Events

Story by: Sara Teller
Photos by: Bernie Laframboise

THE SOFE DISTRICT – A CATCHY NAME FOR ‘SOUTH FERNDALE’ – is made up of various Ferndale businesses, including Green Daffodil, The Dana Keaton Collection, 700 Livernois Fashion House, Olive’s Bloombox, Christopher George Creations, The Kulick Center, Schramm’s Mead, The Anand Center, Purple Door Tea House, DK Dental, Imax Printing, Joe’s Party Store, Axle Brewery and Margaux & Max. Green Daffodil, a bath-and-body shop, coined the name eight years ago, and it officially took off during the beginning of the construction stage on Livernois earlier this year.

“We wanted to give this area its own identity because of the rebirth of the Avenue of Fashion in Detroit,” said Dana Keaton. “It is another enclave for eclectic business in keeping with the Ferndale vibe. It’s funky, eclectic, and diverse. We want the SoFe District to be the new hot thing!”

Keaton’s business, The Dana Keaton Collection, was established in 2000 and operates as a retail space, an education center, and a place to hold events. Keaton has been in the fashion business all her life. “I sell one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories,” she said. “No two items are alike.”

Keaton is well-known for her award-winning youth fashion programs, and has taught al various schools and centers all over the Detroit metropolitan area. She started The Fashion Atelier, which provides a wide variety of classes to residents. Current classes include Sewing 101, Fashion Illustration, Alterations, Jewelry Design, Modeling, Painting, Drawing, and others. ”You can learn how to design your own skirts, handbags, or yoga pants,” she said. “And yes, men can take the classes, also!”

RECENTLY, A MEETING WAS HELD REGARDING THE SOFE DISTRICT AT FERNDALE’S CITY HALL. ‘This meeting was with the County of Oakland and Ferndale. There were representatives from the County, Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, The DDA, and myself who represented the SoFe District,” Dana explained. She said its purpose ·was to spearhead the annual upcoming Small Business Saturday events. I wanted to be there to make sure the SoFe District was included.”

The group discussed what will take place on Small Business Saturday in November and how the SoFe District will be involved, plans for marketing and promotion, and what can be done to help generate business for the District. Those who were present on behalf of SoFe wanted to ensure this area of Ferndale received just as much attention as any other. “Our concerns were well-received, and they assured us they will include us in all upcoming events held in Ferndale,” Keaton said. ‘We are going to hold them to this!”

The City of Ferndale has also rolled out a series of “SoFe Strolls” in an effort to generate some publicity for the area. During these strolls, customers can stop by the places of business to receive special offers and participate in activities. “The City provided advertising materials for the first event,” Keaton explained. “The businesses of the SoFe District also use the Strolls as a way to help promote our other businesses in the area.”

According to Keaton, internal changes within the City offices have caused the owners lo take up the initiative themselves. ·we do plan to promote the dates ourselves to continue to drive business to our area,” she said, adding, ‘The Livernois businesses are hoping everyone will come to the new SoFe District and ‘Shop Small.'”

The final Strolls will take place on Saturday, October 13, 2018, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, and on Small Business Saturday, November 24, 2018, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Green Daffodil will be having a Holiday Artist Markel, Saturday, November 3, 2018 10:00 AM- 5:00 PM, and Keaton will be hosting the Tres Chic Runway Fashion Show from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Small Business Saturday at 700 Livernois Ave.

By David Ryals

THIS YEAR, RUSSELL TAYLOR – AKA SATORI CIRCUS­ celebrated his 30th anniversary as Detroit’s premier performance artist. His performance persona has musical roofs, and has evolved info one of the most dynamic and creative solo acts in Detroit history. Taylor spoke with Ferndale Friends to talk about the entire span of his career.

“I had been in a punk art band in Detroit called Fugitive Poetry, and we were doing unusual things on stage that we tied into our music. There were a few groups doing wacky things, but I think we stood apart primarily because we pre-recorded our music and acted out the little stories we created to coincide with the music. Singing all vocals live. We were a three-piece at that time. This was 1983 to about 1986.

“One of the fellows in the group left shortly after we released a full-length album. So, we delved deeper into what we could do as a two-piece with pre-recorded music and props and character sketches. All performed live. About a year later, my dear friend in the group, Rick Maertens was diagnosed with bone cancer. So we retired Fugitive Poetry. I think our last performance was Spring of 1986, in Windsor. Rick and I were living together at this time and his fiance and myself, along with Southeast Hospice, we all took care of him.

“ABOUT A YEAR LATER, I was getting restless and started writing things on my own while Rick worked on a book of his short stories and poems. Once I started to collate material, I asked for his feedback. It started to really come together and make sense to me. Rick was a great friend and brother, and was instrumental in pushing me. Even the name Satori Circus is part his, really. Satori is a zen term meaning pure illumination, pure truth. Perfect for what I was writing or how I wrote, and followed suit of what Fugitive Poetry had begun.

“Circus: Growing up in parts of Detroit and certain parts of Dearborn, my life was always a circus. My family was a free group of folks, most importantly my mom. It was never a dull moment, from folks fighting at wee hours of the morning, to fires being set by vigilantes on crack homes, to sex workers servicing their johns outside our side windows. So yes, it was a circus.

“Rick finished his book and, if memory serves me, he passed away from the cancer about a week later. He was barely 25, and two weeks later Satori first hit the stage.”

LOOKING BACK ON THE LAST 30 YEARS IS ASTONISHING. Any performer who has lasted this long, let alone evolved constantly, has a few tricks up their sleeve. Taylor talked about his evolution and where it has taken him.

“Satori Circus has evolved on so many levels, it blows my mind. It started out being so simple and self-contained. Now I work with a few folks to make things happen. Granted, it’s not this huge ensemble that travels around with me, but it’s miles away from where I first began. Over 30 years, I have managed to perform for all sorts of adult audiences in the macabre, fetish, drag, cabaret scenes, and with bands and orchestras. Something I never saw coming. And I’ve even done a few children’s shows. I still do things myself, and explore thrift store and dollar stores for props and costumes. I feel you just don’t need that big of a budget to make groovy things and I’m pretty sure it won’t stop! I love that aspect. Simple.

It’s not just his performance that has changed; the entire Detroit performance artist scene has shifted over time. Russell talked about how other artists helped him change, and vice­ versa. “When I started, Detroit was barren of wild performance-type stuff, with the exception of some very cool dance parties and drag events going on around town. Mostly in places you wouldn’t want to wander about solo. There were some bands doing some very wonderful dark performances. And a handful of other performers crossing borders and challenging themselves as artists. But not a lot. I think I can safely say that it 1988 to about 1998, Satori Circus was kind of it.”

“I then left Detroit for a few years in 2001 to come back in 2005 to find circus, aerial, fire, cabaret, burlesque and others forms of time­ movement based arts sneaking into the bigger community’s fabric. It was amazing. It’s always wonderful to see so much stuff going on. So much talent exploding. Did it affect my work? A little I’d say. But I’m my biggest motivator. I’ll do whatever it is that I want or can do. I just keep searching. Keep picking up rocks to see what’s underneath. I don’t think I’ve ever waited for something to happen.”

His plans for the future are no less ambitious, “I plan to take on the world. To show folks that things can happen. Things can be done no matter where you’re from or who you are, or how old you are. I’m not a youngster by any means. And I ain’t going to stop. Not ever, if all goes well. My goals are to do more throughout the U.S. Canada would be awesome as well. And, of course, Europe. It’s going to happen.

By: Jeff Milo, Circulation Specialist

HALLOWEEN: OUR FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR IS GETTING NEAR! The library has always opened its doors on the last weekend before All Hallow’s Eve for a kid-friendly party – but we’ve particularly taken things up a notch over the last five years, and we’re always changing things up with a new, fun theme for our staff costumes.

This year’s Ferndale Library Spooktacular is Saturday Oct. 27 (5:00-7:00 P.M.), embracing a Charlie Brown-esque theme of a “Great Pumpkin Party!” In fact, to follow through on the nostalgia factor, this year’s theme will be iconic characters from children’s literature!” So, think Charlotte’s Web, Bunnicula, or Willy Wonka…, you’re sure to see some familiar faces from your favorite books! Join us for cider and donuts, crafts and games for kids, and a chance to trick-or-treat through the library!It’s free, and no registration is required.

ONE THOUSAND BOOKS BEFORE KINDERGARTEN: We’re inviting families to win prizes for every 100 books they complete with their toddlers (or babies) during the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” early literacy program. This nation-wide challenge encourages parents and caregivers to regularly read aloud to their children; it’s a fun and effective way for parents to assure their little ones are ready for kindergarten. The simple and enjoyable act of sharing a book with a child before they start kindergarten helps them learn pre-reading skills, such as understanding the sounds letters make, developing a bigger vocabulary, and building comprehension skills. Participants are eligible right up until the day their child starts kindergarten. Prizes (for every 100 completed books) will be awarded in the Kids Corner, and we’ll also add a leaf to our Reading Tree.

NEW STORYTIME: Saplings! We’re continuing our tree themed storytime titles with the unveiling of “Saplings.” Joining our family tree, along with “Sprouts,” “Buds” and “Uprooted,” we’ve got a new interactive storytime (for ages 3-6) that will be hosted in the evenings. For parents who aren’t able to make it to our morning storytimes, we’ll host the “Saplings” events on the third Monday of every month. “Saplings” will also have an age-appropriate craft-focused program on the third Saturday of every month. No registration will be required for either event. We’ll start “Saplings” with a storytime on Mon., Oct. 15th at 6:30 P.M., followed by the first crafts program on Sat., Oct. 20 at 2:00 P.M.

COMING UP IN OCTOBER: The Clean Water Campaign (CWC) for Michigan will be here on Thursday, Oct. 25 (6:30-8:00 P.M.). The CWC uses music and storytelling to spread awareness, and builds an informed constituency around clean water issues.

Then, just before Halloween, on Oct. 30 (4:00-8:00 PM) the Book Club of Detroit will be celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Frankenstein’s print edition with a screening of the original film, discussions about Mary Shelley’s immortal novel, and a fun costume contest. We’ll also have a new art exhibition by Ferndale High School graduate and Artist In You finalist Espacia Fotiu, on display through Nov. 5th.

COMING UP IN NOVEMBER:
First Stop Friday live music series: Nov. 2, 7:30-9:30 P.M.
Adulting 101: Money Milestones (Budgeting for the Big Stuff) Nov. 8, 6:30-8:00 P.M;
Songwriting Workshop with Jill Jack, Nov, 13, 6:30-8:00 P.M..
For more information, follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/FerndalePublicLibrary/.

I NEED A FAVOR FROM ALL THE SENIORS IN FERNDALE. It’s not big, but, it is important.

Why do I need this favor? I’m hearing that seniors feel a little left out with respect to the cultural and educational aspects of Ferndale, and that you want to learn things, be entertained, and socialize with your peers.

You’ve said that you don’t want to do the bars or in general hang out with young, noisy people consuming adult drinks. I get it, I don’t either anymore. We need to get more information from you, as to what you want, what time of the day, and where.

I understand that you want classes geared to seniors. But what subject matter? Do you want a series? Or maybe just one-time lectures? Do you want to learn something and, if so, what? Nutrition, scam-prevention, knitting, drawing, health, art appreciation, history of Detroit?

The reason for this pathway of thinking is that our senior group is not growing. Together with the apparent needs of seniors not in our group, this makes me wonder if we could do more to answer the needs of those who aren’t members.

After all, we are all in the same boat. We all have already lived full lives. Now is the time to have a little fun.

Learn a new skill, learn how to know what a painting is telling us, find out about the streets of Detroit from the past. The possibilities are endless.

Some of these things you can get now at the Kulick Center, and by attending senior meetings. We have a knitting group with a capable teacher. At our meetings, we routinely have speakers from the DIA, Detroit Historical, scam experts, nutrition experts. We also have fun stuff like card parties, tea parties, pot luck lunches. We travel to cider mills, unique restaurants, museums, shopping trips, even the Detroit River walk!

All that said, a person has to know about these things to take advantage of them. I was astounded to talk to a man yesterday who had no idea that the senior group even existed. This leads to the question of where do you folks get your information on what is happening in Ferndale? We publicize on Facebook, as well as with flyers at the Center. Clearly, this isn’t enough if people are unaware of it.

Our Senior Group meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 11:00 A.M. at the Kulick Center. Ask at the front desk for a copy of the newsletter, and you can read about our upcoming events.

SO, HERE IS THE FAVOR: Please call me. My number is at the end of this column. Tell me how you get information on happenings. Tell me what classes or lectures you would at-tend. Tell me if it’s day or night classes or lectures. We can’t help if we don’t know.

Or just attend a meeting to see what we are all about. We promise we won’t grab you and sell you into slavery. At least not at the first meeting.

Call me.
Jeannie Davis, 248 541 5888

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GO COMEDY! IMPROV THEATER’S monthly storytelling show, Let’s Just Say, takes a turn towards the terrifying this month with a live Ghost Stories show.

The event will take place on Thursday, October 11 at 9:30 P.M. at 261 East 9 Mile Road in Ferndale. It will feature local writers and performers telling stories about their brushes with the paranormal. The lineup includes John E.L. Tenney, nationally-recognized para­normal investigator, who has appeared on numerous television shows including Ghost Stalkers and Paranor­mal Lockdown.

Producer and host Amy Oprean explains that Let’s Just Say is zeroing in on the reason for the season: Terrify­ing ourselves and others. “Usually I choose a theme that’s broad enough that most people can come up with a story from their life that fits,” Oprean said.

“This month, however, I was much more specific. All of the storytellers have encountered, or at one point thought they’d encountered, a ghost.” Audience members can expect to be at the edge of their seats for many of the storytellers, though things might also get introspective. “People love telling stories, but they especially love tell­ing ghost stories,” Oprean said. “Why is that? It’s an interesting question, and it makes me wonder if there will be any common themes between stories.”

Above all, Oprean says the show will leave you feeling spooked. “My hope is people leaving the theater will be checking for ghosts over their shoulders as they go.”

Tickets for the event are $10 and can be purchased in advance at gocomedy.net or in person at the Go Comedy box office. For more information on Let’s Just Say, visit www.facebook.com/LetsJustSayGoComedy.

By Andrea G.
Photos By Bernie LaFramboise

THIS YEAR, HOWE’S BAYOU IS CELEBRAT­ING ITS 20TH YEAR OF CREOLE CUISINE ON WOODWARD A VENUE. The Ferndale classic is known for their New Orlean’s-inspired decor and menu. The restaurant offers a transportive experience, with each visit featuring rotating food specials and specialty cocktails.

As one of Ferndale’s longest operational restaurants on Woodward, the Howe’s Bayou family has watched Ferndale grow around them. Owner Michael Hennes has been running the restaurant since nearly the beginning, after taking over for the original owner a year and a half into operations. Although he was working at a nonprofit at the time, Hennes took an inspiring trip to New Orleans which helped make his decision to take on the restaurant. Hennes calls it a pleasure to be among Ferndale’s unique dining options and to watch the city blossom from within the heart
of it.

The restaurant has a low turn-over rate, with many employees spending years on the team delivering deliciousness. One employee in particular, Will Webb, has been with the restaurant since opening day, working as an integral part of the Howe’s Bayou kitchen. The low turn-over rate is a sign of a great place to work, but also a sign that the entire staff has combined their talents to create a family dynamic. The team effort of coming up with new treats and sustaining the welcoming atmosphere helps make Howe’s Bayou stand out amongst neighboring restaurants. The accommodating service is consistently cited as one of the highlights of visiting.

Howe’s Bayou focuses on famously New Orleans dishes – gumbo, jambalaya, catfish, po-boys, and don’t forget about the shrimp. Homemade lobster bisque is among the rotating selection of fresh seafood. Their incredible bar comes up with seasonal creative craft cocktails, especially focused on bourbons and ryes. Louisiana beers and boutique wines are also available to pair with the southern dishes.

The restaurant doesn’t have a specific date for an anniversary, so they will celebrate their 20th year of operation with events and specials throughout the rest of the year. Watch the restaurant’s web site, www.howesbayouferndale.net and their Facebook page for announcements of what is in the works. They are open for lunch and dinner and offer a happy hour Monday through Sunday from 4:00 to 6:00 P.M. As Michigan cools down into winter, you can always warm up at Howe’s Bayou.

By Ingrid Sjostrand

THE HAZEL PARK CREATIVE ARTS ORGANIZATION IS DETERMINED to give students access to quality art education and they have made impressive strides in the little over four years they’ve been in operation.

Since late 2014, the 501c3 has raised over $25,000 for supplies and equipment for K-12 students in Hazel Park schools. This includes replacing the high school’s pottery kiln in 2016 and their auditorium’s lighting console in February 2018 – just in time for the annual school play.

President Mike Vanderveer says the group was inspired to create Hazel Park Creative Arts after realizing there was a booster group raising money for the high school band, but the other arts programs were lacking funding.

“We want the school arts programs to continue at their highest possible level, especially with the current financial state of schools in general, and particularly the Hazel Park district,” Vanderveer says. “That’s why we took on projects like replacing the 30-year-old pottery kiln in the high school. We firmly believed at the time that had we not done so there might not be a ceramics program in the school in the future. We’re still of the same opinion to-day, not only in ceramics, but in many of the art programs within the district.”

Vanderveer leads the volunteer board of four members, which includes Vice President Bethany Holland, Secretary Lisa Chrouch-Johnson and Treasurer Robbie Webb. All money raised by the group comes from their extensive fundraising efforts. This includes an annual dinner in the fall and a spring night out event.

THE 2018 FALL DINNER WAS HELD on Friday, October 5th at the Hazel Park Junior High and is the biggest fundraising event for HP Creative Arts. The event featured a silent auction, basket raffles, a 50/50 drawing and a barbeque dinner. Sponsors for the event included Go Comedy! Improv Theater, The Henry Ford, Arthur Murray Royal Oak, The Fifth Wall Society Escape Room and more.

While their focus is in the Hazel Park district, the nonprofit hopes their efforts impact all through metro Detroit.

“It benefits not just Hazel Park students, really it’s all the kids. We want them all to grow up to be healthy, happy and successful. I strongly feel that the arts are important to that and I’ve seen it first hand,” Vice President Holland says. “Additionally, many Ferndale residents have students in Hazel Park schools.”

“With luck, our efforts to encourage a love of the arts in the school district may inspire a young budding artist to contribute to the arts in the community as well,” Vanderveer adds.

HAZEL PARK CREATIVE ARTS is currently working with the school district to determine their next major funding project and in the meantime is focusing on their community engagement efforts and gaining some long-term sponsors.

“If there is anyone out there that would like to regularly donate, we are tax deductible. There might be individuals, businesses or church groups – any group –that want to support us and are welcomed,” Treasurer Webb says. “There is a need and that money would be used in helping kids.”

For more information on donating, getting involved or attending a board meeting with Hazel Park Creative Arts, visit their web site at hpcreativearts.org.

By Ingrid Sjostrand

DECIDING TO BEGIN A CAREER AS AN ARTIST CAN BE A DAUNTING TASK and it can be even harder to know where to start, especially as a young person or someone not afforded the opportunities of arts programs in school.

Knowing things like how to get your work into art fairs and exhibits and how to make money off your art are essential to success in the art world, which is why Vickie Elmer and her three co-founders created the Mint Artists Guild, a 501c3 nonprofit group dedicated to helping metro Detroit young artists succeed.

Established in early 2015, Mint has two main programs aimed at artists ages 14 to 21. The first, “Learn and Earn,” is a mentorship program for students already making art, who receive coaching from Mint and the opportunity to participate in two or more art shows including Ferndale’s Funky Art Fair. There is no cost to students to apply or participate in the program.

“It’s for youth that are pretty self-directed and want to create a body of work,” Elmer says. “They make their work at home and in school and we provide workshops, some mentoring and coaching and give an opportunity to sell their work.”

The second initiative Mint runs is the “Summer Arts Program” where students are paid to work approximately 20 hours a week at Mint’s Palmer Park studio creating art to be sold to clients, donated to nonprofits and used at art fairs. The main medium for the Summer Arts Program is painting and all artists create a self-portrait as one of their first projects. They have expanded into mosaics and linoleum cut prints and hope to grow their mediums more in the future.

Both programs require the young artists to apply and provide a portfolio of their work. The Summer Arts Program also requires an interview.

“We treat it like they are young professionals and if you’re a young professional artist you have to submit your work, you have to put in a statement about yourself – tell people why you would be good to be a part of it,” Elmer says.

ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROJECTS THE SUMMER ARTS PROGRAM WORKS ON is the Paint Detroit Generosity Initiative, where the youth choose a nonprofit, create a concept and image based on its mission and donate the art to the nonprofit. There will be an exhibit displaying this year’s works at the Boll Family YMCA through the end of October.

“Part of my vision is to help the young artists launch their careers, but we want to be doing cool and generous things in the community too,” Elmer says. “It’s about finding how you put the two together.”

Some ways that Mint is working to do this is through building public art installations, adding corporate clients and hosting more events. On November 3rd, they will host the Mint Masterpieces Gala at the home of art collectors Linda and David Whitaker. Tickets start at $100 and pieces will be sold and auctioned from a variety of well-respected national and local artists, as well as a few pieces from Mint artists and alumni. Proceeds will help provide supplies and funding for Mint Artists Guild.

In the three years since its founding, Mint has seen a lot of success from its artists and alumni. They’ve mentored 525 young artists, donated over 30 pieces to Paint Detroit with Generosity nonprofits, and their artists have raised over $7000 from their work.

ONE MAJOR SUCCESS STORY is jewelry artist Trinity Brown, who joined the Learn and Earn program two years ago at age 13. She has now created the Curved Teen Art Show – an all-day exhibit featuring the work of 25 young artists –and is on the board of directors for Mint.

“She is super entrepreneurial – like, I can’t believe how entrepreneurial,” Elmer says.

“This is a girl who’s not even 16 yet, can’t even drive yet, and meanwhile she still makes her jewelry and has put on her own art show.”

Other smaller successes include watching a student’s confidence grow through exploring art and seeing artists finding their true passion.

“I love the idea that in ten years we are going to have so many more success stories and so many more self-portraits,” Elmer says.

The Mint Artists Guild functions mainly through the help of volunteers. Currently they have 45 volunteers who help at workshops, art openings, and art fairs. Those interested can apply through volunteermatch.org.

By Ingrid Sjostrand

IT’S NOT UNCOMMON FOR CITIES TO HAVE A FARMERS MARKET. EVEN SOME OF THE SMALLEST NEIGHBOR-HOODS MEET REGULARLY to exchange homegrown goods and handmade crafts. As of 2016, Hazel Park is no exception, thanks to Jennifer Jackson and a small team of Hazel Park residents.

The Hazel Park Growers & Makers Market began their third season on Sunday, July 8th and will run every Sunday through October 14th. Jackson started the market, along with a governing board, when they noticed a lack of affordable, healthy foods for residents.

“Myself and other volunteers started the market to bring a family-friendly weekly event to our community,” Jackson says. “We live here, and Hazel Park needs family-friendly places where we can gather and purchase locally-grown and made food.”

Jackson and Leigh McLaughlin (another member of the market board) attended training through the Michigan Farmers Markets Association – thanks to assistance from the City of Hazel Park – to learn more about proper practices and how to run a successful farmers market.

The Growers and Makers Market has anywhere from six to ten vendors on a given weekend, and it has grown to be about more than just food. These merchants vary from artistic endeavors to fresh produce.

“We have two farmers, Jentzen Farms and Mulberry Hill Farm and Garden. Detroit Kombucha Company serves fresh Kombucha by the cup or growler, and Sinfully Sweet offers cake pops and various confections. And Pink Robin Bake Shop has cookies and other baked goods,” Jackson says. “A variety of crafts, jewelry, signs, yard games, pottery, home decor, purses, and children’s clothing, have all been at the market throughout the season. We are looking to add coffee and personal care products as well.”

THERE ARE ALSO KID-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES at the Growers and Makers Market, thanks to the Hazel Park Arts Council. The organization hosts their Art in the Park program during the market to teach creative arts to kids.

“Art in the Park is a free event hosted during the Growers and Makers Market where kids can engage in arts and crafts,” Amy Aubry, Treasurer of the Arts Council, says. “We use items that are easy to find around the home or in nature to show just how easy and accessible art is for the family.”

Another important element of the Growers and Makers Market is that all residents are able to reap its benefits regardless of income, which is why they participate in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other food assistance programs.

“Our market is a SNAP-approved market, and we are able to accept Bridge Cards at the market manager booth,” Jackson says. “We are also participants in the Double Up Food Bucks Program, where Bridge Card holders may double their produce purchasing power up to $20.”

ESSENTIALLY, THE GROWERS AND MAKERS MARKET is about bringing residents together and building up the City of Hazel Park and its residents.

“Hazel Park is our home. We are tightly-knit, and always jumping in to help one another,” Jackson says. “We want to see Hazel Park grow and be-come a destination for people to visit, and a farmers market is a small piece of joy that invites our families to gather, and surrounding communities to visit.”

By Ingrid Sjostrand

ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS ARE OFTEN portrayed in movies and cartoons as a bad guy in a van chasing pets with their net. That stereotype is fading, and Hazel Park’s Animal Control Officer Justin Holland proves he is the furthest thing from an evil dog snatcher.

“Our primary goal is get every animal home. But a more realistic goal is for everyone to have their animals properly vaccinated and licensed,” Holland says. “We just want to get animals back home where they belong.”

Holland is the only full-time employee of Animal Control and is assisted by a small group of volunteers – currently only about eight, but they are always in need of more. The shelter holds a maximum eight dogs and 16 cats at one time, so volunteers are needed 365 days a year to feed and walk animals, clean cages and other duties. They are required to staff the office, located at 24211 Couzens Ave, between the hours of 7:00 A.M. to 9:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

“Becoming a volunteer is easy. You drop off an application, which is available online at our web site or on Facebook, we conduct a light back-ground check and, once approved, you begin training and can start to volunteer,” Holland says. “The total turnaround time is about two weeks.”

Their goals might seem lofty when you consider the small staff at Animal Control, but they are making an impact in some surprising ways – like through social media. After reuniting a senior dog and its owner, the resulting Facebook post went viral, and led to a surge in social media followers and an increase in responses to posts about missing pets.

“Our moment was serendipitous; we posted a photo of their reunion on Facebook and – previously we would get close to 1,000 views on posts and photos – all of a sudden this re-homing post got 98,000 views. Then, our run-of-the-mill posts started getting 8,000 views, and now that’s our average,” Holland says. “That reunification is one of my favorite stories. Since then, social media has become a very powerful tool for re-homing, and it also works as a pre-screening tool for adoptees.”

IN THIS YEAR ALONE, HAZEL PARK ANIMAL CONTROL has saved close to 100 percent of animals it finds; placed nearly 40 percent of found animals in new homes and reunited closer to 50 percent of pets to their owners.

Hazel Park Animal Control participates in adoption events throughout the year to increase those numbers, including the Detroit Zoo’s adoption event Meet Your Best Friend at the Detroit Zoo. They also host a low-cost vaccination event in the Spring and Fall with Warren-based All About Animals Rescue to encourage owners to vaccinate their pets for only about $30.

Holland says the success of the shelter is in large part due to the City’s prioritizing of Animal Control in their budget and using their resources to help the Department. Recently, Hazel Park helped obtain a 2017 Ford Transit van for Animal Control’s use. The department also wouldn’t accomplish what it does without the people that live in Hazel Park and their love for animals.

“My favorite thing about Hazel Park is the residents’ willingness to help, and the close community feeling we have in this city,” Holland says.