Monday, September 19, 2011

Our communities and businesses are ripe for exploration

Check out the 2011 Videos

One of the best things about my job is I get to make new acquaintances nearly every day. The greater Birmingham-Bloomfield community is a dynamic place filled with interesting people and places. And even though I have prowled these towns for more than 20 years, I continue to make new discoveries all the time.

A favorite part of my job is co-hosting Chamber Chat, our monthly show we produce with the great folks at Bloomfield Community Television. Each month, we interview the owner or leader of two of our member businesses, and share their success stories. Taping these segments has given me the opportunity to really get to know the men and women behind our local businesses, as well as rekindle some of my journalistic skills.

We are quickly wrapping up our first full year of production, and I am very grateful for the time and effort my co-host, Kimberly Wyman of ADOPT MORE, our producer Rance Bradley of NetFilms LLC, and Steve Rota and the crew at Bloomfield Community Television have invested to make the show such a success.
We’ve had a lot of fun doing the show, and all of our guests have been outstanding.

We have run the gamut of businesses we have spotlighted, from downtown Birmingham stalwarts Astrein’s Creative Jewelers, Tiffany Florist and OPTIK Birmingham, to exercise emporium Real Ryder Revolution, real estate foreclosure specialists Orlans Associates and local architect Victor Saroki. All of the programs can be accessed through the Chamber Web site at, as well as Bloomfield Community Television’s archive portion of its Web site.

I am looking forward to taping new shows in 2012 and introducing more dynamic businesses to the greater community. And if you are a Chamber member businesses interested in doing a show, feel free to drop me a line. We are ready to tell your story.

Joe Bauman is president of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. He welcomes feedback at

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School chiefs speak on the state of schools

What to expect in the coming school year was just one of the topics covered by school Superintendents David Larson of Birmingham and Robert Glass of Bloomfield Hills Wednesday at the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber's Breakfast, Books and Buildings event at the Birmingham Conference Center.

The event helped the schools connect with community leaders and present the latest developments from the Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills school districts.

“We are all energized and enthusiastic as the new school year begins,” said Larson.

Larson and Glass both stressed the goals of providing world-class education for their students.

Glass referred to the Strategic Plan for the district which has these objectives: Provide every student with a world-class educational experience; sustain trust through community partnership; sustain financial success; and provide and maintain facilities.

“We need to bring our community along on the high school decision process and reach a decision soon,” he said.

“We have a fine, competent school board. They are altruistic people of great integrity. They are caring, intelligent and have the best interest of the community at heart,” said Glass.

In his presentation, Larson referred to the Birmingham strategic plan and cited the fiscal stewardship which has been shown through privatization, restructuring, downsizing, energy management and cost containment.

Glass also mentioned the necessity for wise financial planning and actions which have enabled the Bloomfield Hills district to maintain a AAA rating.

“I am proud to be a part of both school districts,” said Carol Mastroianni, executive director of the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition. “Both provide fine education. Both are proactive and operate with transparency, and both seek community input.”

The 80 persons attended the event including chamber members, community officials, school board members and residents. Joe Bauman, president of the chamber, said, “We are grateful to the superintendents for giving their time. There is a great interest in the schools.”

The event was moderated by Greg Kowalski, editor of the Birmingham Eccentric.

The Birmingham Bloomfield Credit Union and Axis Music Academy helped sponsor the event. Linda Hatfield, vice president of marketing for the credit union, said, “We proudly support the school systems. It is important that the community is aware of the challenges schools are facing and how they are overcoming them. They are still prominent, fine school systems.”

Ingrid Day, president of the Bloomfield Hills school board, said, “This was an opportunity to bring groups together. It is the best way to demonstrate that we are all working together for the good of the students.”

Diane K. Bert is a free-lance writer and former educator. She lives in Bloomfield Township.