Old Town could see the effects of the shift back into the urban core

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Old Town is subject to the population shift of millennials moving back into the urban core, after so many years of sprawl, because of its walkability and number of things to do. “What we seem to be observing is that young millennials seem to have different interests and life style choices,” said Rex LaMore, a member of Michigan State University’s Urban and Regional Planning faculty. “They want to be in interesting places where there are a lot of opportunity and things to do. So they are moving back into central cities.” Old Town offers an array of unique festivals, an assortment of different styles of restaurants, and many niche shops as well as shops for basic necessities.

Lansing Infrastructure: Can Proposal 1 Save It?

By Emma-Jean Bedford
and Ian Wendrow 
Listen Up, Lansing

LANSING-The question on everyone’s mind lately has been: “What’s happening with these roads?” But it’s not just roads that are troublesome. Lansing has recently been dealing with issues related to low residential population, a distinct lack of diverse businesses, and overall deteriorating infrastructure. An effort to address infrastructure funding is currently on the upcoming May 5 ballot, titled Proposal 1. Proposal 1 is a ballot initiative meant to raise funds, mostly for new road work, through changes in taxes. If passed, the House Fiscal Agency, a non-partisan agency within the House of Representatives that analyzes the financial effects of Michigan legislation, estimates that the tax increase would raise about $2.1 billion this fiscal year; of which $1.23 billion would go towards roads, $463.1 million to the state’s general fund, $292.4 million to schools and $89.9 million to local governments.

Immigrants fuel entrepreneurship in Michigan

Capital News Service
LANSING — When Bhushan Kulkarni, an Indian citizen who finished his master’s degree in West Virginia, came to Ann Arbor for a summer internship in 1988, he fell in love with the community. It became his second hometown as he started his own business there after the internship and now owns two Ann Arbor-based companies, providing information technology consulting service. Kulkarni realized his dream to start his own business after he got a green card that allowed him to stay and work in the United States. As an international student, “you need a work visa to do a specific job,” he said. “But when I got a green card, I was free to do what I wanted to do.

Computer tools coming soon for businesses to use

Capital News Service
LANSING – Manufacturers throughout the state will soon have access to digital modeling and simulation tools through General Electric’s Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center. The new tools should save money and create jobs, the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences says. The developing innovation center that will provide such tools is the result of a partnership between General Electric and NCMS based in Ann Arbor, and a $1 million grant from the  Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC).. GE’s technology Center in Van Buren Township will house the innovation center.

State money encourages new high-tech start-ups

Capital News Service
LANSING – With $8.5 million in grans to award, the state is encouraging local programs to support start-up high-tech companies. The Michigan Strategic Fund and Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) offer the funding for outstanding programs around the state, with a focus on Northwestern Michigan, Grand Rapids and suburban Detroit. The money will support three years of services for each project, said Paula Sorrell, managing director of entrepreneurial service at MEDC. These programs, called ‘incubator accelerators,’ are designed to support start-ups through an array of resources and services.

Government programs support small businesses services

Capital News Service
LANSING – Small businesses are getting more chances to access capital, spur job growth and boost exports under recent federal and state initiatives. These include the Small Business Administration (SBA), Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) and Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing pointed to resources to increase access to capital for Michigan small businesses. 
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, creating the majority of new jobs,” Stabenow said. “We continue to make sure our small businesses have access to the capital they need to grow their companies and hire new workers.”
Small businesses in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties have received $395 million in financing since 2010 under the Small Businesses Jobs Act, Stabenow said.

Farmers markets expand services as demand for local produce grows

Capital News Service
LANSING— The demand for fresh, local produce has boosted a statewide uptick in the number of farmers markets. And a state grant program aims at ensuring low-income communities don’t miss out on such opportunities. Katharine Czarnecki, community programs manager at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), the agency that provides the grants, said farmers markets benefit both job creation and health and create social bonds that help communities. Czarnecki said the agency developed the Farm to Food grant program in 2010 to help three areas: urban development, agricultural infrastructure and a “passive solar system loan fund” used to construct “hoop houses” that can grow vegetables year-round.

Small businesses find new way to sell to China

Capital News Service
LANSING — McKeon Products Inc. is looking to double its exports over the next two years, and with help from a new Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) program, the Warren-based manufacturer of Mack’s earplugs has taken a big step towards that goal. “We’re very excited to be entering the Chinese market,” said Jennifer True, international sales director for McKeon. “I personally was receiving emails from people in China looking to get hold of our product.”
Now a pallet of Mack’s earplugs has arrived in Shanghai in preparation for sale to a market of 1.3 billion potential customers. McKeon is one of the first Michigan companies to participate in a new MEDC partnership with Ohio-based Export Now that aims to help Michigan small businesses gain access to China’s consumer market.