Oct / Nov 2015

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Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 10.15.39 AMRaylon Leaks-May

I am a proud Ferndale resident of twenty five years, a married mother of five beautiful children, and I currently, serve on the Ferndale Schools Board of Education as a Trustee and as Treasurer. I believe that I am uniquely qualified to be your next Ferndale City Council leader because I have a history of building bridges with local community leaders and have a solid track record of bringing new voices into our community’s most difficult and important conversations. In addition to this, my experience with school board strategic planning and governmental policy will be vital as decisions regarding the development of our progressive community are made. The combination of my qualified experience and new perspective will make us Even Better Together!

I see Ferndale through fresh, perspective lens, a vision that includes:

A Multi-Generational Vision- Ferndale attracts young professionals and baby boomers, and many residents seek to stay here as they age. I will ensure that Council has a strong housing plan that accommodates multi-generational needs and I see ways to keep our residents healthy and active throughout their lives with improved parks, roadways, and recreation.

Smart Development- Ferndale’s growth brings both opportunities and challenges. We must approach development, growth, and mass transit in a way that benefits the whole community—balancing beauty, convenience and business sense. My experience will help us find the right mix.

Inclusive Collaboration- Effective decision- making requires ensuring that all voices are included in our community’s most important conversations. I want everyone to have a seat at the table, especially those who have felt unheard and unseen. Our city can work even more closely with our schools, library, and neighboring communities to include all stakeholders.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 10.15.49 AMDan Martin

Four years ago I had the privilege of being elected to my first term on City Council. It has truly been a wonderful experience working with residents and city employees alike, and I firmly believe that we are a better place today then we were four years ago. This Council has encouraged policies supporting responsible economic growth, residential improvements, modernization of technology at City Hall, as well as reduced water rates and taxes. There have been struggles along the way, but I feel that we have worked together to arrive at the outcome best for our community as a whole.

I am seeking a second term because I want to continue to this work. Protecting the great services we currently have is a priority, especially those provided by Police and Fire. My goals for the next four years include focusing on continuing to improve business processes and customer service across our departments. Residents make a significant investment to our City and each other, and I was to be a strong voice protecting that stewardship. I am supporting a comprehensive plan to address environmental opportunities and protections within the City and ensure the development that will continue to come to Ferndale is sustainable, and within the character of our unique community.

Please feel free to visit my web site at www.danmartinforferndale.com to learn more and get involved. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questionsorconcerns. Again,thankyoufor the opportunity to serve and I look forward to strengthening our partnerships in the future.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 10.15.58 AMWilliam S. White

William S. White is originally from Pennsylvania but moved to Ferndale 27 years ago to start a family. He is married to Kathy White (26 years) and they have three sons together; William, Brian, and Brandon. William has been in Ferndale for 27 years and all three of his sons attended school in the Ferndale School District. He wants to keep our Police, Fire and DPW strong.

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Story and photos by Kevin Alan Lamb

Have your children grown up and moved away? Or perhaps you’ve lost the one you loved and have grown too familiar with the way an empty house feels. No matter how the pages turned in your story, the next chapter in your life may be a protagonist who infuses youth, culture, and a daily reminder that life is beautiful.

Just ask Charlene Marklein Nutton, who has welcomed Educatius International student Worapong Kitti-a-nong Oh into her home, from Thailand.

“I am a widow so there is only Oh and myself. Oh has bought many photos on his computer, and before seeing them I knew very little about Thailand. It is a beautiful country and much more modern in parts than I thought. Ninety-seven percent of the people of Thailand are Buddhist. Oh has taught me a number of things about his religion. While he is here we are going to visit a temple. Oh is very gracious and likes to cook a number of his country’s dishes. We have been to downtown Detroit to see how close Canada is, the new DEB building, Belle Isle, a wedding and Arts, Beats & Eats. On Sunday we are going to a Tiger’s Game. His English has improved a lot since he arrived 11 days ago,” Nutton says.

Educatius International is a global leader in the field of international education seeking families in Berkley, Clawson, Royal Oak, Ferndale, and Bloomfield to host international students attending Clawson, Ferndale, and Bloomfield Township high schools for the upcoming school year.

“Hosting an international student is an enriching experience for the family, the student, the schools, and the community. There is a sharing of cuisines, language, culture, relationships, and life in a different part of the world where one may have only read about or seen on television. An international student is here to experience American culture and improve their English language skills. They can add interest in learning in the classroom as they learn from us and we learn from them,” Debi Wilkelis of Educatius International says.

Oakland County Schools have endorsed the program for the 2015-16 year, placing students in high schools throughout Oakland County. A local coordinator is provided by Educatius International to supervise and work with the host families and schools to ensure a positive experience.

Host Mother Shari Berard says, “I raised two wonderful boys through the Ferndale school system and now I am alone. Meeting Debi and (listening to) her persuasive ways, I soon was hosting a girl from Spain in my home. The first night, with students arriving, I had five people in my living room speaking four different languages. Seeing these students who are willing to leave their homes and live with those who speak another language and then studying in that language takes courage. It has been a joy to meet and be with others in this program.”

While welcoming someone from a foreign a land into your home may be intimidating, with a built- in language barrier, it just might also be one of the best experiences of your life. After all, it’s not every day you are given a chance to welcome a brave, cultured, and grateful child into your family. Children like Worapong Kitti-a-nong Oh, who shares a few of his exciting experiences so far.

“At school in Thailand, I have nine periods each day and end the class at 4:00 P.M. every day but here, I have only seven periods each day and end class at 3:05 P.M.. It’s a new experience for me that school ends earlier. Also, I am able to speak English with my friends in the class every time because in Thailand, I speak English only in the English class. Next, I am able to see something that we don’t have in Thailand such as weddings in the other country. I can feel weather that is very very very cold for me because in Thailand, that’s always 80 degrees. Last, I am able learn about living with the other people that isn’t my family; my host.”

Educatius reimburses monthly with a set stipend of $300 to offset the cost of hosting. A referral bonus of $100 is offered for approved host families who host. It is a common misconception that families think they must entertain or treat their students as guests.

“We encourage them to treat them as extended family members who participate in family functions and help with chores around the home no different than their own children,” Wilkelis says.

Students can share a room with another student within the same age range and sex, so long as they have their own bed and closet/dresser. Host families are expected to provide student’s three meals a day, understanding that lunch may be purchased at school. Additionally, host families are asked to drive students to activities at least three times a week.

Candela Ruano is a 14-year-old high school student from Spain, attending Ferndale High School. She shares some her most interesting experiences thus far.

“High school definitely, it’s so exciting to meet new people. At first it was scary (for everybody is) but then is amazing. Everyone treats so well and you feel really comfortable. I’m in Ferndale High School and I should be in 10th grade but, because I’m an exchange student, I’m a senior so that I can graduate and ‘feel’ more the experience. Ferndale is a really quiet place but with a lot of things to do. I have the advantage to live near 9 Mile where there are a lot of stores,” says Ruano.

Hosting is a rewarding and enriching experience that may be just what you need, but didn’t know to look for. Educatius is still in need of host families for students from Spain, Thailand, and other countries. If you are interested in learning more about hosting, please contact Debi Wilkelis at 586-381-5174 or debiw.educatius@gmail.com.

Story by Allison Martin | Photo by Bernie LaFramboise | Runway photos by Brad Fick

Hot on the heels of her New York Fashion Week debut, local Detroit fashion designer Stein Van Bael debuted her latest collection – The Davenport Collection – at the legendary Tangent Gallery earlier last month.

As a self-taught fashion designer, Van Bael is no stranger to creating wearable art out of unique materials. She has manufactured myriad masterpiece collections out of unconventional materials and themes, and her latest work follows in form. For The Davenport Collection, Van Bael created her fabulously unique launch out of vintage upholstered furniture.

Not that Van Bael is only inspired by your grandmother’s sofa. Previously, she sent collections down the runway that included
designs made out of visqueen, a durable polyethylene sheeting used to waterproof houses. She has also showcased a collection created solely from merkins, or pubic hairpieces worn by prostitutes and actors in the early 1900s. Also notable is Van Bael’s stuffed animal collection that was featured in an editorial for the Metropolitan.

Traditional, her show is not.

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I was able to experience this firsthand at her latest show at the Tangent Gallery, in Detroit. With my girlfriends and cocktail in hand, we mingled about the gallery. There was a full bar to enjoy, a bonfire outside for people to gather around, a woman suspended, and a man being whipped.

When the lights dimmed and the show started, Van Bael sent her models down the runway to a live band. One by one, the models marched out in an array of styles all made out of vintage davenport fabric. The collection included vests, shorts, dresses, and a men’s suit. Not only was it impressive, it was fabulous.

What one notices when attending a Stein Van Bael show is the elaborate production of it all. Aside from the uniqueness of the fashion, there is a great quality to the production. Van Bael says that, to her, the show’s production, “embodies an atmosphere of perfect lighting, music, and precise execution of the runway show itself. It means having dedicated and capable models who are ready to put their game faces on and fall into character needed for the show.

“As a designer, I can say that a fashion show absolutely has to have a fluid and cohesive collection that stands out, just enough to make an impression without flying off the handle.”

So how did she make it all the way to New York Fashion Week? She has been working closely with a manager who helped organize the trip. As a first timer at NYFW, the young designer says she was ready for the experience. “Being raised in the do-it-yourself atmosphere that is Detroit made me ready for most anything. I was clear, collected, and I nailed it. I would not have been so prepared if I weren’t used to doing everything myself. If I show up, I’m ready.”

Beyond her imaginative show production and creative use of materials, there exists something that makes Van Bael’s designs more than just spectacle. Erica Pietrzyk, Van Bael’s treasured muse and frequent runway model, sheds light on the mystery. “It’s her positive attitude, her ambition to reach the stars, the fact she is always building those around her up, and that her designs are very fashion- forward, original, and unique.”

When I asked Van Bael what she doesn’t like about fashion, she comments on not understanding some of the trends that are present. “Why did boots, [and] leggings, and lattes ever become a thing? I don’t like the watered-down and disposable aspect of [those items]”.

When asked why fashion interests her, Van Bael replies, “Because there is a fine line between innovative and ridiculous. I like to push the envelope and invite new perspectives into the game.”

For more information on Stein Van Bael, please visit: steinvanbael.com and follow her on social media. Twitter: @steinvanbael.

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Story by Jeff Lilly | Photos by Bernie Laframboise

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 10.46.17 AMIf you’ve been down Hilton Road in the past couple of months, you may have noticed DPW crews hard at work in the corner of Wilson Park at University. New fencing, walkways, and…a fire hydrant fountain, painted like a Dalmation?

“There’s a bone-shaped drain, too.” Loyd Cureton, Director of the Ferndale Department of Public Works, smiles as he tells me the story of the new dog park. “We designed the park and its features, from scratch, from the ground up.” Besides the fanciful, practical features like waste disposal bags, trash receptacles, park benches, and sturdy fencing are abundant. There are separate areas for small and large dogs, with plenty of room to run around. As a survey of the park’s many features will attest, a lot of thought and creative input went into it. But creativity didn’t come at the expense of fiscal responsibility.

“The hydrant was scrap, and we repurposed it.” Cureton explains. The hydrant’s art was done in-house, too. The sign was made from recycled material from old hockey rink boards from another park, designed, shaped, and printed at the DPW’s sign shop. Ed Schmid Ford donated time and material from their paint shop to clear-coat the sign, to protect it from the elements. The landscaping materials were salvaged from other jobs, too. Unwanted trees and bushes were purchased at huge discounts from suppliers. The only major job that was contracted out was the fencing.”

The result is a fun, inviting space that also sparkles with whimsy. Still, not everyone is happy about the $40 annual fee, suggested to City Council by the Parks and Recreation Commission. So what’s the fee for? Besides maintenance, it goes to another important program. Recreation Director Jill Manchik fills us in on the details:

“The Dog Safety class is a one-time requirement for residents interested in obtaining a membership to the dog park. The class is presented by Canine to Five and will be held the second Tuesday of each month from 7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at the Kulick Center. Topics include dog park etiquette, dog behavior: recognizing aggressive vs. non-aggressive, play styles, what to do if there is a fight, tips on setting your dog up for success at the dog park, and more. Pre-registration for the class is required, see www.ferndalemi.gov or you may visit or call the Ferndale Recreation Department to register at 248-544-6767.”

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To become a member, in addition to the class, residents must also complete a membership application and include a copy of recent vaccines and current license info. Upon completion of the above, beginning November 1, residents will be issued a key fob that will allow them access to the park daily from dawn to dusk. Memberships will be valid for one year from the date of purchase.”

Here’s hoping the howls of protest at the fee will give way to happy barks at the features and fun to be had.

The dog park is located in Wilson Park, near the corner of Hilton and University. There’s easy sidewalk access and abundant nearby on-street parking as well..

The Kulick Community Center, where the training sessions take place, is located at 1201 Livernois in Ferndale.

Story by Ingrid Sjostrand | Photos by Bernie Laframboise & Jeff Lilly

If you have yet to discover the hidden gem that is the StoreFront Gallery, there is bound to be something there that piques your interest. Located at 477 West Marshall, this charming blue- framed brick building has hosted some of Ferndale’s most creative ventures.

Opened by Derek John in late 2012, the StoreFront Gallery started as a venue for metro Detroit artists to rent and display their work. It has grown into so much more – hosting improv shows, boutiques, photo shoots and more. The interior aesthetic only adds to the exper- ience of the events at StoreFront, with its hardwood floors, high tin ceilings and expansive windows fitting of its namesake. One of the more recent ventures has
turned StoreFront into a flea market.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 10.53.50 AMScheduled for the first Sunday of every month throughout the summer, Ferndale Flea set up shop at StoreFront to sell vintage and antique items. A group of friends and locals, including jewelry designer Jennifer Vermeersh and artist/collector Tim Caldwell, started the pop-up as a way to share and sell some of the unique and vintage items that were cluttering up their homes.

Their first event, held on May 3 this year, took over the StoreFront Gallery and its sidewalk with classic comic books, retro furniture, vintage clothing and records. Supplemented by a Facebook page of over 645 members, Ferndale Flea posted available items and gained new sellers for their second event on June 7th.

While seemingly successful through the first few months of summer, there’s no word from administrators if it will return next year.

As for the StoreFront Gallery, it continues to grow and thrive. Many might not be aware that Pop Up Dinners, one of metro Detroit’s most popular and successful endeavors, originated within its walls.

In collaboration with chef Matthew Baldridge and artist/photographer Janna Coumoundouros, John began hosting custom-made dinners at The StoreFront Gallery. Through Pop-Up Dinners, drab Monday nights have become opportunities to try new foods with 20 or so strangers in a creative atmosphere.

“Dining is not only about sustenance, it’s about the entire experience. It should be the food, drink, and the people you share this with. Then incorporate art, music, and great conversation and that is the experience we are striving to achieve with this dinner club,” says Baldrige on the Dinner Club site, www.dinnerclubpopup.com.

Baldrige uses his 15 years of experience as a chef in Detroit to create the meals. Coumoundouros owns studio Lilacpop and curates art for the dinners, while John (who is also a member of band Body Math) uses his musical talents to provide a soundtrack and a scene for the evenings.

Pop-up dinners have grown so much in popularity in the last few years that they’ve expanded to restaurants and locales throughout metro Detroit. Ticket prices start around $35 and location and meal details are available at dinnerclubpopup.com.

As the Dinner Club continues to branch out, John hasn’t failed to keep The StoreFront Gallery interesting. On October 17, they will host an Intro to Hand Lettering class presented by Letter Sparrow.

To keep up with the events, classes and projects of Derek John at The StoreFront Gallery, check their website at www.thestorefrontgalleryferndale.com and be sure to take a trip down West Marshall Street to keep an eye on what The StoreFront Gallery hosts next.

www.facebook.com/thestorefrontgalleryferndalemi www.dinnerclubpopup.com/ www.facebook.com/FerndaleFlea

Story by David Stone – Photos by Bernie Laframboise

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 11.09.48 AMBorn in India and raised in Troy, Michigan, Arun Prasad first had great bubble tea, or boba, in California. When he returned home, he could not find a place “within 50 miles of Royal Oak” that made it as well as they did on the West Coast. So, he and his wife Alycia opened Detroit Bubble Tea, where they make boba according to their exacting standards.

At Detroit Bubble Tea, there are four questions you must answer in order to create the perfect drink:

1. Do I want a slushie, a smoothie, or do I want it poured over ice?
2. Do I want it with black tea, green tea, or (caffeine-free) alpine berry?
3. Which of the over 100 flavors do I want added to my drink?
4. Which pearls do I want?

Let me explain this last one. Traditionally, tapioca, in the form of chewable black pearls, is added. At Detroit Bubble Tea, you can also choose from over 50 flavors of popping pearls. “Imagine fruit gushers,” said Arun. You drink your tea through an extra-wide straw able to accommodate your “pearls.”

He then went on to point out other ways his product is unique. Since tapioca pearls are good for only three hours, he makes them fresh every hour. Also, all his teas and syrups are organic.

They also carry other goodies. Besides selling vegan cupcakes and macaroons every day, they serve crepes Saturdays from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Soups and sandwiches will be coming soon.

I asked Arun to suggest some flavor combos that a boba newbie might enjoy. He suggested adding taro flavor and choosing popping pearls, perhaps one of the more popular fruit combos. For the traditionalist, he suggested simply green or black tea with tapioca.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 11.09.38 AMFall brings colder temperatures and school. Detroit Bubble Tea marks these with special drinks and special deals for students. They offer hot and cold cider. They will be open late during exams. Also, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they will take 10 per cent off your bill when you show a student I.D.

Arun believes it is important give back to others. That’s why a portion of their proceeds go to a different charity each month. In August they gave money to Camp Casey. September’s charity was the National Bone Marrow Transplant Link. Each month’s charity is listed on their website.

Why did the Prasads choose to open their business in Ferndale? Arun likes to use words like “culture,” “openness,” and “camraderie” when describing Ferndale. He sees our community as “forward-thinking,” and as a place where “everyone looks out for one another.”

So let’s give something new a try. Check out Detroit Bubble Tea for good boba and to support what Arun and Alycia call “chariTEA.”

The Detroit Bubble Tea Company is located at 22821 Woodward, just north of 9 Mile in Ferndale. They are open Monday thru Thursday from 12:00 noon to 10:00 P.M., and Friday thru Sunday from 11:00 A.M. to 11:00 P.M. Call them at (248)239-1131, or visit them on the web at detroitbubbletea.com

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By: Ms Margo

• ARIES 3/21 – 4/19: Finding your purpose is sometimes hard. Just remember you have more than one gift and talent to give to the world. Search for your happiness, kick back, enjoy life, and stop stressing

• TAURUS 4/20-5/20: Sometimes you do not keep in contact with friends and family. You’ve been very tall back in your own little world. Many people care about you, as you should for them. Return calls, they are important.

• GEMINI 5/21-6/21: Time to have some fun. Head up to Como’s with your chicas & chicos! Brighten up the place with your smile and laughter. Going to pass out Halloween candy this year, maybe? Just pass on your loving charm to others.

• CANCER 6/22-7/22 : Nobody wants to hear you whine any more. You will find love all in good time. But you must remember you have to give him a little bit and stop judging. It could be your best friend that’s sitting next to you. Endless love.

• LEO 7/23-8/22: Your animal totem this month is the squirrel. This means that you are nesting again, preparing for something new, and allowing yourself to rest. Also, that you’re Secret Squirrel. You can share the nuts, it’s okay.

• VIRGO 8/23-9//22: What a great place to go and trap a great delicious breakfast at the Flytrap on Woodward. Great company, and you can always stop by at Toast to celebrate more!

• LIBRA 9/23-10/22: You are an amazing, strong, beautiful person. Look deep within yourself and see this blooming lotus flower, rising above all obstacles.This is truly who you are, conquering the world. Don’t let anything negative get in your head. Think positive.

• SCORPIO 10/23-11/21 : Girl, you need a new hairdo! Fix those roots! let’s get to the problem of all the things you’ve got going on in your head. Get your nails done and toes, too. New love on the horizon; you want to look your best and clear your mind.

• SAGITTARIUS 11/22-12/21: Wooo, that’s scary! When you get grouchy and moody, it’s definitely not a pretty sight on you. You’re totally different person. Go out and buy yourself some flowers and cheer yourself up.

• CAPRICORN 12/22-1/19: You’re one smart m cookie! When’s the last time you hung out at the Ferndale library and just checked out the new selections? Maybe hang around the smart educated books! Someone is noticing you.

• AQUARIUS1/20-2/18: Speaking about vacation time, you need to definitely take one. You have some lucky numbers this month: 173, 1498, 342, and 1171. With these numbers, you might be able to take a longer vacation and just be out $4.

• PISCES 2/19-3/20: It is awesome that you’re doing what you love. Feel proud, look in the mirror, and see that lovely person who is giving back to the universe. Some people might be jealous or haters because you’ve got it all together!

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Story by Jill Lorie Hurst | Photos by Ed Abeska

THERE ARE A LOT of great kids in Ferndale. Summers they’re on bikes, or creating art with sidewalk chalk. Come September, we see them running to catch the school bus. Vibrant, healthy kids, the future advocates, leaders, and care- givers of this town we love. But we all know it’s hard to stay vibrant when you are hungry.

More than half the kids in Ferndale qualify for the reduced price / free lunch program offered by the public school system. This helps Monday through Friday, but what about the weekends?

Lindsay Gonska, a four-year vet of the Ferndale Public School system (second grade) and parent Nikki Amey share a deep concern about hunger and how it affects student performance…and the desire to fix the problem.

Lindsay: “Once you become invested in Ferndale, you want to help.”

Enter “Blessings in a Backpack,” a national program that started in Louisville, Kentucky in 2005 by a teacher who saw students returning to school on Mondays hungry, tired, and sluggish. The program sent these students home with backpacks that provide three meals a day Lindsay Gonska during the weekend. BIAB now exists in 46 states. Michigan joined up in November of 2008, with more than 100 schools involved. Lindsay, Nikki and other committed folks in town are determined to make the program available to qualified Ferndale Public School students.

Recently I sat down with Lindsay, and my friends Megan and Jim Pool – who are on the committee – to get a progress report and find out what we can do to help. Simple answer: Money is needed. Once theprogram is completely funded, there will be volunteer opportunities, but in order to start the program without having to stop it midway, they need funding. A little goes a long way, and a little more can do a lot.

A $25 donation feeds one student for ten weeks. $100 gives a student a backpack full of food every weekend for the entire school year. Once funded, the program will start in our elementary schools, but the plan is to make it available to all qualified Ferndale Public School kids as soon as possible. The program takes into account food allergies and special dietary needs.

Jim Pool says, “This is the way for the community to be good neighbors to our youngest neighbors.” Our future teachers, nurses, urban planners, our artists, chefs, veterinarians and public servants…

Lindsay Gonska wants Ferndale kids to be the most successful students they can be. She is quietly, fiercely determined to get “Blessings in a Backpack” up and running. “We’re doing it. We’re going to keep going. It can succeed.”

For more information and to make a donation (tax deductible), see blessingsinabackpackmi.org or call 248-528- 1060. When you donate, please specify that the funds go to Ferndale. If you donate with a personal check, please write “Ferndale” on the memo line.

When we help our kids, we are helping not only their present, but OUR future.

Blessings in a Backpack is currently part of a fundraising challenge through Hour Detroit, competing against other charities to win $25,000. www.crowdrise.com/GiveDetroit-BlessingsinaBackpack/fundraiser/elainezold

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Story by Ingrid Sjostrand | Photos by Bernie Laframboise

Dog owners know that walks are a non-negotiable part of life. Everyone has their favorite routes, and a lot of factors go into making a successful stroll. Forgetting to bring bags to clean up after your pup or an unexpected hot day making your hound dehydrated can leave everyone suffering, or even cut a walk short.

Changing up your route just might relieve you of all your dog walk woes. Ferndale residents should consider taking their pooch down Allen Street where one homeowner has turned her fence into a deluxe dog stop.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 11.33.26 AMLocated at the corner of Allen and West Hazelhurst, owner Julie Miron has provided everything walkers might need to make their dogs happy. Waste bags and a trash can, disposable bowls and water, notices about dog health and yellow ribbons to warn of unapproachable dogs are some of the things you might find there.

“It just seemed like a nice thing to do,” Miron says of the station. “Allen Street has a lot of dog walker traffic, and I saw the bag dispenser posted online and thought it was really cool.”

Miron spread the word about her work by posting photos to the Ferndale Forum Facebook group. She received immediate positive feedback and over 113 “likes” on her post. Many members commented thanking her for her generosity.

A lifelong animal lover, Miron has been involved with the Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society for 25 years and is the owner of two Flemish bunnies and two dogs – a bloodhound and amastiff/Rottweiler mix. Miron walks the bunnies more than the dogs, which she describes as “socially challenged.” This might have been the inspiration for the yellow ribbons.

“Some dogs aren’t as approachable, so the yellow ribbon is for them and the posters are to help inform the other walker,” Miron says.

These yellow ribbons caused a lot of discussion within the Ferndale Forum and helped teach many dog owners and residents something useful. Forum member Stevie Hayley sparked the discussion with a photo of Miron’s dog station and the question: “Does everyone know what the yellow ribbon is for? Thank you neighbors, this is very kind.”

Everything Miron has posted or available at her dog spot is meant to inform residents and enhance a dog’s walking experience.

“Disposable bowls are extra precaution against canine influenza,” Miron says. “There is a heat PSA also, and a friendly neighbor made the dog cut outs there.”

As winter approaches, Miron has no plans to take down the dog station, only improve it with seasonally relevant information.

“Probably no water, unless I put out my heated water dish and maybe a PSA about salt on dog paws,” she says of the things she might change.

Miron encourages neighbors to stop by and check out the dog spot; a Ferndale resident since
1989, she is no stranger to the attention. She says she used to get noticed for her impressive Halloween displays and recently on the Ferndale Forum.

“My neighbor and I joke about who is trending more on the Forum. He lives at 1000 Allen, and everyone thinks it is a wine store. People constantly stop to chat, and it used to be Kellehers Market in the old days,” Miron jokes.

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Story by Malissa Martin | Illustration by Gary Bedard | Photos by Joshua Martin Photography

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 11.41.37 AMDEALING WITH THE LOSS OF AN INFANT is hard and can be an emotional roller coaster for families. Having comfortable surroundings in the hospital during that time gives families time to grieve together.

In 2008, Tracy Roberts was five months pregnant when she and her husband lost their twin boys. To cope, Roberts began attending a support group at Beaumont Hospital. In January 2009, Roberts, Amy Allen and Anna La Fountain founded Angel Kisses. All three had suffered late- term pregnancy loss, and all were interested in raising awareness of stillbirth and providing emotional support to families.

Initially, the nonprofit worked with Beaumont Hospital exclusively. “We used all of our money in the first four years to give back to Beaumont. With that money, they were able to create a separate waiting room for families who had experienced stillbirth, so they didn’t have to wait in the delivery room where all the parents were excited that they were having live babies,” says Roberts. These types of rooms weren’t available to Roberts and vice president Jeffery Thomas when he and his wife Nicole (who is the treasurer of Angel Kisses) lost their baby girl.

Angel Kisses has since refocused its mission and now concentrates solely on fundraising. “Up until about three years ago we focused on not just fundraising, but also putting programs together and doing a
whole bunch of stuff. But about 2012 we later we decided we were going to fundraise for non-profits, hospitals, organizations and individuals who were just in the process of starting a support group, or some other way to help people in Michigan who have experienced stillbirth as well,” says Roberts.

Since its inception, the nonprofit has raised over $105,000; $30,000 has been given as grants in the past two years and the rest donated to Beaumont Hospital. “We do the fundraising and then give it out as grants to other organizations,” says Thomas.

The first year of its new mission the nonprofit raised money for Beaumont nurses to attend a conference in Kalamazoo called “Resolve Through Sharing,”giving “them a chance to learn more about how to help grieving parents. The nurses are really like the first line there,” says Thomas. Last year the nonprofit donated money to Metro Detroit Share, which provides memory boxes to hospitals for parents.

This year, Angel Kisses is providing grants to six charities and will have announced the
winners at the Fourth Dress Like Devils & Run for the Angels 5K Run/1M Fun Walk on Saturday, October 3.

“It’s all part of the fundraising cycle, so the money goes to raising money for the charities that we’re supporting,” says Thomas. Coffee, fruit, and bagels were provided. A small award ceremony was held for the top three finishers for men, women, and kids. After the race, the annual balloon release took place at Roseland Park Cemetery, which also sponsors the event.

“That’s a ceremony where people write messages to the babies that they lost, or anyone that they know may have lost their children,” says Thomas. Roberts explains that many family members besides parents come to support and that’s important.

The healing process can be a long journey for parents who’ve suffered the loss of a stillborn baby. “We have people who’ve attended our fundraisers that are 60-70 years old that have finally been able to talk about the loss they had 50 years ago, because it’s so different from what they did back then and what they do now,” says Roberts. Acknowledging the situation by talking about the baby and saying their name is important and helps parents cope.

Angel Kisses has big plans for 2016 and has already begun planning their Annual Fundraiser and Silent Auction for Saturday, February 20, 2016. For more information about the race, email Jeffery Thomas at jefferythomas@angelkisses.org.

To learn more about Angel Kisses or to apply for funding, please visit http://angelkisses.org or email Tracy Roberts at tracyroberts@angelkisses.org