Monday, August 22, 2011

Another new school year brings promise, life changes

It is hard to believe a new school year is right around the corner. It seems like only yesterday we all were bemoaning a cold and wet spring, wondering when summer finally would arrive.

The greater Birmingham-Bloomfield area is blessed with outstanding schools, both public and private. Ask any Realtor what makes this area so attractive to prospective buyers and the quality of its schools surely will be at or near the top of the list.

But these are challenging times in Michigan, and our public schools are caught smack in the middle of the state’s continuing fiscal crisis. Budgets are tighter than ever, and tough decisions have to be made on a regular basis by those entrusted with educating our next generation of leaders.

In Bloomfield Hills, the community remains embroiled in controversy over how best to serve its declining high school population. In Birmingham, school leaders are struggling to maintain the excellent and diverse educational opportunities that have historically been offered to it students. The district continues to lose staff positions through attrition and maintaining a healthy class size is a top priority.

To help sort through the myriad issues facing our public schools, the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber is hosting our second-annual “Breakfast, Books and Buildings” program on Wednesday, Aug. 31 at the Birmingham Conference Center. The breakfast meeting, scheduled from 8-9:30 a.m., will feature state-of-the-school reports from Birmingham Public Schools Supt. Dr. David Larson, and Robert Glass, superintendent of Bloomfield Hills Public Schools. Following their reports, both leaders will engage the audience in a question and answer session moderated by Birmingham Eccentric Editor Greg Kowalski.

Sponsors include: Birmingham Bloomfield Credit Union and Axis Music Academy

To learn more about the program and register, visit the Chamber’s Web site at

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Birmingham Montage captures the spirit of our community

One thing that has always impressed me about the greater Birmingham-Bloomfield community in the 20-some years I have worked here is the fierce loyalty residents have toward their hometown. “Community Pride” is not a simple catchphrase here; rather it is on proud display throughout the communities.

Want proof? When Birmingham city leaders decided to adopt an official color to help brand the community, they were unable to identify an existing color good enough to represent their hometown, so they created their own, which now is known as “Birmingham Green.”

It is because of this display of civic pride that the Birmingham Chamber decided to join forces with four outstanding community resources – The Community House, Baldwin Public Library, the Birmingham Historical Society and the Principal Shopping District – to commission a piece of artwork showcasing the many special attributes of these communities. The Birmingham Montage highlights many of the longstanding businesses that serve the area, as well as highlights local landmarks and pays homage to historical figures and local celebrities.

We are proud of the Montage, and have partnered with Chamber member Art & Frame Station in Birmingham to make prints of the work available for sale along with special discounts for those who wish to have the prints matted and framed when they purchase the print. Store owner Jill Haury is a big-time supporter of the community, and is looking forward to helping residents proudly display their latest display of community pride.

Feel free to stop by the Art & Frame Station next to Peabody’s Restaurant to check out the Montage, or visit us at the Chamber offices the next time you are near Adams Square to sneak a peek. We think you will like it.

By: Joe Bauman, President, Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber