By Mary Meldrum
Photos by Bernie Laframboise

FERNDALE HAS A MYRIAD OF COMMUNITY SERVICE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS AVAILABLE FOR RESIDENTS. Many are surprising in terms of their mission and scope. Below are some of our favorites, and please consider volunteering and donating.


HAVE YOU EVER DREAMED OF A PLACE WHERE YOU COULD BUILD AND CRAFT TO YOUR HEART’S DESIRE? A place to find other do-it-yourselfers and get tips and advice? Where you can learn to use tools that would never fit into your garage or your budget?

That place exists today. Welcome to i3 Detroit. We are not a profit-driven tool center. Everyone at i3 Detroit has a burning passion to create, tinker, hack and make things, driving us to create the best possible community and space. Our members take pride in what we’ve built and for good reason! There is a wide variety of diverse things to create here, and we’ve done it all as a highly-engaged volunteer community with a pas- sion for things such as crafting, woodworking, metalworking, electronics, welding, programming, and digital fabrication.

i3 Detroit is Metro Detroit’s largest community- run do-it-yourself workshop. A collision of art,
technology, learning and collaboration; whatever you want to build, you can do it here.

Located near the heart of Ferndale, i3 Detroit is close to many local events and an amazing
community. If you are curious about – or never heard of – “makerspace,” then swing on by on a Friday evening, 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. to take a tour and get to know the membership.

Excited? Come check us out at i3 Detroit. This might just be the place you’ve been looking for! 1481-A, Wordsworth St., Ferndale MI 48220.


STAGECRAFTERS, A 501 (C)(3) NOT-FOR-PROFIT COMMUNITY THEATER, provides opportunities for members of the community to develop their talents and volunteer their time to create an enriching, quality theatrical experience through its Main Stage, 2nd Stage, and Youth Theater productions.

Erin McKay, the Marketing and Event Manager, has been with Stagecrafters for two-and-a-half
years. Among other things, she promotes the shows and helps out with donor events, making sure the food, talent and speakers are all ready to go. Stagecrafters is a live community theater. All actors are volunteers. There are ten shows a season, with five main stage shows including musicals, comedies and dramas. They also present three second-stage shows, which are edgy dramas or comedies, as well as two youth theater shows a season for kids ages 8 to 17. While adults do the directing and also handle anything that the kids can’t manage, the kids do pretty much everything else in the youth theater.

Founded in 1956, Stagecrafters has been named Best Community Theater by Hour Detroit Magazine readers, and Best Place for Live Local Theater by Detroit Metro Times readers. Recently, the 2nd Stage show, Trevor won awards at the 2017 Michigan AACTFEST in the categories of Outstanding Featured Actor, Outstanding Actor and the Golden Truck Award.

Stagecrafters’ mission is “to provide an opportunity for members of the community, in an atmosphere of fellowship, to develop their talents and to volunteer their time to create an enriching, quality theatrical experience for the community.” Their vision is “to create and present distinctive quality theatre for the community through the collaboration of a diverse group of volunteer artists and supporters based on our shared belief that engaging in the arts enriches lives.”


THE FERNCARE FREE CLINIC IS A NON-PROFIT, SELF-FUNDED, FREE CLINIC that provides no-cost medical care to the medically uninsured. FernCare treats people between 19 and 64 years of age who don’t have medical insurance or a primary care provider.



FernCare provides the following services:
● Non-emergency healthcare
● Checkups
● Generic medications
● Lab Testing

Enrollment assistance with:
Prescription Assistance Program
Affordable Care Act insurance exchange enrollment assistance
Healthy Michigan enrollment assistance
● 1:1 smoking cessation counseling
● Acupuncture (referrals to an off-site clinician.
● Nutrition counseling
● Lab testing
● Wellness/life coaching

In addition to medical clinics, FernCare is also a source for health care resources FernCare is one of 52 free medical clinics in Michigan, and one of two in South Oakland County. FernCare is a member of the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC) and Free Clinics of Michigan (FCOM).

FernCare is open 15 hours each month as an operating medical clinic and six hours each month for acupuncture treatment. On weekdays, the office is open 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. for inquiries, appointment scheduling, and as a health services resource.

All services are by appointment only. Returning patients are able to obtain an appointment within one to two weeks of their call. New patients must wait a month for an appointment simply because of high demand and limited hours.

FernCare dispenses generic and over-the- counter medications as prescribed by our volunteer practitioners.

By Jennifer Goeddeke

THERE IS AN IMPRESSIVE HUB OF DJ AND MUSICAL PROGRAMMING TALENT, tucked within the Rustbelt Market (on the NW corner of 9 Mile and Woodward).

This is the Ferndale Radio 100.7 FM station, broadcasting from a customized studio sponsored by the renowned Valentine Distillery. The core team of organizers include: Dave Phillips, Dave Kim, Michelle Mirowski and Jeremy Olstyn. The station has been going strong for several years, featuring a wide variety of musical genres that can appeal to the community as a whole. Regular weekend shows have become popular, such as: Retro Groove (hosted by Michael Zadoorian); Big & Sensitive Heavy Radio; Groove & Grain and now the new Northern Beat Radio.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Olstyn, and he clued me into the formation and development of this progressive radio project. Several friends were involved in its creation, all of whom had former experience in radio in addition to their shared passion for music. During the Obama presidency, an opportunity arose to secure a low power FM broadcasting license, which is remarkably rare in a metropolitan area like Detroit. They made the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by taking the necessary steps to actually launch a broadcast station.

Initially, they spoke with radio engineer/guru Keith Fraley, who had worked with the WXOU radio station (serving Oakland University). Fraley conducted all the necessary technical and back- ground work to ensure the frequency of 100.7 FM would be effective and would not cause interference to existing stations.

NEXT, A LOCATION HAD TO BE FOUND FOR THEIR STUDIO. After considering a few other options, they started a conversation with Chris Best at Rust Belt Market. Best responded very positively to the suggestion of joining forces, saying: “It’s weird, because originally we wanted a radio station as part of Rust Belt!” For Olstyn and the team, the Rust Belt Market was an ideal location, where they are surrounded by a like-minded group of creative people.

Once their space was established, they secured a construction permit and then it was “game on!” Obtaining an antenna was the first major expense hurdle to overcome. The initial investment goal was between $12-15 thousand. Olstyn and the team kicked it into high gear for their fundraising/promotion campaign, and fortunately they were able to raise the necessary funds through their own contributions, along with crowdfunding and local sponsors.

They began to create a broadcasting studio which meant: building walls; installing a dropped ceiling; a fire-extinguishing system and more. The overall result is a fully-equipped studio, ready for broadcasting some great shows over their 100-watt system!

Olstyn mentioned that currently they are only broadcasting live shows when the Rust Belt is open, over the weekends. He added: “We mostly do music shows, but we want to support people in Ferndale, so we might add a Community Talk– themed night.”

They are also aiming to broaden the broadcasting capabilities to include online streaming. Olstyn explained that the number-one listener complaint is the inability to listen online. Online streaming requires quite a lot more investment to cover the equipment for even a single stream, plus the cost of royalties paid to artists. Hopefully, that stream- ing will be a real possibility in the near future, as they are clearly a valuable asset to the Ferndale community.

Ferndale Radio 100.7FM is located at 22801 Woodward, Ferndale 48220.
248.313.8721 | |
You can provide support/purchase items by visiting their “Chuffed Crowdfunding” page:


ROUGE MAKEUP & NAIL STUDIO WAS STARTED IN 2010 by sisters Jeny Bulatovic and Cheryl Salinas-Tucker, who have always believed in the importance of using organic products rather than chemical-based. Bulatovic and Salinas-Tucker began working with a small, Michigan-based company, Eve Organics, to deliver high quality, natural products to their customers. “We want to offer our clients only the best ingredients – we call
it their ‘personal eco-system’,” Bulatovic explained.

The sisters loved Eve’s products so much that in 2019 they decided to purchase the company, moving the entire operation onsite. “We’re super-excited,” Bulatovic said. “We will be undergoing major renovations beginning next month, focusing on enhancing our makeup studio up front and offering makeup classes. It’s great to be able to bring this home to Ferndale.”

Integrating Eve Organics into the rest of services the business offers means customers who love the organic product line will be able to shop directly with Rouge. The sisters are also in the midst of making changes and improvements to further enhance its quality.

With the new business focus, Rouge is no longer offering massage or Reiki services. However, clients will still be able to receive top-of-the-line facials and nail care. Microblading, brow-waxing, and lash extensions are also available.

For more information regarding Eve Organics and all of Rouge’s products and services, visit or call 248-439-6012.


DONNA MASKILL STARTED WORKING ON GLASS IN THE LATE ‘90s while attending the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Afterwards, she became involved with many studios in the area, including Greenfield Village, and eventually, her passion led to the opening of her own shop.

“I loved working with glass and enjoyed teaching others so much that I decided to start my own studio in 2001,” Maskill said. Having lived in the Ferndale area since 1992, she knew it was the perfect spot for House Cat Glass. “With the help of two close friends – and many others – I was able to build all the equipment necessary to melt glass and produce handmade, one-of-a-kind art.”

Maskill recently joined the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce and offers many events at the shop throughout the year. House Cat Glass also includes a gift area with handmade pieces available for purchase.

“I offer classes for beginners and small groups,” she added. “Studio rental time is available for experienced glass blowers. Beginners are given one-on-one attention and are able to use the tools of the trade to learn to shape molten glass.”

For more information or to sign up for a class, visit the shop on Instagram @Housecatglass or call 248-548-3228.


“COME PLAY WITH US.” The motto of the Ferndale Senior Group says it all: Come play, learn, expand, and socialize with us.

We are a social group formed to enrich the quality of life for senior citizens in Ferndale and neighboring communities. We do this through programs, trips, and activities. We offer fun trips within the Tri-County area, including museums, fashionable restaurants, festivals, and whatever else takes our fancy.

Our meetings are packed with speakers familiar with community information, fun facts, ways to ease our lives, not to mention simply socialize and relax. We are famous for our potlucks. We meet on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 11:00 a.m. at the Kulick Center. Attendance is free. So, come join us.

Jeannie Davis, 248- 541-5888

By Lena Stevens, Executive Director of the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority

THE FERNDALE COMMUNITY IS OPENING A NEW CHAPTER IN ITS HISTORY and I am thrilled to be a part of it. My name is Lena Stevens, and I was appointed to serve as the Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) in October 2019.

In my few short months working and living in Ferndale I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with residents, business owners, property owners, and city officials about their hopes for this city. I’ve gotten the sense of a city that’s experiencing exciting growth, and it’s clear that Ferndale is a desirable place to be. As Bill Murray said in Caddyshack, “So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

What has also struck me is that Ferndale is a community that prides itself on inclusiveness, not just with words but with actions. Since my arrival, the City of Ferndale has received a perfect score for inclusiveness policies by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute, banned the practice of conversion therapy within city limits, and recognized Human Trafficking Awareness Month. I’ve also seen city officials and community members eager to communicate with each other. Do we get it right every time? Of course not, but we are getting better and more creative all the time.

Since being established in 1981, the Downtown Development Authority has helped to turn Ferndale into a favorite local and regional destination. Ferndale was the first city in Oakland County to receive the Great American Main Street Award in 2010. We achieved this through bold actions such as narrowing 9 Mile Road, launching the BUILD program which leveraged over $2.5 million of private investment in façade and building improvements, and making our streets more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly. Now we must look to the future and ask ourselves, “What’s next?”

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED SOME RECENT PROJECTS from the DDA and the City of Ferndale, which included a new holiday lights display, improved landscaping, sidewalk trip hazard repairs, and the rainbow crosswalk on 9 Mile. These were made possible with a renewed collaboration with the dedicated team at the Department of Public Works.

But it’s only the beginning. In the coming year, several capital projects will be taking shape, bringing new opportunities for business development and community engagement to downtown Ferndale. The DOT (Development on Troy) will become a destination not just for parking, but also for retail, office, and small events that bring foot traffic to downtown. Schiffer Park will be redesigned with a slightly larger footprint, creating a public gathering space along 9 Mile downtown. We’re also seeking opportunities to roll out engaging public art, pedestrian alley improvements, and a fun slate of holiday events next November & December.

“I want to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has welcomed me to Ferndale and extend that welcome back to the community.”

If you are interested in getting involved with the DDA, please email us at We are looking for businesses and residents to join the Vision Committee that will help see us through this new chapter in our history.

Dr. Dania Bazzi, Superintendent

WHEN WE HEAR THE PHRASE “CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT,” IT IS SUPERFICIALLY UNDERSTOOD as the practice of trying to do better every day. In education, continuous improvement is more than just a goal or a particular program; it is a driving principle around which we build an entire embedded system. The system consists of tools that regularly gather performance data, study it, plan improvements, and oversee their implementation. The process can only begin with a recognition that what we are doing today won’t accomplish the goals of tomorrow. This is not an indictment of our current performance – improvement is always necessary. In fact, this process must be cyclical: just as change never stops around us, we must never stop changing to adapt to the needs of our students.

Systemic continuous improvement is centered on multiple sources of evidence and data points. It is driven by what is taking place across the many functions of schools and systems that impact student outcomes and achievement. These functions include teaching and learning, but also resource distribution, school climate and culture, and governance. Evidence is used to make short and long-term plans that are also regularly adjusted by the many overlapping and intersecting communities represented within our schools.

The world is ever-changing, yet the school setting in many places looks the same as it did 30 years ago. How can we better adapt to the needs of our students? Continuous improvement seeks to provide a means to keep pace with the advancements in our society. According to the US Department of Labor, 65% of students today will be working in jobs that don’t yet exist. Even right now, much of our workforce is employed in positions that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

So you can see, the challenge set before our teachers is great: How can we teach our students to be prepared for jobs that don’t even exist? We teach them to be lifelong learners, giving them the ability to think critically, solve problems, and meet new demands as they occur. The system and practices of continuous improvement make that possible, while also setting the example for how lifelong learning can improve outcomes. Students in Ferndale Schools learn to regularly gather data, analyze it, plan improvements, and implement them.

In my career as an educator, I can’t tell you how many times I have asked, “Why do we do it this way?” All too often, the answer has come back, “Because that’s the way we have always done it.” This answer is not enough, and we have to have the courage to push back. The future depends on us to prepare the next generation for incredible challenges we cannot predict.

Continuous improvement is complicated and challenging. It requires regular reflection and course correction; it is the opposite of a silver bullet. A robust system allows schools to look at improvement every day. We are working towards the unimaginable, the unthinkable. We do not have all the answers. It can be frightening to admit this, and to face the unknown. It is time we become fearless in our leadership and stop seeing failure as a reason to blame, and begin seeing it as a means to improve.

Story: Jill Lorie Hurst
Photo: Bernie Laframboise

MY FAMILY MOVED FROM NEW YORK CITY TO FERNDALE DURING THE WINTER OF 2014. It snowed and snowed, and I was pretty much stuck inside for days except for walks with Lucy and trips to the State Fair Market for Vernors and salty tortilla chips, the only food my homesick stomach could take.

The snow finally melted, and I stepped outside to look around. I quickly realized that Ferndale is pretty great! When friends ask if there’s anything to do here, I invite them to visit. A tour guide at heart, I keep lists of sights and activities: Restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, two live theaters, venues for music, comedy and improv. The Ferndale Community Concert Band. Two bookstores and a music store. The Rust Belt Market.

Come to Ferndale to get a tattoo, a psychic reading, take yoga, ballet, tap. Go axe-throwing or bowling. We have well-kept, populated parks for people and dogs. Besides the good schools, the variety of churches and other welcoming sanctuaries like Affirmations and the Library. We have a newspaper, a radio station, a free health clinic. There’s Detroit to the south and lots of nature up north.

I’M A WALKER, SO MY SIGHTSEEING IS LOCAL. I love the wind-chimes, the front porch furniture, the gardens, the “signs of hope” stuck in lawns. The 5:00 P.M. protesters, the knitting group at Emory, people sitting on their cars playing cards while they wait for the train to pass at 9 Mile and Hilton.

And then the seasonal traditions. Summer brings the festivals and the Front Porch Concerts. Dream Cruise weekend, when people from all over the world open up lawn chairs and settle in to watch the vintage cars roll by. In the fall, nobody does Halloween like Ferndale. After Halloween, we brace ourselves for winter and I am thankful for folks who leave their twinkly lights on during the cold gray months that come after the holidays. I am thankful for the people who lit the way for me when I arrived in town. The people of Ferndale are the real twinkly lights.

I was recently on the 9 on a cold, gray afternoon. I crossed at the rainbow-painted crosswalk and stopped to hear the music piped in through the speakers on the street. I patted two dogs who were proudly wearing matching coats.

Then I passed the Rust Belt, and glanced at the donated coats and sweaters hanging on the iron gate. I looked at the sign. “Please take if you are cold. Heart, Ferndale.”

Ferndale will make you laugh and make you cry. It might even make you mad every once in a while. But it’ll bring you food, hand you a sweater, point you in the right direction when you are lost. Ferndale has deep roots, wide arms, a loud voice and a big heart. It’s a nice place to visit. To take a walk. And a lovely place to live.

By Mary Meldrum
Photos by Bernie Laframboise and Others


B. NEKTAR IS A MEAD, CIDER AND BEER TAPROOM AT 1511 JARVIS IN FERNDALE. B.Nektar serves many other locations in Oakland County as well as other states. This is a cozy taproom famous for its honey-based alcoholic beverages.

Influenced by sub-pop culture and never satisfied with the status quo, B.Nektar aims to bring a modern twist on mead as well as diversify craft mead, cider and beer.

B.Nektar Meadery was founded in 2006 by Brad and Kerri Dahlhofer, with the help of their good friend Paul Zimmerman. Brad has been an avid homebrewer since 1998, making beers, meads, ciders and wine for his own enjoyment. When Brad and Kerri got married in 2005, he made a mead to toast with at their wedding and received great reviews from the guests. He joked about someday opening a meadery. Paul, a longtime friend and fellow homebrewer, soon began making meads along with Brad in the Dahlhofers’ basement. Their creations quickly began winning awards at homebrewing competitions.

B.Nektar’s session meads and hard ciders are now shaping the craft revolution.

To say that it has been a long road from the home-brewing days would be an understatement. B.Nektar continues to increase their production capacity and is currently the largest meadery in the U.S.A. B.Nektar was the first meadery to join the ranks of the top 100 best breweries in the world by

Proud of this story as they may be, they put a lot of effort into not taking themselves too seriously.

Since a mead can never be better than the quality of its ingredients, B.Nektar uses only the best honey they can find. They source honey from as many local sources as they can find. They prefer that the honey has not been heated or pasteurized. This ensures that the volatile aromatics of the honey are preserved. A single bee will produce only about one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime, but in a mead, they need between three and four pounds of honey per gallon. That means they need a lot of hives to produce enough honey for a single 265-gallon batch.


BOOGIE FEVER FEATURES A CONTEMPORARY DESIGN AND WALLS OF SLIDING GLASS WINDOWS that bring the breeze of the outdoors in to guests during the warmer months, and display the beauty of Woodward Avenue and downtown Ferndale all year round. Once you enter the dance club in back, you’ll find a large disco-lighted dance floor for you and all of your friends to get your groove on all night long.

Boogie Fever’s drink menu features a well-rounded wine list, seasonal cocktails, and draft beer. And Boogie Fever proudly proclaims themselves to be “Detroit’s Birthday and Bachelorette Party Central!” Indeed, almost every weekend you can find a bachelorette party streaming into the place to whoop it up!

Everyone arrives at Boogie Fever looking to have fun. The dance club is a sacred space for people to feel free to express themselves. This is a space for everyone to feel welcome and loved.

The club offers special deals for a booth and cover for multiple people. The Boogie Fever staff does not reserve individual tables. Those joining you later will need to pay cover, which is $5, subject to special events or policy changes. The club opens at 8:00 P.M. and will hold your booth until 11:00 P.M. Credit cards are accepted for drink tabs etc., but not door charges.


LOCATED ON NINE MILE ROAD IN FERNDALE, DETROIT FLEAT FOOD TRUCK PARK & BOOZERY is Metro Detroit’s first and only food truck park. In the “Park,” they spotlight two stationary food trucks as well as additional rotating trucks on select days of the week. In addition to the wonderful lineup of food trucks, the “Boozery” features a full bar featuring 16 rotating taps, seasonal cocktails and wine. Detroit Fleat also offers a street-food-inspired house menu. The park is the perfect place for the whole family, including your furry friends!

Detroit Fleat is home to some of Metro Detroit’s most popular food trucks. Permanent food trucks featured at Detroit Fleat include The Pita Post (Mediterranean street food) and Impasto (Italianinspired street food). Rotating food trucks include 4Kings Café (coffee), Bavarian Inn Cluck Truck, Brass Kitchen, Brother Truckers, Buffy’s Mexicasian, Cheese Steak Institute of America, Crepe Day Twa, Delectabowl, Detroit BBQ Company, Mac Shack, Motor City Pasty Company, Motor City Road Wings, Nosh Pit, New Deli, Press, Regina’s Food Truck, Ruckus Taco Company, Senors Food Truck, and Shredderz.

Detroit Fleat is proud to debut their newest patio addition, The Slooshie Bar. The newest standalone trailer on the patio, the Slooshie Bar will feature rotating Slooshies flavors, ice cream and frozen treats.


IMPROV (SHORT FOR IMPROVISATION) IS A FORM OF THEATER CREATED BEFORE A LIVE AUDIENCE. Improv is similar to sketch comedy, except that there are no scripts. Nothing exists before the lights come up. The audience offers suggestions for scenes or songs and the cast makes them up on the spot. This means every show is very, very original. Every scene is done for the first and last time. So, every night GO Comedy! is open, there’s something new on stage. And if you miss it, it’s gone forever.

On Friday and Saturday, the 8:00 P.M. and 10:00 P.M. shows run for approximately 90 minutes.

The Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday shows run 30 or 60 minutes. On Wednesday and Sunday one ticket is good for the entire night of shows, unless otherwise noted.

Alcohol? Yes, please! With drinks ranging from an ice-cold Pabst to a Napa Valley Chardonna, the GO! bar has something to please everyone from your hipster cousin to your great aunt Betty. Not to mention, they have a whole slew of their own drink concoctions. Each season brings a new line-up of timely palate-pleasers born from the mind of the man Metro Times named Detroit’s Best Bartender 2011, Andy French. The GO! bar proudly serves local favorites such as Valentine Distillery, Detroit Brewing Co., Atwater Brewery, B. Nektar Meadery, Short’s Brewery and more!


AT LUXURY LANES, YOU CAN ENJOY A GREAT EXPERIENCE BOWLING IN A LEAGUE OR CELEBRATING AN EVENT such as a birthday, family or company party. Luxury Lanes features a full lounge that also offers food choices to satisfy anyone’s appetite. With 16 lanes, they offer a newly-remodeled, smoke-free environment for you to enjoy.

Bowling is not the only entertainment at the Lanes. Guests can book parties, enjoy “cosmic bowling” and sign up for leagues, along with relaxing in the full bar with tables for pizza and other casual dining.

There is also an arcade, bumper bowling on all lanes, birthday parties, Perky’s pizza and Sully’s subs snack bar, corporate parties, adult parties and a youth program.

Come and enjoy the venue! Bring your family, friends, and/or co-workers!

YES, YOUR FURNITURE MAKES YOUR HOME DISTINCTIVE, whether you shop at Ikea or the Art Van going out of business sale. Painting in just the right color furthers the statement. Now it’s time for the cherry on the top: The right art.

The Ferndale Arts & Cultural Commission (FACC) reminds you that there are many places in the city to select beautiful art. Long time favorites like the Lawrence Street Gallery shares Woodward with Level One Bank’s Community Arts Gallery. A more comprehensive list follows. Then, of course, there is the Funky Ferndale Art Fair and the DIY Street Fair (the DIY is canceled this year due to the health crisis).

What’s the difference between shopping at a gallery and at an art fair? Many art lovers do both as they each have an advantage. Galleries give you an ever-changing, carefully curated selection. You have one or two people that can learn your taste and preferences and help you find exactly what you are looking for. Many can even advise on the framing and matting, which can make a huge difference on how the piece appears.

Art Fairs are also curated, but don’t include the expert advice. Mark Loeb of the Funky Ferndale Art Fair suggests that there are some other advantages. “At art fairs you will meet the artist and have time for a conversation. I feel that a big reason people go to the fair is to get the full story of the art they plan to display. For example, when your friend comes by and admires your new sculpture, you can share the story of the artist. The experience of the art fair becomes a memory for you and your loved ones.”

Why not just buy art at those aforementioned furniture stores or even Walmart? You certainly could, and it likely will be simpler. You will have something that tens of thousands of others will also display. While not all art appreciates in value, no department store pictures ever will. And don’t forget that if you love art, supporting the artists becomes an important mission. Going to the shows is not demonstrating your love of art nearly as much as buying art. Only when you buy something do you actually support the artist, and allow them to continue creating.

What happens when your walls are full and there’s no space left on the floor? Many collectors rotate their art. Every month or season they replace a few items with another favorite. Others start buying smaller items that fit in between the cracks. Loeb suggests that the next step is to “replace your mugs, flower pots, dishes and more with items created by favorite artists. Why not have a table as individual as you are?”

By Mary Meldrum

YOU CANNOT ATTEND SUNDAY MASS HERE. It is not that kind of church. They have no clergy and don’t hold regular mass. Michael Voris, owner of St. Michael’s Media in Church Militant in Ferndale explained that they are an “apostolate”: Their purpose is to do the work, and conform to the mission, of the Catholic church.

The Church Militant web site is thick with information and articles as well as videos that lay out their perspective on everything from the fall of Adam and Eve to altar girls. They offer livestream prayer, publish books, hold conferences and post videos – lots of videos. Probably 80 percent of their work as an apostolate is dedicated to the web site.

Yet their narrative bears little resemblance to the Catholicism and teachings many of us are familiar with.

The controversial organization was referred to as a “Catholic fringe group” by the Detroit Free Press in a harshly critical 2017 article. And David Garcia of Ferndale’s Affirmations had this to say about Church Militant: “Any time someone is condemning gay lesbian and transgender people to hell, it doesn’t feel very welcoming. He has called the LGBT people ‘sinners,’ he is enjoying rights that he would deny other people. That is not welcoming, that is hypocrisy.”


In a revealing interview with Voris, it was immediately clear that he considers himself an expert on all things Catholic. “We are an organization dedicated to making sure people understand authentic Catholic teaching so they can go to heaven,” Voris clarified.

I asked him what he wants the city of Ferndale – residents, businesses and neighbors – to know about Church Militant and what he would like to say to his neighbors?

“I have been a resident of Ferndale since 2000. I would like them to know that our work is dedicated to every person’s supreme good, and that good is that when they die they spend eternity with God, not in hell. Anything we can do to advance that cause, we are happy to do.”

Voris doesn’t believe there ever should have been any kind of barrier between church and state. “The idea that there is somehow a wall, which has been misinterpreted by the courts, that none of the other parts of our world or culture can flood over into society is a wholly un-Catholic position. To draw an artificial line to separate church and state is not right.”

I asked Voris to explain the reference to persecution of Christians on the Church Militant website. He said, “For example, all of the wedding photographers, bakers, florists who may be Christian being sued because they refuse to service a gay wedding. It goes against their conscience. Another example is Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) and the contraception mandate. If we had over 50 employees, we would have been forced to provide contraception in the healthcare plan. If you didn’t, you were fined,” Voris offered.

The undertone of Michael’s answer, as well as Church Militant’s teachings, is that there is a hard line as to who is “right” and “wrong” in terms of morality and behavior. There are those who will reach the Kingdom of Heaven and those who will not.

DAVID GARCIA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF AFFIRMATIONS in Ferndale replied, “People have a right to their opinion, but let’s take the religious exemptions: A doctor refuses to treat a baby because they have gay parents, or wedding photographers and bakers refuse for the same reason. When you sign a business license, all of our tax dollars are involved. We all pay for the services. I don’t care what you do in your church, but the moment you enter the public square with a business license, it is different. Much more than doctors, photographers and bakers refusing to treat any in the LGBT community because of their religious beliefs.

“We are talking about more than free speech. The President’s policies are attacking the LGBT community, and there is a rise in hate crimes. You can’t yell fire in a theater and when you tell your congregation that my love is not equal to your love, that I don’t deserve the same basic human love that you have, that speech has ramifications. It enforces an idea that LGBT people are not good enough. Any time you do that to a group of people, violence ensues. Whether you ever said to hit or kick that person, you contributed to the production of the act.”

How does Voris feel about his work being characterized as hateful and potentially speech, and I don’t hate anyone who has a different view. The label of hate comes out quickly. I may be considered a hateful person because I hurt someone’s feelings, but that is different than physically harming anyone.”

Garcia: “Any time that you treat other people as second-class citizens not worthy of the same rights that you enjoy, you are hurting them. The LGBT Community has faced our share of religious persecution ranging from preachers holding signs of ‘God hates fags’ to others condemning us to hell, and he is no different. If Michael truly understood the beauty and the diversity of human sexuality, we would all be better off and he would too. I don’t allow a 2000-year-old book to define human sexuality for me.”

“We have just as many LGBT churches on our side. Plenty of Christian pro-LGBT and people out there. It’s easier to come out now, but it is not easy. We have a lot of work to do. Voris is nothing new. We have dealt with a long line of homophobic bigots. I feel sorry for him.”


Fr. Paul Chateau of St. James Catholic Church in Ferndale has been the pastor of Our Lady of Fatima in Oak Park for 46 years, and when St. James Catholic Church in Ferndale merged with his congregation, he became the pastor for both churches under the new name of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

At 79 years of age, Fr. Chateau doesn’t mince words when replying to questions about Church Militant.
“I don’t subscribe to most of that,” Fr. Chateau says. “They are agitators. They think the Pope is too progressive. From what I read, they are fanatics. This isn’t the ‘50s. There’s a whole new world now.”

“The Church is evolving in positive ways.” He continues, “The new focus on bringing together the community of God’s people is less vertical and more encompassing.”

He has lived in Oak Park for 46 years, “The people who were married to the past have faded from our operation. Parishioners now have a more open spirit, from my perspective. Come to church sometime,” he urges me. “There is a lot of value. And if ever we needed it in my lifetime, I encourage you to visit it again.”

PTSD: HEALING FROM THE INSIDE OUT is Ferndale Friend’s writer Sara Teller’s fifth book. It provides a guide for survivors who have removed themselves from the immediate clutches of trauma, but know they’ll never be the same.

They may have escaped physically, but the mental and emotional side effects linger, keeping them imprisoned by the circumstances they’ve endured. The rug has been ripped out from under their feet and they are left searching for happiness that was lost. They are desperate to regain a sense of self that took second seat to the chaos they braved. There are so many unanswered questions and a profound sense of resentment lingers despite a genuine desire to heal.

Teller is an award-winning author, speaker and advocate for those afflicted with mental health issues. She holds an MBA and is currently pursuing an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Teller is also the owner/operator of Sara E. Teller Industries LLC and has spent nearly 20 years in media with positions in publishing and entertainment.

Teller has worked for newspapers, magazines and book publishers. She is a frequent guest speaker on health and wellness podcasts and was one of six invited speakers at a Careers in Publishing & Authorship event at Michigan State University, where she received an undergraduate degree as part of the honors college and interned at MSU Press.

Teller’s other books include: Narcissistic Abuse: A Survival Guide, Another Bridge To Cross, Cookies and Once Upon a Starry Night.