April / May 2014

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ONE OF MICHIGAN’S MOST highly-respected Podiatric surgeons, Dr. Harvey M. Lefkowitz, DPM, has been serving the Metro Detroit area for over 40 years. Now joined by three other exceptional DPMs, Dr. Harvey Lefkowitz and the Michigan Foot and Ankle staff are ready to provide you with the finest Podiatric care in Michigan – right here in the heart of Ferndale.

Originally from the Detroit area, Dr. Lefkowitz graduated from Wayne State University before attending the Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine where he received both a Bachelors of Science in Biology and his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery. He then completed his residency at North Detroit General Hospital in foot and ankle surgery. Since opening his private practices, Dr. Lefkowitz has personally trained over 50 residents who now serve as some of the top doctors in their field. He has also continued to lecture and publish in medical journals throughout the country.

Conveniently located on Nine Mile at Livernois, Dr. Lefkowitz’ Michigan Foot and Ankle specialists serve all of Ferndale and the surrounding area’s Podiatric needs. Whether you’re a long-time patient of Dr. Lefkowitz or seeking treatment for the first time, you’ll be treated like a member of the family by every member of his staff. With convenient hours six days a week, Michigan Foot and Ankle makes it easy to schedule an appointment. New patient forms are even available online to fill out and print to save time on office visits.

Do you suffer from chronic pain? Diabetes complications? Do you need an x-ray? Foot or ankle surgery? One of the nation’s most respected Podiatric surgeons is wait- ing to help you. Don’t wait, let Dr. Harvey Lefkowitz and the experts at Michigan Foot and Ankle help ease your pain.

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AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ObamaCare) Insurance Exchange Marketplace update: Does having the Affordable Care Act mean that FernCare will close some- time this year? The clinic will not close in the foresee-able future. This is only the first enrollment period. The Medicaid (Healthy Michigan) enrollment is not even scheduled until some time in April. Michigan has a long way to go before a significant number of people have health care they can count on. Also, even if the new programs are an unqualified success, there will still be people who do not qualify for either plan and there are a number of services that we will be able to provide that are not offered under the expanded Medicaid plan.

PIPE BREAK UPDATE: Thank you everyone who called and sent a donation to repair our building after the pipe break. You have to know that we are honored that you would do that. The restoration is about to begin and with our insurance and your wonderful donations, I believe that the clinic will be back to exactly as it should be.

SIXTH ANNUAL DINNER, May 8, Thursday 6:00 – 9:30 pm: Yes, our signature fundraiser is set and almost ready to go. We are going back to the Ukrainian Cultural Center, 26601 Ryan Road, Warren, 48091. Put the date in your book! Tickets are $40/person and $320 for a table of 8. There will be of course more information the closer we get to the date and you can always go to the FernCare web site for the latest information. http://ferncare.org.

IT’S A LAZY SUNDAY AFTERNOON and I’m waiting on my brunch companion, Laura Mendoza, the front woman and bass player for the famed Detroit rock trio, White Shag. I’ve written several articles on Mendoza and White Shag, and I was eager to hear what she and the band had been up to lately. We are meeting at Ferndale’s gem, The Emory, and as she approaches me I notice that her ‘70s rock style is still intact. Dressed in tight blue jeans, a Doors T- shirt, and black leather vest, Mendoza gingerly sipped her mimosa and caught me up on the details of her latest adventure of touring across the United States.

Laura explained that she and her bandmates booked, promoted, and managed their latest tour without the help of management or a booking agent – quite an endeavor for any group working in the music business. Mendoza recounted to me what inspired her to ambitiously book her first tour on her own.

“One day a very good friend of mine and colleague in the music biz said, ‘Laura, you guys have done Detroit. Now go out and do the rest of the world.’” So, off Mendoza went.

Thanks to her efforts, White Shag played an astounding twelve-show tour from Indianapolis to Austin. Most notably, Mendoza booked six gigs at the famous South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. She notes the highlights of the tour were playing for crowds as big as 400 people and spontaneously recording three songs for their next album at Austin’s Super Pop recording studio.

Mendoza also tells me that while on the road, she and her bandmates crashed at the homes of two Detroit legends, Ricky Rat, of the glam band The Trash Brats, and Nick Lucassian, formerly of Big Block and Shipwreck Union.

Having played nearly 100 gigs in Detroit over the last few years, Mendoza warily adds, “We’ve done all we can in Detroit at this point. If we stay, we’ll just keep spinning our wheels. In order to be one of those great rock bands we recognize and are proud to say are from Detroit, we need to get out show the rest of the world.”

Not only is Mendoza busy booking gigs, managing a tour, and performing, she also found the time to chronicle her touring experiences in a five-part blog for The Metro Times. There, she writes in depth about being on tour for the the first time, the adventures she had on the road, and her account of the accident that happened when a suspected drunken driver plowed into a South By Southwest festival crowd, killing three people.

Mendoza also works full time as the music director for the School Of Rock in Farmington Hills, where she mentors kids, gives music lessons, and helps run their program. She casually mentions she is headed to the school just after her interview on her day off to supervise a free concert her students are performing for the mentally disabled. The flames of my girl-crush on Mendoza are stoked higher at the thought.

When asked what’s next for her and her band, Mendoza talks about an East Coast tour, her band’s recent Detroit Music Awards nomination for outstanding music video “Die For Me,” and completing their second album. As she quickly pays her brunch tab and rushes out the door to meet her students, Mendoza ap- pears quite unstoppable. With a plate full of new adventures, it looks like we will be seeing a lot more from this Ferndale sweetheart in the future.

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A SPRING! NEW BEGINNINGS! AT LAST WINTER IS OVER; we are looking out our windows at something other than slush and ice. Sprouts are pushing up from the ground.

New beginnings on the Ferndale scene as well: the Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission is being revived. Dan Martin and had chatted about Ferndale’s lack of an art commission, a particularly sad thing given the flavor and personality of this town. Our city screams “arts.” The DDA has done a good job with the sculptures and events. However, we need a dedicated group for just the arts. Performing, visual, and anything in between.

Years ago, Francine Hachem and myself headed up the art commission, having a great time along the way. So, after my chat with Dan, I naturally phoned her, and we hatched our plan for the new improved Arts and Cultural Commission. We have been joined by Joann Willcock, Sherry Kruzman Martin, and Mark McDaniel Burton.

At our first official meeting last Monday, we decided to bring back Music in the Park during July and August. We also decided to talk to people in and around the city to find out what they would like to see an art commission accomplish here in Ferndale. So, please think about what you would like to see happen. We are planning a coming-out party in the spring. We are looking to collaborate with other non-profits on fundraisers. A murder mystery party is planned for the fall with the library people. Keep watching.

ANOTHER NEW THING HAPPENING is the Sunshine Brigade, formed by the Seniors. This is a group dedicated to help members who have been laid up over a period of weeks, or sometimes months. This is long overdue, and has come about after a comment made by Greg Pawlica who was surprised we didn’t already have a committee like this. We already have a number of volunteers, but can always use more. You don’t have to be a member to volunteer, or even a senior. We need young muscle for this group.

AND, ON A BROADER SCALE, we all know people who are shut in for varying periods of time. When this happens, people’s focus narrows to their four walls. Please think to call them. It is amazing how happy they are to hear from their friends or neighbors. Just a few minutes of idle chit chat will help them. It reminds them that there is a world outside of doctor’s visits, pills, and other illness-related regimens. Now, go outside and look for those daf- fodils and tulips I told you to plant last fall! Oh? You didn’t? Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Okay, just look at your neighbor’s daffodils.

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Q: CAN YOU GET ARRESTED FOR HAVING A WARRANT when you have jury duty? I have a warrant for not paying a fine for under-age drinking. They didn’t allow a payment plan and my hours got cut so I wasn’t able to keep up with paying the fine. Now it’s a year later and I have jury duty. Will I be arrested and sent to jail?

A: THE FACT THAT YOU’RE ASKING THE QUESTION implies that you understand that you could be arrested. Any time there is a warrant out for your
arrest, you can be detained. This can be a major inconvenience since every traffic stop, border crossing, or police contact can suddenly interrupt your plans for the next few weeks. It is never a good idea to delay confronting a warrant.

Your question, though, is not could you be arrested but will you be arrested. That’s impossible to predict. Certainly you have to respond to the summons for jury duty. Failure to do so is another independent reason for a warrant to be issued. Attendance at court and payment of fines is required. No one gets to decide on their own that they are excused. When you get questioned in the jury selection process, there will certainly be questions about past convictions and arrests and they may also ask about “pending” matters. If there is a warrant out, the matter is pending.

Whether the court clerk will check the record in advance or flag the fact that you have a warrant, and how the judge would respond varies from place to place. If you show up voluntarily for jury duty, the court might choose to reward your cooperation and simply inform you of the warrant and give you the opportunity to set a date to take care of it. It’s also within the authority of the court to hold you or require you to post a cash bond.

WHEN YOU REPORT FOR JURY DUTY, it would be a good idea to be ready to deposit a large amount of money with the court (like $500 to $1,000) just in case you are held and required to post a cash bond. The amount of your unpaid fines plus late fees and so on. “A warrant for not paying a fine for underage drinking” sounds like you were already convicted and ordered to pay. If by “underage drinking” you mean you war convicted of being a minor in possession of alcohol, that is a criminal offense. You can go to jail as well as pay fines on the underlying charge. Now, you are in violation of a court order to pay. That means a “show cause” hearing will be held to decide if should be sent directly to jail for contempt of court.

“They didn’t allow a payment plan” makes it sound like you went to the probation department promptly when your hours were changed and filed a written request with the court to make install- ment payments. Is that what you did?

If so, the judge is likely to understand that there was a hardship that kept you from paying. If not, the judge may decide that you simply took matters into your own hands and defied a court order because you unilaterally decided you couldn’t afford it. Whenever it becomes impossible to comply with a court order, you have to immediately go back to that court and seek relief. Doing nothing is contempt of court. You could get arrested, but it is more likely that the court will want to take some steps to make sure you show-up and do what you are required to do.

Judge Rudy Reports is a regular feature in Ferndale Friends. This “ask the lawyer” column welcomes questions from readers. If you have a legal question or concern, send your question by email to rudy.serra@sbcglobal.net. Advice about specific cases or individuals cannot be provided but general legal questions and topics are welcome.

Are you reading Annie’s Ghosts yet? How far along are you? Have you even gotten your copy, yet? This April and May, we’re hosting our 5th Annual “Ferndale Reads” program, encouraging Ferndale to read-as-one-community, with one book: the 2014 Great Michigan Read selection: Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenburg. The book takes place mostly in Detroit and its surrounding suburbs. Author/ journalist Steve Luxenberg grew up never knowing he’d had an aunt. He and his siblings were told their mother was an only child. is a true story about Luxenberg’s investigation into why his mother denied the existence of her sister for decades.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS, AS WE’RE hosting special events tied to the themes of throughout Spring. On May 14th @ 7PM: Kris Rzepczynski from the Library of Michigan will teach people how to get started with their own family history research with Getting Started: Researching Your Family’s Heritage. “Ferndale Reads offers an opportunity for readers to sit in the same room with the author of a book they’ve just finished,” said Reference Librarian Darlene Hellenberg, who has coordinated the program since it started in 2010. “For book lovers, writers are kind of like our Rock Stars… only, they don’t always go on tour,” Hellenberg, said. “And, even when they do, they don’t often swing through metro Detroit. So this is like going back- stage at your favorite band’s concert, only better!”

Past Meet The Author events have had visiting writers share wonderful stories about their personal creative process, their favorite books, and answered those seemingly unanswerable questions readers have had about the book as they’ve read along. Meet The Author events, said Hellenburg, always make her “…fall deeper in love with books, reading, and writing.” For a full list of events and special programs, visit ferndalepubliclibrary.org or LIKE the Ferndale Reads on Facebook. (Ferndale Reads Sponsors include: Ferndale Elks, GoComedy!, Michigan Humanities Council, and Ferndale Education Foundation).

BLOWOUT: THE LIBRARY WILL participate as a host venue for the 17th annual Metro Times Blowout, when it returns to the streets, bars, and show-spaces of Ferndale May 2nd and May 3rd. Blowout is  the largest all-local music festival in North America and this is the second year that Ferndale will share in host-duties (with Hamtramck and Detroit). Last year was a blast – but as we go to print, details are still developing. Stay tuned at  ferndalepubliclibrary.org for a list of  bands, times, and further details.

TEEN VOTING FOR THUMBS UP!: The Thumbs the Up! Award celebrates excellence in books for teens, awarded annually to an author  for an outstanding  contribution to  young-adult literature. Teen Voting for the Michigan “Thumbs res Up” Award is going on now until May 31st. There is a list of all ten nominees in the teen area and FPL owns all the nominees. Stop in at the Kids Corner (and follow on Facebook: Facebook.com/ferndalekids).

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AS I WRITE THIS, IT’S THE Vernal Qquinox. Snow is melting; a robin awoke me, singing before dawn. A hawk has screech- ed away the morning out back. Yet cold winds blow; it’s Michigan, after all. Cardinals have of late been singing what I call the “Triplet Song,” and chickadees have switched from their namesake call to their vernal call, a falling minor third, apparently quite amorous to other chicka- dees. Day and night are equal, and Easter’s date is solidified, it being the first Sunday after the first full moon after the equinox.

YESTERDAY, SIX OF US FROM FERNDALE joined five others to deliver a box of signed petitions to DTE’s headquarters in Detroit, asking them to move forward quickly with clean energy. Given that our beautiful State’s lakes all have mercury warnings, and that formerly abundant and healthy fish can no longer be eaten in any quantity with safety (not to mention countries like Sweden now being over 50 per cent renewable, with the US at about ten per cent), the delay in going modern is puzzling. Nancy Goedert sang as a Raging Granny and, as organizer Zack Deutsch-Gross politely insisted on delivering our signatures inside and in person, the head of security, equally politely, escorted us back to the sidewalk, waiting in the rain while we had our say. Zack and Evan Cissell then headed to the Ferndale library for more outreach. The rest of us went home and changed into dry clothes. (Some of us even went to the Emory).

THE FERNDALE LIBRARY WAS A CLEAN, green hotspot yesterday, being the center for a call-in effort to DTE, as well as a Transitions Ferndale meeting in the evening, right next door to a Green Thumbs Organic gathering (they finished quickly and joined us at Transitions). Ferndale’s Lynn Cottrill spoke about the Good Neighbors Garden, what and where it is, how to join, how it’s expanded over time. You can have your own plot while helping out with the “community” parts, and join the work days and potlucks. I then spoke about my front-yard garden and my six favorite edible “weeds” and how free and ubiquitous they are. Violets are everywhere and the leaves and flowers are not only edible but very healthy. Those and dandelions, more nutritious than spinach, are easy to spot. You might also look up lamb’s quarters, purslane, sorrel, and plantain. In fact, all seem to be higher in nutrition than their tame counterparts – the reason being that weeds never had us to take care of them, but had to evolve and develop their own defenses, as good for us as them. Google the names and hit “images.”

Sherry Wells explained Time Banks, and Lukas Zdenek gave a talk on permaculture, the highlight of which was “hugel-culture,” a German practice of piling up pieces of tree trunks or branches, covering them with soil, and planting on that “hugel,” or hill. The wood absorbs and holds large amounts of water, roots of plants (even trees) go deep to reach it, and no watering is required. At all. Look for Luke’s facebook page: Ferndale Permaculture.

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED TWO new magazines available in the Library, one directly green, one indirectly. Mother Earth News was conspicuously lacking. I planned to order it again myself after years of letting my subscription slide, and it occurred to me that buying a guest subscription for the library would be quite a bit greener, as many more can read it. Lake Superior Magazine is not specifically an environmental publication, but any regional vacation is greener than a distant one, and probably most of us like looking at pictures of Great Lakes scenes. Walking to the library and reading in their pleasant room with its fire and garden outside is nicer than staying home, and oddly, I seemed to have read both more thoroughly there than here.

Got a favorite magazine you could share this way? I’m sure library staff is open to more suggestions. Speaking of local vacations, Phil and I have taken off for SW Michigan a few times this winter to collect hikes and micro-breweries. Michigan abounds in both. Nice part of the state.

FESC: WHILE NOT AN OFFICIAL MEMBER, I’ve attended the last few meetings of the Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission and gotten a bit caught up on their priorities and goals. A few members went to Flint in February to a green cities conference. Climate resiliency, how we’ll adapt, was a topic of discussion, as well as a “triple bottom line” of climate-change impacts: economic, social, and environmental. Grand Rapids is a shining example of what’s possible, aiming to be 100 per cent renewable by 2020. Flint and Grand Rapids were both mentioned as being stalwart on setting and achieving goals, raising the bar higher every time a goal is achieved. Flint signed a Master Sustainability Plan in 2013. The three FESC members who attended the conference are now looking for ways to implement similar changes here in Ferndale.

THERE ARE TEST SECTIONS OF PERVIOUS pavement on West Nine now, near the Dairy Queen and Joe’s Party Store, identifiable in the south-side parking spots by the coarse appearance. Water flows through the pavement rather than down storm drains, with multiple benefits. It works well in areas like ours with a sand substrate, clay not allowing water to flow through the pavement quickly.

Reducing the amount of pavement in general is helpful, as it holds heat. Increasing the tree canopy (Ferndale will be doing a tree survey this year) shades pavement and reduces heat build-up. This protects the elderly and the young, anyone at greater risk during hot spells. Replacing street lights with LEDs is being discussed, as LEDs are enormous energy savers. Ferndale is going greener.

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The existence of pizza that can satisfy meat eaters and vegetarians is something Mike Lambrecht, owner of Nick’s Pizza, is out to prove. Lambrecht opened the second location of Nick’s in Ferndale in November of last year.

The first location is in Hazel Park and was opened in 1962, just nine years before Lambrecht started working there in 1971. “I was running the store for three years, where the owner had other interests…he always promised that one day he would sell it to me.” Lambrecht said.

In 1980 the owner asked Lambrecht if he wanted to purchase the restaurant. With a loan from his father, Lambrecht bought Nick’s Pizza and made his father his business partner. “This has always been a family-oriented business,” Mike Lambrecht said. Lambrecht’s kids worked for him growing up and his brothers did, too. His wife, co-owner, and daughter-in-law currently help at Nick’s Pizza, continuing the family tradition. “With family you expect more.” Lambrecht said. “You drive them much harder than what you do with someone else, and it’s probably not fair. I think other people, a lot of times, they look at it to the point where family members get special treatment and it’s not that way. They actually have to work much harder.”

Lambrecht has carried over his signature style pizzas to the Ferndale location and added a few new ones to satisfy Ferndale’s craving for vegetarian pizza. “What we have found in this location, that is much different than the Hazel Park location, [is] a lot of vegetarians,” Lambrecht said.

“So what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to change the menu somewhat to be a little bit more vegetarian- friendly.”

Lambrecht said he wants to give vegetarians more topping options than the usual vegetables, so he added spinach, fresh basil, green olives, roasted red peppers, and more to the menu shortly after opening. One out of three pizzas made at the Nick’s Ferndale location is vegetarian Lambrecht said. Nick’s also offers gluten-free dough for those suffering from food allergies.

Nick’s was opened in Ferndale because the contract lease for its Hazel Park location is in negotiation, and the outcome is uncertain. So Lambrecht decided to open a second location in Ferndale in case the contract isn’t renewed. “We figured it’s still close enough that we would have name recognition. A lot of people in the area know who we are, a lot of people don’t know who we are. But I figured that would be the first step,” Lambrecht said. If the Hazel Park location does close, Lambrecht said he’d try to service Ferndale and Hazel Park residents as best as he could from the location at Nine Mile and Hilton.

Even with two locations, the food is still the story at Nick’s. The top sellers are the regular round pizzas and Nick’s Super that includes pepperoni, ham, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and bacon. Nick’s Pizza offers round, square, and thin crust pizza in small, medium, large, and extra large sizes. Nick’s flavor crust selections are butter, garlic butter, parmesan, Cajun, and sesame. Pizza topping choices are Italian sausage, ground beef, hot peppers, pineapple, anchovies, black olives, chicken, feta cheese, onions, ham, pepperoni, and more. In addition to homemade pizza, Other menu options include pizza turnovers, Nick’s stix, salads, subs, grinders, sandwiches, cakes, and cheesecake.

Lambrecht said he still loves pizza after all these years and eats pizza three-to-four times a week. His favorite toppings are pepperoni, bacon, and banana peppers.

Nick’s Pizza is located at 745 E. 9 Mile Rd. on the northwest corner of Hilton. For more information visit www.eatnickspizza.com or call Nick’s Pizza in Ferndale at (248) 584-3125.

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With the opening of the new, post-flood, Ferndale Library in 2010 came the Science Fiction (SF) Book Club.

It was mostly founded by Friends of the Library member and Ferndale resident, Kevin Deegan-Krause, who took an early leadership role in this eclectic group. Now, the membership roster boasts about 25 members, though turns out a core of five-six members regularly, with occasional drop-ins from the school superintendent or a city council member.

Kevin, who teaches political science at Wayne State, said that “Fern- dale, a city full of people who have this hybrid of technical expertise as well as the arts,” was primed for a science fiction book club.

This genre “forces you to think big, explore individual agency and provocative questions and possibilities.” Kevin is especially keen on science fiction that presents alternate histories or that offers us a way to “reflect on our differences; the alien as a metaphor for the Other.” In this genre, one might begin thinking about what a different society might offer humanity, because, Kevin continued, “in order to get to a plausible future, you have to understand how the present works.”

“How much does history have to change to get something very different?” This is a central question in the type of science fiction that bends history, and one that stirs the members of the SF book club. But sometimes “the book is just a speck of our interactions,” said Carol Paster, retired teacher and arts afficionado. Carol fell in love with science fiction as a child of seven or eight years, watching Captain Video & the Video Rangers. “I discovered Lee Marvin when he played an alien.” Of the members, she offered, “we all like science fiction because it presents possibilities… of society but also of styles (in literature).” In response to an oft-touted critique, she quickly rebutted, “so much of science fiction is a reflection of reality, a study of human potential rather than escapist” and something to the effect that, “CSI-type mysteries are escapist.” For Carol, the group exists to have fun with literature, and “we come together to share our different perspectives.” Though well-read (an English Literature major), she’s delighted to have “gained new appreciation for authors and books through this group, and through our conversations.”

Like the literary salons of centuries past, this group is interested in the big questions. As Carol wryly stated, “Why would we need a club to discuss Patterson?” It’s also a relaxing and open space, akin to the living room book clubs and coffee houses of recent times that allow drop-ins and drifts in emphasis.

The Science Fiction Book Club is about creating a public space, a forum, where unlikely friendships are built and a variety of perspectives are brought to bear on what’s possible.

Kevin surmised, that “anytime you engage with the written word with other people, you enrich your understanding… and [it] expands our worlds a little bit.” Their discussions evolve from thought experiments and explorations of alternate histories: what would the world be like without gender; what if Roosevelt was killed and the Nazis won WWII?

Books are selected annually in March, but newbies will have opportunities to weigh in on this year’s selection. Members also have the option to taste a book, if schedules prevent digesting an entire novel; shorter pieces usually accompany each full-length book. Prize winning novels, short stories, and authors usually make the list, along with a mix of the old or classics and new (written after 2000). Over the last four years they’ve read Diamond Age, The Island of Dr. Moreau, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Beggers in Spain, and The Big Time, among many others.

Not surprisingly, the Science Fiction Book Club wants you to check them out, or at least “think about the way in which this seemingly escapist genre is also about our deeper urges and desires and what we can be capable of as human beings.” If you’re already into Science Fiction literature, you will be at home among a distinguished set who view “this [genre] as a form of literature that is exceptionally powerful because it’s one of the only kinds that asks the big social questions, as opposed to the big personal questions.”

While chatting with Carol, and flitting between decades of memories, films, history, books, and abridged experiences, it struck me how susceptible the mind is to growth or to spanning random/subconscious information; how on the edge it can be positioned for creativity, given the right stimulus. The Science Fiction Book Club is most definitely one kind of such stimuli….

Note: April’s Book is Alfred Bester’s “The Stars My Destination” which was inspired by Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo and inspired William Gibson’s Neuromancer Those who don’t have the time for a whole novel can read his “Fondly Fahrenheit” (http://bit.ly/bester_ff) or listen to Bester’s own radio adaption of it here: www.loa.org/sciencefiction/biographies/bester_av.jsp)

Find them on FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ferndalesciencefiction/

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Professor Cooper’s Wonder Clean is less than a year old and already growing tremendously. Making appearances in retail stores and selling online, the Wonder Clean line has grown to include surface cleaners, as well as body-care items and nearly everything in between.

Owner Chuck Cooper is dedicated to creating powerful products without resorting to harmful chemicals; an all-natural product at an affordable price. Although the company just launched in April of 2012, Chuck has been testing recipes and ingredients for two years. By following customer responses and growing the business in unexpected directions, Professor Cooper’s Wonder Clean is only the beginning of a wondrous journey.

The idea of Professor Cooper’s Wonder Clean was born when Cooper was 12 years old.

Digging through his parent’s attic on a quest to learn about family history, Chuck found a diary belonging to a great uncle who lived nearly a century ago. The uncle was a scientist with an obsession for cleaning that
made him sound like he was losing his sanity. His recipes for cleaning solutions were made of all natural ingredients, and the trial and errors he documented inspired the young Chuck.

Although Chuck has dabbled with a few different career opportunities, he has found his natural cleaning products to be a fulfilling trade for a number of reasons. “I have always had an entrepreneurial mind,” he explains. “Meeting new people at trade shows and seeing what they can do has been the inspiration to try new recipes and products.”

Chuck found it motivating to replace unpronounceable chemicals with minerals from the earth and oils from plants. Using all-natural ingredients frees the home from the potentially dangerous chemicals that most cleaners use as main ingredients.

Unlike many organic cleaners, though, Professor Cooper’s cleaners are both effective and affordable.

The cleaners are easily integrated into daily cleaning routines. Professor Coopers offers an all-purpose cleaner that can be used on floors, walls, and in the kitchen and bathroom. The surface cleaner is perfect for counters and tables. The dish soap, hand soaps, and laundry detergent come in a variety of scents that are long-lasting.

Each of the cleaners comes in large portions that are affordable on any budget. In addition to the natural ingredients, Professor Cooper’s is dedicated to using recycled and repurposed materials for packaging and shipping. Post-consumer waste is used for the bottles and labels.

From the outside in, every step of the Professor Cooper’s manufacturing process is dedicated to environmental responsibility.

Professor Cooper’s has also branched out into body care. The beeswax lotion is the perfect moisturizer through these harsh winter months. An immediate best seller, the lotions have been met with many rave reviews and continue to be a fan favorite. The bar soaps have four unique scents and exfoliating ingredients for a deep clean. Natural lip balms are also available at unbeatable prices.

The variety of diverse flavors that Professor Cooper offers is ever growing as new scents are introduced seasonally. The Detroit inspired Ginger Ale scent is amongst the most popular, mixing nostalgia and hometown love for Michiganders everywhere. The Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey scent is a relaxing and comforting blend perfect for lotions and lip balms. The cleaners come in fruity scents including Pomegranate and Southern Peach. Those who prefer savory have Sage and Lemongrass, Lavender, and Vanilla Oak amongst their choices.

Besides the safe ingredients, the recycled materials and unique products, one of the benefits of buying Professor Coopers is supporting a small, locally owned company.

“An enormous portion of cleaning and skin care products out there are made by only three huge corporations,” Chuck explains. “Detroit and Ferndale have a great history of supporting small business. Why not keep your money in your neighborhood rather than give it to a corporation where you’ll never see it again?”

Each step of making Professor Cooper’s products happens in Ferndale. The line is sold online and in retail stores in 15 different states.

Professor Coopers has made appearances at the DIY Festival and the Rust Belt market. Professor Coopers strives to be a part of the Ferndale community and have a personal con- nection with the customers through reviews and suggestions. Buy online at ProfessorCoopers.com and look for the brown bottles and barrel labels in retail stores near you.