By David Ryals

CATHLEEN RUTSY RECALLED THE TEAM’S ORIGINS WITH JOY. “The Ferndale High School robotics team, IMPI Robotics, was founded in 2007, with its first competition during the 2008 season. Some of the mentors were working with a Royal Oak team, and the teacher mentor let us know that the 2007 season would be his last. We had nine seniors on the team qualify for FIRST scholarships! (FIRST, a robotics program founded by Dean Kamen, stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.”)

Ferndale also had a team that folded, so we approached the school about a mixed team of Ferndale and Royal Oak students. They supported the idea from the beginning, giving us the closed wood shop room to build in. Royal Oak has since restarted a team, so IMPI Robotics has only Ferndale students now.”

Though the team had a lot of support from the beginning, the transitions made involved far-reaching challenges. Rutsy said, “We were also working with a group in South Africa. We would brainstorm, design, and build identical robots at each location. For the championship event in 2008, ten students traveled to the U.S. from South Africa. Our South African students asked for a team name that would represent their country, so we picked IMPI Robotics. “Impi” is a Zulu word for an armed body of men; in this case, armed with technology and we have young women.

During the economic downturn, the South African team folded, but the students still keep in touch to this day, even traveling to South Africa and Europe to meet. When one of our original students married, her husband secretly invited the South African students, and they traveled to the US to surprise her.”

Through all its challenges, competitions and collaborations, the team has consistently stayed true to its initial aim. Rutsky said, “the main aim of the team has always been to wage a war on technology illiteracy through FIRST robotics’.” But the team has other objectives such as: supporting local charities, encouraging students into STEM careers, obtaining additional corporate sponsorship in an effort to attract more minority and disadvantaged students, start FTC (First Tech Challenge) teams, and get additional mentors. The team has received 501(c)3 status and our main objective never changes but the team evaluates which objectives have been met and identifies new objectives on a yearly basis.”

The standards and work-load has only gotten higher for the team. Rutsky said, “The students perform demonstrations – one for Governor Snyder at his Economic and Education Summit, help mentor FLL and FTC teams in the district, have a student-run team for Relay for Life, have volunteered for the annual Ferndale Clean-Up and the Rainbow Run, to name a few of their achievements.”

The team has been able to support and stabilize their burgeoning growth through a few different avenues. Rutsky said, “All of our engineering mentors are unpaid volunteers because our companies realize that the best way to get STEM employees is to ‘grow’ them. Our companies give the team both financial support and the engineers time off to run the team. In just mentor time alone, the value to the school district is about $250 thousand per year. Over the years we have increased our sponsor support. FCA, Ford, IBM, Schaeffler, and Hydro are our main corporate sponsors, which is how the team is funded. We regularly ask our sponsors, parents and community for more mentors.”

With all of the hard work and dedication of the team Ferndale High’s robotics team is beyond bright. Of its future plans and aspirations, she said, “Our students have already shown that they will continue to do good in the community, so all of the things they are already doing such as charity work, demonstrations, and mentoring will continue. In addition, the students are starting an FLL (First Lego League) team in Ghana, arranging a STEM “science fair” for the high school, and working toward increased underrepresented student involvement. I’m sure the students will come up with other good ideas – they are so proactive and are always thinking. And they have a great awareness of community.”

By: Jeff Milo, Circulation Specialist

THE RENEWAL OF OUR MILLAGE in August of 2016 assured an increase in our services and resources. We are now open seven days, with Sunday hours being 12 Noon to 5:00 P.M.

The latest feature for our Fern-dale Library cardholders allows you the chance to establish a wireless connection to the Internet inside your home, workspace, or even when you’re out on vacation. Starting this month, any Ferndale patron (age 18+, with an account in good standing) can check out a Wi-Fi Hotspot for one week; the device provides you unlimited 4G LTE wireless internet access for up to ten mobile devices at once. These devices are small, lightweight, and very intuitive to set up. They can give home Internet access to those who can’t afford it.

We’re excited to announce more new digital services and subscriptions available at our library, including an increase in amount of streamable and downloadable con-tent through the Hoopla App ( We’ll also link you to NoveList, an expert online source of “read-alike” recommendations, the “A-to-Z World Travel” databases, digital magazines, and Mango’s language learning re-sources. For more info, visit:

KIDS WINTER READING CHALLENGE SINCE FERNDALE SCHOOLS will be on holiday break soon, that makes our upcoming Winter Reading Challenge an opportune time for parents to make sure these young minds are still in gear when the New Year arrives. Reading for recreation when kids are away from school is invaluable. But it’s that much more fun when there’s prizes and programs included!

Library reading programs have been shown to effectively boost literacy and broaden young readers’ vocabularies. So, the Ferndale Library invites kids to take their Winter Reading Challenge. Running Dec. 1 – Dec. 30, the FADL Winter Reading Challenge requires 20 minutes worth of reading for at least 15 days of the month. Participants will be given a game board to color in each reading day. Once complete, participants can come into the library for a prize: a free book and/or a prize from our gift card grab bag!

Phoenix Freerunning Academy will host a program at the library for kids ages 8 and up on the introduction to the swift, obstacle maneuvering technique of parkour. Other fun programs this December include an interactive workshop with the 4th Wall Theatre Company, and a double feature family and teen movie matinee.

As usual, FADL’s weekly story-times and early literacy programs will continue through the entire month for our youngest patrons.

FIRST STOP FRIDAY VISIT THE LIBRARY AFTER HOURS at 8:00 P.M. on the first Friday evening of every month for free concerts by local bands. December 1st features two pairs of married couples, Gifts Or Creatures and The Bruised Reed; each blend a range of indie-pop, folk, and Americana, with emphasis on harmonies and tender, catchy melodies. This is a free event, sponsored by the Friends of the Ferndale Library. Follow us on Facebook for more information and regular updates.

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Story by Sara E. Teller
Photos By Amy Claeys Photography


Kevin Davis, known to many as K.D., was close friends with Ricky Lentz III for nearly 30 years. The two were bandmates in several groups, the last of which was Longneck Strangler. “I met Ricky when he was 12 or 13, and I was playing in another local band. I was 18, six years older than Ricky. We became best friends. I ended up being the best man at his wedding. We just did everything together – deer hunting, fishing, went to ball games.”

He describes being as blown away with the young teen’s musical talent as he was with his appearance in the early days. “He was so tall and had a beard, I swear, even at that age. He had hair down to his waist, definitely didn’t look like a preteen.” Ricky was in a band with his father, Rick Jr., at the time, and was already capable of playing numerous instruments when Kevin first met him.

“Ricky was in a band with his dad. That’s how he started. His dad inspired him when Ricky was little and he was playing with a microphone when he was two years old. In the early years, I handled the bookings and promotional events,” says the former musician’s mother, Marlene, who was very proud of her son’s accomplishments.

“At 16, Ricky was doing very well playing all around at local bars, such as New Way,” Marlene says.

“He played in just about every bar in Michigan by the time he turned 18,” Kevin explained. “We did a lot of shows at Emerald Theatre back then, as part of the Psychedelic Blues Society and then with JoCaine.”

Ricky was a forced to be reckoned with on stage. “He’s was involved in all different genres of music from punk, to rock to reggae,” according to Marlene. Kevin adds, “Even at a young age, Ricky could play the guitar like Jimmy Hendrix.”

Marlene describes Ricky as a family man, first and foremost. “His presence on the stage and off – it was almost as if he was too different people,” she explains, adding, “On stage, he had a very commanding presence. Off stage, he would wear glasses and a ball cap. He was humble and quiet, always putting his family first.”

RICKY LEAVES BEHIND his wife Lana and two children, Lulu, five and Henry, three. “I remember one time I walked into the living room and he was singing a song from a cartoon that was on the T.V. while the kids ran around and danced,” Marlene recalls. She said Ricky was known for singing “Let It Go” from the Frozen movie for the kids. “He never left a family function without saying thanks for having us. Always with gratitude. Him and Lana had a special relationship, too. Near perfect as a marriage could be.”

Kevin echoed her sentiments. “Ricky was a God-fearing man, a man of faith. He loved his family, his two children and his wife. His main priorities were God, his family, and the band, in that order. And, he loved to make people feel good about themselves.”

“I have no words to describe how heartbroken our family is,” said Ricky’s aunt, Melissa Schwartz. Her family has been heavily involved in the area for many years. “My family has been ingrained and active within the community for three generations.”
Melissa says Ricky “inherited all of the positive traits of both his mother and father. He was special – a very dutiful man.”
Kevin said Ricky never forgot his roots and was always reaching out to the community, hoping to give back. “We always tried to be charitable,” he said. “Especially to Hazel Park, our hometown. We grew up together. Knew a lot of the same people and had many of the same friends.”

Kevin said the band had a shared goal of wanting listeners to hear their music and relate to it. “We wanted it to reflect what people went through in life. Let them have their own artistic translation of the lyrics, let their minds paint a picture.”
And, Ricky, who wrote some of the music, was very intelligent. “He was real smart,” Marlene says. “Always a book in this hand and the Bible in his pocket.” Kevin and Ricky were engineers by day and they would often “talk to each other in German.” He laughs, “We were always challenging each other, you know, with different trivia and tidbits.”

KEVIN SAID THAT IN 2012, Longneck Strangler signed a deal with Funky D Records and put out an album in 2014, entitled Home. “It was meant to be a tribute about going back home after being gone on the road. There was a trilogy of songs relating to home titled Home, Coming Home and Get Back Home. Listening to the tracks now, I can feel Ricky’s emotions in the lyrics,” he says. “I just hope memories of Ricky will live on through the songs.”

“One time, I was watching a performance,” Marlene recalls. “An audience member said to Ricky ‘you’re our hero.’ My son shook his hand and replied, ‘No, you’re mine.’ That’s the kind of person my son was.”

ON AUGUST 20, 2017, Lana, Lulu and Henry unexpectedly lost Ricky Lentz – husband, father and sole breadwinner – to an extremely rare congenital heart condition. The young family was only beginning their lives together and was unprep-ared for such a tragedy. After spending most of his life as a musician, performing with Longneck Strangler and many other bands, Ricky had begun a new career to provide for his new loves; his wife and young daughter and son, only five- and three-years-old.
Sadly, these few years were not enough for Ricky to set up his loved ones for a future that unexpectedly and unfortunately would be without him. Ricky was a proud and private man, rarely one to ask for help. We know, however, that in his death, Ricky wouldn’t want to cause any hardship to anyone, and would want to know that Lana, Lulu and Henry were taken care of.

As you can imagine, it is extremely difficult for the family to recover, either emotionally or financially. In any case, they are facing this misfortune, and we would like to enable a second chance for Lana, giving her time to find a way to support her family.

THE FERNDALE RAT PATROL was formed late in the Summer of 2017 by Ferndale resident Laura Mikulski and associates after a City of Ferndale meeting about our rat problem. Citizens were left distraught over the City’s inability to deal with Ferndale’s growing rat problem. Due to legalities, costs, manpower, etc., the only option the Council could offer was to continue down their present path of action –hiring exterminators.

These concerned citizens met again shortly after, the City was not involved, and the Ferndale Rat Patrol was born. Their aim is simple: Rid our city of rats through the power of community.

The FRP differs vastly from conventional pest control services. The FRP does not use poison. Instead, there is a focus on community support, education and outreach involved: Neighbors talking to neighbors, and neighbors collaborating with each other.

The FRP is unique in that they are a community-based, volunteer organization. All members chose to be involved in the FRP, whether actively or passively. They share knowledge, ideas, methods and sometimes even equipment. The FRP’s operations affect the city of Ferndale in a variety of ways. Laura Mikulski chatted with Ferndale Friends about the Ferndale Rat Patrol.

FF: When and how did FRP come into existence?
Laura Mikulski: The FRP came into being after the Wilson Park Neighbor-hood Group, on the East side of Ferndale, approached the City looking for a rat control solution. The City set up a sort of townhall meeting, bringing in our code enforcement and a pest control company to explain how to control rats. Our code enforcement officer explained that proper rat control begins with keeping a clean yard and adhering to ordinance. Most in attendance already understood this, and personally kept their yards clean. Almost everyone knew someone in their neighborhood with a yard that contributed to the rat issue, but none were sure how to address it besides reporting to code enforcement-a sticky subject at best, since it can ruin relationships with neighbors if word gets out that you reported them.
The pest control company in attendance offered one solution: poison. This infuriated residents who had pets poisoned by dead rats, as well as those who had owl populations diminish due to poisoning. When it became clear that the city wouldn’t take an active hand in ridding the city of the rats currently in town, a group lingered behind to discuss solutions and community organization.

FF: What is the aim of the FRP? How does FRP differ from other pest control services?
The group is intended for those ready to take action to reduce the rat problem in the city, and to dispel the taboo of discussing the significant rat issues the city is facing. We intend to use methods that are not detrimental to the overall health of the environment (minimizing, if not eliminating the use of poisons). This group is intended for those that are ready to take action and learn, not to blame, complain and wait for others to do something. We are not a pest control service – we’re a grassroots organization of citizens and neighbors who perform outreach to educate on what drives the rat population, help eliminate rat habitat, and empower homeowners to remove rats effectively and manage their property to eliminate the rat population.

FF: What makes FRP unique? How does FRP affect the city of Ferndale?
The Ferndale Rat Patrol is unique in that it’s a collaborative effort to control the rat population in the city without relying on pest control companies or code enforcement. This is a citizen-empowering-citizen movement to depopulate and control rats, where we seek to help each other rather than place blame or look for others to fix the problem. It affects Ferndale in a huge way: Less poisons are being used, less rats are running rampant.

FF: What is the future of FRP? What are your goals?
Our goal is to safely reduce the rat population, always. Ideally, there would be none. They’re non-native, wildly destructive, and pathogenic. Additionally, conventional means of depopulating rats increase risk of secondary poisoning and death to pets and predators, something we’re staunchly against, and through education have reduced. It truly takes massive community involve-ment to make this happen on such a wide scale, and our group is growing daily. It’s become less and less taboo to discuss incidences of rat and meth-ods of extermination, which makes it easier to share knowledge and help without the embarrassment or stigma of having rats. People are waking up to the idea that this isn’t just a problem for a few people. It’s a city-wide issue that can only be resolved through coordinated effort.

Last year we did a “clean sweep” by performing outreach, and asking those who saw dead rats, evidence of rat, or killed rats personally to report in through a survey tool. In one month, September 2016, we tracked 437 rat kills, 257 which were snap traps that we recommended. We saw a major reduction in population that’s held strong through early 2017, and just rose again in September of this year. We’ve been tracking since about mid-month August, and have well over 200 rat kills accounted for through smart trapping through-out the city. We also created a flyer that we distribute when performing outreach so that neighbors can spread the word and we can reach those who might not be home with tips on how to eradicate rats in their neighborhood.

Laura Mikulski be presenting on rats, and rat prevention and elimination at the Ferndale Garden Club meeting on December 14. The FRP is also trying to organize a get-together fundraiser (since this is all funded personally). Anyone interested should tune into our Facebook group for details: ( login required).

By Maggie Boleyn

PSSSST…FERNDALE ISN’T JUST A HIP HAVEN FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. Ferndale’s more senior citizens are a very active, and very involved part of the city as well.

Jeannie Davis, president of the Ferndale Senior Group, says the group provides a “new outlet for socialization.” She adds that board members strive to “work very hard to make the senior experience more enjoyable.”

Davis, who also writes the seniors column for Ferndale Friends, said her goal is “to make the group more visible.” She adds that Ferndale Seniors are an active group within the community, participating in events like selling T-shirts for the Woodward Dream Cruise, leading pub crawls, manning a rib tent and helping with other local happenings. “We are visible and viable,” she said. “We aren’t just playing bingo, and sitting and knitting.”

Indeed, the Ferndale Senior Group is also embracing technology to help seniors connect with each other and with the community at large. “I love texting the Mayor,” Davis said. The Ferndale Seniors Group also has a Facebook presence, where Davis wrote: “Ferndale Senior Group is a social group comprised of people who are 55-years and over. Being a Ferndale resident is not a requisite.”

The Ferndale Senior Group meets twice a month on the second and fourth Wednesdays at 11:00 A.M., at the Kulick Center on Livernois. “These meetings aren’t just gabfests,” Davis promises. “It’s always a learning experience.” Recent guest speakers included a visitor from the Ferndale Historical Museum and the group also hosts a candidate forum, where attendees can meet, greet and ask questions of candidates running for office.

Elected officials also visit the Ferndale’s Senior Group although, as Davis hastens to clarify, “We are not a political group.” The visits are merely to provide information to attendees. Politicians and candidates do well to court senior voters. According to, at any time, more than half of registered voters over the age of 60 can be relied upon to cast a ballot in elections. In presidential voting years, 70 per cent of registered seniors will cast a vote, in person or by absentee ballot.

Davis notes that a mayoral town hall is also another feature of the Senior Group. She said that plans are in the works for Mayor Dave Coulter to hold a town hall meeting at the Kulick Center on October 11. “Anyone can come,” Davis added.

The Ferndale Senior Group also offers short day trips to nearby places such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Zoo, Cranbrook, and the River Walk on the Detroit River in Downtown Detroit. “We’re constantly looking for different things,” Davis says. “We want to give them something more to talk about than daytime TV and aches and pains,” she adds. The group offers a wide variety of inexpensive things for people to do.

The Senior Group allows anyone to attend meetings; however, persons who become members receive discounted rates for events and activities, Davis says.

Money Magazine pointed out that “The best places to age well have lots of jobs, good public transportation and active communities.” Davis, who retired from running her own business as a real estate appraiser, considers Ferndale as a “senior-friendly” city. “Ferndale is a very walk-able community,” she said. “Also, we love the ‘businesses on Nine’, especially Western Market.” Davis says. She adds that Ferndale’s Metro Detroit location means there are plenty of opportunities for visiting cultural venues and volunteering.

Davis, who has lived in Ferndale since 1960s, concludes that Ferndale seems “genuinely fond of seniors.

By Kevin Alan Lamb

AMONG MANY OTHERS HELPING IN MANY WAYS, Ferndale’s First United Methodist Church teamed up with Royal Oak’s First United Methodist to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey through the United Methodist Church’s worldwide relief agency, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). On Labor Day, 2017, they began collecting “flood buckets” and continued through most of September. The buckets are filled with supplies like laundry detergent, household cleaner, soap, air freshener, insect repellant spray, etc., and given to evacuees returning to their homes.

Royal Oak First United Methodist received a donation of a semi-trailer truck and driver, and they filled it with donations to be driven to their Midwest supply depot in Illinois for further distribution. I spoke with Jill Warren, a member of the Outreach Committee at Ferndale First United Methodist helping with the collection.

How did the Outreach Committee come to be formed and who are its members?
It’s a standing committee of Ferndale First United Methodist Church. All United Methodist churches have a similar committee, although it may be called something different. Members are elected at our annual meeting from the congregation. The current chair is Deacon Mike Cadotte, a longtime member of our congregation now becoming ordained as a Catholic priest. He serves Community of Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, which meets in our building.

The Committee leads our community-focused programs including our free Community Dinner (last Wednesday of the month, 6:00-7:00 P.M.), free community clothes closet, parents night out, Dream Cruise picnic, and annual Fair-Trade Ferndale pop-up shop. We also display banners to witness against injustice (Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ Pride, Immigration) and are a sanctuary congregation offering shelter to those in danger of deportation. It’s a very engaged Committee.

Since this will be published after the drop-off day, what can our readers do to support your effort?
The need to respond to disasters is ongoing for emergency preparedness. Keep checking our Facebook page and website for other ways to be involved. We support UMCOR financially, and anyone can contribute to this disaster relief organization, religious or secular.

For those overwhelmed with the current rate of natural disaster in our world, share with us a few different ways your organization stays focused and committed to the task at hand.
We are so fortunate to be part of a bigger denomination that funds and supports disaster relief every day. Knowing that we can share the work through our collections of items and funds becomes an extension of our commitment to “living according to the example of Jesus.” Doing this kind of work as a community builds community too, and that builds networks of personal support and encouragement when times are discouraging. Sharing the work with others is the best antidote I know to feeling overwhelmed.


RED CROSS: “This is major,” said Red Cross spokesman Perry Rech. “This is the largest weather event we’ve encountered since (Hurricane) Sandy.” Rech said the Red Cross has sent 60 people to Houston. “Michigan is well into the fray,” he said Monday. “We’ve got emergency response vehicles going down, we have people on the ground. We have our full national fleet deployed.” Those vehicles, said Bob Blumenfeld, chief operating officer of the Michigan region of the Red Cross, carry “a fair amount of materials and infrastructure” to aid in disaster relief— food, bottled water, blankets, “clean-up kits” consisting of buckets, rubber gloves and disinfectant.

SALVATION ARMY: The Salvation Army’s Eastern Michigan Division is asking for money donations but has not yet sent anyone, said spokeswoman Andrea Kenski. “We’re waiting for the call from our national headquarters, but we have our Emergency Disaster Services teams ready to go,” she said. Metro Detroiters can make donations by calling (877) 725-6424 (SALMICH).

DOW CHEMICAL: Dow Chemical Co. and The Dow Chemical Co. Foundation announced on Tuesday, Aug. 29, that they would allocate $1 million to support immediate relief and long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts for parts of Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey, according to a press release. According to Dow officials, as a part of financial commitment, Dow is collaborating with national and local partners providing critical services to individuals immediately affected by the flood and will donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, $100,000 to Team Rubicon and $200,000 to other local nonprofit organizations assisting the region.

JEWISH FEDERATION OF METRO DETROIT: The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit has opened a special relief fund for those affected by the devastating hurricane that struck the Gulf Coast. Many thousands of families and individuals are in need of food, medicine and other basic supports. 100% of all donations will go towards relief and recovery efforts.

PRESBYTERY CHURCH IN DETROIT: The Rev. Allen D. Timm, Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery Church in Detroit, said the church is waiting to hear from the general assembly as to when volunteers will be dispatched to Houston. “We work through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance,” said Timm. “We have a local group which will be sending volunteers, but we have to wait until we get word from the Presbyterian Disaster Group.’” The church is also taking donations.

THE CITY OF WARREN: Warren Mayor Jim Fouts’ office announced that it’s collecting non-perishable food items to distribute to Hurricane Harvey victims. “We know what it’s like to have most of a city underwater,” said Fouts, referring to the August 2014 record flooding in Warren. “It doesn’t compare to Houston’s flooding, but we needed outside help like the Southern Baptist Convention volunteers to help. “Our drive is an example of Americans helping other Americans in need.” The items can be dropped off at the Mayor’s Office on the second floor of city hall or the Warren Community Center on Arden west of Mound.

Story By: Sara E. Teller
Photos By: David McNair

THE FERNDALE FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH HOSTS A “Community Dinner” the last Wednesday of every month for “anyone who wants to come,” according to Mary Lenaway, a long-time member. “It’s not limited to church members or the needy. Everyone is welcome.”

There is often a large turnout, particularly in the winter months, and volunteers are greatly appreciated. “Typically, during the winter, between the volunteers and the people who come in, we get around 100 people,” Mary explains, adding that “help and donations are always accepted and appreciated.”

There is a sign-up sheet in the church’s social hall for anyone willing to donate their time. Sometimes groups, and sometimes individual church members host the event, according to Mary. “We ask people to sign up for one month, and a core group of volunteers from the Methodist Church and Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Church are always involved.” She adds, “They come out to run the dishwasher and do various tasks, but we are always looking for new people to head up a group, do the cooking.” The church is specifically looking for volunteers for meals in August and September.

The First United Methodist Church has historically spread awareness of the community dinners online in the Ferndale Forum (, on its website, Facebook and other social media sites. Leaders also rely on word of mouth and on literature distributed within the church as well as posted signage and bulletins. When asked how long the church has been hosting the meals, Mary said, “it’s been a while” – several years, she believes.

“Anyone that is interested in volunteering, we will find a position for them,” Mary stresses. “A lot of the time cook crews need help with prep work, clean up, that kind of thing.” Mary has been a member of the church for over a decade. “I raised my children through the church,” she said, speaking of the many she had between her own and those she adopted as a foster parent. She is happy to be involved in the meal planning.

Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Church teams up with First United Methodist Church – “It’s kind of a church within a church, which is a bit unusual,” Mary says – to host meals offered right around holidays. “They did Halloween last year and the 4th of July this year,” Mary says. “It’s a very festive atmosphere” when the Catholic church hosts, and they often have extras set up such as arcade machines for guests to enjoy.

Residents can rest assured the church will host a monthly meal without interruption. “We have not missed a month since we started,” Mary says, adding that if the last Wednesday of the month falls right before a holiday, an alternate day will be selected, but, “We will not call it off.”

If interested in helping with a Community Dinner, please contact Mary or Larry Lenaway at 248.229.5685. Please keep in mind, those who sign up to head a meal are responsible for purchasing all food and beverages and for the general logistics involved, including seating and flow. For all other inquiries regarding upcoming church activities and how you can help, call the church office at 248.545.4467 and speak with Stacy, the church’s secretary.

No reservations are required to attend the meal. “This is a great opportunity for us to break bread with our neighbors,” declares the church’s site. So, just show up and enjoy some tasty food and good conversation! The social hall is located in the basement of Ferndale First United Methodist Church at 22331 Woodward. The next available dates are August 30, September 27, October 25, and dinners are between 6:00 P.M. and 7:30 P.M.

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By: Jeff Milo, Circulation Specialist

The Ferndale Library will be a prime place to experience the big solar eclipse happening on Mon., Aug. 21, where kids and families can join in space and science themed activities, and get a hold of a special pair of glasses to safely observe this cosmic phenomenon. The party will get started at 1:00 P.M., just a bit before the eclipse begins.

There will be space-themed treats from Treat Dreams, celestial themed henna, other fun activities, and viewers on hand so that patrons can see this spectacular event safely. Re-member that the sun’s rays can be damaging to the eyes, so the Fern-dale Library’s supply of special glasses will protect everyone’s eyes as we gaze upward.

Hosted by and for the Friends of the Ferndale Library. Current and prospective members of the Friends of the Ferndale Library are invited on August 26 to fall down the rabbit hole into the library court-yard where music, hors d’oeuvres, henna artists, flamingo croquet and lots of surprises await. This Mad Hatter’s themed party features a cash bar with signature craft cocktails by Valentine Vodka and more. This will be a fun and funky celebration of the Ferndale library and the classic Alice in Wonderland novels by author Lewis Carroll.

Admission to the Mad Hatter Party is free for current Friends members, and new members can join online for only $20. The Ferndale Area District :Library is located at 222 E. 9 Mile Rd. Please join us for literary fun, meeting fellow book lovers, and dancing under the stars. There will be excellent photo opportunities at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, so wear a hat, any hat, to fit right in among your wonderland Friends.

Ferndale’s favorite arts, crafts & music festival is Sept 22-24 and the Library will be open, despite losing one of our parking lots. But we hope to get as many visitors as we can on Saturday the 23rd, because we’re hosting an “Instrument Petting Zoo” for kids, featuring the instructors from local music education nonprofit Girls Rock Detroit.

We’ll be ramping our bi-monthly lo-cal music showcase series back up in October. We want to take this opportunity to send out three thank-yous, regarding our best-attended Summer Concert Series ever: to the Friends of the Ferndale Library (for their support), to the bands (for perform-ing) and to all of our patrons (for coming out to enjoy the shows). Very soon, we’ll begin booking bands for First Stop Friday concerts in October, December, February and beyond.

Youth Services Librarians are planning a book club for high school- age readers. We have a handful of clubs for grade school readers, but a new monthly rotation of book discussions for teens is coming soon.
Stay tuned.

Story by Sara E. Teller
Photos by Bernie LaFramboise

FERNDALE WILL SOON BE HOSTING TWO COMMUNITY-WIDE GARAGE SALES, TO TAKE PLACE ON THE EAST AND WEST SIDES OF WOODWARD. Organizers set up a polling system on the Ferndale Forum Facebook page, asking members to vote on two separate weekends for each side to hold their sales.

The East Side will be on Saturday, June 17th. The West Side opted for Saturday, July 8th. Both will last from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. with rain days on those Sundays.

“Anyone in the 48220 zip code who wants to participate can plan their own sale at their own property,” said Carey Gufstason of Ferndale’s Glass Action, who helped to coordinate the events. Those who wish to participate can also “encourage neighbors to have a block sale to drive more traffic their way and set up Craigslist ads.” The organizers are asking that anyone who chooses to post an ad list it under the heading “Ferndale Garage Sale (East or West) Side” so the posts are searchable. “The sale won’t be at a building or lot,” Carey clarifies. “Just individual homes that wish to sell.”

“It’s like any other city wide sale,” she says, “You pick a date and do it! Ours is unique only because Woodward splits us in two, and this is a fun way to support and explore each other’s sides of Ferndale.”

The garage sale has received quite a bit of traction on Facebook. “This is really word of mouth via Facebook,” Carey says. “If someone on Academy wants in, they simply plan their sale on the East Side date. When shoppers see on Craigslist that there are 30-plus houses all on one side of Woodward having a sale, for example, they can get around and see more possibly, in a concentrated area this way. Then come back weeks later for the other side.”

Carey says the purpose of the sale is to unite the community of Ferndale in a fun way. “The root is a traditional, city-wide sale. Having two creates a fun, community opportunity. In the end everyone gets new treasures, meets new neighbors and makes a little cash cleaning out your cupboards.

In the last several years online buy/sell/trade pages have really kicked up a lot of off-season selling, and I confess, I got way into it,” Carey says, “But it’s different. It’s usually a ‘porch-pick up’ kind of thing and most times you’re not coming face-to-face. Old time yard sales are a fun way to mix it up with the community.”

Carey encourages members of the community to “Invite out-of-city friends and promote in the old-fashion and also new-fangled ways. Take lots of pictures, make ads, make signs. Just be sure they’re in spots that are okay to display them or they’ll be pulled down. The City of Ferndale does not enforce permits to have a garage sale. This is all by individuals willing to put their sales together.”

The garage sales are a great way to promote health and wellness during the summer months, as well. “I always encourage people shopping to bike ride around if the weather permits,” Carey adds, “And, also a great piece of advice to sellers: Don’t hold unpaid goods for buyers, but make an exception for bikers to return for their items post-sale.”

As far as other advice, Carey says, “I like to donate goods after the sale and would ask others to consider it instead of putting it to the street. If you call Purple Heart, Grace Centers or other organizations in advance, they’ll come get your goods sometimes that day or the day after. Imagine if they had trucks and trucks full of goods just from Ferndalians? That would be awesome!”

By Adam O’Connor


Well, a few things they love just as much happen to be as good booze, great beer, and outstanding music. Fortunately, the newest Ferndale summer festival provides exactly those things – and more.

Bruise, BBQ & Bourbon – produced by Ferndale’s  own Ultimate Fun Productions and The Social Connection – kicks off it’s inaugural celebration in the summer the weekend of June 16–18. The festival will take place down the main thorough fare of East 9 Mile Road in Downtown Ferndale.

The weekend will feature two stages of continuous music – one acoustic and one main stage – featuring the likes of local and regional acts like George Morris in the Gypsy Chorus, Ryan Delilah and the Miracle Men, the Whiskey Charmers, Dan Tillery, Alise King, Tosha Owens, Tripp N Dixie, AwesomeR, and Flint’s one man band Sweet Willy Tea amongst others.

The event will also feature everyone’s favorite festival foods – definitely focused on BBQ, but also offering up a smattering of other items for those who don’t partake in summertime’s grilled and smoke treats. Local BBQ purveyors Smoke Ring BBQ, Detroit BBQ company, Stonewood Smokehouse and more will be joined by the other great Michigan BBQ slinging champs like Lansing’s The Smoking Pig and Hollands Hogwild BBQ. Some pit masters (such as Smoke Shack) will be coming from so far as Columbus Ohio – and they will undoubtedly be more announced.

An abundance of craft beer will also be present, as well as a varied choice of booze – from smoky bourbons to aged whiskey’s and more. There will even be a Moscow Mule tent featuring every type of Mule variation you’ve heard of – and some you haven’t – such as the Mexican Mule (tequila, ginger beer and lime juice), Gin Gin Mule (gin, ginger beer, lime juice) and Cider Mule (vodka, ginger beer, hard apple cider, and lime juice) and a bunch more! Further, Cocktail Creations is your destination to sample a variety of classic newly-conceived summer cocktails if Moscow Mules aren’t your thing. And finally, if you were hoping for a great selection of bourbons you won’t be disappointed by the offerings on Bourbon Boulevard.

There will be all-ages fun as well, offering games, the kids zone face painting, Michigan’s favorite backyard past time of cornhole and tons of more wholesome and family friendly entertainment for anyone who feels like bringing themselves out to the free event

The event takes place on Friday, June 16 from the hours of 5 pm until Midnight; Saturday, June 17 from Noon until Midnight; and Sunday, June 18 from Noon until 10pm.

Further information and festival updates are available at or by visiting the event’s social media (you can even entered to win a free slab of ribs!).