Businesses supporting worthy charities…

November 10, 2014

Recently, at one of our Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce Coffee Club events, there was a speaker from an organizationvista-maria-logo called Vista Maria. Vista Maria is a safe harbor for girls who need help. There are a great variety of reasons that a girl might end up at Vista Maria, but the bottom line is that does provide a place where they can go to be safe, get help and start the journey back to a more normal life. Vista Maria provides a physical shelter and a range of programs and services to help girls get back on track and prepare for life.

One of the issues that the representative from Vista Maria discussed was human trafficking. In our supposedly modern and sophisticated society one would seldom think of that problem as happening here, but it does. Michigan has a human trafficking problem and its location next to Canada makes it an easier target for traffickers. We are not one of the top four states for human trafficking, but likely are in the top-10 list. The top states are California, Texas, Florida and New York.

In the U.S. much of the human trafficking is for the sex trade, but a significant amount is still to be found in forced labor amounting to slavery. We’ve had cases of both in the news this past year in this area. To read a report from the Polaris organization that tracks this problem and works to get state laws enacted to combat it, click here.

Drug addiction, either directly or associated with the girls’ parents is one of the biggest problems that lead girls to Vista Maria. Many come from broken families or families that have been forced into homelessness. Some come to the shelter as children with children of their own already. Most have been forced to drop out of school due to their circumstances. Vista Maria offers shelter, services, educational opportunities and programs to get them back on their feet and headed in a better direction. You can find out more about Vista Maria at its web site – or call 313-271-3050. Vista Maria is located in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, at 20651 W. Warren Ave. 48127.

Vista Maria was at the Coffee Club because they are one of the causes that are supported by the Affinity Foundation for
Affinity Group logoMichigan Kids (see ), the charity foundation of the Affinity Group of Credit Unions – – which was the host for the Coffee Club. Affinity Group Credit Union is a group of 6 credit Unions in Southeastern Michigan. This Coffee Club was held at the Kensington Valley Community Credit Union location on John St in Highland, Michigan.

Another children-oriented program that the Affinity Group has going on right now is aimed at making a local Kid’s Holiday Brighter by filling a stocking for Christmas. One may donate $5 or any of the items on their list of things for children of various ages. Click here to view their flyer on that program.

The Affinity Group is just one of many area companies and organizations that support local or national charities. The company that I work with – Real Estate One – is a big supporter of the Michigan Special Olympics and the American Cancer Society, among others. Our company encourages employees and its associates to run local fund-raising events by matching the monies collected from those event 50 cents on the dollar, through its Real Estate One Foundation. Does your company have a charity program? Find out how you can help.

Mathnasium comes to the Huron Valley

November 7, 2014


Coming soon to the Huron Valley – Mathnasium of West Huron Valley!

So, what the heck is a Mathnasium? It’s a facility and staff for tutoring young people in math and math alone. There is quite a story behind the founding of this focused tutoring operation, which now has franchises all over the world. You can click here to go to the headquarters site and view the video by founder Larry Matinek – click on his picture to view the video.

I’d equate this to a gymnasium with personal trainers. First they evaluate where you are starting from, what your current math skill level is; and then they design and implement a custom tutoring program to get you up to where you need to be or want to be. Most students start out testing below their current grade level, so an initial goal is to at least get there. There is no reason to stop there and getting ahead of your grade level might open up opportunities for advance placement programs and more. Once you get started on the program your “personal trainer” is there with you to implement the program and provide the tutoring and the motivation to succeed.

In this area, with the automotive industry’s heavy need for math savvy workers and engineers, a program like this is a must. It is also a must for those who wish to go on to college after high school. The Mathnasium will prepare the student for that step. When should a student start at the Mathnasium? As early as possible. There are programs for preschoolers to help build a foundation for math learning throughout their education; as well as programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels. The High School Mathnasium programs don’t go into the college- level subjects like Calculus; but rather students focus on higher math, mastering algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, and probability in preparation for high school exit exams, college placement exams, and standardized college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT.

Who can benefit from a Mathnasium?

  • Any student who has fallen behind their grade level in math or who struggle to just to keep up.
  • Any student who dreams of a future in engineering, science or other math-intensive or math-based careers.
  • Anyone who is doing OK, but just OK in math; and, who would like to do better.
  • Those going into the sciences where math skills are a base-level skill that is assumed before actually studying the particular science.
  • Those planning on going on to college after high school.
  • The Mathnasium of West Huron Valley is located in Milford at 512 Highland Avenue, Milford, MI 48381, in the Prospect Hill Shopping Center (the Kroger Store shopping center) between Suzanne’s Main Street Dance Centre and the Henry Ford eye glasses place.

Jeffery LevinJeffrey Levin is the Owner and director of the Mathnasium. Give him a call and ask about the free evaluations they he is offering during the opening of this location. Jeffrey tells me that they will be open soon, so now is a good time to get lined up for that evaluation.

To visit the web site for the Mathnasium of West Huron Valley click here or you can call them at (248) 676-2971. tell Jeff that you read about it here.

Make the pain go away…

April 9, 2014

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking; here Norm goes off on another esoteric riff on emotional pain and how to deal with it. I’ll get to that later, I promise; if I can figure out how to fit it into three little words. If you need an emotional or musical fix on that in the meantime, here’s the premier video of the band Brad doing “Make the pain go away.”

What I want to talk about today is real, physical pain; the kind you get when you do something stupid to your aging body and now it hurts. I guess it also applies to younger bodies too; I just have an easier time relating to the old dude doing stupid things description.

Actually it doesn’t really even require doing stupid things. As we get older our bodied change and not necessarily for the better. We get less limber, less able to stretch into the positions (yoga or otherwise) that we used to do with ease. And, we become more prone to slip and fall accidents. But falling down stairsmaybe for you who are younger it’s just pushing that one little bit beyond what you are still capable of doing. In any case, you can hurt yourself and you need help to make the pain go away.

Today I want to relate a wonderful experience that I’ve recently had and give a shout out to a particular practitioner of a healing art who helped make the pain go away.

I was out walking my dogs in February, when took one of those falls that you can only take when you hit an icy patch in the dark. Down you go, before you know it. I was just thankful that I didn’t break anything. At my age, breaking stuff is really bad. Anyway I landed on my shoulder after a failed attempt to catch myself and hurt something bad. I got up and made it home OK; but, I could not make the pain go away.

Being from the “old school”, I determined that there were no bones sticking out anywhere and I could move my arm, so nothing was apparently broken. There was pain; but, I thought it would get better over time. Weeks when by and it didn’t get better. I needed to do something more than just take Aleve to make the pain go away.

Tammy ware 2Fortunately I have a cohort in the local Chamber of Commerce referral network that I’m in who is a Massage therapist. Tammy Ware is co-owner of Essential Massage and Wellness Center in Highland, Michigan. Tammy has over 20 years of massage therapy experience and is trained and experienced in many different massage techniques. I decided it was to see if Tammy could make the pain go away.

What a wonderful experience! I had been having trouble sleeping because of the pain in my shoulder. On the first visit I nearing fell asleep on the massage table because of the wonderful relief from pain that Tammy was able to provide.  Just a half-hour of deep tissue massage was able to loosen all of the muscles in my shoulder that had tied themselves in knots because of the pain. Tammy was able to make the pain go away.

The relief provided by the massage session eventually faded and I returned a couple of more time, each one a respite from the pain. Tammy advised me to seek the opinion of a doctor because my shoulder was not getting better and it turned out that I have a torn rotator cuff that will require surgery and rehab. You can bet that a part of my rehab will be regular visit s to Tammy because I know that I will need someone thin who can make the pain go away.

Tammy and the massage therapy that she represents so well is just one of the alternative medicine approaches that are currently gaining support and credence in the healthcare world. There is growing recognition that therapies and alternative treatments, such as Chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and meditation and yoga have a place on the spectrum of care for many non-disease conditions. It turns out that modern medicine doesn’t have a pill to prescribe for everything. And sometimes what they can’t drug or operate on will respond to other approaches. In the case of many muscular-skeletal issues massage therapy is the best way to make the pain go away.

I certainly endorse it and wholeheartedly recommend Tammy Ware and her business – Essential esential massage logo
Massage and Wellness Center
–   if you happen to be I the southeastern Michigan area. If you are not from around here; at least make sure to get a therapist who has extensive training, certifications and experience. In Michigan massage therapists now have to be licensed as healthcare providers. That’s a good thing and is leading to more and more healthcare plans covering massage therapy as a valid treatment option to make the pain go away.

Of course there are other reasons that one might get a massage. It is a wonderful reward for yourself (do they call that selfie reward?) after a long hard week or just because you need to relax. Tammy also specializes in pregnancy massages because pregnancy can apparently make things hurt in places where you didn’t even know you had places. There are also the self-indulgent hot rock and aroma therapy massages, as well as the facial and sinus massages to relieve tension and sinus pressure. She even does Thai massage which looks in the pictures more like she’s trying to make pretzel out of you, but which is wonderful for maintaining flexibility. Whatever choice you make, remember that above all she has the ability to make the pain away.

Creative Eldercare Consultants, LLC – when passion meets competence

February 26, 2014

Creative Elder Care logoThere is the potential for very difficult decisions to be thrust upon us about people at both ends of life’s spectrum. Sometimes we are called upon to make life and death decisions for those unable to care for themselves, whether as babies in neonatal intensive care situations or at the other end of life’s journey, with elderly parents who may not even be able to recognize us anymore. Neither case is easy. Both pull at us from many emotional and logical directions at once. We need help.

At the far end of the spectrum we are sometimes forced into the unwanted roles of caregiver and decision maker for the very people who brought us into the world and nurtured us into adulthood. When is it time for mom or dad (or both) to move out of the home that they’ve shared and loved for 40-50-60 years, who can help with that decision? What kinds of care will then need? What can they afford and where can you find such care at that price? Who can you trust with the care of someone in whom you’ve always trusted? We need help.

It’s at those moments when you need someone who brings the kind of passion to the task of helping find the right place that matches your passion for the job and someone who also brings the competence to the task to be able to match the needs of your loved one with the facility capable of meeting those needs. That is a tall order; but I have met such a person – Julie Haskins-White, the consultant and owner of Creative Eldercare Consultants, LLC. She can help.

“One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.” — E. M. Forster

Julie brings over 20 years of professional healthcare experience, including being at the Julie Haskins-WhiteExecutive Director level at two major Southeastern Michigan Hospitals and extensive home health-care experience. But, it is her passion for the job that led Julie to give up the corporate life and pursue her dream of having her own company to deliver the best possible housing and care solutions to those loved ones at the end of life’s journey. As a business, she focuses upon referrals for assisted living, residential care homes, memory care and independent living with on-site services and home care; but, her passion is making the lives of the elderly better one life at a time by helping them make the right choices.

Julie’s associate in the business – Kari DeCarlo – brings over five years of Social Work experience, including nursing homes, group homes, and juvenile delinquency. In addition to her Social Work background, she also has a tremendous amount of experience working in the non-profit arena at the American Cancer Society, as a Corporate Events Manager.

Most of the time, the services that Julie offers are provided at no cost to the individual or their families. She is normally paid a referral fee by the institutions that she may end up finding as a match for the client’s needs. She is not affiliated with any of the institutions and so is free to make the choice based upon which one is the best match for the needs of her client. There are special cases where she may ask for a retainer fee. Sometimes she works with the client themselves; but much of the time she actually interfaces mainly with the families of the clients that she is trying to place, especially if the client’s mental condition has deteriorated. In either case, Julie believes her role is to be the client’s advocate first; to make sure that the clients get into the best possible facility for their needs.

The Creative Eldercare Consultants’ services include:

  • Doing an assessment of the client to determine social, financial and health care needs, as well as determining any geographic factors and preferences that will be in play
  • Working one-on-one with families to assist them with the delicate process of making a care/housing transition for a loved one
  • Scheduling and participating in tours of facilities and communities that may best suit the needs of the loved one
  • Post-placement follow-up to ensure satisfaction for both the client and the family

Currently the Creative Eldercare Consultants, LLC service areas include the Counties of Oakland, Livingston, Macomb, Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee, Ingham, Shiawassee and the Tri-Cities.

sunday walkThe types of clients that Julie deals with on a daily basis include those who have been in an independent living community but who now face care needs and cost that exceed their means; couples where one spouse is ill or requires care beyond the means of the other to provide at home; couples who require an alternative long-term living option, perhaps with additional care for one or both; Individuals with placement needs whose income exceeds the income limit or asset limit set by the MI-Choice Medicaid Waiver Program; Individuals who require placements in an alternative setting, due to complex behavioral or medical issue; Adult children who are unable to assist their parents due to difficult work schedules or geographical location; and families that need immediate placement of a loved one.

Julie admits that she is a perfectionist in life and in business. She is also still active in competitive sports; perhaps because she also a passion for athletics and is very competitive in anything that she attempts. Her competitive nature from sports is balanced in her business by her compassion for the elderly and their families during a challenging crossroad in their lives. I suspect that she will appreciate why this quote may sum up what she is trying to achieve in life, sports and in her business:

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence. – Vince Lombardi

So, if you are facing a tough situation yourself or on behalf of a loved one and need to find someone that you can trust; someone who brings passion and competence to the party; and someone who truly cares about making sure that you or your loved one has the best life possible; call Julie Haskins-White at Creative Eldercare Consultants, LLC – toll free at 800-355-8932.

Once you’ve met Julie, I believe that something amazing will happen for you, too; you’ll start sleeping easier at night, knowing that she is on the case.

Help is within reach…it is within you…

February 17, 2014

Nicole MerlineI get to spend time in one of my Chamber of Commerce groups and at Chamber events with Nicol Merline, M.A. CHt, owner and practitioner at MTU Hypnosis . What a fascinating lady and what great stories she has to share of the successes that she’s had with helping people overcome problems through hypnosis.

The basis of hypnotherapy is the ability to get to the subconscious mind through hypnosis and to use the power of suggestion with the subconscious mind to make dramatic changes in the patient’s conscious life. It turns out that most of what we need to help ourselves is already within us, in the power of the sub-conscious mind.

Nicol’s range of patient successes goes well beyond the typical smoking cessation or fear of spiders types of things. She has concentrated more on helping people remove their mental roadblocks to success in sports or in academics and other pursuits in life. She has been successful in areas such as pain management and stress management, as well as the relatively new field of Virtual Gastric Band as a weight loss aid. You can view some great videos of customer testimonials at her web site. The point is that there are many more uses for hypnotherapy than you may have imagined.

Nicol is board certified in advanced hypnotherapy and is a member of the International Association of Holistic Providers. Her credentials include:

• National Guild Of Hypnotists

• International Association of Counselors and Therapists

• International Hypnosis Federation

• Hypnosis International Board of Registration

• American Board of Hypnotherapy

• Michigan Association of Counselors and Hypnotherapists

• Wayne State University B.S.

• Eastern Michigan University M.A. – Educational Leadership

The real reason for going through all of the above is to hopefully let you know that Nicol is a serious option for you to consider when you have an issue that is driven by fear or anxiety, anguish or pain, doubts or concerns.

I posted to this blog recently about asking for help. Once you get to that state of mind where that is possible, sometimes you need to know whom to ask. There are obvious choices around (friends, relatives and clergymen come to mind); however, sometimes you need someone with expertise and training on how to understand and deal with your issues. Sometimes that may be a trained physiologist or counselor, sometimes the issue may require a healthcare professional and sometimes the answer is within you and alternative care professionals like Nicol can help you find it.

There is a growing appreciation in the healthcare industry for the contributions that can be made by alternative approaches to care. Approaches like chiropractors, acupuncture, yoga, massage therapy, hypnotherapy and others are now being acknowledged to have great positive impact. Many studies have shown these alternative approaches can have as much positive impact as traditional medical practitioners may have with drugs that they prescribe to treat symptoms. Some modern medical practitioners, such as Doctors of Osteopathy, even embrace and combine some of these alternative approaches with what is called “modern medicine.”

So, if you have issues that you’ve been unable to deal with alone, give Nicol Merline a call at 248-568-0831MTU Hypnosis logo and schedule an appointment. That initial consultation is free and she will tell you afterwards whether what she can do for you is a good likely solution or whether you need to seek other help. I can pretty well assure you that if it has anything to do with your self-esteem, your self-confidence or your desire to overcome a fear, a phobias or just a bad habit; she can probably help you.  A large percent of the issues that we think we have in life is all in our minds anyway; so let Nicole help you get that part straightened out and the rest will take care of itself.

Divorce and real estate – it takes a team

January 30, 2014


When things go south in a marriage and divorce seems to be the only way out, the people involved may think of calling their priest or pastor and they may call friend s to commiserate; they may even have already called a lawyer; but, they seldom think of calling a Realtor® and they should.

Divorce is an extremely emotional process, filled with remorse, doubts, regrets and sometime (maybe too often) distrust and hate. It is a time of great vulnerability for all parties involved and a time when there are many decisions to be made, none of which should be made in haste or in hate and without professional advice.

While it may not be top of mind at the time, making good decisions about the single largest asset that most married couple have – their home – is critical for the future of both parties. Make bad or hasty and ill-advised decisions and they might haunt you for years, as you try to rebuild your life.

There is so much complexity surrounding the real estate (and other assets) that may be involved in a divorce that you really need to assemble a team to help you and your Realtor can be the person who does that for you. On the team, you’ll need a good divorce lawyer, your Realtor, your insurance agent,  a tax/financial adviser, an appraiser and a mortgage adviser. Your Realtor can probably make recommendations or assemble the rest of this team.

Why all of those folks? Well, each one will either be providing you with advice about products that you already have (insurance, for instance) or products that you will need to get (a new mortgage) in order to move on with life. You need to understand your current homeowners policy – who’s listed as the policy owner (s) and who as the beneficiaries? What happens to that insurance when the divorce is final? Who needs to be listed then and who will be paying for it? As for the tax adviser or financial adviser (it probably will take two people for this), you need to understand the tax consequences of the divorce and make sure that you can file for your fair share of things after the final decree. You may need a good value appraisal if the family home is to be sold as part of the decree. You also need to understand the consequences on any long-term financial plans or policies or shared assets that you had in place. And, when the dust settles, you may need to get a new mortgage, in order to move on with life. How will this divorce leave you in terms of qualifying on your own for a mortgage? Can you do anything until your name is off the old mortgage or that mortgage has been discharged? Where will you go may be an easier question to answer than how will I afford it?

So, why I’m I writing about this? Because I care, for one, and because I have the team members already in mind to be able to help, from one of best family and divorce lawyers that I know, to a great insurance person, to a very thorough financial adviser and a great tax accountant and a mortgage rep that can make it possible for you to move on in life. These are people that I’ve worked with and trust to advise you on the aspects that go beyond my real estate capabilities. More importantly they are people that I trust with your fragile emotional state during this very trying time. I can introduce you to a team of professionals that will work with you through this process in a caring, respectful and empathetic way that will lift a lot of burdens from your shoulders and let you start the healing process.

So let’s start off by agreeing that divorce sucks and try to go forward from there the best way that we can, with a caring professional team of people on your side who can make sure that you make the right decisions during the process to come out whole on the other side. Call me and put my team to work for you. If you already have some people for some of these roles, great; let’s just add them to the team. If you don’t even know where to start; call me quickly so that you don’t spend another day by yourself in this process.

Recommended local business – Nicholson Appraisal Services, Inc.

January 28, 2014

Nickolson header

As a Realtor® I work with appraisers quite a bit on home sales. These days appraisers are assigned mainly through appraisal management companies, but not always. There are many other reasons why you may need to call an appraiser, which I will discuss here. When you do, you can’t do better in this are than Nicholson Appraisal Services, Inc.

Obviously if you are buying an individual home (house or condo) or if you are buying a rental property of up to 4 units, you will need to have the property appraised. If you are refinancing those same properties or taking out a home equity line of credit, you will also need to have them appraised. Norma Nicholson, owner and principal at Nicholson Appraisal Services, Inc., has been a licensed appraiser for over 20 years. Norma covers many of the counties in Southeastern Michigan – Oakland, Livingston, Wayne, Macomb, Washtenaw and Genesee.

Appraisals are also critical when major life changes occur, such as deaths and divorces. In most divorce cases the division of the real property in the divorce settlement requires that the home either be bought out by one of the two parties or that it be sold outright and the proceeds split. That requires that the value of the home be determined and the courts often require that an appraisal be done. The same thing happens in estate settlements when the surviving owner dies. In order to settle most estates the property must be sold and the proceeds split. Again it is critical to get a good appraisal.

Do you feel you are carrying too much of the Property Tax Burden in your community? Have an appraisal report completed by a professional licensed appraiser that will provide supportable documentation of the true market value of your property within the present market, not a market value that was assigned to you years ago. You stand a much better chance of getting your tax basis lowered when you go to the appeal process prepared with a professional appraisal.

If things have gone south for you and you are considering bankruptcy you will need to have your home appraised. Why do you need an appraisal for a bankruptcy filing? Because the court will order one and/or sometimes two if the final opinion of value has a wide range. A licensed appraiser must generate the appraisal report. The courts will not accept what is termed as a CMA (Certified Market Analysis) by a licensed realtor. So get ahead of the game and get an appraisal from Nicholson Appraisal Services.

Other reasons or times to use a professional appraiser include:

Insurance Claims for Fire, Wind and Water Damages – There needs to be a restoration value established before you should settle any claim, especially if the damage is such that replacement of the structure is required.

For Sale by Private Owners – the most common mistake made by FSBO sellers is pricing. You need to know the value that someone is going to be able to get a mortgage for, before set a price for the property; otherwise you wasting your time and that f potential buyers.

Pre-Marriage Estate Planning and Pre-nuptial  agreements – you don’t have to be Donald Trump in order toe have a pre-nup agreement, but you do need to know what the value of the things are that you are trying to protect in the agreement.

Nicholson Appraisal Services uses state of the art appraisal software that includes digital photography and they are are EDI compatible for timely turnaround time via email transmissions. As they state on their web site – “Our Company is small enough to hold quality as the number one priority. That also allows us to extend the lowest appraisal fees within the area on to you.” To visit the Nicholson Appraisal Services, Inc. web site click here. Nicholson Appraisal Services, Inc. is located in Milford at 786 S. Milford Rd, Milford, MI 48381

Nicholson Appraisal Services, Inc. accepts VISA, Mastercard and American Express. Call Norma Nicholson if you have any of the needs discussed above. You’ll be glad you did. Office: 248-684-7987 or Cell: 248-342-9637

Last minute Christmas idea – the gift of relief from pain!

December 23, 2013

Want a great last minute Christmas gift idea? How about the gift of relief from pain? If you know of someone who constantly complains of their aches and pains give them the gift of relief from that pain through therapeutic massage.

Get the lowdown on massage therapy from this weekend’s USA Weekend Health column. You can watch the video from the TV show The Doctors about the benefits of massage therapy by clicking here.

esential massage logoWe are fortunate to have a great therapeutic massage practice right in our area – Essential Massage and Wellness Center – at 1641 S. Milford Road, Suite B in Highland, MI. You can go on-line to and book an appointment or buy a gift certificate as a gift. They are running a special right now for a 1 hour massage. You can order the gift certificate to be delivered by email. You can also call at 248-714-9901.

Owners Tammy Ware and Cindy McLaughlin are both certified massage therapists and have been trained in a number of different styles and techniques of massage. In addition, Tammy is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor and prenatal massage therapist. In addition she is a Bellanina Facelift Massage Specialist and has taken numerous seminars including Oncology Massage, Sports Massage, Russian Massage Technique, Myofascial Release Therapy and Thai Vinyasa Massage. Cindy has National Certification in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and has completed seminars in Sports Massage and Myofascial Release Therapy and received additional certification in Orthopedic Massage and Table Thai Massage.

Also on staff at Essential Massage and Wellness Center are Theresa David; a massage therapist who continued her education, after graduating from the Michigan Institute of Myomassology, and earned a degree in Medical Assisting, giving her more understanding of the human body and how to work with it especially when her clients are recovering from pain and injury. Theresa went to Thailand to study Thai Massage and has completed training in Reiki and Craniosacral Therapy.

In addition to massage therapist, the staff includes Tina Lee, L.A.c., Dipl. OM. Tina has a Master’s of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Colorado. Tina is also certified in Facial Rejuvination Acupuncture, a series of treatments designed to improve the look and vitality of the face and decrease signs of aging without the use of botox and cosmetic surgery. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is one of the oldest medicines practiced in the world. For more than 3000 years it has been successfully used to treat a wide range of physical and emotional issues.

I have personal experience with letting the Essential Massage and Wellness Center massage away pain and can testify how great you will feel after a session of therapeutic massage. So take my advice, or that of the TV show The Doctors, and get someone the gift of relief from pain – a gift certificate from Essential Massage and Wellness Center.

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!

The ACA – Beware of false knowledge…

November 26, 2013

Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. – George Bernard Shaw.

This Shaw quote is certainly one that can easily be applied to the raging babble that is all around us about the Affordable Care Act (aka. Obamacare). There is much false knowledge about the ACA and lots of misleading statements being thrown out by politicians as sound bites for the evening news. It can seem at times that everyone has an opinion about it, but very few have any real knowledge of the act or how to implementation the requirements. What’s an individual or small business person to do?

Debbie Head ShotThat’s where companies like HD4 Revenue, Inc. come into play. HD4 has people like Debbie Stroup whom they have trained, licensed and certified as experts on the new health care law so that they can help individuals and small business owners navigate through the process of finding the best available health care insurance option to meet their needs and the requirements of the ACA. I’ve posted a flyer that Debbie uses to help explain what she does on my Move to Milford web site. To view the flyer click here. Debbie is quick to explain that she’s not there to debate the law, just to help you implement the requirements of the law. That is your first indication that you are dealing with a professional who is focused upon the task at hand and not about arguing the merits of the law.

So, how are you reacting to the requirements of the new law? If all that you’re listening to are the rants on some radio shows or just listening to the sound bites that various politicos put out on the nightly news to try to gain attention; then, you’re mainly hearing false knowledge – opinions masquerading as knowledge or worse. Most of the people making all of that noise have political agendas that are arrayed against the ACA ever being successful. They have become obsessed with stopping it; and, so another saying comes to mind –

Obsession is the single most wasteful human activity, because with an obsession you keep coming back and back and back to the same question and never get an answer. – Norman Mailer

I note almost every time that I hear one of the negative sound bites that there is seldom a viable alternative put forth, just vitriol about the law that many of the same politicians voted for when it passed. So, there it is. It’s not going to go away. It’s the law and you must do something about it by the end of the first quarter of next year.

If you have exhausted your negative energy or just want to clear away the veil of ignorance about this law and you would like to move forward with implementing the inevitable for yourself or your business; give Debbie a call at 248-227-0347 or email her at You’ll be glad you did and you’ll finally be talking to someone who has real knowledge about the requirements and the options that you have. No sound bites there, just knowledgeable and calm advice that you can use to move on with your life. Call Debbie today – you’ll sleep better tonight.

By the way; if you are a health care provider and need help understanding the requirements of theDonna Craig head shot new law in your practice, there’s help for you with that, too. Many health care professionals, especially those in small private or partnership practices may not yet understand what the requirements of this law are for their practice.

Donna Craig of the Health Law Center, PLC. Donna is a Registered Nurse and a Lawyer and focuses exclusively on helping healthcare professionals understand their responsibilities under the ACA and other health care laws. You can email Donna at or call one the offices in Oakland County at 248-858-9955 or in Livingston County at 517-552-8850. You won’t find a better source of advice and counsel about the new law and your responsibilities under it. See Donna’s profile on Linked In.

So now you know at least two people who can give you good, professional advice about the ACA and how it effects you. If you want to debate the law, go to the barber shop or coffe house; however, if you’ve finally realized that you need to implement the law for yourself or your business, call one of these ladies. You’ll be glad that you did.