VFW National Home Hires Lansing-Based Traction for Branding and Redesign

With the intent to reach more military and veteran families who need help, the VFW National Home hired Traction, a Lansing-based creative agency, to increase its visibility with a new logo, collateral materials and website.

“In addition to our new website, we’re updating everything we have, from brochures to business cards and souvenir items to sales receipts,” says Veronica LaDuke, communications officer for the VFW National Home. "We were able to mitigate some of the cost by timing our launch so a lot of our collateral materials were running out anyway."

The National Home has expanded its program offerings in recent years to better meet the needs of today’s military and veteran families. The goal of the redesign was to create an image more in line with the services being offered.

“The logo is meant to represent the three words that best describe the National Home: Help, Patriotism and Hope,” adds LaDuke. “We want people to know they don’t have to come here to be helped. But if they do come here, we offer a variety of on-campus programs as well, including helping military families with housing and resources during dad and/or mom’s deployment.“

Source: Veronica LaDuke, VFW National Home

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

Capital Region Supports Local Food With 17 Farmers Markets

Love farm fresh produce?

Then you’re living in the right state. Michigan ranks 4th in the nation for the number of farmers markets, according to a new report by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Lansing alone boasts 7 operational farmers markets, and the tri-county region is home to 17.

“Between 2008 and 2009, we saw a 13 percent increase in the number of farmers markets operating in the state,” said Gov. Jennifer Granholm in a statement. “Dollars spent at area farmers markets are more likely to stay in Michigan, benefiting local communities and strengthening our economy.”

As the state’s largest industry, Michigan’s agri-food sector generates $71.3 billion annually. Production agriculture, food processors and related businesses employ more than 1 million people. Michigan produces more than 200 commodities, making it second only to California in terms of agricultural diversity.

To find a full list of farmers markets in Michigan, visit the Michigan Farmers Market Association at www.mifma.org.

Source: Jennifer Holton

Writer: Louise Knott Ahern 

All Photographs © Dave Trumpie


Convention and Visitors Bureau Launches State's First Mobile Tourism Trip-Planner

Looking for a place to eat, shop or hang out in Lansing? You can now just check your phone.

The Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau has launched a mobile application for iPhone or Blackberry that allows you to plan and map out your trip with a few thumb strikes.

GLCVB is the first in the state to offer such an application, said Tracy Padot, vice president of marketing communications.

The Greater Lansing app offers many of the same search-and-find functions of the organizations website, including information about festivals, businesses, hotels and attractions. It will also feed into the bureau’s live Twitter feeds.

“It uses GPS technology,” Padot explains. “So let’s say you clicked on shopping. . . You would get [info about] shops near your location. You would get a photo and a description. And if you wanted to figure out how to get to them, you could map it out.”

The application is available as a free download from www.lansing.org or from iTunes.

An app for Droid users should be available by fall.

Source: Tracy Padot, Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau

Writer: Louise Knott Ahern

Lansing-Based Granger Energy Builds Fifth Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project

Lansing-based Granger Energy Services has added five landfill gas utilization projects this year and is looking to add at least two more by the end of the year.

The landfill gas utilization projects allow Granger to generate electricity by using engine generators set to recover methane gas produced by the landfill. The generated renewable energy is then sold to a local utility.

The Michigan-based projects that went online this year include the Wood Road Generating Station, South Kent Generating Station and White Feather Generating Station. Granger also brought the Conestoga Landfill Gas Recovery Project in Pennsylvania and the Trans-Jordan Generating Station in Utah online.

"We believe this type of renewable energy is the most reliable form of renewable energy because all plants are online 98 or 99 percent of the time," says Granger Chief Executive Officer Keith Granger. "Other sources of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, may only remain online less than 20 percent of the time."

Granger also builds "direct-use" fuel partnerships with landfills across the nation. These partnerships allow Granger to pipe the landfill gas fuel to nearby industrial users.

Combined, Granger has 14 direct use and landfill gas-to-electric projects online in six states. Granger is looking to add more sites as demand requires.

Granger was the first company in Michigan to sell landfill gas and is one of the few such companies that also develops these projects.

Source: Tonia Olson, Granger

Ivy Hughes is the managing editor of Capital Gains and can be reached here

All Photographs © Dave Trumpie


Photographer Launches Non-Profit Oldham Project To Help People Through Grief

Photographer Terri Shaver is using her art to help local families through the grieving process.

Shaver is the founder of The Oldham Project, a nonprofit photography effort that ensures families take family portraits before a loved one dies.

“Everyone talks about having a family portrait done, but they never make the time to do it,” she says. “Not until someone in the family passes away that they say, ‘I wish we would have done that.’”

Hospice of Lansing and Ele’s Place refer families to Shaver who photographs them in their homes or in her studio.

“The response has been so positive from those agencies,” she says.

Before starting The Oldham Project, Shaver volunteered with the Denver-based non-profit Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep where she photographed still born babies and babies that died while at the hospital.

“It occurred to me that there was nothing in place like that for older people or even for children,” she says. Shaver says she wants to make the experience as pleasant and as easy for the families as possible, which is why she is willing to travel to take the photos and does not charge for her services.  

Source: Terri Shaver, The Oldham Project

Ivy Hughes is the managing editor of Capital Gains and can be reached here.


Lansing Economic Area Partnership Releases 10-Year Regional Plan for Growth

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) released a 10- year regional strategic plan that outlines a plan to improve the region by attracting and retaining talent, supporting business and entrepreneurship and creating a sense of place, among other things.

LEAP started working with the Michigan State University (MSU) Land Policy Institute on the assessment in January, first gathering and analyzing economic trends from across the country. Capital region assets were then assessed and compared to more than 50 other regions.

“This really came from the beginning of LEAP,” says Denyse Ferguson, LEAP president and CEO. “The idea was to get all of the different players in the region working together toward specific strategic objectives.”

The “Greater Lansing Next,” plan illustrates specific strategies for making the region more friendly to businesses and entrepreneurs; creating attractive live-and-work spaces; enhancing core assets; and strengthening regional cooperation.

“We will take all of the research and will work with self-selected leaders in each of the strategic priority areas and sector areas,” she says, adding that anyone is invited to participate in carrying out the plan.

Source: Denyse Ferguson, LEAP

Ivy Hughes is the managing editor of Capital Gains and can be reached here.


Prima Civitas Invests $200,000 In Three Targeted Entrepreneurship Programs

Lansing-based Prima Civitas is using its second $200,000 Mott Foundation grant to continue three programs designed to foster entrepreneurship in the region.

The grant funds three specific areas that fall under the Moving Ideas to Market (MI2M) initiative. The first, IGNITE (not to get confused with IgniteLansing!), focuses on integrating entrepreneurship into the K-12 education system.

“It also looks at components (projects) that are fun that can get kids interested in entrepreneurship,” says Holly Hetzner, special projects administrator and legal affairs specialist for Prima Civitas.

The second piece, EnGen, works toward creating entrepreneurial opportunities for college students.

“We’re building a network that universities can use to collaborate and feel free to talk about the programs going on in their host communities,” she says.

The last component, Jumpstart is “for everyone else.”

“This is for everyone who is not a child or a college student and wants to learn how to pitch before a venture capitalist,” she says.

All three of the teams are comprised of 20-25 volunteers. A MI2M conference is being held during Global Entrepreneurship Week starting at 9:30 a.m., Nov. 17 at the Lexington Hotel in Lansing. The event is open to the public and will feature each group. To RSVP by Nov. 13, click here.

Source: Holly Hetzner, Prima Civitas Foundation

Ivy Hughes is the managing editor of Capital Gains and can be reached here.

28 Eaton Rapids Articles | Page: | Show All
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