This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Birmingham Community House is travelling to Cuba September 23rd to Oct 1st. Travel Presentation Tonight 6PM.


This is an extraordinary opportunity is sponsored by Collette Vacations in conjunction with the Community House. It is a "Cultural Exploration" which will be like no other tour you have been on or may likely be on in the future. 

Davina Pastora. Dinner Day 5.

You will be involved in "meaningful interactions  with the people of Cuba. You will be able to participate in a "schedule of of authorized educational exchange activities in Cuba."

Bay of  Pigs Museum. Also on Day 5
Ernest and Fidel
Attending tonight's Travel to Cuba Presentation will introduce you to the opportunity and answer all you questions . For more information call the Community House at 248-644-5832.
Hemingway House Day 8

Baldwin Library Comes to the City of Bloomfield Hills.

City Bloomfield Hills City Manager Jay Cravens and  Associate Baldwin  Library Director Matt Church 

The Baldwin Library is considering expansion. To that end Library Board members are meeting with  Birmingham City officials. The talks are the beginning of what will probably be a many year process of evaluating needs and considering possibilities.

In regards to a more immediate expansion The Baldwin Library has established satellite service in the Bloomfield Hills City Hall. A three shelf book case (in a matching  wood finish)  stocked by the library will provide City residents with  recent best sellers. Residents can take books on the honor system. The honor system means you read it and return it or replace with books of greater or equal value. No library card is required.Baldwin officials have reported success with a similar honor system library in Beverly Hills which also contracts with the Baldwin Library.
 A convenient and secure book return drop is also  located in the foyer of City Hall.. Residents who return their Baldwin Library materials via the  City Hall  Book drop will benefit from a grace period.  Baldwin picks up on Thursdays. Any book returned by the Thursday pick up will be credited to as having been returned on the previous  Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday due date
Residents who are particularly scrupulous should total up the fines they would have incurred without the grace period, form a mental picture of the amount and keep that in mind when the next library millage vote occurs in 2014. This manner of appreciation is however  strictly voluntary or as they say "on the honor system".

It should also be noted the Baldwin Library was prime motivator in creating the satellite library and book drop. It was a campaign promise made  by the library during the last  fall's millage election. There was a slight delay in getting the right shelving for the books and the materials for assembling the book drop. A March date  was promised but Baldwin was able to get that moved in to February. City Manager Jay Cravens and Library Liaison  City of Bloomfield Hills Commissioner Pat Hardy also provided assistance.

 For Bloomfield Hills it is the first public library on the premise presence in the city’s eighty year history.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Varsity Sport of the Mind." BHS Series 4.

1st row: Sarah G., Hiba C., Kristin L., Francesca F., Andi M., Judith H.,
2nd row: Adam R., Capt Ryan H., Ritsuma I., James J., Capt. Matt R., Capt Justin L.
3rd row: Andrew G., Rohan S., Josh I., RJ R., Bernie E., Justin P.
4th row: Sid R., Deven K., Alec E., Capt. Jason L., Tim M.

Combining the the excitement of sports, with the rigors of science and technology, Robotics has been called the varsity Sport of the Mind. The Bionic Barons a robotic team from both Bloomfield Hills Andover and Lahser High Schools, will compete in district qualifying events at Waterford Mott High School on Mar 9-10 and Troy Athens on Mar 30-31. Should they have success in the district qualifiers they will move on to State Champion ship events at Eastern Michigan University on April 12-14.
The 2012 Competition is called Rebound Rumble. Each team competes to earn points by scoring as many basketballs in the hoops as possible. The higher the hoop in which the basketball is scored, the more points the team receives. The match ends with robots attempting to earn bonus points by balancing on bridges located in the middle of the field

The State and National competitions are sponsored by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). First was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamden whose goal was to "To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders."
The Bionic Barons of Andover and Lahser are in their fourth year of competition. This year they are aided by what the school district calls a “Significant grant” from the Chrysler Foundation. The Barons coach, Ed Law announced a $6625 grant which will enable the team to purchase equipment and register for competitions.

 Part of the FIRST (or FRC for FIRST Robot Completion) competition requires the team Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to "real-world engineering" as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Students benefit from learning from professionals, building and competing with a robot they designed and built, and qualify for as much as  $ 14.8 in college scholarships.

Winky Dink and You, BHS Series Part 3a.

The Promethean Board may the latest electronic interaction learning experience  but it wasn’t the the first. That honor may belong to the1953  CBS Television series Winky Dink and You. The animated series was hosted by Jack Berry who would in later years gain fame as the game show host of Concentration and Twenty One.
Winky Dink’s often got himself in jam. To help Winky Dink viewers assisted  by drawing props or an  escape route  on the  television screen . 
A clear plastic Winky-Dink screen saver was sold for the purpose and  a portion of the program was devoted to the necessity and proper application of the saver. According to the book, CBS the First Fifty Years, however  “a lot of kids just crayoned the tube.”. Modern day viewers won't be able see the visual improvements enhancements suggested by host Jack Berry. You can make them on your computer if you so desire but  don't forget to apply a clear sheet of plastic first.Winky Dink and You aired from  1953 and ran through 1957.

Promethean Boards, BHS Series, Part 3.

Editing in Marnie Diems’s third grade at Conant elementary school is a little different than editing a newspaper. At a newspaper one person or two at max look at computer screen. At Ms. Diem’s the class many students can walk to a Promethean Board and correct "typos" and "punctuation errors" and phrases that could be better put in letters she leaves for them. Then the board will make the necessary corrections and can even depending on the quality of handwriting change into printed text.

Promethean Boards often called Smart Boards (which is actually the brand name of a competitor), are changing the literal hand writing on the wall, all across the board for education. That is why every classroom in the Bloomfield Hills School District has one.
The Boards an entire lesson hand written lesson and turn it in a Pdf for archiving or portability. You know those cute early grade school drawings proud parents love to put on the refrigerator door ? Well a Promethean Board make them into a movie with the student artist providing the voice over.

They can also help the teach find out instantly who got the lesson and which students are still in the dark. The School District likes to call that ability “visible thinking” and stresses the importance knowing what your students know. In the Classroom Diem simply puts the questions on the board and the students answer electronically at their desk. The Smart board tabulates the results and who in particular who needs more help.
As in keeping with a school district which emphasizes Multimedia and visible thinking Ms. Diem’ class has a blog. In it see says “I can honestly say that 94.8% of the time I love being a teacher her interests as reading, writing, teaching. learning, photography, videography, and technology. 
Perfect for the classroom of the early 21st century.
The Promethean Board will push the 94.8% satisfaction rating higher. She explains “this generation of learners is drawn toward the "entertainment factor" in the instruction, and while teachers have been using computers for years to supplement instruction, the Promethean board allows students to directly interact with the concepts in skills in an innovative way. Along with other hands on learning activities, the board is yet another way for students to solidify their knowledge. “
In an e-mail supplying information on the boards, she added “If you ever have the opportunity to "play" with a Promethean board, I highly recommend it!”

You Tube for You. BHS Series Part 2a.

 Lahser high school teacher David Brazle chose You Tube because it is the medium his students connect to is an amazing conduit into the world of lifelong learning.  People of almost any   age can learn a foreign language, view travel destinations, learn how to cook, repair a faucet, or prevent window wells from leaking.
 For the serious student who might write a paper, a thesis, or even a scholarly book, there is more. Especially if your source material is media or the audience who media seeks
 If you are student of the German language and history, the films of East Germany in the years immediately after the Second World War found on You Tube might interest you. Why ? Because under Soviet domination East German directors were given free reign to bash to old regime.  As a result some the first and often frank depictions what occurred emerged. In the West under occupation of Allies film directors were held back, while all concerned considered the roll of film in teaching the West Germans democracy. Eventually the West caught up and the East unable to bash the new Soviet sponsored regime languished.
Even if you are not seriously minded you might enjoy situation comedies from the early 1950’s, Like the life of Riley, I remember Mama, and The Goldberg are available . So is the 1970’s hit  program “Good Times.
Before Natalie Wood sang “Hold my hand and I’ll Take you there” in the movie West Side Story, you can see and hear Carole Lawrence do it on Broadway, compliments of You Tube.
History is presented “live “on You Tube
The only problem is that everything is on You Tube and it is not always very well sorted. Viewer discretion and appropriate family filters are advised. 

Have Math Will Travel. BHS Series Part 2.

If Lahser High School Math Teacher David Brazle lived sixty years ago in 1952 he might had a TV Show on Saturday Mornings called Mr. Math. If the show were filmed (an expensive rarity for those days when most TV was shot live and forgotten) he might have got some international exposure. Maybe in Canada if the films were mailed. There were no such thing as satellites in those days. By being on TV however his face woul be recognizable and he like Mr Wizard a Television Pioneer of the era, would be a bit of a celebrity.

Today David Brazle teaches in Room 408 at Lahser High School but is his math lessons and problem solving skills go around the world. The United States and Canada, followed by the United Kingdom and the Phillipiines are where his biggest audience is. He is not despite a large viewership a celebrity.
Only his voice and hands penciling through a problem are seen on camera. His studio is his desk at home. His broadcasting abilities are self-taught, and his medium You Tube on the Internet, was chosen because it was a convenient collection point for his students.  

To see Math.TeacherDavid  Brazle's  Videos on You Tube  click here  

Brazle explained “I use an iPhone 4 to record the videos. The camera is held in place above my work space with a couple of wood working clamps rigged at a 90° angle and attached to the desk. I try to do just one take on camera after working through the notes prior so I have an idea of how I will address the "why" behind what I'm doing. I've corrected some mistakes by putting text boxes over top of my work on YouTube. I use a desk lamp for lighting the page from the opposite side that I sit to address the shadows that might be created from overhead lighting. I record the videos in my home while my son is asleep to try and keep ambient noise levels down.”

There are many Math tutors on You Tube, but Brazle’s un obtrusive direct problem solving technique is rather unique. Instead of Brazle the viewer can easily imagine himself sitting at the desk trying to solve the problem as Brazle show how verbally an video.

How does this play with Bloomfield Hills School System ? Brazle and his principal Charlie Hollerith were recently invited to make a presentation at the Principal’s Instructional Showcase always an anticipated and featured item at school board meetings.

A Brazle “You-Tube” lesson was shown but it was decidedly second banana. Instead parents, teachers, and school board members focused on Brazle’s even more startling concept of the Flipped Classroom.  In the flipped classroom students work in groups to complete home work assignments and then watch Brazles’s You Tube Videos or do related reading  on line at home. Students like Morgan Squires like the concept which allows them to work at the their own pace and rewind when necessary. Brazle believes the flipped classroom concept provides a very rich instruction that is effective for independent learners and allows students to talk about the “why” when doing problems which would not happen if they did the problems at home alone.

Multi Media in the Classroom of Model High School. Bloomfield Hills School Series Part 1

If you are old enough to remember flannel board presentations s and spirit duplicator’s you might think multimedia is something that teachers do to get the kids interested.
If you are a student of 21st Century at Model High School, Digital Multi Media is something the students do as course work to interest their fellow students in worthwhile environmental or social projects. Often audience members are motivated enough to become a team members in the project.
Some who are old school might call Model, “independent study.”
Bloomfield Hills School superintendent Robert Glass, citing the work of multi-dimensional Albert Einstein, or Multimedia pioneer
Steven Jobs has often stressed the importance of nontraditional learning.
Right to left Model Principal Bill Boyle(at podium) Alex, Stephanie, and Ana.
Model High School Principal believes Bill Boyle “All Learning is personal.”And we differ because of what we learn.”
At Model, students are given guidelines to follow rather than an actual step by step assignments. The guidelines given to first year Model Student Ana Fernandez , studying Eco Psychology, the assignment was to find an aspect of ecology that interested her and develop a program that might provide an environmentally friendly solution. Ana came up with, “Students Against Plastic Water Bottles.” To tell it she turned to Digital Multi Media. First she created a website with pictures, changing graphic displays which presented the problem of ecologically unfriendly plastic. Two students who became interested in her cause later wrote research papers that were published on the web sight. Then Ana designed and sold cloth cover for water bottles which said. “I’m not Plastic” and encouraged users to fill them with tap water. The grand finale of the campaign was a movie night at Model. The movie “Tapped “ was screened. Ana promoted it with flyers she designed and poster board displays.
Model High School student Stephanie Poldolsky created a blog or a web log to tell the ongoing story of Build On an organization to fight illiteracy in developing countries. She also used twitter to communicate with Build On chapters nationally and posted the tweets on her blog. For a fund raising event Stephanie used the blog to promote Bowling for Books. On a person level she felt the blog improved her writing skills.
Alex Gaggino said some of his classmates thought Model was easy. Alex agreed but said it was easy becuae you were doing work you enjoyed. In 2010 Alex says he developed a passion for community service. That and trip to New Orleans put him contact with a community Center in the Cresant city’s lower 9th Ward an area devastated by the post Katrina flood. To help Alex specifically enrolled in Model High School for a course taught by favorite teacher Andrea McCoy who also taught Ana Fernandez. At Model Andrew used a multimedia skills like creating a web site, and creating flyers and posters to promote a Movie Night at his home. Shown was a video from the Community Center in New Orleans Alex was trying to help. Monies raised from that event in the words of the Community Center director “kept the lights on.” Alex is planning another trip to New Orleans loves the idea of being a bridge between two communities.
Part of the Bloomfield Hills School System, Model High School, is open to all students. According to Principal Bill Boyle students come to Model on a part time basis by choice. Students must fill out an application with two references and then interview with Principal Boyle. Those are the only requirements. Boyle said there is often a waiting list for classes which are usually full.

Technology in the Classrooms of Bloomfield Hills Schools. A series in 4 parts.

Once upon a time, technology in the classroom was a television set rolled in on a cart, to watch a rocket launch into outer pace. Pocket Calculators replaced slide rules depending on your income level in either the early, mid, or late 1970's. Then there were colleges and universities that insisted every incoming freshman must have a computer and to that end provided one and tacked it on the bill. Until very recently technology was a device one used and some debated the wisdom of said. Is  it a crutch that replaces  discipline with convenience ? Is  it necessary or just fad ? Is it like TV which in overdose levels is purported to be mind numbing ?

Today in the classrooms of the Bloomfield Hills Schools, technology is the  way of  doing everything. If you are  younger than 30 that goes without saying. If you are older than 50 you may find what follows a revelation.

In explaining what's new we will also explain what once was. Like flannel boards,spirit  duplicators,  Mr. Wizard, and Winky Dink.
We start with Multi Media. What's that ? It is using many creative way of getting your attention and developing an interest. That's why movies have web sights and some government agencies have blogs.
What you see above right  is what happens when  you inadvertently hit the pause button while reviewing a tape of the Principal's Instructional Show Case which is part of every Bloomfield Hills School Board meeting. The student in the center is speaking at  podium. The green tint and word "I am not plastic" come from an refillable water bottle she designed in a campaign to stamp out plastic water bottles. That image is is superimosed on the campaign's web site. In the lower left is a bit of a poster from the  movie Tapped which the student screened as fund raiser. Her presentation and that of other students will be discussed in our neext post titled Multi Media in the Classroom of Model High School. Bloomfield Hills School        Series Part 1

Next we will talk a teacher who flipped. The classroom that is. Students do homework in class and a home they can review the lesson and see their  teacher  showing them, step by step, how to solve  the problems on -of all things -"You Tube." Also of interest here and in the next selection are the instructors themselves who are probably younger than 2X (two times) the age of their students. Their ability to use (as opposed to adapt to)  the new technology creates new learning opportunities for their students. Read about it. Have Math Will Travel. BHS Series Part 2.
Don't know anything about You Tube ? It's a life long learning opportunity. Learn more in You Tube for You. BHS Series Part 2a.
Technological classroom devices get their due when we look at black white brainy boards.See Promethean Boards, BHS Series, Part 3.
We remember, Winky Dink and You the first interactive  TV show. Check out Winky Dink and You, BHS Series Part 3a.
Last but not least we visit The Bionic Barons, the combined Andover and Lahser Co-ed  Robotics Team , preparing for the state Tournament. Times, dates, and locations available in "Varsity Sport of the Mind." BHS Series 4.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscar Night

File:Gable ithapponepm poster.jpgLast year I went to the Oscars. Virtually. I forget how much it was. $3.95 or $6.95. Something like that if I recall correctly. By manipulating a mouse I was a white circle on the red carpet. That was fun. I could move around  and with my special Oscar camera I could see all the stars or walk right though them. In the main auditorium wandering around wasn't allowed. You could by switching cameras go back stage or visit the press room where the winners  were being interviewed, but by doing so you missed  the actual award presentations. Then there were the post Oscar  parties.  No one really paid attention to you and you couldn't eat anything. They pulled the plug on the parties around 1 am which I thought was rather chintzy. By then I was paying bills and not really watching or moving my circle but I expected more. I wondered if they were going to have virtual Oscar visits  again this year. I didn't plan on buying but I was curious. Either they didn't have it or I was such a stick in the mud I wasn't invited back.

Hollywood and the Oscars is the greatest celebration of Americana this  side of the fourth of July. World wide they love our movies. Why exactly is hard to say. Maybe we just lucked into it because we are the good guys. Or Maybe our movies just made us good.

Frank Capra,  the only member of his family to graduate from college was also the only family member to be chronically unemployed. He was 37 when the movie he directed "It Happened  One Night" won Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screen Play, and Best Director in 1934. Before the decade was over Capra would will two more Best Director Oscars.

Of course Hollywood had competition.History tells us sO and other countries started with a more definite purpose in mind.In 1917 in the final days of World War I, disturbed by their own anemic efforts to use the cinema to incite patriotism the German military created UFA Univerasum Fillm Aktion Gesshellsaft. Under private ownership Ufa made  a number of notable and imagainative films in the Wiemar era. In 1933 the company was taken over by the Nazi Regime. For the next twelve years the studio  located in Babelsburg  produced a record number of movies but none of serious  critical acclaim. After the war Babelsburg which lies in what used to be East Germany fell under Soviet Control.  Thus  DEFA the  or Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft t was born. In Layman's' terms  DEFA is the films of East Germany. When the wall came down so did  DEFA. Today That leaves "Studio Babelsburg"  which in 2012 will celebrate it's 100th Anniversary. On it's web site it claims...

Studio Babelsberg is the oldest large-scale studio complex in the world. Deutsche Bioscop, UFA, DEFA, Studio Babelsberg – no other film studio in the world can look back on such a moving history. Studio Babelsberg went through and survived four political systems: Monarchy, Weimar Republic, National Socialism and GDR. Countless renowned filmmakers have worked with Studio Babelsberg, engaging the studio to produce legendary films including Fritz Lang's Metropolis and Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel, starring Marlene Dietrich. Current references are Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer and Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous.

 It also ran an ad the Hollywood Reporter telling film makers, "You are in Berlin.Nothing will go wrong.

 Recently DEFA films have enjoyed a vogue. The University of Massachusetts   hosts a DEFA library.Wolfgang Staude's 1949 Film Rotation is available at the Baldwin Library. Today DEFA  Films are recognized as being innovative small budget films that were the first to depict what happened under National Socialism.

The bottom line ? Hollywood is still the standard by which the world film industry measures itself and good films big budget or small budget don't fade away

In terms of the 2012 Oscars the writer of this blog regrets that he only saw all the nominees in the category  of  Best Picture and Best Director. This publication  regrets the lapse. Predictions are a dime a dozen we will join the other critics  in predicting a best picture win for The Artist. In order to provide variety however, we  will list the top Oscar nominated pictures in reverse order of lasting importance ala David Letterman Drum please...
  • The Artist: predicable and boring. The dog and John Goodman steal the show. In a year in which big actors often appear  in more than one big movie Goodman is also in  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
  • Midnight In Paris: even Marlon  Cotillard (La Vie En Rose) can't save this dog. Owen Wilson (You Me and Dupree ) delivers a career best performance which figures.  
  • The Help  a good film  but not a best picture. Lots of strong rolls for females. Every time there is a problem between the lady of the house and the "help" hubby takes a powder. Actress Viola Davis deserves an Oscar for her role in this film,  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Doubt. Ditto Octavia Spencer for The Help.
  • Director Terrence Mallick was  Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard University. In Tree of Life he talks  the metaphysics of a  universe beyond the comprehension of those of us who got degrees from diploma mills.  Brad Pitt (who also stars in and is a Best Actor nominee  for  Moneyball)  and Jessica Chastain (nominated for Best Supporting Actress in The Help) should have been nominated for this confusing picture.
  • War Horse is a beautifully filmed two hour plus movie about the first world war which jerks a few tears before delivering...well you get the picture.
  • Moneyball a good business/sports movie destined for motivation seminars everywhere.
  • Descended star .George Clooney (who also stars and wrote the script for Ides of March) deserves best actor. This Picture deserves it's Best Picture nomination. It is a very competent movie. This year however two other films  out shadow it.
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Hugo. It is hard to imagine two more different films covering the same ground. Both Hugo and the boy in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close have lost their father. Both look for a memory or anything they can find about their father throught searches or quests.  Hugo has a flip book and a the remains of Robot. He believes if he can make the Robot work he can get a message from his deceased dad. Eventually he finds a friend who has the key to the robot. That's because because before it was Hugo's Robot it belonged to the friend's  father. The boy in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has a key he found which he believes will open something from his deceased father. The idea of a quest in which a protagonist who is looking for something (holy grail ?) meets people along the way who teach him things is a very old literary device. Like Keys and locks there are literarly thousands of examples. Hugo is a very pleasant movie that is fun for whole family and a bit of a fairy tale. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is searing, gut wrenching and as real as today's headlines. Oddly enough the later film asks you to suspend belief more than Hugo. If you buy into the Hugo fairy tale all else follows. With  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close the realness prompts you to question anything that probably couldn't happen.Both are drawn from works of fiction. Hugo has a happy ending  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has a positive ending which is mildly up lifting.  
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close before it's release had all the Oscar buzz. What can you say bad about a movie staring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock.Then it premiered to heavy criticism.The depiction of  9-11, and a slightly nutso kid made it  a movie not for the young at heart or the faint of heart. The movie was however a a surprise  Best Picture nomination but the director was not nominated for Best Director (always the kiss of death with the Academy ). Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close  is a picture you should see once and maybe that's as often as you will ever want to see it.
  • Hugo a family movie is a magical illusion one will want to see many times. When the DVD comes out, standing in line at Midnight probably won't be necessarily. Visiting the store during normal business hours will suffice which is a shame. Hugo is our favorite picture of the year.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Baldwin Public Library Board of Directors and the Birmingham City Commission agree that it is time to explore the future of the Baldwin Public Library building.

February 16, 2012

The Baldwin Public Library Board of Directors and the Birmingham City Commission agree that
it is time to explore the future of the Baldwin Public Library building.  To further that goal, they
have agreed to form a Joint Building Committee consisting of three representatives from the
Library Board, three representatives from the City Commission, and one representative from
the City of Birmingham Planning Board.

The meetings of the Joint Building Committee will be publicly noticed, and all interested parties
will have the opportunity to attend the meetings or otherwise offer input.  

The objectives of the Joint Building Committee are:

1. To develop a timeline for the work listed below.
2. To clarify the responsibilities of the Library Board and City Commission in the building
renovation and/or expansion process.
3. To determine, through benchmarking and other studies, where Baldwin currently stands
in relationship to public library best practices, and to undertake an analysis of probable
future library trends and how they will affect library building utilization and
4. To develop, through public input, a consensus on what kind of Library the citizens of
Birmingham need, want, and are willing to pay for.
5. To consider the role of the Baldwin Library’s three contract communities in this process.
6. To list the most critical features that will appear in the updated building.
7. From the above information, to determine which path is more desirable:  
A. A renovation of the building’s current footprint, or 
B. An expansion of the building, or
C. A combination of the two
The selected plan might or might not resemble either of the plans already sketched out
and presented to the public.
8. To recommend the appropriate method of obtaining professional assistance to develop
the building plan fully.
9. To explore funding options for the building plan and make a recommendation on which
option(s) to pursue.  The funding options may include, but are not limited to, current
Library and City millages and cash reserves, a new voter-approved millage, and private
10. By December 2012, to present to the Baldwin Public Library Board and the Birmingham
City Commission a set of recommendations on how to proceed.

With the information provided by the Joint Committee, the Library Board and City Commission
can then budget for the next stage of the project in FY 2013-14.  That stage would include the
preparation of an architectural plan as well as detailed financial estimates.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Black Hawks is the new Mascot Name for the New Bloomfield Hills High School. Black Purple and Silver Are the New School Colors.


Students selected the name and colors. Black Hawks got 52 % of the vote with Chargers and Royals getting  24% each. The selected colors are Silver, Purple and Black which beat out Black and Blue and Blue and Gold.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Invitations Fly as the City Puts on The Ritz for the Big Occassion !

Valentines day is here and residents of the City of Bloomfield Hills residents are mulling over the many invitations to civic functions scheduled for this evening .
Click below  for the Agenda Packet for tonight's meetings.
4pm Planning Commission Meeting

7:30 pm City Commision Meeting 

 The Bloomfield Hills City Commission is ready to propose. It just has released a
“Citizen Engagement Assessment” nee “Residents Satisfaction Survey” in draft form.
To show you that their intentions are honorable the City has also released a draft of the also proposed code of ethics. Both Drafts are available on request at City Hall at 45 E. Long Lake.

The Engagement Assessment pops 24 questions in four pages. “Yes and No” are replaced by strongly agree, disagree, are neutral, agree, strongly, and don’t know. Topics include, Programs and Services, Transportation and Streets, Community Characteristics and Quality of Life, Planning and Budget and City Commission. Commissioners reading the draft recommended modifications about questions that implied the possibility of services or amenities the city financially can not provide.

The Code of Ethics is intended to be “preventive not punitive.” Ethical conduct is listed by items from “A” To “K”. Many of the items are matters to interpretation. Item “G” says “public officials shall prepare themselves for public issues, .... and listen politely,”. Nothing in the two page document is said about the ethics of deciding issues prior to a public meeting which is not only unethical it is a violation of the Michigan Open Meetings Act. The document says laws take precedent but provides no suggestions or requirements about how a city official of approached about possible pre-arranged decision should act or comport himself.

Both drafts will be fined tuned for Big Date which  is appropriately February 14th.

 The fun begins at exactly 4pm which is the absolute drop dead moment that nominating petitions can be accepted for candidates to run the City Commission Election on May 8th. Three challengers and two incumbents are expected but will a last minute suitor appear as the clock bongs four ?  

 At 4:01 the City Planning Commission will try to unravel the tangles of Tree Ordinance.

 At 7:30 City Commission will seek the hand of city residents with a finalized Engagement draft.

Remember that couple last seeing sitting a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G ? Good news ! You may see them this evening !

While maybe not the most romantic date, Valentine’s day at City Hall will quickly determine if either half of a love struck couple has the necessary interest in civic or municipal affairs to prolong the relationship. History and a lifetime of experience say it is better to learn such things early on.

A Draft of a Code of Ethics for Elected Officials and Members of Appointed Boards, Commissions, and Committees of the City of Bloomfield Hills.

Backround:  This draft is the work of City Commissioner Sarah McClure, City Manger Jay Craven, and City Clerk Amy Burton. Residents were not invited to participate nor was the provisions of the Michigan  Open Meetings Act applied because one city commissioner and two city employees does not constitute a quorum. When asked  why he didn't appoint more commission's to have enough for a quorum, Mayor Zambricki said said it was hard to find commissioners willing to attend addition meetings. The first the whole of the commission saw of this draft occurred on February 7th. The first public viewing  this. The draft may be  discussed or altered at the February 14th regular city commission meeting. We will critique it later in a future post

Sunday, February 12, 2012

City Commission Releases Rough Draft V1 of Citizen Engagement Assesssment (Citizen Satisfaction Survey)

  The following is a draft of the Resident's survey that will be sent to all registered voters  in late February or early March. The $9500 cost of the survey was approved  at a Special Meeting/Work Session  of  City Commission held at 5  PM on December 6th. At the January 10th regular City Commission meeting it was announced that the questions for the Survey were to be determined in a conference phone call  involving City Commissioner Sarah McClure, City Manager Jay Cravens and people from Cobalt communications the survey providers.
City Commission ponders satisfaction survey

 The draft was first presented  at the City Commission work session meeting held on February 7th. It will be discussed further at the Tuesday February 14th City Commission Meeting. Proponents of the survey say it will gauge current satisfaction and provide a bench mark for future commissions. Opponents say the survey is political and meant to enhance the current commission. This publication will critique the survey in an upcoming post.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Baldwin Library Board Building Committee To Meet Monday Feb 13th. Expected To Discuss Draft of Charge For Proposed City/Library Modernization Sub Commitee.

  Notice of Meetings
A meeting of the Baldwin Public Library Board Building Committee will take place on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. in the Board Room of the Library.
A meeting of the Baldwin Public Library Board Finance Committee will take place on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. in the Board Room of the Library. 
A meeting of the Baldwin Public Library Board will take place on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. in the Tribute and Donor Rooms of the Library. 

Discussions for an expanded Baldwin Library, the first remodel considered in 32 years continue to move forward.
 Currently Library Director Doug Koschik, and Birmingham City Manager Robert J. Bruner Jr. are working on a Draft of Charge. 
The draft is to be ready for the Library Building Committee meeting of February 13t.h meeting
 It will tell a special committee of selected Library Board members and City Commissioners how to proceed and what the overall goal of the  committee  be should be.
Koschik said that one of the charges of the special committee will be to determine, through benchmarking and public comment, what the Library really needs in terms of space and functionality.
Then based on the findings about the Library’s needs, the committee will then decide which of the following is needed: a renovation or an expansion.
Koschik said, “Only if an expansion is recommended will the issue of design need to be addressed.
The Director added “All plans will have to be tempered by financial reality. Money for any renovation or expansion would have to be covered by some combination of a higher millage rate, a bond issue and private contributions.”
He stressed, “We are at the start of the process. No decisions about the building have been made yet, other than we need to look at the issue.
There will be plenty of opportunities for the public to express their opinions.
The process will take a long time. Within a year I hope that we will decide which path to take. But to make the ultimate plan a reality will take several years beyond that.”
Revamping the library was a  topic of informal and internal discussion for over decade by the library staff A serious proposal offering two possible modernization solutions was  presented to the library board in December of 2011.
 The first solution, called the Fanning Howey proposal after the firm that designed it was an internal only remodel of the library’s first floor first floor.
  At 2.8 million dollars the proposal was intended to be the fiscally prudent solution.
It would trade shelf space for functionality, aesthetics, way finding, and the opportunity for modest expansion of computer stations and study rooms.
 It would also maintain the 1980’s external design of internationally acclaimed noted architect Gunnar Birkerts.
According Library Director Koschik E-books are decreasing the need for shelf space and the library of the 21st century is assuming more of a community center role.
The second solution, proposed by local Birmingham architect Victor Saroki  is complete remodel of all three of the library’s floors and the building’s exterior.
The Basement would be enhanced to include a Friend of the Library Gift Shop, Café, and possible outdoor seating which could extend the cyber café concept.
The first floor would have two entrances one on Martin Street and the other on Merill.
The second floor would be expanded to include a roof garden and terrace overlooking Shain Park for Library or Civic functions. In total the Saroki plan would increase the library’s total space by 42% at an estimated cost of upwards of ten million dollars.
Both options were presented to the Long Range Planning Session of the Birmingham City Commission.
Many commissioners found the Saroki plan of particular interest.
That plan has its detractors and supporters.
Russ W. Dixon a member of the City’s Museum Board is a strong supporter of keeping the exterior design of internationally acclaimed architect Gunnar Birkerts which was the basis of the last remodel.  Other residents find the Birkerts design controversial.
Jeffery Van Dorn president of a Birmingham homeowner’s association, is a supporter of the Saroki design and believes that any enhancement to the popular library will increase property values for the city’s residents. Mr. Van Dorn was instrumental getting architect Victor Saroki to make a presentation.

Skype with Loved Ones at Baldwin Library Feb 14th 7pm

To register for an event  call 248-554-4650.To register on line or to see all upcoming and many recurring monthly events (like book clubs or story time) in a calendar display click on
Baldwin Library Events
Events requiring registration are underlined. All provide detailed information with mouse clicks. If registration is required a form will appear. As a resident of the City of Bloomfield and a Baldwin partner community        (along with Beverly Hills and Bingham Farms) you will be given first preference for all events.

Main entrance is on Merill Street  which runs parallel to Martin Street. To the right of library and across Bates  is Shain Park Upper left hand structure is Chester Street Garage with free parking for two hours.   Estimated Distance from Chester Street Garage to Baldwin Library is one tenth of a mile or a two minute walk.  Top of picture is Maple Rd (15Mile).