Monday, January 19, 2015

Feeding the Hungry

Did you know that about 842 million people in the world do not eat enough to be healthy? That means that one in every eight people on Earth goes to bed hungry each night (World Food Programme).

To help with this, today some volunteers from the Birmingham Rotary Club went to the Gleaners Community Food Bank Pontiac location and packed boxes of food for local people in need. 

Gleaners Community Food Bank, with broad community support, fights hunger in southeastern Michigan. In collaboration with our member agencies, the Feeding America network, and our program partners, we provide millions of pounds of donated and purchased food to people in need. In so doing, Gleaners is committed to distributing nutritional, high quality food. Through education and advocacy, we will reduce reliance on the emergency food system. Gleaners adopts best practices and cost effective systems and procedures to achieve the highest possible return on its human and financial resources. Gleaners fulfills its role with a sense of compassion and urgency while nourishing, sustaining and advancing hope in our community (Gleaners Community Food Bank).

Monday, January 5, 2015

What’s it worth? Appraiser Darlene Hines knows

Darlene Hines, Board Member
Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber
Like to watch Antiques Road Show on TV?
Darlene Hines lives it.
The Bloomfield Township businesswoman operates Nostalgia Antique Appraisal Services out of an office at Square Lake Road and Woodward.
But she spends a lot of time appraising collections of furniture, vintage clothing, jewelry, paintings, porcelain, china, African-American art and whatever. “My specialty is antiques and residential contents,” she said.
“Clients call our office for appraisals for insurance, divorces, estates, charitable donations and for value confirmation. I get calls from residents, corporations, attorneys and regular clients.”
What they get is a detailed evaluation of their items that is not quite like what you see on the Antiques Roadshow, although Hines has no quarrel with the show, and even has served as an off-camera appraiser for it.
But for an official appraisal, one that can stand the scrutiny of the courts or – shudder – the IRS, a thorough evaluation is needed. That can result in a 70-page report.
“Every appraisal is like a research paper,” she said. “It’s time consuming.”
And it’s not a job for amateurs. Hines is a certified appraiser with the International Society of Appraisers and served two terms on the ISA board of directors. She is past president and vice president of the Great Lakes Chapter of the ISA.
Along with the Antiques Roadshow she has appeared on the PAX TV show What’s It Worth and published an article in the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies, in the ISA newsletter and on its blog and was a guest speaker at the National Auctioneers Conference in Grand Rapids.
She didn’t start out as an appraiser. She and her husband opened an antique store in Brighton in 1995. That led her to become involved with the ISA and gain certification as a professional appraiser.
Gradually, she spent less time at the store and more doing appraisals. “My business grew out of that,” she said.
Professional appraising is a highly specialized field requiring a rigorous training to get certification and continuing education afterward. ISA also has strict ethical standards appraisers must adhere to.
Appraisers must have a thorough understanding of the item and know who to turn to for assistance with items that are not in their specialty. “We piggyback on each others’ skills,” she said.
There are fewer than 200 certified appraisers in ISA in the country, she said. Appraisers produce evaluations that can stand up in court or be accepted by the IRS for charitable tax deductions or used for insurance claims to recover losses.
“I do appraisals all over the country,” Hines said. But the Birmingham-Bloomfield area is particularly fruitful and Hines has worked for many local residents and businesses. She also serves on the board of directors of the Birmingham-Bloomfield Chamber.
Her most memorable object was also the most emotion stirring one. “A church burned down – except for a crucifix,” she said. “That was the only thing to survive. They called me in. That was touching.”
She can be reached at (248) 454-1062 or (248) 431-4552. Go to
Hometown Life -Greg Kowalski, correspondent12:05 a.m. EST January 4, 2015

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Fisher Agency Relocation!

Read journalist Kathy Blake's write up of The Fisher Agency's relocation! Click Here to read the entire article.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Miracle Drug

     The beginning of my education about health happened in my early 20’s in a health club talking to a trainer about the best way to keep weight off.  The trainer said, “The miracle drug, water.”  She said, if you drink half of your weight in ounces of water and eat a healthy diet, the weight will just fall off. Then when I was studying to become a yoga teacher one of the authors I read talked about drinking a quart of water in the morning when you first get up,  I tried that and it changed my life.  I had more energy, better bowel movements and felt much more balanced and relaxed over time.

     Water is truly a miracle drug.  I am not suggesting you start my regime but I cannot stress enough the importance of drinking filtered water.

     Did you know that your brain requires half of all the water you drink to function properly? When you experience that drowsy feeling after lunch, that means your body is dehydrated and needs water.  When you are thirsty your body is already dehydrated. 

     Over half of our body is water. Our muscles are 75% water.  Our fat is 50% water and our bones are 52% water.  There are too many benefits of drinking water to mention here, but in my opinion, the very best one is curbing stress.  When you are dehydrated your cortisol level goes up.   The stress hormone increases.   The stress hormone causes a loss of additional fluid because it pushes up the heart rate and causes us to breathe heavier.  We also tend not to drink or eat well.

So here’s to you drink up!

Lois A Jennings, HC, E-RYT200

If you are interested in a free health consultation, please call me at 248-568-4228 or toll free 1-877-332-0020

Thrive Assisted Living Opens in Bloomfield Township

Thrive Assisted Living is a six bed group home providing services to people with Alzheimer’ disease or dementia.  Their essence memory care program offers structured activities throughout each day.  The program creates opportunities for purpose, meaning and joy.   The administrator and co-owner, Carolyn Merucci-Anderson is a registered nurse and a certified dementia practitioner with over 30 years of experience in caring for elders.

Thrive Assisted Living is a beautifully decorated brick house in a residential neighbor in Bloomfield Township.   They maintain excellent landscaping and keep the appearance inside the house as homey as possible. 

Carolyn is quoted as saying, “It is my honor to be able to provide care for the residents at Thrive.   The smiles, laughter and hugs received each day lets us know we have created a home where our residents are happy and thriving.”   For more information, please visit

Thrive Assisted Living is a member of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber, a member organization dedicated to promoting the economic development, strengthening the business climate and maintaining the quality of life in the Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township and Franklin Michigan.   For more information, please visit


Photo Credit:  Doug Ashley, Photography by Ashley

Pictured from left:   Linda Hatfield, Birmingham Bloomfield Credit Union; Linda Lawther, President of the Michigan Center for Assisted Living; Pier Dewberry, Lead Care Partner at Thrive; Carolyn Merucci-Anderson, co-owner; Janet Sheikh, co-owner; Kelly Lewis, Alpha Lifestyle Center of Birmingham.


Contact information:

Bonnie Miles  (248) 430-7686

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Credit Union Creates Delightful Donations

Vibe Credit Union of Birmingham gave back in a big way at the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber Community Leadership Breakfast. The event, which took place in October 2014 at The Village Club, hosted numerous nonprofit organizations in the Birmingham area. Vibe Credit Union created more than 20 elegant table centerpieces for the event out of well known and loved children’s books. These same books were then donated to Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak. 

Ladies from Beaumont staff took a moment to add books to their collection, joined by Linda Daly, Community Relations & Business Development Officer at Vibe Credit Union and Andrea Kaczmarek, Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber.

Monday, November 24, 2014

2014 Ambassador of the Year!

Give a warm round of applause to our 2014 Ambassador of the Year- Pam Sarkisian! Ms. Sarkisian heads Sales and Business Development at Evolution IT Services. We took some time to interview Ms. Sarkisian- read below to see how it went!

1. Interviewer (I): When did your business open?
    Sarkisian (S): 1998

2. I: Tell us about your business, including the type of products or services you offer? S:  We are a Leader in IT Consulting, Cloud Services and Tech Solutions for businesses with 10 to 75 computer users. We use our understanding of technology to help our clients deliver greater value to their customers. The products and Services we offer include (but are not limited to): Tech Support and IT Management, Remote Access and Mobility, Cloud Services, Virus/Malware Protection, Consulting and Advise, Back-up and Contingency Planning, Hardware (Computers, Servers, etc.), Email Solutions.

3. I: What makes your business unique?
   SWe use our understanding of technology to help our clients deliver greater value to their customers. We are trustworthy tech partners that are understandable.

4. I: How has the business changed since you opened?
    STechnology is always changing and we have had to change and evolve with technology;              allowing our customers to maximize their growth and use us as a resource.  

5. I: Would you care to share a memorable story about a Chamber event or experience? SBeing an Ambassador for the Chamber has allowed me to meet many new members and help them with introductions and see the many benefits the Chamber has to offer, helping them make Take Action with the Chamber.  It is rewarding to be of service.

Congratulations Ms. Sarkisian and thank you for being such an integral and involved Chamber member!