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Clinton County’s Motz Park is a Finalist for International Accessibility Award

The Motz County Park development project near St. Johns is one of four finalists for a DaVinci Award in the Environmental Adaptation/Daily Living/Work Aides category.

Clinton County worked in partnership with local community organizations and local residents to create a special outdoor recreation area at the park. The area aims to serve county residents and visitors regardless of their physical abilities.

“The project is already having an impact on the region, Michigan and beyond. Several Michigan park departments have called for information about the project, intending to incorporate design features in their own park developments,” says Jerry Jaloszynski, coordinator of the Clinton County Parks and Green Space Commission.

“I also received emails from a study group in England inquiring about development of the park’s swimming beach. Apparently, England does not generally use former gravel pits for public recreation. Our beach development will be used as a case study in the group’s efforts to change the status quo.”

A worldwide panel of judges reviewed nominations received from across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France and Denmark.

Source: Jerry Jaloszynski, Clinton County Parks and Green Space Commission

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

Lansing Wins Next American City and IBM Smarter Cities Web Challenge

IBM and the Next American City publication posed this question online for the Smarter Cities web challenge: “Tell us why your city is the Next American City.” It was simple: the winner was selected on the amount of submissions received from a city, and Lansing blew everyone out of the water.

According to Tivoni Devor, director of partnerships for Next American City, there were several cities that tried to organize posting momentum via Twitter and other outlets. “But the #LoveLansing crew was definitely the most organized and organic team in the competition,” says Devor. “About halfway into the contest they had become clear winners.”

With encouragement online to post onto the Smarter Cities page, and some nudging from @NextAmCity on Twitter, Lansing posts were consistent. Winning this competition has drawn attention to the Capital region.

“I think it really opened up a lot of eyes as to all the great things happening in Lansing,” adds Devor. “Via twitter alone, probably well over 100,000 people were exposed to Lansing. It will also hopefully inspire other cities to be more active and replicate some of the successful projects that were shared by Lansing.”

Source: Tivoni Devor, Next American City

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

HRU Technical Resources Awarded $71 Million In U.S. Army Staffing Contracts

HRU Technical Resources, a Lansing-based engineering and IT staffing firm, has secured a $20 million contract with the U.S. Army to supply technical labor to the Army’s Joint Manufacturing and Technical Center (JMTC) located in Rock Island, IL at the Army’s Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) facility.

This is the third time HRU has been awarded this contract in 2010, totaling $71million over the next three years.

“The profit we make off these projects comes back to the Lansing area, as we look to reinvest and grow our business,” says Tim Sackett, executive vice president at HRU Technical Resources.

“We have been headquartered in Lansing for our entire corporate existence — working in offices Downtown, West Lansing and now in South Lansing. Our goal is to continue to grow here in Lansing, hire locally and operate nationally.”

To meet the needs of this contract, HRU recently hired two additional recruiters to their Lansing team.

Source: Tim Sackett, HRU Technical Resources

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

MSU Grad and Local Entrepreneur Launches Text Message-Based Study Tool

While Brett Kopf was at Michigan State University tackling his class schedule and study load, he received a text message and had an epiphany: What if you could receive texts and email reminders of assignment due dates? And that’s how remind101 was born.

remind101 is a website that sends students text message a email reminders before their assignments are due. “Once one student or professor adds their class syllabus to our site, then the entire class can subscribe,” says Kopf, co-founder of remind101.  “I think it has a lot of potential because college students (Gen Y) have cell phones attached to their hips, but my theory will be put to the test over the following months.”

Brett Kopf and his brother/co-founder, David, specifically chose to launch the program at Michigan State and East Lansing because of the assistance they received as a budding company.

“What was once an idea is now a functioning company; the Lansing region should be proud of that, because many people helped impact the growth of this company,” adds Kopf.

They are working closely with Dr.Coursaris from the telecommunications department, who is leading the research efforts to explore the potential benefits of the service regarding student performance in the classroom.

Watch this video to get an idea of how remind101 works.

Source: Brett Kopf, Remind101

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

Allen Neighborhood Center Awarded $10,000 For New Eastside Living Initiative

The Allen Neighborhood Center (ANC) recently received a grant from the City of Lansing to lay the groundwork for a new initiative called Eastside Living. The initiative is designed to make it extremely easy for seniors to age in the neighborhood. 

Eastside Living is inspired by a model developed in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston. Beacon Hill offers a wide range of services to seniors who join their ‘village’, including: rides to appointments; check-in phone calls for people living alone; assistance with advertising and renting rooms to college students; deep discounts with carefully screened plumbers carpenters, electricians; social programs; and much more. 

"This initiative will ensure that the Eastside remains a full life-cycle neighborhood — one that continues to attracts young professionals and families, even as it retains its elders by ensuring that they can age safely and satisfyingly in community” says Joan Nelson, director at Allen Neighborhood Center.

Currently, Martinez Consulting and ANC are surveying Eastside residents over 55 to determine which services are most important to seniors (and near seniors) in the neighborhood. 

Source: Joan Nelson, Allen Neighborhood Center

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

Arts Council of Greater Lansing Announces $17,562 in Collaborative Local Grants

The Arts Council of Greater Lansing has awarded local arts and cultural agencies $17,562 for the second year of its Collaborative Arts Grant Program. Funded by the Council’s Arts Advancement Endowment Fund, the grants encourage local organizations to work together on new projects that promote arts and culture in the community.

MSU Department of Theatre, Happendance and All-of-us Express Children’s Theatre, are some of the organizations awarded this year.

“These collaborations are intended to support innovative collaborations that might otherwise not take place between arts and culture nonprofit organizations,” says Katie Robiadek, program manager for the Arts Council.

“At a time when the arts can help bind our society together, such collaborative efforts in the greater Lansing scene are worthy of encouragement and support. These efforts help organizations to do more with less and multiply the effects of their impact by encouraging them to work together.”

To see a full list of the arts and cultural agencies who received funding, visit

Source: Katie Robiadek, Arts Council of Greater Lansing

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

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

Local Agency M3 Picks Up MSU Federal Credit Union Media Contract

The Lansing-based, full service marketing agency, Motion Marketing & Media (M3) became the official agency of record for Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) in July.

The agency will be responsible for the media buying and planning strategies for all of MSUFCU’s radio, television and outdoor advertising. M3 will also work on a contractual basis to develop and produce creative executions for these media outlets.

“Becoming the agency of record for MSUFCU is opening doors for the kind of partnerships we want to encourage in our community,” said Tiffany Dowling, chief conversation starter at M3. “Local businesses working with local businesses is great for everyone in the Lansing region. We’re excited for this new opportunity.”

M3 managed and executed the MSUFCU Student Art Exhibition in February — and most recently — created a family of commercials for the MSUFCU fall campaigns. The four commercials will begin airing this month.

“M3 continues to impress us with the quality of their creative ideas and integrated, strategic planning,” said April Clobes, vice president of marketing and e-commerce for MSUFCU. “We’re excited to have M3 on board in a big way; we know we’re in good hands when we work with them.”

Source: Julie Becker, Motion Marketing & Media

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

New Mural Project Celebrates History of Lansing's Genesee Neighborhood

A mural is being painted on the east wall of the Black Child and Family Institute (BCFI) in Lansing to honor the past, present and future of the Genesee Neighborhood. The lower portion of the wall is a collection of silhouettes painted by the BCFI fine art camp this summer. Local artists, volunteers and neighbors have been working into the night to prime, paint and trace the rest of the design.

“[Last Tuesday,] from 9:00 p.m. until about midnight the design was traced onto the wall,” says Jeana-Dee Allen, community building assistant at Northwest Initiative (NWI). “We used four extension cords, donated scaffolding, wax pencils, a projector and laptop and a few cups of coffee. Tracing went smoothly thanks to good weather and positive attitudes.”

The overall sponsorship for this project is estimated at $10,000, including artists stipends, supplies, materials and in-kind time and equipment.

"This project and the other youth murals I’ve been involved with are important for the Lansing community because they not only create more beauty in our city, but also because of how that beauty is created — by involving youth and neighbors in the design and production and offering mentoring and learning opportunities," says Jessica Yorko with the NWI.

"There is substantial evidence showing that connection to and involvement in community projects and positive role models impacts how kids see themselves in relation to other people, and therefore their ambitions and decisions," she adds.

The project will hopefully be complete by the fall.

Source: Jeana-Dee Allen, Northwest Initiative

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley 

All Photographs © Dave Trumpie

Lansing JazzFest Receives $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts Grant

The Lansing JazzFest, hosted annually in Lansing's Old Town neighborhood, has been awarded the 2010 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Challenge America: Reaching Every Community grant.

The grant is offered to organizations providing opportunities for the arts to reach underserved populations, such as those limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.

“The esteemed honor for the Lansing JazzFest to be an NEA grant recipient highlights our commitment to community development as a catalyst for the arts,” says Sharen Lange, executive director for the Old Town Business and Art Development Association (OTBADA), which is responsible for putting on the JazzFest.

Lansing JazzFest is a free community music festival, attracting attendees from across the city, state and region. By providing wider access to artistic and cultural excellence, the festival is making the arts accessible, which is the essential goal of the NEA.

Source: LaToya English, Old Town Business and Art Development Association

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

MSU Grad and Michigan Handbag Designer Creates "Old Town Lansing" Bag

Michigan State University grad and Troy, Mich., native, Jenna Kator, has created an Old Town Lansing bag for her latest collection. The great cities, landscapes and residents in the state of Michigan are the inspiration behind the Jenna Kator collection.

"We are paying tribute, honoring Michigan by naming our designer handbags and accessories after places that reflect great beauty, character and charm,” says Jenna Kator on her website.

“It’s incredibly exciting to hear that Jenna Kator has chosen our very own fabulous neighborhood to be in her collection,” says Summer Schriner, owner of Grace Boutique in Old Town. “The bag has a very Coco Chanel-met-Jenna Kator-for-a-cocktail-in-Old-Town feel," she says. "I am excited to be showcasing this in my store soon.”

The bag should be available at Grace Boutique this November.

Source: Summer Schriner, Grace Boutique

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

MSUFCU and Employees Raise $26,000 For Boys & Girls Club

Beating their goal of raising $25,000, MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) and its employees raised $26,083 for the Boys & Girls Club of Lansing between January and June of this year.

Employees were excited to surpass the goal through employee donations and fundraisers including raffles, dress down days, a managers’ car wash, bake sales, and a golf putting outing.

“Giving back to the community in which we live, work and play, not only enriches our lives, it helps bring people together and makes our cities stronger," says April Clobes, vice president of marketing and e-commerce for MSUFCU. Our employees go above and beyond every day, and receive great joy out of giving back.

"Each year they decide as a group to support a local organization in need," she adds, "and each year they exceed their contribution goals. It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished with a little effort and determination.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Lansing provides local youth, ages 7–17, with physical fitness, recreation and educational activities, and has been in the area since 1964. 

Source: MSU Federal Credit Union

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley 

All Photographs © Dave Trumpie

Lansing-Based PTD Technology Announces Contract With Colorado Health Center

This month, Lansing-based PTD Technology established a contract with The Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health (CAIANH), on the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado.

“PTD’s role — to build additional functionality and improve usability for the site — will benefit the entire state of Colorado,” says Doug Wiesner, vice president of IT Solutions at PTD Technology. “The web site serves as the primary Internet-based tool for the Colorado Adult Immunization Coalition (CAIC) to uphold current immunization information for adults and enable them to find statewide influenza vaccination clinics."

PTD Technology has been working with public institutions for 30 years, offering IT solutions to business, educational institutions, government entities and non-profits throughout the country.

“The local impact is that the project is a nationwide data collection site developed, supported and hosted by a locally owned and operated Michigan company employing local staff,” adds Wiesner.

Source: Doug Wiesner, PTD Technology

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

Community Economic Development Association Gets $10,000 Training Grant

The Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM), located in Lansing's REO Town neighborhood, received a $10,000 grant from State Farm to support the Comprehensive Community Development Institute (CCDI). CCDI is a training program that will help offer members greater access to safe, affordable housing and address the effects of the foreclosure crisis. 

“The CCDI training will provide another tool for organizations to revitalize their communities,” says executive director, Jamie Schriner-Hooper. "State Farm's support will help to provide a positive impact on the communities they serve."

"As a company with agents located throughout the state, many of us are able to interact first-hand with community development organizations making an impact close to our own homes,” says, Lansing State Farm agent, Jim Hanlin. “We are thankful that these organizations have access to top-notch training opportunities through CEDAM that give them the tools to increase their abilities.”

CEDAM represents about 400 organizations and individuals throughout Michigan who are committed to rebuilding neighborhoods and revitalizing communities.

Source: Jamie Schriner-Hooper, CEDAM

Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

MSU Entrepreneurship Network to Provide One-Stop-Shop Services in East Lansing

Budding entrepreneurs in the Lansing region will soon have a one-stop-shop for all the resources they need to get started, thanks to a new venture out of Michigan State University.

The MSU Entrepreneurship Network will be formally unveiled Aug. 19 at a celebration at East Lansing’s Technology and Innovation Center, 325 E. Grand River Ave.

The network is a collaboration of several MSU and local entities dedicated to incubating new business.

“There are so many components to entrepreneurship,” says Bryan Ritchie, network director and a professor in MSU’s James Madison College. “There’s the business side, the engineering and manufacturing side, the policy side. So what we did is bring together all these people who are already doing entrepreneurship activities and said, ‘How do we coordinate all these activities?’

“So we said. ‘Let's create a network of all the assets on campus and give them all the resources in the community so they can sit down with all the right people at the right time.’”

Among other things that will be offered by the msuENet will be a new certificate program called Venture Creation and the Innovative Mindset. Launching this fall, the program features two courses and an experiential component, all designed to introduce participants to all aspects of entrepreneurship – business, psychology, sociology and finance, Ritchie said.

The certificate program is open to 60 people this year – 45 MSU students and 15 non-students. Anyone wanting more information can visit

Source: Bryan Ritchie

Writer: Louise Knott Ahern
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