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By Jenn Goedekke

GEORGE MONTRELLE IS A LOCAL MUSICIAN WHOSE SOULFUL SONGWRITING ENCOMPASSES a broad array of influences, from Allen Stone to Fall Out Boy, and more in between.

With an EP named LOVE UNFOLDING released on May 20th, 2022, Montrelle is expressing his “passion for music and who I am today. It ties everything together!” The EP comprises five songs that were independently recorded and produced. It marks a significant milestone in his musical career, which he describes as “a long journey – but I’m moving at a good pace!”

Montrelle began songwriting around 16 years of age. He comes from a creative, loving, and resourceful single-parent household. Often, he would listen to his siblings’ music collections, including soul, R&B, hip-hop, and gospel music. Since those early days, he has played some unique gigs and has formed a clear vision of his musical path.

Prior gigs have included the Willis Show Bar in Midtown Detroit; Otus Supply in Ferndale (‘Singers in the Round’); and the Axis Lounge within the MGM Grand in downtown Detroit.

Montrelle graduated from the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME) in 2020 and was awarded a Bachelor’s in Commercial Songwriting. There, he learned a lot about all aspects of the music industry, including the business culture and networking. He told me, “It felt good to finish the program. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!” He also auditioned for American Idol.

Please tell me more about LOVE UNFOLDING.

LOVE UNFOLDING is the first group of songs I’ve ever released that is self-recorded and self-produced. It represents the adoration and development of my path, my partner, my passion, and myself. It also symbolizes growth, joy, humility, challenges overcome, and the pursuits of my deepest desires in life.

Any collaborations or core influences?

Briefly, Allen Stone, Hiatus Kaiyote, the ‘90s, and 2000s hip-hop, older R&B, oldies, and 2000s alternative rock are some of my influences for LOVE UNFOLDING. I also like Sam Smith and Bruno Mars.

Which of your gigs stand out, and for what reasons?

Willis Show Bar in Midtown was amazing, pre-Covid. Loved the stage and the music we got to play. More recently, MGM Grand has been a great time. Loved being able to perform classics and modern tunes to an appreciative crowd!

Future gigs or perhaps a tour?

I’ll be performing for the Juneteenth Celebration hosted by the Ferndale Library at the Green Acres Park in Hazel Park, with my band. The event is on a Saturday, June 18th, 2022, the day before the official Juneteenth holiday. Also, Sunday, July 31st, 2022, I’ll be playing for Ferndale’s Nine on Nine Series down at Schiffer Park.

Have you got a favorite song?

Allen Stone’s “Brown Eyed Lover” was a long-time favorite for me. Sam Smith’s “Omen” and “Diamonds” are the other latest ones.

Any “shoutouts” to family, friends, or people in the music industry?

My fiance, and partner of nine years, first and foremost. My entire family and friend groups for their support too. You all are amazing. Lastly, the DIME faculty and student body, as a whole, I have to thank. The network and education have been a gift that has kept on giving.

What DIME experiences stood out the most?

DIME was a lot of different things. Albeit, it was a Bachelor’s degree program; it was also networking, experiencing, performing, writing music, collaborating, and being immersed in a very musical environment. I’m glad I saw what I did there. Probably being in the same environment with so much talent and opportunity stood out the most to me.

On a parting note, Montrelle added, “Trust in yourself, as you never know who you might impact. Trust your instincts and intuition, and truly be who you are.”

Visit George Montrelle’s website for more information:

Montrelle’s songs can be found on all streaming sources, including Bandcamp and Spotify.

By Jocelyn A. Davis, Communications & Public Information Director, City of Oak Park

THE CHALLENGING EVENTS OF 2020 WILL UNDOUBTEDLY STAY WITH US FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES. A relentless, global pandemic brought many of us closer to our loved ones, as we embraced “togetherness” while sheltering in place. At the same time it unjustly robbed too many of us of our family and friends.

We collectively experienced the tragedy of losing several national role models for our youth, such as Kobe Bryant, Chadwick Boseman and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. And we empathized with people around the world who marched for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a corrupt Minneapolis police officer.

We felt all these events right here in our own tight-knit, Oak Park community.

Oak Park Public Safety Director Steve Cooper, a 30-year veteran of the Department, believes that in times like these, community engagement is critical. I recently sat down with him to discuss his views on the role and responsibilities of Public Safety in times of crisis and his vision for the relationship between the community and law enforcement.

Director Cooper, what is community policing?

Director Cooper: Community policing is relationship-building. It’s ensuring that officers are active and integral members of the community – not just when crimes are committed, but also when there are opportunities to engage with residents and create positive experiences. We’re committed to making and maintaining connections with our residents, which was the impetus for appointing two Community Resource Officers whose roles are to attend community events, establish presence in our schools, and bond authentically with residents.


Governor Whitmer issued a shelter-in-place order this Spring in an effort to save Michigan lives. How did Public Safety respond to the pandemic relative to maintaining the health and safety of residents and Public Safety Officers?

Of course, the Oak Park Public Safety Department was never shut down during the shelter-in-place order because we’re essential workers. Oak Park is unique in that each officer is highly trained in policing, firefighting, and emergency medical services. In fact, Oak Park was the first community in the State of Michigan to combine all three services into one department in the early 1950s.

Our first priority, before, during and after this pandemic, is to maintain the safety of our residents and staff. We immediately secured personal protective equipment such as N95 masks, rubber gloves and eyewear because we know a healthy officer is a responsive officer. During that time, we experienced a higher volume of calls for medical emergencies, so we relied heavily on our dispatch unit to conduct thorough phone interviews. And we were prepared to provide residents with PPE and on-site medical screenings for the virus, as needed.

You participated in the anti-racism protests held in Oak Park following the death of George Floyd. Why was it important for you to be there?

Every officer in the Oak Park Public Safety Department agrees that Mr. Floyd’s death was a senseless murder that placed additional strains on relationships between many communities and their law enforcement agencies across the country. But in Oak Park, it made our bonds stronger. I was honored to be asked to speak at our local rallies because I felt enraged as well. At that time, it was critical to assure the community that we stand with them and that nothing like that would happen in Oak Park.

The rallies were peaceful, and it was clear that they were not anti-police but protests. We distributed free refreshments and face masks from the Oak Park Public Safety Ice Cream Truck. Officers kneeled with residents in a moment of silence for the loss of Mr. Floyd.

I’ve since heard from numerous residents who want to assure our Public Safety Officers that the support is mutual. This is a great example of what results from community policing. Our residents know and trust us. As you can see, that can make all the difference in a crisis situation.

Have there been any recent changes in the Public Safety Department?

I’m pleased to welcome Public Safety Officer Evan Beauchamp to the Department. He was sworn into service with us this summer. And Officer Donald Hoffman, who’s served the Department for seven-and-a-half years, was recently recruited to serve concurrently on Oakland County’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team. I’m extremely proud of both officers and look forward to their contributions to law enforcement and supporting the Oak Park community.

By Ingrid Sjostrand

SOUL FOOD HAS GROWN TO BE A FOUNDATION IN AFRICAN-AMERICAN COOKING and a staple of Southern meals. After moving to Michigan, George and Martha Clay saw a need – especially when friends urged Martha to cook for them – so they opened carryout-only Motor City Soul Food in March of 2001 on 7 Mile Rd. in Detroit.

 “My wife is a native of Mississippi and I was born in Alabama. Soul food was our everyday way of living. It is what we were raised on and what we prepared every day,” George Clay says. “Soul food has a generational, multi- cultural bond – it transcends age, ethnicity, race, socio- economic background, education, gender and time.”

 The couple had years of experience as entrepreneurs, running businesses ranging from custom casual clothing and real estate to an ice-cream shop and it was quickly obvious that Motor City Soul Food was going to be anoth- er successful venture. Everyone from Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel – who featured the restaurant on his show Bizarre Foods America in 2012 – to comedian DL Hughley have raved about Motor City Soul Food.

 “We were voted #1 fried chicken by Thrillist magazine earlier this year,” Clay says. “We were the only restaurant that represented the great state of Michigan on this list.”

 After more than ten years of success in Detroit and help running the business from their son Scott, Motor City Soul Food expanded in 2013 to a second location in Oak Park, located at 24790 Greenfield Rd. It is also cafeteria- style ordering and carryout-only.

 “One of the biggest reasons we chose Oak Park is because of the great location. We are near the I-696 freeway which brings customers from Eastside Detroit and Detroit suburbs as well as customers that live further west.” Clay says. “One of our favorite things about Oak Park are the diverse customers we encounter. We serve people from all walks of life and are inclusive of everyone.”

 On top of their nationwide-famous chicken wings, dinner options include turkey wings and pork chops. But the real soul food experience – and the items you aren’t going to find anywhere else – are in the food like Neck Bone, Ham Hocks and Ox tail. You couldn’t call Motor City a soul food restaurant without the side item choices of tender collard greens, okra, sweet black-eyed peas, candied yams and macaroni and cheese – which has a crisp, golden top coat and seasoned kick of paprika. Of course each dinner comes with a cornbread muffin too.

 “Our menu is literally anything that you could want for any holiday, any social event, when you need comforting or just want something delicious and homemade,” Clay says. “Soul food is a comfort, down home, good tast- ing meal – it includes a deliciously-seasoned meat and always includes a starch. Often, my wife will prepare items that aren’t on the menu because she has a taste for it. My wife is an awesome cook!”

 Other menu options include fish, like their crunchy, cornmeal-coated catfish, and hot sandwiches, including a meatloaf one. It may be hard to fathom eating more after such hearty dinners, but the dessert is worth it. In addition to banana pudding, Motor City Soul Food makes sweet potato pie, peach cobbler and 7-Up pound cake, a moist, delicious treat that brings back memories of childhood.

 Both locations are open seven days a week from 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. and offer in-store and off- site catering available through their website,

 “Our customers should expect to be served a quality-made product prepared fresh daily and served hot for their enjoyment,” Clay says. “We are a family owned-and-operated restaurant. We do our best to provide quality products and service to our custom- ers because we are all family.”


By Peter Werbe

THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES the dark, dull, slate-gray days of November and December tolerable is the holidays those months. We all treasure our time off. We work too damn much even if we like our jobs.

Americans work longer hours than any other Western industrial country. Adults working full-time clock an average of 47 hours a week and that’s an average! Whatever happened to the eight-hour day?

In the 1950s, a UAW caucus advocated a “30-for-40” work week from the then-Big 3 — 30 hours work for 40 hours pay. But in too many work places today we’ve gone in the opposite direction.

Working longer hours for less pay is the equation for enriching the one percent, and it’s been amazingly successful — for them. 

Not so much for us, though. We would like to spend less time at our desks, at a counter, or in front of a

machine, and more at leisure and things we want to do!

Even 30 hours at labor would seem onerous to the pre-industrial people who lived here previously on the land our forebears seized. University of Michigan anthropologist Marshall Sahlins wrote in his classic, Stone Age Economics, that hunter-gatherer bands labored very little to sustain themselves to the extent that priests who accompanied the first European invaders were dismayed by how little tribal people worked and instead spending so much time lazing about.

Most of us aren’t ready for a return to tribal ways, so at least let’s see if we can get a little more time off by agitating for more holidays! There are plenty of days that need official recognition (and a few that should be retired), so here’s a month-by- month list which creates some new opportunities for time off with pay.

NEW YEAR’S DAY and the birthday of MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. on the third Monday of the year are definite keepers. The King celebration may be the most important holiday in contemporary America.

PRESIDENT’S DAY; third Monday in February. This one has to go. Really, Republicans, do you want to celebrate Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama? And, Democrats certainly don’t want to honor Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. The first 15 presidents were slave owners. All of them since have been responsible for so many misdeeds, including theft of native land, lies about wars, suppression of civil liberties and civil rights, that we ought to forget about this one and replace it with a PEOPLE’S DAY. Celebrate ourselves, our diversity, and our communities. 

VALENTINE’S DAY; February 14. A tribute to love and romance. This needs to be an all-day holiday for re-invigorating our relationships and finding new ones. The Third Century Bishop Valentine helped Christian couples wed and for his efforts was beheaded by the pagan Roman emperor Claudius II. Maybe this is where the expression “losing your head” over a romantic interest came from.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY; March 8. Given world-wide recognition in 1975 by the United Nations,

this celebration of the role of women was declared at a 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference in Copenhagen. Women, who are paid less than men and often do double work on the job and at home, need a day off.

SPRING EQUINOX; March 20. The date when the day and night are of equal length. Celebrated in many cultures as a day of renewal and rebirth.

TAX DAY; April 15. A day off to reflect on where our tax dollars are going. A huge transfer of wealth occurs by taxing our incomes which the government turns over to Military/Industrial Complex corporations. For our generous

contribution to the war industry’s bottom line, we deserve at least one day off.

EARTH DAY; April 22. A day on which we ponder what is happening to our planet and that everything bad that Chicken Little predicted is coming true. The sky is really going to fall unless we do something quickly. Also, on the happier side, celebrate what is left of the beauty of the Earth.

MAY DAY/BELTANE; May 1. This is both the date of the original Labor Day (the U.S. put ours in September to

avoid international worker solidarity), and an important pagan holiday of May Poles and fertility rites. Linked together, they are the ideal holiday which needs the entire day to consider serious labor issues followed by pagan revelry.

CINCO DE MAYO; May 5. Annual celebration to commemorate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire in 1862. A significant triumph over imperialism which also can be used to acknowledge that the U.S. ripped off the entire northern half of Mexico. People are understandably upset over Russia’s annexation of Crimea which is about 10,000 square miles. Arizona alone, part of the U.S. conquest, is over 100,000. Let’s treat ourselves to tacos and a margarita, but remembering that to Mexicans this was land theft of enormous proportions.

MOTHER’S DAY. Move to second Monday in May so we get the day off. The origins of the holiday go back to 1870 when Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” wanted to establish a Mother’s Peace Day. Howe dedicated the celebration to the eradication of war. Later, it became a sappy Hallmark card day, but still, Mom always deserves to be celebrated.

MEMORIAL DAY; last Monday of May. Combine with Veterans Day. No disrespect to veterans, but two holidays devoted to wars that mostly shouldn’t have been fought doesn’t seem appropriate. For all their sacrifices, the men who fell in American conflicts mostly gave their lives in wars based on outright lies such as the ones in Vietnam and Iraq. And, really, can very many people conjure up why the U.S. fought the War of 1812, the Spanish American War? How about World War I?

FATHER’S DAY. Move to third Monday in June. Let’s honor dad by giving him the day off.

JUNETEENTH; June 19. also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement

of the final abolition of slavery in the U.S. at the end of the Civil War. This holiday is celebrated almost exclusively by African-Americans, but it should be one we all take part in since it marked the end of a hideous institution, one that enslaved millions of people and was defended tenaciously by the southern states leaving three/quarters of a million Americans dead.

SUMMER SOLSTICE, June 21. The pagan holiday, Litha, celebrates the longest day of the year.

INDEPENDENCE DAY; July 4. Can’t touch this one, but we should remember that one of the colonists’ complaints against King George was that he wouldn’t allow further expansion into Native people’s land. Also, that the Southern states signed onto independence almost solely because they feared England was going to abolish slavery. “In order to form a more perfect union,” the South insisted that slavery be enshrined in the U.S. Constitution in three places which guaranteed them national political dominance until the Civil War.

We need at least one more holiday in July. International Kissing Day? Tell the Truth Day? The dog days of Summer are in August, so there’s nothing specific to celebrate. This month should be designated as when all workers get two weeks paid vacation in the manner that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed for his city’s employees.

HIROSHIMA DAY; August 6. A day of grim commemoration of the destruction of a civilian city at the moment Japan was about to surrender. It had no real military necessity, but rather was a notice to the Soviet Union that not only did the U.S. possess a terrible weapon, but was willing to use it. It will be a good time to consider that we and other countries still face nuclear destruction from possession of these insane weapons. I don’t want to ruin your day, but the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has set the Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight.

LABOR DAY; first Monday in September. Yes, working people deserve two holidays to celebrate their labor.

INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY; September 21/Fall equinox. ‘Nuff said.

COLUMBUS DAY; October 12. This one has definitely got to go! By 1492, Europeans had ruined their continent with wars, environmental destruction, religious insanity, and was on the verge of social and economic collapse when they burst beyond their geography and began looting what was, to them, a new world. On his first day on Hispaniola, Columbus wrote in his diary about the Arawak people who had welcomed him, “They will make fine servants.” The rest is well-known: slavery, ethnic cleansing, and finally, genocide. New holiday in its place; Indigenous People’s Day.

HALLOWEEN, October 31. We need the whole day for costuming and revelry. Come as your fantasy, but white people: no black face or sombreros and mustaches, or the like. Confused as to what is cool to wear? Google “Halloween: what not to wear.”

VETERANS DAY; November 11. Gone. See Memorial Day. This originally was Armistice Day marking the end of the World War I carnage.

THANKSGIVING DAY. This celebration has the same problems as Columbus Day but, like Christmas, its original meaning is pretty much lost and is mostly a family event, so it stays.

CHRISTMAS/WINTER SOLSTICE, December 25. So much of the Christmas stuff was taken from the pagan recognition of the Solstice marking the returning of the light, and its religious element is so minimized that it is now a festival of gift giving, family, and feasting. So, it stays. 

We really deserve a lot more days off than chronicled above, but let’s start with these and make them a reality. Let them all be marked by processions, festivals, dancing in the streets, and feasts. Workers of the world, relax!

Peter Werbe is a member of the Fifth Estate magazine’s editorial collective

By: Jill Lorie Hurst

THEIR MISSION: “The Ferndale Community Concert Band is a diverse, multi-generational musical ensemble of experienced volunteer musicians from all over Metro Detroit.”

Their purpose is twofold: “To provide quality, challenging musical and mentoring experiences for the members and student musicians, as well as educating and entertaining the citizens of Ferndale and surrounding communities.”

By the way, the concerts are free. And you can buy baked goods before each performance.

Beautiful music and delicious cookies made for a perfect Sunday afternoon this past November 4th, as the  FCCB opened their fourth season. Their “American Inspiration” performance included pieces by Aaron Copeland, George Gershwin, and Michigan composer H. Owen Reed as well as a medley of music from Woodstock called “Summer of 69.”

As this was my first time seeing our band I was happy to meet up with Patti Aberlich, trumpeter and FCCB Board Member. Benched from the stage as she recovers from shoulder surgery, she was a generous and joyful guide to all things FCCB.

FIRST, BACK STORY. In 2015, co-founders Tim Brennan and Sharon Chess sent out a questionnaire to the community: Band or orchestra? Band! So, Chess and Brennan proceeded accordingly. Today, 70-plus musicians make up the Ferndale Community Concert Band. There are eleven Ferndale High School alumni among the group. Two high school students are the youngest, and Joe Sales, who plays tuba, is the senior member. The band is a family affair as well, with husbands and wives, siblings, and a mother and daughter in the membership. The musicians travel from all over Southeastern Michigan to rehearse on Tuesday evenings and perform five Sunday afternoon concerts a year.

Next up is their annual “Hometown Holiday” concert on December 16th. In February, they host a community band festival with bands from Clarkston and Rochester, then wrap up their 4th season with concerts in April and June. June is always a “Salute to Our Fathers” which is both patriotic and a nod to Father’s Day.

While the band would love a performance space of their own someday, the collaboration with Ferndale Schools has been a happy one. Retired Ferndale High School principal Roger Smith is “so supportive and enthusiastic.” Renting the auditorium has provided the band with a good home.

THE MUSICIANS REHEARSE AND PERFORM as a labor of love, but the FCCB has expenses! There are a number of simple ways to help them pay their rent, buy their music stands and music, pay their talented artistic director and conductor Ed Quick, and print programs. Along with the pre-show bake sales, you can donate or become a patron of the band. There are also easy ways to help through Kroger and Amazon to give back while you shop!

When I joined Patti Aberlich during intermission, she pointed out family and friends who travel to Ferndale for each concert. “We go out to dinner afterward.” She says. “It’s a Sunday event.”

The Ferndale Community Concert Band performances are my new Sunday event. Meet me (and Santa!) there for the holiday concert on Sunday, December 16th at 3:00 P.M. Get there a little early so you can buy some cookies before you settle in to listen to the wonderful Ferndale community Concert Band.

Find out more about the FCCB by contacting them at or at 313-549-9244. You can watch their promotional video at You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram at

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 Ingrid Sjostrand

From international cuisine to ice cream and freshly-brewed beers and meads, Hazel Park has been building a food and drink destination along John R Rd. for years. Check out some of the city’s most popular dining destinations.

24310 John R Rd.| 586-413-4206

MEADS CONTINUE TO RISE AS THE NEXT BIG beverage, and Hazel Park is at the forefront with Cellarmen’s – the only Demeter-certified biodynamic meadery on the planet.

Founded in 2015, by four friends – Dominic Calzetta, Ian Radogost-Givens, Jason Petrocik and Andrew Zalewski – they have created over 100 flavors in the three years since opening, including fan-favorite “Hungry Girl,” a strawberry-and-white pepper mead.

“We make mead, cider, and beer out of the highest quality ingredients we can find – we use only real fruit and honey in our recipes and never use flavorings or fruit concentrates,” Calzetta says. “We all come from kitchens, so everything is very food- and flavor-driven, along with tradition of mead and cider making.”

Quality has been key in every decision Cellarmen’s has made, including picking the ideal location for their business.

“Bolyard Lumber had been a staple in the community for years. The building actually burned down in the ‘60s and was rebuilt to what we have today. The space in the back which was the former yard is perfect for our production,” Calzetta says.
Hazel Park as a city continues to win them over too.

“The city could not be more perfect for us. A few of us lived here before we opened and always had eyes on our building. When we began our relationship with the City, we knew it was the place for us,” Calzetta says. “The people, the spirit, the leadership – there is nothing not to love about Hazel Park.”

Cellarmen’s 200-seat tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday, where you can find live music and monthly comedy shows. Their products are sold throughout Michigan at all craft beer retailers.

24940 John R. Rd | 248-545-4070

AUTHENTIC INTERNATIONAL CUISINE CAN BE HARD TO COME BY, so when a credible place opens it tends to succeed. Pi’s Thai illustrates this perfectly, having opened over 30 years ago when owners Pirote (Pi) and Boonserm (Boon) Chinthanond migrated to Hazel Park from Thailand and opened their restaurant.

“Thai cuisine was relatively unknown in the Metro Detroit area and Thai restaurants practically nonexistent. Pi and Boon saw an opportunity to introduce the exotic flavors of Thai cuisine to Metro Detroiters and in the Spring of 1986 Pi’s Thai Cuisine opened in Hazel Park,” the restaurant’s Cuisine Management says.

When they retired in 2011, they passed ownership to second cousins to ensure family recipes would be honored. The restaurant built an online presence and the building was updated but the food stayed the same – fresh ingredients and authentic dishes.
“Everything served at Pi’s Thai Cuisine are the original recipes Pi and Boon would cook at home. About 95 percent of the sauces used are also homemade,” says management.

Spicy Thai food is not uncommon, but Pi’s prides itself on their extra fiery levels; they’re known to not even let new customers try ‘hot’ without sampling their ‘medium’ spice first.

“We work hard to create the best flavors for our food and we want our customers to enjoy it, not suffer from the spiciness of the chili,” Pi’s Thai says. “However, we do have some brave souls that order ‘extra hot’ on the regular. Only a handful that I can remember have ordered ‘triple extra hot’.”

The most popular dishes are their Pad Thai, fried rice and drunken noodles. Pi’s has become a staple in Hazel Park and over the last 32 years, Pi’s has come to see the residents as family – even watching some come in as small children and slowly build their spice level as they grow.

“Food brings family together, and especially in Thai culture where the phrase, ‘Have you eaten?’ is used interchangeably to ask, ‘How are you?’” the cuisine management says. “Coming to Pi’s Thai Cuisine is an experience and we wouldn’t have it any other way!”

23839 John R. Rd. | 248-291-5711

THE EVERYDAY NEIGHBORHOOD BAR, for the ‘everyday Joe’ – a down-to-earth watering hole with authentic food, fair priced drinks and good music,” Cari Vaughn, co-owner of Joebar, describes the restaurant best.

“Our clientele is an amazing mix of college-aged kids, blue-collar workers, city officials, suburbanites and city dwellers,” she adds.

Opened in March 2017, Vaughn runs Joebar with Managing Partner and Chef Rebecca LaMalfa and husband Joe Vaughn. The restaurant offers weekend brunch and $10 burgers and beer, but there is more than meets the eye at 23839 John R. Rd. Technically, it’s three restaurants in one.

They recently collaborated with Dark Matter Coffee, a Chicago-based roaster, to open shop inside the restaurant. This is Dark Matter’s first location outside Chicago. Additionally, the back half of the restaurant is “frame” – a unique culinary space that holds chef residencies.

“We’ve played host to the most amazing chefs this past year, from the likes of James Rigato, Craig Lieckfelt, George Azar and Luciano DelSignore,” Vaughn says. “No two days are ever the same at frame. From cocktail workshops to private events, it’s an ever-changing line-up of chefs and experiences. frame doubles as a food studio by day for commercial and editorial clients.”

Whether you’re looking for a fresh-roasted cup of coffee, a burger and a drink, or an exclusive culinary experience, it can all be found inside the doors of Joebar.

24110 John R. Rd

DOUG’S DELIGHT is probably the newest restaurant in Hazel Park, but it already has a lot of history and connections in the city. You could call it Mabel Grey’s little sister; the restaurant is run by their Executive Chef James Rigato and Pastry Chef Kristina Conger.
“Doug’s has been around for 50 years, and has served as a community gathering place for ice cream and snacks,” Rigato says. “It sat for a couple years, and then we bought it and restored it to what you see today.”

The diner-style space opened in April of 2018 and is a reinvention of the original Doug’s that closed in 2014 when owner Vicky Muccino passed away. The restaurant will still feature favorites like soft serve and hot dogs, but there will be upgrades and unexpected culinary specials too.

“It’s definitely fun and nostalgic. The savory side is hot-dog-focused, with tater tots, curly fries and nacho cheese, but Brittany Decamillo (our savory chef) is always doing cool specials like al pastor tacos and bacon-&-jalapeño grilled cheese on homemade sourdough,” Rigato says. “The sweet side features ten percent milk fat soft serve ice cream, Guernsey’s hard scoop and dairy products, as well as homemade brownies and cookies. We’re definitely sourcing the nicest products possible.”

Open seven days a week as of June, they hope to expand pastry production in the coming months and continue to promote the growth of Hazel Park.

23825 John R. Rd | 248-398-4300

MABEL GREY MIGHT BE ONE OF THE most recognizable restaurants in Hazel Park – it won the Detroit Free Press title of “Restaurant of the Year” in 2017, was featured in The New York Times and became a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Best New Restaurant” in 2016 – and these accolades are well deserved.

Owner and Chef James Rigato opened Mabel Grey in 2015, with business partner Ed Mamou, to expand his culinary imagination and build unique new flavors and dishes.

“I wanted a small restaurant that I could oversee and use as a vessel of constant creativity and shareable space for my fellow industry friends,” Rigato says.
“We allow the menu, space, ambiance, music and vibe to change with all the other variables of life.”

“The menu is an ever-changing playlist reflecting the seasons and influences around me. I think of Mabel Gray as a canvas for creativity, R&D, exploration, education and personal growth. Change is a necessity for these things,” he adds.
The restaurant seats 40, and Rigato created an urban ambiance to reflect the city around him.

“I lived at 11 Mile and John R for years. I’ve always loved Hazel Park. The layout, the buildings. The businesses like Pi’s Thai, Loui’s Pizza, Kozy Lounge were places I already loved,” he says. “I liked the idea of taking a small, shotgun building, the kind a tool-&-die shop would be in, and opening a creative food think tank where I could be free.”

As for future plans for the restaurant, visitors can expect to see continuous change and an ever-evolving menu.

“Mabel Gray will continue to change, grow, evolve and celebrate the people and influences that walk through both its front and back doors. I always have ideas and aspirations for the future,” Rigato says.


Story by Sara E. Teller
Photo by Bernie Laframboise

Mopec is a global company headquartered in Oak Park that provides equipment and products to a wide variety of specialized industries, including pathology, animal research, anatomy lab, mortuary, and necropsy. The company’s top-notch design and manufacturing engineering teams have the expertise and experience to customize laboratory solutions to fit just about any business needs. Mopec also prides itself in its innovative work stations and equipment, as well as employee commitment to customer satisfaction.

“Mopec was established in 1992 by Rick Bell and George Hallman. Mopec services over 80 countries, but we’re proud to call Oak Park our headquarters, home,” explained Director of Marketing Heidi Bodell, adding, “We provide cadaver refrigeration and other stainless-steel equipment to morgues, anatomy labs, pathology departments, medical examiner facilities, and animal research labs.”

Bodell started with Mopec in March of 2016 as a Digital Marketing Specialist, and was promoted within the same year to a position in which she was responsible for revitalizing the company’s marketing strategies. She has a lengthy professional marketing background, and is experienced in web marketing campaigns, digital analytics, content development and creative design. Bodell is happy to put her skills to work at a company that has been on the forefront of the industry for decades and is seen as a go-to provider of specialized equipment. “We’ve produced equipment for top medical facilities and universities across the country,” Bodell said.

Mopec is proudly positioned in the diverse, centralized, up-and-coming suburb of Oak Park. Bodell explained, “We are so happy to be a part of the growing Metro Detroit area. The city has so much to be appreciative of and an incredible amount of potential for the future. Mopec is delighted to contribute to this growth. Oak Park’s outstanding combination of business facilities and residential communities is something we’re quite fond of. It doesn’t hurt that we’re neighbors with the unique, diverse town of Ferndale either.”

The company has been able to offer consistent support services to local businesses for decades, and the team works hard to keep Oak Park in the spotlight by continually advertising its headquarter’s location. “Although Mopec isn’t a walk-in retailer or service facility, we often support local businesses for printing needs, material suppliers and other services,” Bodell said. “We also advertise our headquarters quite frequently to help put Oak Park on the map.”

Mopec has a wealth of talent employed at its Oak Park facility who are actively making a difference in the community. “We have a very talented group of customer service representatives and engineers located at our Oak Park offices. There are also approximately 50 sales representatives throughout the U.S. and several international dealers to ensure a face-to-face conversation is possible with every customer. Every Mopec individual is dedicated to providing superior consultation tailored to each facility’s specific needs. We’re known for our flexibility in customizing equipment to fit any space or requested feature.”

Recently, the company took advantage of opportunity to highlight their philanthropic side by making new equipment for the Detroit Zoo’s Aquarium. They also make equipment for the morgue and crime processing labs.

The company has also been able to consistently reach out to Oak Park and neighboring residents interested in employment, and leadership is always looking to take on more talent with the necessary skills and background to serve Oak Park. “Resumés of driven, hard-working individuals are always welcomed,” Heidi said. She added that “Mopec is continually striving to produce and offer industry leading products equipped with advanced technology and safety features.”

For more information on products and services, or to apply for a position readers can visit or stop by during normal business hours.

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WHAT YOU ARE HOLDING IN YOUR HANDS, BY CONVENTIONAL WISDOM, IS A DINOSAUR, soon to be a fossil. That’s right. We’re told that the Print Age that began in the Fifteenth Century is over, supplanted by electronic devices, with only a few remaining holdouts.

In fact, visiting news sites on one’s phone may soon be outdated technology replaced by holograms appearing with the wave of a hand (or maybe just a thought). Who needs a tree-killing, labor and machinery-intensive, hard-to-deliver, expensive means of communication when the whole world is on our phones?

Well, that would be me, but more importantly, so does this paper’s readership and those of the many other Detroit-area publications that defy so-called conventional wisdom, and see their circulation rising.

What is declining significantly is the corporate media. As an example, The Detroit News and Free Press now limit delivery of their daily edition to Thursday and Friday. In New York City, the drop-off in circulation of The New York Daily News is staggering; from 4.9 million copies of their Sunday paper in 1947 to 235,000 today. No more, “Extra, extra; read all about it.”

News is now garnered instantaneously from the Internet, so the social need for newspapers as an immediate information source is gone and won’t come back.

BUT FERNDALE FRIENDS and the other paper I write for, the Fifth Estate, and a host of other local papers such as the Metro Times, Between the Lines, and several more, serve a need not provided for by the Web.

One important aspect of each paper is that they serve very distinct
communities, and simply having it present is an affirmation of what each publication projects. Most young people grew up with a phone in their hand, so maybe they don’t have a reaction to the important tactile feel of holding a newspaper. But, if you’re reading this, you very well may.

This paper has the culture and residents of Ferndale and the surrounding area all over it, including its advertisements. Most people don’t like ads on TV, which is why programs are recorded and ads get the fast forward function. On radio, as soon as the spot break comes, boom, you hit the button for your second favorite station. But, if you’re like me, you probably read not only every article in this paper to see who is doing what and what is going on, but pay attention to the ads since they are a source of information around the community as well.

Here’s what Stephanie Loveless, Ferndale Friends publisher, had to say about print in a recent conversation I had with her. “I like print. Nobody ever got hacked reading Ferndale Friends or Fifth Estate! We don’t collect cookies, plant spyware or malware, and we make a nice friendly ‘plop’ when we hit your porch. What’s not to love about print?”

ALTHOUGH IT MAY BE IMPORTANT to recognize the Buddhist concept of Impermanence, having back issue available is an important source of history of events covered by a publication. When the Fifth Estate celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, with exhibitions at the Detroit Historical Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), there was the first edition from 1965 on display, and the 1970 women’s issue which was the paper’s highest circulation. So was the paper’s coverage of the July 1967 Detroit Rebellion, a copy of which is part of the current million-dollar exhibition at the Historical Museum devoted to the uprising.

What’s on your blog is gone in a minute. Well, maybe not from the NSA computers if you are an enemy of the state.

Getting my eyes off of my phone and desktop screen, and onto a printed page is something I look forward to. I can read lengthy articles at my leisure and not get that immediate restless feeling that accompanies viewing Internet articles to move onto the next one. Remember that in George Orwell’s 1984, one of the goals of “Newspeak” was to diminish language and the capacity for full discourse. Although you can publish articles of any length online, how many people are going to read long ones on their phone?

A writer recently submitted an 8,000 word article to the Fifth Estate when we had asked for 1,200 maximum. When we declined to print it, they withdrew it and published it on a news site. It’s doubtful many visitors there read the entire text.
Granted, once you’re set up, online posting is relatively easy, certainly much less than all the effort it takes to publish a newspaper. But how do you know when it’s time to pack it in, like the venerable NYC’s Village Voice did this year after 62 years of print publishing?

Whether to continue printing is actually self-regulating. Newspapers are expensive, so if Ferndale Friends doesn’t get advertising it won’t publish any longer. If the Fifth Estate doesn’t receive subscriptions, it too is history.

For now, though, for both publications, no worry. Same for the others mentioned above. And, yes, I am blowing our own horn. There is a sense of enormous satisfaction that comes with the publication of each issue no matter how many times you’ve seen one roll off the press. You know you’ve connected with lots of people and connected them with each other through what appears on the printed page.

Peter Werbe is a member of Fifth Estate magazine’s editorial collective

Story by Sara E Teller
Photos by Bernie LaFramboise

THE RICHARD GAGE DESIGN STUDIO WAS ESTABLISHED TO OFFER a wide variety of art services to the City of Hazel Park and the community at large, including to “fabricate difficult or unique decorative architectural elements and sculpture with hand-craftsmanship using contemporary and historic techniques,” according to owner Richard Gage. “We work with architects, municipalities, developers, planners, designers and homeowners.”

Gage lives in Royal Oak, and has been local to the area for more than 50 years. The Richard Gage Design Studio has been in business since the late ‘90s. “I came to Hazel Park in 2000 because the City was eager to embrace new business and was interested in working with creative small business addressing their needs, wants, and desires,” Richard explained. He felt this was the perfect opportunity to show the City what he was made of. “Although involved in the creative process all my life, it wasn’t until the early ‘90s that I went full-time into the decorative arts.”

“Over the years, I have helped other artists and builders by offering access to my larger equipment, space and expertise,” Richard said, citing several artists who have taken advantage of what the Design Studio has to offer, including Mark Belchenco Studio, Lamia Metal and Alex Drew. Richard also mentioned that the Henry Ford Estate in Dearborn sought out his artistry for historical repair and replacement of the copper roof on their Rose Garden Tea House as well as iron work in the main house.

Gage, who was a technical consultant for Kresge’s community artist program, believes his architectural work has been significantly influenced by “historic standards, classic proportions and timeless craftsmanship…I admire the clean lines of George Nelson as well as the organic simplicity of George Nakashima,” he explained, adding, “My sculpture is heavily influenced by the smallest parts of nature and typically executed on a grand scale, such as Petal Parts in John R’s Art Park and Winter Wheat in David’s Gold Medal Sports.”

The Design Studio is well-versed in creating a wide range of artwork, featuring varying techniques and for all different purposes. Even when presented with a concept that includes more a “loose or random” appearance – basically some-thing not necessarily well-defined – Gage and his team can produce it. “I’ve produced gates and railings in modern Frank Lloyd Wright style as well as in the decorative Victorian Era,” he said. “I’ve recently been exploring homages to experimental art such as The Ant Farm by Paul Clark, and works produced by Piero Manzoni and Andy Warhol.”

Because of their “wide variety of skills, (the team does) simple functional things mostly for homeowners but builders, too,” said Richard. Some examples of more ‘everyday’ tasks his team has taken on include bending a piece of aluminum trim that is no longer available, repairing vintage brass toilet levers, restoring a stainless pot for canning and fixing some garden tools. “We (fixed the tools) for an elderly local, and got flowers for the rest of the summer!”

The design team keeps very busy throughout the year and Richard takes pride in the ability to be presented with new challenges every day. “Every day I have some new challenge to resolve. Today I am working on how to best wire a sign for a Detroit business. Yesterday, it was how to make a jig to accurately cut ceramic tile for a miter corner.”

Gage established The Hazel Park Arts Council along with a few other locals, including Jan Parisi, Ed Klobucher, and Jeff Shelly, and became the Council’s Treasurer. The Arts Council, according to its site, “is committed to furthering artistic and cultural initiatives…through a number of avenues, including advo-cating local artistic initiatives…collaborating with the Hazel Park Arts Fair.” He also worked on The Art Park on John R as well as the first art fair and the Phoenix Mural. “Working on the Arts Council is great because of the people –smart people offer smart discussions. Amy Aubry and Allissa Sullivan, and all our members are invested in Hazel Park’s future and that shows during our meetings,” Gage said.

The Design Studio’s growth has been made possible over the years by its reputation within the community. “My business growth is solely attributed to word of mouth and some public sculptures, such as Pollen Release in Royal Oak and Bent Brush in Ferndale,” Gage explained. “I also have signs with my contact information.”

He hopes community patrons will appreciate all art that is displayed in and around town and always appreciates feedback related to his team’s work. “Add comments through Facebook about our efforts,” he mentions as way to express appreciation. “Stop by the Farmers’ Market for our kids’ booth and buy a t-shirt, donate money there or at the City.” The studio is private, but anyone is welcome to stop by and take a look around or inquire about a project. Gage can be contacted at 248.541.7730.