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Variety’s A Star is Born
There was a fun, Parisian spin on Variety’s gala fundraiser hosted by Paul and Mary Glantz at their Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak late in April. Mimes, street artists and music makers (Renni Kaufmann and his daughter Esther), a flower market and décor by Gerych’s Graziella accented the atrium lobby. Many of the 400 guests devoured their selections from the gourmet buffet (crab claws, shrimp, raw oysters, beef tenderloin, chicken Florentine) at French café tables. But the star of the evening, television journalist Bob Woodruff, who was inducted into Variety’s Michigan Celebrity Hall of Fame at the theatre, seemed to be most impressed that he was “...back in Royal Oak.” The Bloomfield native noted that he was born at Royal Oak’s Beaumont Hospital and recalled his parents’ report that he slept for 12 straight hours the first night they took him home. Woodruff’s celebrity is rooted in his amazing recovery from a bomb he took in Iraq in January 2006
05/18/2012 - Following in the footsteps of their Wayne and Macomb county counterparts, Oakland County Commissioners voted 15-9 on Thursday, May 18 to approve allowing the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) to place a 0.2 mill property tax proposal on the August 7 ballot to raise funds for the cash-strapped institution.
The vote allows Oakland County to create an authority to oversee the tax, along with authorities from Wayne County and Macomb County. The DIA has long wanted a tri-county millage to support its annual operations. If the proposal passes in all three counties, it could raise between $20-$23 million, $11 million of which is estimated to come from Oakland County.
Getting the millage proposal on the August ballot was not an easy endeavor, with a huge community turnout, both pro and con, at both the county commission meeting, and at a general government committee meeting last week. Some members of the community felt it is an invaluable resource the entire community must protect; others were opposed to another tax on everyone in the community.
"We have been flooded with emails, letters, telephone calls and personally been approached on this issue," said commissioner Marcia Gershenson (D-Bloomfield Township). "I don't think I've ever seen so much public support on an issue. It's been unbelievable."
Gershenson, along with her fellow Democrats, voted in favor of allowing the DIA to place a millage proposal on the August ballot, and the creation of the authority that would distribute the money to the DIA if the proposal was passed. Seven Republicans, including commissioner Dave Potts (R-Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township), joined the Democrats in supporting the measure.
Republican Shelley Goodman Taub (R-Bloomfield Township) voted against the millage.
A 0.2 mill property tax would equal about $20 a year on a $200,000 home.
The DIA, which has a world-renown art collection, has suffered in recent years due to state budget cuts, leaving it with gaping annual operating deficits of $10-12 million a year. The DIA once received $16 million annually in state funding; this year, they received nothing. Two years ago, the museum laid off staff and cut back on exhibitions, and was forced to cut its budget by 20 percent, from $32 million to $25.4 million. Its funding currently comes from foundations, individuals, and corporations.
Gershenson said her vote was not just about supporting the DIA.
"It's about the creation of the authority that distributes the tax money, and it would assure that each child, each student in Oakland County can attend the DIA with their classes, even those districts that have cut bus transportation," she said. "I personally support the DIA, but if you are asking people to support a tax, you have to be sure everyone will have access to the institution."
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