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Rochester : In the News

63 Rochester Articles | Page: | Show All

President Obama shines light on local solar manufacturers during State of the Union speech

President Obama recently spotlighted two regular, everyday Americans as an example of American sacrifice and innovation. He found them in Metro Detroit, indirectly pointing to the region as hub for renewable energy and resilience.


Already, we are seeing the promise of renewable energy. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon. But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard.

Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert's words, "We reinvented ourselves."

That's what Americans have done for over two hundred years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we've begun to reinvent our energy policy. We're not just handing out money. We're issuing a challenge.  We're telling America's scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fund the Apollo Projects of our time.

Read the rest of President Obama's State of the Union speech here.

Hospitality ranks high in Oakland County

Looks like Oakland County has the market cornered on hospitality here in Michigan. Eight different spots in the OC received high marks on their AAA report cards, including the Radisson, the Royal Park, and the Westin in Southfield hotels, all of which received the Four-Diamond rating.


Eight different hospitality-oriented establishments in Oakland County have earned Four-Diamond ratings from AAA for excellence.

The eight local hotels and restaurants honored by AAA, including the Townsend Hotel and Rugby Grille in downtown Birmingham, are among 25 across the state that won the coveted award.

Read the entire article here.

Rochester Hills-based Energy Conversion Devices builds a cheaper solar panel

The market for solar energy is hot (pun intended). Energy Conversion Devices in Rochester Hills offers commercial and soon, residential clients a ray of hope: less costly, thin-film solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity.


Harin Ullal, a solar expert and senior project manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratories in Golden, Colo., says he expects thin film's share of the solar-power market to increase to 25% by 2015, compared with the 10% to 15% market share thin-film manufacturers say they have now...

In addition to being cheaper to manufacture, thin-film panels perform better in low, diffuse light and in blistering hot  weather, when crystalline silicon panels can lose as much as 25% of their efficiency. Thin-film panel makers such as United Solar, a unit of Energy Conversion Devices of Rochester Hills, Mich., say that because their products work in partial shade, customers don't have to remove trees to generate electricity.

Read the full story here.

Local communities make it easier for moviemakers

It hasn't all been soda pop and cotton candy for the film industry here. Michigan wasn't exactly set up for the film production tsunami of '08. Still, the incentive is less than a year old and some growing pains are expected. Luckily, local governments have been greasing the wheels for projects, making it easier to get things done. The hope is that the area will then become more enticing to a yet more moviemakers.


Cities like Rochester Hills, Royal Oak and Ferndale have simplified or created new processes for getting permits to close streets, erect temporary structures and move forward with filmmaking.

In some cases, officials estimate these changes could shave up to a month off the time it takes to get certain permits by allowing administrators to issue them instead of making movie companies first go before a city council or commission.

Ferndale, Rochester and Rochester Hills are building Web sites to help market their communities to movie moguls while Redford Township is creating a promotional packet.

Read the entire article here.

America's first sustainable building may find home in Rochester

Sustainability isn't cheap. But, really, what is these days? It's an estimated $2.6 million to develop an 8,000-square-foot building into a combination brewpub, organic eatery, and sustainable showplace. It would be the first sustainable restaurant in the country. That place, Mind, Body & Spirits, is looking for a September opening.


"In a nutshell, it's an organic restaurant that specializes in local and organic products. And our goal is to make it a fully sustainable restaurant, which, if that's the case, will be the first fully sustainable restaurant in the country," Plesz said.

The nearly 8,000-square-foot building was constructed in the 1890s, opened as a dry goods and millinery store and most recently housed an interior design firm, said Ed Kelly, principal with Archiopolis.

An artist's rendering of the new restaurant.
It's being retrofitted with new, energy efficient windows and ceiling and attic insulation, a relocated elevator shaft and a three-story stair tower. A 2,000-square-foot addition will house a rooftop patio, greenhouse and new Energy Star kitchen facilities.

Read the entire article here.

Rochester Hills-based company providing technology for world's largest solar roof

People love the superlative. The biggest, strongest, fastest, smallest... putting "-est" on the end of a word really draws attention. With that said, Rochester Hills-based Energy Conversion Devices is helping build the largest solar rooftop in the world... it's the superlative.


The 12-megawatt system is being installed on GM's assembly plant in Zaragoza, Spain and will become operational in the fall of 2008. ECD will supply the solar laminates through its subsidiary United Solar Ovonic LLC.

When fully operational, the photovoltaic system will have a peak capacity of 12 megawatts, producing as much as 15 million kilowatt hours of "green" energy annually, enough to power approximately 4,500 homes.

Read the entire article here.

Plymouth, Rochester in a pool of 100 for best places to live

RelocateAmerica.com, an online resource for people on the move, released their 11th annual America's Top 100 Places to Live. Plymouth and Rochester made the cut. The list is based on neighborhood details, school performances, rec activities, beauty of the area, and economic growth.

The Web site groups the cities by state, they don't rank them in order - except for the top ten.

The three other cities in Michigan were: Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and Brighton.


Locally, Plymouth boasts its very own: Symphony, Theatre Players, Historic Old Village, Library Historical Museum, and Farmer's Market (May-October). In the center of the quaint downtown, Kellogg Park hosts concerts and festivals year-round: Fall Festival, International Ice Spectacular, Art in the Park, and The Musical Celebration. Seven public golf courses, as well as a complete range of recreational programs and facilities, are available for all ages, youth through senior adults.

Plymouth has also planned for business growth in a way that lends substance to the area, but does not overshadow the community. A solid base of industrial, research and executive parks ring the area, and retailing thrives. Business growth is in balance with the needs of the community. The markets are here and the surrounding communities are amenable to planned business growth.

Read the entire article on Plymouth here.

Metro Times releases annual 'Best of Detroit'

As they wont to do each year, the Metro Times has released its annual "Best of Detroit" awards.

Check them out here.

Metrotimes publishes area-wide food guide

The Metrotimes annual restaurant guide runs the gamut: from coneys to caviar, from haute to simply hot.

Categories include eggs, buffets, steaks and vegetarian-friendly. Check it out here.

Crain's names its annual 40 under 40

Crain's has released its annual "40 in their 40s" list. It includes success stories from all over Southeast Michigan and from numerous industries.

The front page of the feature is here.

Go Solar headed to Oakland County

The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association is bringing its Go Solar program to Oakland County, utilizing bulk purchasing methods to lower to cost of solar products for homeowners.


Program options include a solar domestic hot water system or a one-kilowatt photovoltaic solar electric system or both.

The systems in the Go Solar program are standardized. Therefore, as the contractor continues installing identical systems, they are able
to reduce labor costs. All of this translates into savings for the homeowner.

During 2007, federal tax credits are available to homeowners installing solar electric and solar water heating systems. In addition to savings, program participants get the satisfaction of working with a local business.

Read the entire article here.

High school robotics competition returns to Oakland County

The Oakland County Competitive Robotics Competition pits high schoolers against one another in the design and assembly of robots.


OCCRA generates enthusiasm for technical and academic disciplines such as design, engineering, physics, and electronics. These competitions provide recognition and encouragement for students who devote their energies to these areas of studies. OCCRA participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about the diverse technical career options available in our county and state.

Read the entire article here.

Woodward Avenue's 200th birthday celebrations kicks off July 19

This year marks Woodward's 200th birthday -- and the party starts July 19 at Detroit Historical Museum at 10 am.

More events can be found at Woodward Avenue Action Association's website.

metromode publisher Brian Boyle talks about retaining the region's talent in the Detroit News

Brian Boyle, metromode's founder and co-publisher, talks about Detroit Renaissance's efforts to retain the region's creative talent in the Detroit News.


Unfortunately, our creative community is scattered in pockets throughout the region, making it difficult to showcase the true depth of talent and "energy" evident dense creative hubs like Brooklyn, Austin or Seattle.

With creative density as a driving theme, the Road to Renaissance task force will work with the creative community to document and interactively map all creative-related assets in the region.

Visually showing the world the depth of advertising agencies, music venues, video production facilities, architectural wonders and more is an important tool in substantiating our claim as a creative hub.

Read the entire piece here.

"Dump the pump!" on June 21

Thursday, June 21 is the second annual "Dump the Pump" day that calls for the parking of cars and the riding of public transit as a way of calling attention to the environmental and economic benefits of using public transit.

A transit fact:

From 1995 through 2006, public transportation ridership increased by 30 percent, a growth rate higher than the 12 percent increase in US population and higher than the 24 percent growth in use of the nation's highways over the same period.

Find out more here.

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