Culture

Story by Sara E. Teller

STACEY JAMISON TOOK AN INTEREST IN MUSIC AT A YOUNG AGE. “I BEGAN PLAYING MUSIC WHEN I WAS EIGHT. My mom had bought recorders and a book for us to learn to play together. I took to it immediately, and apparently took off learning without her,” Jamison said.

She joined the band at her elementary school in Williamsport, PA playing the flute. “I had the privilege of growing up in a church community where I was able to play my flute all the time and really be
comfortable with performing,” she said.

“As I got older I started to learn other instruments, including the saxophone and bassoon, which ultimately became my primary instrument.”

By the time Jamison was in high school, she was regularly playing professional theater gigs and subbing in the local symphony. She remembered, “It became quite clear that music was my path. I was especially inspired by one of my bassoon teachers, who eventually became my husband.” Her husband happens to be he local legend, Elon Jamison, Director of Bands at Ferndale High School.

In college, Jamison studied music education and bassoon performance, eventually acquiring a Master of Music degree in bassoon performance. “How’s that for different?” she joked, adding, “I would come home in the summers and teach music to children at my home church. After college I moved to Ferndale to start my life as a professional and be with my future husband. I started teaching music in the public schools right away.”

After a few years in Ferndale, the Jamisons began looking for a Lutheran church family that was both progressive and welcoming. “Zion Lutheran was an obvious choice,” she said. “I had been teaching elementary music for a while, so when a position opened at Zion I jumped at the chance. I knew I had a gift to connect with children, and I wanted to show children that they could love being in church and love God through the greatest gift I have, music.”

TODAY, JAMISON LEADS A WEEKLY REHEARSAL WITH THE KIDS’ CHOIR and every year they put on a Christmas musical where the kids try out various speaking and singing roles. “It’s a safe and loving environment for these kids, and that’s why I’m so passionate about it,” Jamison said.

She is also a freelance musician, playing the bassoon in a symphony as well as pit orchestras on woodwind instruments, and has been working with Ferndale’s marching band for seventeen years.

“My official job is to work with kids musically and on the field to get them to be the best performers that they can be,” she explained. “One of the reasons I really love this job is the kids themselves. There are also those crossover kids that I’ve had since they were really little at Zion, and I love watching them grow up into young adults. I feel a special responsibility to keep an eye out for them.”

Jamison added, “Being with the marching band is so much more than a side job. For me and our family, it’s a big part of our lives and really defines who we are. The adults and students are together for hundreds of hours throughout the season, and we all get very close.”

Winning one of Ferndale’s 2018 Good Neighbor awards was a surprise. “I look at all of the people around me who do so much for others, and I never considered myself to be among their ranks. When I thought about it more, I realized that what people have seen is my passion and devotion, to the children interested, in my spiritual, musical, and emotional care,” Jamison said. “I am honored that people think I have been successful in this mission, and it makes me be even more passionate. I have been considering delving into youth ministry, and this to me is confirmation that I’m going in the right direction.”

The Jamisons have two boys, one in second grade at Ferndale Lower Elementary, and one preschooler at Drayton Co-op Preschool. “I served on the board for the preschool for the four years my older son was there. We are very passionate about school districts being local and growing together as a community. We are very passionate about raising our children in a community that is welcoming, progressive, loving, accepting, and feels like family,” she said.

Story by Sara E. Teller
Photo by David McNair

EACH YEAR, CITIZENS FOR A FAIR FERNDALE (CFF) SELECTS NOMINEES FOR ITS GOOD NEIGHBOR AWARDS, which recognize the ongoing efforts of those who live, work, or attend school in Ferndale and who value the fair and equal treatment of others, building an equal and strong community. Cheryl Salinas-Tucker and Jeny Bulatovic, sisters and founders of Rouge MakeUp & Nail Studio, were honored with a 2018 award.

“It was definitely a surprise to us,” said Bulatovic. “To us, it just means we are doing our jobs. When we started Rouge, we wanted to take people in, treat them with kindness, and take care of their needs. We welcome all kinds of people in every age and stage of life, and the goal is for them to feel better when they leave. You never know how you’re affecting someone else’s life.”

Rouge was started in 2010, and the vision came about after the sisters and their families were impacted by the recession. “My husband worked in the auto industry, and I had been a preschool teacher for fourteen years and had just started doing nails at the time,” said Bulatovic. “Cheryl had been on the corporate side of the industry. She helped start Douglas J. Aveda Institute in Royal Oak and had been an Aveda regional director. We decided to pool together our resources.”

The sisters didn’t want to start just any salon, though. They decided to focus on those services that typically get put on the back-burner, and that they would work with plant-based products only. “Most salons don’t have makeup and nails at the forefront, so we decided to go this route. I had worked with acrylics, shellac, gels, and there’s a price to pay for that,” Bulatovic said. “As someone who is more a caregiver than anything, I felt bad putting that stuff on people’s nails. What goes on our bodies goes into our bodies.”

SO ROUGE USES VEGAN AND ORGANIC, PLANT-BASED NAIL PRODUCTS rather than chemical-based. “We started working with a small, Michigan-based company, Eve Organics. Her products work and are good for you,” explained Bulatovic. “We want to offer our clients only the best ingredients – we call it their ‘personal eco-system.’ And, we’ve introduced Spa Ritual and Zoya, which perform really well. Our products are better for you, but they still need to perform and be competitive.”

Rouge has regulars who have been coming to the salon since its inception, as well as new customers who stop in all the time. “We have clients who have come to us since we opened and new people coming from all over,” Bulatovic said. “Word-of-mouth advertising has been key. When you’re a small business, it’s all about building relationships and trust, and we strive to bring that to our people every day.

They seek us out for a number of reasons. We have cancer survivors who are now more aware of ingredient lists, those with allergies, and those who just tell us, ‘I don’t like the way it smells in the nail salon.’”

Rouge offers a variety of other, unique services as well. “A year ago last May, we opened our sauna lounge,” Bulatovic said, adding, “We also built a pedicure platform at that time. The lounge consists of two infrared dry heat saunas with ambient heat. We tell our customers ‘this is time for you.’ We never book you with strangers, it’s always quiet and private. You can go back and forth, in and out. The sauna helps with muscle tension and with releasing toxins. It helps with insomnia, anxiety, and chronic pain, and is good for your cardiovascular health, too, because it gets your heart rate up.”

Microblading is performed by Myranda Jennings who has been with the salon for seven years. “She is our brow expert, and she does threading, waxing, and body work. She’s also a makeup artist who’s worked for the Detroit Opera House. People who have over-plucked for too long and their brows never grew back, those who’ve lost brow hair due to age, and blondes love the microblading option. We are fully certified with a body art license.”

Rouge’s service room also offers facials, massage, reflexology, and Reiki. Bulatovic is certified in Reiki, and says, “I always love when I can take a short break from doing nails and work with a Reiki client. It’s rejuvenating.”

www.rougemakeupandnails.com

By David Ryals

AT AGE 14, RYAN ENNIS, AFTER RECEIVING the 9th-grade Outstanding Achievement in English Award for his essays, began dreaming of one day seeing his writing in print. He spent much of his high school and undergraduate years typing away on his typewriter, then a word processor, and eventually on a laptop, perfecting his craft. It was during his graduate studies that he received success, by winning the Tompkins Fiction Writing Contest at Wayne State University two years in a row for his short stories and seeing his work appear in Ferndale Friends as a regular contributor. Since then, his fiction has appeared in a variety of publications.

Ryan spoke with fellow author and Ferndale Friends contributor David Ryals about his latest book: a collection of short stories about sexual attraction, dating and surprises inside relationships called ‘The Unexpected Tales of Lust, Love & Longing.’

FF: What inspired you to write The Unexpected?
The Unexpected Tales of Lust, Love & Longing is a collection of nineteen tales with themes that have preoccupied me since I began writing stories in my teens: the nature of love; the consequences of acting on impulses; and the need or longing inside of us to be fulfilled.

Perhaps of interest to Metro Detroit readers are the local suburban settings featured in my stories: Ferndale, Livonia, Royal Oak, Garden City, Hazel Park, etc. To appeal to a wide audience, the collection strives for a balance with male and female main characters in overlapping settings and plots.

I enjoy exploring the psychology of my characters. Consequently, I spend time (in the form of detailed prose) getting into my characters’ heads, providing clear motivations for their actions, so that they are relatable.

FF: What was the writing process like? How long did it take?
I once read that Jackie Collins carried a notebook around with her everywhere and would write whenever she had moments free, even if it meant when she was stopped in her car waiting for the traffic light to change. I never attempted that one.

In my early 20s, I read several Victorian novels whose author introductions described how they would take their desks out onto their lawns in the summer and produce flowery prose from sun-up until sun-down. I tried it a few times, but I couldn’t concentrate outdoors — not sure why.

I would say my writing process is to take advantage of my free time when I have it. As a teacher, librarian, homeowner, and dog owner, I maintain a busy schedule. I admit that it is always a challenge to find the time to write. I try to set aside time in the evenings and on weekends to write, even if it means just enough to write a few paragraphs before bed. I try to keep myself in what I call “writing shape”—able to write productively.

FF: How was the reception of its release? How did you and readers feel about the final edition?
I’ve received positive reviews from those who have read ‘The Unexpected’. Many have told me that my book has made them embrace the short story genre. Unlike a novel, a short story can be read rather quickly. With a collection of short stories, the reader can read a few, take a break for a while, and resume reading when time permits. The same typically cannot be said for a novel.

Contact Ryan Ennis at cityguy714@aol.com

Story By Marv Meldrum
Photo By Bernie Laframboise

ORIGINALLY FROM MONROE, MICHIGAN AND A 23-YEAR VETERAN OF THE POLICE FORCE, FERNDALE’S NEW CHIEF OF POLICE, VINCENT PALAZZOLO, HAS A LONG RESUME THAT BEGINS WITH AN ENLISTMENT
IN THE ARMY. More recently, after two years as a captain on the Ferndale police force, he was tagged as the interim Chief of Police in May of 2018, and is now installed as the permanent Chief of Police.

Palazzolo served in the U.S. Military for 11 years, deployed to Iraq with the Michigan Army National Guard as an infantry soldier. His stellar resume includes serving on the Oakland County Crime Suppression Task Force, Team Commander of the Southeast Oakland SWAT, and Team Commander of the Oakland County Mobile Field Force.

Currently, he is a member of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Veterans of Foreign Wars. An advocate for veterans, Palazzolo is involved with the reintegration programs through physical fitness and veteran suicide prevention.

Palazzolo has a robust and sincere focus on community engagement and two years ago initialed the Department’s community engagement approach. He observes and follows six pillars of community policing laid out in the President’s task force on 21st Century Policing.

The Chief recalls when the housing bubble popped in 2008- 2009 and the Ferndale police force went from 54 officers down to 39. Half of those officers who were cut were bought out and half retired, but the Department still found ii necessary lo lay off five officers.

“In 2010, we lost the number two commander; the person who did the day-to-day nuts and bolts,” Palazzolo says. “So, the chief was doing all the work for two people. Personnel for the Department is 98 percent of their budget. As a department we were doing the minimum to survive; there was no extra training in that time frame because that takes money. Any training that wasn’t mandated by the state wasn’t done.”

“EVERYONE CALLS THE POLICE FOR EVERY PROBLEM,” Palazzolo explains. ”We have had to adapt to the full spectrum of the issues that come our way. We are training officers lo do a very tough job. Expectations are higher on public officials and police especially. Police are very visible today.”

“Now that I was made full-time chief, three positions need to be filled so we can start doing big projects. I need a captain. I have two lieutenants applying for that. A sergeant will be promoted to be a platoon commander. Then I’ve got to promote an officer to sergeant. Then we will have lo recruit to fill that officer’s position. The rest of 2018, we will just be trying lo get up lo full staffing!”

Fully staffed, the force is 41 strong, including the chief. They have six or seven civilians filling records and holding administrative positions. And don’t forget the crossing guards.

The City of Ferndale presents a large number of festivals and public events, such as the art fairs and the Dream Cruise. They pay for officer staffing, so there will be an extra four-to-five officers just assigned to those events. Holidays are quiet, but summer gets busy as downtown now has 23-plus liquor licenses. Three additional officers work Friday and Saturdays to maintain the bar district.

If you want lo know the inner workings of the Ferndale Police Department, residents can join the four-week long Citizen’s Police Academy each October. You learn how the Department works, and officers set up a situation and walk you through an actual mock homicide scene.

After the Academy, Chief Palazzolo wants to start the Chiefs Round Table with the graduates. People who have a little knowledge can help mold the future. They can meet every month or so and brief graduates on events and talk about policy.

PALAZZOLO HAS FIXED HIS ATTENTION on operating his Department efficiently, safely, ethically and morally, and dictated by laws and policies that were put in place for officers to follow.

There will always be random acts of violence. The Chiefs answer to that is, “The idea is to create an omnipresence.”

While they can’t anticipate or prevent everything, active patrolling helps to deter crime. But with the creation of the Internet, through stolen identities people can sit in their horn e and remotely do the crimes they used to do on the streets.

“Crime stats are down because it’s easier and safer for the criminal to do remote crime. Most of the crime we see is crime of opportunity, like breaking into cars, but they only really look for the open doors.”

“We need our public to have confidence in our Police Department and believe that we are ope.rating legally, morally and ethically.”

Chief Palazzolo wants lo let everyone know who they are, and he wants to build relationships with the public. “You don’t have to go on a retreat with someone to build a relationship. Just talking to high school students or chatting with someone on the phone is a connection. We are husbands, wives, and family members, just like anyone.”

By Ingrid Sjostrand

PRISON POPULATION IN AMERICA KEEPS RISING BECAUSE OF EARLIER FAILED PROGRAMS, SUCH AS THE ‘WAR ON DRUGS,’ AND THE CURRENT, ’MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.’ The U.S.A. simply warehouses people without any real rehabilitation. These people become part of a cycle of incarceration and punishment, usually returning to society very angry, and with even better criminal skills,” musician Tino Gross says.

Gross is working to change the stigma that prisoners cannot be rehabilitated by providing them with new skills through a 501c3 program called Jail Guitar Doors (JGD). The nationwide program run by Michigan rock icon Wayne Kramer provides prisoners with musical instruments and instruction in songwriting and playing to reduce prison violence and reoffending. JGD is in over 120 U.S. prisons, and just expanded to the Ryan ReEntry Facility in Detroit the summer of 2018.

“JGD is a program that reaches out and rehabilitates convicts through music, helping them to work on themselves and return to society as contributors, instead of dangerous ex-cons,” Gross explains. “The social aspects of playing guitar and singing give the inmates a pathway to self-improvement, and prevents future violence.”

As a musician, Gross has seen how music can tap into people’s emotions and touch on topics that might not otherwise be discussed or explored. Through JGD, he teaches guitar to inmates and helps them explore songwriting. They meet once a week for a ten-week period.

“We focus on their life experiences, presenting song topics like freedom, anger, and forgiveness; The process never fails to produce incredible lyrics which are then put to music,” he says.

“GUITAR-PLAYING CAN TAKE A WHILE TO LEARN, SO WE START SIMPLE, with blues and gospel material so that everyone can join in. The first day I went in to teach at the Detroit prison, I was moved by how hard these guys worked in their orange jumpsuits. In a few hours we were all laughing and singing together, and these are some tough guys!”

This reaffirmed to Gross that this program was worthwhile and meaningful. “Music has a power that is mystical, defies science, it really does work,” he says.

Jail Guitar Doors would never have started without the power of music. It all began in 1977 when The Clash wrote a song by the same name about an imprisoned fellow musician – none other than Wayne Kramer — who helped bring JGD to the US. Musician Billy Bragg launched JGD in the UK in 2007, and collaborated with with Kramer to bring the program to the United States in 2009.

Kramer, a Metro-Detroit native, has been building the program across the country for over ten years and funding it through benefit concerts, TV appearances, CDs and even concerts within the prison system. He and Bragg have even received brand-new guitars donated for JGD from manufacturers like Fender.

Gross got involved through his friendship with Kramer, and he urges people to donate or, if they have an interest in music, to volunteer. Those interested can learn more at jailguitardoors.org.

“The purpose of this program is to lend a helping hand to your brothers and sisters that have made bad choices, but are salvageable as productive human-beings. We are all in this life together,” he says.

By Sara E. Teller

Jill Warren and her husband, Rev. Robert Schoenhals, arrived at First United Methodist Church (at the corner of Leroy and Woodward) early the Sunday before Labor Day, and were met with a very unwelcome surprise.

As they approached the church’s main entrance, the couple noticed a derogatory flyer taped to the door. It featured an image of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones with a Star of David taped over his mouth as if to silence him. On either side were crude and offensive caricatures of Jewish men.

“My husband and I arrived at about 8:30 in the morning and noticed the flyer taped to the door. It contained hate speech, completely anti-Semitic, aggressive, just horrible,” Warren said. “My stomach just clenched up, and I had a gut feeling to walk the parameter of the church. Sure enough, I found one on each of the entrances.”

She immediately notified Ferndale police, as Rev. Schoenhals proceeded with his morning routine before members of the congregation arrived. “I took charge, so my husband could get ready, and they said they’d send an officer before my Sunday school class,” Warren explained. “We learned there had been other incidents. Flyers were also posted at Arts Beats and Eats and in downtown Detroit.”

Responding officers told her that taping the flyer to the door could be protected by free speech, and thus, may not necessarily constitute a crime. However, the Department would open an investigation to see if they could identify the perpetrator and bring charges for destruction of property or trespassing.

WARREN AND REV. SCHOENHALS SPREAD THE WORD to the congregation hat day, and Warren posted the following to social media, “Friends and neighbors – these [flyers] were taped to our church doors this morning. Be aware that hate groups do exist locally. #LoveIsBigger — at First United Methodist Church of Ferndale, MI.”

She said, “My husband informed the leadership team. We share a space with another congregation and he shared it with their leadership team. I shared it during Sunday school. We informed everyone internally first, then reached out to local pastors. We didn’t hear back, so we assumed they hadn’t noticed anything.”

Warren added, “The terrible thing is that we were right in the midst of a meet-your-neighbor event we had planned to host in Ferndale. The event is all about socializing and understanding different cultures. We had to push it back.”

CURRENTLY, THE POLICE HAVE A VIDEO of a Caucasian man in khakis, a white polo and a black hat with sunglasses posting the flyers outside the church. They are asking for help in identifying the man.

“That’s all we know at this point,” said Warren. “There was no property damage, but what this is, really, is a desecration of a sacred place of peace and safety.”

The couple have been with First United Methodist in Ferndale for five years. The church was established in 1922 and will soon be celebrating its century anniversary. Rev. Schoenhals has been in ministry since 1975 and is set to retire in five years.

“We love Ferndale – just love living here,” Warren said. “It’s progressive politically, diverse, and is small enough to enact policies and practices that get implemented. Ferndale is very community minded and there’s good leadership. We have yard signs stating, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and ‘Love is Love.’ These show our values. On top of that, we’re a sanctuary congregation, so I think that could be why we were targeted.”

Warren speaks fondly of fellow church members, sharing the reaction of one member in particular to the incident. “After learning what had happened, this person said, ‘This is horrible, this is hate. Pray for that person.”

By Malissa Martin

WITH CHRISTMAS JUST AROUND THE CORNER, it’s heartbreaking to know that not every child will be a part of the celebration. However, for the past three years Fern-dale Youth Assistance (FYA, located inside Ferndale High School) has been changing that with their Annual Adopt-a-family Christmas program. Caseworker Tasha Hanson and office manager Melinda Hicks coordinate the program, which already has five families in need this year.

“Families come to us. They’re struggling financially. They can’t even get food on the table for the day, let alone think about Christmas,” Hanson said. So FYA pitches in to help by connecting them with volunteers who have agreed to “adopt” a family for the Holiday season. Once families are selected, the children fill out a wish list form provided by the FYA. Only kids receive wish lists; however, sometimes Hicks and Hanson will also purchase a small, thoughtful gift for the parents.

When a family agrees to adopt a family in need, they are given the wish list to use as a guide. “We ask if they need a jacket, boots, gloves. We want to make sure they’re dressed for winter, and then they give us their wish list and sizes. We usually get all of them socks and underwear.” Hicks said.

Hicks enlists local families and individuals to adopt families in need for Christmas. Groups can also volunteer. A local running group has adopted a family every year since the program began. The Police Department, the Courts, and City Hall have also adopted a family.

To help purchase items for the program, the FYA has included a budget of $4,000 to use for Christmas, and as an emergency fund. Last year the program provided Christmas for 38 kids and Hicks is expecting 45-to-50 kids this year.

THE CHRISTMAS PROGRAM IS JUST ONE OF THE MANY WAYS the FYA is striving to serve youth and their families. The FYA has two facets: The casework side and also the community organizational side. Hicks is the go-to person for all the planning and programming at FYA. The Oakland County Circuit Court funds Hanson’s salary as the caseworker. The school district provides the FYA space and also provides some funding as well. Finally, Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge provide monetary donations, as well as the community members.

Having their office located inside the high school makes it easier for Hicks to connect with the youth. “Community members – usually the school district, social workers, principals, assistant principals – make referrals of kids that are struggling. Then I meet with them on a short-term case basis and get them to where they need to be for counseling or groups or whatever they need. So, short-term casework services for kids who are struggling with things like death, dying, bullying, anxiety (and) depression,” Hanson said.

Being able to provide kids with toys on Christmas is a blessing, and it’s also Hanson and Hicks’ favorite part of the job. They’ve both lived in Ferndale for years, Hicks all of her life. Providing services for youth is their way of giving back and continuing the tradition of making Ferndale a great place to live.

To adopt a family this Christmas, contact Hicks at (248) 586-8700 or email melinda.hicks@ferndaleschools.org.

By Sarah E. Teller

FOR MORE THAN 100 YEARS NOW, THE CHURCH AT 1841 PINECREST DRIVE has been serving Ferndale’s spiritual needs, originally as the First Baptist Church and now the Renaissance Vineyard Church. There has certainly been a lot of change over that time.

In 1915, a Highland Park parish branched out to the Ferndale area looking to reach a new population of believers, according to RVC founding pastor Jim Poole. For the next twelve years, the church expanded and began meeting in several different locations across town. “The pastor at the time was also the Superintendent of Ferndale Schools,” Poole said. “They met for a while all along the 9 Mile corridor.”

In 1927, the current location was built, and First Baptist Church officially took root in the community. Pool explained, “Like lots of groups over the years, it has experienced ups and downs. There was growth in the area post World War II. So, the church expanded in the 1950s. Then people moved away, or the nature of their religious engagement changed some. It entered decline and was looking at the possibility of closing the doors.”

INSTEAD, HOWEVER, IN 2011, First Baptist Church merged with Royal Oak Vineyard Church, a parish that was started in 2001 by Poole, his wife, and another partner. Poole moved his congregation over and the name changed to Renaissance Vineyard Church.

“Many of our members were already living in Ferndale,” Poole said. “We drafted a proposal for the plan we had so both congregations could vote, and the majority were in favor.”

By merging the two into one, immediately there were more helping hands for many of the services the church offered to residents. “We have a heart for this city and its community, for serving others and fostering relationships.” Poole said.

Of course, there were some roadblocks along the way. “In the beginning, we were running around 100 miles-per-hour to figure out the details and how to keep up,” he added. “It was pretty challenging. But the way I look at it, we could have nit-picked the process to death or we could just trust the plan. We had enough clarity to move through it.”

NOW, THERE ARE MANY MEMBERS who have been there for decades, and equally as many newcomers. Poole explained, “There is a pretty steady group who have been here anywhere from 20 to 50 years, but there were also a lot of new, young families. Our nursery is exploding.” He added, “Attendance-wise, there are about 100 adults and children and there are roughly 200 people who self-identify this as being their home church.”

At the 100-year celebration, Renaissance requested words of encouragement and blessings from Ferndale Schools, the Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Ferndale, as well as its community network groups and those who have oversight responsibilities. “They submitted letters and videos,” Poole said. “The Mayor tagged us in a Facebook post.”

They also had four members share their testimonies. “Janet (Carpenter) has been here 65 years. Her mom was the church secretary. She talked about her rich legacy of service work at the church, with the highlight being a mission trip I took her on to Ethiopia. It was great hearing her feedback and how she’s looking forward to the next chapter. Bob (Latta) has held almost every position at the church, except pastor. He started coming here when he was eight, and remembers as a 10-year-old boy, shoveling coal with his father after Saturday night’s dinner for service the following morning. He’s 88 now.”

Carpenter said, “I always felt like the church was my second family. I had my real family, and this was my spiritual family. I’ve gotten a lot of moral and spiritual support both within the church and outside of the church – it’s been a strong crutch.”

CARPENTER FEELS MERGING THE TWO CONGREGATIONS WAS A GREAT MOVE, saying, “We’ve been a mission-minded church from day one, and because of the similarities of the mission outreach, it was a good marriage.” Of the Ethiopia trip, she said, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity, and I was skeptical at first, then finally said I would do it. I’ve never regretted it. It was the best experience.”

Of the celebration service, Poole continued, “There were also two other testimonies from newer, younger members who have been blessed and impacted by the church. The rest of the service was a more celebratory version of the normal service.”

Renaissance offered a free lunch. “The luncheon consisted of all home-cooked meals with an international fair. People lingered to look at our photo books and old and new memorabilia. What stood out was that they stayed for hours, just hanging out, and you got a sense that they were mixing and meeting new people.”

Renaissance Vineyard Church is involved in numerous community outreach programs, but Poole said it’s the church’s presence in the community and how this resonates with others that truly matters.

“We want to exist for the community, for others – not just serving others and ourselves. This program is part of it but it’s more about presence and the way we go about doing these things,” he said.

As far as future plans, Poole added, “I am looking forward to the future while leaning on the legacy of the past. We’re looking to continue to find ways to serve more faithfully and we’ll be doing some fundraising for facility repairs and expanding our ministry and missions.”

By: Sara E. Teller

PLANS ARE BEING FINALIZED FOR FERNDALE’S NEW SKATEPARK, which the City is hoping to roll out in the Spring. Ferndale’s City Council, Department of Parks and Recreation, and Department of Public Works have been busy working out the logistics and soliciting feedback from area residents. So far, they’ve secured help from Detroit’s architectural firm Hamilton Anderson, the Community Skatepark Advisory Committee, and the Tony Hawk Foundation, and a few changes have been made along the way.

“At this time, the location of the skatepark has not been confirmed. Previous plans of a pre-fabricated skatepark was set within Wilson Park. Based on the community feedback we received, we are now building a concrete skatepark,” said LeReina Wheeler, Parks and Recreation Director. “At the Parks and Recreation Department, we have been doing our due diligence, investigating and researching all potential viable locations for the skatepark. Data to assist with selecting the best location is being collected from skatepark designers, architectural personnel, skatepark professionals, City departments, and resident surveys.”

A design meeting was held on August 29th at B. Nektar Meadery, 1511 Jarvis, Ferndale. “There were attendees from both the skateboarding and non-skateboarding community [there],” said Wheeler.

“With the support of our architectural firm Hamilton Anderson, we presented examples of community skateparks within our region and asked for feedback on what elements were desirable, and which elements would not work in our community. The discussion and feedback provided an overview of what we would like to include in our Request for Proposal for a skatepark designer.”

Attendees were able to have a little hands-on fun at the meeting’s conclusion. “At the end of the meeting Brad Dahlhofer of B. Nektar extended an invitation to the participants to check out and skate his mini-ramp. Several skateboarders took the opportunity to show off on the mini-pipe,” Wheeler said. She confirmed the parties are still searching for a contractor to take on the design of the project.

“We are currently developing the RFP (Request For Proposal) for design-build. It should be published by late October or early November,” she said, adding, “With the support of Hamilton Anderson, we have been working on gathering preliminary information on what elements our community members want incorporated in the skatepark. Concept designs will be developed after we hire a skatepark design firm and confirm the final location of the skatepark. Additional community design meetings will be held to assist with the development of the final concept design.”

A separate meeting was hosted by the Parks and Recreation Department on September 5th, as well. The Department presented information to the Ferndale PARC Board regarding the viability of potential site locations. The meeting was open to the public and resulted in the recommendation of the top three potential site locations, ranked in order of most preferred: 1) Wilson Park, 2) Martin Rd Park, and 3) Geary Park.

“The recommendation was unanimously supported by the PARC Board,” Wheeler said. “Once the skatepark designer is hired, the Parks and Recreation Department will get input from the designer and make a final skatepark location recommendation to City Council for approval.”

She added, “The City is excited to bring this new amenity to our residents. We want our skatepark to be one of a kind and cater to all levels and abilities. Our residents have waited long enough and deserve the best when it comes to new amenities in our parks.”

More information on skatepark grants available from the Tony Hawk Foundation can be found at www.tonyhawkfoundation.org. Information regarding Ferndale’s new skatepark project, upcoming meetings, and project status can be found on the City of Ferndale’s website, www.cityofferndale.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call me.
Jeannie Davis, 248 541 5888