Mission Accomplished – Bill Schimmel’s book about the life of Jacob Tipsico

November 27, 2012

Bill Schimmel was a long-time Milford Township resident and member of the board of directors for the Milford Historical Society. Bill passed away this year after a long bout with cancer, but not before finishing a project that he had worked on, off and on, for the last ten years – a book based upon the life of a local Native American member of the Chippewa tribe – Jacob Tipsico. Yes, this was the man for which Tipsico Lake was named and subsequently Tipsico Lake Road.

Bill was always interested in Native American history and memorabilia. He was part Native American himself, based upon research into his family history that revealed a Cherokee relative several generations back. Bill was a collector of local arrow heads and there is an exhibit of some of those at the Milford Historical Society Museum. Bill became interested in tracing the man and his family for which Tipsico Lake was named after he stumbled upon the lake while out Christmas tree shopping years ago. His interest eventually turned into a passion and then into a mission to do the research and gather the information necessary to document the life of this local Native American. Bill enlisted the aid of a friend and artist, Thomas Bem, to provide illustrations of events for which pictures could not be found and he enlisted local writer Joyce Clark to act as editor for the book.

Bill was himself an interesting man of many interests and talents. He was a Metallurgical Engineer for fifty years, working on the development of metals for the automotive and aerospace industries. He held several patents and had written many technical papers during his career. One of his proudest achievements was while he worked for Rocketdyne in California on the team that contributed to the landing of the Apollo 11 Mission, when man first walked on the moon. He retired as Director of Materials from Williams International, a local manufacturer of small jet engines in Walled Lake, Michigan, after working there for 31 years.

Most of us will probably not take the time or have the passion that Bill had to turn his interest in Jacob Tipsico into such a mission and then to devote so much time and energy into pursuing that mission. We are, however, better off that he did pursue his dream and now we have his wonderful book about the life and family of Jacob Tipsico. Tipsico was not listed as a chief in the documentation of the time that BIll could find and confirm, so Bill does not call him that either; but Tipsico was related to a long line of Chippewa chiefs and was perhaps the last vestige of what by then was a by-gone era.

Much of Bill’s book documents what was happening in that time to the Native American population and might make you cringe a bit today, but it is history worth knowing and Bill does a good job in the telling. They don’t teach about the “Trail of Tears” in school history classes, but Bill’s book contains a good lesson on that dark period in our nation’s history. Bill does a good job of setting the larger context of Native American life at that time and then goes on to document Jacob Tipsico’s life and family within that context.

The book – Jacob Tipsico – A Michigan Chippewa, His Life, His Family and the End of an Era – will be available at the Milford Historical Museum and selected local Milford retail stores. It is only $10 and should be a must-read for those interested in the history of the local area or in the history of the Native American population and what they endured as they were displaced by the invasion of white European settlers. Get a copy for yourself or as a gift for someone for Christmas. You can pair it up with a copy of Ten Minutes Ahead of the Rest of the World, the history of Milford, Michigan, to make a great coffee table set.

Have you had your hug today?

November 26, 2012

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this little gem to start the week – “A hug is a great gift. One size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange.” (Unknown).

Hugs are quite common is some cultures and relatively rare in others (such as ours), especially for men. Women in all cultures seem to be much more comfortable with (and prone to) hugging as a greeting. In some cultures hugs are accompanied by kisses on both cheeks; although that too has evolved into a sort of air-kiss bobbing of heads these days.

Deciding whether to hug or just shake hands can be awkward, especially if one party has already stock out their hand for the shake and the other has extended both arms for the hug. My general rule of thumb is to go for the hug, if either side has initiated it. Again, women seem more comfortable turning the greeting into a hug than men. Men seem to reserve hugs for the camaraderie of memorable sports moments or for special occasions like weddings or funerals; whereas women see hugs and a natural everyday thing to do.

I suppose it’s possible to have a heartfelt handshake with someone, but not nearly as effective as the warm embrace accompanied by some whispered sentiment that a hug allows. Of course whispering between men is another no-no in our society, unless it is at that special occasion. I guess men have substituted the pat on the back or slap on the butt for hugs. Those don’t work as well for people that you don’t know well or outside the euphoria of celebrating a special moment.

The really nice thing about a hug is that it usually makes both people feel better about themselves and the other party. So, greet someone with a hug today. They’ll feel better and you will, too.

Was that my last watch?

November 23, 2012

I’ve gone through a number of watches in my life, most of them relatively inexpensive (one could say cheap, but how crass is that) watches from Timex and the latest from Gruen. The newest watch, the Gruen, was I believe about $30 at Kohl’s. It has a Quartz-based time-keeping mechanism, so I assumed ti was fairly accurate. It seemed to be while it lasted.

The watch is still ticking away accurately but the cheap expansion band that it came with has broken. At $29 for the whole thing, it is likely not worth trying to get the band repaired and I’ve started thinking maybe this is the time (no pun intended, although hat was a good inadvertent one) to get rid of wrist watches for good.

Almost no one younger than 20-25 wears a watch anymore. They look at their phone instead. Modern smartphone, and for that matter almost all phones these days, have the time displayed when they are in idle mode. So not only do modern kids do everything on importance to them through their phones, they also use it in place of a watch.

So, now I’m faced with the dilemma of what to do about telling me the time. I almost always have my phone with me; so checking it will give me that information; however, I find myself constantly checking my non-blank wrist to see what time it is. Old habits like that die hard.

I may just have to break another old habit and move along with the tide of the 21st Century. I’ll let you know if I can get along without my wristwatch. Hey, by the way , do you know what time it is?

Get help for your parties

November 21, 2012

We’re entering the heavy party season, which will last right through New Year’s Day. I recall when I used to party hardy, but now I hardly party. Some of that is because of the work involved in throwing a party and some due to concerns about getting a ticket (and heaven forbid a DUI) for driving home after a few too many.

As a service to my Web site visitors (and to my readers here), I have posted some Seasonal Business Referrals on my Move to Milford Web site. Check them out if you need help throwing a great party that everyone can enjoy without worrying.

As you are planning your party you will probably come up with a list of things that you need, but don’t have – extra tables and chairs and other things that you really only need once for the party. Don’t run out and buy anything. Call Paula Phaneuf at Uncle Buck’s Party Rental – 248-666-5432 or visit them on the Web at www.unclebucksparty.com and rent it for the night. There’s probably not anything that you need that Paula can’t supply to make it a memorable party.

The first is for a local catering service – Two Women and a Tray. Milford-based  Wendy Brown can not only cater the food for your party, but she can also supply servers, if needed. Check the company out at http://www.freewebs.com/twowomenandatray/  You can relax and have a great party if you don’t have to worry about the food.

Contact Wendy at 248-894-0531 or email her at wb2womenandatray@comcast.net

Another great touch to add class to a party and some peace of mind is to have a SafeServ certified bartender to serve your guests and keep and eye out for someone who is having too much. Heather Marquis is a professional (and Michigan ServeSafe Certified) bartender who will bring that little extra to your party. She can mix up specialty cocktails or just be there to serve your guests beer and wine – all with a smile that will light up the room.

You can reach Heather on her Web site – http://heathershappyhour.weebly.com/ or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/heathershappyhour or call her at (248) 242-3887

The final service that you may wish to consider or recommend to friends involves the driving home part. No one wants to get pulled over and perhaps get a DUI ticket on their record. The local business SnowBird Drivers has a service that provides drivers for the night. Snowbird Drivers was co-founded by George Hayden and Rick Tymoc originally to provide the service of driving people’s cars to Florida or other warm climes in the winter. They have since added quite a few services, including fleet car moves and this designated driver service. They use you car and basically drive you to and from the party. They don’t go to the party and don’t drink while on duty, so you get a sober driver to make sure that you get home safely. The cost is certainly less than what a DUI will cost you. Call 248-381-4099 or Toll Free: 866-381-4099.

So, get out of your hardly party rut and party hardy again! With the help of these folks you can relax and enjoy your party as much as your guests do.


Choose yor own market update

November 19, 2012

My company – Real Estate One – has always been at the forefront of the Internet wave and now they’ve introduced a new tool that I can make available to you, so that you can choose which local markets for which you’d like to see an update. Just click on the Graphic below to be taken to a site where you’ll get to make your choice of local markets.

The market updates won’t give you specific data about sales in the area but focus more on the trends like whether more or less homes were listed or sold. For specific data on sales in the markets that I track, you’ll still need to go to my Web site www.movetomilford.com and click on the link “What have homes in this area sold for?”

The site above will give you soem good info on the trends inteh area and tracks many more marekts than I do. I have put this site on both my Move to Milford site and my www.themilfordteam.com site. Enjoy!

Dealing with Dumb and dumber…

November 17, 2012

It is so tiresome to have to spend my time fixing Microsoft’s problems. One would think that after 30+ years of making PC operating system software Microsoft could get it right enough to keep the system operating, even if there are upgrades to stuff (especially if it’s Microsoft stuff to begin with). Yet I have struggled for two days, going to on-line forums and trying the advice that I found there to get sound back on my HP laptop – all to no avail.

Sound which was working a few days ago just stopped  working recently. Oddly enough there was also one of those Annoying Microsoft Updates that took place just at about the same time. Now I’m trying to get sound back. It says it’s working when I do all of the recommended  troubleshooting, but no sound is coming out of the speaker or the headphones if I plug them in. I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled the CODEX driver for sound – nothing. I’ve run all of the recommended trouble shooting software  – nothing. I even bought RegCure to fix the registry (it found 1024 problems ion my computer and fixed them, but none had any impact on the silence).

I’m not sure what is next. It would be to junk this Microsoft/Intel  PC and get into an Apple PC, if I could afford it. Alas I’m stuck with this MicroTel mess that the modern PC has evolved into.

Today, after having tried for two days to fix the mess of Dumb, I hit Dumber from Comcast. All of a sudden my internet stopped working…sort of. I could get to some things but not others. I could get email but I couldn’t “see” my own web sites. At first I thought it must be the host for my sites, but they quickly responded that everything on their end was OK. So, I call tech support for Comcast and eventually got them to admit that the problems that I am experiencing were because of “the outage”. I asked what “the outage” was and of course it is the problem that is causing my problems…no explanation of where or why or when it will be fixed… just the vague explanation that things should be good in 2-3 days, unless I want to buy some chargeable tech support and then everything could be better right away. Now, I really didn’t buy into that, but it seemed a sleazy thing to even offer at the time.

So, I’m still suffering through “the outage”, which means that internet service comes and goes and is relatively random, in terms of what it is when it works. Now I have a mute PC that can only sometimes connect to the Internet and I’m at the mercy of Dumb and Dumber to make things better. I may have to move to an Apple PC on a 4GL public carrier network to get these problems resolved. I certainly have little faith that MiccoTel and Comcast will provide any real help. They are the problem, not the solution.

Milford Area Market Report

November 15, 2012

There are lots of articles about the national real estate market and the occasional article about the Michigan market; but how are we doing locally? Here’s my attempt to give you a snapshot of our local market. I invite you to visit my web site www.movetomilford.com if you want to see all of the statistics that I have been collecting all year long. I’ll use a combination of charts from Altos Research and my own local market data from the Multi-List Service, which I update and report weekly.

The Milford market (Township and Village) –

Year-to-date Stats thru November 11 –

Key – SEV = State Equalized Value (what the assessors thought they were worth), DOM = Days on Market, the last two are what the sellers ask and got per square foot for the homes

The Commerce Township market –

Year-to-Date Stats –

The Highland Township market –

Year-to-Date Stats

The White Lake Township market –

Year-to-Date Stats

Great stats and charts, but what does this all mean?

You can see just in four markets that are right next to each other how volatile and variable the real estate market is right now. The Milford market is generally up in home sales values; however the chart also points to both inventory and average sale values falling. That is because so much of the middle of the normal market is still frozen and what is selling lately has been mainly on the lower end. That inventory has fallen too, so right now it’s just hard to find a good house in Milford.

The Commerce market, which includes data from Walled Lake and Wolverine Lake, has sort of flat-lined out at the current level. At least that level was generally higher than the market has been, but the Commerce market is still dominated by lower end sales and enough foreclosures and short sales to keep values under $100/Sq Ft for the year. The Commerce market actually broke through the $100/Sq Ft barrier in October and you can see that if you go look at the archive of monthly stats that I keep at the www.movetomilford.com web site.

Highland Township’s market looks to be following a traditional supply vs. demand curve, with average sale values going up as the inventory comes down. The Highland market has actually been over $100/Sq Ft for three months now, but it was so depressed for a long while that it will take a bit before that is reflected in the Y-T-D stats. You can still get a fairly good deal on homes in Highland.

The White Lake market trails the rest and has yet to react to the falling inventory by showing higher average sale values. White Lake is another market that has been greatly impacted by foreclosures and short sales. The market is still about 40% distressed sales and you can still finds homes for under $90/SqFt. You will also find more lower-priced homes in White Lake than in the other three.