Feb / Mar 2015

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Story by Allison Martin and Scott MacDonald

If you live or work the Ferndale area, chances are you are familiar with the 8 Mile and Woodward intersection, and chances are you are familiar with the cast of characters that live on those corners. Before you go passing judgment on someone else, before you say “why don’t they want to work?” and why are they homeless… Let me tell you the story of these peoples’ lives, gathered firsthand.

As resident of Ferndale, I drive by these guys on a regular basis and they are always outside and asking for something. As a female who often drives alone, many times my first reaction is to lock my door and look away. Frankly, they frightened me, because some of them are not above pounding on my car window looking for a handout. Most of us were taught by our parents to never to talk to strangers, but these people have to talk to someone in order to survive.

I found myself one rainy night face-to-face with a homeless person at this very intersection that I’ve crossed so many nights before. Normally I would have been scared. But on this night, I happened to look down and noticed he wasn’t wearing any shoes. This broke down the fear that I would normally have, and brought him into the realm of being human, in need of a simple act of kindness.

From that night on, I was curious. I wanted to find out something more about them, who they were, and how they got there.

I took a day and went with my editor and we spent the day on the corners of these streets among them. We interviewed different men of diverse backgrounds who are all what we refer to as “homeless.”

We first met William. He is one of the oldest veterans of this corner and holds the highest seniority in a system of hierarchy among these men. With his seniority, he gets his choice of corner, meaning he chooses the one with the highest traffic and this is his domain alone.

William, 43, swept the street corner and turned over paint buckets for us to sit on. A former musician whose father played with blues legend Muddy Waters, William found himself homeless after a long struggle with colon cancer and resulting medical bills. This once-proud homeowner was the sole caregiver for his dying mother, hailing from a family with a long list of mental disorders and drug addictions. After she passed away, he found himself alone.

After staying with friends and struggling with his illness, he found himself without a job, cast to the streets for survival. When asked what he would like people to know about him, he replied, “We are human too, all someone’s son or daughter, mother or father. We need understanding, compassion and mercy.”

It was bitterly cold that day, and William offered me a blanket to warm me as we talked. As we sat, he showed us pictures of his childhood, including a photo of him as a baby being held by the famous country singer Minnie Pearl. He has lived on this corner for three years; he often seeks refuge in the warming center of the local churches and he is trying to get off the streets.

When asked what people can do to help his situation, he says that “Mercy and compassion is what we need”. He also mentions a list of items that would be helpful to anyone in his situation, including long underwear, hand warmers, socks, gloves, and McDonald’s gift cards.

Next, we meet Zach, 24, at the nearby Starbucks on 8 Mile. We offer him anything on the menu, but all he wants is a simple coffee to warm himself. He has been living on the streets for just under a year. He’s a recovering drug addict who is proud of his sobriety, but admits it’s hard and he struggles with his addiction. Although he is relativity young, his parents have

disowned him, leaving him to the streets. He sometimes works at The Golden Gate Cafe and Innate Healing Center for local chiropractor and revolutionary, Dr. Bob Pizzimenti, who is well- known for rehabilitating the homeless and providing them work and hot meals.

When asked, Zach echoes William’s sentiments for those in their situation. He explains, “Just do what you can to put a smile on our faces. Like, one time these cute girls spent the day giving out Easter baskets, they were filled with fruit roll ups and granola bars, it was really cool.” He also mentioned he could always use items like art supplies, music (keeping busy and being able to create is incredibly therapeutic in his situation), clothing, blankets, survival gear, and sleeping bags.

Local business owners Chris and Tiffany Best of the Rustbelt Market have offered to accept donations on Saturdays and Sundays to benefit the homeless around 8 Mile and Woodward. If you feel yourself inclined to help out, they are offering a safe and accessible way to contribute to Ferndale’s homeless population and to facilitate making our city a better place. Warm your own heart by helping someone stay warm this winter.

Golden Gate Cafe and Innate Healing Center is located 18700 Woodward in Highland Park. www.innatehealingcenter.com

The Rustbelt Market is located at 22801 Woodward Ave in Ferndale. www.rustbeltmarket.com

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Story by Sherrad Glosson | Photos by Jeff Lilly

We never know where life will lead us. Some of us live life carefree and never dream of the day when everything we’ve worked hard for is taken away in the blink of an eye.

Edwin is 51-year-old African-American man whose last name just happens to be “Luckey,” and that is how so many of us know him around town. Lately, his life was anything but. Not so long ago, Edwin Luckey was happily engaged, with a beautiful daughter. He worked for a factory and was financially stable. But when jobs

were cut due to seniority, he lost it all, including his fiancé, his daughter, and contact with his family.

With no one in his corner, Luckey found himself in the streets without a home to go to. Low self-esteem and depression began to settle in, and the only friend he found to have his back against the vicissitudes of his new life was the bottle. He picked up drinking just to ease the pain of feeling like all hope was lost, and the alcohol would numb his body during the cold winter nights of Michigan, sleeping outside on concrete.

“These last four years have been up and down. Sometimes it’s sunny and sometimes it’s cold. It’s not just the weather that’s cold, but people are cold in how they treat the homeless,” says Luckey.

Looking at him across from me, you can tell that he suffers from hurt. It was hard to make eye contact. Lucky gazed at the ground as we reminisced on his past experiences. He says that the way he’s been treated over the years has left him with a complex which makes him feel less than human.

There is a quote that says “At the end of every dark tunnel, there is light,” and because of faith, that light became visible when he crossed paths with Brian Kramer.

Lucky has found a place in the hearts of many in Ferndale, and a lot of your neighbors have gone out of their way to help him. But Brian Kramer (owner of Rosie O’ Grady’s, One-Eyed Bettys, Diablos and Red Fox) has earned a special place in Heaven for a number of really remarkable personal sacrifices to help a fellow human being.

Brian took a liking to Luckey. He gave Luckey a sense of hope, and began to encourage him that he is somebody. He treated Luckey like a human being and would often take him out for coffee.

Brian was so determined to get Luckey back on his feet that he spent many hours and days assisting Luckey through what became a rather strenuous effort involved in getting a Social Security card and state I.D. But that’s not all – Brian also arranged for Luckey to get a room, and also a phone and now Luckey talks to his father, sisters and daughters every day. There’s more: Brian’s efforts also recently led to a reunion between Luckey and his father, who had been separated for two years. Brian is also teaching him job skills that he can use in future. Brian went to Home Depot and bought Luckey the supplies he needs to clean windows, giving him a way to earn a little money now. A recent Facebook photo features Luckey holding his first paycheck in years.

Luckey says, “The city of Ferndale hasbeenverygoodtome.Iama person that has always had a heart but hasn’t been able to show it. There are no mistakes in life and we are going to cross this bridge with learning the morals to life. I have been alcohol-free for four years.”

Ferndale truly takes care of its own. I asked Luckey if he had any words for our readers. He looked up, finally making eye contact, and said “Never give up!”

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Story by Jill Hurst | Photos by Bernie Laframboise

Sensei Jaye told me I’d picked a good time to reach out to her on behalf of Ferndale Friends. “We have an event coming up pn Monday, to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. There’s a pot-luck afterwards. You should attend. Share the potluck. We can talk then.”

Fast forward to Monday evening at Meijishi Martial Arts in downtown Ferndale, a space full of noise and energy as students of every age, shape, size, and gender prepared to share their skills. The program included demonstrations and excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches, reach aloud by the company. I liked watching the young people, who might have been hearing his words for the first time.

Senseir Jaye and her wife and partner, Guro Su, skillfully guided the event. The noise of the onlookers (chairs scraping, kids talking, coats rustling) didn’t seem to throw the students. They kept focus; their generosity and mutual respect was impressive. Student of all levels participate to music. The last demonstrations were executed in the dark with neon glow sticks design and handmade by student (and engineer) Wendy Stringer.

Certificates were awarded, and finally, we celebrated a round of “Happy Birthday” for Logan Stoll, one of the students. The student did pushups as they sang! “Ask about the pushups,” I scrubbed.

During the potluck, I chatted with Jaye and Su. Jaye started training in 1971. She founded Mejishi at Six Mile and Woodward in 1979, open to all but geared toward self-defense for women. Twenty-six years ago, Mejishi moved to Ferndale; a great space, but Jaye worried that moving out of Detroit might discourage African American students from continuing their training. She spoke of a different Ferndale, “with only about 50% occupancy on None Mile” before the gay and lesbian community discovered the area and grew it into the diverse, creative town of today.

Jaye then encouraged me to mingle with students, starting with black belt Karen Brow, who has trained with Jaye since 1979.

Sensei Jaye is among the founders of The National Women’s Marital Arts Federation, which sponsors a camp every summer (this year in Lansing) and certifies self-defense instructors. The MLK celebration started about twelve years ago. Other annual events include the karate-thin for kids, held in the spring, and participation in the Ferndale Memorial Day Parade and Ferndale Relay for Life.

Karen Brown answered the question everyone asks. “Do I use my martial arts training?” She smiles. “Well, I’ve never had to fight anyone, but I use it every day in my awareness of my surrounding and respect for others.”

And…the pushups? Sensei Jaye does not consider pushups a punishment – more of a joyful exercise. When kids are able to do 30 pushups they get a sticker!

It was an honor to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Sensei Jaye Spiro, Guro Su, and their company of peaceful warriors. As the student handbook says, “All are welcome. All are special.”

Mejishi Martial Arts is located at 247 West 9 Mile Road. For more information on the many classes available, visit their website at www.mejishimartialarts.com or call 248-542-5371

Story by David Wesley | Photo courtesy of the IDA

Anchored in the midst of a patch of industrious steel and stone, resting before the train tracks on the corner of Woodward Heights and Horton Street, you might be surprised to find a colorful and emi- nent dance studio. But here lies The Institution of Dance Arts, or IDA. Inside the cordial lobby waits a café-like countertop guarding rows of little black chairs for kids to sit, eat and draw. Once inside the bright vanilla decor of the main studio, a spacious and speck- less space popping with the movements of dancers of all ages, I meet with the owner and main instructor, Ida Lowback and she cheerfully grants me an interview.

At IDA, Lowback explains, they investigate dance as an art form and explore the instinctual need for movement. Students are given the freedom and security to explore their creativity. IDA’s profession- al and dedicated dance educators provide their students not only with the knowledge of dance movement, vocabulary, and history, but also with skill sets that will enhance their lives outside of dance. Offering classes in all genres to all ages and levels within a safe, nurturing, and educational environment, allow them to create life- long dancers who appreciate the art of movement.


IDA LOWBACK: I was born and raised in Royal Oak and grew up dancing throughout Oakland County. I always knew that when I started my own studio I wanted it close to home and in a culturally rich community. I was surprised to learn that Ferndale, being such an artistic and creative area, had no traditional dance studio (ballet,

jazz, tap, etc.) and so it was a perfect opportunity. Since we opened in September the community has been extremely welcoming and I have loved getting to know it and its residents; so much so I just purchased a house here!


IL: It has been a pleasure. Dance is a universal language and brings people together. The people of Ferndale are known for being open-minded and community-oriented, and so teaching dance here has been both an exciting and rewarding experience.


IL: My long-term goal for the studio is for it to become a cultural cornerstone of Ferndale and a second home for its students. A dance studio is successful when it becomes closely ingrained with its surrounding community and creates a space where students feel free and safe to share and explore the wonders of movement. My goal is that our students find an emotional outlet and a vehicle for personal development that guides them throughout their lives. I am confident that if I invest myself in my students, staff, and community, I can achieve this goal.

The Institution of Dance Arts is located at 701 Woodward Heights, Suite 130. Phone 248-697-2200 or visit their website at www.theinstitutionofdancearts.org

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By: Ann Heler

THE 9 MILE RESURFACING PROJECT is anticipated to commence in early April and be completed by mid-August. The DPW will continue to provide updates as we go through the construction process.

Livernois and Marshall Traffic Signal Update: Construction of the new traffic signal is complete, and the signal began operating on Friday, January 30. Typically, this type of project would have taken six to nine months to complete. However, due to the emergency nature of this project and the hard work of all parties involved, this project was completed in 90 days. The DPW is continuing to work with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company regarding reimbursement of all costs incurred by the City.

Hilton Road (8 Mile to 9 Mile) Resurfacing Update: The majority of construction will take place in the Spring of 2016. Some work will be done in the Fall of 2015

Visit your Ferndale DPW at www. ferndalemi.gov/Government/Departments /Public_Works or call 248-546-2519.

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By: Ms Margo

ARIES 3/21 – 4/19: You really need to make some more time with your friends. Allow happiness into your life again with laughter and simplicity. Your true friends will come out and support you in whatever you do; it has been a while since you supported them.

TAURUS 4/20 – 5/20: What’s so wonderful about you is that you just don’t say it, you do it. You have been following through, reaching your goals and achieving what you need to achieve. Luck is in the air! Lucky numbers are 302, 1147, 819. Be proud of who you are, you’re doing it!

GEMINI 5/21 – 6/21: Keep personal things to yourself. You do not have to sever ties to all of your personal business. Keep your drama, everybody does, but be more of a listener. Challenge yourself to be thankful for at least ten things today, and every day. Allow positive energy to flow again. Buddy days ahead for you.

CANCER 6/22 – 7/22: You worry too much about what others might think… even people you don’t really even associate with anymore. Calm yourself down. You are forgetting to be in the moment. Maybe go to Como’s for a little pizza moment. You need to relax!

LEO 7/23 – 8/22: You can be very stubborn and dogmatic. But we all know this is what has got you to where you are today. Your hard work and dedication will soon catch up with profit and success, but remember is not always good to be stubborn in every aspect of your life.

VIRGO 8/23 – 9/22: My girls and boys like to party all the time, party all the time, party all the time! Wow, what a wonderful place to hang out with your love one day in Fashionable Ferndale. From a body massage to dancing, a little shop- ping, and then some delicious buffalo wings. What an awesome time for all.

LIBRA 9/23 – 10/22: You have been very forgetful lately. Friends’ birthdays, family holidays, etc. Take notes and write things down. We all know that you’ve been extremely busy, but don’t forget about organization. Just a little helps us move the road for you.

SCORPIO 10/23 – 11/21: You’re fun-loving, exciting, and ready for new love. It’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay to flirt, you need to go out to shake your bonbon and just enjoy life again. Remember to always smile, you never know who’s looking.

SAGITTARIUS 11/22 – 12/21: Time to make some light travel plans. Looking for a second home? Good time to buy for yourself. Lucky numbers are 4121, 334, and 8142. As you are searching for a place to hang out at for a little travel time, keep it simple, short, and sweet.

CAPRICORN 12/22 – 1/19: It is time for you to clean up those closets and cabinets. Get some organization in your life. Especially all the stacks of paper you have around you. Don’t get overwhelmed, start with one drawer at a time.

AQUARIUS 1/20 – 2/18: You have an infectious laugh, and it’s wonderful and contagious. New love is on the horizon. You’re sexy hot, and people see you for who you are; genuine and nice. You’re doing great just loving yourself, too.

PISCES 2/19 – 3/20: You’re an awesome parent! You’re doing a great job raising your family and participating in it, too. Make sure you’re taking a little time out for yourself. You must be bouncing in life to be productive for yourself and to others.

Until next time, walk in peace.

By Aaron Butler, 11th grade, University High School

We are all very lucky to be here, just in case anybody wasn’t
aware of that. I learned a long time ago in life that not much
is fair. We’ve bestowed upon the eternal dance of planet Earth,
teaching one to learn and accept one’s fate and move on to the next day, but
it’s hard always trying to keep a peaceful mindset. It’s hard trying not to subject yourself to self-deprivation. It is kind of hard, trying to speak up, from a place where no one wants to hear you.

Expressing, aggressiveness and impulsivity with very little to absolutely no emotional control was my last habit, but it seems as though I’m starting to get
back at it. That demon that I carry is heavy. The things that I can’t help but to think about is entirely stressful upon my brain. But she is the only silhouette of all the darkness I have always longed for, when her beaming light could only choke me in It’s illumination. She remains
the only one that can drive my every instinct to help me find some type of rhythm
in my life.

If only I could ask her how she has the capability to fit my whole universe inside of her. She is like my own open notebook that I can write all of my tongue scratched love notes in. In one of those notes I’ll tell her “I hope you’re not feeling empty
or lonely, because I’m willing to leave behind so much of myself for you.”
I remember a while back, when we were sparking each other’s fireworks; you made me feel as if I was yet but another supernova, in a continually imploding galaxy
of suns, all for enlightenment and favor. Lust, is one of those deadly sins
we committed that summer night.

Regardless of what was committed, we could still be standing face to face, and from where I would be standing, I can see all eternity right before my eyes.
I would love to be that guy that you’re just oh so in love with, but as of right now, my energies are a bit unbalanced.

Welcome to the Writing Rink, a space dedicated to the creative writing of Ferndale stu- dents! The Writing Rink accepts poetry, song lyrics, essays, very short fiction (600 words or less!) or original news articles written by students grade K-12. Please contact us for submission guidelines at ff.writing.rink@gmail.com

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By: Jennifer Goeddeke

Shu Yan has a flair for food, and it shows! Since opening his casual dining-style restaurant in 2008, business has been booming.

What is the core secret to his success? Yan believes that despite the competition in Oak Park and surrounding areas, his cuisine and service really stand out.

First, the ingredients used are always completely fresh, not canned. Secondly, the delivery service is outstanding: food is guaranteed to arrive within 25 minutes or less! Third, Yan and his staff maintain a strong team-mentality, where good customer service is consistently the pri- mary focus.

Yan has extraordinary determination! Having immigrated to the United States in 1990, at only 20 years of age, he lived and worked initially in New York City and then later moved to Michigan. Following ten years of restaurant experience, Yan was ready to open his own business. Over the ensuing eight years, he opened five more restaurants – an impressive achievement by any standard!

Recommended ‘House Specialty’ dishes at China City include: bourbon chicken (BBQ taste, sticky-sweet); sesame chicken (spicy and sweet combined), and almond boneless chicken (with rich gravy, served over vegetables) In addition to the stir-fried foods on offer, there are also boiled/steamed options available! Yan is clearly catering for the taste of a broad range of clientele. In his words, he believes we must all, “…excel to be the best in your field and if you’re putting forth effort, you’re sure to get something back in return!”

Check out this award-winning restaurant for yourself: located at 13715 W. 9 Mile Rd in Oak Park (Southwest corner of 9 Mile and Coolidge). Or, call to place an order by phone: (248) 547-4663. Orders may also be placed online: www.chinacityoakpark.com; www.chinesemenu.com, or www.beyondmenu.com. Business Hours are M-Th: 11am-10pm; Fri & Sat: 11am- 11pm; Sun: Noon-9.30pm. Visa and MC accepted.

By: Ann Heler

BIG NEWS: We are opening an additional clinic session: Second Thursday evening of the month from 6:00 P.M. To 8:00 P.M. We are now open once a week: The first and third Saturdays from 9:00 A.M. to noon and the second and fourth Thursday evenings from 6:00 P.M. To 8:00 P.M.

Also, we are opening a support group for people with diabetes. This is for our patients and for anyone else. You do not need to be a patient to attend these sessions. They will be held on the first Saturday of each month from noon to 1:00 P.M. Call the appointment line at 248- 677-2273 and let the person know that you would like to attend the diabetes sessions. Once again of course, these sessions are free. We will be cooking and shopping in addition to providing diabetes education and care.

Jewish Family Services will be at the clinic on the first Wednesday of each month from 6:00 P.M. To 9:00 P.M. to assist with health insurance enrollment. This is for either the Insurance Exchange or Healthy Michigan. Their staff do enroll- ment assistance full time and are more than willing to work with anyone who has had difficulty enrolling. They are real problem solvers. They saw seven people in December and six were enrolled com- pletely by the time they left. They are very experienced with both programs.

Thank you everyone who responded to our Annual Appeal letter. You have been very generous again. All of you make all of us smile.


-Make funny faces in the mirror

-Tell someone you are mighty glad they are in your world

-Drink at least 3 glasses of water

-Dance to a song on the radio, Ipod, your phone… just dance!

Clinic Appointments and Information: 248-677-2273

We have NO waiting list. You will have an appointment definitely within the month. We can help you sign up for the Insurance Exchange or Healthy Michigan. The only criteria we require is that you have no health insurance and no prima- ry care provider. CALL if you do not have health care!


Bring medications and medical equip- ment to the clinic on either the first or third Saturday of each month, anytime between 9:00 A.M. and noon.

We take everything EXCEPT:

-wooden crutches (can’t be sterilized)

-oxygen tanks****

-hospital beds


-motorized wheelchairs

Take controlled substances, psychotropic medications or muscle relaxants to the Royal Oak Police Station medication drop box at 221 E. 3rd St. in Royal Oak.

****Oxygen tanks have to be returned to the name on the tank. Tank distributors ONLY take tanks that they distributed.

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By: Rudy Serra

Q: I live in Ferndale and hired a contractor from Madison Heights to do some work for me. We have a written agreement. I paid, but the work was never done. I’ve tried calling, and I’ve also sent email. Almost a year has passed. The amount of money is about $1,000. If I have to sue him, what do I do? Where do I sue?

Answer: Consider filing a “small claims” civil suit at the 43rd District Court in Ferndale. Where to sue is a question of “jurisdiction.” A court can’t act without jurisdiction. Jurisdiction can be challenged any time, and any action taken by a court outside its jurisdiction is void. Our local district court, for example, does not have jurisdiction over cases claiming more than $25,000 in damages.

The District Court has jurisdiction over cases involving less than $5,000 and as- signs those cases to the “small claims” division. The “small claims court” is a division of the local district court. The “General Civil” division has jurisdiction over matters from $5,000 to $25,000. They’re all in the same place at your District Court. The Oakland County Circuit Court has jurisdiction over civil cases involving more than $25,000.

A lawyer can help you prepare your case, but attorneys are not permitted to represent you in small claims court. The proceedings are considered informal, and efforts toward mediation or settlement are common.

Usually, the proceeding is run by a magistrate. A magistrate is an attorney who has been delegated authority over certain matters by the district judge. A district judge can overrule a magistrate’s decision. There are no jury trials in small claims.

Ferndale, Madison Heights and Hazel Park are all part of the 43rd District Court. When a crime occurs in Ferndale, the criminal case goes to the Ferndale Judge (Joseph Longo). A civil suit filed in Ferndale, however, may be assigned to Madison Heights (Judge Keith Hunt), Hazel Park (Judge Charles Goedert) or Fern- dale. Cases are assigned randomly.

The Michigan Court Rules set forth the factors you consider in deciding where to sue. The residence of the parties, the place the contract was entered, and so on, are all listed factors. You might have to attend hearings in Madison Heights or Hazel Park. Once your case is assigned to a judge, it generally stays with that judge.

If your contractor lived outside the 43rd District, you can still file your action here. The factors that determine “jurisdiction” don’t change. They are designed to include cases where the parties live in the same place, as well as those where they do not. Generally, with civil actions, you can file wherever the Defendant (the person or business you are suing) lives. However, if you (the “Plaintiff”) reside in Ferndale, the contract was signed in Ferndale, and the work was to be done in Ferndale, you would be able to file the case in Ferndale.

There are two kinds of jurisdiction. A court can have jurisdiction over a person, or it can have jurisdiction over property. In a criminal case, the court has jurisdiction over the person when that person is in custody. In a civil case, the court has jurisdiction to decide disputes over property located in the district. In your case, the small claims division of the 43rd District Court is probably the place to start.

“JUDGE RUDY REPORTS” is a regular feature in Ferndale Friends. This “ask the lawyer” format 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.