Monday, May 18, 2015

Swing Your Clubs to Combat Childhood Hunger


May 18, 2015
Contact: Suzanne Baker
Cell: 734-679-8294

Swing Your Clubs to Combat Childhood Hunger
1st Annual Golf Outing to Benefit Blessings in a Backpack-Livonia

Livonia, MI, May 18, 2015– On June 6th, Blessings in a Backpack-Livonia is holding its 1st Annual Golf Outing at Idyl Wyld Golf Course on Five Mile Road in Livonia. This exciting event, with an 8 am shotgun start, will include 4 person scramble, 18 holes of golf with cart, free use of range in the morning, various golf-related contests, a 50/50 raffle, Silent Auction, and dinner at the One Under Restaurant. Registration for golf and dinner is $100, while the fee for dinner only is $30.  To register, please contact Audra Rons at, 248-701-3277 or Jan Wilson at, 248.505.3778, or register online at

 Blessings in a Backpack-Livonia is a community based program run by volunteers to address the problem of weekend childhood hunger in the Livonia Public School System. Each week backpacks are filled with six meals, consisting of foods such as tuna, chicken, peanut butter, macaroni & cheese, oatmeal, fruit juices, soup, beef ravioli, canned fruit and granola bars, by volunteers and distributed Fridays to participating "at-risk" students at Garfield Elementary. The program plans to add two additional schools this fall.

To learn more, to donate, or to volunteer, Visit Blessings in a Backpack-Livonia’s Facebook page ( or connect with BIAB-Livonia through Twitter or Instagram (/BIAB_Livonia).

Friday, May 15, 2015

Olympia boss to detail new arena project at chamber luncheon

(Thursday, May 14, 2015) - Local business leaders are planning to gather Wednesday in Livonia to hear from one of the key people overseeing construction of a new arena for the Detroit Red Wings and other developments coming to Detroit.

Tom Wilson, the president and CEO of Olympia Entertainment, will speak at an 11:30 a.m. luncheon at Laurel Manor for members of the Livonia, Westland, Plymouth and Canton chambers of commerce.

Wilson represents the Illitch family organization that is leading this significant redevelopment that will produce the new arena, scheduled to open sometime in 2017, and surround it with a new entertainment and housing district. The overall effort will connect existing and new developments in downtown and midtown Detroit along Woodward Avenue with five walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods.

In all, according to Illitch organization reports, the entire project is expected to generate at least $1.8 billion in total economic impact, 8,300 construction and other spin-off jobs, and 1,100 permanent jobs. The overall goal is to build a one-of-a-kind venue for hockey, music, entertainment, and community events, surrounded by modern housing geared for those who want to live in an urban environment.

Wilson plans to provide pictures and descriptions of all components of the entire development district, and he will directly answer questions from the audience.

Seats are still available for this luncheon at Laurel Manor, located on Schoolcraft Avenue just west of Newburgh Road. Admission is $30 for members of either chamber, or $40 for the general public. For more information or to reserve seats, contact the Livonia Chamber at 734.427.2122 or 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Constant Contact demos, cars highlight Business Expo May 6

Several cars will be on display, professionals can get free demonstrations to use the online marketing service Constant Contact, and some 100 local vendors will promote their goods and services as part of the Livonia Business Expo on Wednesday, May 6, at Laurel Park Place Mall. 

The 29th annual Livonia Chamber of Commerce event is presented by AlphaUSA, Madonna University, Level One Bank and Laurel Park Place Mall. The daylong celebration of the Livonia business community features a full schedule of helpful speakers, business displays, business networking, and prize giveaways, capped off by an evening restaurant event and silent auction.

“This is our biggest annual event that supports business-to-business and consumer-to-business activity,” said Chamber President Dan West. “We will have a little something for everyone, and it is a great introduction to some 100 businesses from our community.”  

The Expo begins with the Business Breakfast Roundtable, sponsored by Schoolcraft College, Davenport University, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan which features a panel of news columnists and political leaders at 8 a.m. Livonia Mayor Jack Kirksey, Westland Mayor Bill Wild, Detroit Free Press Business Columnist Tom Walsh, and Detroit News Editorial Page Editor Nolan Finley are scheduled to discuss state and local business trends, and provide immediate analysis of May 5 election regarding Proposal One, a statewide vote on a plan to increase the state’s sales tax to pay more road repairs and other programs.

The 90-minute program will be held at the Marriott Hotel banquet room, attached to the Mall. Admission is $15 per person.

Exhibitors promoting local businesses and organizations will be on display throughout the concourse of the Mall from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

A unique business networking opportunity is available to chamber members at 2 p.m. Networking Frenzy, sponsored by Community Choice Credit Union, will give business people a quick and effective gathering to meet new people and discuss business issues in one hour. The cost is $5 per person and the program is limited to 50 chamber members.

The day concludes with the “Tastefully Livonia” program, presented by Tennyson Chevrolet and Foresters Financial Partners, a business-casual networking event in the Marriott Hotel banquet room from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Food samples from Livonia’s leading restaurants, music, and a silent auction will highlight the popular nightcap to the Expo. Admission is $20 per person, which includes two drink tickets.

Other sponsors of the Livonia Business Expo includes: Constant Contact,  Livonia Spree, Dave and Buster’s,  Consumers Energy, Edward Jones Investments: Robin Whitfield, Financial Advisor, Freedom Hill Ampitheater,  and The Livonia Observer. 

While the Expo features four programs in one day, it also gives attendees a chance to see some of the ongoing renovations to the mall. Laurel Park Place management recently announced some $5 million in renovations to modernize the 500,000-square-foot mall and make room for the retailer, H&M, which is scheduled to open later this year.

There are a few exhibit spaces remaining for the Livonia Business Expo. For more information on exhibit space or to purchase admissions to the Business Breakfast Roundtable or Tastefully Livonia, contact the Livonia Chamber of Commerce at 734.427.2122, or follow the chatter on Twitter at #livbizexpo.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Justice Richard Bernstein: Hire Michiganders with disabilities

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 
Laura Biehl, Lt. Governor’s Office
TJ Bucholz, Justice Bernstein’s Office

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Justice Richard Bernstein: Hire Michiganders with disabilities 
MI Hidden Talent tour will highlight untapped skills, local hiring resources   
LANSING, Mich. – Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein today announced a partnership to highlight the opportunities for hiring Michiganders with disabilities across the state.
The MI Hidden Talent tour aims to showcase the skills of Michiganders with disabilities that are often overlooked. The effort will encourage businesses to develop disability hiring policies while connecting businesses with resources to fulfill workforce needs. 
“Hiring Michiganders with disabilities would change the dynamic for many companies across our state,” Calley said. “There are more than 500,000 working-age adults whose talent could move a company to the next level – but they need to be given a chance first. We are working to implement more inclusive employment policies at the state level and are ready to encourage businesses statewide to do the same with this tour. The time is long overdue to celebrate different abilities in the workplace.”
At each stop, Calley and Bernstein will highlight a local business setting an example for others in hiring as well as local partners available to help other businesses follow suit. 
 “Employers that hire disabled people are ultimately rewarded with team members who bring passion, energy, and loyalty to the workplace. Disabled employees rally their fellow workers and serve as a unified force who can teach the values of resiliency, compassion, and understanding,” said Justice Richard Bernstein. “More often than not, people who have infirm bodies also possess the strongest souls and the most powerful spirits, traits which enhance the workplace and our economy as a whole. People with disabilities are hardworking, energetic, and engaged people who will be loyal to their employer. The offer of employment for a disabled person is a game changer – they do more and achieve more because they are thrilled to have been given an opportunity.”
The tour will include seven stops. The first three include:
Wayne/Oakland County: Monday, March 30; 5-7 p.m. at Embassy Suites, Livonia, MI
Hosted by Livonia, Westland and Farmington Chambers.
Upper Peninsula: Tuesday, March 31; 11 a.m. at Holiday Inn in Marquette
Hosted by the Lake Superior Community Partnership, the Greater Ishpeming Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce and 40 Below.
Great Lakes Bay: Wednesday, April 1 at 11:30 a.m. at Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw; Hosted by Saginaw Chamber and Dow.
Businesses interested in attending these events should contact host chambers to register. Details for the remaining tour stops will be announced soon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Analysis of state vote May 5 to increase sales tax rate to fund road repairs, other programs

Voters are being asked to increase Michigan’s sales tax rate from 6% to 7%, which would increase state revenues by about $2 billion per year, create a series of Constitutional and statutory changes that impact rates and methods for collecting fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees, and mandate spending increases for certain programs. If approved, the proposal would provide at least $1.2 billion more for road and bridge maintenance, $300 million more for school aid, nearly $100 million more for local governments, $130 million more for public transit, increase earned income tax credits for low-income families by $260 million, add $40 million more for at-risk school programs, and revise competitive bidding and warranties for road work.

The Livonia Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, Executive Committee, and Board of Directors analyzed the proposal and noted there were strong opinions among Chamber members who support and oppose this proposal. Accordingly, the Board of Directors concludes the following:

The Livonia Chamber of Commerce will not take a position involving this matter, but the Chamber prepared this balanced analysis of the proposal to better educate chamber members.

While there is agreement that additional investment is needed to better repair our roads, there are many questions about the long-term impact of the constitutional and statutory provisions in this proposal. We could not find consensus among our membership to take a position for or against the measure. Each side offers debate as to the ways to adequately fund necessary road repairs.

Those who support the measure contend:

  •  Michigan invests the least per capita in road repair compared to any other state in the Midwest, and increasing the sales tax to 7% would keep Michigan near the national median for this tax.
  • The earmarked increased spending from this proposal is mandated and cannot be manipulated by legislative action. Supporters add there is widespread support for more state investment in the other programs beyond roads and bridge repairs.
  • They acknowledge there is no perfect proposal to fund roads, but the roads are in need of repair and there is no alternative plan in place to increase road repair funding if voters defeat this measure.

Those against the measure argue:

  • This is a poorly-constructed proposal developed in an 11th hour deal during December’s lame duck legislative session where lawmakers deferred their responsibilities to increase road funding to the voters.
  • They are more likely to support a measure to exclusively provide more road repair funding. They do not like the “Christmas Tree” approach to funding several other elements when polling indicates that most residents are in favor of boosting funding only for roads.
  • They also fear there are long-term detrimental issues with the Constitutional changes in this proposal which only can be reversed through another statewide referendum.

Prepared March 6, 2015