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FridayMusings since 2003

Monday, January 29, 2024  Helping define Livonia's Quality of Life

20 years publishing FridayMusings without bias but not without opinion

Livonia All-Stars versus Red Wings Alumni Charity Hockey again raises over $10,000 for Livonia Kids & Families as a sell-out crowd celebrated Livonia as Hockeytown.

Your Livonia Firefighters attended the charity hockey game, an event created by Livonia City Council President Brandon McCullough to raise money for charitable organizations in Livonia. Local 1164 was proud to donate to Livonia Kids and Families for this fun event.

Red Berenson and Ryan McCullough joined Dan MacIver, F&PA, Chuck Dardas, AlphaUSA, and Veronica Cruz, Livonia Kids and Families for the ceremonial puck drop to start the game off in an appropriate fashion.

Livonia brings it all together. Perfecting the culture of giving, the art of hockey and fans who appreciate it all.

Hockey has been described as a sport that combines physical prowess, mental agility, and strategic thinking.

As I watched the Livonia All Stars take on the Red Wings Alumni, I was mesmerized at the grace of the skater's movements on the ice, described by better observers than me, as being like a dance.

To compare the speed and intensity of the game to a thrilling action movie makes me smile every time I see my hockey heroes lace them up. The passionate fans, like the over 700 who attended Year Three of the Red Wings in Livonia, who cheer on their favorite teams showcase to me that hockey is a work of art in motion!

Sunday brought young and old alike to the Eddie Edgar Arena, raising the roof with cheers of excitement, for the Red Wing alumni, for the 10 and under girls hockey team playing during intermission, smiling with happy thank you's as they collected autographs after the game.

What a partnership. Tickets sold out and collected by the Rotary AM and Noon Clubs, the volunteers with Livonia Kids and Families collecting hundreds of cans of soup for their food pantry. And smiling fans.

When there is a need Livonia knows how to work together to impact the lives of those calling this town our home.

Livonia Kids and Families began as a grassroots effort to provide students and their families with the essential daily necessities to learn, grow, and thrive.

They began their work with local teachers who noticed that access to food and healthy living items directly impacted their student’s ability to achieve academically and socially. Once these essential items were identified, they began raising funds and purchasing the necessary goods to provide for families in need. The difference was profound.

Their program now stretches beyond the school year to all twelve months, continuing to supply those in need even when class is not in session.

The Mission is to serve our community by supplying students and their families with supplemental food, clothing, and family resources. 

In conjunction with providing basic life necessities, they provide career education and skills to a variety of students through STEAM-based learning opportunities and job readiness programs staffed by Moderately Cognitively Impaired high school students at local food pantries.

14 Rotarians, representing the Noon and AM Clubs helped

make the day run smoothly. Volunteerism at its best.

The score was as expected with the Red Wing Alumni coming out on top 11-4. But it was not the score that counted for this typewriter. It was seeing Red Berenson at the age of 84 scoring two goals and watching him effortlessly skating down the ice with 76-year-old Micky Redmond.

It was watching Dave Coulier, an actor and stand-up comedian, who enjoys playing in charity hockey games with the Red Wing Alumni. He was a member of the Notre Dame High School in Harper Woods, where he was a varsity hockey team member. 

There were 7 Red Wing Alumni skaters on the ice today who have raised the Stanley Cup including Phil Myre, Drew Miller, Joey Kocur, Larry Murphy, Mickey Redmond, Red Berenson.

It was watching Sandy Goga, pictured here, the All-Stars Coach shifting 26 skaters in and out of the game. Seeing Devin Jennison skating while his dad Fire Chief Robert Jennison watched on with pride. Seeing the excitement when Ryan McCullough, Joe Neville, and Mike Authier scored goals against the Wings.

Add to the All Stars and Red Wings you had the 10U Girls and 10U Coed Knights playing at intermission. Full skate. Full ice. 700 fans watching and smiling. Red Wings understanding that games like this in addition to raising money for charity opens up the sport to a whole new group of young skaters.

And County Commissioner Terry Marecki was smiling more as she left the game having won the Red Wings Gift Basket in the intermission drawing.

Thanks go out to the 700 plus fans who helped make Year Three the best yet, a dream of Brandon McCullough. A dream to showcase the fun and excitement of bringing people together in a sense of community.

As Chuck Dardas wrote me after the game saying "We all need us. . .all of us. Don't think singularly, think of us, we, our community. Be kind, be generous, and think of unity. All of us have a beginning, we all get dressed, and go to work. Maybe look to each other, our fellow members of the human race, all of us."

Community. Brandon and Chuck talk about it a lot. Today we saw the concept again working in Livonia.

Every year this typewriter is increasingly amazed at the intellectual fervor that enhances creativity, bringing people together. Add the touch of emotion and we have the perfect formula for a town that is not getting old and stagnating but rather is progressing and building a new future for the next generation.

Partnerships in Livonia make projects like this hockey game possible

The partnerships making this charity game possible included so many, ranging from Eric Ladwig owner of the UPS Store at Five and Newburgh, Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick Civil Engineers and Architects, Marco's Pizza who provided the refreshments for the after party at Eddie Edgar, Pro Sports Zone at Laurel Park Mall, Tiseo Architects, Bill Brown Ford, Dan MacIver of Financial & Portfolio Advisors, Chuck Dardas of AlphaUSA, and media sponsor FridayMusings.

Some of the pictures showcased here were compliments of lindsay k photography. More of her photographic art will be shared on Wednesday.

Add to that the support of the Rotary Noon and Rotary

AM Club and you have a clear understanding that successful projects are the result of partnerships.

All of Livonia owes a thank you to the organizer and major sponsor, Kacie, Harps and Brandon McCullough.

Mayor Brosnan partners with Livonia Youth Commission and Livonia Save Our Youth Coalition to host

Livonia Youth Summit

Schoolcraft College, Clarenceville and Livonia Public Schools, Hegira Health and

Growth Works join to sponsor Summit

The Livonia Youth Commission and Livonia Save Our Youth Coalition is hosting a 2024 Livonia Youth Summit on February 21st, at Schoolcraft College’s Vistatech Center.

The purpose of this event is for Livonia High School students to meet with local leaders and engage in dialogue regarding issues that concern students, giving young people a voice in the community. Adult leaders will have a unique opportunity to discuss the insights and views of teens, and together they will strategize solutions for maintaining a healthy community. 

The goals are to: 

• Facilitate dialogue with teens and adults 

• Empower teens to share their viewpoints about what is happening in their lives and community

• Give students a sense of community ownership


• Create an opportunity for adult leadership to hear the input and insights of teens

• Provide an opportunity for students and adults to strategize real solutions in response to issues that concern teens, and share those solutions with stakeholders who can implement change.

The excitment of the day leaves memories for all who participated

Steve King was in the house to lead the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to Kacie McCullough.

The Red Wings Alumni were so willing to spend time signing autographs and the children were so excited to be a part of the autograph seekers.

Sandy Goga, Coach of the All-Stars, says she enjoyed her time behind the bench and later chatting up some of the Red Wings like Dave Coulier from Full House fame. "He is funny and so very personable."

Red Wings fan from birth: first baby born at Trinity Health in 2024 helps launch new “Wings Welcome” program, presented by Michigan Education Savings Program

With a new year comes many new things, but for Donte Byrd and Areona Evans, the start of 2024 brought a new baby and participation in a unique new program launched by the Detroit Red Wings, Trinity Health Michigan and the Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP).

Byrd and Evans welcomed a five-pound, 10-ounce baby girl just 34 seconds into 2024, on New Year’s Day at Trinity Health Oakland hospital. Born more than four weeks early, baby Arielle was the first baby born at the birth center in the new year.

“It was such an amazing feeling, just watching the whole process and being in the room,” said Byrd, a first-time father. “The doctors were awesome and so patient. They took us through every step that was needed, and it was awesome. It’s a day we’ll never forget.”

After welcoming Arielle to the world, Byrd and Evans learned they were able to get her college fund started earlier than they expected. Arielle was gifted $529 toward a 529 Savings Plan on behalf of MESP through the new “Wings Welcome” program. As the first baby born at Trinity Health Oakland in 2024, Arielle was chosen as MESP’s first recipient.

MESP is one of three Michigan Section 529 plans that offer Michigan taxpayers triple tax benefits! A state income tax deduction on contributions, tax-deferred growth on earnings, and withdrawals to pay for qualified higher education expenses are tax-free. MESP can be used at any eligible college, university, or trade school for a variety of qualified expenses, including tuition, mandatory equipment, fees, certain room, and board costs, supplies and books.

Byrd said learning his family was gifted $529 for his new daughter’s college savings fund was a welcomed surprise.

“Throughout the pregnancy process, my girlfriend and I talked about our financial future and Arielle’s financial future,” Byrd said. “We looked into some savings programs and tried to decide how we were going to start savings funds for her to attend college, but we didn’t get anything solidified. This $529 from MESP and the Red Wings gave us a good head start on preparing for her future and we’re forever grateful for that generosity.”

Throughout 2024, parents departing participating birth centers will receive a swaddle blanket on behalf of the Red Wings, MESP and Trinity Health Michigan.

For a chance to receive MESP’s $529 contribution toward a new college savings fund, parents are encouraged to take a photo of their newborn swaddled in the blanket, and to tag @DetroitRedWings on X or Instagram with the hashtags #wingswelcome and #mesp.

The swaddle blankets, including an MESP informational care package, are currently being distributed to new parents at Trinity Health Oakland. Plans are in the works to expand the “Wings Welcome” program to all five Trinity Health Michigan birth centers, including in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Livonia, and Muskegon.

“Supporting the health and wellbeing of Michigan families is a commitment our hospitals, physicians and providers have long prioritized, including the miracle of bringing new life into the world,” said Shannon Striebich, president and CEO of the Trinity Health Michigan Market.

“We are tremendously excited about this new program in partnership with Trinity Health Michigan and MESP, and for the next generation of Red Wings fans to wear the Winged Wheel shortly after being born,” said Chris Coffman, Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for Ilitch Sports + Entertainment.

“Our organization is honored to share in such joyous moments in people’s lives.”

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The typewriter is not available for phone calls or emails Saturday and Sunday. Mental health and rehabilitation time. Out and about enjoying life.

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.