Business

Story by Sara E. Teller
Photos by Bernie Laframboise

It goes without saying that individuals with criminal offenses on their records find it more difficult to get a decent job. No matter their skills-set, they are often turned away because of past behavior, no matter what they’ve done to rectify the situation. However,Michigan Works! has instituted a program designed to help these individuals get back on their feet. Michigan Works! helps the unemployed build their marketing tools, including cover letters and resumes, and search for the most appropriate job opportunities. Unemployment pay is often offered during the job hunt, as well.

Ex-offenders are “provided with intensive one-on-one services,” says David A. Straka, Career Planner with Ferndale Michigan Works!. These are a bit more extensive, because those that have committed crimes need to know how to best approach being open and honest about their offenses while seeking employment. “We provide counseling on the best way to structure their resumes, how to approach the employment application and, also, how to handle the interview process and follow-up to the interview,” David says.

The ex-offenders program has been around for several years, almost since the employment service was established in the 1930s. “This was all part of the Employment Counseling program,” David explains. “Throughout the years, more attention was paid to providing services to ex-offenders through programs like Employment Service, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), and now the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).”

The services are only as helpful as an individual’s own effort, however. As long as a person is willing to put in the work, Michigan Works! can help just about anyone get back on his or her feet. “The services we provide, if they are followed by the individual, can result in employment,” David says. The service can be very individualized, focusing on the exact skill or marketing tool needed by a particular person to be successful.”

“Sometimes, depending on their situation, retraining can be an option to assist them in gaining a marketable skill to help them be more competitive in the marketplace,” David explains. “We also give them information about the Federal Bonding Program, Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program, and if necessary, Michigan [Prisoner] Re-Entry Program (MPRI).” The Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program offers a federal tax credit to employers for hiring individuals with significant barriers to employment. And, the vision of MPRI is that every prisoner will return to the community prepared for success. Through this program, state departments work with local officials and human services agencies, such as Michigan Works!, to coordinate services and integrate support systems to aid the returning prisoner in finding employment.

The Federal Bonding Program serves as an insurance plan, more or less. It is in place to help an individual “sell an employer” by offering “an assurance that if they do anything that would cause damage due to their actions, [this] program can help cover any monetary damage,” says David. “Depending on their particular situation, we also provide [employment seekers] referrals to other partners in our program who can assist with other barriers we may not be able to provide.”

As far as how the Michigan Works! Ex-Offenders Program benefits the city of Ferndale, David explains, this “basically means that employers that hire individuals with a barrier are now contributing to the community, paying taxes and can invest in the local economy.” Employers willing to hire ex-offenders will receive the federal tax credit, and are aiding in the reduction of crime by keeping a large percentage of the population off the streets.

The Ferndale community is encouraged by members of Michigan Works!to get actively involved. “The main members of the community that can get involved would be businesses and organizations that hire these individuals,” David says. “A number of times individuals with barriers have needed skills, but are being turned away from employment because of the offense.”

This is a shame, because the individual has the talent to truly benefit
the community if he or she is just given a chance. “We hear a lot from employers about how they can’t find qualified employees, when individuals with barriers have the skills and a business or organization will not hire them” simply due to this fact.

For more information on all services offered:
The Ferndale Michigan Works! Office, located at 713 E 9 Mile Rd, Ferndale, MI, 48220, can be reached Monday through Friday, 10:00AM to 4:30PM, at 248-545-0222.

By Christina Bournias, Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce

The recent Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce (FAC) Coffee Connection, at State of the Art Framing and Design, was attended by over 40+ business members. Our Ferndale and surrounding area Chamber members are among the most dedicated and committed of the business community in Michigan. With continuous net-working and referral opportunities, our members demonstrate devotion to their beloved community and fellow business owners. This dedication is most impressive and a fine example of a cohesive village.

Among many more exciting and upcoming monthly programs, the FAC is planning a few larger events to get involved in. Whether you choose to volunteer, sponsor, participate, or decide to earn a position as our trusted ambassador, the Chamber’s signature events evoke the best of our community. Our Chamber events bring people together; people who share a common sentiment, one of philanthropic togetherness and thriving commerce.

Our first main event of the year is The Artist In You. This creative initiative is a nod to young student artists. The Artist in You encourages students from Fern-dale High School, The Center for Advanced Studies & the Arts (CASA) and University High School DECA to enter an art competition with hopes to win an opportunity for their artwork to be dis-played around town. The students’ art-work will be displayed at the Ferndale Public Library, and a public reception will take place Tuesday, April 25. One student artist is eligible to have their artwork enlarged, reproduced, mounted and displayed on one prominent business in the Ferndale Area. The three top scoring students will receive achievement awards for their efforts.

Our 2017 Rainbow Run attracts approximate 1,000 enthusiastic participants to the Ferndale community. The Rainbow Run, this year on June 3, 2017, is a fun 5K run and 2K walk + Canine 2K that explodes with excitement for every-one who supports diversity, acceptance, and anti-bullying. The course runs through the streets of Ferndale and has six stations where volunteers toss non-toxic, colored powder onto race participants. Everyone is covered in a rainbow of colors at the finish line!  Your sponsorship helps to fund six chosen non profit organizations. Children are now being accepted to participate in the 2K walk and this Canine/2K* includes your best friend on a prismatic 2K trot through the designated Rainbow Run course (*See registration for details. City canine licenses and current vaccinations required.) The Rainbow Run route will begin at the parking lot of Foley & Mansfield PLLP, 130 E. 9 Mile Road, Ferndale, Michigan 48220.

Following these events, the Chamber will be hosting our second annual “Sip. Stroll. Roll!” in the Fall, where local establishments get a chance to showcase their distinct food and drink specials.

“The Biggest Event of the Year,” the 2017 GALA in November promises to be another powerful event celebration; one of reflection and promise. Our GALA aims to showcase our businesses; honor-ing productivity and liveliness in the coming year(s). This event includes unique silent auction items and participating restaurants.

In addition to our main events and monthly Chamber Lunch Club outings, the Chamber planned three free Learn-ing Series lunches for our Members. The first “learning” lunch was somewhat of a working meeting; an honest discussion, held inside our new offices at the Credit Union ONE community center. We heard from retail and service businesses alike. Aaron Stone, owner of STONE + TEAM Consulting spearheaded a candid talk amongst retail owners. Ferndale Foods was gracious enough to donate food platters.

Thank you to the Gerry Kulick Community Center for offering space for our next two complementary presentations. The Chamber was pleased to welcome back SaveOn for our second lunch learning series. SaveOn presenters spoke about developing a digital marketing strategy, including the associated costs attached to implementing a solid digital strategy. Most notable, merely because of their Ferndale Area Chamber membership, Chamber Members can take advantage of their own dedicated FAC/SaveOn microsite! Members filled their bellies, and left with an increased thirst for knowledge. The presentation was engaging and well received. Members’ questions were answered and they took away valuable digital business tips. What a terrific lead in to our next Lunch & Learn.

The next Chamber Learning Lunch Series will be hosted by Jon Teodoro, Verde Media, founder/strategist. He will present: “How To Grow Your Business Using The Internet.” This presentation aims to take our member’s business websites to the next level, incorporating enhanced Google and SEO discussions. Chamber knowledge is power.

Email Kim Hart, Executive Director at director@ferndalechamber.com or call 248-542-6120 for detailed information.

Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce  400 E 9 Mile Road, Ferndale,  MI 48220.
http://ferndalechamber.com
FB: @FerndaleAC

By Jennifer Goeddeke

Most Ferndale residents and regular visitors are familiar with the iconic WAB building, positioned at the corner of North Woodward Ave and East Troy St. However- according to general manager, Michael Pierce, many are not aware of the 20-year anniversary for the Woodward Avenue Brewery rapidly approaching on May 24th. A common response is, apparently, “…has it really been that long?!”
For sure, there will be an elaborate birthday celebration, combining a new brew release and a community-oriented event. Co-owners Chris and Krista Johnston, along with Brian Reedy, have kept their fingers on the pulse of Ferndale’s energetic social scene. Combined with outstandingly successful festivals
(the DIY Street Fair, Pig & Whiskey and the Ferndale Oktoberfest), the WAB continues to impress. In the words of Krista Johnston, “We are very happy we chose Ferndale in 1997! It was more on ground floor when we opened, a lot more vacancies. The City has grown, and it has been supportive and welcoming. We like to represent the City’s creative spirit…all of our staff are musicians and artists.”
I recently met with the WAB’s general manager, Michael Pierce, to find out more details on this landmark location. As a notable distinction, the WAB is currently the only brewery/brew-pub in Ferndale; it has retained a comfortable and fun vibe, while serving a good variety of handcrafted brews, and an inviting selection of food. In addition, its popular sister-establishments are within walking distance on Woodward: the Emory and the Loving Touch pool hall/music venue. Along with fellow general manager, Dustin Leslie, Pierce ensures that daily operations in all three establishments are running smoothly.
Significantly, the WAB has two relatively new members of staff: Chris Coburn, as brewmaster, and Vince Rossio, as executive chef. Onboard with the WAB crew since January 2016, Coburn’s educational background is in brewing technology and science, plus work experience at Greenbush and Beer Lab London. He creates original recipes, and also collaborates at times with oth-er breweries. One such collaboration with Greenbush Brewery was the ‘Wabracadabra,’ served at the Emory last year). Rossio has essentially revamped the entire WAB menu with very favor-able results; the food served is not at all your typical ‘pub’ food – nothing fried – with an emphasis on healthy items.

I had the opportunity to spend time with Coburn, and sample some of his creations. The enthusiasm and knowledge he has for his craft is quite obvious. Chatting with Coburn on the art of making beer is an education in itself! My first tasting was ‘Saratoga’- the House pale ale, a 5.5 per cent ABV brew; it is described by Coburn as having a “light body with a hearty malt flavoring.” Next tasting was ‘Rama’s Arrow Double IPA,’ at a surprising 9.1 per cent ABV. The WAB website description of this IPA is “Smooth, not overly bitter, and maybe a little too easy to drink.” Finally, I tasted ‘Detroit Maiden,’ the House IPA, at 6.8 per cent ABV, described online as “Beautifully balanced with four kinds of malt, Magnum and Cascade hops.” Coburn mentioned that they sell over 30 kegs per month of Detroit Maiden, and they can barely keep up with the demand. All three brews were, in my humble opinion, smooth and delicious.

Servers at the WAB have been responding well to Coburn’s lead. Apparently, two of the five main WAB servers have recently taken the Ciserone beer serving certification (at a similar level to Sommelier certification in wine serving). I liked the fact that an option is available for customers who choose to avoid gluten: a guest tap of ‘Starcut Pulsar Cider’; and for those who do not drink alcohol, Coburn keeps a steady supply of quality root beer soda.

Keeping in tune with popular demand, an innovative club with-in the WAB was formed in December 2016: “The Brewers Club.” Membership to the club is limited to 97 members, based on the year of the WAB’s launch in 1997. The club has proven to be a hit; at the time of writing, only 20 slots are left.

Giving back to the community is important to the WAB owners and management alike. Local fundraisers are organized on a regular basis, such as “Dining for a Cause” and “BarkNation.” Also in formation at the WAB is the “Feel-Good” tap: A craft brew the proceeds of which benefit local, state and national charities in monthly rotation. A special recipe is developed for the brew, which is a year-long process. Overall, it seems the current vibe at the WAB is a mixture of beer-loving tradition, community spirit and progressive attitude; definitely, a winning combination!

22646 Woodward Ave. Ferndale
(248) 546-3696
www.thewabferndale.com

By David Wesley
Photos by Bernie Lamframboise

Seven years ago, Michelle Mirowski was struck by proverbial lightning on her front porch when she and her friends came up with the idea for a community radio project in Ferndale. Following the passage of an important communications law during the Obama administration, a tiny crack opened up in the local radio spectrum, allowing for the creation of a Low-Power FM (LPFM) radio station right here in our home town of Ferndale.

With the help of The Rust Belt and tons of local donations, Michelle and her team are only a few thousand dollars away from making the fresh and impactful change in radio that will nourish local talent and influence Ferndale life through the years to come.

Michelle sat down with me for an interview about Ferndale Community Radio: Its inception, its current state and its shining future.

DW: How and why did you start the Ferndale Community radio and how has it evolved since its inception?
MM: It was started from a passion for local radio! Local, community-based stations represent the creativity of the region they are based in, as well as helping bring communities together. The further along we got into FCR, the more we realized how perfect a community-based station is for Ferndale. Seven years ago, we just had a great idea. Now, we have an FCC permit for an FM station (100.7 FM), a secure location for our tower and studio (Rust Belt), we have a structured plan for running the station and a number of local folks who want to be volunteer DJs. The support has been overwhelming. We are also less than $5,000 from reaching our goal to get everything going. If you go to ferndaleradio.com, you can donate to help us reach the finish line.

DW: What are some of the most rewarding aspects of FCR for you, and how has it affected the city?
MM: Seeing people’s faces light up when we mention our project is one of the most rewarding parts of the station. Folks want a place where they can share their creative projects and learn about new music and ideas.
This will give the Ferndale residents another tool to communicate with each other. FCR has given the city something extremely unique to look forward to. It is extremely rare that a city has their own community station!

DW: What do you plan the future of FCR to be?
MM: Once we are up-and-running, we hope to partner with lots of organizations in Ferndale. For example, we want to partner with the schools and air local football games, and work with students who might be interested in radio. This will also be a great place for local musicians from all genres to play their music. In year two or three we want to start streaming. This will be an avenue for the creative projects that make Ferndale, Ferndale. The station is here to enrich the already vibrant and talented community.

●    We are only a few thousand dollars away from succeeding with this project.
●    Local businesses that want to sponsor the station in return for on-air mentions should reach out to us at ferndaleradio@gmail.com.
●    T-shirts and hoodies, as well as guest DJ spots, can be found at ferndaleradio.com.
It’s the best way individuals can help.
●    Weds. April 19: Special Fundraiser at Zeke’s Rock ‘n Roll BBQ, all day, mention Ferndale Community Radio and 15% of your receipt will be donated to FCR.

By Jennifer Goeddeke

With a spacious, brightly-painted new location at 23440 Woodward Ave (previously the TV Fitness building), it’s clear owner Tammy Crenshaw and her dedicated team are doing things right!

Previously located for several years at 703 Livernois, at a smaller locale, an expansion of services offered and enhanced class space has literally just opened up for Fido’s canine clients. When I recently had an opportunity to stop by and meet with Crenshaw, I was also introduced to Sarah Maki, who wears several Fido ‘hats’ as head trainer, groomer and office manager.

Together, Maki and Crenshaw have formed an effective and lively partnership, with a shared ‘no-force’ approach when dealing with all dogs. Positive-reinforcement is the name of the game and, although this may sound simple or even obvious, not all dog training or dog grooming facilities are created equal! Both Maki and Crenshaw have many years of experience and education in training and grooming, which allows them to understand our dogs’ unique signals.

Crenshaw has worked with dogs for 17 years, initially focusing on pet-sitting and dog-walking. She then started training at Bubble & Bark in Ferndale, back in 2006, after graduating with honors from Animal Behavior College. She went on to receive her certification from the Council For Professional Dog Trainers in 2011. Originally, she met with Maki as a client. Soon after she began to realize Maki already had notable skills with dogs, and invited her to sit in on some classes. “I was smart enough to grab onto her!” Crenshaw explained, smiling: “We are now basically business partners, where Sarah takes on most of the staff and office managerial role.”

Maki gained her Honors Degree in 2009, at the same Animal Behavior College as Crenshaw, and proudly completed her grooming qualifications at the Bingo Institute of Grooming last year. Maki added that the bad grooming experiences she had with her own dogs at various places inspired her to create ‘Fido’s Gray Dog Grooming’, so that all dogs’ boundaries could be respected.

The main goal is for each dog to associate a visit to Fido with enjoyment. Traditionally, grooming can be a stressful time for dogs, and so dogs may be reluctant to enter the facility — but not at Fido! Various methods have been implemented by Crenshaw, Maki and staff, to ensure your dog is comfortable and happy during each phase of care. Ideally, they want to see enthusiastic tail-wagging from all dogs coming in! Appointments are set so that ‘overbooking’ does not occur, and pets are not waiting around.

Your dog sets his or her own pace during the appointment, and can take a break if the groomer sees signs of anxiety. For example, your dog may be fed during nail clipping, by way of distraction. Other tried-and-tested approaches involve the use of toys, treats, potty-breaks and offering water. Further low-stress grooming methods include rubber mats being placed in tubs, to minimize noise echo. Aromatics such as essential oils are often used to soothe the dogs. Additionally, a soft cloth ‘Happy Hoody’ is used to put over a dog’s sensitive ears, and greatly mutes the blow-drying noise which most dogs dislike. For older or larger pets, there is an extra tub available which is lower to the floor, which makes it easier for your dog to maneuver.

Had to ask : What are some of the anxiety cues to look out for in our own dogs, at home? Tammy informs us: Yawning (signaling stress) and different types of tail wags — in fact, all kinds of body language is used; we miss a lot of their signals, apparently, just by being human! Crenshaw explained further, “….more studies are now available on dogs and cats, leading to better understandings. We are primates, they are canines and felines…so although we can feel a great deal of connection and understanding toward our
pet…many signals and even emotions are different from ours…often with regards to  their moral com-pass. Corrections for ‘bad behavior’ may not always be what it seems…often, dogs are reacting to our tone and body language when ‘acting guilty’…they develop appeasement postures and faces to appear submissive and create a better response from us…a stressed-out dog may be giving many communicative signals before finally snapping or biting!”

Regarding classes at Fido, there are plenty to choose from, from various phases of puppy obedience to ‘canine good citizen,’ ‘leash reactivity’ and ‘advance field trip,’ just to name a few. All staff members at Fido are carefully chosen for their combination of education and experience. Currently there are five lead trainers, three assistant trainers and a team of eight dog walkers. Both Crenshaw and Maki agree that seeing a dog change from being conflicted or unhappy to being more content and relaxed is hugely rewarding. Maki commented, “… it really seems to come down to an ‘aha’ or ‘lightbulb’ moment for the dog, where he or she realizes that his or her communication is finally being understood.”

Clearly, there is so much to learn about our loyal and beloved canine companions. It is certainly re-assuring to know there are gentle and fun approaches, such as those used by Fido staff, to help train and groom these amazing family pets!

23440 Woodward Ave, Ferndale
www.fidodogtraining.com or
www.facebook.com/fidopersonaldogtraining. Tammy Crenshaw or Sarah Maki may be reached at 248.607.9350 or fidofetch@sbcglobal.net.

Story by Sara E. Teller
Photos by Ed Abeska

Marty O’Neill spent most of his early career life working in the automotive industry. “I worked primarily in account management for component manufacturers supplying the Big Three,” he says. However, his State Farm Agent, Dave Arce, would eventually change all that. “Dave talked to me about the opportunity to open my own agency. He said State Farm was looking for entrepreneurs with sales experience who wanted to be their own business owner.”

Marty was married with four kids and needed to be able to put food on the table. He also had no prior experience in the insurance industry. The decision to change careers was risky, but he was up for the challenge. “I was in my mid-30s, and felt if I was going to make a bold career move, now was the time. Dave introduced me to the area manager and set the process in motion.”

Each State Farm Agency is owned by the agent, who then employs a team he or she determines to be the best for the agency. Since State Farm follows strict policies and specific criteria for the agency role, the process of becoming certified and proving he had what it takes would prove cumbersome. “The process was long and difficult. State Farm is very serious and protective of the Agency Role and takes careful measures when selecting agents,” Marty explains. “After numerous evaluations and interviews, however, I was selected and was asked to open a ‘new market agency’ in Ferndale.” A new market agent is an agent who starts scratch, without an established location and without any customers. “I had to grow my agency from the ground up,” he says.

Marty opened the Ferndale location in December 2006, and by the end of the first day the branch had their first client. “Since then we have helped thousands of clients and have been recognized by State Farm for our work and commitment to Ferndale.” Marty appreciates the opportunity to work with the Ferndale community specifically. “I couldn’t ask for a better place for my business than Ferndale,” he says. “Every time I’m around anyone who will listen I brag about Ferndale.” He claims the insurance business is strong in the area and everyone on his team is driven to succeed. Ferndale’s diverse customer base also keeps the day-to-day interesting and exciting. “My favorite thing about Ferndale is the diversity,” Marty says, adding it gives him “great options as a businessperson.” His team is afforded the unique experience of being able to work with all kinds of people, building long-lasting relationships with residents and a repeat customer base.

This year marks the Ferndale location’s ten-year business anniversary. Marty discusses some of the high and lows his team has experienced over the past ten years. “When we opened, it was rough. Starting a business is difficult. You make so many mistakes. Those mistakes are great learning tools but they are expensive. They cost time and money,” he explains. “We also opened just before the economic slide of 2008 and 2009. Our clients were moving away, losing jobs, having their houses foreclosed. It was hard. But we found that helping people during these times helped us get closer to our customers and helped us make long lasting relationships that we still have today.”

The Ferndale location has grown and evolved since the early days. The team has learned from the tough years, and has had many uplifting experiences as well. There will always be challenges in the insurance industry, which by its very definition is unpredictable. “We have seen people go through some major challenges. We have had clients hurt in car accidents. I’ve been called several times at night because a house caught on fire. Our clients have passed away,” Marty says. “However, the satisfaction of helping someone who has lost their home, or handing a check to some whose spouse has passed away, makes doing what we do worth it.”

Marty is also thankful for Ferndale’s office manager, Julie Toggweiler. “The highlight of the past ten years was finding Julie,” he says. “Julie is the heart and soul of the agency.
We would have never had made it this far without her.”

Future goals for the Ferndale branch include continuing to offer the best prices possible to patrons and keeping pace with a fast-moving industry. “Every two minutes there is a commercial telling people they can save money in fifteen minutes. Our job is to make sure that our clients are not only getting the best price possible, but also getting the service they need,” Marty explains, adding, “An insurance policy is only a piece of paper with a promise written on it. The promise we make is that if something bad happens we will be there to help.”

I’m writing to share the current real estate market conditions in the Metro Detroit area. Our inventory of available homes is at a critical low right now; and with the threat of interest rates continuing to rise, this is a big problem for buyers. It should also be a clear message to homeowners considering selling their homes.

I listed a home last week on Wednesday at 9:00 A.M. It was a typical 1200 sq. ft, bungalow located in the Woodward corridor. By 12:00 P.M., there were over 50 confirmed showings. I called for “highest and best” after receiving two offers. On Friday at 5:00 P.M., I had 19 offers for my client to review and 17 were over asking price. Great news for the seller, but bad news for the 18 buyers who did not get the home.

I want everyone in the Metro Detroit area to know this is the time to sell!! If interest rates continue to rise, the pool of buyers will shrink, and home sales will be affected. As inventory rises, this will change the market to benefit buyers, and home values will drop. If you’re thinking of selling, waiting could be devastating to your bottom line. It could also be damaging to the market as a whole. If inventories rise at the same time as interest rates, it could create the atmosphere for another real estate “bubble,” and we all know how damaging that can be to the housing market.

For those who think waiting until summer to sell will help your bottom line, I’d ask you to reconsider your rationale. Do you think you will profit from waiting until the time when others are more likely to put their homes on the market? Not likely! The time to put your home on the market is now, while supply is low. Cash in now!

Sincerely, Eric Blaine
Real Estate One, 26236 Woodward Ave Royal Oak, MI 48067
Cell: 248-808-4758.

Story by Maggie Boleyn
Photos by Bernie LaFramboise

Hazel Park is poised to become the first city in the state of Michigan to require microchips for dogs in place of a regular license. In 2015, San Antonio, Texas, became the largest US city replacing standard pet licenses with the implanted chip.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of dogs found in Hazel Park,” Bethany (Beth) Holland said. “We know they’ve got people, and we want to increase the number of reunions with owners.” She noted that without identification, “It’s a miracle they get back home.”

Holland has served as Volunteer Team Leader at the Hazel Park Animal Control Shelter, and was recently named as a Councilperson for Hazel Park.

Holland said that the idea for the microchip requirement has been discussed since 2015. City ordinances will have to be changed to reflect the microchip mandate for dogs, but the rollout is planned for April 2017. Currently, there are no plans to require cats to have the rice-grain sized microchip device implanted. Holland promised that there will be ample advance notice given to residents regarding the new regulations.
Supporters of the implanted devices say that registered microchips increase the odds of your pet returning home. Microchips have unique numbers that function as your pet’s ID. If your pet becomes lost, most veterinarians and all animal shelters have special scanners that can “read” the microchip. Universal scanners provide the best chance of reading microchips.

The risk of an animal shelter or vet not being able to detect a microchip is very low. Rarely, microchips, which are designed to last for 25 years, can fail and become undetectable. Human error can also lead to a chip not being read as can faulty scanners, or struggling, aggressive or obese animals. According to the Humane Society, while universal scanners can detect a competing company’s chip, they may not be able to correctly read the data.

Collars with ID tags can fall off, thereby losing your contact information. “My dog loses them all the time,” Holland confided.

Holland said microchips can be obtained at vaccine clinics, veterinary offices and at Hazel Park Animal Control. The chips are inserted with a large needle between the shoulder blades, and the animal does not need to be anesthetized for the procedure.

Prices for implanting the device vary and generally range from $10-$20 dollars. Depending on the microchip model chosen, there may be an annual fee charged by the microchip company to maintain current registration information. These fees also vary; and some companies may charge a one-time fee, while others require annual maintenance fees. Some chip companies will register pets with any brand of chip. The American Microchip Advisory Council is working to develop a network of registry databases to streamline the return of pets to their families.

Holland acknowledged that potential fees of around $30 dollars per dog would hit some Hazel Park residents hard.

“We are expecting growing pains,” she said “We’re trying to figure it out. We’re basically creating the wheel.”

She said that plans are in the works to possibly vary the fee, depending on factors such as whether the dog has been altered, has lived in Hazel Park for more than six years, or already has a microchip device implanted.  Holland said that the City of Hazel Park has purchased 100 microchips, and is actively seeking corporate sponsorships to help defray additional costs.

The Humane Society says that microchips do provide an extra level of protection if your pet loses his collar and tags, and are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the only identification method used.

The Humane Society recommends that owners who are concerned about pets having negative reactions to microchipping, or if you have questions about microchips in general, to check with your pet’s veterinarian.

Story by Sara Teller
Photo by David McNair

Frontier Promotions is an up-and-coming full service sales and marketing firm that established in downtown Ferndale in June 2014. The company works with Fortune 100 and 500 companies, and was named one of the Detroit Free Press’ Top Work Places in 2015 as well as one of 2015’s Best Businesses of Ferndale.

“We love that our office is located in a progressive city like Ferndale, and the community and environment is one of the main reasons that we initially decided to look for offices spaces here,” explains Frontier’s Human Resources Manager, Sarah McCarty. The company thrives in a highly team oriented atmosphere.” She says Frontier prides itself on its fun, interconnect-ed culture. “We focus on creating a positive environment. We empower our team members to take a hands on approach in their professional responsibilities and are constantly improving the morale of the entire crew. We have a very ‘work-hard, play-hard’ style of doing business.”

Frontier Promotions is also focused on giving back to the community, and hosts many charity events throughout the year. “We make it a priority to be involved with the community and philanthropic work,” Sarah explains. “We have provided community meals and Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless. We also have a tradition of adopting a family for Christmas to make sure that we are taking care of our local community and giving back.”

The team particularly enjoys working with Ferndale’s First United Methodist Church, located at 22331 Woodward Ave, at 9 Mile Rd. “We have done some volunteer work with First United Methodist Church and particularly like helping them because they have been so kind and welcoming to us since first moving into our Woodward location. Our office space is directly across from First United Methodist, and when we first moved into our space we struggled with parking since the lot here is shared by multiple businesses.” The church immediately stepped in to help. “Initially, we became involved with the church when they offered to let us use their parking lot. In exchange we did some volunteer work, including a Thanksgiving dinner.”

For the Thanksgiving event, Frontier Promotions had five of its team members take the day to prepare, cook, and serve a Thanksgiving meal at the church. “We prepared all of your traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green-bean casserole, rolls, etc. And, were able to service over 100 members of the local community that did not have the means to buy or cook their own dinner,” Sarah says. “It was really rewarding to see the appreciation of everyone involved, from the church staff, to the recipients of the dinner. Everyone came together, and for us it really made us feel thankful to be part of the Ferndale community.”

Frontier Promotions hosts a number of activities usually around the latter portion of the year and during the holidays, including providing a family with gifts during the Christmas season. “That is sort of a tradition for us now,” Sarah says, adding that “We pride ourselves on our work environment and office culture, so every Thursday we do some sort of team-building exercise.” Last year in December, Frontier also decided to attend the Be-a-Kid-for-a-Kid event at Dino’s Lounge. Proceeds from the event went to Blessings in Backpack, which Sarah says is “a really great organization that provides low-income students with meals for the weekend that they otherwise would not have.” The Frontier team has also planned local food drives, with the latest also held at the end of 2016.

Story by Andrea Grimaldi
Photos by Bernie LaFramboise

We are open to the public. We invite anyone to visit and walk around, walk their dogs,” Machpelah groundskeeper Paul Saville explained, looking around the park in his backyard. On this quiet fall day, the grounds crew worked on blowing away leaves and tending to the flowerbeds, as the sun came through the branches of the countless trees. And, had we been anywhere besides one of the oldest cemeteries in Metro Detroit, I would have wondered how no one took him up on his offer.

To Paul, a calming walk around the cemetery is nothing new. He has worked maintaining the cemetery since 1978 in what started as a summer job. By the mid-‘80s, he had worked his way to head groundskeeper and moved into the house on the property, hidden behind a garage of maintenance machines. Machpelah is one of the last cemeteries in America that has a groundskeeper living on the property, and the Saville family treats it with the care and pride of home.

Machpelah Cemetery is a gorgeous park, regardless if tombstones scare you or not. The history and depth in Machpelah Cemetery is worth a long, winding walk. The Jewish cemetery is located on Woodward, just south of Marshall road, across from a car dealership and surrounded by businesses. Despite the busy area, the cemetery is a very peaceful place, 24 acres of immaculate landscaping backed by the David Oppenheim Memorial park. The cemetery has 9000 garden beds and circling walking trails. Machpelah has won an America in Bloom award, as well as a Ferndale Beautification award, with good reason. There is a year-round crew that keeps Machpelah beautiful. Weeding and garden maintenance is a nonstop task, starting at one end of the park and restarting as soon as they reach the other. The crew also must level out between 300 and 500 graves and tombstones a year. Along with the tradition of having a groundskeeper on the property, Machpelah is also one of few cemeteries that hand digs each grave.

The Machpelah cemetery is integral to Detroit history. The first house on Woodward Avenue stood where the cemetery is now, when Woodward was a dirt trail. The two-bedroom house was on the Granger farm property, and the occupants paid $7 dollars per month for rent.

Machpelah has a very large veterans section. Alfred Levitt, a member of the Flying Tigers in World War II, is in internment here. A Congressional Medal of Honor awardee is also buried here. Members of the Purple Gang, Detroit’s Jewish mafia and Al Capone’s liquor supplier during the prohibition, rest here as well. According to rumors, one of Al Capone’s girlfriends is here, as well as a previous mayor of Las Vegas. Gilda Radner’s parents are here in a family plot. “Babeland” – a section of early 1900’s children – is the eeriest of them all.

While all internment records are available on the Machpelah website, the staff is also available to help with genealogy questions. The employees of the cemetery are very well-educated on the history of the cemetery and are happy to show guests around the graves. The main administration building has a chapel and a family room for guests. The guest gathering room has shelves of the interesting things found while digging; old medicine bottles, beer and soda bottles, broken glasses, rusted out horse shoes. A Congressional Medal of Honor from the Civil War was also found on the grounds.

The staff is accommodating to guests of Machpelah there out of both necessity and curiosity. Walk a mile somewhere you never thought you would, and walk away more intrigued because of it.