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Real estate market coming back The long-awaited return of the real estate market has started and for the Birmingham and Bloomfield Township area, the numbers in terms of sales and house values are very strong.
39: W. David Tarver
For those not residing in the free mail distribution area, paid subscriptions are available for a $12 annual fee. Phone 248.792.6464 and request the Distribution department or go to our website (downtownpublications.com) and click on “subscriptions” in the top index and place your order on-line or scan the QR Code here.
Gilbert Lake, Bloomfield Township. Downtown photo/Hayley Beitman.
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Publisher: David Hohendorf Ad Manager: Jill Cesarz Sales Staff: Leo Calhoun Graphics/IT Manager: Chris Grammer
News Editor: Lisa Brody News Staff/Contributors: Hayley Beitman, Hillary Brody, Sally Gerak, Eleanor & Ray Heald, Austen Hohendorf, Garrett Hohendorf, Kathleen Meisner, Laurie Tennent
Society reporter Sally Gerak provides the latest news from the society and non-profit circuit as she covers recent major events.
Metro PCS, Maple Theater, Quiznos closing, LaPetite Patisserie, Huntington Bank, Bagger Dave's Burger Tavern, Golden Touch Baby Conciege and more
DISTRIBUTION: Mailed monthly at no charge to homes in Birmingham, Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills. Additional free copies are distributed at high foot-traffic locations.
Phoenicia proprietor/chef Sameer Eid, the area's dean of Lebanese cuisine, remodels but keeps his tradition of quality.
Max & Erma's closing; Pierce Street construction; new finance director; spring art show resolved; gun-toting teen sues city; three bistros clear hurdle; PUD okayed; and more
Holiday entertaining begins in November. So here are wine recommendations for the host who must plan the events.
AT THE TABLE
57: Holly Beth Moncher
The Principal Shopping District in Birmingham has proven to be the engine that has helped drive more foot traffic to the city.
FOCUS ON WINE
A recap of select categories of crime occurring in the past month in Birmingham, Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills, presented in map format.
25: Molly MacDonald
Birmingham's PSD engine
Rushing bistro review without results of downtown survey; our endorsements for the November general election.
INCOMING: We welcome feedback on both our publication and general issues of concern in the Birmingham/Bloomfield community. The traditional Letters to the Editor in Downtown are published in our Incoming section, and can include traditional letters or electronic communication. Your opinions can be sent via e-mail to email@example.com; or mailed to Downtown Publications, 124 West Maple Road, Birmingham MI, 48009. Letters must include your full name, address and daytime phone number for verification.
P R E S E N T S
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FURNISH A FAMILY’S FUTURE
Joy Weber Loren Weiner Alexandra Weitz Terri Weishaus Rachel Zimmerman
FROM THE PUBLISHER
he announcement in the past few weeks that Newsweek will be ceasing its weekly print publication and moving to a paid, all digital format at the end of this year has once again heightened the discussion in media circles of whether print publications are a thing of the past. Newsweek has been around since 1933 and has always held a second place position with Time magazine. These two publications were anxiously awaited each week by a generation that relied on them for major news of the time. The Washington Post sold off Newsweek in 2010 for $1 and assumption of debt to a new owner who quickly merged its news department with the digital gossip/news website The Daily Beast. But annual losses in the tens of millions of dollars has forced a reconsideration by the owner's heirs who have now decided to go the digital route. In the Detroit area, the Newsweek announcement would seem to be just one more confirmation that print is dead, thanks in part to the move in recent years by the Detroit daily newspapers to trim back home delivery of their products to just a few days a week. Yes, the old business models for print publications are being challenged by a combination of factors, including rising costs of labor, newsprint and distribution, as well as the onslaught from the digital world. But that does not mean print will be overtaken by the Internet completely, despite the younger generation's reliance on the web for a great deal of daily news of the day. For the most part, news organizations relying strictly on the web are showing, with few exceptions like the New York Times, that the digital business model simply does not generate enough revenue to underwrite a sustainable and professional news operation. That does not mean there are not some interesting efforts underway to develop a business model that works for digital news gathering. In Detroit we have Deadline Detroit (deadlinedetroit.com), the brain child of Allan Lengel and Bill McGraw, both veterans of the Detroit and national media scene. Their website does some good original reporting and then aggregates what they feel are interesting stories from other news websites. The initial funding for their effort came from Compuware Ventures, a venture capital investment firm underwriting digital products based in Detroit. And of course there is the national Patch online effort as part of AOL, although the verdict could be coming quickly on this Internet news effort that still bleeds substantial losses each year. The business model we think is most successful is the one we are following at Downtown Publications. As I was discussing with Birmingham writer and â€œrecovering journalistâ€? (Detroit News) Alan Stamm just prior to our November deadline, the weekly and daily print business model is probably a thing of the past. We produce monthly print products with a strong local news focus, augmented by a locally focused website, with 20,000-30,000 monthly visitors who are seeking more immediate news. The niche publication trend is something I saw coming 20 years ago and have prepped for well in advance of market changes we are now seeing.
Even the digital generation reads niche products, whether it be magazines focusing on music, sports, fashion and the like. We no longer rely on general interest print products to keep us informed on topics of special interest but instead turn to niche publications. So we have developed a business model of local niche publications like Downtown. The strong advertising support we receive is the most visible testament that we are on the right track. But equally important is the frequent feedback we receive via phone and e-mail or as we venture out in public and are stopped in grocery stores, restaurants or on the streets of the local communities by residents of all ages who take the time to actually thank us for putting out Downtown each month. The latter is a strong confirmation that the right niche print product has a promising future. David Hohendorf Publisher DavidHohendorf@downtownpublications.com
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Larceny from vehicle
These are the crimes reported under select categories by police officials in Birmingham, Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills through October 19, 2012. Placement of codes is approximate.
Lanvin Nina Ricci Jason Wu Isabel Marant Miu Miu and More
T E N D E R 271 West Maple â€˘ Birmingham 248.258.0212
BIRMINGHAM PSD THE ENGINE DRIVING THE DOWNTOWN BY LISA BRODY
hings come at a cost in Birmingham. The beautiful flowers which decorate large cement planters around downtown and hang enticingly from lamp posts. The snow which gets plowed off city sidewalks quickly and efficiently. There's a Farmer's Market offering fresh locally-grown produce and flowers for six months of the year. Numerous events highlight the city, bringing in shoppers for the annual Day on the Town sidewalk sale, and when the days get short, lights twinkle from trees throughout the city, kicking off the holiday season with a tree lighting in Shain Park, along with Santa arriving to his Santa House, as well as holiday carriage rides around the downtown area, and the new German-style Winter Markt. Yes, in affluent Birmingham enjoying the city comes with a price tag. And the Birmingham Principal Shopping District (PSD) pays the tab for it all. Birmingham's PSD was created in 1992 through a state legislative act, Act
120, which authorizes the development or redevelopment of principal shopping districts and business improvement districts; permits the creation of certain boards; provides for the operation of principal shopping districts and business improvement districts; provides for the creation, operation and dissolution of business improvement zones; and authorizes the collection of revenue and the bonding of certain local governmental units for the development or redevelopment projects. According to the act, the definition of a â€œPrincipal shopping districtâ€? means a portion of a local government unit designated by the local municipality as predominantly a commercial area which contains at least 10 retail businesses. It is permitted from a local municipality with a master plan that includes an urban design plan designating a principal shopping district or includes the development or redevelopment of a principal shopping district, or one or more local governmental units that can establish a business improvement district by
Above: Approximation of Downtown PSD assessment areas. Red, Area 1; Yellow, Area 1A.
A S T R E I N ’ S
2 O 1 2
H O L I D AY
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resolution, which may “Promote economic activity in the district by undertakings including, but not limited to, conducting market research and public relations campaigns, developing, coordinating, and conducting retail and institutional promotions, and sponsoring special events, and related activities...The principal shopping district was designated by the governing body of a local governmental unit after July 14, 1992.” When the city of Birmingham and merchant leaders endeavored to create a principal shopping district for Birmingham, it was after several years of a few merchants working, and paying, for events to bring shoppers into the city. “The late Art Schurgin, Richard Astrein, Bob DeLaura, Larry Sherman, Jeff Salz, they kind of ran their own business organization. They carried the burden for all of the merchants. We had conversations about how the city interacted with them. The city government saw the need to get them into a collaboration,” said former Birmingham City Manager Tom Markus, now city manager of Iowa City, Iowa, who was very involved in creating the PSD. At the time, Schurgin owned the former housewares store Horn of Plenty on Old Woodward (currently Hall & Hunter), Sherman owned Sherman Shoes (now Paper Source) on Maple, DeLaura a men's store on Old Woodward, and Salz owned former The Table Setting store. “We would meet monthly, elect a president, and voice concerns about the city,” recalls Richard Astrein, who has co-owned Astrein's Jewelers on W. Maple with his brother Gary for almost 40 years. “The Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber got involved for a while. In the mid-70s, the first big event we did was a Friday night Midnight Madness. We were the first one around that did that. It started out on the sidewalks, and got so big it spilled out onto the streets, and we had to close the streets.” The event continues to this day, re-imagined as an all-day event known as Day on the Town. “The trouble we had was in getting merchants to ante up. Art (Schurgin) would say we're paying for everybody,” Astrein said. “We said there had to be a more fair and equitable way to go about this.” strein noted that in malls, whether they be large regional shopping malls, like the Somerset Collection, or smaller strip malls, landlords collect common area maintenance (CAM) charges, which pay for the costs of maintaining and operating the center, managing the center, and for special events and advertising. “The average CAM charge at Somerset, for example, is $25 to $35 per square foot. That's the average Birmingham rent per square foot,” Astrein said. Instead of the few comprising the merchant group continuing to pay for events and activities, Astrein, Sherman, Schurgin, Salz and Geoff Hockman, a partner in The Townsend Hotel, began to work with Markus and the city commission. “We quickly began to see the vehicle of the PSD as the way to go,” Markus said. “A Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is more brick and mortar, which was not the issue. For Birmingham, it was more about the tenant mix, organizing special events, promoting and facilitating cooperation with the city, and managing, by state law, the PSD.” A DDA is an option available to any city,
township, or village, by Public Act 197 of 1975, to be the catalyst in the development of a community's downtown district. The DDA provides for a variety of funding options, including tax increment financing (TIF) which can be used for funding public improvements in the downtown area, and the ability to levy a limited millage (up to 2 mills) to meet administrative needs. irmingham in 1992 was already a well-established city with a strong central core, including an infrastructure which included five public parking garages. It did not need the incentives, such as eliminating the causes of deterioration and the halt of property values, which a DDA can address. A PSD, which had never been utilized in the state, was seen as a much more targeted and advantageous district. Gail Gotthelf was the executive director of the PSD early in its existence. “The reason the legislation passed was because DDAs were doing bricks and mortar projects and funding redevelopment where infrastructure was needed. There was nothing for funding downtowns like Birmingham or Montauk (New York), where you really didn't need the brick and mortar, but you needed help creating an identity,” she said. “We needed help creating and promoting an outdoor urban retail environment.” But first, the legislation, crafted initially in 1961, had to be revised to meet the needs of the city. Then-state senator Michael Bouchard (RBirmingham) worked on the amendments of Public Act 120 to create a principal shopping district, which would not only be a governmental body after July 14, 1992, but one which could assess local businesses. It successfully passed through both the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives, and in 1992, Birmingham became the first municipality in the state to create a Principal Shopping District. There are now at least six successful municipalities with PSDs throughout the state. “There were hearings held on it at the city level and at the state level,” Markus recalled. “Amendments were created at the state level to make this work for us. Others had tried previously to make PSD legislation work and had failed. I thought there was great value to having this organization created, and it's proven to be true.” Markus said that while Birmingham had been a small but charming downtown area for decades, “I saw potential for improvement. At the time, we were very worried about Somerset and its expansion. The PSD has had significant credit for providing a voice for the business community, and for getting cooperation from the businesses and municipal services,” he noted. “It created the community, in terms of helping to make it a close, warm, walkable downtown. Birmingham is a model for communities, and the PSD is largely responsible for that.” The legislation directs that besides levying assessments, there is to be one representative of the local unit of government appointed by the chief executive of the local unit of government “with the concurrence of the legislative body of the local governmental unit in which the business improvement district is located.” First Markus sat on the board as city manager; since he moved on, current city manager Bob Bruner sits on the board. It also calls for other members of the board to be
business and property owners located within the business improvement district. There are also members who are retailers but do not own their buildings, and two members who are residents from adjacent neighborhoods, providing a complete representation of the downtown area. Members sit on the board for four-year terms, and are formally appointed by the city manager with concurrence from the city commission. The executive director, who for the last 12 years has been John Heiney, is a non-voting staff member, “similar to the structure of a non-profit,” Heiney said. Astrein has been on its 11-member board of directors since the onset. “We had to get the blessing of Jacobson's (Stores) because they could have squashed the whole deal, they had so much real estate,” he recalled. “We started out with assessments at 25 cents a square foot, and capped them so that a huge landlord, like Jacobson's at the time, wasn't paying $40,000 a year in assessments.” Heiney noted that only commercial, not residential, properties pay PSD assessments, which have remained constant since 2007. All businesses pay an annual assessment; membership in the PSD is involuntary but all-inclusive. There are four different rate districts, and rates are dependent on that old real estate adage—location, location, location. istrict A is considered the most prime downtown Birmingham real estate, first floor retail (even if it is being used as office space) in the central business district. Assessment rates are 49.5 cents per square foot, while second floor and up, or below ground in the central business district, pays 19.6 cents per square foot. In the overlay district, or District 1A, which extends north to Oak Street and south to Lincoln, the assessment is approximately half that of the central business district, as those members do not receive quite as many benefits as those in the center of Birmingham. First floor retail members pay 24.7 cents per square foot, with second floor members being assessed 9.6 cents per square foot. Heiney said landlords are assessed the tax, and it is up to the individual landlord whether or not to pass the assessment on to their tenants, or to assume the cost as part of doing business. He also said there is a cap, known as the Jacobson's Provision, on assessments for large landlords, such as current landlord Ted Fuller, owner of Central Park Properties. “They actually put a cap in the legislation, and the cap is figured every year and tied to the consumer price index, so the rate changes every year,” Heiney said. Currently, the maximum a landlord can be assessed a year for a large property is $14,250. The PSD rates are requested each year by its board, and approved by the Birmingham City Commission. Heiney, and many retailers and building owners, contend the benefits are well worth the price. “It's very important,” asserted Cheryl Daskas, owner of Tender on Maple with her sister Karen. She sits on the board as a retailer and property owner. “It's a collective, and everybody works into it. It's not only for the merchants, but for the restaurants and the offices. It's for everyone who wants to be in Birmingham.” The PSD's total budget, made up primarily from
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collected assessments, for the current fiscal year of July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013, is $1.043 million. Heiney is the only full-time employee of the PSD; there are four part time employees, and they hire a paid summer intern each year. Special events account for 17.8 percent of the budget, with an allotment of $185,000. They spend $233,000 on marketing, worth 22.4 percent of the budget. Maintenance and capital improvements takes up 22.5 percent of the budget or $253,290. Administrative and personnel costs for Heiney and four part time employees is $253,290, 24.3 percent of the budget. The PSD spends $64,000 on business development, 6.1 percent of the budget. Heiney said another $51,900 in administrative expenses gets charged back to the city in the form of rent and for use of computers. Heiney pointed out that the “PSD basically is the marketing and events organization that works to benefit downtown, to bring shoppers to downtown Birmingham.” He said they work to do that in a multitude of ways, from a glossy magazine called Birmingham Magazine, a direct mail marketing publication that is subsidized to keep the advertising costs down to merchants, who are the only ones who can advertise in it. Heiney said the annual budget for the publication is $70,000 for three issues, which pays for production and distribution costs. “It goes out to 45,000 households in Birmingham, Bloomfield, Franklin, Troy and Huntington Woods. It's important to the merchants to feel that they have a publication of their own.” ince 2000, Heiney said they have had an important online presence in the form of enjoybirmingham.com, which features every single business in the PSD. “Every business has its own page, for free, with its own web page, if they want. Right now we have more than 650 pages, including retailers, doctors, lawyers and corporations. If you're in the district, you're a member,” he said. It also highlights upcoming events in the city. A maintenance and capital services committee works to benefit the property owners, and thereby retailers, restaurants and other businesses. With each large snowfall, the PSD makes sure that a four-foot path is cleared along a line of sidewalks throughout the downtown. “We have almost 52,000 feet—almost 10 miles of linear feet of sidewalks— to make it welcoming to visit Birmingham, even in bad weather,” Heiney said. Property owners and businesses are requested to shovel the snow in front of their doors, and in front of the meters to ease access for shoppers. Since 2001, the committee also hires outside contractors and the city of Birmingham to create and maintain the magnificent floral displays that have become a signature of the city. As a matter of fact, the signature 'B' has been incorporated into the approximately 30 large concrete planters designed for Birmingham by Detroit Garden Works in Sylvan Lake. Heiney noted that some of the planters are in the city's Triangle District, east of Woodward, south of Maple, but they are primarily in the downtown area, each with a different planting display during the spring, summer and early fall months. In addition, there are 170 hanging planters which the PSD works with the city's maintenance staff to have watered and maintained each morning, creating an inviting, beautiful display for residents and visitors alike.
Leadership of the PSD Any retailer or business situated in the boundaries of the Principal Shopping District is automatically assessed and a member of the PSD. There are 11 members of the PSD Board of Directors, along with executive director John Heiney, who does not vote. Any store owner or business person is welcome to come to their open board meeting, which convenes the first Thursday of every month at 8 a.m. at The Community House. They are also welcome to participate on any committee, which also meets at 8 a.m. Contact John Heiney at 248.530.1200 for more information. Here's the make-up of the current board, terms and committee involvement: Richard Astrein: Owner/Operator, Astrein's Jewelry; term expires 11/16/13; member since 11/92; special events committee chair; executive committee. Rachael A-Wood: Operator, Artloft ; term expires 11/16/15; member since 12/11; special events committee. Robert Benkert: Operator, Claymore Shop; term expires 11/16/13; member since 5/99; marketing committee. Barsoum Bouchar: Operator, Virtuoso Salon; term expires; member since 11/10; special events committee. Cheryl Daskas: Owner/Operator, Tender; term expires 11/16/14; member since 11/98; marketing committee chair; business development committee chair. Douglas Fehan: District resident; term expires 11/16/12; member since 12/92; special events committee, maintenance, committee; executive committees. Geoffrey Hockman: Owner/Operator, Townsend Hotel; term expires 11/16/14; member since 11/92; executive committee chair. Steve Quintal: Large Property Owner, Central Park Properties; term expires 11/16/15; member since 12/02; maintenance committee chair, business development committee. William Roberts: Owner/Operator, Streetside Seafood; term expires 11/16/13; member since 11/97; maintenance committee; executive committee Peter Sobleton: Owner/Operator, 101 North Old Woodward; term expires 11/16/15; member since 2/01; marketing committee, business development committee. Judith Solomon: Resident from adjacent neighborhood; term expires11/16/12; member since 11/10; special events committee. Robert Bruner: City Manager ; term does not expire; member since 2/11; executive committee.
The renown Birmingham holiday lights are a collaboration between the PSD and the city. Another active committee is the business and development committee, which has worked to augment the efforts of the building and property owners in Birmingham. “We provide a lot of benefits to property owners,” Heiney noted. “We
actively list all available retail and commercial listings on a special list on our website, and we send them out to about 160 leasing specialists. It's updated monthly.” bout two years ago, recognizing a city with numerous separate landlords could not adequately compete with a mall four miles away with a single landlord marketing itself, and with the city, along with the rest of the nation wallowing in the depths of a deep recession, the PSD decided to hire a retail leasing coordinator to provide marketing, branding and business recruitment assistance to Birmingham's property owners. Julie Fielder, an independent consultant, had 25 years as a leasing agent with The Taubman Company, and while initially it appeared to take her a while to get off the ground, her work is now paying off, with the Paper Source and J.McLaughlin choosing Birmingham a year ago, and Lululemon and Francesca's coming to S. Old Woodward soon. Heiney said she is actively working on several other potential deals. Today, Birmingham has a 96 percent retail occupancy rate. “Part of Julie Fielder's role is to assist and consult with all of the property owners and bring in valuable retailers to downtown,” Heiney said. “That woman is worth her weight in gold,” Daskas commented. “It took her a while to get going, with the economy being so bad. But look! Lululemon is one of the most successful retailers in the country. And with co-tenancy, Francesca's wouldn't sign unless Lululemon did. Her connections are so valuable.” “Today, Ted Fuller is the real estate kingpin (in Birmingham),” said Astrein. He owns the property at the corner of Maple and S. Old Woodward where Lululemon will inhabit in November. “He now sees what an asset Julie Fielder is when she was able to put together the Lululemon and Francesca's deals.” Some other boutique owners, however, question the wisdom of bringing in national retailers which compete with some of the smaller, locally-owned businesses, such as Paper Source versus Barbara's Paper Bag, or Francesca's versus Oliver's Trendz or Flash or Complex. “That's crazy,” Astrein said. “Competition is good. If you're a good merchant, it's good. It's how a mall operates. The goal is to bring more consumers in. Who wants to be the last store standing? Shoppers want to look and compare, if they can. If they can't find something, they will go to the next store. I love that there are a lot of jewelry stores in Birmingham. I wish Tiffany or Cartier were here.” “I want more stores, and more quality stores,” Daskas agreed. “It brings more people to town, and ultimately they come to all of the various merchants. As for bringing in national retailers, they advertise, and they advertise on a national level. People know who they are. Everybody knows who an Anthropology or a Lululemon is. They'll come into Birmingham.” The other major committee is the special events committee, which sponsors, and pays for, Day on the Town in late July, “which is the marquee event for our merchants. It's half sidewalk sale and half street fair,” said Heiney. The PSD generates sponsorship money through the August Cruise Event in conjunction with the
Woodward Dream Cruise, and that money goes directly back to the improvement and beautification funds, Heiney noted. Also in the summer, the PSD partners with the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition on the outdoor movie nights and helps to sponsor the popular Concerts in the Park. Holiday time is another period when the PSD kicks into high gear–understandable considering that the holidays are when retailers do a large bulk of their business, and it is of utmost importance to get them into Birmingham, inclement weather or not. The night before Thanksgiving is always the ceremonial holiday tree lighting sponsored by the PSD, along with the arrival of Santa Claus. The PSD hosts Santa House on the periphery of Shain Park during the weekends prior to the holidays, along with carriage rides, and an event called the Magic of Birmingham, with gifts and treats for shoppers. Three years ago, two residents approached the PSD with the idea of creating a traditional German holiday market, and together, they were off and running. This year the Winter Markt in Shain Park will be held November 30, December 1 and December 2 with traditional German food and beverages, crafts, holiday greens, live entertainment, ice sculptures and more. The PSD also co-ops a holiday television advertising campaign for merchants who choose to participate, with the PSD paying a majority of the costs. “It's $750 a store to be on television during the holidays,” said Daskas. “Independent stores could not afford television advertising at the holidays otherwise.” nother PSD-sponsored event, from the first weekend in May through the end of October, which has quickly become a Birmingham institution, is the Birmingham Farmer's Market. The Farmer's Market, which just finished its 10th year, was brought to the city commission by two residents, Julie Plotnick and Stephanie Freedman, after Freedman visited a familyoriented farmer's market in California and saw the potential for something similar in Birmingham. “We were an early supporter of the Farmer's Market. Now, there are 2,500 people there every week,” Astrein said. “The Farmer's Market is a terrific community event that has really revitalized that retail area (on N. Old Woodward),” said Daskas. “There is record attendance, and people walk past their stores to get to their cars. It's great.” “One of the benefits of a PSD is having the resources to respond to the needs of the community, like the Farmer's Market brought to us by some residents, now celebrating its 10th season, or the Winter Markt,” Heiney noted. “Citizens, retailers, businesses, their needs and desires change over the years, but we can respond to it.” Another recent event has been Birmingham Restaurant Week in late January and early February, a traditionally dead time for restaurants, postholiday season and before the spring thaw. It initially began as a one week event, but due to overwhelming response, it's now two weeks, and already more restaurants than ever before have signed up for 2013. Why not? For $15 at lunch or $30 at dinner, diners can enjoy a three-course meal at a host of Birmingham restaurants. It fills the seats and introduces restaurants to new diners, as well as offering a treat to regulars. “When someone complains about a $5,000 (assessment), look at what you get for it,” Astrein asserted. “It is so reasonable for what we get,” Daskas agreed. Some retailers complain that the PSD is skewed to those who work closely with Heiney. “The meetings, from the board to the committees, are open to everyone,” argued Astrein, well known for his civic involvement. “If I'm a merchant in town, am I going to wait until they come to me, or am I going to show up at the open Thursday morning meeting and complain about something I don't like? Don't sit at the back and criticize. Get involved and speak up. We ask for people on all of our committees. There's plenty of room on all of them. If you have a problem, show up and get involved.” “I have been to so many towns in the midwest, and Birmingham is at the top,” Markus said. “It's the most well-done, walkable, interactive, committeestructured city. It has tenants, retailers, businesses all involved, because of Geoff Hockman's style of government. Everyone's involved and has a voice, and is on committees that do the work. “We just adopted a downtown district (in Iowa City) because of experiences in Birmingham. I see the potential to replicate what we did in Birmingham,” he said. “It's a model for communities and the PSD is largely responsible for that. It happened during difficult economic times. If the leadership in this town had not stepped up, including the PSD, Birmingham would not be in the shape it is now. It has a healthy, vibrant look, and it's about a lot of people working together and making it work.”
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olly MacDonald hit the trifecta of lousy all at once. As if finding out you have breast cancer isn't devastating enough, MacDonald, president and founder of The Pink Fund, learned of her disease while she was in the midst of a divorce, transitioning between jobs, and on the brink of homelessness. MacDonald grew up on the tree lined streets of Grosse Pointe, studied journalism at the University of Michigan, and quickly landed her first job as a reporter. “I always said my life was practically perfect in every way. I think the irony of what has happened to me is that I assumed I would live the same adult life.” MacDonald's natural enthusiasm helped secure her a position with the Detroit Free Press, where she managed special events. “My claim to fame there was that I started the first Free Press Marathon.” She eventually became a full time stay-at-home mom to raise her five children. “In 1997, we were living the life of luxury in a beautiful home by Cranbrook. All of my kids were attending private school; my husband was a successful estate planning attorney, and it all went upside down. I drove up the driveway and learned our house was going to be auctioned off in 30 days and we were flat broke.” Macdonald rented a small home in Beverly Hills and was about to start a new job that would give the family financial stability when she learned she had breast cancer. “I wasn't able to take the job, and it left me unemployed and unemployable while I did treatment. During that time without income, we made some really difficult decisions. One was not to make our house
payment, so our second home went into foreclosure and we were literally looking at potential homelessness.” Without her income, she ended up in line at Gleaners Food Bank. “For a woman who once had her groceries delivered, that was a humbling experience,” she said. “Here I was an educated woman with high hopes for my children, scared we would end up in poverty.” Finding out there were very limited to no resources for women in her position, MacDonald launched The Pink Fund with her current husband in 2006 to help pay women's bills while they are dealing with breast cancer. The Pink Fund grew and began receiving inquires from women from other states, as well as foundations offering to partner with them. “I saw us as the little engine that could but we needed that power and push behind us to make it a reality.” MacDonald's push was partnering with Warriors in Pink through Ford Motor Company, providing The Pink Fund with an initial $10,000 grant. She encouraged James Denton of Desparate Housewives fame to become the celebrity spokesperson. They were recently featured on NBC's The Today Show and have helped over 150 families in 19 different states, including four women in Birmingham and Bloomfield. MacDonald said Ford has already committed to renewing their contract with The Pink Fund for 2013. “I enjoy what I'm doing so much so I'm doing it all the time. It's amazing to know you're making a real difference in people's lives,” she said. “I can't say enough that here I am in the second half of my life, maybe the last third of my life, doing the most important work of my life.” Story: Hayley Beitman
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COMEBACK STARTS BIRMINGHAM AND BLOOMFIELD REAL ESTATE MARKET BY LISA BRODY
y all accounts, the real estate market in Birmingham and Bloomfield, beset by plummeting home values, short sales and foreclosures, has returned from the abyss. And, in true Birmingham and Bloomfield fashion, it didn't tip toe quietly back, but has roared its way into a real estate recovery faster and more furiously than even the most savvy economic prognosticator could have imagined just a year ago.
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While homes are not at the inflationary point we all remember from the fabulous years past, where it seemed that owning a home was the equivalent of having a currency printing press in the basement, it no longer is like burning the paper your mortgage is printed on for kindling. While owning a house may never again be the surest form of investment you can have, it once again is a place of surety and safety, and a place for a family to make a home. The current turnaround flies in the face of some more pessimistic predictions from just last year. According to a forecast by the Seaver Title Agency in Farmington Hills, which appeared in a North Oakland County Board of Realtors newsletter in October 2011, “Home prices are unlikely to recover before 2020 and mortgage defaults will persist for years, reports a survey of bank risk managers. The survey, which was conducted by the Professional Risk Managers' International Association, found that 49 percent of respondents do not expect housing prices to rise back to 2007 levels for another nine years...The findings, which authors called a 'decidedly pessimistic outlook,' are a sharp reversal from cautious optimism the survey respondents (previously) expressed. In addition, 73 percent of surveyed bankers say they expect mortgage defaults to remain elevated for at least another five years.”
peaking in 2004, and we saw the beginnings of the decline in 2002-2003,” said Kelly Sweeney, chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel, noted in 2011. “The free fall really began in 2005, and by 2008, we were in complete free fall. We were experiencing declines of one percent a month in values. Southeast Michigan generally saw declines of 50 percent, and by 2008, real estate plummeted 50 percent in value. Things then began to recover a little in 2009. Prices were still really low. I believe prices hit bottom in 2010; and in 2011, prices have began creeping up a little, especially in the Birmingham, Bloomfield area. We're really seeing a dramatic turnaround in this area, with a shortage of inventory and a surplus of buyers.” Fast forward twelve months, and realtors, buyers and sellers in the area are seeing a completely different real estate market, one with limited supply, dramatically increasing prices, buyers fighting over homes and producing multiple offers, and unrecognizablylow mortgage interest rates. “Things are selling, and selling quicker than they have in many years,” said Brad Wolf, executive vice president of Hall & Hunter Realtors in Birmingham. “There are more buyers than there have been in six or seven years, so they're selling quickly, and for more money.” Doug Hardy, chairman of SKBK Sotheby's in
home sales rising 2.3 percent in July from June, and 10 percent from 2011. Realcomp II, a realtor listing and statistical service, noted that from August 2011 to August 2012, in all of Oakland County, sales increased 13 percent for the year, with median sales price for the county increasing from $123,000 in August 2011 to $141,000 in August 2012. “There were 5,041 sales in metro Detroit in August 2011, and 5,596 in August 2012,” said R.W. Watson, president of the North Oakland County Board of Realtors, or NCRBR. Watson is also a realtor with SKBK Sotheby's in Birmingham, specializing in Oakland County lake homes. What the statistics don't adequately speak to is the re-energized revival in the BirminghamBloomfield market, which by all accounts, is on fire. “The second half of 2010 is when we started to see the inventory stabilize and begin to drop,” Wolf said. “Interest rates really started to get good then, and buyers started to re-enter the market. In 2011 is when we saw a significant stabilization of the market, with the inventory continuing to drop, and more buyers entering the market. First, the prices stabilized (from free fall), and then began to increase in most of our markets, especially in Oakland County, and Birmingham and Bloomfield.” “Interest rates are at a historic low, and
BIRMINGHAM AND BLOOMFIELD IS A STRONG MARKET, AND IT'S IMPROVED MORE THAN SURROUNDING AREAS BECAUSE THOSE MOVING HERE HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THE ECONOMY. – DOUG HARDY, SKBK SOTHEBY’S A year ago, Oakland County Deputy Executive Robert Daddow said he thought Oakland County was a long way from bottoming out, and that there was still more hurt out there before real estate values and prices would stabilize, whether you are living in Birmingham or Hazel Park. Oakland County has the only centralized land records management system in the state, and the county performs assessments for 33 of the 52 communities in the county, giving it a birds-eye view on all property sales and valuations. Daddow said the county tracks all land transactions on a monthly and quarterly basis, so they know exactly where values are headed at any given time. “For the December 31, 2011 assessment rolls, which will be seen on taxpayers' July 1, 2012 tax bills, we will be down three to three and one-half percent net decline county-wide from the 2011 billing,” Daddow said. “We're seeing some stabilization manifestations in some southeastern Oakland communities, such as Birmingham and Bloomfield, but others, such as the Hazel Park's and Pontiac's, are still a major problem.” But there were some hints that the market was starting to return in late 2011. “We really peaked, from a sales volume point-of-view, here in 2002-2003, with prices
Birmingham, noted that in Birmingham, inventory is down 20.2 percent so far in 2012 in Birmingham, with sales up 30 percent. In Bloomfield Hills, inventory is down 15 percent, with sales up 50 percent. Bloomfield Township is proving to be a mixed bag, with the 48302 zip code (approximately north of Lone Pine) showing a 36.6 percent increase in sales from 2011, but the 48301 zip code is actually seeing a sales decrease of 17.6 percent, through August 2012, from a year ago. “Every town offers something different,” Hardy noted. “Birmingham and Bloomfield is a strong market, and it's improved more than surrounding areas because those moving here have confidence in the economy.” “It's like someone turned the water on. It's kinda wild. It's a very strong market,” said John Hannett of Hannett Wilson Whitehouse & Burke in Birmingham. “It's phenomenal. The market is back strong as ever,” concurred Cindy Kahn, an associate with SKBK Sotheby's in Birmingham. “It's been an incredibly brisk 2012 since January. This period has reminded me of when I was buying a house in the 80s, and my husband and I would look at a house, and we would walk out, and the house was already sold.” National statistics bear out what local realtors are seeing, with the number of existing
that's part of it,” Kahn noted. “But there is such pent up demand (on the part of buyers). Supply is down at least 50 percent, and demand is up 30 percent or more. As bad as things are in the United States, we were the first to go down in 2001, and we're now the first to come back up. I have investor clients who tell me that all over metro Detroit.” “Transferees are coming in from all over, Atlanta, the South, Europe,” said Deby Gannes, a realtor with Birmingham's Hall & Hunter. “The economy is really doing better. The car companies and suppliers are doing better, and so are the bankers and financial planners. People from all different walks of life are doing better, and because money is so cheap right now, people want to buy. Everyone wants to be in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills. People from some other areas of Oakland County want to take advantage of the interest rates and move into Birmingham and Bloomfield now.” A huge problem realtors and buyers are currently experiencing is a lack of houses to sell. “Everything has picked up, which is great. The problem is, there is a tremendous lack of inventory,” said Gerry Burke, managing partner of Hannett Wilson Whitehouse & Burke. “Currently, there are only 26,000 listings in all of metro Detroit, and there are 13,000 realtors, which is only two houses apiece to sell.
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Ongoing we need more to sell. When there was a glut of homes three years ago, there were about 80,000 listings.” Jon Swords, manager, associate broker with Max Broock, Birmingham, agrees that the lack of inventory is the major problem realtors and buyers are encountering. “Since the second and third quarter of this year, if something comes on the market, and it's fairly priced, it's gone, and with multiple offers, in all price ranges,” he said. “The stuff that's on the market that's been languishing, it's either overpriced, or it's just not making it.” Burke said he thinks there are a number of reasons why there are so few homes being listed for sale right now. “One big reason is that there are not as many people upside down right now, even if they think they are. But they've given up and they're not listing their house.” Kathy Manoogian of Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel said the shortage of homes for sale in Birmingham, in particular, is because people weren't prepared for the change in the market. “People still think it's a buyer's market—but it's not in Birmingham. Prices have gone up, and they've continued to go up daily because there are so many people that have been waiting to buy, who have been sitting on the sidelines, so that when a house comes on the market now, there are multiple offers, often above the asking price. It's wild for me to see the dramatic
hot,” Wolf said. “From $250,000 to $800,000 is really hot right now. That's the sweet spot because there is a lack of inventory and an increase in demand. Anything priced over $1.5 million, it's not that it's not selling, it's just not as hot. The inventory has decreased, but we're not seeing as much of a flurry yet. But it's headed in the right direction, and we will see it get hotter.” Hardy, noting Realcomp II August 2012 statistics, agreed with those statements— except for the city of Bloomfield Hills. “Even with inventory down 15 percent, and solds increased by 50 percent, their median sale price has been down in 2012 versus 2011, from $222,500 in 2011 to $167,000 as of August 2012. Birmingham's prices are moving in the right direction, up to $362,000 from a median sales price of $357,000 in 2011, and Bloomfield Township is up significantly to $325,000 in August 2012, from a median sales price of $250,000 in 2011.” “All prices are moving at the right prices, even if they're 15 percent overpriced, they're moving,” noted Dan Gutfreund of SKBK Sotheby's. “If they're sitting, they're overpriced, whether it's Birmingham or Bloomfield. People are listing their houses high, and they're getting the price. There is just a flood of buyers ready to pull the trigger. In Birmingham, houses are going in 12 to 24 hours. We haven't
Birmingham because everybody wants the lifestyle,” Gutfreund points out. “Everybody wants the walkability, being able to walk to the coffee shops, the restaurants, the movies, the quality of the excellent school district, the unique homes, the friendly neighborhoods. That's all key. They're willing to pay more for that lifestyle.” “People are the least interested in Bloomfield Hills because there are no parks, no sidewalks, no downtown, and no sense of a community,” said Hardy. “People want a sense of community and walkability. It's why they want Birmingham. Bloomfield Hills is great if you want seclusion and large lots. Bloomfield Township has a combination of both. It all depends on what you want. But more and more, right now people are gravitating towards Birmingham because of what it has to offer.” Manoogian acknowledges that Bloomfield, while strong, is not the same animal as Birmingham. “The fact that they're building the new Andover (High School) is helping property values increase and helping sales prices (in Bloomfield),” she noted. “The Bloomfield Hills school district has become so highly ranked that it's driving people to Bloomfield. As for the city of Bloomfield Hills, it's not large; only a square mile, and the pricing is much higher than the township. More people are looking at Bloomfield Township because they're priced
FROM $250,000 TO $800,000 IS REALLY HOT RIGHT NOW. THAT'S THE SWEET SPOT BECAUSE THERE IS A LACK OF INVENTORY AND AN INCREASE IN DEMAND. – BRAD WOLF, HALL & HUNTER REALTORS change in the last 12 months. I have people waiting for a house to come up on the market so they can snap it up right away. Birmingham is so hot right now, especially Quarton Lake Estates, and not a lot is for sale.” She noted that with the economic and real estate crash, “there were so many foreclosures, including in Birmingham, it drove the prices way down. But now what is interesting is the foreclosures are done. There really aren't foreclosures driving down anymore. There is a shortage vs. demand, which is driving prices back up. They may not yet be back to the height of the prices in 2006, but those were exaggerated prices. They're not going to get back to those exaggerated prices, because appraisers are under strict guidelines to be very strict with their price appraisals. In 2006, prices were often exaggerated because of lax lending practices and lax appraisals. People could put any price on a house, and get it. Those days are done,” she noted. Swords said there's a new normal now in terms of increased prices, with the biggest increases in home prices in Oakland County around 4 to 6 percent, which are solid increases. “It's much better than where we were,” he noted. “It's a strong market. Our buyers understand there's a new reality.” “Increases in certain price points are really
see interest rates like this in decades—a 30year fixed rate mortgage right now is 3.4 percent.” Tushar Vakhariya, a realtor with ReMax New Trend in Bloomfield Hills, said he works with a lot of doctors, “and there's not a lot available. They're looking in the $1 million to $1.5 million range. They're in they're mid-30s, have just finished their training, and are qualified for $1 million to $1.5 million, and they want to buy something new, especially new construction built after 2000. Anything in Bloomfield is going very, very fast. There's very little available. In Birmingham, the price for new construction is at a much higher price point per square foot.” Gannes noted that there are 50 homes on the market in Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township. Since October 1, 2011, 18 homes in Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township have sold, with the average sale price of $2.293 million. At this writing, there are currently three sales pending. In Birmingham during 2012, Gannes said nine homes have sold between $1.5 million and $2.6 million. While Bloomfield remains a strong market, realtors acknowledge Birmingham is at the top of the real estate heap. “Bloomfield Hills is not on wildfire like
out of Bloomfield Hills.” “In Birmingham, historically, per square foot, it sells higher, from the high $200s to the $400 per square foot range, depending on the location and the quality of the home, ” Kahn said. “Bloomfield Hills is slower, with more inventory available because most people want something newer, that's been redone. Bloomfield Hills has lagged in sales, especially per square foot, because the homes are either older and not as updated or higher priced. Additionally, a lot of people are downsizing and don't want a lot of acreage to take care of and maintain.” As for new construction, with most builders having closed up shop in 2007 and 2008, there is limited activity, but it is coming back. “Anything there is, is already sold,” Vakhariya said. “There seems to be very little being built 'on spec' (on speculation), or the builders are selling the homes before they finish them.” Jana Ecker, planning director for the city of Birmingham, noted that, “We've gotten a lot of plans this year. We've seen more applications for large scale projects that in the last few years. It's all across the city. Some are residential, some are only commercial, some are multifamily, and some are for mixed-use developments. We have received plans for projects big and small.”
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She noted that the building department has received approximately 40 single family building permits so far this year. “Some of my clients are now looking at (buildable) lots in Birmingham and Bloomfield,” Vakhariya said. He said that in Bloomfield Township, lots are going for around $400,000 and up for approximately an acre. In Birmingham, it depends on the street, with the downtown area in the $1 million and over range. “Some people are buying $700,000-plus homes in Quarton Lake Estates and knocking them down to build new,” he said. A big difference for buyers this economic market go-around is that many are not financing as much, both because banks are not permitting it, and realtors are discovering cash is king. “I've lost deals because clients could not pay cash, even at the high end of the market,” Kahn said. Watson said that in the metro Detroit area, in 2012, 43.8 percent of all home sales in August 2012 were all cash sales. “It's not easy for people to get mortgages, and the timelines to get mortgages, because everyone is refinancing, has extended to 45 to 60 days or longer,” Manoogian noted. Gutfreund said, “It's really insane. People are coming in with 40 percent cash, and just mortgaging 60 percent. Or they're full cash buyers. I've seen more cash buyers than I've ever seen.” The bane to home buyers and sellers in previous years had been appraisals, another fallout from the foreclosure and short sale crisis which affected the valuations of local properties. Although foreclosed properties were not supposed to be included in property valuations when appraisers come out to determine the value of a sold property, appraisers, who often were not familiar with the area, or whose companies were owned by a bank or mortgage company, did include the significantly lower priced foreclosed or short-sold properties in their calculations, lowering appraisals and sometimes upsetting the apple cart for a sale. “They are still a big problem for us. We can put a deal together where the seller likes the price, and the appraisal comes in too low. That was especially a big problem last year. It is getting better this year because of comps,” Wolf said. The increase in higher-priced sales in the last few months have helped to right the cart. “I haven't been having a problem because the comps (price comparisons) are coming in higher,” Kahn said. “There are now other comps
coming in to support the sales prices and for them to compare them to.” “Appraisals are less of a problem than they used to be,” Hardy said. “The agents are more vigilant about providing market comparables to appraisers, and banks are realizing that local appraisers are better than an appraiser from Brighton to do an appraisal for a home in Birmingham.” “More appraisers are able to justify higher prices because of the comps now,” Wolf agreed. “We still have instances where appraisals are low, but less and less.” Swords concurred. “We work across the board with a lot of lenders, and now, 90 percent of the appraisals work. Before, 50 percent of the appraisals didn't work.” “By and large, appraisals are not as bad as they were, and consumers are finding some local banks, like Talmer Bank, are paying the full appraisal fee so they are getting great and accurate appraisals,” Burke said. He explained that some other, mainly larger banks, have been using nonlocal marketing companies “who field off the appraisal to a young college kid for $200 rather than the full $500, who doesn't know the market, and they don't get accurate appraisals.” The one area that can still be a problem, Swords said, is the buyer's credit. “We're seeing people coming back into the market, who because of what happened during the downturn, had short sales or foreclosures. Now they're coming back in and buying a home again. Credit is much tighter. We would always tell people it would be 30 days to get their mortgage. Now it's 45 to 60 days. Banks are looking much more thoroughly at buyers' credit histories,” he said. All of the area realtors agree the improvement in the market, and the increase in higher priced sales, have helped improve the comparatives, solidifying the appraisals as well as the ability for buyers to secure the new low interest mortgages. “Birmingham and Bloomfield were the last to go into the recession, and they're the first to pop out of it because it's the most desirable area,” noted Wolf. “Now is really the time to buy. Very rarely do you have the stars lined up, and it's now,” Burke said. “The upside for buyers are the low interest rates. For sellers, it's the high demand. And if things take off in the economy in the next couple of years, as the money guys all tell me, wouldn't it be great to be stuck with a 3 percent mortgage?”
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Located at the end of a quiet lane, this serene three-acre estate setting offers privacy and elegance in its 6,000 square feet of living space. Designed for easy family living as well as gracious entertaining with a two-story foyer, oversized living and dining rooms with fabulous views and custom moldings and details throughout. The renovated ﬁrst ﬂoor master retreat features hardwood ﬂoors, his & her baths, heated ﬂoors, an oversized walk-in closet and more. The second ﬂoor children’s wing includes a playroom. The fully ﬁnished walk-out lower level is a great teen or guest haven with family room, wet bar, bedroom and bath.
This transitional contemporary home has exquisite craftsmanship, soaring ceilings and Brian Killian designer appointments. 6,300 square feet with 5 bedrooms and 6 baths. White gourmet kitchen features a stainless Dacor stove and oven, Sub-Zero refrigerator and Bosch dishwasher. Wood ﬂoors throughout the second ﬂoor. The master suite has his & her baths and closets. The ﬁnished basement includes a ﬁreplace, kitchen, wine cellar, bedroom, bath and bar. Plus, there is a sports court for outdoor fun!
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RECOGNIZED LEADERS IN RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE
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Farmington Hills $2,975,000 Bloomﬁeld $3,450,000
Exceptional 2001 Tringali-designed English Tudor replica on 2.48 acres in Franklin Village. Winding gated drive opens to views of the slate roofed home with pond, fountain and arched walkways. Over 10,000 sq. ft. of luxury with 4 Bedroom Suites, 4 full and 3 half Baths. Cook’s Kitchen. 3 season Sun Porch. Lower Level with Wine Cellar and Tasting Room. Exercise Facility with Dojo. 2 heated garages with capacity for 8 cars.
Breathtaking estate on private 2.4 acre park-like site. Over 17,000 sq. ft. of living space with exquisite detailing. Dramatic foyer has double staircase. Fabulous Living and Dining Rooms. Luxurious 1st ﬂoor Master Suite. Handsome 2-story paneled Library. Amazing Kitchen and Gathering Room. 6 ﬁreplaces. 4 balconies. Lower Level Retreat with lap pool, Theatre, Rec Room and studio apartment. 5 car garage. Elevator.
An incomparable Post Modern Masterpiece on 3.3 wooded acres. Sophisticated and functional living spaces. Dramatic Living Room with curved wall of windows overlooks Pool and Tennis Court. Wide gallery halls. Upper Level is a private Master retreat and includes a 3-room Ofﬁce. Finished walk-out Lower Level. 4 car garage. A one-of-a-kind residence that is spectacular in daylight and when illuminated at night.
Birmingham $1,995,000 Location! 2004 built in-town home. Over 6800 sq. ft. of living space with additional 2900 sq. ft. in ﬁnished Lower Level. 6 Bedrooms, 6 full and 2 half Baths. Private apartment over 3 car garage. Formal Living Room and banquet sized Dining Room. Gourmet Kitchen with oversized granite island. Breakfast Room with French doors to bluestone courtyard. Spacious Family Room overlooks outdoor living spaces. Generator.
Quarton Lake $849,000 Last remaining building site directly on Birmingham’s Quarton Lake. Frontage and long views of the lake, park and waterfall. Walk-out site may accommodate up to a 9,000 sq. ft. residence on three levels.
Bloomﬁeld listed at $1,545,000 Bloomﬁeld $1,149,000
Bloomﬁeld lease $15,000/mo.
Fabulous 2000 addition and complete renovation of a classic Bloomﬁeld Village home on a picturesque acre. 5 Bedrooms, 5 full and 3 half Baths. Granite Kitchen with large center island and professional appliances opens to spacious Breakfast Area and Family Room, all overlooking beautiful rear grounds. 1st Floor Bedroom used as Library. Spectacular Lower Level with Theatre, Bar and Rec Room. Oversized 2.5 car garage.
Prominently gracing the North shore of Wing Lake, this outstanding 2000 built home has over 10,000 sq. ft. of elegance and style in architecture, quality and detailed trim work. 6 Bedrooms, 6 full and 2 half Baths. Library with screened porch. Island Kitchen with informal dining area. 2-story Living Room. Incredible walk-out. Boat dock. 4 car garage. Additional private apartment.
Beautiful 2009 updated walkout Ranch with 136' Island Lake frontage and breathtaking views of Kirk in the Hills. Located on nearly 2 secluded acres with a gated entrance highlighted by a fountain. Open ﬂoor plan. Spacious Cherry Kitchen and breakfast area. First Floor Master. Large terrace overlooks dock and sweeping lawn. Additional Bedrooms in Lower Level. Generator. Home lovely as is, with incredible opportunity to expand.
Gilbert Lake $769,995 Beautiful lakefront acre site with wide vistas of Bloomﬁeld Hills’ Gilbert Lake, framed by mature trees. Gently sloping site will accommodate a large home with walk-out. Perk test and survey available.
CHRISTIE’S INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE
442 S. Old Woodward Birmingham, MI 48009
Custom Home Building and Renovations Kitchen, Bath and Whole House Renovation Exterior Modifications/Addition Historical Preservation Design/Cost Consultation Member National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Member Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan (BIA) BIA Builder of the Year Award BIA Remodelor of the Year Award NAHB Certified Aging in Place Specialists Greenbuilt Michigan Michigan Historic Preservation Network
81 West Long Lake Road Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
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W. David Tarver
irmingham resident W. David Tarver was first introduced to electronics by his father. He ultimately became a trailblazer, turning his basement electronics business into a multimillion dollar international company and writing a memoir to share his success story. Tarver grew up in a Flint home strewn with books and magazines. He became passionately interested in science fair projects after his father, who repaired his neighbor's TVs and radios in his basement, brought home electronics from World War II. After graduating with bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, Tarver moved to New Jersey to begin his career as a development engineer and manager at AT&T Bell Laboratories, the premier research and development institution known for the invention of the transistor and laser. “That's where you wanted to go to work if you were an electrical engineer,” he said. “I knew I wanted to start my own electronics business in high school and I felt like working for Bell Labs would give me the best experience and preparation.” Tarver saw the antitrust lawsuit and breakup of AT&T as the perfect time to leave and start his own business with two friends, developing advanced telecommunication instruments in his basement. “It was something I had wanted to do for a long time. I had no doubts about doing it. It was a big change being at a huge company at the forefront of the field to working in my basement,” he said. “Some of my colleagues wondered if I had gone crazy or was mentally unstable, but I was just determined.” Without established credibility, Tarver and his colleagues came very close to going out of business their first year, but a big order helped the company take off into its second year. After long hours and frequent
disappointments, by the third year sales were significantly over a million dollars and growing rapidly. The basement startup team sold their international company, Telecom Analysis Systems, to Bowthorpe, known today as Spirent, for $30 million dollars. Tarver managed his division for a few years before shifting focus to start an education nonprofit organization. With nothing keeping him on the east coast, Tarver moved back to Michigan while simultaneously writing a memoir, Proving Ground, about his journey. “I wanted to write the book because I viewed what we did as an experience. I hadn't seen any example of African Americans doing what we did. I wanted to give inspiration to young people who might be considering a career in technology.” Tarver served on the board of directors of the University of Michigan Alumni Association and participates in scholarship programs as well. He recently moved to Birmingham with his family because he said it reminds him of how Flint used to be. “I've also been investigating and exploring business opportunities in Michigan. I'm in the exploratory mode in respect to that. I want to spread entrepreneurship and innovation as broadly as possible to the next generation of technology entrepreneurs. Beyond that, I may engage in some business venture that is less technical but potentially has a greater positive impact on the community,” he said. “I'm taking it a year at a time. The process of the book has required me to sit still for a while. My wife and I like to travel, so I'd like to be traveling much more than we have been.” Story: Hayley Beitman
Photo: Laurie Tennent
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Impeccably detailed designer's home with Brazilian Teak hardwood floors, chef's kitchen and sun filled breakfast nook. Three fireplaces and two laundry rooms. Custom ceilings, iron staircase and built ins throughout. Master retreat with fireplace, claw foot tub, steam shower and custom closet. Three additional bedrooms. 3.2 baths. Wooded and private lot! $999,000
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Enjoy breathtaking views and shared lake lot across Franklin with deeded boat dock and lake privileges on Lower Long Lake. Magnificent Chef's kitchen with island and breakfast room overlooking patio and manicured grounds. Master suite with fireplace. Three additional bedrooms. 4.1 baths. Spa room with Sauna and Jacuzzi. 2,000 sq ft lower level has kitchen, bedroom, living area, full bath and recreation room. $995,000
Traditional floor plan with formal living and dining rooms and enchanting sun room. Completely updated island kitchen with granite counters, custom cabinets. Breakfast nook open to large family room addition. Master suite with balcony and fully remodeled bath with jetted tub and dual vanities. Finished 3rd floor features 5th bedroom. 3.1 baths. $725,000
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CITY/ TOWNSHIP Water connection use approved By Hayley Beitman
Bloomfield Hills Commissioners unanimously agreed on October 9 to allow Bloomfield Township's use of the city's South Oakland County Water Authority connection and the following night the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved the agreement. Integration of the two water systems will grant Bloomfield Township access to an area with the optimal connection located at Quarton and Chesterfield roads in Bloomfield Hills. According to project manager James Burton of Hubbell, Roth & Clark (HRC), Bloomfield Township will fund the construction costs in exchange for use of the city's connection. He pointed out that this will save Bloomfield Hills between $250,000 and $350,000 in construction costs and both municipalities will benefit from the shared connection in the long term. It will cost Bloomfield Township $575,000 to construct the connection, which is less than what the township had budgeted. "While the construction cost is a one-time savings, both cities will benefit long term from less operation and maintenance fees. It's marginal and incremental but if we get pressures down, there will be less system problems," Burton said. He stated the shared connection will provide a more robust backup water feed in the case of pressure loss. Another benefit explained by Burton is that the proposed plan will lower very high sustained pressures caused by topographical differences of the area. These high pressures can cause damage to homes from water line breaks. The new water district will not only lower pressure levels to make them more reasonable but will allow for levels to be increased in low pressure areas like Hillwood Drive in Bloomfield Hills. Burton mentioned that firefighting flows would also be better under the proposed model. Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township are both water customers of SOCWA, the South Oakland County Water Authority, which obtains water from the city of Detroit. SOCWA and Detroit Water and Sewerage Departments are both under contract with the Oakland downtownpublications.com
Rifle-carrying teen sues Birmingham By Lisa Brody
teen arrested in April for carrying a loaded M-1 rifle on the streets of Birmingham, and later acquitted, has filed a federal suit against the city of Birmingham and officers Michael Albrecht, Rebeka Springer and Gina Potts, demanding $40,000. On April 13 Birmingham police officers on routine foot patrol observed a teenage male walking down the sidewalk on S. Old Woodward near Merrill in downtown Birmingham with an M1 semi-automatic rifle thrown over his shoulder. Police stopped the teen and asked him if he was old enough to be in possession of the rifle, but he refused to identify himself. State law mandates 18 as the age when someone may be in possession of a firearm, but they must possess proper identification and show it to law enforcement if asked. Sean Combs, an 18-year-old who lives in Troy, was arrested and taken into custody for disorderly conduct, brandishing a firearm and obstructing an officer. He posted bond and was tried in 48th District Court in July, where he was acquitted by a jury of disturbing the peace and brandishing a firearm. Judge Marc Barron threw out the charge of resisting arrest. Michigan is an open carry state, which means anyone over 18 may legally carry a firearm in public, other than certain prohibited areas. Combs participated in open carry protests over the summer in Shain Park. Birmingham City Manager Robert Bruner stated, in regards to Combs' suit, “On Monday, September 10, 2012, the law office of Matthew S. Kolodziejski, PLLC faxed a draft complaint to Dianne Winn, a Senior Claim Representative with Meadowbrook Insurance Group, the city of Birmingham’s liability insurance agent through the Michigan Municipal League Liability and Property Pool. Ms. Winn forwarded the draft complaint to Assistant City Attorney Michael P. Salhaney on Tuesday, September 11, 2012. She also spoke with Mr. Kolodziejski via telephone on that date and received a verbal demand of $40,000. That too was shared with Mr. Salhaney. The city attorney’s office shared the draft complaint and verbal demand with the appropriate city officials. The city took no further action and Mr. Kolodziejski filed a lawsuit on Friday, October 12, 2012. The city will vigorously defend the lawsuit.”
County Water Resources Commission. “It's a win-win for both communities,” said Bloomfield Township Clerk Jan Roncelli. “It's a great example of shared services.
PUD ordinance passes city council By Hayley Beitman
The Bloomfield Hills City Commission passed a planned unit development (PUD) ordinance amendment by a vote of 3-2 at their regular meeting on October 9. Commissioners Sarah McClure, Mike McCready and Michael Zambricki supported the ordinance amendment, while commissioners Pat Hardy and Mike Dul voted against its passage. Planned unit development, as outlined by the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, allows for flexibility in development and building regulations
to respond to unique factors for a particular site where appropriate, provides a design option to encourage innovation in the variety, design, layout and type of structures, and allows a mix of uses, densities or lot sizes that would otherwise not be permitted. The adopted ordinance amendment will also require the concept PUD plan and final PUD plan to be approved by a majority of the members of the planning commission, a point that drew objections from commissioners Pat Hardy and Mike Dul. Hardy argued that the city commission is elected by residents while the planning commission is appointed by the city commission, so it doesn't hold the same responsibility to the residents. Commissioners McClure and Dul are currently members of the planning commission. Mayor Sarah McClure said the PUD ordinance amendment will provide a better definition and clarification of what a public benefit is, stating that all
PUDs should provide a clear benefit to the city. McClure also stated that a PUD project, such as a golf course becoming an apartment complex, could drastically change a community and should require the most votes from the most people possible. Commissioner Zambricki noted, “There have been controversial PUDs over the last few years,” referring to The Plaza development at Woodward and Long Lake roads, and The Woodward, an assisted living development on Woodward yet to begin construction. Zambricki said requiring both the city commission and planning commission to approve the PUD, as opposed to just the city commission, allows more people to review the plan and raise questions.
New phone app connects to police The Bloomfield Township Police Department launched a phone application October 17 to provide a new service allowing users to be digitally alerted of various situations. The new phone application, available for Droid devices at no cost from the Google Play Store, was created to inform users of serious police situations, as well as traffic congestion, road conditions and missing persons. A similar app for iPhones will be available soon. “This is a great tool, a way to get information directly to our end users, our citizens,” said community liaison officer Pete Matejcik. “We’ve taken a cue from the private sector. For the last few years they have been developing apps to make their businesses more accessible and user-friendly. I’m also very proud to say we’re one of the first police departments in Michigan to have such an app. My department has always embraced technology to help us to do our job. Keeping the public informed is a win-win proposition.” The application will allow users to submit crime tips, read police news, commend officers for their actions, and will also provide access to crime maps and the Bloomfield Township Police Department's Facebook page and event calendar, where users can view the profiles of wanted persons in the area. Interested consumers should search 'Bloomfield Township Police' on the Google Play Store to download the application for free and the application for iPhone and iPad's is expected to be ready soon. 45
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Three bistros chosen to move forward By Lisa Brody
The initial screening of six bistro applicants took place at the Monday, October 15, Birmingham commission meeting, with two existing bistros, Birmingham Sushi and What Crepe?, receiving recommendation to move on to the city's planning board, along with new bistro concept Crush, to be built in the 555 Building on S. Old Woodward. Six different candidates submitted five-page preliminary applications for a 2013 bistro application to the Birmingham Planning Department. Each applicant was allotted approximately five minutes to present their concept to commissioners, without the aid of presentation boards or Powerpoint presentation aids. Under current bistro application rules, commissioners altered the way applicants can apply for the two bistro licenses available every year from a first-come, first-serve system to a deadline-oriented system, which allows several applications to be reviewed at one time. This system is believed to give the planning board and city commission the opportunity to select the best applications in a given year. Applicants had to turn in a fivepage summary to planning director Jana Ecker by October 1, which were then sent to the city commission for review. Additionally, applicants had to present a full planning package to the planning department. Of the six applicants, two were reprises from last year. Birmingham Sushi Cafe, which submitted a 2012 bistro application but didn't show at the city commission meeting, disqualifying them, requested a license in order to offer those desiring a drink with their sushi. They said there will not be a separate bar. “All drinks will be prepared in the kitchen.
The bar will be for sushi,” the application noted. This year, the family-run restaurant closed for the night and they flew their two sons in from Harvard for the meeting. Keith Maxton of Michael Willoughby & Associates, the establishment's architect, presented that they intend to maintain the family ambiance and continue with a Zen-like atmosphere. “But families like to have a glass of wine or beer with their meal, and rather than have their clients go to other cities for their meals, because they are already operating, we believe they already meet the criteria for a bistro license,” Maxton said. Commissioners concurred, with all seven placing the Asian bistro on the top of their list for a bistro license recommendation. “I have two criteria to focus on, what I call needing an adult presence, and an area that we may have reached a saturation point,” said commissioner Gordon Rinschler. “I see Birmingham Sushi meeting both of those criteria. It's an area that needs activation (on Hamilton), and it's an existing restaurant. And it's not taking over retail space.” Commissioner Scott Moore agreed. “My first choice is Sushi. It's got the right location; it's a family-owned restaurant; it has uniqueness of it's cuisine. That's all of what a bistro is supposed to offer.” What Crepe? owner Paul Jenkins Jr., at 172 N. Old Woodward, noted they have been open since February 2012. “I am an active, on-site owner. I decided to recreate the (crepe) industry and bring in the savory. We've catered businesses, high-end homes, and we've offered loyalty programs. We won't have a bar or a happy hour. We serve over 1,000 people a week, for a restaurant that doesn't serve alcohol.” Commissioner Tom McDaniel asked him what his sense is of the demand for wine or alcohol, and Jenkins, who also owns a What
Support fundraiser for ill Birmingham police officer
irmingham Police Officer Phil Lai, 42, is in the fight for his life, battling a multi-year conflict with spindle cell sarcoma, a form of cancer of the connective tissues, and the public is being asked to help raise funds to help the officer. The father of two young daughters has been 48
Crepe? in Royal Oak, said that in Royal Oak it's 80 percent food, 20 percent alcohol. He affirmed that if he is approved for a bistro license, he would apply for a deck platform next year. What Crepe? received five commission votes to move on to the planning board for review and recommendation back to the city commission for final approval. Crush, presented by Michelle Russo, general manager of the 555 Building on S. Old Woodward, was introduced as a way of invigorating the southern end of S. Old Woodward and “as a western gateway to the Triangle District. We want to create traffic to the southern end of downtown, and to help define the Triangle District,” she said. The proposal stated it would be built from new construction on Bowers between Woodward and S. Old Woodward, and include two rooftop dining terraces in addition to a sidewalk cafe. Russo explained it would be situated between the two 555 buildings, with the main entrance opening onto S. Old Woodward. “That's dead space that needs something to fill it in. It's great for a bistro because it's hard to fill.” Russo said. The bistro would be on the first floor, with patio dining, but will have overhanging terraces for private parties. She assured commissioners there is ample parking in the building's garage, as well as on the street. Open seven days for lunch and dinner, it would offer “good food and an import wine list offering many choices as well as craft beers.” It is designed to be a neighborhood haunt. It would be owned by Marc Blancke, who owns Sinbad's, in partnership with Russo. John B. Fleming of Sinbad's would be executive chef. It would offer fresh seafood and quality meat. Commissioners liked the proposal, receiving all seven commissioners' votes, as well as the opportunity to
off the job for a long time, according to staff and services coordinator Ellen DeView of the Birmingham Police Department, who is coordinating a fundraiser for Lai on Tuesday, November 13, from 3 to 9 p.m. at Dick O'Dow's Irish Public House at 160 W. Maple in Birmingham. Tickets for the event are $25 per person, which includes a drink and a buffet meal. All proceeds will assist Lai in his battle against his disease. “Lai is the heart and soul of this department, DOWNTOWN
create a new restaurant in a quiet area of town. “I like Crush. That area really needs the development and it's close to the Triangle District,” said commissioner George Dilgard. Commissioner Rackeline Hoff agreed. “The location is where we could use some liveliness.” Mayor Mark Nickita noted he was very encouraged by Crush. “It has great allure as a gateway to connect to the Triangle District. The 555 Building is a natural link, and that 's a new space, so it's not taking away from any retail. I also like the synergy with Phoenicia.” The three other proposals, for Craft Republic, a gastro pizza and artisan beer place in the current Ligne Roset location at 255 S. Old Woodward, by Townhouse owner Jeremy Sasson and his sister Stefenie; The Foundry Kitchen, to be located at 600 N. Old Woodward immediately adjacent to Lot 6, by owner Brian Najor and architect Victor Saroki; and 25 Degrees, for the old Olga's location at 138 S. Old Woodward, would be a Birmingham outpost of an upscale burger and wine restaurant which has locations in Hollywood, Beijing, Huntington Beach, California, Bangkok, and Chicago, all received kudos from commissioners for their excellent ideas and proposals, but were not deemed right for 2013. “I would not support a restaurant that displaces retail. To be a walkable community, you have to have retail, not just bistros,” said Hoff, with concurrence from several other commissioners. Nickita noted that “It was not as much this year about the concepts because they were all great; they'd all be great bistros. The fundamental thing we looked at was would they be an economic driver for our city. In using space, we have only so much space, and a lot of it is precious, and we have to keep a balance with retail. When we put a bistro in, we lose a retailer. Activating areas (of the city) is a high concern.”
and we want to help him,” DeView said. “He's been unable to work for a long time.” There will be a cash bar, a 50-50 raffle, for which the department is continuing to accept items, and the event should be a fun respite from worries about Lai for the department. DeView said the public is welcome to attend, with cash or checks payable to Phil Lai, accepted. DeView (248.530.1869) or fellow officer Ray Faes (248.530.1766) can be contacted for tickets or additional information. 11.12
Max & Erma's closes; steakhouse to open By Lisa Brody
Max & Erma's, a mainstay on Merrill Street in Birmingham for over 30 years, learned they will be closing by the end of the year, to be replaced by Stoney River Steakhouse. The family-oriented Max & Erma's, which serves hamburgers, sandwiches, salads and warm chocolate chip cookies, appears to be a victim of the upscale movement towards steakhouses in Birmingham. Max & Erma's Birmingham manager Casey Lester was told to refer calls to the restaurant's main management, who did not return calls requesting a comment on the closure. Stoney River Steakhouse will be the third dedicated steakhouse in just the central business district of downtown Birmingham, joining Cameron's Steakhouse, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and the newly-opened Hyde Park Steakhouse. Eddie Merlot's Steakhouse is scheduled to open at Woodward and Big Beaver in Bloomfield Township this winter. Numerous calls to Stoney River Steakhouse were not returned, but its website notes that the restaurant, which the site says serves “legendary steak,” was begun in Atlanta in 2000, and has other locations in Annapolis and Towson, Maryland; Duluth and Roswell, Georgia; Louisville; Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee; and Chesterfield, Missouri. The steakhouse group was purchased by the restaurant chain O'Charley's Inc. from the original owners. While the other Birmingham steakhouses are not open for lunch, Stoney River Steakhouse has a lunch and dinner menu, at least for some of their locations. Both the lunch and dinner menus offer a wide range of steaks and fish. The lunch menu also offers salads and sandwiches.
Former Big Boy to become Mex eatery By Lisa Brody
A contemporary, trendy Mexican restaurant, to be called Mex, will take the place of the former Big Boy restaurant on Telegraph Road just south of Maple in Bloomfield Township, confirmed chef and restaurateur Zack Sklar, who purchased the building with investors. Sklar, who is the owner of Social downtownpublications.com
Kitchen and Bar in Birmingham and Cutting Edge Cuisine Catering Company in West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills, said he does not yet have a time table for opening the new establishment, although it is likely to be in 2013. He said the new restaurant will be a contemporary Mexican restaurant serving lunch and dinner, with a family orientation. “It's going to be over-the-top and really incredible,” he said. The new eatery will accommodate approximately 200 diners, with parking for about 100 vehicles. The design and planning process is just beginning. “I'm going to do the design, just as I did with Social,” Sklar said. “Ron Rea (of Ron & Roman in Birmingham) is doing the restaurant layout. There's no one better in the business than Ron.” Sklar said he is excited at the opportunity to create another restaurant, one that is very different from Social, which he describes as refined comfort food. “We have nothing that is contemporary, chic Mexican. There will be lots of great food and drinks,” he said.
Payne honored with naming of building Former Bloomfield Township Supervisor Dave Payne was honored on Sunday, October 14, with the naming of the new public services building in his honor. Payne, who did not know the building was to be named the Dave Payne Public Services Building, was surprised when he attended the Bloomfield Township Open House with his wife, children and grandchildren. Payne retired from Bloomfield Township in July 2011 after 41 years with the township. “Dave got his start at Bloomfield Township’s Road Department when he was 19 years old and working his way through college. Forty-one years later, he retired after serving 12 years as a highly admired and respected supervisor, but remains a 'Roadie' at heart,” said community relations director Leslie Helwig. “The (almost) new public services building will be named the Dave Payne Public Services Building to honor him for his service to Bloomfield Township and especially his success in winning voter approval in 2006 for funding major improvements to the civic campus. Aside from the new public services building, the senior center was built and central fire station was renovated,” Helwig said. DOWNTOWN
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Options considered on problem trees The city of Birmingham is considering its options to deal with ginkgo trees in one neighborhood where residents are complaining about the fruit produced by the trees and the resulting stench created in the neighborhood. Ginkgo trees are originally native to China, yet Birmingham has many scattered in its environs, with their iconic fan-shaped leaves, which are replicated in the downtown area on some metal tree bases. Mature female ginkgo trees have a problem each October and November: besides shedding their leaves, they drop profoundly foul-smelling sticky fruit. Residents living on Hazel and Haynes in Birmingham, whose streets are lined with ginkgo trees, have requested that the city treat or remove the trees. A petition signed by 16 residents was presented to the city and city commission last winter, requesting the city treat the 28 fruit-bearing ginkgo trees on Hazel and Haynes. "The aroma from this fruit is commonly compared to
dog feces or vomit," Norman Kern, a 36year resident wrote. "I wouldn't argue with either description. Our trees drop bushels of this smell onto our yards, sidewalks and streets each year. The smell gets on our cars as we drive to our homes and into our homes on the feet of our children and pets. "I enjoy living in a walkable community," he continued. "My wife and I walk downtown for dinner twice each month. Haynes and Hazel are not walkable during the months of September, October and November. They are not walkable on Halloween evening. There is just too much ginkgo fruit on the sidewalks." Director of Public Services Lauren Wood told city commissioners recently that she told residents that chemically treating the trees is an unacceptable option, both because it will not prevent the fruit from forming and dropping, and because the city does not use chemical treatments on trees. She said the city will increase leaf collection to weekly on those blocks to aid residents in getting the leaves off their streets. Residents have requested to have the trees removed, and city
commissioners agreed that should be an option but city manager Bob Bruner said they are still investigating. “I don't know 100 percent if that's possible,” he said. “We’re still looking at the rules in the Tree Preservation Ordinance to see if we can remove them legally without changing the ordinance.” He said there is a clause if trees are a nuisance which would apply for the removal of these trees. If that clause is determined to be applicable, the city would hire the contractor to remove the trees at residents' expense. The city would pay for replacement trees. “It ends up being about a 50-50 split because new trees are about the same cost as removing the old ones,” Bruner said. He said the current practice is to plant a variety of trees so that if there were a disease problem, an entire block of trees would not be wiped out.
Art show in park set for Mother’s Day By Lisa Brody
For 30 years it was an art fair lover's tradition, to come to Birmingham to
attend the spring art fair in Birmingham's Shain Park and now, after a few year's of playing around with tradition, Art Birmingham, sponsored by the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center (BBAC), will once again be back on the calendar for Mother's Day weekend in 2013. The Birmingham City Commission unanimously supported a request by BBAC director Annie VanGelderen to return Art Birmingham to it's traditional weekend of May 11-12, 2013, at its meeting October 15, while denying her request to move the fair from Shain Park to S. Old Woodward. “For over 30 years, we've owned Mother's Day weekend. Our intention is to make Birmingham the destination (again) for Mother's Day weekend,” VanGelderen told commissioners, noting that she is working with the Townsend Hotel, among other Birmingham businesses, which will host a Mother's Day brunch this year. For the last few years, Art Birmingham was shifted to later weekends in May at the behest of some retailers in Birmingham who felt shoppers were attending the fair at the expense of shopping in the stores in
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Disaster training in Bloomfield Hills By Hayley Beitman
Bloomfield Hills participated in the first mock disaster/damage assessment training event in Michigan on Tuesday, October 9, along with thirty Oakland County communities. From approximately 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., the Oakland County Building Officials’ Association (OCBOA), Oakland County Homeland Security Division and the Michigan State Police Emergency Management Division trained over 70 police, fire and EMS staff at the Combined Regional Emergency Services Training (CREST) center at Oakland Community College’s Auburn Hills Campus on what to do in the case of a man-made or natural disaster such as a tornado or flood. President of Oakland County Building Officials’ Association (OCBOA) and Bloomfield Hills Building Official Larry Rospierski said the event, fully funded by a FEMA grant, was the first of its kind in the state of Michigan. The 22-acre CREST training center at OCC features homes, a bank, gas station, motel, convenience store, fire station and a five-story live-fire training structure. Intern Kristen Dayag conducted a classroom session on 24 new GPS and imaging systems bought with the FEMA grant. Bloomfield Hills will be one of the municipalities to receive one of the new pieces of equipment because of Rospierski's participation. According to a press release, the training was necessary for securing state and federal aid and recovery transitioning. “Why? Because it can happen here,” Rospierski said at the Bloomfield Hills City Commission meeting on Tuesday, October 9. “There is no such thing as not in our backyard.” “For years Homeland Security has attended one of our monthly meetings and provided instruction on how to conduct damage assessment but that ‘book-learning' falls short of the real thing. It was time to take it to the next level and make it part of our agenda for 2012”, Rospierski told commissioners. “To be fiscally responsible, government leaders must recognize that no one community can provide damage assessment, permitting, and inspections in response to a large scale event.”
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Finance director search underway By Hayley Beitman
The city of Bloomfield Hills in early October unanimously approved hiring the Michigan Municipal League (MML) to perform a search for the finance director/treasurer position to replace current treasurer Lisa Dolan of Bloomfield Township, who has submitted her resignation. Dolan was hired full-time in September 2010 with a salary of $79,900 plus benefits when previous treasurer Carolyn Lorenz resigned. She accepted a comptroller position with the Huron Clinton Metropolitan Parks Authority for a significant wage increase, according to mayor Sarah McClure. City Manager Jay Cravens contacted Les Pulver at Plante Moran to ask for recommendations for an interim finance director/treasurer. Pulver provided six candidates. Two of them were interviewed by McClure and Cravens, and Troy resident Keith
Francis was selected as the interim finance director/treasurer. Francis, who has been working with Bloomfield Hills for the past week, was a partner at Plante Moran, a member of the private and public sector, and also owns his own firm. He was highly recommended by Pulver of Plante Moran, and will work three days a week until the new position is filled. Francis said his focus is to understand the payroll system, pay the city's taxes, and manage monthly reporting. Cravens estimated hiring MML to provide job search services will cost the city about $10,000, or 10 percent of the salary mid-range for the job. This amount includes advertising for the position as well as any travel costs. Cravens also proposed forming a subcommittee to include one to two commission members who will meet a couple times a month for the job search. Mayor Sarah McClure and planning commission chairperson Walter Cueter, who is a CPA, agreed to serve on the subcommittee. Cravens said he will contact the MML regarding the search criteria.
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Pierce Street to be redone spring of ‘13 By Lisa Brody
It's going to be a rough spring 2013 for merchants on Pierce Street in Birmingham next as road construction comes to Pierce Street between Maple and Merrill streets, and Merrill between Pierce and Old Woodward, following city commission approval on September 24. Birmingham City Engineer Paul O'Meara said work on sewers, water mains, new sidewalks, streetscaping, and streetlights will all begin in early spring, followed by road reconstruction with concrete, which has a longer life than asphalt. The entire construction project is expected to take three months. “We'll try to provide a bonus/penalty clause to entice them to work a sixday week,” O'Meara said. The estimated cost for the project is $800,000. Commissioners unanimously
approved resolutions to replace the sidewalks, add diagonal parking on the west side of Pierce Street in front of city hall, and to add another crosswalk on Pierce and Martin. Commissioners approved the change from parallel to diagonal parking on Pierce in order to add three additional parking spaces to the street. The additional crosswalk, on the south side of the intersection at Pierce and Martin, is to be added as pedestrians currently cross there without the crosswalk, and engineers and commissioners felt it was respecting the natural flow of pedestrian traffic. O'Meara said much of the current streetscaping will be maintained. “All of the sidewalks will be replaced, other than some newer ones that have just been replaced. We'll try to keep those,” he said. New streetlights will match those in other areas of the downtown, but “be fancier with electrical outlets in them to plug Christmas lights into,” O'Meara said.
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ance and fitness instructor Holly Beth Moncher first started teaching dance to neighborhood girls in the lower level of her Birmingham home. Today, she teaches children the importance of good manners through her DVD educational program, Time for Manners. Moncher was very involved in dance during her childhood through ballet, jazz and tap classes, as a cheerleader at Andover, and dancing for a group called the Ginger Snaps. “The discipline of dance carries through life. Having grace and poise I learned through dance and it's all part of being respectful and proper in life.” Moncher notes. Throughout her career teaching in her basement, at local church halls, or at her own professional studio, she has taught over 2,000 young women to dance. Moncher juggled business, accounting, and marketing classes with teaching six days a week and raising three young boys before she decided to stop her dance lessons. Spending time around children both as an instructor and mother, Moncher saw a need to reintroduce manners to children and was inspired to create Time for Manners. “Manners are important to our family, so I decided I would teach them through classes. My parents instilled in us respect for others and kindness and when I had my own children, our boys were taught the same way.” Moncher created a program similar to Sesame Street to teach children good manners, good behavior and politeness at a young age from someone outside of the family. Initially teaching children ages 7-14 years old, Moncher quickly realized she could start teaching younger children so it would become second nature and carry on through life. She turned her three car garage into a sound studio and film set to make her first DVDs. “They are interactive and I try to make it fun so I'm not lecturing rules. It's fun and not like going to school.” The first video teaches the importance of saying please, thank you, and excuse me by awarding the puppets “Magic Manner Stars”. “They watch them over and over again because the puppets are funny and the kids are learning without even realizing it. That was part of the plan to make it fun. It's an easy way to absorb it rather than a teacher standing up and lecturing,” she said. Recognition from the Dr. Toy Awards Programs, Creative Child Magazine's Awards Program, and the iParenting Media Awards Program, combined with tremendous support from family and friends has been rewarding. A resident of the Bloomfield Hills area since she was 14, Moncher enjoys her hometown by walking to downtown Birmingham restaurants with her husband, attending cultural events and taking classes at the Birmingham Community House. She also stays active by golfing in the area, and through yoga and pilates in town. “My husband always says I'm really up when I come home from teaching a class,” she said. “I find that I like teaching more than just promoting the videos, so I suspect I will be doing that for a while, and it gives me great satisfaction.”
Story: Hayley Beitman
Photo: Laurie Tennent
OPEN HOUSE For parents of prospective K-8 students Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. To R.S.V.P., receive additional information, and/or schedule a private tour, contact Amy Schlussel at (248) 539-1484 or email@example.com. D A Y
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BUSINESS MATTERS Metro PCS Cell phone store Metro PCS recently opened a new store at 2418 Franklin Road in the Sugarbush Plaza shopping center on the northwest corner of Franklin Road and West Square Lake Road in Bloomfield Township. According to the Metro PCS website, they sell cell phones with no contract and prepaid plans with low rates and unlimited talk, text and data functions. The store opened October 1, according to owner Saif Dawood. The new location on Franklin Road will be the first Metro PCS store in the Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township area.
Maple Theater re-opens The Maple Theater at 4135 West Maple Road, previously known as the Maple Art Theatre, will be celebrating its grand opening Thursday, November 1, and the weekend of Friday, November 2, with a charity event to benefit Variety, The Children's Charity. The Maple Theater, which is part of the Bloomfield Plaza shopping center at Maple and Telegraph roads in Bloomfield, began renovations on July 23 after new owner Cloud Nine Theater Partners took over ownership on February 1. The Maple Theater will now include a Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company café and The Maple Bar, which serves beer, wine, and liquor to theater patrons. Principal of Cloud Nine Theater Partners Jon Goldstein said, “We’ve designed the new Maple Theater to offer an upscale moviegoing experience for the local neighborhood and cinephiles from all across metro Detroit. Those looking for a night out at the movies will now have the opportunity to meet friends, have some coffee, dessert, and a drink, all while enjoying high-quality films.” The newly-renovated movie theater features larger screens in all three renovated movie theaters, 700 seats with more legroom and wider aisles. Club seats in the last two rows of each theater include tables and food and drink service. The new theater will also offer three moviegoer packages for guests. “We plan to engage the community through our online and social media platforms to educate moviegoers more about downtownpublications.com
upcoming films and interesting facts along the way,” Goldstein said.
Pastry and teaching café Birmingham's Rail District welcomed French pastry and bread teaching studio bakery La Petite Patisserie at 2026 Hazel Street in September. Pastry chef and baking studio owner Kyung Sohn was trained at the prestigious cooking school Le Corden Bleu and offers classes for up to four people on Saturdays. Sohn is fluent in English, Korean and Japanese and can teach baking classes in all three languages. "First thing is, this was perfect for me living and working. It's very convenient. Second, is I make quality food, not quantity food. Birmingham people travel to Europe and know French style, so I know my customers are looking for quality food,” Sohn said. “I spend half of my time teaching. I teach on Saturday. I want my students to taste first and if it's worth it, to learn." The current menu includes a variety of items that are baked fresh daily, including melon bread, ham and salami cheddar cheese rolls, cinnamon rolls, apple cinnamon rolls, and raisin and walnut almond cream bread. The patisserie also offers customers espresso, cappuccino and coffee.
Sandwich store closed The Quiznos sandwich, soup and salad restaurant at 185 North Old Woodward Avenue in Birmingham closed in mid-October. Owner Dave Parekh said, “It was for a bunch of reasons. Primarily, we couldn't make it work from a financial standpoint.” The Birmingham Quiznos may relocate in the future, but Parekh said it will probably not be Birmingham or Bloomfield Hills due to financial reasons. “I'm still holding out hope a little bit depending on the landlord,” he said before the closing. The Southfield, Rochester Hills and Farmington Hills locations will remain open.
Huntington Bank relocates Huntington National Bank recently moved its headquarters from 220 Park Street to 1040 East Maple at Adams Road in Birmingham. Chris Schneider, director of construction of Huntington National Bank said, “We took the
opportunity to relocate from Park Street to Adams to enhance the customer experience. We relocated the retail banking services.” Schneider said the move went handin-hand with Huntington acquiring Fidelity Banks. “One location suited the customer experience better than the former location and we felt the move would be appropriate.” The new location provides additional drive-through services, a drive-up ATM, night depository and additional lock box services, which were relocated. Renovations were completed in September and the branch is fully open for business.
Full-service baby concierge Golden Touch Baby Concierge, a full-service baby concierge business, recently moved to 2237 Cole Street in Birmingham. Co-owners Hilary Golden and Kristin Riga have been offering baby planning resources to expecting parents on an appointment only basis for the past two months, and are looking forward to their grand opening the last week in November. “We are the baby planners of Oakland County,” Golden said. They offer resources to expecting parents and new parents to help then navigate through pregnancy and parenthood. Golden Touch promotes local businesses, educators, and companies by acting as the middle man to help new parents find nannies, night nurses and playgroups. Golden Touch also offers sign language, baby development and Spanish classes.
Burger joint opens Bagger Dave's Burger Tavern, a chain of family restaurants, opened October 14 in the Bloomfield Plaza shopping center in Bloomfield Township. Michael Ansley, president, CEO and chairman of Diversified Restaurant Holdings, Inc., the owner/operator and franchisor of Bagger Dave's and a leading franchisee of Buffalo Wild Wings, said the restaurant at 6608 Telegraph Road is the tenth Bagger Dave's location and ninth location in Michigan. “We will be doing a lot of experimenting and trial with new products,” Ansley said. The sit-down restaurant offers beef burgers, turkey
burgers and other fare, as well as dessert. One of the manager's, Tony Celmo said, “We felt this town was a good fit for our concept and that we would be able to do decent business here and bring a little something to the community.” Bagger Dave's will serve Michigan beer, local Michigan craft products, and support as many local sources as possible, said Celmo, who added that the restaurant cooks only fresh food, and nothing is frozen except for ice cream.
Furniture and electronics Furniture chain Gardner-White Furniture opened a new retail concept store inside Best Buy at 2169 S. Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Township recently. The 8,000 square foot space will sell reclining furniture, leather furniture, entertainment centers and brand name mattresses, marking the first time a major furniture retailer has built a store within an existing location of a major electronics retailer. “These new stores are all about a more convenient, time-saving and complete home furnishings and electronics shopping experience,” Gardner-White President Steve Tracey said. “This brand new retailing concept works because furniture and consumer electronics are two product categories that fit really well together.”
Developer expanding Sachse Construction & Development Company, which is located at 260 E. Brown Street in Birmingham, will open a new operations department in downtown Detroit by the end of this year. President Todd Sachse said the project management departments, which is about two-thirds of the total staff, will move to 1528 Woodward in Detroit while the accounting, IT and architecture departments will stay in Birmingham. “The purpose is due to growth. We're not downsizing our space in Birmingham at all,” Sachse said. The office on E. Brown Street will also be expanding within its current location. Sachse said the company outgrew the Detroit office they had for several years and was in need of more space. “There are tremendous opportunities in Detroit. We are very engaged and want to continue to grow.” Business Matters for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area are reported by Hayley Beitman. Send items for consideration to HayleyBeitman@downtownpublications.com. Items should be received three weeks prior to publication.
have a happier holiday season,
in birmingham. Holiday Events in Birmingham. HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING November 21, 6 p.m. – Shain Park Help Santa and the Mayor light up the town for the holidays! SANTA HOUSE Weekends November 21 – December 23: Fridays, 3–5 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 1–4 p.m. Extended hours November 30 & December 1–2 for Winter Markt, Christmas Eve 10 a.m.– 1 p.m. Merrill Street at Henrietta
Santa is in a real house for the holidays. Plus: Take a photo with Santa. Proceeds benefit Birmingham Lions Club and Leader Dogs for the Blind! BIRMINGHAM WINTER MARKT November 30, 3–9 p.m.; December 1, 10 a.m.– 9 p.m. and December 2, 11 a.m.– 4 p.m. Shain Park Enjoy a charming old-world style market featuring local artisans, holiday decorations, home accessories, a kids area, live entertainment, plus traditional German food and drink! MAGIC OF BIRMINGHAM December 8 and 15 from 12 – 4 p.m. – Participating stores throughout downtown. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Birmingham during the holidays! Plus, exciting extra incentives for shoppers from Birmingham stores! Carolers near storefronts, Santa House is open, and there are horse-drawn carriage rides! CARRIAGE RIDES During Tree Lighting, Winter Markt and Magic of Birmingham! Weekends through December 22 Carriages load near Santa House- corner of Henrietta and Merrill.
For more information, hours and event details, go to EnjoyBirmingham.com. Always two hours free parking in the decks!
Check out our Facebook page: Enjoy Birmingham NOW 60
Birmingham Principal Shopping District © 2012
PLACES TO EAT The Places To Eat for Downtown is a quick reference source to establishments offering a place for dining, either breakfast, lunch or dinner. The complete Places To Eat is available at downtownpublications.com and in an optimized format for your smart phone (downtownpublications.com/mobile), where you can actually map out locations and automatically dial a restaurant from our Places To Eat.
220: American. Lunch & Dinner, MondaySaturday. Reservations. Liquor. 220 Merrill Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.645.2150. Andiamo: Italian. Lunch & Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 6676 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Township, 48301. 248.865.9300. Bangkok Thai Bistro: Thai. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 42805 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Township, 48304. 248.499.6867. Barrio Tacos & Tequila: Mexican. Lunch, Monday-Friday; Dinner, daily. No reservations. Liquor. 203 Hamilton Row, Birmingham, 48009. 248.593.6060. Beau Jacks: American. Lunch, MondaySaturday; Dinner, daily. No reservations. Liquor. 4108 W. Maple, Bloomfield Hills, 48301. 248.626.2630. Bella Piatti: Italian. Dinner, TuesdaySaturday. Reservations. Liquor. 167 Townsend, Birmingham, 48009. 248.494.7110. Beyond Juice: Contemporary. Breakfast & Lunch daily; Dinner, Monday-Saturday. No reservations. 270 West Maple Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.594.7078. Big Boy: American. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 6675 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, 48301. 248.642.0717. Big Rock Chophouse: American. Lunch & Dinner, Monday-Saturday. Reservations. Liquor. 245 South Eaton Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.647.7774. Birmingham Sushi Cafe: Japanese. Lunch & Dinner, daily. Reservations. 377 Hamilton Row, Birmingham, 48009. 248.593.8880. Bloomfield Deli: Deli. Breakfast & Lunch, Monday-Friday. No reservations. 71 W. Long Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills, 48304. 248.645.6879. Brooklyn Pizza: Pizza. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 111 Henrietta Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.258.6690. Cafe Via: American. Lunch & Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 310 East Maple Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.644.8800 Cameron’s Steakhouse: American. Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 115 Willits Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.723.1700. Chen Chow Brasserie: Japanese. Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 260 North Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.594.2469. China Village: Chinese. Lunch & Dinner, daily. Reservations. 1655 Opdyke, Bloomfield Hills, 48304. 248.758.1221.
Churchill's Bistro & Cigar Bar: Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. Liquor. 116 S. Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.647.4555. Cityscape Deli: Deli. Lunch & Dinner, Monday-Saturday. No reservations. Beer. 877 W. Long Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills, 48302. 248.540.7220. Commonwealth: American. Breakfast & Lunch, daily. No reservations. 300 Hamilton Row, Birmingham, 48009. 248.792.9766. Cosi: American. Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner, daily. No reservations. Beer & wine. 101 N. Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.203.9200. Deli Unique of Bloomfield Hills: Deli. Breakfast & Lunch, daily. No reservations. 39495 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, 48304. 248.646.7923. Dick O’Dow’s: Irish. Lunch & Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 160 West Maple Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.642.1135. Einstein Bros. Bagels: Deli. Breakfast & Lunch, daily. No reservations. 176 South Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.594.9888. Also 4089 West Maple Road, Bloomfield Hills, 48301. 248.258.9939. Elie’s Mediterranean Cuisine: Mediterranean. Lunch & Dinner, MondaySaturday. No reservations. Liquor. 263
INTRODUCING OUR HOLIDAY PRICE FIXED LUNCH MENU
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PE ABODYSRESTAUR ANT.CO M
3 4 9 6 5 W O O D WA R D A V E
FOCUS ON WINE Best wines for the holiday season in range of prices By Eleanor and Ray Heald
oliday entertaining begins in November. If you’ve counted the weekends until New Year’s, you already know that number is nine. The good news: you really don’t need to create a theme – the season does that for you. However, you do need to plan menus – sit down dinner or walk-around with finger foods. And then, there are cocktail and/or wine selections. We’re here to help with the latter in a range of price options. Shafer Vineyards Wine on Line indicates that U.S. consumers drink 50 million cases of chardonnay annually. So, let’s start with America’s favorite wine – chardonnay.
2011 Kenwood Sonoma County $15 offers a big bang for the buck. 2010 Jordan Russian River Valley $29 – full fruit expression. 2010 Migration Russian River Valley $30 has stone fruit and tangy lemon custard flavors. 2010 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast $35 – vibrant great value. 2009 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain $35 – nicely rich. 2010 Marimar Estate “La Masia” $35 – lingering finish. 2010 Patz & Hall Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley $42 – spicy tropical peach and roasted almonds. 2008 Marimar Torres Don Miguel Vineyard Dobles Lias $45 – extraordinarily well balanced. 2009 Sea Smoke, Santa Rita Hills $52 – exceptionally elegant. 2010 Patz & Hall Carneros $55 – rich and unctuous. A French counterpart to domestic chardonnay is French chablis. With the following trio, intensity increases with price. 2010 Domaine Laroche Saint Martin $23. 2009 Domaine Laroche Premier Cru Les Vaudevey $39. 2009 Domaine Laroche Premier Cru Les Vaillons Vielles Vignes $49. Because of its generally lower alcohol, German riesling is a perfect aperitif. From Schloss Vollrads, likely the oldest winery in the world (dating to 1211), and from 2011 vintage are: Riesling QbA dry $20, Riesling medium dry $20, and Riesling Kabinett, medium dry $25. Three of California’s top red blends are showcased below. 2009 Paraduxx Napa Valley Red Wine Z Blend $48. 2009 Paraduxx Napa Valley Red Wine C Blend $48. 2009 Chalk Hill Estate Red $70. The most appealing quality of pinot noir is its soft, velvety texture. The following are intriguing, complex wines. Pierce Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.647.2420. Embers Deli & Restaurant: Deli. Breakfast & Lunch, daily. Dinner, Monday-Friday. No reservations. 3598 West Maple Road, Bloomfield Hills, 48301. 248.645.1033. Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar: American. Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 323 N. Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.723.0134. Forest Grill: American. Lunch, MondayFriday; Dinner, Monday-Saturday.
2010 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $20 is an outstanding wine at this price. 2010 Talbott Kali Hart $21 has crisp red fruit flavors. 2010 Talbott “Logan” $25 has rich berry flavors and hints of smoky vanilla. 2009 Judd’s Hill Milliken Creek Vineyard $34. 2009 Marimar Estate La Masia $39. 2010 Talbott Sleepy Hollow Vineyard $40. 2008 Marimar Estate Mas Cavalls $44. 2010 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast $45. 2008 Marimar Estate “Earthquake Block” $47. 2008 Marimar Estate “Christina” Don Miguel Vineyard $49. 2010 Morgan Double L Vineyard $50. 2010 Patz & Hall Chenoweth Ranch Russian River Valley $55. California’s attraction to Rhone varietals is often bested by those from Beckmen. The following are two great examples. 2010 Beckmen Cuvée le Bec $18 is a delicious blend of syrah, grenache, mourvedre and counoise. 2010 Beckmen Estate Grenache $30 is 100 percent varietal. Top cuts of beef deserve masterfully made cabernet sauvignon. 2010 Justin Paso Robles $26. 2008 William Hill Napa Valley $35. 2008 Jordan Alexander Valley $52. 2008 Judd’s Hill Kairos Vineyard $55. 2009 Rodney Strong Symmetry $55. 2009 Grgich Hills Napa Valley $60. 2008 Kenwood Artist Series $60. 2009 Duckhorn Napa Valley $68. 2009 Rodney Strong Alexander’s Crown $75. A pasta dish will be complemented by either of these Italian wines. 2008 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG $27. 2007 Nozzole Vigneto la Forra Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG $50. French varietals are among the best values in the marketplace today. 2009 Jean-Luc Colombo “Les Abeilles” Cotes du Rhone AOC Blanc $12. 2010 Laroche Sauvignon Blanc de la Chevaliere $12. 2011 Laroche Rosé $12 – a colorful accompaniment to a holiday buffet. 2010 Laroche Bourgogne Tete de Cuvée $18. Among liquid desserts, it’s hard to beat a luscious Port. Cockburn’s Special Reserve $18 – red cherry fruit and attractive back notes of spice. Graham’s 10-year Tawny $34– nicely fruited and elegant. Eleanor & Ray Heald have contributed to numerous international publications including the Quarterly Review of Wines. Contact them by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reservations. Liquor. 735 Forest Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.258.9400. Fox Grill: American. Lunch, Monday through Friday; Dinner, daily. Sunday brunch. Reservations. Liquor. 39556 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304. 248.792.6109. Fuddrucker’s: American. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No Reservations. Beer & wine. 42757 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Township, 48302. 248.333.2400. Greek Island Coney Restaurant: Greek.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 221 Hamilton Row, Birmingham, 48009. 248.646.1222. Hogan’s Restaurant: American. Lunch & Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 6450 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, 48301. 248.626.1800. Honey Tree Grille: Greek/American. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, daily. No reservations. 3633 W. Maple Rd, Bloomfield, MI 48301. 248.203.9111. Hunter House Hamburgers: American. Breakfast, Monday-Saturday; Lunch &
Dinner, daily. No reservations. 35075 Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.646.7121. Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse: American. Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 201 S. Old Woodward, Birmingham, 48009. 248.594.4369. IHOP: American. Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 2187 S. Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301. 248.333.7522. Kerby’s Koney Island: American. Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 2160 N. Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, 48304. 248.333.1166. La Marsa: Mediterranean. Lunch & dinner daily. Reservations. 43259 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills, 48302, 248.858.5800. Leo’s Coney Island: American. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 154 S. Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.593.9707. Also 6527 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, 48301. 248.646.8568. Little Daddy’s Parthenon: American. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 39500 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, 48301. 248.647.3400. Luxe Bar & Grill: American. Lunch & Dinner, daily; Late Night, 9 p.m.-closing. No reservations. Liquor. 525 N. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham, 48009. 248.792.6051. Max & Erma’s: American. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. Liquor. 250 Merrill Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.258.1188. Mitchell’s Fish Market: Seafood. Lunch & Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 117 Willits Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.646.3663. Mountain King: Chinese. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 469 South Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.644.2913. New Bangkok Thai Bistro: Thai. Breakfast, Monday-Thursday; Lunch, Monday-Friday; Dinner, daily. No reservations. 183 North Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.644.2181. Northern Lakes Seafood Co.: Seafood. Lunch, Monday-Friday; Dinner, daily. No reservations. Liquor. 39495 North Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, 48304. 248.646.7900. Olga’s Kitchen: American. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. Also 2075 S. Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, 48302. 248.451.0500. Original Pancake House: American. Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 33703 South Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.642.5775. Panera Bread: Deli. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 100 North Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.203.7966. Also 2125 S. Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, 48302. 248.253.9877. Peabody’s: American. Lunch & Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 34965 Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.644.5222. Phoenicia: Middle Eastern. Lunch, MondayFriday; Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 588 South Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.644.3122. Pita Cafe: Middle Eastern. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 239 North Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.645.6999. Qdoba: Mexican. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 795 East Maple Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.988.8941. Also 42967 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Township, 48304. 248.874.1876 Quiznos: American. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 185 N Old Woodward, Birmingham, 48009. 248.540.7827. Roadside B & G: American. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. Liquor. 1727 S. Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, 48302. 248.858.7270.
HOUSE in BLOOM Thursday, November 8, 2012, 10:00am Holiday tips and demonstrations featuring Metro Detroit’s top talents! fDale Morgan of Blossoms fLisa Gleeson of Lisa’s Gift Wrappers fRalph Bellisario of Bellisario Florist Lunch provided by 2 Unique Catering with a fabulous holiday food segment $75 per person (Proceeds support TCH At-Risk Youth and Children in Need programs)
Reservations: www.tchserves.org / 248.644.5832 Presenting Sponsor:
Teach p Connect p Help
The Community House, 380 South Bates, Downtown Birmingham
ENJOY A 3-COURSE THANKSGIVING MEAL FOR $34.95. OPENING THANKSGIVING DAY AT 2PM.
When you purchase 2nd turkey dinner and 2 drinks at full price get 50% off 2nd dinner. With this coupon. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. Expires 12-2-12. DTN
FULL DINNER MENU ALSO AVAILABLE.
Please present this coupon when ordering. With this coupon. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. Expires 12-2-12. DTN
With an order of $29.95 or more with this coupon. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. Expires 12-2-12. DTN
SEE WEB FOR CO SITE THANK MPLETE SGIV MENU ING
SEE E WEBSIT LETE MP O C R G FO SGIVIN THANK NU ME
w w w.C a meron s - S tea k Ho use . co m Birmingham 248.723.1700 64
6646 Telegraph at Maple Bloomfield Plaza
w w w. s t e v e s d e l i . c o m
CALL 248-932-0800 11.12
Salvatore Scallopini: Italian. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. Beer & Wine. 505 North Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham, 48009. 248.644.8977. Sanders: American. Lunch, daily. No reservations. 167 N. Old Woodward, Birmingham, 48009. 248.594.3215. Social Kitchen & Bar: American. Lunch & Dinner, daily. Reservations, parties of 5 or more. Liquor. 225 E. Maple Road, Birmingham, 48009. 248.594.4200. Stacked Deli: Deli. Breakfast & Lunch, Monday-Saturday. Delivery available. No reservations. 233 North Old Woodward, Birmingham, 48009. 248.593.5300. Steve’s Deli: Deli. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 6646 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield, 48301. 248.932.0800. Streetside Seafood: Seafood. Lunch, Monday-Friday; Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 273 Pierce Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.645.9123. Sushi Hana: Japanese. Lunch, MondayFriday; Dinner, Monday-Saturday. Reservations. 42656 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, 48304. 248.333.3887. Sy Thai Cafe: Thai. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 315 Hamilton Row, Birmingham, 48009. 248.258.9830. Tallulah Wine Bar and Bistro: American. Dinner. Monday-Saturday. Sunday brunch. Reservations. Liquor. 55 S. Bates Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.731.7066. The Corner Bar: American. Dinner. Wednesday-Saturday. Reservations. Liquor. 100 Townsend Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.647.2958. The Gallery Restaurant: American. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 6683 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, 48301. 248.851.0313. The Moose Preserve Bar & Grill: American. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. Liquor. 2395 S. Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, 48302. 248.858.7688. The Rugby Grille: American. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, daily. Reservations. Liquor. 100 Townsend Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.642.5999. Toast: American. Breakfast & Lunch, daily; Dinner, Monday-Saturday. Reservations. Liquor. 203 Pierce Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.258.6278. Tokyo Sushi & Grill: Japanese. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 225 E. Maple Rd., Birmingham, 48009. 248.258.6501. Touch of India: Indian. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 297 E. Maple Road, Birmingham, 48009. 248.593.7881. Townhouse: American. Brunch, Saturday, Sunday. Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. Liquor. 180 Pierce Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.792.5241. Village Coney Island: American. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, daily. No reservations. 653 S. Adams. Birmingham, 48009. 248.593.7964. What Crepe?: French. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, Tuesday-Saturday, Breakfast & Lunch, Sunday. No reservations. 172 N. Old Woodward, Birmingham, 48009. 248.792.5634. Whistle Stop Cafe: American. Breakfast & Lunch, daily; Dinner, Monday-Friday. No reservations. 501 S. Eton Street, Birmingham, 48009. 248.647.5588. Zazios: Italian. Dinner daily. Reservations. Liquor. 34977 Woodward Ave, Birmingham, 48009. Phone: 248.530.6400. Zumba Mexican Grille: Mexican. Lunch & Dinner, Daily. No Reservations. 163 W. Maple Rd., Birmingham, 48009. 248.792.2775.
AT THE TABLE Phoenicia leads Birmingham dining with remarkable style By Eleanor Heald
Broiler specialties Although lamb is closely associated with Lebanese cooking, Eid knows that not everyone likes lamb, even though he serves the highest quality. Thus, 17 years ago, he introduced baby back ribs $25, on Phoenicia’s menu. They are now the number one seller. Baby backs are seasoned with a housemade dry rub and tangy housemade tomato-based sauce on the side. Special cut, trimmed and charbroiled lamb chops $36, are unbeatable. Sweetbreads are another charbroiled delicacy sautéed in a butter-garlic, shallot sauce. Although Phoenicia is not a steakhouse, the Bone-in Rib Eye is succulent and frequently ordered. Lunch is a shortened version of the dinner menu and includes sandwiches. A half slab of Baby Back Ribs is $15, and a very satisfying mid-day reprieve. Wine is an ideal accompaniment to Lebanese cuisine and specialties such as ribs and bone-in rib eye. Phoenicia’s list includes a number of import favorites, but entices with toprated Lebanese bottlings from the Bekaa Valley: Massaya 2008 “Gold Reserve” $58, and the heralded Chateau Musar 2002 $98. Chateau Ksara 2009 “Cuvée Speciale” is a Bordeaux style blend.
irmingham’s dining attraction is truly anchored in its long-established and successful restaurants. Phoenicia is at the top. Proprietor and chef, 72-year-old Sameer Eid, rightly viewed as the area’s dean of Lebanese cuisine, set his sights on Birmingham in 1982. A renovation in this the 30th anniversary year brought renewed attention to this keystone of area dining. “Business is flourishing,” Eid remarks. Does this indicate an improved economy? “It might,” says Eid. “However, I believe there are other factors, including my 32-year-old son Samy, who is now an integral part of the business. He’s attracted his peers, a whole new generation discovering Phoenicia. A remodel with an enhanced street presence, a more open look and increased natural light gives the restaurant a totally different appeal. We have many of the same regular clientele, but they are coming in more often.” Another element to notice is that at this white tablecloth venue, it is possible to have a conversation with anyone at a table seating of six or eight. Acoustical insulation is top of Proprietor and chef Sameer Eid with home made "pepper vodka". the line. Downtown photo: Laurie Tennent Elements of success Eid points to three elements of his success: Dedication to hard work, a loyal and loving clientele and a no compromise philosophy when it comes to food quality. This translates to following a long tradition with Lebanese cuisine, which uses only extra virgin olive oil, clarified butter and USDA Choice and Prime lamb. Up at 5 a.m. three times weekly, Eid drives his van to the Detroit Produce Terminal at Springwells and Fort Street in Detroit. All produce coming to Michigan starts at the Terminal before further distribution. Eid picks up at the source. “I do not,” he affirms, “have restaurant purveyor delivery service. Since I demand the highest quality for meat and produce, I pick it out myself and drive it back to the restaurant.” Top Lebanese best sellers Mezza, Lebanese for appetizers or small plates, could if chosen, satisfy a larger group with many dishes to share. Of the 16 mezza selections at dinner ($9-$17), nine are vegan. But if you are a meat lover, try the sausages. All sausages are house made from veal and lamb in natural casing with pine nuts sautéed and seasoned with pomegranate sauce. Sujuk is a highly seasoned Armenian sausage sautéed with lemon sauce. Bastorma is highly seasoned beef fillet, cured and served thinly sliced. Hashwi is lamb and onion with pine nuts. Now that the weather is cooler, Lentil Soup $5, is a warming treat. Lentils are cooked with fresh carrots, spinach, onions, dill and other special herbs. Chicken & Rice Soup $6, is satisfying. Among main course specialties are Kibby Neyee (raw lamb) $26 or $17, for a half order. Lean and tender lamb is ground to order with onions and herbs, then mixed with cracked wheat and seasoning. It can also be ordered as Baked Kibby $22.
Concluding thoughts… I asked Sameer, why he never opened a second Phoenicia in another suburban community? “There aren’t two of me,” he answered quickly. “I’m happy with one successful business.” Phoenicia, 588 S Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham, 248.644.3122. Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday until 11 p.m. Saturday 5:30-11 p.m. and Sunday 5-9 p.m. Reservations recommended – a must on Friday and Saturday. Parking: on premise lot.
QUICK BITES The Meeting Place: Former Beverly Hills Grill General Manager Jason Mood has partnered with former Roadside B&G Executive Chef Chris Johnson in The Meeting Place. The restaurant, with a targeted opening of mid-November this year, is located at the northwest corner of Third and Main in downtown Rochester. Mood indicates that the eatery will seat 70, will have a full Class C liquor license and serve an approachable and refined menu in a neighborhood-style spot. At first, it will be dinner only beginning at 4 p.m., and will be closed on Mondays. The goal is to develop into a daily lunch and dinner spot with weekend brunch. A second floor is being remodeled as a private events space. Birmingham Forest Grill: Executive Chef David Gilbert and manager/wife Monica are leaving the Forest Grill December 1 to begin work on their new Grosse Pointe Park restaurant. “No name for the restaurant,” says Gilbert, “has been chosen yet, but the cuisine will have French influences at moderate prices. Eleanor Heald is a nationally published writer who also writes the wine column in a double byline with her husband Ray for Downtown. Suggestions for Quick Bites section can be e-mailed to QuickBites@downtownpublications.com.
John and Gayle Hannett John Hannett Gayle Hannett
248.939.3191 Email: email@example.com Cell:
880 S. Woodward Ave. Birmingham, MI 48009
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Rick Nahm served as President of Cranbrook Educational Community (CEC) from 2001-2012. I had the pleasure of serving on Cranbrook’s Board of Governors, and benefitted learning from a master fund raiser and educator who understands how to bring a community together while serving them wonderfully. Rick has been acting president of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, president of Knox College, and SVP of the University of Pennsylvania. He is Chair of the Committee for Planning and Development, Smithsonian Institution. CEC and TCH collaborated by bringing our iCount wellness program to Cranbrook’s Horizons-Upward Bound students, and we plan many more collaborations. The Nahms have been friends of TCH for years, and we welcome this new dimension to our friendship. I admire, and am anxious to learn from, these nationally known community leaders. November Happenings at TCH Classical Brunch - Nov. 4th Trois Vuillaumes: An exciting string trio program with Adam Stepiewski, Caroline Coade and Robert deMaine. Includes a largescale work by Beethoven. Friend tickets are $35. Free: Business Book Club - Nov. 8th “Practically Radical” by William Taylor sponsored by Marble Mechanical. We’ll talk about how to apply the book teachings to your work. 7-8:30 pm. House in Bloom Luncheon – Nov. 8th sponsored by Talmer Bank. Enjoy coffee and cider from 10 -11:30 a.m. while viewing holiday demonstrations from top talents sharing tips for creating magical holidays. Luncheon 11:3 a.m.-1 p.m.. Tickets are $75. Free: “An Evening with Sandy Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber” - Nov. 13th talking on “How Our Region is Moving Forward.” Sponsored by Bank of Birmingham. 7:30 p.m. Winter Holiday Gift Show, Preview Party Nov. 15th 6-9 p.m. - sponsored by Kathy Broock Ballard of Max Broock Realtors. Preview Party tickets are $45. General public tickets Nov 16th-17th are $7 at the door, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Special Presentation - Nov 13th RSVP for The Gardens of London featuring the Centennial Celebration of the Chelsea Flower Show (May 18-25, 2013.) Call for color brochure. Purchase tickets for all of the above at: www.tchserves.org or call 248.644.5832.
Camille Jayne is President & CEO of TCH. downtownpublications.com
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SOCIAL LIGHTS/SALLY GERAK Here is the update on the recent social scene. Many more photos from each event appear online each week at downtownpublications.com where readers can sign up for an e-mail notice when the latest social scene column is posted. Past columns and photos are also archived at the website for Downtown.
Hospice Crystal Rose Ball
Hospice Crystal Rose Ball Sally Gerak In the early years of the Crystal Rose Ball for the Hospice of Michigan, planners aimed to stage it at unique venues, but the most recent galas have featured unique entertainment. Last year the last act of “Ernie, The Play”, had the audience spellbound. This year, the play’s producer Marc “Rosie” Rosenthal, who was one of the honorees, sang “16 Candles” as its author Mitch Albom played the keyboards. Both got a standing ovation. Johnson & Johnson, Hospice Pharmacia CEO Gary Kadlec, and retired ad man Skip Roberts were also honored. The latter’s introduction was a total surprise to him. It was a video starring award winning documentary producer Ken Burns who personally knew Roberts when he was at N.W. Ayer after he worked at W.B Doner. One of his and Carol’s kids and two of their grandchildren were in the audience, as were Marie and Gary Kadlec’s two teenagers. But the entertainment did not stop there. HOM board member Andy Broder and his wife Merrilee’s son, Jordan Allen Broder, and his NUCLASSICA musicians also earned roaring approval for their dynamic fusion of classical, pop and electronica and SwingShift, a Latin/jazz band, kept the dance floor swinging. Glass artist April Wagner’s centerpieces were popular and their sale benefited HOM. The annual Crystal Rose Ball that attracted 300 HOM supporters to the Westin Book Cadillac raised more than $160,000 for HOM, which refuses services to no terminally ill person regardless of ability to pay.
1. Honoree Marc (Rosie) Rosenthal and his wife Fran of Birmingham. 2. Honoree Gary Kadlec (left) with Marie, Molly and Kyle of Bloomfield. 3. Honoree Skip Roberts (left) and his wife Carol now of San Diego, CA, HOM CEO Dottie Deremo of Farmington Hills and Paul and Barbara Czamanske of Bloomfield. 4. Committee members Justin (left) and Laurie Hughet Hiller of Bloomfield with event co-chair Rhonda Davenport and her husband Chris Johnson of Novi. 5. Event co-chair Cindy Monroe with her husband Dick of Bloomfield and parents Linda and Dick Kughn of Dearborn. 6. Board member Andy and Merrilee Broder of Bloomfield. 7. Dan and Kim McGlynn of Birmingham. 8. Karen (left) and board chair Sandy Linden of Farmington Hills with Denny and Nancy Gershenson of Franklin. 9. Nancy Rands (left) and Irwin Elson of Bloomfield with Matthew and Jill Kasle of Birmingham. 10. Justin (left) and Laurie Hughet Hiller of Bloomfield with Mike and Jennifer Jasperson of Northville.
Charles H. Wright Museum’s Benefit Gala The second annual gala benefit for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History was as splendid as the inaugural event a year ago. Some 300 guests (minimum $250 ticket) frolicked al fresco on the plaza before strolling the tented red carpet into the rotunda. Socializing, dancing, people watching and buffet dining on savory Opus One fare occupied those who did not first peruse the featured art exhibit “Witness: The Art of jerry Pinkney.” The legendary illustrator was here from NY for the party, as was the museum architect Howard Sims, who only had to journey from Southfield. When the music paused and folks hushed for a brief program, event chair Yvette Bing proudly reminded all, “(This) is the largest African American museum in the country.” Then museum director Juanita Moore saluted event sponsors and chairs, some of whom added their own kudos for the museum’s summer literacy program which benefited from the party proceeds. Another 100 guests arrived for the Hip Patron Party and danced until the music stopped. The gala event, subtitled For the Love of Literacy, raised $500,000.
Alzheimer’s Association Ladies, Lipstick and Lace Gretchen Davidson and Ashley Crain gathered a group of their nearest and dearest to support the Alzheimer’s Association and they got 160 to attend the Girls Night Out event generously hosted by Neiman Marcus. In addition to some pampering cosmetic services and consultations, spirits and nibbles, Jordan Schug’s band jazzed up the atmosphere with live music. All paused to hear caregiver Barb Johnson speak briefly about how
she turned to the association for help when her husband’s doctor had told them to come back in a year. “The Alzheimer’s Association has been our lifeline,” she told the audience. The evening raised $22,000 for the organization’s services to patients and their families. Great Lakes Music Festival Because Irving Shapiro’s late wife Diane Kaye especially loved chamber music, he continues to support the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary next June. He hosted a delightful kick off to that celebration on a sunny Sunday afternoon at his home overlooking Gilbert Lake. Some 60 festival aficionados socialized, sipped and supped on great fare from Holiday Market. They also gathered in a tent pitched under towering trees reminiscent of an Interlochen setting and applauded the superb performance by the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet. The magnificent music planned for the anniversary festival will be posted on www.greatlakeschambermusic.com as it’s scheduled. Parade Company’s Grand Jesters For the seventh year, since the Grand Jester’s Reception for Distinguished Clowns was launched, Norm and Scott LePage have generously hosted the event at The Reserve. This year nearly 150 DCs and prospective DCs attended. They sipped, supped, socialized and looked at photo albums of DCs cavorting in Michigan’s Thanksgiving Parade. They also paused to applaud the first woman Grand Jester, Beckie Sorensen, and her saga of how she had pestered veteran DC John Landis to be a clown. DC sponsor Ernst & Young’s Lisa Bower also gave a pep talk for becoming a clown. Some of the DCs wear their costumes to the Parade Company’s premiere fundraiser, Hob Nobble Gobble. It’s Friday, Nov. 16 at Ford Field. People new to the area should know that this event is a boffo bash for all ages. My own grandchildren ranked it above Disney World in terms of fun. For tickets, call (313) 923-7400. African American Art’s Summer of ’62 What began in 1962 as the African Art Gallery Committee has become the Detroit Institute of Art’s prestigious Friends of African and African downtownpublications.com
Charles H. Wright Museum’s Benefit Gala
2 1. Event co-chair Jennifer Fischer (left) of Bloomfield and chair Yvette Bing of Detroit. 2. Fair Radom (left) and co-chair Kim Reuss of Bloomfield with Gene and committee member Mary Anne Gargaro of Grosse Pointe. 3. Event presenter’s GM’s Mark Reuss and Suburban Collection’s David Fischer of Bloomfield. 4. Event co-chair Culinary Studio’s Jo Colman (left) of Birmingham and her daughter Kelli Coleman of NYC. 5. Cathy Talifer (left) of Detroit and Roslyn and Mark Baughman of Birmingham. 6. Maureen and Roy Roberts of Bloomfield. 7. Alma Greer (left) of Highland Park, Carlson Jackson of Detroit and Beth Gotthelf of Birmingham.
Alzheimer’s Association Ladies, Lipstick and Lace
1. Committee members Paige Rakolta Frisch (left) and Marisa Stutz of Bloomfield with event co-chair Gretchen Davidson of Birmingham. 2. Patty Whitney (left) and event co-chair Ashley Crain of Bloomfield with Mary Petrovich of W. Bloomfield. 3. Katie Noonan Mangin (left) of Birmingham, committee member Karen Williams of Bloomfield, Kiley Norris LePaige of Beverly Hills and Wendy Powers and Kathy Martin of Bloomfield. 4. Committee member Wendy Silverman (left) of Bloomfield and Cindy Tavi of Birmingham. 5. Sarah Schultz (left) of Birmingham with Ruthie Underwood, Wendy and Holly Wrobel of Royal Oak.
Great Lakes Music Festival
1. Event host Irving Shapiro of Bloomfield with Diane Hancock of White Lake. 2. Festival Artistic Director James Tocco (left) of Bethesda, MD with Kathy and board member Randy Schein of Bloomfield. 3. Lee (left) and Floy Barthel of Farmington Hills and board member Michael Morin of Bloomfield. 4. Board member Bridget Morin (left) of Bloomfield with Natalio and Rayna Kogan of W. Bloomfield. 5. Marcus Evangelista of Wayne and Stella Evangelista of Bloomfield. 6. Claude & Sandi Reitelman of Birmingham with Joel & Karen Kahn of W. Bloomfield.
SOCIAL LIGHTS/SALLY GERAK American Art. They kicked off the celebration of their 50 years at a groovy, ‘60s theme party and more than 200 attended. They strolled by classic 1963 cars displayed at the museum entrance. Many, like event chair Sharon Madison who resembled Jackie Kennedy, wore ‘60s-style hair dos and frocks. They supped, sipped, danced the night away, raised $100,000 for the FAAAA and got in the mood for the grand finale, Bal Africain on June 15, 2013. Madison also mentioned that celebration plans include pre-events five Art in the Home parties and an Art Auction featuring major artists to be held In April 2013. The best way to get invitations is to join the FAAAA on the DIA web site.
Parade Company’s Grand Jesters
1. Grand Jester Beckie Sorensen (center) of Bloomfield with event host Norm LePage (left) of W. Bloomfield and Parade Company CEO Tony Michaels of Rochester. 2. Austin Kanter (left) of W. Bloomfield and past Grand Jester Syd Ross of Bloomfield. 3. Maggie Allesee (left) with Jeff Palmer and his wife Jenny of Bloomfield. 4. Linda Orlans (left) of Birmingham, sponsor Ernst & Young’s Lisa Bower of Bloomfield and past Grand Jester John Landis of Livonia. 5. Ron Rashid (center) of Bloomfield with Diane and Mort Scholnick of Bloomfield. 6. Gale Pope-Rashid (left) and Mollie Proctor of Bloomfield with Barry and Lynn Connelly of Birmingham. 7. Rachelle Nozero (left) of Novi, Charlie Wickins of Birmingham, Dr. Larry Walsh and Bonnie Jobe of Bloomfield.
African American Art’s Summer of ’62
1. Tina (left) and Leland Basset of Farmington Hills and Vivian Pickard of Bloomfield. 2. Jim (left) and Janet Cosby Bridges and Dr. Lorna Thomas of Detroit with Dr. Patricia Maryland of Bloomfield. 3. Event chair Sharon Madison (left) of Detroit with Roy and Maureen Roberts of Bloomfield. 4. Julie Canner (center) of Birmingham with Michael Wolf and his wife Allicia Masse of W. Bloomfield.
DIFFA Benefit for Michigan AIDS Coalition The Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS introduced Dining by Design in 1997 and it has been wildly popular in cities across the country ever since. Ann Duke and Kelly Deines chaired Detroit‘s inaugural event in 2010 and they, along with Bruce MacDonald, are still the chairs of the two-part benefit for Michigan AIDS Coalition. They have changed the venue each year, but incorporated MAC’s longstanding ArtWorks auction into Thursday night’s Cocktails by Design. It attracted a record-breaking crowd of 1,000 to the Joe Dumars Field House at the State Fair Grounds, which was a great showcase for the 25 designercreated, imaginative dining installations. During a program, former MAC CEO Helen Hicks presented a special award to long time ArtWorks supporter Dr. Daniel Haddad. More than 20 restaurants provided the strolling supper fare which was judged by Georges Mokbel, Helen Phillips and Between the Lines’ Benjamin and Tony. First place went to Detroit Prime; second place went to Cork Wine Pub; third place went to AHI. Both the first and third place winners are owned by Matt Prentice, who catered Saturday night’s culinary Dining by Design experience for 350 guests. Menu highlights included a fried rock shrimp appetizer passed in a bamboo cone and the entrée tenderloin with pomegranate jus. During dessert, all guests could see the program on an elevated stage placed in the center of the room that featured reality TV star Madison Hildebrand chatting with emcee Jon Jordan. Hildebrand revealed 11.12
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SOCIAL LIGHTS/SALLY GERAK how his fans seemed to embrace him much more warmly after he came out on national television. Likewise, MAC warmly embraces the $200,000 Detroit’s two-part DIFFA by Design 2012 raised for the critical services it provides.
DIFFA Benefit for Michigan AIDS Coalition
Belle Isle Conservancy’s Luncheon “Great places need great parks,” Belle Isle Conservancy president Sarah Earley told the 475 guests at the eight annual Legacy Luncheon. They were seated in the heated festival tent adjacent to the casino after sipping, socializing and perusing the silent auction in the casino. The attendance was record-setting because, as Early noted, it was the first Polish the Jewel luncheon since the merger of the four Belle Isle support groups in January. Earley was not shy about addressing the island’s need for more dollars than the city of Detroit has in its coffers. She also thanked the committee, the event sponsors and artist Jane McFeely. Her painting, “Children at Play on Belle Isle Beach,” was sold in a live auction and brought the event proceeds to more than $275,000. For conservancy membership go to www.BelleIsleConservancy.org.
2 1. Event co-chairs Ann Duke (left) and Bruce MacDonald of Royal Oak with emcee WDIV’s Jon Jordan and sponsor Production Plus’ Margery Krevsky of Bloomfield. 2. Sarah Cuyler (left) and Art Van Elslander of Bloomfield, Jaime Rae Turnbull of Clarkston and Diane Wells of Lake Orion. 3. Architects Karen Swanson (left) of Bloomfield, Steve Rost of Royal Oak and Amy Deines of Livonia who coordinated the LIT architectural students’ installation. 4. Installation co-sponsor Matt Rossetti (left) of Bloomfield and event co-chair / codesigner Kelly Deines of Livonia. 5. Designers David Weiss (left) of W. Bloomfield and Geoff Orley of Bloomfield. 6. Blossoms designers Kurt Eddy (left) and Darin Lenhardt of Royal Oak.
Belle Isle Conservancy’s Luncheon
1. Conservancy president Sarah Earley (center) of Bloomfield with Sandra Vandenberghe (left) and event chair Cynthia Hempstead of Grosse Pointe. 2. Committee members Dorie Shwedel (left) of Bloomfield and Marcy Hayes with Florine Marks of Farmington Hills. 3. Betty Bright (left) of Bloomfield and committee member Mary Tindall of Grosse Pointe. 4. Molly Markley (left) of Bloomfield with her mother Marjory Basile of Birmingham and Sherri Kennedy of Ann Arbor. 5. Dulce Rosenberg (left) of Bloomfield and Shelley Roberts of Birmingham. 6. Carolyn Flynn (left) of Lake Angelus, Noreen Keating of Auburn Hills, Mary Jane Bower of Bloomfield and Priscilla Perkins of Troy. 7. Pam Iacobelli (center) of Bloomfield with Linda Behr (left) of Grosse Pointe and Jessica Wayland of Berkley.
Cranbrook reception for new CEO Cranbook Educational Community’s new CEO Dom DiMarco smilingly greeted most of the nearly 200 major donors as they arrived at Cranbrook House for his reception. After socializing and snacking on some savories, they gathered in the library for a program that surely made them feel quite good about their investment. DiMarco, CEC’s eighth president, who arrived there after a distinguished career at Ford Motor Company, first saluted the accomplishments of his predecessor Rick Nahm and the support of his wife, Booth family members in attendance and his staff, especially assistant Patti Carr. But it was his detailing of the excellence attained in the Schools, the Academy of Art and Art Museum, and the Institute of Science that inspired a sense of pride in his audience. He added kudos for the House and Gardens Auxiliary’s stewardship of the Booth family’s home and the new Center for Collections and Research. A ribbon cutting for the latter was slated for Oct.. Noting that the world in which the Booths founded Cranbrook has changed in many ways, DiMarco concluded, 11.12
“…their vision of excellence is timeless and helps guide us through change…I thank you, Cranbrook’s biggest fans, for your continued support….and welcome your thoughts and ideas about Cranbrook’s future.” Wine and Dine in the D More than 350 friends and colleagues of Sid Moss trekked to the Music Box at the Max to support his second annual fundraiser for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. They sipped on fine wine and beverages from 14 generous vendors and supped on the stroll at 19 food stations offering such savories as short rib sliders, (Cameron’s Steakhouse), raw oysters (Fran O’Brien’s Maryland Crabhouse), house made salami (Forest Grill), and tacos with truffled crab and sweet corn (Beverly Hills Grill). They also bid on a wide variety of silent auction items with Ursula Walker’s vocals for jazzy background music. Some came early to hear Beaumont’s Dr. Jeffrey Margolis, Karmanos’ Dr. Jeffrey Zonder, and the MM Research Foundation’s Anne Walker provide updates about research and treatments for the disease, which Moss is battling, and 150 stayed for the Patron Post Reception. Thanks also to generous sponsors, the delicious event raised more than $80,000 for the foundation. MOCAD’s Benefit Seven The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is gritty and urban, a perfect setting for the current “Vision in a Cornfield” installation - a large-scale collaboration created by a rock band, an urban arts group and an electromechanical art collective. It was where many of the 150 guests at the seventh annual fundraiser SEVEN spent the cocktail hour as they sampled mini rubens passed by Zingerman’s Roadhouse staffers. A silent auction of 50 donated items also attracted guests like Nancy Barrett who bought Elmore Leonard’s two autographed books because “…authors are like rock stars for me.” Others perused Julia Reyes Taubman’s ambitious book – “Detroit: 138 Square Miles” - 450-plus photos of Detroit’s decaying urban landscape which 12 guests ($1,250and up tickets) received as party souvenirs. In addition to the museum exhibitions, scenes from Mike Kelley’s “Mobile Homestead” films of Detroit’s migration to the suburbs downtownpublications.com
Cranbrook reception for new CEO
1. CEC board chair Bill Peterson of Birmingham and new CEO Dom DiMarco of Bloomfield. 2. Alice Aikens (left), Barbara Ghesquiere and Jane James of Bloomfield. 3. Erin DiMarco (right) of Bloomfield and her mother Mary Ann O’Neill of Bingham Farms. 4. Margo Strickland (left) of Bloomfield and Nancy Nordlie of Birmingham. 5. Jon Borenstein (left) of Birmingham, Troy and Gail Barnhart of Bloomfield and Kathy Rines of Bloomfield and NYC.
4 Wine and Dine in the D
1. Event host Sid Moss (left) of Bloomfield with his wife Sharon and daughters Michele Weingarden and her husband David and Laurie Kinigstein. 2. Sponsors Sharon (left) and Marvin Walkon with Marina and Chris Emde of Bloomfield. 3. Jim (left) and Shelley Fenton of Birmingham and Lisa and Lyle Otremba of Bloomfield. 4. Beth (left) and Adam Lutz of Birmingham, Brian and Rachelle Raznick of Bloomfield and Stephanie and Stephen London of W. Bloomfield. 5. Tina Prevas (left) of Bloomfield, Mary Markus of Grosse Pointe and sponsor Cathy Pikulas of Franklin.
SOCIAL LIGHTS/SALLY GERAK and back were being screened and Leon Dickey’s BURN sculptures were displayed on and above the dinner tables (guests bought all of them). Dinner was served family style at three, very long tales and featured scrumptious fried chicken and garlic mashed potatoes. The spirited party, which also featured singer Shara Worden, was put together by Elle Elder, Elyse Foltyn, Marsha Miro, Linda Powers and Julie Taubman and grossed more than $200,000. The must see “Visions in a Cornfield” runs through Dec. 30.
MOCAD’s Benefit Seven
1. Event co-chairs Elyse Foltyn (left) of Birmingham and Elle Elder of Orchard Lake with Roz Jacobson of Birmingham. 2. Jennifer (left) and Brian Hermelin of Bingham Farms, event co-chair Julie Taubman of Bloomfield and Artangel’s Cressida Hubbard of London, UK. 3. Amy Geller (center) of Birmingham with event co-chair Marsha Miro (left) and Maggie Allesee of Bloomfield. 4. Bobby Taubman (left) with Carrie Weiner and Rena Gardner of Bloomfield. 5. Ed Levy of Birmingham and Jennifer Fischer of Bloomfield. 6. Event co-chair Linda Powers (left) of Bloomfield with Linda Dresner Levy of Birmingham, MOCAD’s Rebecca Mazzei of Pontiac and designer Frech Sutherland of Royal Oak. 7. Scott Jacobson (left) and David Foltyn of Birmingham. 8. Cate Strumbos (left) and her husband Doser of Bloomfield with Marcie Orley of Franklin. 9. Jerry Aiello of Royal Oak and Lynn Crawford of Birmingham. 10. Nancy Barnett (left) of Royal Oak, Elmore Leonard of Bloomfield and Van Conway of Franklin.
TCH Birmingham House Tour
1. TCH’s Kathie Ninneman (left) and event co-chair Michelle Schwab of Bloomfield. 2. Michelle Otzen (left) of Waterford, Meg Ferron of Bloomfield and Denise Bianchini of Birmingham. 3. TCH’s Camille Jayne of Bloomfield, event co-chair Ginny Fisher of Troy and Delores Kennedy of Dearborn Hgts.
TCH Birmingham House Tour Michelle Schwab and Ginny Fisher chaired the annual Birmingham House Tour that attracted more than 1,200 lookers, 125 of whom also did lunch at TCH. The generous homeowners were Ann and Jim Wilhite, Lauren and Jonathan Stein, Heather and Darton Case, Augie Paniagua and David Badalamenti, Lynda Schrenk, Kathy Richardson, Maria Labie and Cindy Brinkley. Some of them also opened their homes that evening for the advertising community guests HGTV entertained. Thanks also to sponsors like Hall & Hunter, the event raised roughly $57,000 for TCH. Angels’ Place 20th Anniversary Because the 20 Angels’ Place homes for individuals with developmental disabilities are an answer to the prayers of many families, some 500 supporters attended a Mass of Thanksgiving at Holy Name Church on Oct. 30. Celebrants included Adam Cardinal Maida, who helped establish Angels’ Place when he was Detroit’s Archbishop. All socialized at a reception following and many will celebrate the anniversary in a more festive manner at the at the Gala, Thursday, Nov. 8 at The Henry. For reservations, call (248) 350-2203. CLF’s CRUSH Birmingham The Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan’s celebration of two anniversaries – the foundation’s 60th and the CRUSH benefit event’s fifth – attracted a record high attendance of 440 supporters to the Townsend. The 13 culinary and wine pairing stations were the soiree’s big draw. Guests sampled such savories as The Capital Grille’s Michael Connery’s Kona crusted beef tenderloin with shallot butter sauce, Tallulah and Bellapiatti’s Daniel Campbell’s sheep’s milk 11.12
ricotta tortelli, and Bacco Ristorante’s Luciano del Signore’s vegetable torre. When guests settled in for the apple confit dessert created by CRUSH honorary pastry chef Michael Laiskonis, auctioneer Dan Stall got them to bid more than $62,500 for 15 auction items plus $15,000 more in dedicated giving. The program that followed the auction honored the family of the late John and Geri Smith who continue their parents’ dedicated support; Abby Brown Pook and Barry Brown, who continue the service began by their late parents / CLF founders Harry and Sylvia Brown; Ellen Lesser Siegel who has served CLF for three decades as a volunteer; and the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Dr. Moshe Talpaz, a pioneer researcher in chronic myeloid leukemia treatments. More than 200 guests stayed for the Remy Cointreau USA After Hours party in the Regency Ballroom where they danced off the calories until 1:30 a.m. Well, some did scarf down the Hunter House sliders that were served before midnight. The anniversary event, dubbed Effervescence Times Two, raised more than $200,000 for the Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan’s families and patients. Variety’s Lights, Camera Auction! One of the most popular fundraisers for Variety, The Children’s Charity continues to be the movie party Paul Glantz hosts at his Novi Emagine Theatre. But truth be known, Bob Golding’s ability to get 20 top drawer restaurants to offer superb cuisine for the strolling dinner stations plus the silent auction are as big a draw as the movie one chooses to see. Some 375 supporters attended this year. The event netted $40,000 plus 30 bikes for Variety’s Bike for Kids program. Bike donations are still being accepted. Call Variety at (248) 258-5511. DPTV’s Premiere Night Social Lights covered the first Premiere Night in 2002. Lois Shaevsky chaired the casual, fun affair. It attracted a capacity crowd of 200 to the Gem Theatre where PBS satirist Mark Russell lampooned everyone, as we reported, “…from Cardinal Law, to Enron and Martha Stewart.” What a difference 11 years make. Because the annual fundraiser had outgrown its DAC venue to which the 2003 chairs Maggie and downtownpublications.com
CLF’s CRUSH Birmingham
1. Honoree Ellen Siegel with her husband Les of Bloomfield. 2. Sarah and honoree U of M’s Dr. Moshe Talpaz of Ann Arbor with CLF president William Seklar of Bloomfield. 3. Event honorary executive chef Brian Polcyn of Forest Grill. 4. Monica and Luciano del Signore of Bloomfield. 5. Eloise Alterman of Bloomfield. 6. Executive chef Daniel Campbell of Tallulah and Bellapiatti. 7. Former Bloomfield resident Diana Johnson (left) of Hilton Head, NC with Wendy Alterman and Patty Ghesquiere of Bloomfield. 8. Executive chef Jim Bologna of the Townsend’s Rugby Grill. 9. Cheryl (left) and Don Leith of Orchard Lake with Debra and Jim Berline of Bloomfield. 10. Rick and Mindy Lopus of Birmingham.
Variety’s Lights, Camera Auction!
2 1. Bob Golding (left) of Farmington Hills with event host Paul Glantz of Lake Angelus and past Variety president Jeffery King of Birmingham. 2. Event co-chair Michael Bressler and his step daughter Joan Frank of Birmingham with Allen Bennett of Novi. 3. Event co-chair Judy Solomon (left) of Birmingham with Judie Hartman of W. Bloomfield. 4. Len (left) and Pamela Dillon of Bloomfield with new Variety president Connie Beckett of Troy. 5. Scott Wortman (left) and his wife Susan Peabody and daughter Kelsey Peabody of Berkley.
SOCIAL LIGHTS/SALLY GERAK Bob Allesee moved it, 2012 chairs Pam and Todd Wyett took the 11th annual Premiere Night to the Westin Book Cadillac to accommodate the 450 ticketholders. In recent years, the entertainment had included video trailers of new PBS shows and a very short live auction, in which a popular item is the wine dinner for eight hosted by Stephen and Bobbi Polk and served by the Polks and DPTV staff. Since 2006, attendance has increased because the station pays homage to outstanding Detroit Public TV contributors. This year, they were Jerry Jung, C. Nolan, Nancy Mariam Schlichting and Hoda Succar, all of whom have impressive accomplishments. In their acceptance speeches, each noted optimism about Detroit’s future. The event raised about $265,000, including the auction total of $32,500.
DPTV’s Premiere Night
1. Honorees Hoda Succar (left) and Nancy Schlichting of Bloomfield, Jerry Jung of Birmingham and Mariam Noland of Grosse Pointe. 2. Elmo with benefactor party co-hosts Eric Jirgens (left) and past honoree Allan Gilmour of Birmingham. 3. Event chairs Todd and Pam Wyatt of Bloomfield. 4. Rania Succar (standing left) of Chicago, Eric Succar of Birmingham and Deema Succar of Chicago, Sena Succar Halabi (seated) and Dr Abdul Halabi of Birmingham. 5. Steve Balagna (center) of Bloomfield with Karen Caserio (left) and Eve Jung of Birmingham. 6. Steve Miesowicz and his wife Beth Gotthelf of Birmingham. 7. DPTV president Rich Homberg (left) of Bloomfield with Barbara Van Dusen of Birmingham and Ben Erulkat of Grosse Pointe. 8. Past honoree Ed Deeb (left) and his wife Joanne with Anne and Peter Vestevich of Bloomfield.
Charity Shopping at SHE Sharon Eisenshtadt, the fashion savvy owner of SHE boutique, hosted a shopping event to benefit JARC’s mission – homes and services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Souchi designer Suzi Johnson came from Colorado to give shoppers advice about pairing jeans, sweaters, dresses and accessories from her collection, and some 40 women bought lots of sweaters and other additions to their wardrobes. Eisenshtadt gave a portion of total store sales to JARC.
Charity Shopping at SHE
Gingerbread Events Reveal Preservation Bloomfield advocates Mia Materka, Carol Shaya and Sue Nine, who are chairing the two-part Gingerbread fundraiser, gathered their committee at Oakland Hills Country Club for breakfast and the reveal of event plans. The 5-8 p.m., Dec. 6 Family Night event will offer too many activities to name here but know that young guests will be able to take home a Lego construction and, instead of gingerbread houses, this year they will decorate small log cabins that resemble the Craig Log Cabin which stands next to the Barton Farmhouse at Bowers Farm. Master cake designers and interior designers have agreed to create treasures to buy the next day at the Gingerbread Brunch. For tickets to this fifth annual fundraiser for Preservation Bloomfield, call Pam Budde at (248) 642-7806.
1. Designer Suzi Johnson (left) of Aspen, CO and Andrea Siegel of W.Bloomfield. 2. Treger Strasberg of Birmingham. 3. Dana Loewenstein (left) of W. Bloomfield and Liz Guz of Bloomfield. 4. SHE owner Sharon Eisenshtadt of Bloomfield Hills. 5. Katie Small of Bloomfield.
Send ideas for this column to Sally Gerak, 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, 48304; email email@example.com or call 248.646.6390. 11.12
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Our candidate endorsements for November
n Tuesday, November 6, voters in Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township are being asked to decide who will represent them in the 40th District Michigan House of Representatives, Oakland County Board of Commissioners, 48th District Court, and on the boards of education for Birmingham Public Schools and Bloomfield Hills Schools. There is also a charter amendment for the city of Birmingham. We offer our endorsements below. Visit downtownpublications.com for full candidates issue answers and biographies.
House of Representatives 40th District We believe this district, which represents Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township, would be best represented by Bloomfield Hills city commissioner and businessman MIKE MCCREADY. Republican McCready recognizes that while the economy has begun to improve, more needs to be done for Michigan to flourish and grow. His key issues are jobs, the economy and education, and feels our state government is moving on the right track. At another time or in another race, his challenger Dorian Coston's ideas would be ripe for picking, but he is too idealistic at this period of time when we need practical responses in Lansing.
48th District Court Incumbent Judge Diane D'Agostini has been a judge in the 48th District Court for the last 12 years, working to educate students and parents of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Since 2006, she has been the chief judge of the court, and as an administrator has cut over $1 million in
unnecessary expenses. We concede that challenging a sitting incumbent judge, especially one as entrenched as D'Agostini, is difficult. But this court has come under increasing scrutiny and criticism for how it handles first time drunk driving offenses. Challenger JOSH ARNKOFF has raised valid concerns about how minor-in-possession offenses have been handled by this court, and that first time drunk driving offense sentences are not consistently in sync with state law. We believe he has made a compelling case, particularly regarding the lack of a recognized drug/sobriety court in the 48th District Court and jail overcrowding due to overzealous sentencing for non-violent offenders, and we're throwing our endorsement to him. Arnkoff will allow voters to start rebuilding the 48th District Court.
Oakland Board of Commissioners District 12 SHELLEY GOODMAN TAUB (R) was a county commissioner from 1993-2002, a Michigan state representative from 2003 to 2006, and since 2009, once again an Oakland County commissioner. She is a dedicated public servant. She is especially concerned about seniors, working hard with Oakland County on the upcoming Silver Tsunami, and attentive to the county's budget.
Oakland Board of Commissioners District 13 MARCIA GERSHENSON (D), the incumbent Democrat in this district since 2004, is passionate about her constituents, the county, and both senior and youth services in Oakland County. She understands working across the aisle and is considered one of the leaders in her party. Residents in her district would be well served to re-elect her.
Birmingham Board of Education The Birmingham Schools Board has two open seats for four years each, currently held by GERI RINSCHLER and MICHAEL FENBERG. A third candidate is also running but failed to respond to requests for information. Rinschler, who has been on the board since 1996, and Fenberg, the current board president, are good stewards of Birmingham's students and educational system.
Bloomfield Hills Board of Education Three candidates are running for two open six-year terms. Current board president INGRID DAY has helped the district navigate shark-infested waters, hiring and working with superintendent Robert Glass on combining two high schools into one, working with outside educational consultants to determine the district's needs, and helping pass a bond proposal to accomplish those goals. Now comes the hard part— implementing the plan of consolidation. Day deserves the opportunity to continue the job to completion. Newcomer HOWARD BARON's ideas will augment the thinking of the board. JOAN BERENDT, appointed in 2011 to fill an open seat, should retain that post. Of the three candidates running, she is best qualified for a seat at the board table until the term ends in 2014.
Birmingham Charter Amendment The Birmingham City Commission is seeking the ability to sell property over $40,000 for development use without needing voter approval. When the city charter was first created in 1933, the amount was a lot of money; today, there is almost no property in the city available for that amount. We urge a YES vote on the charter amendment to allow the city and commission the ability to proceed with adequate urban planning and implementation.
Bistro process should have been delayed
arly last month the Birmingham City Commission screened six applicants for 2013 bistro licenses and recommended to the city planning board two existing bistros, Birmingham Sushi on Hamilton and What Crepe? on N. Old Woodward, as well as a concept for a new bistro, Crush, to be built in the 555 Building on S. Old Woodward. We applaud the city commission on their choices, which were well-thought out and thorough, based largely on the perceived needs of the city, beliefs regarding saturation of restaurants in the center of downtown, and the desire to provide economic incentives via bistros to underutilized areas of Birmingham. A total of six restaurateurs applied for a 2013 bistro license, including one that would have booted a longtime retailer (Ligne Roset) from its location; an upscale burger joint with other locations around the globe for the former Olga's spot on S. Old Woodward; and a new bistro focusing on fresh produce to be built on N. Old Woodward. Each spent a great deal of time and money working with architects and planners, developing their
presentations and, in some cases, procuring space. While each knew there was only a shot at getting a 2013 license, they each believed theirs was the strongest bistro idea for Birmingham. As we have stated previously, our concern is not over bistros. We appreciate, and enjoy, how Birmingham has flourished since the 2007 ordinance permitting bistros was enacted. There are now an assortment of bistros serving a variety of foods and beverages, and some existing restaurants flourishing with new life. Our concern is over the lack of certain resolutions— especially the Principal Shopping District's market study which may give some perspective on the balance between retail and restaurants in the central business district. It is anticipated to be ready sometime in the next month. Why not postpone the commission's bistro screening process until after receiving and digesting this important market study? It does not seem logical, or good governance, to proceed without the tools to make wise decisions. Only one commissioner, Rackeline Hoff, brought this concern up at the bistro selection meeting, and we
applaud her perceptiveness. Hoff also raised the issues of license transference, if there should be a limit to bistro ownership in the city, whether there should be a limit to the size of outdoor dining, and other issues, but city manager Bob Bruner deferred them, as he has in the past, to be resolved in the future. Hoff rightly challenged him, questioning how the commission could—or should—proceed in the bistro selection process with so many intangibles unresolved. That is what we wonder also. A short moratorium would have allowed the city commission and staff to determine answers to situations they could not have anticipated when crafting the ordinance almost six years ago, as well as allowing the time for the market study to come back, and to learn from it. As it was, commissioners wisely dispensed to two existing establishments, averting the problem of more restaurants in the central business district. And the S. Old Woodward area, abutting the Triangle District, has long been a goal for activation. But in the future let's move forward together in a thoughtful, thought out manner.
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Published on Oct 31, 2012
November 2012 - DOWNTOWN is an upscale monthly full-color news magazine mailed at no charge to homes in Birmingham, Bloomfield Township and...