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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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Largest published view of proposed new Baldwin library.Oct 21st Video of Public Forum to discuss said. Video of Library Board meeting of 10/15.

Artist's rendition of the new Baldwin Library

October 21st Public Comment Forum  on the proposed new
and improved Baldwin Library To watch video Click Here
Regular Library Board Meeting of October 15th. To watch video Click Here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thrillers, Romance, and Before Midnight III DVD Highlight Baldwin New Titles 10/22/2013.

Critical Mass by Sara ParetskyV.I. Warshawski's closest friend in Chicago is the Viennese-born doctor Lotty Herschel, who lost most of her family in the Holocaust. Lotty escaped to London in 1939 on the Kindertransport with a childhood playmate, Kitty Saginor Binder. When Kitty's daughter finds her life is in danger, she calls Lotty, who, in turn, summons V.I. to help. The daughter's troubles turn out to be just the tip of an iceberg of lies, secrets, and silence, whose origins go back to the mad competition among America, Germany, Japan and England to develop the first atomic bomb. The secrets are old, but the people who continue to guard them today will not let go of them without a fight.
The Litter of the Law by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown:  During an autumn scenic drive in rural Crozet, Virginia, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and husband Fair discover the body of a murdered accountant lying in a cornfield. Rooting out the guilty murderer in the treacherous center of a lucrative conspiracy requires Harry's farmer's wisdom--along with the quick wits and extraordinary senses of Sneaky Pie, Pewter, and Tucker. Check Availability
We Are Water by Wally LambAnna Oh, a middle-age wife, mother and artist, divorces her husband after 27 years of marriage to marry Vivica, the Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success. Check Availability

Before Midnight (DVD): We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna.
The Way Way Back (DVD): While fourteen year old Duncan is being dragged on a family trip with his mom and her overbearing boyfriend, he finds a gregarious friend at a local water park. The two form a powerful bond as Duncan learns to swim through the challenges of life, love, family and friendship, resulting in a vacation he'll never forget. Check Availability

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Baldwin Library Building Project. The Road From Here. Time Lines From Approval to 2017 Completion.

The Approval Time Line October- December 2013. 
Key dates include tonight's (October 21st) 7:30 Community Forum. Project approval on November 18th by the JLBC. Birmingham City Commission approval on November 25th. Ballot Language Approval by the  Library Board on December 12th and by Birmingham City Commission on December 16th. Voter  approval in the form of a bond issue is expected  in a May 2014 City Election.

Construction Time Line 2014-2017

To enlarge click on time line.

Decision Time for the Baldwin Library Building Program. Public Input Sought. Community Forum Tonight at 7:30 PM..

The Baldwin Public Library Board will hold a community forum on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. in conjunction with its regularly scheduled Library Board meeting. At the meeting, Quinn Evans Architects, the firm hired to complete phase-one architectural plans for the Library building project, will give a presentation on their work. After the presentation and Board discussion, the Library Board will open the floor to public comment. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the meeting and provide the Board with input on the building project.

“The Joint Library Building Committee has worked hard to create a plan for the building that fits both the needs of the Library and those of the community,” said Doug Koschik, Library Director. “The Library Board, the Joint Library Building Committee, and the architects are all interested in hearing feedback from the community about the project as it continues to develop.”

Information on the project is available online at  

People wishing to comment on the building program but unable to attend the community forum on October 21 may send their thoughts to Director Koschik at or 248-554-4681.

The Joint Library Building Committee consists of Jim Suhay, David Underdown and Frank Pisano of the Baldwin Public Library Board; Rackeline Hoff, Scott Moore and Gordon Rinschler of the Birmingham City Commission; and Janelle Boyce of the Birmingham Planning Board.  
The Baldwin Public Library is located in downtown Birmingham at 300 W. Merrill Street and can be reached at 248-647-1700 or through the Library’s website at  

Crash and Cram Course on Library Building Program from Day One to Now.Complete Copies of All Documents and Sketches Made Public.

Joint Library Building Committee
Preliminary sketches from 9/6/13. Not necessarily indicative of final design.

JLBC Documents click on links below  for documents in reverse chronological order.

Preliminary sketches from 9/6/13. Not necessarily indicative of final design.

JLBC  Meeting Minutes

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tonight ! City Hall 6:30pm Candidate Forum By League of Women Voters for candidates seeking election to City Commission on the Nov 5th Ballot.


The League of  Women Voters will be hosting a Candidate Forum Tonight  October 17th at 6:30 pm at City Hall at 45 East Long Lake Road.The League is a national non partisan organization whose purpose is to promote political responsibility  through informed choices and active participation of citizens in government. The League does not endorse or oppose candidates but does work to obtain and distribute to the public information on candidates and the their views.

Sandra Bullock Heat DVD, Johnny Carson Bio Top Baldwin New Titles 10/15/2013

Identical by Scott TurowState Senator Paul Giannis is a candidate for Mayor of Kindle County. His identical twin brother Cass is newly released from prison, 25 years after pleading guilty to the murder of his girlfriend, Dita Kronon. When Evon Miller, an ex-FBI agent who is the head of security for the Kronon family business, and private investigator Tim Brodie begin a re-investigation of Dita's death, a complex web of murder, sex, and betrayal-as only Scott Turow could weave-dramatically unfolds...
Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin:  An unreserved and incisive account of the career and personal life of the "King of Late Night" at the height of his fame and influence is shared from the perspective of his lawyer, wingman, fixer, and closest confidant. Check Availability

The Heat (DVD): An uptight FBI Special Agent is paired with a foul-mouthed Boston cop to take down a ruthless drug lord.

Pacific Rim (DVD): When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes-a washed up former pilot and an untested trainee, who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind's last hope against the mounting apocalypse. Check Availability

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Stuart Woods and Debbie Macomber novels, and Hangover 3 DVD Top Baldwin New Titles for 10/8/2013.

Doing Hard Time by Stuart WoodsWhen Stone Barrington embarks on a trip to Bel-Air to check in on some business and personal concerns, he expects a relaxing break from the fast pace and mean streets of New York. But trouble never takes a vacation, and it has a way of finding Stone. A case that had seemingly been resolved has returned in full force - with lethal results. And this deadly situation makes for strange bedfellows when Stone finds himself teamed with the least likely ally . . . a gentleman of unique abilities, who can fly below the radar and above the law.
The Double by George Pelecanos:  The job seems simple enough: retrieve the valuable painting - "The Double" - Grace Kinkaid's ex-boyfriend stole from her. It's the sort of thing Spero Lucas specializes in: finding what's missing, and doing it quietly. But Grace wants more. She wants Lucas to find the man who humiliated her - a violent career criminal with a small gang of brutal thugs at his beck and call.Lucas is a man who knows how to get what he wants, whether it's a thief on the run - or a married woman. In the midst of a steamy, passionate love affair that he knows can't last, in pursuit of a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, Lucas is forced to decide what kind of man he is - and how far he'll go to get what he wants. Check Availability.

Starry Night by Debbie MacomberCarrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega-bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn's past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.  Check Availability

After Earth (DVD): Nova Prime has bec ome mankind's new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige returns from an extended tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his son, Kitai. When an asteroid storm damages Cypher and Kitai's craft, they crash-land on a now unfamiliar and dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon.

Check Availability

The Hangover 3 Movie PosterThe Hangover, Part III (DVD): The continuing misadventures of the Wolfpack. After the death of his father, Alan turns to the Wolfpack in his time of grief. This time, there's no wedding, no bachelor party, just one simple road trip. What could possibly go wrong? Check Availability.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sample Ballot for November 5 election. Candidates upper right. Ballot proposals center column and upper left.No need to flip.

This a precinct 1 ballot (votes at City Hall). You can tell bythe top of the center column centerand  left corner markings and the fact that Michael Coakley's name is on top (as determined by alphabetical order). Pat Hardy is next followed by Mark Kapel  and  Stuart  Scherr. In precinct 2  (Congregational  Church  at Woodward and Cranbrook) Michael Coakley drops to last  and all the other candidates move up  a slot with Pat Hardy first. If you vote by absentee regardless of where you live you will receive a precinct one or precinct two ballot depending on what they are mailing out that day  Ballot questions don't rotate.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pet Blessing this weekend at Christ Church Cranbrook (Sunday 6pm) and St. Hugo's (Saturday 11am)

A Celebration of Martha Baldwin on Sunday, October 6 from 1p.m. to 3p.m at the Baldwin Library

BIRMINGHAM, MI (September 30, 2013) – In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the naming of the Library for Miss Martha Baldwin, the Baldwin Public Library is hosting a celebration on Sunday, October 6 from 1p.m. to 3p.m.

In 1913, the Village Board resolved that, “the public library of Birmingham be named the ‘Baldwin Memorial Library’ in honor of Miss Martha Baldwin…” Miss Baldwin was born in 1840 and died in 1913. She was responsible for many improvements in Birmingham, including housing the first collection of books that would eventually become the Baldwin Public Library.

The Library will be holding a variety of events to celebrate Martha Baldwin including a “Getting to Know Martha Baldwin” presentation by local historian Diane Bert, PhD. Dr. Bert will provide insights into Martha’s life and leadership in Birmingham. Other notable events include the ribbon-cutting of the newly renovated Teen Scene.

"Martha Baldwin left a lasting legacy on our Library and the Birmingham community," said Kathryn Bergeron, Associate Director. “We are glad to have a chance to celebrate her and her accomplishments on this notable centennial.”

The Baldwin Public Library is located in downtown Birmingham at 300 W. Merrill Street and can be reached at 248-647-1700 or through the Library’s website at

Martha Baldwin

Martha Baldwin was born August 22, 1840 in Birmingham, Michigan – died Memorial Day 1913.  She was the only child of Edwin and Aurilla Baldwin. Edwin’s father, Ezra, had moved to the area in 1817 from Vermont.   Edwin  was the only one of his siblings to settle in the area.  He was 15 at the time.  He married Aurilla when she was 19 and he was 34.  During their marriage of 52 years, they were dedicated readers and proponents of education developing the path that formed the philosophies for their remarkable daughter.

While Martha Baldwin was a dutiful and a loving daughter, she never married She chose  a teaching career, which at that time forbade marriage.  However, she was and continues to be a role model for countless numbers of young women whose opportunities were broadened due to her selfless work.  She paid special attention to Charles Shain, the young son of her best friend, and financed his formal education and influenced his attitudes toward community service.  Shain in his adult life was also to be one of Birmingham’s most influential residents.  In fact, Shain Park in the heart of downtown Birmingham is named for her protégée.   As she worked tirelessly in a male dominated society to advance the causes near and dear to her heart, she was able to rely on the support of Shain when the other men in the community considered her causes too radical.

As a young person, Martha attended High School in Birmingham and Kalamazoo College. She lived with friends in town and return to her family farm on the weekends.

When she graduated from the Academy in 1858, her parents thought she was too young to leave home.  But she wanted to teach and eventually started her own school in Lexington.  The school grew to 18 students, but Martha was very homesick and returned home in February of 1859.  This time is recounted in her original diaries, which are on display in the Baldwin Library.

At that time her father gave up the farm and moved the family into Birmingham proper onto land located at Maple and Chester.

Martha longed to attend college, which was beyond the financial means of her family at that time. Finally in September 1860 she left for Kalamazoo College.  However, her formal education ended after one year there because her father faced financial troubles. Martha moved home and started her teaching career in earnest.She had a distinguished career teaching school in Franklin, Birmingham, and eventually Detroit.  At one point she was principal of a school with 899 students, more than the entire population of Birmingham. She did garner some critical remarks due to her liberal philosophies.  She retired at age 58, partly because of a new regulation from the Detroit Board of Education that all teachers must live in the district.  She was too dedicated to social projects in Birmingham to leave.

While a teacher she helped establish the Teacher’s Mutual Aid Association, the Detroit Principal’s Association, and helped write the Detroit Teacher’s Pension Law.  Until that time, teachers had received no benefits of any type.

While considered controversial and a troublemaker by many, she was an influential and notable personality in Birmingham and the instigator of many organizations and projects to influence the quality of life.  Even a partial list of her achievements is impressive:
  • Founded the Village Improvement Society to keep the streets clean and to plant flowers along the highway.
  • Helped pass an ordinance that made it unlawful to tie a horse to a shade tree as it might harm the bark.
  • Was instrumental in getting the anti-spit ordinance passed.
  • Was responsible for the maple trees being planted along Maple Road formerly known as Mill Street, seats at the streetcar stops, wastebaskets on public street corners, public drinking fountains, and the first kerosene street light, and the waiting room at the Grand Trunk Station.
  • Worked to get paved sidewalks so women’s skirts would not get so dirty.
  • Was one of the first to advocate for a water works system for the village, personally paying a well-digger to show the advantages of an artesian system.
  • Was the first resident to apply for a permit to connect to city water.
  • Launched personal anti-litter campaigns, driving around in her surrey and having children pick up litter and deposit it in the baskets she carried with her.
  • Established The Ladies’ Greenwood Cemetery Association when the cemetery had fallen into disrepair.
  • Established the Village Improvement Society in 1884 to clean up and beautify Birmingham.  Had a group of 22 children that she used to help clean up and circulate petitions and proposals.  These included the installation of street lamps, purchase of an old gravel pit and establishment of a park on the property at Maple and Southfield Road, building and landscaping the new train depot.
  • Formed the Committee to Study Conditions at the Oakland County Jail.
  • Organized drives to provide reading material to the residents of the County Poor House.
  • Spoke at the schools every Arbor Day and handed out seedlings to the children to plant at home.
  • Active in the struggle for Women’s Suffrage and the National Federation of Women’s Clubs. Seven time served as  representative to the National Equal Rights Convention.
  • Member of Women’s Press Club and the Twentieth Century Club

  • Wrote a pamphlet on “How to Form a Village Improvement Society”.  It included this quote, which summarizes much of her attitude toward her good-works.  “Beautifying little places helps make the complete world beautiful.”

Additionally, Martha or Mattie as her friends knew her, was the first woman in Birmingham to hold public office.  She was elected to the Birmingham School Board and eventually became its president.

The Baldwin Library continues to revere her for her role in the formation of public library service in Birmingham.  On November 1, 1869, she organized the first meeting of the Ladies’ Library Society of Birmingham in which 48 books were purchased and thus the library began.  As was true of many communities at that time, there were only  a few men involved in the beginning of the Library Association.  As the library branched out to work on many cultural projects, it ultimately was run entirely by women.  The first Library Hall was in old Methodist Church at Merrill and Bates 1881-1895.  Later it moved to a municipal building at Woodward and Maple from 1895 to 1927.  Martha Baldwin led the fundraising drive for this by selling bricks for $1 each.  When the building was ready to be constructed the village was still short of funds.  Martha Baldwin provided $2500 for the mortgage.  The Municipal Building, which housed the Library, the Village and Township Offices, the Volunteer Fire Department, the Police Department, and a 400-seat auditorium, was used for 30 years.

In 1907 the Library Association offered its $5000 in assets (including 3200 books and pamphlets) to Birmingham for a public library on the condition that a ¼ mill tax for the library would be also supported by voters.  Another condition was that if the village failed to maintain the library properly, it would go to the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan.  It took two elections to eventually have the library become public and although Martha Baldwin was on the first appointed board, she was defeated for election when her term expired.  She did get back on the Board and served until her death in 1913.   The millage debate was very rancorous and even after the millage passed, it was challenged by some resid ents in court.  The election results were upheld.

One difficulty with the campaign to establish a Free Library was that Martha could not separate her speeches about women’s suffrage from her speeches supporting the library and consequently alienated much of the male population at a time when women could not yet vote.

Upon her death in 1913, the Birmingham Community celebrated her life in a number of important ways.  When she died all local business closed for her funeral.  Two hundred school children were let out of school to process with bouquets of flowers The community as a whole attended her funeral and the village board voted to rename the library after Martha Baldwin.  Miss Baldwin left $25000 in her will toward the construction of Baldwin High School, with instructions for it to have an auditorium and free public baths for both men and women. She stipulated that the school needed to be completed within ten years, which Birmingham did!  Additionally she left $1000 for the Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund and two parcel of land to be used for parks and she left 13 ½ acres of wooded ravine to the city on the condition that it be used a park.  If the village did not do this, the property would revert to the estate and be sold.  She was buried in Greenwood Cemetery with the simple granite headstone she had requested saying that she preferred a “monument of good work to one of marble.”

Today we honor and hold Martha Baldwin in the highest regard for her contributions to Birmingham and Oakland County.  That great legacy certainly includes the numerous cultural and educational institutions that she influenced but also for her legacy of spirit and determinism that women can and should have a role in the development of their communities.  She often came under male criticism for her forthrightness and doggedness to improve the quality of life in Birmingham.  The words of her peers used to describe her include: “indomitable will-power, perseverance with a warm sense of humor”; “strong-willed, fiercely independent, and committed to her work”; “practical visionary”;  “efficient organizer.”  What a splendid list of faults!


A Narrative History of Birmingham, Michigan presented by The Junior League of Birmingham, Michigan, Inc. 1966

Birmingham, 1933-1983: Celebrating 50 Years as a City

The Book of Birmingham
 by Jervis Bell McMechan

Woman’s Work; The Story of Martha Baldwin by Joni Faye Pastor

Baldwin Public Library at 75
 by Patricia Scollard Painter

Baldwin New Titles 10/1/2013

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill BrysonBryson examines closely the events and personalities of the summer of 1927 when America's story was one of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy.
The October List by Jeffery Deaver:  Gabriela McKenzie's daughter has been kidnapped. In exchange for her safe return, her abductors demand two things: $400,000 in cash, and a document known only as the October List. Check Availability
David and Goliath by Malcolm GladwellUncovers the hidden rules that shape the balance between the weak and the mighty and the powerful and the dispossessed. Check availability 

 The Croods (DVD): The Croods is a prehistoric comedy adventure that follows the world's first family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always shielded them from danger is destroyed. Traveling across a spectacular landscape, the Croods discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures, and their outlook is changed forever. Check Availability

This Is the End (DVD): Six friends are trapped in a house after a series of strange and catastrophic events that devastate Los Angeles. As the world unravels outside, dwindling supplies and cabin fever threaten to tear apart the friendships inside. Eventually, they are forced to leave the house, facing their fate and the true meaning of friendship and redemption. Check Availability.