Take a Taste of the Valley and support the Youth Assistance Program

February 9, 2014

We are a country that believes that our future lies in the hands of our youth and that our youth are to be nurtured and allowed to develop, so that they can be ready for that future. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) said it best when he said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

YA logoOne of the lesser-known, but quite successful programs in Oakland County is the Youth Assistance Program (YA) – a community-based program whose mission is to strengthen youth and families and to prevent and reduce delinquency, neglect, and abuse through community involvement.

Youth Assistance programs are community-based, and developed by volunteers who live and/or work in the communities in which they serve. The Circuit Court provides the professional staff to work with the volunteers and to provide direct casework services. Each local Youth Assistance program operates under the sponsorship and financial support of its local school district, the municipalities therein and the Probate Court/Circuit Court-Family Division. Additional funding is obtained through grants, donations, and local fund-raising efforts.

Youth Assistance provides free, confidential, short- term, family-centered counseling and referral services for young people, 17 years of age or younger and their families, who live or attend school in Oakland County. Referrals are accepted from schools, police, neighbors, and parents themselves with concerns about their child. The Family Division’s Intake Unit diverts cases when, in their judgment, Youth Assistance services are most appropriate. Typical reasons for referral include retail fraud, school and home problems, assault, alcohol and other drug abuse, and violations of local ordinances.

The Huron Valley School District, in partnership with the Courts and the Townships of Milford andmentoring Highland runs the Huron Valley Youth Assistance Program. The YA program includes things like family education aimed at improving communications between youth and their parents, mentoring where in adult volunteers are match with youth who may need guidance and companionship, tutoring, after-school activities and recreation, camping and community services projects. For the Huron Valley Youth Assistance Program the annual Taste of the Valley fundraiser is a key to providing the funds necessary to let the volunteers do the work that needs to be done with the youth.

This year the Taste of the Valley is being held on Thursday, February 27, 2014 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm at  Baker’s of Milford  on S. Milford Road, Milford. The event features Cuisine Samples from the Area’s Finest Restaurants, a Raffle and Auction for donated items.

Taste of the Valley Tickets are available for $20.00 pre-sale and $25.00 at door. A Cash bar will also be available.

Tickets may be purchased at:

Highland Township Offices – 205 N. Jon St, Highland, MI 48357

Milford Township Offices – 1100 Atlantic St, Milford, MI 48381

Huron Valley Youth Assistance, Duck Lake Center – 5061 North Duck Lake Rd., Highland, MI 48356

For additional information please call: 248-676-8499

You may view the event poster by clicking here.

So, come on out on Feb 27 and meet some of the people who make this program work for the youth of the Huron Valley. My wife and I went last year and plan to be there this year, too. We met many of the dedicated YA volunteers, as well as some of the youth that have been helped by the program. You’ll be glad that you attended.


Winter Fun Comes to Milford – Community Snow Day

January 31, 2014

Milford Community Snow Day 2014Bundle up the kids and come join the fun at the Milford Community Snow Day at Central Park. Mark your calendars for February 8th from 3:00 to 5:00. This event is brought to you by the Milford Township Parks and Recreation and is free to all.

Sometimes you just have to go for it, even if it’s cold or snowy and this is one of those times. This winter event is designed to get everybody out and moving and give families something fun to do.

There will be lots of activities, including winter crafts and games (one might assume that there could be a snowball fight or two, whether planned or not), sledding and skating and a visit with a sled dog. A storyteller will also be on hand to entertain the young.

More physical activities will include snowshoeing and kayak tobogganing (much less dangerous than kayaking on the river at this time of the year). There will be a bonfire and, of course, cocoa and cookies and S’Mores.  Maybe there’ll be a stray marshmallow or two to roast.

So, starting getting your outdoor fun outfits ready and plan on joining your neighbors at Milford’s Central Park for this afternoon of fun. To view the event poster full size, click here.


Help the Milford Historical Society when you shop at Kroger

January 23, 2014

Kroger_logo

Shop at Kroger and help the Milford Historical Society

Did you know that you can sign up your Kroger Rewards card for the Kroger Community Rewards program and the Milford Historical Society will receive quarterly donations from the Kroger program, based upon how much you spend at Kroger on groceries, gas and at the Pharmacy?

This program is part of Kroger’s give-backs to the communities that they serve and does not impact at all the points that you get for gas discounts. It is an additional donation that Kroger makes to support local non-profit organizations in the communities that they are located in.

Click here to read a Frequently Asked Questions article about the program. The Historical Society will be registered, but each person who wishes to contribute will have to re-register annually.

Click here or on the Kroger graphic to go to the Kroger Community Rewards site and sign up.

A new rewards year starts MAY 1st and you must sign up each year, so there’s still plenty of time to sign up for the current year and get the donations rolling before the May 1 renewal date.

The Non-Profit Organization (NPO) number for the Milford Historical Society under this program is 91661. Write that down, because you’ll need to enter it at the Kroger Community rewards site. You do not have to live in Milford in order to support this effort, just shop at your local Kroger store and register your Kroger Rewards card to this worthy charity.

If you don’t have a computer or feel comfortable using one, bring your Kroger card to the next Milford Historical Society General Membership meeting and we’ll help you sign up. You can find out when and where those meetigns are taking place by going to our Web site – www.milfordhistory.org.  You can also come into the Museum when it reopens on a Wednesday or Saturday between 1 & 4 PM and we’ll help you register your card to help the Milford Historical Society. While you’re there, if you aren’t a member, you can join the society, if you’d like. Remember our motto – you don’t have to be a relic to be a member.

Even if you aren’t a member of the Milford Historical Society, you can register your card to help support the MHS and the Milford Historical Museum. Having a group dedicated to preserving and sharing our area history and a museum right in town is not something that many local communities have, so we hope that you will help out in this painless way to help keep Milford the great place that it is to live and work.


Milford lost one of its own this weekend…

December 23, 2013

I received word this morning that Craig Baker passed away during the night last night. Craig was a neighbor and a friend. Craig was also a lifelong resident of Milford and the grandson of the long-time Huron Valley teacher named Bertha Baker, for who the recently demolished Baker Grade School was named when it was built. Craig’s father ran the drug store in Milford for many years.

I knew Craig as a neighbor and fellow board member on the Milford Historical Society Board of Directors. I walked my dogs by Criag’s house 3-4 times a day and often encountered he and his dog Willie out in the yard. We always stopped and chatted. Craig was a big man, as was his dog Willie, And both could appear to be intimidating, until you got to know them. Craig was a gentle giant with a soft heart who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. And Willie was a lumbering Laborador who just wanted a quick sniff and maybe a pet on the head.

Craig always had a story about something from Milford’s past and was a walking history book about people and places long gone in Milford. He had a lawn tractor with a blade on it and often cleared the snow from the sidewalks on both sides of Union Street all the way from Detroit St. to Union St. He also cleared the drives of several of the elderly widows in the area and for the last couple of year of the Milford Historical Museum, too.

I’m sure that other lifelong residents of Milford have lots of stories to share about Craig in his younger years. From the snippets that he shared with me from time to time Craig had his share of youthful adventures in Milford while growing up and a few as an adult. No one could accuse Craig of being devious or coy – he always let you know where he stood on things and held many strong opinions on local issues. We often talked about those, too.

Craig attended a little neighborhood party at my house the day before he entered the hospital for complications from kidney stones. He never returned home from that months long battle to recover in various hospitals. I will miss Craig and our little chats every day. Rest in peace Craig Baker.


Christmas Open House at the Museum

December 2, 2013

museumOn Dec 8, the Milford Historical Society will be hosting a  Christmas Open House from 12 noon until  4 PM at the Milford Historical Museum 124 E. Commerce St. Visitors will see the Museum decorated for the holidays,  listen to Victorian Christmas carols and Victorian Story-telling, and taste Victorian treats. Shop various crafted items and museum gifts for the holidays! Experience Christmas the way it used to be way back when.

The perfect Christmas gift for any resident of Milford is a copy of the book “Ten Minutes Ahead of the Rest of the World”, the history of Milford from its founding through the turn of the century. If you’ve ever wondered about life in the pioneer days or the mid-century 1800’s, when Milford was just getting started, this is a great read. It also has the histories of most of the historic homes in the Village – who built it and when and who was the first owner. The book has great pictures of homes and life in Milford during the 1800’s, as well as the great stories. Read about the great bank failure in Milford and who absconded with the money. Read about the first settlers in Milford and where they came from. It’s a must have book, if you live in Milford.

Tours of the Museum will be conducted by costumed docents  and the museum’s living areas will be decorated in the style of the periods that they depict. The museum’s second floor features a living room, dining room kitchen and bedroom all furnished as they might have been back in the 1800’s, along with displays of the toys of that era and lots of photos of Milford in the 1800s.

In addition to the sights to see, there will be old time caroling and treats to taste from the Victorian era (all freshly made of course).  A cookbook that contains the recipes for many of the treats and more will also be on sale. There are picture books, T-shirts and other items for sale in the Museum store.

So, come share a bit of Milford’s history, be entertained and have a snack while you shop or take the tour of the upper floor.  If you’ve never been to the Museum, this is a perfect opportunity. Admission is free, although we do request that you make a donation to the Museum, if you are able.


Weekend update – Christmas kick-off…

November 30, 2013

Today is the Christmas Parade in Downtown Milford. The parade is organized by the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce (HVCC) and is one of the “Big 3” parades in Milford during the year. The other two are the Memorial Day Parade and the 4th Of July Parade.

I’ll be in the parade today as an honoree, having been named the HVCC Ambassador of the Year. That means riding in the back of a convertible, which will be a very chilly, albeit, at a parade-time temperature of about 30 degrees, still a heartwarming experience. The parade steps off at 10 am and winds through the downtown. Afterwards stick around in Milford and shop the local shops on Small Business Saturday. They have some great sales going on today.

santaSanta will arrive in Milford at the Christmas Parade to officially kick off the Christmas season (notwithstanding the fact that many stores had Christmas stuff on display before Halloween). Santa will be a busy guy with many personal appearances in the Milford area.

On Dec 5th the downtown merchants will host an open house with visits to Santa for the kids, strolling music and refreshments.  Santa will also be holding forth on Dec 7 and 15 at the Pettibone Creek Powerhouse on West Canal Street (north end of Central Park) for Pet Pictures with Santa. A donation of pet food to Community Sharing is all that’s required to get your pet’s picture taken with Santa either day. You’ll get the picture on thesanta-paws spot. Click here to view the poster for this event. Santa will also host Snacks with Santa out at Kensington Metropark at the Farm Center at 10 AM, noon and 2 PM on Dec 7 & 8. Tickets for that event are $10. Preregistration Required Call 810-227-8910 to order your tickets.

Speaking of pet pictures, the 2014 Pet Calendar, also sponsored by the Community Sharing Pet Pantry makes a great Christmas gift that will bring a smile to the face throughout the year. The calendar is only $10 and you can buy the calendar at several locations in Milford. Click here for the flyer with locations.

The gallery opening of the fourth annual Festival of Trees Holiday Artist Market, presented by HVCA’s The Art Shop, opens with a reception Friday, Dec. 7; it will start at 7 p.m. with the Kettle and Friends holiday concert running simultaneously at Huron Valley Council for the Arts, 205 W. Livingston Road in Highland. Tickets are $15; purchase them online at huronvalleyarts.org or in person at HVCA. Guests will have the chance to enjoy wine and appetizers as well as the concert’s holiday selections and get first crack at the holiday market’s wares. Click here for more information about the event and the market. The market will be open until 9 p.m. and during regular gallery hours through Saturday, Dec. 21. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the concert. Gallery hours for Festival of Trees Holiday Artist Market take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call HVCA at 248-889-8660.

HVCA Holiday Pops COncert posterOn December 13th the Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra comes to the area for a Holiday Pops concert at the Walled Lake Northern Center for Performing Arts. Click here for more on this event. General Admission tickets are $15 for this concert with starts at 7:30 PM.

As always, to stay up to date on all of the events in the area, check in often at www.movetomilford.com where the calendar of events is updated daily.


Small Business Saturday in Milford…

November 29, 2013

Nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a relatively new named shopping day – Small Business Saturday. This Shop Small day was originally an American Express promotional idea that has taken on an identity of its own. The basic idea and thrust behind this can be summed up in another oft heard phrase – Shop local or there won’t be any local.

The danger to small local businesses has never been greater. The small retail shops that make up the Main Street stores of America are under tremendous pressure from both the big box stores and from the Internet. There is just no way for your local toy store or clothing store or shoe store to compete on price with the big box stores. Instead many emphasize that they have products that you just won’t find in the big box stores or they may have more selections of specific brands. They also provide much more personalized service and in most cases are closer and easier to get to than the big mall stores.

Milford has one of the few remaining small town downtown areas that is still full of useful stores – Main Street Signstores that sell things other than knick-knacks or antiques.  One can still shop in Milford for clothing and shoes, in addition to toys and jewelry and candy and furniture and more. Sure, we have some nice knick-knack stores, too; but the point is that the downtown still provides a good, diverse shopping experience. The same cannot be said of many of the small towns on this side of Michigan.

The big box stores most often came in and positioned themselves just outside of the towns and villages, most of the time between two or three. Once they took hold, local downtown areas withered and many gave way to the trend to turn the quaint old downtown buildings into antique stores or knick-knack boutiques. Milford was far enough away from the I-96 highway that the big box stores chose to congregate around to avoid some of that impact, but they still had and have an impact.

I think that the attractiveness of many of our restaurants also helps. When you have 2-3 destination restaurants (restaurants that people will drive for more than 5 miles to get to, because they are so good) it helps draw people to the downtown. They walk up and down the street, sometimes visiting the shops and sometimes just making note of shops that they want to come back and visit. It helps.

So this Saturday, Nov 30, after the Christmas parade at 10 AM, plan on staying in Milford for some santashopping. Many of the merchants will have special sales going for Small Business Saturday. Plan on coming back on December 5th when the local merchants will host a Christmas Open House, with strolling entertainment and refreshments provides by the stores. Bring the kids, because Santa will be here too. Get in the spirit of Christmas in small town America – It’s a wonderful life!


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