Author: Amanda Loveland

Big Plans Coming for JAX 60

JAX 60 has been a Jackson staple for decades. You may have once known it as Airport Lanes, maybe even back when it had just 36 lanes. Since then, it has had an additional 24 lanes added on, hosted multiple PBA tours, and has had a total refresh and update. If you haven’t stepped into JAX 60 lately, it may not be the same bowling alley you once remembered as a kid.

Airport Lanes

Airport Lanes was built in 1959, long before it was owned by David Small’s Fun Time Centers. Since then, it has been added onto twice, the last being in 1972, with a total of 60 lanes, hence, the JAX 60 name. The name shifted to JAX 60 on July 1, 2018, and is currently overseen by Josh Solomon, General Manager.

Josh grew up in a bowling town, in Youngstown, Ohio. He took his first job at 14 in a bowling center as a pin chaser. From there, he moved on to the pro shop, then managed a bowling center. Josh even grew up in a bowling family, and Youngstown was known as an industrial bowling town with local companies all having a team, much like Jackson. “Bowling’s always been my thing. It’s in my blood,” Josh stated when discussing his background.

JAX 60 Present Day
JAX 60

Since then, Josh has won state championships for bowling and even coached. When he moved to Jackson, the first thing he noticed was that Jackson reminded him of the bowling town he grew up in and that our local bowling alley had tournament potential. Over the years, there have been many conversations with owner David Small, surrounding what kind of updates could happen and what the bowling alley could be. Renovations started with new keypads, scoring system, ball returns, and more.

The original renovation, before its most recent, started the day Josh and David Small took over. New paint, new floors, and historical photos that lined the alleys made a huge impact on the bowling alley. Conversations about the most recent renovation, which has completely upgraded the entire facility, began in 2020. This upgrade happened because Josh and David wanted to give bowlers more space. When bowling alleys were designed in the 50s-70s, they were meant strictly for teams. Since then, bowling has transitioned to a family event. JAX 60 now provides Jackson locals with a place where a group of any size can have fun and enjoy themselves.

Mavrix bar and lounge has an expanded menu with the homemade, freshly fired pizza customers have always loved. It has a more inviting floor plan, with more TVs for entertainment and a custom-built bar, making it the perfect place to relax and have a drink between games. If you’re at JAX 60 for more than just bowling, their newly expanded arcade, Top Gun Arcade, now has 56 games, which are all waiting for you behind lanes five and six.

Top Gun Arcade

The new design of JAX 60 offers a balance between groups looking for a fun way to spend a day and avid tournament bowlers. JAX 60’s new and improved atmosphere proves a quality product that Jackson didn’t have before for friends and families to enjoy while providing a venue for professional bowlers. Josh explained that the renovations “give Jackson a place to come that is safe, clean, and invites you to spend some time.”

JAX 60 has hosted four PBA 50 tour stops. In 2022, the PBA National Tour started at JAX 60 and is coming back in 2023 from March 6-9. Hosting tournaments, such as these, is something that both Josh and David have always wanted to do, as two people who grew up watching the PBA tour on Saturday afternoons. They want to give as much as they can back to the bowlers they’ve watched for years on TV. Josh shared that the PBA 50 tour is much different than it has been in the past. In fact, the first ever PBA 50 World Series of Bowling is going to be hosted at JAX 60, “Putting Jackson in the history books,” as Josh said.

Being from Youngstown, Ohio, I was defined by the bowling community. When we moved to Jackson, a place that was already a bowling community similar to where I grew up, I told my wife, ‘I’m home.’

If you’ve been looking for a spot your friends, coworkers, or the entire family can enjoy, consider reserving a lane at JAX 60. What seems like a fun activity will quickly become an experience worth so much more.

The City of Jackson Sponsors Six New Chamber Members

As a Community Champion Level Member of the Chamber, the City of Jackson has committed to sponsoring six Chamber Memberships for the next year. Jackson’s City Manager, Jonathan Greene, recently sat down with three of the six business owners whose Memberships they will be sponsoring. From businesses that have been with Jackson for over one hundred years, to startups that are just setting up their brick-and-mortar storefronts. Of the six, Peggy Russell (Peggy’s Custom Floral Designs), SharRonnie Garrett (SharRonnie Garrett Photography), and Latoya Smith (First Crown Hair & Beauty) met Jonathan Greene at City Hall to share a bit of background on what their businesses have to offer.

Peggy Russell, founder of Peggy’s Custom Floral Designs, specializes in silk floral arrangements. Her passion began when she created her own floral arrangements for her wedding. Then, during her 30-year career at Macy’s, she created arrangements for clients. Upon her and her husband’s retirement, Peggy decided it was finally time to pursue her longtime dream. After many thoughts and many prayers, she’s recently started her business and has even secured a spot in the Jackson Crossing Mall.

Like Peggy, SharRonnie Garrett has also been working on a storefront of her own, which she is in the process of remodeling. As the owner of SharRonnie Garrett Photography, she specializes in family and senior photos. She says kids are her niche, as she shoots a lot of milestone photos and birthdays. Some of her clients have stuck with her since their newborn shoot, continuously coming back to document each milestone. In her new studio, which she is remodeling with her husband, she is excited to have a creative space to play around. Even at public events, SharRonnie likes to pop in to shoot some photos for her portfolio. She has been spending the past couple of years continuously practicing and perfecting her art, and with the help of her mentor, Miame Jarrett, she has been able to find her own style. SharRonnie shared that her family never did any sort of photoshoots or portraits growing up, and she wished she had those photos to look back on. Now, as a business owner, she aims to reach people who can’t afford nice family photos and provide a service to them that is affordable.

Unlike Peggy, who started her business after retirement, or SharRonnie, whose hobby turned into her career, Latoya Smith founded her business when she was homeless. First Crown Hair & Beauty consists of all-natural skin and hair care products that Latoya makes herself. Many of the everyday products we use contain harsh chemicals and toxins, which, in the long run, can be harmful to our health. She uses a variety of natural ingredients, like avocado and coconut oil, all of which she uses on herself and her kids to ensure that she feels safe giving it to a customer. Some of her products include calming agents, like lavender, which help calm and relax your senses. She even shared that her lavender products help her kids sleep. She currently works the occasional pop-up shop and hopes to have a website to sell her products online soon.

In addition to those three businesses, the City of Jackson is also sponsoring one year of Chamber Membership for Isaiah’s Hub, Blue Julep, and Gilbert Chocolates.

In response to talking with each business owner, Jonathan explained that in his role as City Manager that, “We want to improve people’s lives. The City belongs to the people; I get to make it happen.” Investing in local businesses and helping new business owners get their businesses off the ground is a great way for the City to play a part in Jackson’s economic development. Both the Chamber and the City of Jackson are excited for what’s to come for these businesses in the coming year.

Michigan’s Minimum Wage Set to Increase on January 1, 2023

December 5, 2022

LANSING, Mich. – On January 1, 2023, Michigan’s minimum wage rate will increase from $9.87 to $10.10 per hour as set by Michigan’s Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act of 2018 establishing the annual schedule of increases.

Effective January 1, 2023:

  • The minimum hourly wage will increase to $10.10 per hour.
  • The 85% rate for minors aged 16 and 17 will increase to $8.59 per hour.
  • The tipped employee rate of hourly pay increases to $3.84 per hour.
  • The training wage of $4.25 per hour for newly hired employees ages 16 to 19 for their first 90 days of employment remains unchanged. 

There is pending litigation that might affect this minimum wage increase:

  • In 2018, a petition initiative organized by One Fair Wage sought to allow voters to decide on raising Michigan’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022 and raise the minimum wage for tipped workers to 80% of the standard minimum wage in 2022, 90% in 2023 and ultimately match it in 2024.
  • The Legislature adopted the legislation and then amended it in 2018, putting in lower wage thresholds that increased the minimum wage to $12.05 by 2030 instead of 2022 and kept the tipped minimum wage at 38% of the standard one. As a result, the state’s current hourly minimum wage is $9.87 and $3.75 for workers who are expected to make up the difference in tips.
  • The Legislature’s amendment has been challenged in court as unconstitutional. On July 19, 2022, the Court of Claims issued a decision that agreed with that challenge and voided the amended versions of the Michigan Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act and Paid Medical Leave Act in favor of their original, unamended versions. 
  • On July 29, 2022, the Court of Claims entered an order staying the effect of this decision until February 19, 2023, to give employers and the relevant state agencies time to accommodate the changes required by the ruling.
  • The Court of Claims’ ruling has been appealed. Pending final resolution of the appeal, and lifting of the stay, under the potential implementation of the originally adopted petition, the minimum wage rate for 2023 would be $13.03 and $11.73 for tipped employees.

For further information regarding the pending minimum wage litigation, and potential amended minimum wage rates as a result of that litigation, or a copy of the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act and related resources, including the required poster, visit Michigan.gov/WageHour.

*Source: LEO – Labor and Economic Opportunity (michigan.gov)

Meet CNB’s New President & CEO, Joe Williams

On October 10 2022, the board of County National Bank instated a new President and CEO, Joe Williams. Joe has 40 years of banking experience under his belt, starting when he was in high school. In fact, about a week before signing the paperwork to join the marines, the bank Joe had been working at offered a position for him to stay while getting a finance degree. From there, Joe proceeded to stay in banking, working within organizations such as United Banking Trust of Lenawee, and eventually joining the CNB Board of Directors in August 2020.

When CNB was in search of a new President earlier this year, Joe was not the one who initially thought to have his name be considered. It was members of the board and the Chairman who asked Joe to put his name into consideration. As someone who has been a very active community member and in many leadership roles, Joe was the perfect fit to lead an organization like CNB.

When asked what being President & CEO of CNB meant to Joe, he referred to a card with a statement that he has carried with him every day for 25 years. A reminder to choose your attitude every day, and tell yourself, “It’s not about me.”

When I don’t make it about me, it’s about whoever I’m in front of that day. An associate, a client, or someone in the community. – I come in every day and serve every associate. They are not here to serve me; I’m here to serve them.

Joe strives for those within CNB and outside of CNB to understand their “why.” He shared that CNB does not exist to grow revenue, he truly believes that their “why” is to improve the lives of associates, clients, and the community, and ultimately have a positive impact.

There are three things Joe finds most important when it comes to leading the future of CNB:

  • People matter (Creating a career path or positive work environment for CNB associates)
  • Clients matter (Giving clients the best experience)
  • Community matters (Being active and giving back)

Joe is extremely value-driven and wants his values to align with his company and community values. Hoping that, if they all align, they can come alive, and make CNB an attractive place for people to work and bank. He sees his position as one to come in each day and inspire those around him to do their job and do it well, thinking that if he creates a great work environment, his employees are going to be inspired to come back to work tomorrow. No matter what position, Joe wants them to feel as if they can lead from wherever they are.

On Joe’s first day, he gave action cards to each of the approximately 200 employees. On the front, it had an acronym:

C – Choose a positive attitude every day
N – Never settle. Always do the right thing.
B – Believe in one another. Be an encourager.

On the back, there was a quote that Joe sees as his “life quote.” He passed it on to his employees in order to be a mantra for every associate, especially those who are client-facing:

People won’t remember what you said. People won’t remember what you did. People will always, always remember how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

Joe explained that his family and his faith serve as his moral compass. “It’s not about me,” he repeated, “but what I’m doing for others. – I’ve discovered what my purpose is, and it’s the be the best encourager on planet earth.”

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Elected

November 10, 2022

Following Tuesday’s general election where the Democratic Party flipped control of the Senate, the caucuses elected their leadership teams for the upcoming term, beginning in January 2023.

Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) will serve as Senate Majority Leader. Serving alongside her for the Democratic Caucus will be Senator-elect Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), who previously served as House Democratic Leader. Additional members of their leadership team will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Republican caucus announced Senator Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) will serve as the Minority Leader. Additional members include:

  • Minority Floor Leader – Senator Dan Lauwers (R-Brockway)
  • Minority Whip – Senator Roger Victory (R-Hudsonville)
  • Caucus Chair – Senator Kevin Daley (R-Lum)
  • Assistant Minority Leader – Senator Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes)
  • Assistant Minority Floor Leader – Senator Lana Theis (R-Brighton)
  • Assistant Minority Whip – Senator Mark Huizenga (R-Walker)
  • Assistant Caucus Chair – Senator Jim Runestad (R-White Lake)
  • Associate President Pro-Tem – Senator-elect Joe Bellino (R-Monroe) (He was nominated for this position and will be elected by the entire body)

The House is slated to hold their caucus leadership elections at 3 p.m., including Speaker of the House. MLC will send an update after that takes place.

*Source: Michigan Legislative Consultants

Homelessness Awareness Week with the Interfaith Shelter

Homelessness is a sensitive topic; it’s something we know is out there, but to what degree? It may be something that comes more to the surface during the colder months, or perhaps when you see a person in need on the street. At the Interfaith Shelter, they average about 65 clients per night. The Interfaith Shelter is not just a place for the homeless to rest their head for the night, they provide temporary shelter and other essential resources to people experiencing homelessness or poverty. Clients can stay at the shelter as long as they are making positive progress toward their goals. For some, this could be a week or two, while others need a few months to secure housing.

All images from the Jackson Interfaith Shelter on Facebook

The Interfaith Shelter is able to provide a variety of resources to get clients back on track. They recognize that the homeless may need assistance with furthering their education, bettering their mental health, or becoming job-ready. Local organizations and churches within Jackson often come to the Interfaith Shelter to share their resources. Some include mental health screenings by LifeWays. Likewise, the Community Action Agency screens clients for housing and offers a weekly finance class. The College and Career Access Center provides help with resumes, GED preparation, and job hunting. Other talents that are shared with the shelter come from chiropractors, barbers, and even weekly job fairs. What the Interfaith Shelter calls Dinner Church occurs every Wednesday, where eight churches rotate and offer a service right at the shelter, and these services are open to anyone.

On average monthly, the shelter has seen 60 out of 76 beds filled per night, 22 of those being children, this year. The Interfaith Shelter has served about 4,707 meals per month, which are open to anyone who needs them, homeless or not.

Homelessness Awareness Week is November 13-19.

There are many ways to get involved, big and small. The Interfaith Shelter is hosting a fundraiser through the Jackson Culver’s located on O’Neil Drive. You can help by stopping by Culver’s on Tuesday, November 15 from 4-8pm to order a meal, dine-in or drive-thru. A portion of the proceeds made in that time will support the Jackson Interfaith Shelter. While you’re there, you may see some familiar faces from the Interfaith Shelter delivering meals to your table.

Dinner Church

Outside of Homelessness Awareness Week, the Interfaith Shelter is always looking for volunteers and donations. Volunteers can be utilized as meal servers and front desk help, which allows the staff to have more one-on-one time with clients. Donations that are always appreciated include blankets, food, scarves, and hats. Clothing is not accepted at the shelter.

Think of the holiday parties you are hosting or attending within the next few months. The Interfaith Shelter would greatly appreciate any leftover dishes that went uneaten. Maybe you bought one extra bag of chips for the tailgate you attended last weekend. They will surely be enjoyed at the shelter.

There are often questions and clarifications needed surrounding the homeless population. A lot of those questions can be answered on the Interfaith Shelter’s podcast, Shelter Together. On the podcast, they host guests and talk about the reality of homelessness in Jackson County.

For more ways to engage with and stay up to date with what’s happening at the shelter, sign up for their weekly emails here. Otherwise, be sure to follow the Interfaith Shelter on Facebook and Instagram to stay informed.

A Conversation with Former Embezzler, Barry Webne, and Peak Manufacturing President, Amanda Hutchings

Barry Webne was once your average employee, facing financial trouble, something most of us experience at some point in our lifetime. With an MBA in accounting, he was titled as the Controller within his company, in charge of all accounting systems. He had reached a point in his life where he felt as if he had his back against the wall financially and was in a position where there was no internal control over him. In 1992, Barry saw an opportunity and took it.

Barry Webne

For four years, Barry embezzled over one million dollars from his company. He described his crime as a sort of addiction, starting small with a thousand dollars here, two thousand there, nothing anyone would ever notice. However, after realizing he could get away with it, it only continued. “Once you start, you can’t stop,” Barry explained, “I was a model employee, everyone was telling their colleagues to be more like Barry.”

After serving six months in prison, he found another accounting job, thinking his crimes were over before he saw the opportunity to steal again. His next crime lasted from 2001 to 2006, when he, once again, embezzled over a million dollars. As a result, aside from spending 63 months in jail, he lost everything, including his family and friends.

Barry is just an example of a crime that occurs all too often. Jackson’s own Peak Manufacturing just experienced a similar situation. A model employee had been embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars at the company for years. She was a close friend of Peak Manufacturing President, Amanda Hutchings. Amanda reflects back on the discovery she found in January of 2021 and stated that it felt like a movie; embezzlement is never something you think can happen to you, but after the story came out, a number of companies reached out sharing that they had experienced a similar situation.

Amanda Hutchings, Peak Manufacturing President

The Jackson County Chamber is hosting a Lunch & Learn on November 7 where Amanda will not only be recounting the story of how Peak Manufacturing was embezzled from but talking about specific accounting procedures and policies your business can implement. Barry Webne will also be speaking, sharing the red flags you can spot before the problem gets out of control.

“It could’ve been stopped. It should’ve been stopped,” Amanda continued, “Embezzlement is preventable. You just have to learn all the tricks and tools to prevent it.”

Amanda’s story is truly a microcosm of what is happening more often than business owners believe to be true. Embezzlement, fraud, and theft is happening now and is happening locally. To learn how you can detect and prevent embezzlement from happening within your own organization, join the Jackson Chamber for a Lunch and Learn on November 7, where both Barry and Amanda will be sharing their experiences.

Barry shared that employers are hesitant to ask questions, and he encourages employers and business owners to ask the hard questions, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem. Your business will thank you later.

I think business owners just need a little encouragement; they just can’t trust all their employees. Ask questions.

Barry Webne

This event is made possible by Comerica Bank.

Chamber Announces PAC Endorsements

October 19, 2022

JACKSON, MI – The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee (PAC) has announced its endorsements for political office, endorsements are based on legislative leadership and focus on issues concerning the continued growth of our business community.

Jackson has a historic opportunity to choose legislators in newly drawn districts. After interviewing candidates with unique and diverse experience the Political Action Committee (PAC) used parameters such as economic development, infrastructure, workforce development, and regulations as discussion points to determine who best fit the Chamber’s mission and goals.

With these parameters and some debate, the following candidates received the endorsement from the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce PAC:

Tim Walberg (US Representative 5th District)

Tim Golding (State Senate 14th District)

Sara Lightner (State Representative 45th District)

Kathy Schmaltz (State Representative 45th District)

James “Steve” Shotwell (County Commissioner 5th District)

Please remember to vote on Nov. 8th!

JACKSON COUNTY OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF PRESENTS JAIL AND MILLAGE INFORMATION FOR NOV. 8TH BALLOT

September 20, 2022

For more information about the below, contact:

Gary R. Schuette, Sheriff 

OurJacksonCounty@gmail.com

517-768-7921

Wesley Street Deficiencies 

The 1978 addition is sinking and pulling away from the main structure. At some points, there is 6 inches of separation.   The Sewer pipes are original and routinely leak raw sewage, often falling on deputies. Several large metal pans catch raw sewage and direct it to buckets which are routinely emptied.   Only 5 of 24 electronic door locks work. Dated equipment cannot be repaired as it is no longer produced.   Radio transmissions by deputies do not penetrate the solid concrete walls creating severe safety hazards.   Heating and cooling is adjusted using vice grips which are propped up by metal poles.   Locks on cell doors are failing and repairs are in the thousands for just one lock.   Security fencing is inadequate and also sinking. The gate has a 2-foot gap when closed.   Costs to repair Wesley Street are higher than a full teardown and replacement of the building.

Millage 

The Chanter Road facility, and the north side addition to Wesley Street, was built using a ½ mill increase to property tax. This millage also accounted for additional funding for operational costs at the Chanter Road Facility.   The ½ mill millage expired in 2021. The last year of collection is 2022.   Costs for building the project are estimated at $51,895,705. ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds can be used for approximately $2 million of the cost.   Millage request for the balance of the cost is for 1 mill over 20 years; this is a half mill increase over the expired millage.   1 mill results in a property tax increase of $1 for every $1000 of taxable value. A house worth $200,000 has a taxable value of $100,000. Therefore, the property owner in this example would pay an additional $100 per year in property tax. The effective increase in taxes is really only half that, $50 per year, because of the previous ½ mill millage.
– $100 per year = 27 cents per day
– $50 per year = 13 1/2 cents per day

Solution

An architectural design firm, specializing in jails, worked with the Sheriff to complete a comprehensive study to determine the needs of Jackson County now and 20 years into the future.   This includes:
– Demolition of Wesley Street Jail;
– A 250 bed jail addition to Chanter Road;
– A new, and much smaller, Sheriff’s Office constructed at the Wesley Street location that includes an enclosed sally port, equipped with an elevator, for securely transferring inmates to court. State law requires the Sheriff’s Office be located in the county seat, which is the City of Jackson.

Interested in a tour? Schedule your tour by emailing OurJacksonCounty@gmail.com

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Contact

134 W Michigan Ave.
Jackson, MI 49201
517.782.8221

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