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What motivates FridayMusings:

We can't only define Livonia as taking small steps toward maintaining the way things were. That will give us mediocre outcomes. Our goal needs to be innovative and transformative.

FridayMusings Wednesday, December 14, 2022    Helping define Livonia Quality of Life

Community needs continue to be discussed as we come out of Covid. Let's add community arts to the conversation.

The following article was posted by our friends at Vote. Run. Serve. Livonia. As it follows closely on the editorial run in Musings on Friday, and at least once a year for the past 15 years, regarding the need for an accessible, by all community groups, performing arts center. The typewriter wanted to share the thinking of others on this subject.

Livonia has over 20 community art organizations. Ten years ago arts groups met to create a movement in support of a performing arts venue. Without the support of community leaders, which in the past has resulted in the co-opting of art groups to move off any discussion of a performing arts center, the road is a long one. But with the support of community residents it can be done:

The Livonia Community Theatre is hosting 2 additional performances of The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus in Livonia this week. You can enjoy the FREE performance (recommended for children 8 and up) at the Senior Center at 7 pm on Thursday (12/15) and Saturday (12/17) at 2 pm.

You’ll notice that the Livonia Community Theatre is performing at multiple locations. Like many local art organizations, the LCT performs at various venues throughout the year because Livonia does not have a dedicated performing arts space. While the group has been able to use space at St Paul's Presbyterian Church for several years, there are limitations to using space that is not dedicated for its use and, due to scheduling and staffing limitations, neither the Livonia Public Library nor the Livonia Public Schools’ auditoriums can accommodate the needs of these groups.

For that reason, multiple local art organizations are banding together to advocate for the creation of a Performing Arts Center In Livonia. Although in its early planning stages, suggested locations for this space include the currently vacant Eastside Mario’s, an extension to the proposed Senior Center design at the Livonia Parks and Recreation or inclusion in the plans for a new City Hall building.

Michelle Nixon is an active member of the Livonia Community Theatre and shared her passion for this issue: "The performing arts are something that connects everyone. I love the feeling of being lost in a show along with an audience full of strangers - I can’t help but be aware of the fact that we are enjoying the same show, but will take away something different based on our individual life experiences. At the end of the performance, the audience walks out together and goes back to their “real life”, but now we share this new commonality."

From Livonia across Michigan.

Awrey's since 1910.

Flashback: 1960s.

Alfred Noble Library

Meet the architect, Gunnar Birkerts

Alfred Noble Library was designed by Gunnar Birkerts and constructed in the late 1960s on the Southside of Livonia.

Birkerts was born and raised in Latvia, but escaped ahead of the advancing Soviet army toward the end of the Second World War. He graduated from the Technische Hochschule, Stuttgart, Germany, in 1949.

Birkerts immigrated to the United States that year, 1949. He moved to the Detroit area in the early 1950s, where he was chief designer for Minoru Yamasaki before opening his own office.

Birkerts also maintained an architectural office in Wellesley, Massachusetts

Birkerts joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 1959 and taught until 1990.

Birkerts designed a number of notable buildings other than the Livonia Noble Library in the United States, including the Federal Reserve Bank in MinneapolisCorning Glass Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the University of Iowa College of Law, the Duluth Public Library in Duluth, Minnesota, and the U.S. Embassy in CaracasVenezuela.

In 1989 Birkerts was commissioned to design the new building for the National Library of Latvia in Riga, Latvia.

The Holiday Spirit rang out at Livonia Civic Chorus Concert

The typewriter agrees with Geri Leiter in describing the Livonia Civic Chorus Holiday Concert, "Beautiful venue for this concert. Nice job everyone! Really liked the Men's 'Little Drummer Boy'  number combining the standard version with the David Bowie addition."

The typewriter agrees that the venue with stained glass windows, Christmas trees and wreaths, and happy patrons was the perfect setting for 14 holiday songs that certainly celebrated the season.

Joy to the World was a perfect ending from a chorus that likes to sing and provides entertainment in a professional, fun-loving manner. In large part, the success of this nearly 40-member chorus comes from the music team of Jeff Swan, Kimberly Swan and Lori Porter.

With songs like You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, and Jazzy Jingle Bells it is no wonder that the audience was on its feet at the end of the concert.

See you in the Spring. Oh, and thanks to the community partners for supporting the Chorus: Parks and Recreation, AlphaUSA, F&PA, Livonia Community Foundation, Rotary AM and Hardies Family Trust.

Seedlings Spotlight!

Livonia's support brings lotsa smiles and happiness.

Joyce (pictured) is one of the Seedlings readers! Read this nice note from her:

“My name is Joyce and I am eight years old and a rising third grader. I am totally blind, except for slight light perception in my left eye. Seedlings’ books are the best!

"Although I have learned to use a refreshable braille display to read materials on a computer, and I also have access to a lot of audio books, reading books in printed braille is what I like to do best. That way, I can carry my book around with me and easily go back to read certain parts again or flip ahead to take a peek at what might happen next.

"Sometimes I read my books over and over. I think I have read my Junie B. Jones books at least ten times. My mom home-schools my three siblings and me, and Seedlings’ books have helped us build a great braille library in my room."

Santa Claus is coming to town

You asked for more of VOCES8 so here is one of my favorite Christmas songs with VOCES8 swinging into the Christmas spirit with 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' arranged for the group by Jim Clements. Sit back and enjoy 2 minutes of a classic Christmas song.

Deck City Hall with Boughs of Holly. Getting ready with a holiday party. Smiles galore.

The Livonia City Hall Holiday Party with City Commissioners, elected officials, city retirees, and city employees with smiles galore, taking pictures with Santa Claus, enjoying turkey and ham sandwiches, lots of cookies, handshakes, and hugs.

Dedicated folks serving our city of 94,000 coming together to celebrate the holiday. Really good to see so many people taking a deep breath, enjoying each others company and realizing what a wonderful hometown we have with awesome public servants.

A holiday concert tonight for Livonia with the CAPA

Vocal performers

Mail Address

19514 Bainbridge 48152

E-mail address
Cell address

Motor City Youth Theatre presents 'In Search of a Christmas Carol'

This holiday season the Motor City Youth Theatre presents a new, original story based on Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. "In Search of a Christmas Carol," Motor City Youth Theatre Co-Founder and Artistic Director Nancy Florkowski's take on the classic Christmas story, follows four modern-day kids who visit a museum and discover the original Charles Dickens manuscript of "A Christmas Carol" and magically enter the world within Dickens’ story.

One Detroit Arts & Culture producer Sarah Smith sat down with Florkowski and several actors involved with "In Search of a Christmas Carol" to talk about youth theater's mission to produce theatrical performances while also giving youth a place to improve their speaking, reading, dance, music and life skills, as well as their self-expression and confidence. "In Search of a Christmas Carol" runs through Dec. 18 at the Motor City Youth Theatre in Livonia, Michigan.

Tonight Clarenceville hosts mental health

family night

"Dear Clarenceville Community, the mental health family night encourages families and the community to join us IN PERSON to view the zoom link together at 8 pm. If you can't join us in person, you will be provided a link when you register.

The Clarenceville School District strives to engage with our families & community and we understand the importance of families being in our buildings. Pizza and pop will be provided.

Please register online so we have a count for food. We look forward to learning together.

Venessa Zverotic,

District Wellness Coordinator.

Perfect stocking stuffers

available now

Here's how we fix Michigan's

broken mental health system

Tom Watkins has served the citizens of Michigan as state mental health director as well as president and CEO of the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network. He dropped a dime on Musings and offered up his opinion on fixing the Michigan Mental Health Crisis:

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature must pull together to enhance and improve public mental health access and integration of care in the new year.

This is not a side issue that impacts “those people.” Mental health and substance use disorders impact every ZIP code and one in four people across this great nation of ours. Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. surgeon general, says the mental health crisis is the biggest health concern facing the country because it impacts so many people and different facets of life.

Much of the debate in Lansing under the guise of “reform” has centered around privatizing care, shifting the governance from locally controlled community mental health care to for-profit insurance companies. Luckily, this legislative effort led by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey has been voted down.

Another battle has been won. The war over profit and greed versus care, service and compassion will surely continue with the proposed shifting of $3 billion of our tax dollars at stake annually.

Thank county sheriff and board of commissioner associations, police officer associations, local hospitals, the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan, National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), Michigan Mental Health Association and other advocacy organizations for opposing this false-promise legislation that would place profits before people.

These bills were never about solutions to the real issues facing a system of care that does need additional support and sensible consumer-focused reforms. We must do better by serving — not profiting — from persons with behavioral health needs.

Here's how we continue the pursuit of an integrated health care system that maximizes public resources, is consumer and community-focused and is data-driven and evidence-based:

➢ Eliminate the separation of physical health care services from behavioral health care. Integrate care at the consumer level where no person is turned away. Treat the whole person; the mind is connected to the body.

➢ Shut down services that continually abuse taxpayers' resources while enriching themselves at the expense of those most vulnerable.

➢ Create crisis intervention teams for law enforcement throughout the state. Such partnerships between law enforcement and behavioral health care providers considerably improve care while reducing police officer injuries and costs when responding to mental health crisis calls. Sadly, our jails and prisons have become 21st-century psychiatric hospitals.

➢ Significantly step up audits on Medicare/Medicaid providers to identify and prevent fraud and abuse.

➢ Pay livable wages to direct-care staff. Stop the rhetoric about "supporting 'essential’ workers" while paying invaluable staffers a pittance, often with no benefits.

➢ Fund advocacy organizations adequately to enable them to hold the system accountable. Without their watchdog eyes and ears the system will slip off track with devastating consequences to people's lives.

➢ End the stigma of mental illness. Channel funds toward researching the causes of serious mental illness and developing responses to these disorders.

➢ Utilize digital technologies and artificial intelligence which have the potential to profoundly impact behavioral health services. We need to use predictive analytics to design programs that help people engage with behavioral health services — smart analytics could help educate people about behavioral health services.

➢ Continue insurance reimbursement for virtual mental health services after the COVID-19 crisis subsides. It works.

➢ Address shortages of certain specialty providers, including psychiatrists as well as eating disorder and autism specialists.

➢ Fund local community mental health agencies to work with schools to address psychosocial issues students face that were exacerbated by the pandemic.

➢ Create partnerships between behavioral health services and employers to boost awareness, acceptance, prevention and recovery within the workplace.

➢ Move nonviolent persons with serious mental health issues currently in our prison system to appropriate behavioral health programs.

➢ Hold hospitals accountable for serving people with serious mental illness. Michigan needs to get serious about using all the tools at its disposal, including certificates of need, licensing and tax policy forcing hospitals to accept public money to serve patients. Finding a psychiatric bed for someone with serious mental illness can often feel like their name is Mary or Joseph and it is Dec. 24 in Bethlehem. It is unconscionable that people with mental illness in need of hospital settings are denied service.

Decisions that benefit consumers and taxpayers instead of the "system" will lead us to a path that adds value and makes a difference. Without a shift in emphasis from profit to quality care, future policymakers will be confronted with an unfathomable mess to clean up.

Let's work together to enhance care, support and opportunities for strangers, friends and family members with an illness or disability.

A friend with cerebral palsy once called me a TAB: temporarily able-bodied. He explained that we are all one life-changing event away from needing some level of assistance. There but for the grace of God, go I.

Let’s act as if improving the behavioral health service in Michigan will help someone you love — because it will.