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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Friday, December 25, 2015

Baldwin Library Staff Recommends Best Books of 2015

For Adults  Fiction

The Children's Crusade by Ann Packer. - This absorbing, beautifully written and poignant family saga spans five decades of the life of a Northern California family complete with a beloved physician father, free spirited mother and four children each harboring their own desires and secrets. –Lisa

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. - Atkinson provides a wild ride of a reading experience in this sweeping post-war follow-up to Life After Life, which follows the Todd family through the first half of the 20th century. –Denise

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by  J. Ryan Stradal. - This book weaves the main character’s life story by pulling narrative strands from other characters - some who have impacted her life directly, others indirectly, into a sweet, sad, sometimes funny story.—Linda

A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara. - The best and saddest book I’ve read in a decade is profoundly tragic, but the characters are so beautifully drawn that by the end of the novel I felt like they were my family. –Maria

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman. - Hoffman always creates a unique plot featuring complicated characters who draw you quickly into their world.—Barby

Station ElevenMy Struggle, Book Four by Karl Ove Knausgaard. - It is difficult to explain the Knausgaard phenomenon to the uninitiated, but Book 4, covering Karl Ove's teenage years, stands out by blending Knausgaard's straightforward yet mesmerizing narrative style with a substantial dose of humor, to create another hard to put down volume in his epic autobiographical series of novels.  –Josh

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. - Haruf's final novel gets right to the heart of what makes us human by exploring a late-in-life love affair that seems so simple to those in the relationship—but not so to the people around them. –Carol

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. - This brilliant novel uses an apocalyptic story line to portray a world of artistic endeavor, violence, humor and most of all, hope. –Karen

Vanessa and Her Sister, by Priya Parmar. - With journal entries, letters, notes, and various methods of early 20th century correspondence, Parmar plumbs the complicated relationship between the artist Vanessa Bell and her more famous sister, Virginia Woolf, along with their siblings, lovers, and friends, all members of the artsy Bloomsbury Group. –Liz

When the Mood is Low by Nadia Hashimi. - This book made me truly feel immersed in its Middle Eastern setting and culture. –Lauren

Biography & Non-Fiction

Dead Wake by Erik Larson - History comes to life as Larson recreates the events leading up to the German military attack on the Lusitania in 1915. –Rebekah
Furiously Happy: a funny book about horrible things by Jenny Lawson. - I've never laughed as hard as I have at stories in this book (and in the author’s first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened); however, there are also very poignant sections on mental illness that made me re-evaluate and re-interpret my own life experiences. –Kristen
Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann. - In her prose, as in her photography, a bold artist catches the heavy shadows of the past and the fleeting light of the moment. –Ethan

NOPI: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully. - This glorious cookbook from the London restaurant, NOPI, is filled with mouthwatering images, unique combinations of flavors, and magnificent presentations. Be warned: these recipes are not for beginners. –Vicki

For Children & Teens Fiction
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. - This book incorporates two of my favorite hobbies: reading and working on puzzles. –Caroline

Illuminae:  Illuminae Files_01 by Amie Kauffman & Jay Kristoff. - A creative collection of emails, instant messages, and interstellar reports tell the engaging story of two teenagers fighting for survival in deep space of a second universe. –Susan

My Cousin Momo by Zachariah OHora. - The retro drawings and sweet details in this picture book illustrate a funny and sweet story about accepting people for who they are and trying things in new ways.  –Stephanie

Somewhere There is Still a Sun:  Memoir of the Holocaust by Michael Gruenbaum. - Gruenbaum's sensitively-written memoir gives the reader a real sense of what the Holocaust was like for those who lived it, and is a standout in the genre of Holocaust literature.  –Donna

The Baldwin Public Library is located in downtown Birmingham at 300 W. Merrill Street. The Library’s hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Library’s website has information on how to register for a Library Card and access all of the Library’s services.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Not this year for $10,000+ Citizen Satisfaction Survey. Sidewalk Safety Paths return as City's latest bone of contention.

The rare Monday City Commission Meeting was billed as a work session and called to determine the wording of questions for the  the proposed City wide survey promoted  through out  2015 primarily by City Manager Jay Cravens. At a prior City Commission meeting  Mr. Cravens wondered  aloud if the same set of questions asked in the 2012 survey, might, with minor modifications work again. At least  in terms of a matrix.

 Monday night he most salient question was however asked by Mayor Stuart Sherr who asked, "Do we really need a survey this year ?" A quick consultation  by the commissioner determined that the City did not. One  said the recent election was survey enough. Commissioner  Sarah McClure said in 2012 there were twenty nine points  City Commission wanted the residents opinion on.  In 2015 that number was a mere nineteen.

Eventually in the course of a what would become  a two hour meeting the City Commission  decided a Survey would be better served by waiting till  2017.

For those of you keeping score at home that was a win for  the current  City Commission and a decided departure from the Mr. Cravens and  five dwarfs commissions  of  the last three years.

The timing of the Survey could have been dispatched  and voted on in a fifteen minute meeting but on Monday night  something extraordinary, not seen in the City for five years happened. So extraordinary  it lacked a name and  the new arrivals we called Guest /Visitors until proper introductions  could be made.

Approximately ten to twelve city residents from the Stratford Condominiums   led by retired Commissioner Pat Hardy attended the meeting and wished to speak about  their perceived need of a Safety path on Woodward Avenue. In previous  administrations they would have be given the gate, an old expression which roughly translates as the Bum's Rush. Drop ins were not allowed to discuss Agenda items of the meeting they were attending.  Therefore they were out of order. 
Going back five Mayors, Zambricki (2011) would have listened but only up to a point. McClure (2012) would not have listened at all. Whatever  "be nice to residents pixie dust" floating around  the air duct  system at City Hall (It is built on a slab)  also effected her as well  as  she chatted  amicably with the resident Guests/Visitors, comparing point for point.

Hardy (2013) would have been quite supportive but nothing happened in 2013 because the issues  of the year was the Single waste hauler and the library millage renew. Residents in droves turned out to vote for or against  those two issues. Dull (2014) would also been supportive (for paths on Woodward only) but not sure what protocol was required  for loquacious  Guest/visitors.

Sherr (2015) plunged right in and for the fourth time since his inauguration on October  10th gave a masterful performance as Mayor. He took comments from all in the order they were standing and follow up questions in  the order of who raised their hand first. The likes of which have not been seen since the days of  Mayor McCready  (2010) when public comment  occasionally  took meetings near the midnight hour.

The most telling question of the commission  was asked by the only  man in the Strafford contingent who asked each commissioner for his or her stand on the subject . The vote  was 4 to 1 against with Dull supportive of (Woodward Avenue only).  

That is all the  Visitor Guests are asking for.  City wide plans for Safety Paths were rejected  in 2007 as being prohibitively  expensive.   It was only a study.  No vote was taken on the matter.To read the 30 page report titled Safety Plan Master Plan Click Here

 It was prepared by Hubbel Roth and Clark  Engineering consultants for both the City and The Township

The question posed was
The response was

Commissioners arguing lack of popularity of Safety Paths use the 2012 survey and the  2006 report and  the 2012 Survey to justify that opinion. Advocates for Safety Paths argue the  only the highest cost equations were  used for the 2012 Survey and that 2006  report consider only a City wide plan.

Mayor Sherr has promised that the unless the matter is resolved otherwise Safety Paths will  be on the 2017 Survey. Presumably in a mutually agreeable query. Until there are many points to consider.

New Titles Baldwin Library December 15th


Click to Connect with Baldwin  About Ashley Bell.
Also Available for  purchase at Amazon.
Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz -
Product Details At twenty-two, Bibi Blair’s doctors tell her that she’s dying. Two days later, she’s impossibly cured. Fierce, funny, dauntless, she becomes obsessed with the idea that she was spared because she is meant to save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell. This proves to be a dangerous idea. Searching for Ashley Bell, ricocheting through a southern California landscape that proves strange and malevolent in the extreme, Bibi is plunged into a world of crime and conspiracy, following a trail of mysteries that become more sinister and tangled with every twisting turn.

click to connect with Baldwin  About Secret Sisters
Also Available to Purchase at Wallmart


They knew his name, the man who tried to brutally attack twelve-year-old Madeline in her grandmother's hotel. They thought they knew his fate. He wouldn't be bothering them anymore...ever. Still their lives would never be the same. 

Madeline has returned to Washington after her grandmother's mysterious death. And at the old, abandoned hotel—a place she never wanted to see again—a dying man’s last words convey a warning: the secrets she and Daphne believed buried forever have been discovered.

Now, after almost two decades, Madeline and Daphne will be reunited in friendship and in fear. Unable to trust the local police, Madeline summons Jack Rayner, the hotel chain’s new security expert. Despite the secrets and mysteries that surround him, Jack is the only one she trusts...and wants. 


  • Ant-Man - Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, to plan and pull off a heist that will save the world in Marvel Studios' Ant-Man.

Also available for purchase at Target

Marvel's Ant-Man [Blu-ray]

Product Details

Trainwreck - Amy (Amy Schumer) enjoys a life free from stifling romantic commitment until she accidentally falls for the subject of a new article she's writing. From director Judd Apatow.

Train wreck  is also available for Purchase  from, Amazon.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Video of November 10TH 2015 City Commission Meeting

Click on Agenda  items to enlarge
Library Director  Doug Koschick  Presentation.

The Baldwin Public Library Board of Directors is seeking applicants..

Contact: Doug Koschik, Baldwin Public Library
Phone: 248-554-4681

Baldwin Public Library Board of Directors Seeks Applicants for Vacancy

BIRMINGHAM, MI (November 12, 2015) –The Baldwin Public Library Board of Directors is seeking applicants to fill a vacant position on the Board. The person selected for this position will be required to fulfill the final two years of a four-year term that ends in November 2017.
Applicants must be registered voters in the City of Birmingham. Instructions and an application form are available at The deadline for applications is November 25, 2015 and interviews will be held during a Special Meeting of the Library Board of Directors on Thursday, December 17 at 6:30 p.m.
The Baldwin Public Library is located in downtown Birmingham at 300 W. Merrill Street. The Library’s hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Library’s has information on how to register for a Library Card and access all of the Library’s services.


Rebekah Craft
Associate Director
Baldwin Public Library
300 W. Merrill St.
Birmingham, MI  48009

Tickets still remain for Tonight's Books and Bites Fund Raiser and are available at the door. Festivities begin at 6 pm for the $75.00 Strolling Dinner Event.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Incumbents Coakley,Dul, McClure, Sherr, and new comer McCarthy tops in City Election

November  3rd 2015 Vote Total By Name 
in Alphabetical Order

Votes by type cast
Stuart David Sherr
Sarah H. McClure
Mike Coakley
Susan McCarthy
Michael J. Dul
Henry Baskin
Mark Edward Kapel
Ronni Keating
Edith Carter

Vote  By Precinct

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sample Ballot For Tuesday November 3rd Election.

You have five votes to cast, That is you are  instructed to vote for no more than five. A ballot with no votes or more than five will be disqualified. Best advise? Vote for as many candidates  as you feel comfortable with  but no more than five. You are not obligated to vote for  more than one, A single vote for a single candidate is but one vote and doesn't help either the candidate or the City very much. It does however reduce the clout of your ballot  by 80%. If you run out of candidates you know or like you may vote for any number between one and  and five by filling the corresponding ovals.
 Remember  every oval you fill is but one vote.  There is no way you may cast more than a  single vote for any candidate you  vote for.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Livonia City Council works with Rizzo to get residents the right size container to meet needs. Why is this not possible in the City of Bloomfield Hills ?

In an article that appeared in the Livonia Observer, The  Vice president of the Livonia City Council tells how their community chose Rizzo…  

"After numerous hearings, with the public involved, it became clear that
people did not want to be forced to go to a 64 gallon container. The majority wanted to keep the 18-gallon containers but be able to have an option to use a 64-gallon or 48-gallon recycling container, which Rizzo Services agreed to collect. 

The Trash containers used in the City of Bloomfield Hills are 
96 gallons. In addition We have something Livonia does not and that is hills which can be challenging to an older population even in dry weather let alone winter.
City Manager Mr. Cravens say he designed the carts replete with the City seal which just appeared one day last March on City Streets. At the time no one question them or asked if there were alternatives. 

Our residents were given no say in the mechanics of the new system.

Rizzo is fast growing efficient company that seems to be cooperative with the community that it serves.

The problem is our City government which does not consult its Citizens before it acts, does not  asks for or fights for modifications when needed.

Monday, September 21, 2015

It is with extreme sorrow that Bloomfield Township notes the passing of former Supervisor Dave Payne on Friday, Sept. 11.

In Memoriam

Bloomfield Township 2 on Vimeo. 
Click Above

Click above

Funeral Arrangements
In addition to his wife, children and grandchildren, Payne is survived by a sister Bonnie (Monty) Newton and a brother, Don (Ann) Payne.

Visitation takes place from noon until 2 p.m. with services following immediately afterward. The church 
is located at 1825 E. Square Lake Road in Troy.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to one of the following:
Bloomfield Township Police Benevolent Fund or to the Firefighters Charities, 4200 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield, MI 48302 or Livingston Christian Schools, 8877 Main Street, Whitmore Lake, MI 48189.

To read the Obituary click here 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Trees for the Country Club. Understanding how our City Government plans.

To understand how the current Government of Bloomfield Hills works you need to be familiar with a program called Goals and Objectives.

       The Goals and Objective are decided about this time of the year by the five sitting Commissioners, the City Clerk, and The City Manager. The seven pick goals and objectives for the commission and the City to point to. They are then submitted in writing to Jay Cravens the City manager who then analyzes the suggestions , discards some a  assigns the remainder to Commissioners.  Sometimes City staff assigns goals to themselves.

        Two years ago Mr. Cravens assigned himself to the city’s be sole determiner of the seemingly very successful, inaugural celebrate Bloomfield Hills Day.  It was a day that offered open house at such City attractions as Cranbrook museums, Historic City Churches and the Village Club.   While no such event is perfect in its first year (many visitors said there was not enough time to do everything)  Cravens found it wanting and to avoid “attendance fatigue “canceled it indefinitely.

         Three months later City Clerk in analyzing the City’s waste hauling, per Goals and Objectives, re-wrote all the City’s waste hauling ordinances based on what she had learned  by studying other  the program of other communities.

          Since it was started in 2012 under then Mayor McClure there has no residents input in Goals and Objectives and none has been allowed. At the first meeting when the program started former Mayor Zambricki and current Mayor Dul suggested “bringing the residents in to the process of identifying  Goals and Objectives.

         Such suggestions were ignored and apparently the commissioners were dissuaded from making such populous comments in future years.

         Ironically it is the City Commission that  is often on the outside  looking  in.  
.     The Commission had little say  in the waste hauler issue.

       City employees City Clerk Amy Burton wrote the ordinances, City Manager Jay Craves wrote the 40 page document of waste hauler duties and  the guidelines for hiring a single waste hauler. When it came time for the latter, Cravens excluded the commission from the selection process and instead  appointed a committee consisting of two “super citizens”  When commissioners objected Cravens allowed a single commissioner (Commissioner Sherr) to serve as a non-speaking, non-voting observer. 

  Because it  operates outside the normal bounds of traditional  open government mandated by the state of Michigan there is no legal basis for  Goals and Objectives as practiced by our City Commission and City employed. 


 Including the residents would  help the programs legitimacy but it would not provide the checks and balances necessary for good Government,. 
        When it started in 2011City Beautification became the poster child for future Goals and Objectives. Money was raised by soliciting donations which paid for tree planting and Woodward avenue islands.  The initial program was wildly successful and tax payer dollars were not spent 
       Four years later, as indicated by the memo below Beautification as an objective continue but the emphasis has changed . The memo  City Manager Cravens sent to the Commission dated September 4th 2015 request a cushion over  $5000, to be applied to three projects.
1)     Tree planting on the islands at the  Long Lake intersections of Pembroke and  Country Club to improve drainage. How much of the cushion is to cover this inherent city expense is not provided.
2)      Planters and plant to “beautify” the West Long Lake Merchants store fronts. How much of the cushion will go this to “goal” was not stated.  The Long Lake merchants beautification goal has been on the books for years and there is a little bit of irony here. Three ago  years Mr. Cravens tossed the crown jewels of the City (Cranbrook, Village Club, Christ Church  Cranbrook, and the Chapel at St. Hugo’s) to persuade  store front merchants to  beautify.
That fell on deaf ears until the City started providing incentives like drawings and plants. One wonders if  what would have happened if  he retained  Celebrate Bloomfield  and through clever marketing provided the  Merchants with what they really wanted  which is more customers.
3)      The last item is also not itemized in terms of much of the cushion expense it requires but it will have the City planting   trees along  Long Lake beside the Country Club.  Why exactly  is not stated. On its own the Country Club is very well landscaped. Maybe they want to shield it’s golfing members from traffic noise. If so that is something the club should take care on its own.
     One could say that $5000 is peanuts to a City with a 9 million dollar budget but it is still tax payer money unless donors with money to burn emerge. It has already been said that the City may find the money from other funds and sources and   not need the $5000 plus cushion at all but with exception of the Islands at  Pembroke and Country Club the emphasis  is on befitting third parties as opposed to residents.