Bill Joyner's Friday Musings
Friday Musings
FridayMusings is out early this week so that all who celebrate the Easter weekend can turn off the computer and reacquaint with those who matter. It also was important to this typewriter that I acknowledge the passing of one of our true Livonia founders, Fernon Feenstra.
Fernon Feenstra
Livonia lost a great one today with the passing of Fernon Feenstra.
Laura Toy called shortly after noon with the word that Fernon Feenstra had passed away. I looked up and smiled and remember what he told me over the phone when my mother passed away. "It will take awhile for you to move on so just take the time to remember all that she was to you, Bob and her extended family in Livonia."
I thought the exact thing about Fernon. His extended family in Livonia. So true.
Moved to Livonia when he was hired at Schoolcraft College. One of the first hires shortly after Schoolcraft was founded. Tells of the yet unpaved side walk and the 4x8's he and Barb had to walk up for their interview.
The rest is history. He networked, built and enjoyed his hometown, putting his personality, vibrancy and intellect into a town of which he was so proud. Jaycee. Councilman. Mentor. Friend of all who loved the town he called home. He was one of the best and his legacy will continue to benefit those who move into Livonia for years to come.
The history of Livonia will be replete with Feenstra stories from his history of the political process, the development of Schoolcraft College when he eventually became a dean, his volunteerism in the 60's with the Livonia Jaycees and his mission to build a Veteran's Memorial at Five and Farmington in the new millennium.
He was named Livonia's First Citizen by the Livonia Observer and in 2007 was inducted into the 1835 Livonia City Hall of Fame.
A lot will be shared over the next few days about this "one of a kind" but to this typewriter he will always be the man with the hugs, the smiles, the stories and the big heart.
Thanks for all you taught me in the 70's about doing what was right for a town you love. I will be one of those who will see your smile and positive attitude every day.
Bill Joyner
Joyner submits an application for appointment to fill the vacancy on the Livonia Board of Education
It should come as no surprise that I have today submitted my application for appointment to the Livonia Board of Education.
Why do I want to serve? I am sure that is a question many are asking as our public schools nation wide continue to come under fire from a number of corners. But our hometown is rich with the heritage of public education, having built a hometown attracting young families as a result of our quality schools.

These are not all my original thoughts but they define reasons that I am anxious to serve. They embellish to a degree on comments made by and about Jim Flaherty, the former Conservative Canadian Minister of Finance who died last week. It was his belief that public service is good for you. "It will give perspective to your life by expanding your horizons, your thoughts, and your view of the world."

As a member of the Board of Education I hold firm in the belief that it provides me with an opportunity to serve the public good. I have certain individual beliefs as a taxpayer but I also value what is good for society as a whole.

Public service is good for each of us as we can take a small step toward changing the world by supporting our children with education, broadening their horizons, and helping them develop a character trait that will allow them to give back to the community one day.
The application process involves providing background and opinions and so I am providing a copy of the information and questions they asked and my answers:
My education started in Decatur, Georgia through the fifth grade when my family moved to Livonia and I enrolled at Grant Elementary School, graduating from Franklin High School, 1967, Central Michigan, 1972, BS Secondary Education, and Eastern Michigan, 1984, MA Communication, and Phd. coursework at Wayne State University.
Joyner at Gale Research
Bill at Gale Research.
My work experience is varied taking me through the public and private sectors starting as Administrative Assistant to the Mayor of Livonia, Account Executive, NW Ayer Advertising Agency, Account Executive for United States Army Recruiting Command in State of Michigan, Executive Assistant President, Gale Reference Book Publishing, Wayne County Commissioner, Founder Executive Director Canton Community Foundation, Editor, Community Crier Newspaper, Publisher, FridayMusings, Creative Director, Think Ink Marketing
My most favorite experience was speaking in over 200 cities in Michigan as an after dinner speaker,providing training seminars in community communication and community organizing, this concluded in 1978 with my selection as Young Man of the Year, City of Livonia.

My first love centers around my community experience: Executive Vice President of the Michigan Jaycees, Lt.
Joyner Optimist Golf 1974
Bill chairing the Livonia Optimist Club Hole-in-One Contest 1974
Governor, Michigan District Optimist International, President, Livonia Optimist Club, Vice President, Livonia Jaycees, Founding Director, Friends of the Wilson Barn, Grant writer for original program grant to establish the Livonia Community Resources Office (co-written with Livonia Franklin Principal David Amerman), and grant writer for successful grant for the first Livonia EMS program (co-written with Alden Sawyer), Chair, Livonia 175th Anniversary Celebration,Chair, Livonia 50th LSO Celebration at Laurel Park.
What qualities do I have that bring me to this decision. Several, as I am sure that most applicants will also profess:

1. an understanding of our hometown, both within the borders of the school community and those who are outside the school community, and the need for a synergy in pulling together for a community larger than the whole

2. an awareness of people, their love of involvement and desire to be engaged and the recognition that the leader has a responsibility to listen to all sides of a debate, seek consensus and develop a path forward

3. a belief that the historical perspective allows for a path to the future without belaboring the past but rather helping to carve out a direction that builds on the heritage of a hometown
A rather interesting question was what social issues were of interest. This is a rather confusing statement as it opens up for a discussion of hunger, economic diversity, employment opportunities, art's role in writing our history, the over reliance of state and federal control of our educational systems, funding and curriculum.

To be alive today without an awareness of social issues and the transformation of our society into a "you" "me" classification, and a "you" v "me" antagonism is to bury your head in the sand.

My major area of community interest and involvement is developing networks and bridges to pull people together for the good of the entire community, to make my plot of grass a little greener when my time is passed over.
When asked about my experience with Boards I point out that from an early age I have worked on boards ranging from volunteer service organizations like the Jaycees and Optimists, to serving as an elected official for three terms as a member of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

The latter was during a time in which Wayne County was more divided between Detroit and suburbs than today. I worked and was one of the first two people, along with Alex Pilch of Dearborn, in supporting the creation of a Wayne County Executive, of which only three, including Mary Dumas of Livonia, supported.

As a college student I entered and finished in the final round, top five, of national competition for Small Group Discussion, being judged on leadership and drawing consensus among those from diverse national backgrounds.

I value and respect those who disagree with me and enjoy working to find common ground in order to move forward.
I was asked what is the role of the Board of Education. If one were to take the responsibilities as drafted on the district web site it would be very simple: "The Board of Education's main responsibilities include writing district policies; setting long and short term goals for the district; approving the budget; and hiring/evaluating the superintendent."

I have always held the belief that members of the board of education provide a feedback system from the community back to his/her colleagues and that once a decision has been reached on an issue or policy to provide that information back to the community.

No board member operates in a vacuum. We all come with our friends and supporters. It would make sense that as individuals we collect information, funnel it back to those we serve with and then in turn take the decisions back to our friends and supporters as a decision made by a Board of Education.
What are issues facing our schools? It would be easy to rattle off: 1. state finances, 2. expansion of charter schools. It would be more to my style to suggest that this question deals with the local community, not necessarily the issues created by the state:

1. 15,000 students and approximately 25,000 parents leaving the need to reach out to 60,000 residents, young and old without a connection with our schools--reach out with a message of inclusion, engagement, and most importantly the role our schools play in maintaining and increasing property values

2. Vacant school property and the future of the land and the quality of life issues that it will play in continuing to maintain a hometown with open space, quality development and educational opportunities

3. The introduction of the Livonia Public Schools to new families moving into Livonia and the need to have a bridge built so that there is a desire to enroll in the public schools and not to take the tax dollars to alternative programs such as charter schools. We need and must have an acceptance that Livonia and Westland and Livonia Public Schools are synonymous.

4. The creation of alternative funding sources and sponsorships and working with the retired executive community in Livonia to seek out and develop new lines of funding sponsorships for programs, athletics and scholarship.

5. The development of youth programs throughout the summer that open up our schools for year round athletic and academic use through corporate, community and fee based support.

Do I have a chance? If you know anything about Bill Joyner it is that the dialogue and discussion is often the goal and that the winner is the one who presents their ideas in a cogent manner, easily understood while raising levels of consciousness. I hope that I am considered but equally important is that a community dialogue is open and that the entire community participates.

It would be kind of cool to be the third generation of my family to serve on a Board of Education. My grandfather Bill Wood was on the Patterson School Board, my mother, Geraldine Jo Wood Joyner, on the Livonia Board.

See you in May. Or better yet, see you at the Bake Sale on April 26th.
Sponsored by the Livonia Historical Commission with all proceeds used for building and garden restoration at our Greenmead Historic Village
"New" to you jewelry is available at the Livonia Senior Center located at 15218 Farmington Rd. Sunday, April 27 from noon-3 p.m.
Musings Vendor Recommendations
I often get asked for recommendations of vendors my family and I have used since we moved into town on January 1, 1960.
Here are some recommendations that
I am happy to pass along for you to consideration. Unless noted otherwise these are all Livonia based:

Promotional Items
Tom Karabatakis
Heating and Cooling

Prompt, professional
Window Cleaning

I Know a Guy Window Cleaning

Efficient, courteous, thorough.
Livonia Chamber Member/Westland

Silk Screening
Creative, works with customers
Domingo Nieto
Auto Repair
Aults Mobil Service
Livonia institution for over 50 years
31301 Plymouth 734-427-8155
Thomas's Catering
Quality food, professional service
Mulch and yard work
Friendly and with best prices in town
Bob McComb
Quality and service for over 50 years
33125 Plymouth Road
How can you go wrong!
Express your pride in livonia
Love-onia Wearables
T-shirt, classic gray, 50-50, M, L, XL
if to be mailed add $1.50 shipping
Send to:
Think Ink
18720 Blue Skies
Livonia has the best art and is the cultural heartbeat of Michigan.
Paul's Players
Livonia Symphony
Livonia Chorus
Livonia Youth Symphony
Motor City Youth Theatre
and our
Phoenix Theatres at Laurel Park
Livonia is the place to be on
Saturday, April 26th with four big events just for you.
As easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.
1. Start your day at Ford Field
Household hazardous and electronic waste disposal drop off day at Ford Field, Farmington Road, from 8:00 to 2:00.
2. Head on over to the Musings' Estate
18720 Blue Skies
Every once in a while, occasional, maybe next year but for sure this year Bill Joyner's Good Old Fashioned Bake Sale benefiting the Livonia Civic Chorus from 9:00-1:00.
3. In the afternoon stop off for Chili and Cars
The International
Chili Society
The Michigan State Chili
Cook-off and
Car Show
On Sat., April 26th venture out to the Monaghan Knights of Columbus, 19801 Farmington Rd. at 12:00 noon for this great Livonia event. Cars, chili an conversation.
The net proceeds are being donated to the Penrickton Center for Blind Children.
For details call Gary Ray at 313-938-6364 or check out
4. Wind up your day with
Peter Pan
Motor City Youth Theatre presenting Peter Pan on April 26th at 7:00, 27555 Grantland
The readers of Musings love to share their imagination over the backyard fence:

Dave Lindenmuth
Dave Lindenmuth:
You'll find my money in the "SHAVE" jar. Although the picture you posted with the article looks fine, I saw one shot of you where you looked like "the Unabomber" and we just can't have that!

Don Cleveland: Is the bake sale at your house? I am golfing in
Don Cleveland
Don Cleveland going through fire to convince the typewriter to shave off his beard.
Cupcake open that day, so I won't be able to make it, but I want to mail you a check and I want it put in the "Shave it off" jar.

A note to clarify the role of Bob Bennett as a key player in saving the Wilson Barn:
It was Bob Bennett who initiated the saving of the Barn. Bob, at a hearing of the City Council on the proposed Zoning change, proposed saving it to the Council. They
agreed to refer it to committee.

After the meeting Ron Mardiros came up to him and said "you're going to need
neighborhood help on this, get in touch with a lady called Electra Stamelos, an activist in the neighborhood.

He didn't know her but some-how they connected, probably through Mayor McNamara. She went to work to organize the Friends of the Wilson Barn, while he went to work to figure out the land swaps needed to get the Barn property.
"Then with the great help of Jerry Joyner, then
on the School Board, they figured out a 3-way swap. She maneuvered it thru the School Board, and I maneuvered it though the City Council, with a lot of boosting from the Friends of the Wilson Barn, and the rest is history."


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