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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!).

By Jeff Milo

What better way to get to know a band than in a cozy, domestic setting like a front porch? Michael Benghiat and Gary Graff’s vision of more than two dozen Ferndale homes hosting a diverse lineup of more than 30 regional bands is coming to life on Saturday, June 24. This six-hour suburban music festival is called The Front Porch, and it doubles as a prototype, or pilot program, for what could turn into a regular television show (of the same name). The concept has been pitched to Detroit Public Television (DPTV, Detroit’s PBS affiliate) already, and could be shopped to other media outlets as well.

Benghiat, head of Front Porch Productions and founder/CEO of Optimum Marketing, has been a lifelong music fan. He has vast experience in event-planning, marketing and communications in the global entertainment industry, most notably with Olympia Entertainment. Graff, meanwhile, is a venerated local music journalist who’s byline and features regularly appear in The Oakland Press. When they went to the Ferndale City Council and special events committee to present their idea for an afternoon’s worth of outdoor musical performances situated upon Ferndalian front porches for a strolling audience of neighbors, families and music lovers, the response was more than enthusiastic!

“We thought it’d be really cool to be a part of this because we’ve played many stages, but never a front porch,” said Carrie Shepard, singer/guitarist of local country/rock quartet The Whiskey Charmers. “Plus, Ferndale is just a town that really supports live music. Hanging out on a front porch, playing some of our songs in such a relaxed setting, it’s bound to result in a cool, unique vibe!”

“I think it definitely compliments the overall vibe that is ‘Fabulous Ferndale,’” said Joshua James, the multi-genre-specialist and leader of string-band/Dixie-jazz outfit The Ashton Neighborhood Pleasure Club. “We’re a very connected neighborhood; residents really embody that motto of ‘Good neighbors,’ and I think something like (The Front Porch) could be the perfect catalyst to strengthen the community. Having been to Jackson Square in New Orleans where everyone is out playing music, I can say that having something like a porch concert is going to be a lot of fun.“

Something similar to the schema of Benghiat and Graff’s citywide concert has been achieved in other markets, with great success and an expectedly enthusiastic response from residents. Various Porch Fests are featured in up to 50 communities around the country, but Benghiat’s idea is to develop this into a TV show where he and Graff can travel to several cities all around Michigan where they can film vibrant, music-packed portraits of that area’s local artists, interviewing bands on front porches and filming live performances. DPTV loved Benghiat’s idea, but they requested a pilot episode first, before they decide on whether or not they’d like to produce a full season of episodes.

That makes Ferndale’s June 24 Front Porch Show the possible precursor to a future television show. Benghiat arranged for a film crew to capture each performance and prepare a feature-length package to DPTV and other channels of distribution. After that, fingers are crossed! Benghiat hopes to know by mid-Autumn whether or not The Front Porch can start stepping it up!

Meanwhile, mark your calendars for June 24! And get your maps out! North of Marshall, east of Central, South of Maplehurst and west of Livernois! You’re going to find up to 25 houses in that square of sidestreets hosting 35+ local bands, including The Luddites, The Codgers, The Corktown Popes, Brother Hallow, and many more!

For more information, visit

By Sara E. Teller
Photo by Bernie Laframboise

All Together Now! consists of a group of activists who joined together to create a website where organizations from all over Southeastern Michigan can collectively post their events. According to the site, All Together Now! is “a growing group of complex people from diverse backgrounds and many walks of life who find ourselves inspired to promote social and economic equality, to encourage healing for ourselves, for our neighbors, for humanity, and for the planet.”

The group was founded by a few volunteer Ferndale residents in the days following the 2016 presidential election. Current members include Sean Mason, who believes we “cannot allow the voices of bigotry and hatred to be the loudest voices in the room,” Jeannie “Bean” McCarthy, who “has a vision that mutual respect, equity, justice, and compassion can bring us together,” Jacob Bolton, who is “passionate about building power for people who are disenfranchised,” Adam Shissler, Rebecca Phoenix and Amy Sawicki.

The group has no political affiliation and posts are from a variety of local organizations. “Some of these groups are dedicated to improving regional transit while others focus on sheltering the homeless. Some work to stand against Trump. Each of these organizations represents a beacon of hope, offering opportunities to see you’re not in this alone. Offering opportunities to build a path forward,” the site states.

“These events are directed towards building hope and unity, peace, compassion, and inclusivity as well as resistance and revolution,” says member Adam Shissler. “We hope it will be treated as a menu from which a person can choose the events that most fit their schedule and their interest. We don’t endorse a particular political party.”

Those choosing to post are simply asked to abide by the following guidelines:
1) Work to deeply listen to others;
2) Engage the world…for the greater good of the community;
3) Attempt to be truthful;
4) Avoid gossip and harmful speech;
5) Seek common ground and points of agreement; and
6) Work to heal relationships.

The purpose of All Together Now!’s page is to “build bridges between the islands of hope that exist all around us, often in obscurity,” Adam says. “We wish to help them grow.” All Together Now! connects activist organizations and individuals to build community and increase its impact. “We are completely funded by the founding members of the organization. We have no outside funding,” Adam explains. “Many of us didn’t know how to get involved, where to turn to make a difference. We thought we could help make that easier for others in the future.”

The group is currently hoping to increase the viewership of the site, find organizations with which to partner and local people who may want to be directly involved with the operation of the website. “We intend to host a meeting located in Ferndale within the next month, the date and location are to be determined,” Adam explains. “We hope to partner with a few other organizations, also to be determined. We wish to reach out to like-minded individuals and organizations and find ways we can work together. All are invited. We need help with outreach,” according to Adam, “And with the operation of the website.”

Residents of Ferndale and surrounding communities are encouraged to contact the group at to get involved.  All Together Now!’s mission is clear: “If we pull together…if we stand together…in this moment and the next…gently, we can change the world. All together now.”

Organizations can easily post events by visiting, and individuals can also subscribe to All Together Now’s! newsletter.