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Meeting Notice and Club News

Coming Up This Week

President Claude Kendrick invites you to a scheduled Hybrid Zoom meeting on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 7:30 AM.

Actually, we have a meeting location and time change this week. Our club will be enjoying a luncheon with the President of Schoolcraft College, at the American Harvest Restaurant, at 11:45 AM.


During our last meeting, the Invocation was given by Rev. David Stechholz. Thank you, Dave!


Please inform Mike Ladwig if you are interested in leading us with a spiritual or inspiring message to start our meeting.

Giving Songs Note of Thanks

November 13, 2023

The club received a very nice thank you post from Giving Songs. "Thank you so much to the Livonia AM Rotary for your recent grant to Giving Songs! This grant will help us help another qualified family on our waiting list."


Member News

Churchill High School Livonia Rotary AM Tour

November 08, 2023

Inspiration Behind Door 21

The Livonia Rotary AM Club met at Churchill High School for a private tour of the facility organized by Mike Ladwig a member of Rotary and former student. Little did we know that behind door 21, where we assembled, we would experience an environment that exceeded our expectations in the educator’s approach and aspirations to learning.

Paul Shepich the school district Superintendent and Melissa Carruth, the Assistant Superintendent were our tour guides, and their enthusiasm was contagious as they outlined the school’s curriculum and current project to build a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Lab (STEM). Computer-generated pictures of the built-out lab were shown and we learned that the Clarenceville School District is four square miles and consists of two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. The schools are in Wayne County, but they are designated as part of Oakland County Intermediate School District. The district is classified as a “Title One,” community meaning that the medium-income

level is below average.

Funding for the new lab was through corporate donations from MASCO and other sources. It was explained that many of their capital improvements are made through their own foundation and outside support. Annual fundraisers such as golf outings are part of their funding strategy. It became apparent that this small district was ready to hustle for the resources their students needed.

Currently, the school district handles 1689 students of which 48% live outside the school district boundaries and are enrolled through the “School of Choice Program.” Although most of their students are from Livonia a large group are from Redford, Detroit, and as far away as Southfield.

A testimony to their perceived success with students.

As we toured an Engineering Lab we learned that the teacher, Deb Krummer was a former mechanical engineer and her repour with the students was dynamic. Smiles crossed the faces of her students as she explained they taught electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering in the lab.

A walk through the current STEM Lab we were shown “Tiny Houses,” built by students and their current project to design a colony on the planet Mars.

These classes went way beyond books in terms of critical thinking, working in teams, and using their creative minds and hands.

Melissa pointed out they needed more 3D printers ($620) and Robotic arms ($2,000) for the labs and were looking for sponsors. We also learned that the school has a partnership with OTC and Schoolcraft College for additional classes and access to their labs.

In addition to the STEM and Engineering Programs, the school had a curriculum in CAD, IT Coding, and Woodworking. On the cultural side of learning the school offered Broadcasting, Journalism, Choir, Theatre, Art, Ceramics, and Graphic Design Programs. A strong Athletic Program is supported by the district.

The food pantry was the last stop on the tour, and we learned that the pantry provides groceries to families who are in need determined by the Student Support Coordinator and Social Worker located in each school building in the district. The pantry is operated by cognitively impaired students as a means of teaching life skills. These students also grow organic foods such as zucchini in a garden on site. The zucchini was used to bake muffins served to our group with coffee in the cafeteria before we left. These students bake cookies and muffins for sale at their “Trojan Store,” located in the school. Melissa pointed out that the pantry needed a walk-in cooler for perishables items. This item could cost from $4,000 to $10,000 dollars.

As we left, the rain was falling but our spirits were rising thinking about the commitment and excitement the teachers and administration exhibited during the tour.

Nancy Darga

Upcoming Meetings

11/15/2023 - Meeting Location Change and Time Change, Club Luncheon with the President of Schoolcraft College, at the American Harvest Restaurant, 11:45 AM, Invocation by Victoria Halton.

11/22/2023 - No Meeting, Happy Thanksgiving!

11/29/2023 - Karoline Kenville, Laugh & Learn Therapy, Invocation by Larry Stephens.

12/06/2023 - Club Assembly

Upcoming Events

11/15/2023 - Club Luncheon with the President of Schoolcraft College, at the American Harvest Restaurant, 11:45 AM.

12/09/2023 - Salvation Army Bell Ringing at Joe's Produce, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM, Details to follow.

Postponed - Club Social Outing - Burgers, Brats, and Brew at Tammy Bonifield's Home, Date and Details to Follow.

Visit Our Club in Person

We meet at the

Livonia Senior Center Complex

15218 Farmington Road

Livonia, MI 48154

Every Wednesday, 7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

All Are Welcome!

Phone Access Option (929)436-2866

Meeting ID: 924 328 2286

Password: 4waytest

Past Meetings and Events

LSO Celebrates 50 Years of Beautiful Music

November 04, 2023

Club member Claude Kendrick (and Jeanine) along with David Stechholz attend the concert honoring the Livonia Symphony’s 50th Anniversary this past Saturday at Clarenceville Louis Schmidt Auditorium.

Great jazz at its very best.

The theme was Zonjic meets Motown, featuring Alexander Zonjic and his award-winning band, and Serieux performing a Motown Temptations Review along with the Livonia Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Volodymyr Shesiuk.

Meet The Candidates

November 01, 2023

The final two candidates running in this year’s Livonia election spoke at the November 1, 2023 meeting, Special thanks goes out to Mike Ladwig who arranged all of the candidates to speak about their campaign.

Martha Ptashnik, is running for Livonia City Council. She has two kids in Churchill Highschool. She was a teacher for sixteen years. She also has business experience as a buyer for Marshal Fields and other retail outlets. She serves on the Livonia Zoning Board of Appeals. She wants to keep Livonia taxes low and is concerned about the recent cost estimate to repair the current Livonia buildings and infrastructure needs. She wants to concentrate on the development of neighborhoods and supporting senior serves.

Mayor Brosnan was the next speaker and mentioned she had to leave the meeting after her presentation to testify to the full Board of Wayne County on a grant application the city submitted for 8 million to rebuild the Senior Center. This federal allocation was coming from the American Rescue Plan. With this grant, the city has raised 21 million towards the total estimated price of 21.5 million for the center.

The Mayor mentioned that the residents have told her they want a downtown. The city is working to develop multi-density housing along Five Mile. The residents also told her they wanted a safe community. She increased the fire and police staffing levels to 90% by bringing back defined benefits and allowing lateral transfers. She bragged about repaving seventeen miles of roadways under her administration. Having the lowest millage rate in Wayne County.

In regard to a 98 million dollar cost estimate to repair all of Livonia's facilities, the Mayor stated that if elected she would set up a “Brain Trust” to address entrepreneurial solutions to find the resources and needed funding.

Nancy Darga

Spaghetti Dinner Community Fundraiser SUCCESS!

October 25, 2023

Thank you for a great day Wednesday at our Annual Rotary World Polio Day Community Spaghetti Dinner. It was a very large crowd, though I'm waiting for more of the attendance and financial information. Last year 20 tables were set up; this year there were 24 tables, and all the tables were used, with more people added after tables were bussed and new placemats "placed." 


My son Andrew and I delivered the left-over food - quite a lot! - to Family of God and Eglesia Pan de Vida Lutheran churches in the Springwells area of SE Detroit. The people who received it were so very grateful.


Many thanks also to Barb Moldenhauer (Our Savior Lutheran events coordinator) and the five men from the Church how helped out both yesterday and this morning - tables, chairs, canopies and lights; to the Interact students from Church Hill High School (11 of them); Thrivent and Rick Hart ($250 Thrivent grant for the food); and all of you who gave so much of your time, support, and efforts. Job well-done!

Many thanks to Rotary spouses and family members who also helped out, especially with clean-up. Interestingly, all 12 - I believe - of our candidates for elective office in Livonia were present and very respectful of our Rotary clubs (Rotary Club of Livonia [noon] and the Livonia A.M. Rotary Club) and the goal and singular focus on eradicating polio from the earth and immunizing all children world-wide. Many former Rotarians were also present, as well as Past District 6400 Rotary Governors Paul and Traci Sincock


Two other bravos with two new "firsts" at the Spaghetti Dinner: To Livonia A.M. Rotary President Claude Kendrick, for pulling off the placemats and sponsorships, with Pat Zucal readjusting the placemat donor settings and then printing them; and Eric and (his Dad, Mike Ladwig) of Livonia's UPS Store, for printing and furnishing the costs for the outdoor and indoor display posters and End Polio backdrop. With the latter, many people got their pictures taken with the backdrop.

 In Rotary Service, Dave Stechholz

I want to personally thank everyone for supporting this event year after year. This event is so much fun and our cause is so important! Let’s continue to show our support to eradicate Polio throughout the world, so awesome communities like Livonia are never affected again. 


As you all know, printing, designing, website IT, location set up, scheduling, marketing, etc. comes from from some awesome Rotarians and their businesses. Honorable mention also goes to Friday Musings, Livonia Chamber of Commerce, Rotary District 6400 website, City of Livonia website, Livonia Noon Club website and our very own AM Rotary newsletter for helping spread the word.


I want to also thank the Spaghetti Dinner Planning Committee; David Stechholz, Tammy Bonifield, Deanna Gaffney, Nancy Darga, and Barb Moldenhauer for another outstanding year! 


As we prepare for our debriefing; please send and share ideas with the committee for next year’s event. All Ideas are WELCOME!


YOURS IN ROTARY! Claude Kendrick

More Photos

Meet The Candidates

October 25, 2023

The meeting was another in the series of "Meet the Candidates" for the upcoming November City elections.

Scott Morgan is a current City Council member who is running for another term on the Council. Scott's background is a former Marine and Livonia police officer for 25 years. He served as a reserve police officer and a union representative for the police. Scott is a graduate of Madonna University. 

Andrew Lendrum is running for the office of Treasure of Livonia. Andrew served as Chairman of the Board of Review and believes that each business that is behind in taxes should be visited to determine the reason they are not paying their taxes.

Andrew's background was running an Insurance Agency, then real estate and building two Livonia subdivisions, Fox Creek Meadows and Stone House Estates, along with several private homes.

Susan Paluchniak

Kids Coalition Against Hunger Meal Packing Event

October 21, 2023

Congratulations to the organizers and volunteers who made the Kids Coalition Against Hunger food packing event at St. Edith’s Catholic Church a big success! Matt Collins with the Livonia Lions Club shared a bunch of photos and said. “We raised more than $17,500 to cover the cost of the meals. 175 volunteers participated on Saturday, so we were able to fill 13 production lines with additional volunteers in support."

"At 11:30 AM, representatives of area food providers (food pantries, soup kitchens, etc.) stopped by to pick up more than 33,000+ meals (154 cases) to be delivered to the hungry in Livonia and our surrounding communities! The balance of the meals were returned to Kids Coalition Against Hunger for World Hunger donations."

"Thank you all SO MUCH for your continuing support of Livonia's Kids Coalition Against Hunger Meal Packing Event.”

Matt Collins

Club member Dave Stechholz said “The event was amazing! There was a very large group from our Churchill H. S. Interact Club! All the volunteers together packed over 30,000 instant meals! Bravo also to Thrivent and Rick Hart’s team and our sister Rotary Club of Livonia (noon). And to Lion Matt Collins and Michael Corwell of KCAH. A tremendous annual event.”

Dave was joined by fellow club members Nancy Darga, Tammy Bonifield, Greg Greene, Mike Ladwig, Rick Hart, and Bob Carris.

More Photos

Meet Nancy Darga

October 19, 2023

Reprinted from Friday Musings

Meet Nancy Darga, lifetime polio survivor, member of the Livonia Rotary AM Club, serving 12 years on the Northville City Council.

This back story on Nancy Darga, a member of the Rotary AM Club who last year shared her story with the club on the eve of the annual Community dinner in support of polio awareness, was printed on the City of Northville website and Musings is sharing with minor edits:

Once you meet Nancy Darga, you are not likely to forget her. She says what’s on her mind and asks probing questions when considering a matter before City Council, a role she served in for 12 years before choosing not to run in 2019. Her approach to problem-solving includes a deep dive into details and talking to people – on both sides of an issue.

She has taken on tough challenges to keep Northville unique, historic, and well-run as a City government during her years on the City Council and 20 years serving the Parks and Recreation Department in advisory capacities, primarily as a board member.

Read More

AAA Pregnancy Resource Center Fundraiser

October 12, 2023

Bob & Teri Carris, Pat & Lori Zucal, and Father Dave Stechholz attended the recent AAA Pregnancy Resource Center fundraising dinner featuring Dr Ben Carson as the guest speaker. This dinner was attended by more than 1700 people, over half of whom had never attended a AAA event.

AM Rotary has donated $2,000 a year for several years to AAAPRC which goes to the purchase of new car seats and pack-n-play cribs. Peggy Roberts, AAA CEO, noted that over 10,000 babies have been born to AAA clients in the 50 years the center has been operating, and 2,700 babies are believed to have been saved from abortion due to the support offered by AAAPRC.  

Bob Carris

Meet The Candidates

October 18, 2023

Mike Ladwig gave the invocation. 17 members were in attendance, with 5 members on Zoom, and 12 live-including our 2 guest speakers. We had lots of happy bucks; thank you, Sharon Pommerville!

Upcoming service events are this

Saturday’s KCAH (Kids Coalition Against Hunger) meal-packing event, October 21st at St. Ediths at 8:30 a.m., and World Polio Day Community Spaghetti Dinner, Wednesday, October 25th, 5:00-7:00 p.m., though volunteers are needed before and after. All hands on deck! Dave Burton gave a most encouraging update on our

Churchill High School Interact Club, now with 47 members!! 35 were present at the Interact meeting he attended.

Our two speakers today were part of the Meet the Candidates series for the upcoming Livonia City elections.

City Clerk Candidate Linda Scheel shared the following:

She is coming to the end of her 8-year term as City Treasurer. She has served 20 years in service to the City of Livonia.

Linda has 33 years of experience in the mortgage banking industry.

She has completed the State of Michigan Clerk training and has reviewed the extensive work of the City Clerk’s Office.

As Treasurer, she served on numerous boards and committees, including President, VP, and Secretary of the Wayne County Association of Municipal Treasurers.

Her goal would be to run the Clerk’s Office with integrity, transparency, fairness, and continued cross-training of the Office’s staff. She welcomes questions that people have.

She assured us that protocols are in place in the event of COVID and flu resurgences.

She reported that it takes $97 million to maintain the current City buildings. The heating and cooling and leakage and flooding matters need serious consideration in the aging City Hall building.

Linda addressed questions about keeping accurate updates of voting rolls.

Linda has worked very closely with Susan Nash, the City Clerk.

City Treasurer Candidate Sue (Susie) Nash shared the following:

Sue’s term of 8 years as City Clerk is coming to an end. She has been interviewed on CNN and the Washington Post, always being transparent and accessible.

She has worked with every department of the City of Livonia as well as managing the Clerk’s Office budget.

Susie, if elected City Treasurer, would like to partner with local organizations to help local high school and college students in terms of learning personal finances.

She has been President and Vice President of the Wayne County Clerks Association and holds the high award of being a Certified Municipal Clerk.

As Treasurer, she would like to have City “town hall” meetings to address people’s concerns and would like to increase City engagement with the community.

Sue noted that in discussing Livonia’s taxes, the citizenry needs to address both the positives and negatives of Livonia having the lowest tax rate in Wayne County.

She has this attitude: “We will get it done,” in response to citizens’ needs and concerns.

David Stechholz

District 6400 Foundation Dinner Celebration 2023

November 09, 2023

Our District is holding a Rotary Foundation Dinner event, to be held Thursday, November 9th, at 6:00 PM at Crystal Gardens in Southgate.

It will be an opportunity to celebrate and thank foundation supporters, raise some funds, and have some fun!

Supporters who reach their next level of giving will be recognized that evening. More details HERE.

Just Released - Touch A Truck 2023 Video

October 07, 2023

Though we were unable to get our usual "Live Drone Video" for this year's Touch A Truck event, we were fortunate that Captain Todd Wesley, a Paramedic with Livonia Fire & Rescue stepped up to help. He was able to sort through the more than 300 photos that various of us took, to come up with the video referenced above.

Captain Todd did a great job and I know everyone in the club will appreciate his efforts. Please feel free to pass it along to others who volunteered. 

Bob Carris

Churchill High School Interact Club Meeting

October 16, 2023

Club member Dave Burton joined the Interact Club at Churchill HS for their club meeting. Dave sent along this photo to help introduce us to their many members.

Meet the Candidates

October 11, 2023

New Sponsor for Meal Packing Event.

Madonna University was announced as the latest Sponsor for the Meal Packing, event on October 21, 2023. This financial support will now allow us to pack 50,000 kits.

The newest member of the Livonia AM Rotary Club, Steve Alexander was welcomed to his first official meeting.

Kathleen L. McIntyre, a Mayoral Candidate, and Jim Baringhaus, a City Council candidate were introduced.

Kathleen L McIntyre talked about her volunteer service that included being on the City Council, Planning Commission, Senior Services, Zoning Board of Appeals, the Community Foundation, Chamber of Commerce and Brownfield Authority. She also has been very active at St. Aidan. She worked at Ford Motor for 22 years at executive level dealing with international trade.

She stated her reason for running for office was to make Livonia an extra special city who supports the police and public safety services. Kathleen wants to focus on fiscal responsibility without increasing taxes. She feels the upcoming budget will present challenges. During the question period, she addressed concerns about the upcoming garbage services and the need to address the stability of the electrical grid system. She addressed questions about steps being taken to provide public transportation in the city now that Livonia has opted out of the SMART System and the need to find bus drivers.

Jim Baringhaus stated that he is running to make Livonia a safe, strong, and vibrant city. He pointed out that the police and fire associations have endorsed him. He has a long career working for Fiat Chrysler with dealerships and field operations. He has a long history of serving on the Greenleaf Commission,

Planning, and Zoning, the Livonia Vision 21 Master Plan development, and the Livonia Bike Walk Commission. He serves on the Livonia Emergency Response Team and on the Board of the Newburgh

Swim Club. He wants to focus on responsible development that is compatible with the neighborhoods.

Sustainability is an interest of his which prompted his work with Rotary to introduce recycling at the Touch a Truck Event. He is also dedicated to keeping the financial health of the city a top priority. During the question period, he pointed out that there are many things the city can do to improve the sense of place in the community as we look for ways to encourage the redevelopment of closed facilities.

Nancy Darga

Operation Pollination

October 04, 2023

Worked continued on our Butterfly Garden after our meeting last week. Thank you to club members Erin Dobbins, Sharon Pommerville, Susan Paluchniak, and Claude Kendrick.

The groundwork has been laid for a viable pollinator habitat. This is our club's effort to help increase pollinator habitat and ensure their survival. Pollinators like bees, butterflies, and bats help plants carry out reproduction by spreading pollen from plant to plant. Since 1985, the populations of a wide variety of pollinators have declined by more than 45%.

Club Assembly

October 04, 2023

We held our monthly Club Assembly this past week. Topics discussed were:

1.      Presentation by Robin Persiconi, Livonia Chamber of Commerce, to the Rotary Club Of Livonia AM for 10-year membership in the Chamber of Commerce.

2.      Financial Report- Tammy Bonifield reminded members to get their dues in. The Club is looking for speakers that are informative rather than ones that are looking for donations. 

3.      The Giving Committee approved a donation to Giving Songs a charitable organization that gives grants to families with disabled children money to purchase wheelchair accessible vans.

4.      The Tech Committee needs help in the morning of the meeting to help set up for the meeting. This takes about one half hour - report at 6:45. Contact Bill Friske or Pat Zucal.

5.      Tammy Bonifield is seeking help to rewrite the Club By-Laws. Please contact Tammy.

6.      The Fund Raising Committee needs ideas to bring in extra funds to the Club. Currently, we have the Carnival, but the old Sears spot is not guaranteed. Ideas/ suggestions for new Carnival locations are needed. Contact Pat Zucal or Joanna Hardesty.

7.      Newsletter article writers are needed to write a summary of what happened at the meeting for the newsletter. Several members agreed to take turns on this project. They are week 1 - Nancy Darga, week 2 - Susan Paluchniak, week 3 - Pastor David Stechholz. Week 4 is open... If you are willing to help, please contact Claude.

8.      Approved membership to Steve Alexander.

9.      Discussed Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser.


Susan Paluchniak 

Learning to Lead Conference

September 30, 2023

Club member Tammy Bonifield joined Rotary International President 2022-23 Jennifer Jones, District Governor Russ Jones, and many of our Rotary friends at the Learning to Lead event in Toronto recently. Tammy is the Treasurer of our Rotary District 6400.

Steak & Lobster Dinner with Livonia Rotary

September 27, 2023

District 6400 Governor Russ Jones is passionate about preserving our natural

environment and promoting environmental sustainability to ensure future generations

can enjoy natural wildlife and clean water. DJ Russ noted in his official visit to our club that 80% of planet Earth’s fresh water is supplied by the Great Lakes. In keeping with this theme, Livonia AM is participating in Rotary International’s Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group (ESRAG) initiative, Operation Pollination.

ESRAG Committee Member, Therese Maggioncalda of District 6400’s Passport Club, visited our club on September 27th along with special guest from District 6380, Scott Nelson of Ann Arbor Rotary, to talk about service projects and the importance of our pollinating friends, especially the monarch butterfly. Operation Pollination is “a simple 7th Area of Focus environmental framework and growing Rotary movement that enables and encourages Rotarians to engage in pollinator protection and education

projects” according to

During their visit, Therese and Scott brought the MOMA Hope Statue as it completes its tour following the natural migration of the monarch.

The statue is a beautiful butterfly that was sponsored by the Monterrey Metropolitano Rotary Club (Mexico), Canadian Pacific Kansas City Railroad, and others. ESRAG states “this tour builds on last year’s 1st Monarch statue event that raised more than $100,000 for 60,000 oyamelfir trees necessary for Monarch Butterflies.

During these dates, the MOMA Hope statue will travel between Calgary/ Edmonton to Winnipeg, Toronto, Windsor, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, Houston, and several points south into Mexico ending its journey at the Monarch Biopshere Reserve (near Morelia, Mexico).”

We are fortunate to be honored as a stop on the tour of the MOMA statue. Be sure to check our our Operation Pollination Participation project garden located just outside the entry to our weekly meetings.

Erin H. Dobbins

Steak & Lobster Dinner with Livonia Rotary

September 25, 2023

lub member Erin Dobbins enjoyed an evening out with our friends at the Livonia Rotary PM club recently. Erin helped the club celebrate their annual Steak & Lobster Dinner at Rotary Park. More Photos

Western Wayne Leadership Business Leadership Conference

September 25, 2023

Club members Dawn Magretta, Claude Kendrick (and wife Jeanne), and Eric Ladwig attended the Western Wayne Business Leadership Conference last week.

Hundreds of Western Wayne’s business and political leaders met for this annual influential gathering designed to connect people to initiatives and opportunities across metro Detroit.

More Photos

Ice Cream Social

September 20, 2023

Our club came out in strong numbers to serve up ice cream at the Senior Center this past Wednesday. Thank you to club members Tammy Bonifield, Sharon Pommerville, Mayor Maureen Brosnan, Dave Stechholz, Bob Carris, and Claude Kendrick.

More Photos

Meet The Candidates - Lori Miller & Brandon McCullough

September 20, 2023

The Rotary club had as a speaker Lori Miller who is running for the position of City Clerk and Brandon McCullough who is running for City Council.

Lori Miller is currently the Deputy Clerk running for City Clerk. Lori stressed her certification she has for this job position. She has been giving classes at the Senior Center and Senior housing facilities to help the residents keep informed on how the new Proposal 22 will affect them. The legislature is still working on finalization of that Proposal before it can be implemented.

Lori is also interested in holding mock elections so people can see the voting machines and see how the voting process works. Lori hopes to target young people to vote.

Brandon McCullough talked about the need for the City to increase its infrastructure. The Civic Center library has a huge cooling machine outside because the current system is not working. City Hall has tiles falling down and front steps that are roped off. He brought up Noble Library that currently has residents wanting to "Bring back Noble Library". This library has a severe mold problem that resulted in previous administrations ignored. He stressed that money has to be used to keep Livonia's infrastructure sound.


Susan Paluchniak

American Harvest Restaurant at Schoolcraft College - Grand Reopening

September 20, 2023

Club member Dawn Magretta along with Claude Kendrick and his wife Jeanne attended the grand reopening of The American Harvest Restaurant on the grounds of Schoolcraft College. This news is exciting because our Rotary District enjoys holding events at the Vista Tech facility that houses the restaurant. Not to mention, Dawn is the Executive Director of the Schoolcraft College Foundation. Claude said the award-winning student-made beer was incredible and the food was pretty terrific as well.

More Photos

Meet The Candidates - Carrie Budzinski and Robb Drzewicki

September 13, 2023

The meeting started with Matt Collins from the Livonia Lions Club giving a recap of a project that they had just finished which was Build a Bed. This annual project was completed last week resulting in several beds being made of wood/ plywood for children to use.

He also discussed the meal packing project, Kids Coalition Against Hunger, on October 21st, at St. Edith's. Currently, the Lions are short on supply money for their goal of packing 50 thousand meals. He has faith that the outstanding pledges will come in to fulfill the need. 

The next part of our meeting was our "Meet the Candidates" series presented by the club to keep our members informed on the candidates running for office in Livonia.

The Club heard from Carrie Budzinski and Robb Drzewicki who are both running for City Council for Livonia. The Council positions are non-political. They both gave a brief overview of their background and why they wanted to run for office. 

Susan Paluchniak

Miracle League of Plymouth Field Trip

September 09, 2023

Club members Tammy Bonifield, Victoria Haltom, Sharon Pommerville, Nancy Darga, Dave Stechholz, Mike Ladwig, and Greg Greene took in a ball game recently at The Miracle League of Plymouth.

The group enjoyed watching the kids play two innings of inspiring baseball on a beautiful Saturday morning.

MLP baseball and other events are open to families with individuals 5+ with disabilities and limitations. 

Touch A Truck SUCCESS!

August 26, 2023

The Livonia AM Rotary Club community came together in a show of dedication to service above self at the recent annual Touch A Truck, which left parents grateful, kids enthusiastic, and volunteers fulfilled. The world-class event was a resounding success, leaving Rotarians across the district smiling. The continued support of families year after year is a testament to the impact of this event. We extend our gratitude to everyone who participated and made the extra effort to ensure a memorable experience, and we can't wait to see what next year holds! 😎

Club President, Claude Kendrick

It looks like our final attendance count was just above 8200, about 700 more than last year. A fantastic event that was such a credit to our Interact Club of Churchill High School (their new Principal was very impressed by them) and our own Livonia A.M. Rotary Club and tons of volunteers, not to mention donors/loaners of trucks, horses, vehicles, helicopters, and more. Bravo! The children and families were hugely grateful and expressed their thanks many, many times over. The last paid ($5 parking donation) customer came in at 1:40 p.m. We were amazed at how many still arrived late, after 1:00 p.m.  


I was given a second toy car. But as people were leaving right at the end around 2:15, one sad boy's father told me he lost his little toy car. I told them to wait a moment, went to my car, and gladly gave the little tyke a new toy car. He was so happy. A cheery for me on top of the chocolate malt of a grand day in Livonia at Greenmead!


Bravo to you who were still putting things away after 3:30, when this old body gave out. God's blessings to you all.


PE David Stechholz

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Award Winner

September 23, 2023

Our speaker last week was Debbie Yates, a member of our community who recently won an award at the 2023 Chamber of Commerce Leadership Awards banquet for her outstanding work on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As we all know, inclusion is crucial for people of all ages, especially youngsters. It is important to feel like one belongs to something, whether it is a club, school, team, or service organization. Debbie's work on the Livonia Parent Teacher Association has made a significant impact on ensuring that all students and families feel included and valued. 

Her passion for inclusion and equity was sparked when her child attended a Halloween candy give-away that left them feeling excluded due to their food allergies. Since then, Debbie has been dedicated to ensuring that all students feel included in the rich and educational programs offered by our schools. As the DEI chair, Debbie has implemented many important initiatives, including ensuring safe foods and awareness of different food allergies at school events, collecting Halloween costumes to distribute to low-income families in our school district, and providing safe restrooms for transgender students.

As Rotarians, we strongly believe in the power of community and spreading love.

As I was reflecting on the message from Debbie, I was reminded of two inspiring quotes. The first one encourages us to use our resources to build a longer table instead of building fences and walls. Let's open our hearts and minds to welcome more people to our community and build bridges instead of barriers. The second quote reminds us of the importance of loving one another, regardless of our differences. Let's come together, smile on our brothers and sisters, and try to love one another right now.

We congratulate Debbie on this well-deserved recognition and thank her for her dedication to creating a more inclusive community.

Mike Ladwig

Operation Pollination at the Senior Center Continues

August 16, 2023

Work continued on our beautiful butterfly garden this past week. Club members Tammy Bonifield, Susan Paluchniak, Erin Dobbins, and Claude Kendrick volunteer their time on behalf of the club, once again. Weeds were pulled and mulch was laid. The next step will be planting butterfly-attracting plants and bushes in the fall.

Accessing and Benefiting From DACdb with Matt Hatty

August 16, 2023

Last week our club had the privilege of hosting Trenton Rotarian, Matt Hatty, the District Trainer for DACdb, a software database system for Rotary Districts and Clubs. He informed us that our Rotary District 6400 utilizes this database, which is accessible to all Rotarians in the district at

To log in, use your email address and assign your own password during the registration process. Once logged in, you can update your personal information, sign up for district events, and find members in other clubs. Matt also mentioned that there is a mobile app available for Android and iPhone users. If you need any assistance navigating the website, Matt has kindly offered his help at

District Governor's Visit

August 09, 2023

Our guest speaker was our District Governor, Russ Jones. DG Russ was accompanied by his wife Barb. We began the meeting With Russ Inducting our newest members, Susan Paluchniak, and corporate member, Thrivent Financial Services, led by Rick Hart. Also attending from Thrivent were Raeann Kusch, John McDowell, and Jordan Blanchard.

It was nice to see Tammy Bonifield's son Tristan in the crowd. We also had Kurt Whitmore, a visitor from the Dearborn Heights Rotary Club.

Russ spoke a bit about what being a Rotarian is all about. Russ spoke of service to others and relayed the Rotary theme “Create Hope in the World.” His message was that nothing happens in Rotary until like-minded Rotarians single out a problem and work together to solve it. DG Russ mentioned a “Rotary Moment” he experienced while helping to bring first-time dental visits to youngsters in Honduras. That was just one of the inspiring stories he shared.

Russ asked our members to consider applying for a leadership role in our District 6400.

He mentioned the District initiating a grant to Help clean up the Rouge River.

Russ told us that his goals were to aid in ending human trafficking and assisting those who work in our community providing mental health for our neighbors.

Often times we can get bogged down in the process and not have a clear vision of what we are attempting to accomplish.

Russ’s genius is his ability to see the clear vision and explain how to get to where we are going. Looking forward to all of us having a great Rotary year together.


Mike Ladwig

Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Gardens - Butterfly Day

August 05, 2023

Club member Erin Dobbins reports that the Taylor Conservatory held a very successful Butterfly Day this past Saturday. Erin is the Executive Director of the Taylor Conservatory and noted that “Kids love getting up close and personal with these delicate creatures, and adults appreciate the chance to snap some great photos." The event offered arts and crafts activities for children by the Taylor Garden Club and light snacks for sale by the Taylor Historical Society.

Butterfly Day is just one of many events that the Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Gardens hosts throughout the year. From garden tours to formal tea to live music concerts, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

More Photos

The Candidates Are Coming

August 08, 2023

Livonia is having its off-year elections for positions in the city government. The election will be held on November 7th at your regular polling site. To those who voted by mail, the ballots should be in the mail around September 20th.

The elections will consist of the following candidates:

City Mayor:

  • Maureen Miller Brosnan, Incumbent
  • Kathleen L McIntrye, Councilwoman


City Council: (vote for up to four choices)

  • Brandon McCullough, Incumbent
  • Scott Morgan, Incumbent
  • Carrie Budzinski
  • Robb Drzewicki
  • Jim Baringhaus
  • Martha Ptashnik

City Clerk:

  • Lori Miller, Deputy City Clerk
  • Linda Scheel, City Treasurer

City Treasurer:

  •  Sue Nash, City Clerk
  •  Andrew Lendrum

Both Sue Nash (City Clerk) and Linda Scheel (City Treasurer) are term-limited and cannot run for re-election to their current posts.

We have extended invitations to all candidates to address our Livonia AM Rotary Club.

To date, we have booked the following candidates on the following dates.

September 13th - Carrie Budzinski, Rob Drzewicki

September 20th - Lori Miller, Brandon McCullough

October 11th - Kathleen McIntyre, Jim Baringhaus

October 18th - Sue Nash, Linda Scheel

October 25th - Andrew Lendrum, Scott Morgan

November 1st - Maureen Miller Brosnan, Martha Ptashnik

These “Meet the Candidates” meetings will be held from 7:30 – 8:30 AM on the dates listed above.

Location: Livonia Senior Center Complex, 15218 Farmington Road, Livonia, MI 48154 

The public is welcome to join our meetings in person or via Zoom:

Mike Ladwig

Phone Access Option (929)436-2866

Meeting ID: 924 328 2286

Password: 4waytest

Operation Pollination

August 02, 2023

We are thrilled to announce the successful start of Project Pollination at the Livonia Senior Center, thanks to the dedicated efforts of our club members Erin Dobbins, Sharon Pommerville, Tammy Bonifield, Mike Ladwig, Pat Zucal, and Claude Kendrick.

This collaborative initiative aims to create a beautiful and butterfly-friendly garden by preparing the soil for the future planting of bushes and flowers. The Livonia Senior Center generously offered unused garden space, allowing our club to transform it into a haven for these delicate creatures. We are excited about the positive impact this project will have on the local ecosystem and look forward to witnessing the transformation as butterflies flock to the newly established garden.

Operation Pollination is a simple 7th Area of Focus Environmental Framework — and growing Rotary “Movement “– that enables and encourages Rotarians to engage in pollinator protection and education projects.

More Photos

Walmart Returns, Repurposing for the Community

July 26, 2023

Bill Jasman, a Trenton Rotarian, presented an interesting program that their Club uses called Walmart Returns, Repurposing for the Community. The basic idea is that the Club arranges to collect from the Trenton Walmart all the store's returns and then give these returns to their giving partners throughout the year. The club also has a relationship with Kohls for them to supply their employees as volunteer workers to help with the sorting and the Club gets $25.00 per worker as a Kohls charity donation.


The Club contacts its giving partners to pick up items such as animal shelters to receive food and pet supplies, the Veterans get bicycles and Christmas trees, clothing to women's shelters, and art supplies to children's groups.

Waivers must be signed by these organizations agreeing that the items received must not be sold and that the Club isn't responsible for any liability.

This is a HUGE project for the Trenton Club which is Michigan's third largest Rotary Club. Bill Jasman told us that to make this project work the Club needed 20 people plus a project chair. 

Two to three volunteers with vans or trucks to collect returns from Walmart and take these items to a large garage or storage room to be sorted. This has to be done every week. Every 2 to 3 weeks, the correct giving partner must be contacted to pick up their donation. This is a year-round commitment. 

After the presentation, there was a lot of small group discussion about this between our members as they packed up the room and in the parking lot.

Susan Paluchniak

Club Assembly

July19, 2023

Last week we began Claude Kendrick’s first Club Assembly meeting as Club President with a Treasurer’s Report from Tammy Bonifield. She reported that we ended our fiscal year with slightly more than our prudent reserve. Kudos to Bob Carris for his year as treasurer and to the entire Giving Committee for distributing our limited resources to do the most good in our community.

Next, we talked about upcoming Events:

Touch a Truck is Saturday, Aug. 26th. Included in the vehicles we will have on display will be:

  • A Hot Air Balloon
  • (3) Helicopters
  • A possible flyover by a US military plane
  • 50+ Trucks
  • Free eyeglass exams courtesy of Livonia Lions

The committee is looking into having a PR firm contact local media to augment our outreach to the entire tri-county area.

We have been receiving sponsorships of $500 and more from local organizations that want their name attached to this event.

We request all fellow Rotarians help us make this a stellar event by volunteering. Look for the Signup genius which will be forthcoming.

Club member Erin Dobbins briefly discussed the DEI survey.

The Good Olde Fashion Corn Roast Sept 17th, 11:30 - 3:30 at Bicentennial Park. Livonia service clubs will be on hand to meet Livonia residents while having fresh corn served by Livonia politicians.

Livonia Senior Center Ice Cream Social, Sept. 20th.

KCAH meal packing event, Oct. 21st.

Mike Ladwig

Dr. Crawford, UM Pacemaker Refurbishing Program

July 12, 2023

At our club meeting two weeks ago, our speaker was Dr. Crawford of the U of M Cardiology Department. He zoomed into our meeting to discuss the pacemaker refurbishing program that the university has established.

U of M has been refurbishing pacemakers for over ten years. When someone who has a pacemaker passes and their remains are to be cremated, the pacemaker has to be removed.

Dr. Crawford and his colleagues clean up the used pacemakers, check electrical currents, determine the battery life and replace batteries as needed. The actual pacemaker is about the size of a pack of matches.

Unfortunately, refurbished pacemakers can not be used in the US. Therefore, our club is in the process of creating a connection to repurpose the pacemakers In Ghana. The U of M folks and Rotary are working with the Ghanaian Food and Drug Agency to gain approval to send refurbished pacemakers to Ghana.

We recently lost our pipeline to Cameroon receiving our pacemakers with the sudden passing of our fellow Rotarian, Dr. Stanley. Club members Bob Carris and Rick Poppa have been instrumental in this pacemaker collaboration. 

Over the years our Livonia AM Rotary has funded many worthwhile projects in our neighboring cities and worldwide. When you have a project that saves lives, like the pacemaker refurbishing, that project holds a special place of honor in my heart. 

Mike Ladwig

Livonia Chamber Golf Outing

July10, 2023

Club Members Mike Ladwig, Greg Greene, and Eric Ladwig were out in the community recently representing our club and supporting the Livonia Chamber of Commerce by participating in the Chamber's Golf Outing at Idyl Wyld Golf Course.

Miracle League of Plymouth, Thank You Note

July 03, 2023

"We want to thank Livonia AM Rotary for welcoming Executive Director Stacey Diefenbach to present at your weekly club meeting and for this gift! What a wonderful way to remember the 4 way test ⚽️

We look forward to welcoming you to Bilkie Family Field this upcoming Fall to show you what we're all about! "🍂

St. Martha's Senior Living Community

June 28, 2023

The true measure of the greatness of a people is not how many billionaires or Ph.D. holders it has produced, but rather how it cares for its vulnerable youth and financially insecure elderly.  The Village of St. Martha’s, a mission of the faith-based, non-profit, Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (PVM), has high marks in providing dignity for its elderly residents by providing safe, clean apartments for elderly residents of limited incomes.

Our speaker, Andrea Felice, represents The Village of St. Martha’s. Since 1945, St. Martha's and the PVM system have been home to over 7500 residents. Their target market is seniors over 62 with incomes of $5,000 -$30,000 per year. Rents are based on the tenant’s ability to pay. Their 46 apartments are supported by a large community room, fitness center, telehealth suite and library with a computer. Our AM Rotary donation helped fund an outside gazebo with benches, on the grounds.

During the PowerPoint presentation provided by Andrea, I was impressed by the cleanliness and spaciousness of the grounds and apartments at St. Martha’s. It speaks boldly to the idea of living in dignity in our golden years and it speaks wonders to our greatness as a people. 

Mike Ladwig

Little Free Library Returns to Senior Center

June 21, 2023

Club members Bob Carris, Pat Zucal, and Bill Friske reinstalling the recently restored (and water-proofed) Little Free Library in front of the Livonia Senior Center. More Photos. 

Ribbon Cutting Celebrates Livonia AM Rotary's Gift

June 23, 2023

Club members Pat Zucal and Bill Friske were on hand to celebrate the grand opening of the new gazebo at St. Martha's Senior Living Community.  

Funds were raised to install a new concrete patio, erectin a new gazebo, and line the perimeter of the gazebo with park benches. Our club's gift was used to purchase the four beautiful park benches.

Miracle League of Plymouth

June 21, 2023

The Rotary Club speaker for the day, Stacy Diefenbach, came to us via ZOOM since she came down with COVID. Stacey is the Executive Director of Miracle League of Plymouth. The mission of the league is to enrich our community by providing education and social development through high-quality recreation programs for individuals over 5 years old with special needs.


The League's main program is baseball. Photos of the League's field in Plymouth were shown. This field is made of special rubber material for the safety of the players. The life of the surface is nearing its end and will need resurfacing in the future.

When the games first started the players wore different colored T-shirts for each team. Now they have regular baseball shirts with the team’s name on them along with the players’ name and a number on the back. Now the players feel like regular little leaguers when they go for ice cream after the game.

Of course, the players depend on "buddies" to help them hit balls and run the bases. These "buddies" are parents, high schoolers or other adults who want to help these kids enjoy the sport. Stacy told us of the Catholic Central H. S. students who came to help grumbling and soon their attitude changed as they started working with the players. Those CC students were anxious to come back to help. They are always in need of Buddies to work with the participants.


The goal for the League is to expand sports and experiences for their members. New is basketball, rock climbing, pickleball, and bowling. Someone wanted to teach them to play the violin. The limit of time with an activity is kept to one hour but the students were engrossed for 90 minutes and presented an amazing program afterwards. They would like to introduce hockey and the possibility of skydiving in the future.


Susan Paluchniak 

Annual Installation Dinner & Celebration at the Lake

June 17, 2023

Our Annual Installation Dinner and Celebration at the Lake was a Success! The weather was amazing, and everyone had a lot of fun. We even had our Churchill HS Interact Past President, Ivanna Torres, and her family in attendance. Incoming District Governor Russ Jones was there as well.

Victoria Haltom was officially inducted into the club by DGE Russ. President-Elect Claude Kendrick was sworn in as our Club President for 2023-24.

President Tammy Bonifield was sworn in as our Treasurer for 2023-24. David Stechholz was sworn in as President-Elect for 2024-25Mike Ladwig was honored as our club’s “Rotarian of the Year,” for all of his hard work behind the scenes reaching out to the community and coordinating our speaker program.

Tammy was surprised by the presentation of a framed photo of her husband Brad’s Memorial Bench, recently installed in Rotary Park.

Spirited conversation, corn hole, ponton boat rides, beverages, and lots of food and dessert.

More Photos

Claude Kendrick

Spitfire Training With Jane Coper Muszynski

June 14, 2023

Let’s Get Physical

Our main speaker this past week was Jane Cooper Muszynski – Founder of Spitfire Training. She led us in a group of chair exercises that can be completed by just about anyone. It was not at all strenuous and after completing the stretching I felt as loose as a strand of cooked spaghetti. To see a list of these stretches and to learn more about the benefits of stretching, click HERE.

Next, Jane spoke of the importance of staying hydrated. She informed us that to determine the amount of water we need on a daily basis, take our weight, divide that number by 2, and whatever that number is, that is the amount water we need daily in ounces. (example, 200 pound person, 200 divided by 2 = 100. That person would need 100 ounces of water per day.

You can get the water from a number of sources, through drinks (so guys and girls - booze doesn’t count), and many fruits and veggies. She told of the many physical maladies that are caused or aggravated by dehydration.

Jane was cheerful and enthusiastic with her presentation. She was so pumped about getting in shape, it made me feel that getting in shape and staying healthy is not a chore but something to look forward to each day. I already start my morning by drinking 8 ounces of water when I wake up. Now if I can only get my butt off the couch to stretch…….

She told of the many physical maladies that are caused or aggravated by dehydration.

Our Next Food Packing Event

We also heard a brief message from past Livonia Rotarian, Rick Hart. He spoke of the upcoming “Livonia Service Clubs” meal-packing event that occurs in the fall at St. Edith’s Church, to support Kids Coalition Against Hunger. He is soliciting organizers to be on the steering committee for the event. He was so overwhelmed by the spirit and gregarious vibe that is evident to all who attend a Livonia AM Rotary Club meeting, that he asked for a Membership Application. If I were a betting man, I would say his chances of being accepted by our humble group are as close to a sure thing as can be found. If you are interested in helping organize this next meal packing event, please plan to attend the Steering Committee meeting on Monday, June 26, 2023, at 5:00 PM, at the Thrivent offices, 19045 Farmington Road, Livonia 48152. Questions, call Rick Hart at (734)432-777 or, Event Flyer

Mike Ladwig

Crain's Detroit Business 36 Notable Leaders in Fundraising - Dawn Magretta

June 12, 2023

Reprinted From Crain's Detroit Business

Under (club member) Dawn Magretta's leadership, the Schoolcraft College Foundation’s portfolio has grown from $14 million to $19 million. She manages annual revenues of $2 million to $5 million.

Magretta launched Visions 2025, a five year, $18 million fundraising campaign - the first campaign in the college's history - that has reached 75% of its goal. She also improved the ability to donate online, established a planned giving program, and secured more than $4 million in private grant funding “for student success, K-12 alignment, and mobility sector alignment.”

“Dawn Magretta has been an incredible asset to Schoolcraft College as her advocacy for removing student barriers is inspiring and unwavering,” said Schoolcraft College President Glenn Cerney.

Before joining Schoolcraft, Margretta launched a successful $10 million campaign for the Macomb Community College Foundation.

Magretta serves on the boards of the Association of Funding Professionals Greater Detroit Chapter and is the Secretary of the Livonia AM Rotary.

Meal Packing With KCAH

June 10, 2023

Club members Susan Paluchniac, Victoria Haltom, John Clay, Ethan Ames, and Bob Carris volunteered their time this past weekend to help pack meals to support the Kids Coalition Against Hunger.

Our group was joined by the Livonia Lions Club and 100 + other volunteers to pack more than 25,000 meals. These meals will go a long way to help the effort to feed kids in our own community and around the world.

KCAH is a humanitarian food relief organization whose mission is to significantly reduce the number of hungry children in the USA and feed starving children throughout the world.

More Photos

LSO Bob Bennett Memorial Golf Classic

June 09, 2023

Club members Bill Friske (and Rose), Greg Greene, Claude Kendrick, Pat Zucal, Mike Ladwig, and Eric Ladwig represented Livonia AM Rotary at the Bob Bennett Memorial Classic at Whispering Willows. The event was organized by the Livonia Symphony Orchestra and once again set the standard for community partnerships supporting the arts.

More Photos

Club Assembly

June 07, 2023

Last week we held our monthly Club Assembly.

Treasurer's Report - Bob Carris reported on our financial position which is in line with our projections.

Giving Committee - Larry Stephens reported that we are closing our fiscal year next month and getting close to our prudent reserve, which was our goal at the beginning of the year. The following grant requests were approved:

  • Stuckey Day Treatment Center
  • Autism Alliance of Michigan
  • Saint Martha Senior Living Center

Grant Committee - Erin Dobbins reported that the committee has obtained a Collaborative District Grant to purchase sewing machines manufactured in Ghana to be distributed throughout Ghana to seamstresses to sew feminine hygiene products and other items. By fall other grant money should be available for us to apply for.

Mike Ladwig

M.O.S.T. Ministries Humanitarian Trip to Mexico

May 31, 2023

Our speaker last week was Reverend DaveStechholz, who spoke of the mission trip with M.O.S.T. Ministries to Juarez Mexico, and how it all started with a conversation between an El Paso Rotarian that Rev. Dave met on an eyeglass mission earlier in the year. Here is the story written by Rev. Dave of the latest mission trip reprinted from the May 24th issue of Meeting Notice and Club News.

My sincerest thanks to our Livonia A.M. Rotary Club in serving and partnering in a Mexico mission trip. We partnered with MOST Ministries out of Ann Arbor, a “MOST” mission team from Christ our King Lutheran Church in Saline, and YLM (Ysleta Lutheran Mission) in El Paso, Texas. We also partnered with the Zaragoza El Paso Rotary Club (who provided the key contacts, three translators, and volunteers alongside of the mission team), and the Club Rotario Cuidad Juarez. The Juarez Rotary made up the $3,000 added costs on the project, which totaled $13,000 for the re-roofing and added foam to end the Winter storm water leakages. (The $13,000 did not include the mission team’s transportation and other costs, just the newly-redone roof [above], foam, removal of the old materials, etc.).

The project at severely impoverished Kilometer 30 on the outskirts of Juarez, Mexico was to repair and repaint the roof, new ceiling, and outdoor and indoor walls of the Community Center.

Read More

Touch A Truck Committee Meeting

May 30, 2023

The Touch A Truck Committee held its third organizing meeting last week. The committee is made up of numerous Interact Club members lead by Co-Presidents, Emily Davis and Allison Pritula. Livonia AM Rotary is represented by Sharon Pommervile, Bob Carris, Claude Kendrick and Bill Friske.

Greenmead is represented by Chris Harloff. The group plans to meet every other week until the day of the event on August 26, 2023.

In other news, six Interact Club members volunteered their time to man a booth at the flea market held on the grounds off Greenmead this past Sunday. Their mission was to distribute Touch A Truck flyers and Carnival postcards to visitors as they exited the flea market.

Forever Families

May 24, 2023

Last week we were honored to have two speakers from the same organization, Forever Families. The speakers were Jennifer Mahon and Rhiannon Pniewski

Their primary mission is to help homeless children find their forever homes. If a forever home is not found, then they look for a foster family for the youngster.

Forever Families began 25 years ago as an international adoption agency. They subsequently added domestic adoptions to their portfolio. Reuniting the children with their birth parents is always the first goal. But, if that is not possible, they look for adoptive parents. If none are a good fit for the child, they work to place the child in a foster home.

They also have added a mental health service. Forever Families has 35 employees, and most are trained social workers. Currently, they are working with 120 youngsters in foster care.

Their goal is to be driven by what is best for the children. I could feel the passion Jen and Rhiannon have for making the children’s lives joyous, happy, and healthy.

The ladies also mentioned they are always looking for loving foster parents, with the key word being loving.

Mike Ladwig

Livonia Civic Chorus Presents "Matinee"

May 21, 2023

Club members Victoria Haltom and Dave Stechholz (with son Andrew) performed in the Livonia Civic Chorus presentation of "Matinee" this past weekend. The reviews are in (on social media that is). By all accounts, the concert was a big success!

Living & Learning Enrichment Center Field Trip

May 17, 2023


There is a saying” Go big or go home”. Rachelle Vartanian, founder of Living and Learning Enrichment Center must have changed that saying to Go big and get a big home. And she did. That was where the club went on our first outing in 2023. The new home of the Living and Learning Enrichment Center at the old Don Massy estate on 8 Mile and Griswold in Northville. 


Many of us have dreams. Most of us forget the dreams when we open our eyes in the morning as we plan our busy days. Some dreams we ponder but dismiss them as being too audacious or frivolous to pursue. There is a rare breed of people who take their dreams as a calling or a quest and in their pursuit of those dreams they lose the words impossible, can’t, or won’t, and with an equal measure of inspiration and perspiration they begin to see their dreams form.

Rachelle Vartanian had the dream of creating a place where hundreds of autistic people, young and old, could meet, socialize, learn, and be creative in a fellowship of like-minded people where every day the menu included equal measures of love and kindness.


We assembled in the main house of the old Don Massey estate. We heard the history of the house about its past owners and Rachelle spoke about all the events, classes, and social activities that are now ongoing with the Living and Learning Enrichment Center. Rachelle then led us on a tour of the house. We saw the lovely and ornate wall treatments, spacious sleeping quarters, and well-appointed rooms.

Next, we went on a tour of the grounds. It was like entering an enchanted playground. There were the alpacas, that were brought in for their gentleness around humans, and their wool which is gathered, shipped out to a business in Frankenmuth that turns the Alpaca wool into highly valued socks which are then sold to the public. The multi-acre grounds also include bunnies, a small miniature golf course, a lavender farm, a honey farm, and a veggie garden. There is a paved walkway opened to the public that circles the entire grounds. I personally want to return and walk the grounds more slowly because I am sure there was much that I missed.


As we ended our tour of this extraordinary facility, we received the best, last. As we were preparing to leave, we noticed the buses with autistic folks pulling up and we saw and felt a pure joy and a sense of belonging in their eyes and in their spirit. It was like they were returning home and the Living and Learning Enrichment Center was their home.

Mike Ladwig

More Photos

Most Ministries Humanitarian Mission Trip to Mexico

April 22 - April 29, 2023

My sincerest thanks to our Livonia A.M. Rotary Club in serving and partnering in a Mexico mission trip. We partnered with MOST Ministries out of Ann Arbor, a “MOST” mission team from Christ our King Lutheran Church in Saline, and YLM (Ysleta Lutheran Mission) in El Paso, Texas. We also partnered with the Zaragoza El Paso Rotary Club (who provided the key contacts, three translators, and volunteers alongside of the mission team), and the Club Rotario

Cuidad Juarez. The Juarez Rotary made up the $3,000 added costs on the project, which totaled $13,000 for the re-roofing and added foam to end the Winter storm water leakages. (The $13,000 did not include the mission team’s transportation and other costs, just the newly-redone roof [above], foam, removal of the old materials, etc.).

Read More

Starfish Family Services

May 12, 2023

Our speaker this past week was Jean Overman. This was Jean's second time speaking to our group. The first time she discussed Starfish Family Services, a support program providing high quality early childhood education and support for families in Inkster and surrounding areas. At our meeting Jean (a fellow Rotarian from Dearborn) gave us insight into Operation Refuge, Mothers Pantry, Camp Inspire STEM programs and LIT.

Camp Inspire and STEM is passionate about creating life changing experiences to girls in 5th -12th grade and increasing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) awareness especially in forensic science and coding.

Professionals from Apple, Google, and Schoolcraft College present programs to expose the girls to opportunities available to them, igniting possibilities for their future. The girls participate in Kids on Campus, get involved in 6 week career programs, and are made aware of scholarships. Mentors are a main part of Camp Inspire's program. The leaders work with parents and students to accept that education is important and a way out of poverty.


The LIT (leaders in training) program is mainly for boys 14 -24. The boys get exposed to different types of Trades that they might be interested in such as Construction. Jean told us that for many students, they had never held a hammer before entering the program. The idea is to get the students learning a trade while getting paid for their effort. 


Counseling is a major part of Operation Inspire, helping the kids deal with the closing of schools due to COVID and the lack of a community school since the Inkster school dissolved. There are five different school buses taking kids to various surrounding districts.

Mothers pantry is also part of Operation Refuge. The pantry operates like a grocery store, letting the client enter the store to select only the food that they want and need. 

Susan Paluchniak

COG Award Winner!

May 06, 2023

The Council of Governors (COG) Award is presented to that individual who demonstrates outstanding service in one of the avenues of service in Rotary and shows a continued commitment of service to their Rotary Club. Just as the "COG" represents an integral working part of the Rotary Logo Wheel, the individual represents a vital moving part of the Rotary Wheel of Service.

This prestigious award was presented to our club president, Tammy Bonifield at the District Conference in Windsor this past weekend. Congratulations, Tammy!

District Conference

May 05, 2023

This past weekend the Livonia AM Rotary Club had a strong presence at the District Conference at Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino. This was a joint conference between Districts 6340 and 6400. Club members Tammy Bonifield, Bob Carris, Sharon Pommerville, Claude Kendrick, and Bill Friske attended.

We were inspired and amazed at what other clubs are doing to impact Rotary’s 7 areas of focus around the world. On Saturday, we heard from our Rotary International President, Jennifer Jones. She spoke of her experiences with Polio eradication efforts and her interactions with Rotarians from around the world. On Sunday, we heard from Mitch Albom who discussed his long work running the orphanage in Haiti since the category 7 earthquake in 2010. For the last few years, he has traveled to the orphanage every month to help start a school there and get medical care. 

There were many other impactful relevant speakers and projects, too many to mention. Many ideas were shared, notes were taken, and inspirational thoughts were spoken. Networking was happening at every break, event, and meal to engage Rotarians to collaborate and share. 

Our Club was awarded the Richard Hedke Award for Outstanding Club Administration. 

Bob Carris and Sharon Pommerville were recognized as Paul Harris Fellows. The Paul Harris recognition is awarded to Rotarians who contribute $1,000 or more to the Annual Fund or PolioPlus.

Tammy Bonifield was awarded the prestigious Council of Governors (COG) Award. Next year the District conference will be in Grand Rapids hosted by the Amway Grand Hotel.

Bob Carris and Claude Kendrick

More Photos

Club Assembly

May 03, 2023

Last week we held our Club Assembly. We had an informative discussion pertaining to our yearly club dues. We were informed by President Tammy that our per-member fees to Rotary International and the District will be increased this year. We reviewed where our annual dues are spent (Rotary International dues, District 6400 dues, PETS fees, Foundation contributions, Weekly donuts and coffee, and Zoom equipment costs). It was determined that a dues increase is needed. We heard a recommendation from John Clay for a 9% increase that received approval from all members after a lively discussion.

Next, we heard the Giving Committee Report from Larry Stephens. The following grant requests were approved:

  • Kids Coalition Against Hunger
  • Livonia Symphony Orchestra
  • Bottoms Up Diapers Bank
  • SPN Survivors

The following requests were paused pending scheduled presentations to our club:

  • Autism Alliance of Michigan
  • Miracle League of Plymouth

Mike Ladwig

Earth Day Clean Up

April 22, 2023

Club member Erin Dobbins participated in the District 6380 clean-up for Earth Day at West Bloomfield High School.

Erin joined other Rotarians from that district when they volunteered at an Earth Day project replacing the wood chips and mulch on an interactive nature path behind West Bloomfield High School.

More Photos
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