Aug / Sept 2015

Story by David Wesley

Same-sex weddings took place all across the country the weekend after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled all 50 states must now permit same-sex couples the “fundamental right to marry.” The ruling on June 26 put an end to the unconstitutional same-sex marriage bans that remained in 14 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, most of Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. The court’s decision could impact some 70,000 couples living in these states, out of an estimated one million same-sex couples nationwide.

The Michigan couple at the forefront of last month’s watershed U.S. Supreme Court ruling are finalizing invitations to their August 22 ceremony in Southfield. Hazel Park nurses Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer will be married by Judge Bernard Friedman, who overturned Michigan’s gay marriage ban in 2014, paving the way for the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling declaring marriage a right of all Americans.

Now that the Supreme Court has made marriage equality the law of the land, the effects are going to be felt everywhere, including the economy. According to a report from the Williams Institute issued last year, all the additional dollars spent on weddings and everything that goes along with them will produce a big economic bump. In New York, $228.6 million has been pumped back into the economy since they legalized same-sex marriage in 2011. California is on track to see even greater gains. Obviously less populated states will see less revenue, but there are still potential economic gains for everyone, according to the report. In fact, they predicted that nationwide marriage equality would net $2.6 billion in spending, including $184.7 million in tax revenue, and help create over 13,000 jobs in the first three years overall. Ferndale Friends spoke to local Judge Rudy Serra about the semantics behind the ruling, his role in its development, and its direct impact on the local and state level.

“Michigan’s overtly anti-gay state constitutional amendment was probably a contributing event. It forced the Federal Courts to realize that LGBT people in Michigan had no hope of a state remedy. Here we have an electorate that argues that, first ‘marriage is a sacrament’ but, secondly, we should regulate that sacrament by law! We do not regulate baptism or ordination in the Constitution, so why would any reasonable person of faith want to regulate marriage there? The recognition of a distinction between the religious sacrament of matrimony and the civil contract of marriage is an important concept.

“Our Republican state leaders have been frank and honest about how much they hate us and want to oppress, injure, ignore and eliminate us. The Republican Attorney General’s decision to tear insurance coverage away from the innocent children of LGBT state employees was probably also a factor. You could point to Loving v. Virginia (the case that struck down laws against inter-racial marriage) as an important precedent.”

I asked him his concerns with the legal aftermath of this ruling and what will pro-marriage equality voters need to do to ensure its standing?

“As a former judge, I am always concerned when extremists suggest things like ‘term limitations’ on federal judges and other ways to try to make the court vulnerable to bribery and improper influence. When the Republicans stole the 2000 presidential election with overtly partisan Supreme Court assistance, they didn’t complain about ‘judicial activism.’ But whenever the court expands civil rights the fat cats howl. There may be litigation in case-by- case situations where individual religious bigots who hold government office get told that religious people have to obey the same laws as others. Such ‘after shock’ litigation happened in desegregation cases. Inflammatory rhetoric is just part of the free expression we enjoy.”

He went further, relating how this has impacted the Ferndale community both personally and professionally.

“My next door neighbors, who have been together 32 years, plan to get married in September. DeBoer and Rowse plan to do the same. Most of the impact is yet to come. LGBTQ people will deal with divorces, property divisions, and support and parenting time disputes, just as straight couples have. Perhaps the most important real-world impact will be the ‘normalization’ of LGBTQ couples. There should be increased understanding and recognition than a woman can be the medical decision maker and next of kin for another woman and that a man can do the same for another man. As LGBTQ relationships become more ordinary, anti-LGBTQ violence and policy should become more and more extraordinary.

“Like many others, I had a very small part in this particular victory. I attended events to support the litigation, and expressed my personal support and encouragement to DeBoer and Rowse. In a more general way, I’ve been working for this change since 1980. I helped get ‘sexual orientation’ into Ferndale’s Public School policies back in the 1980s. I worked on Ferndale’s first civil rights ordinance. I was counsel for The Triangle Foundation for years and helped to litigate cases to stop the pogroms in Michigan against LGBTQ people. Each effort to raise visibility, protest oppression and fight back against injustice was a small step toward this event. Ironically, on the day there was a Marriage Equality demonstration outside the Federal Court, I was inside finalizing $150,000 settlement against Wayne County and Westland for their anti-gay harassment and arrest of a man in a park in a shameless and illegal ‘bag-a-fag’ bust. Michigan still has a law making unpaid oral sex a felony. Michigan still has an ‘Abominable and Detestable Crime Against Nature’ law. These laws MUST be repealed. There is a great deal more work to be done.”

Indeed there is, for it is still legal to fire someone for being gay in Michigan. Despite polls showing public support for statewide anti-discrimination protections, legislative action this session remains a long shot.

While the Supreme Court ruling was a big victory for members of the LGBT community, there is still a lot to be done in Michigan in order to make our state a truly accepting place, but lawmakers differ on what direction Michigan should go.

Former Ferndale Mayor Craig Covey lent his highly qualified commentary. His personal journey fighting for LGBTQ rights his entire life has finally culminated in an intimate victory that has vindicated his private and personal aspirations therein. His pragmatic view on its coming about differs slightly from Judge Serra’s.

“I started working on gay rights back in 1976 at the age of 19 and we were working on just being respected and not being called fags and getting beat up. Back then it was illegal to have gay sex and we couldn’t be protected in jobs, housing, the military, or anywhere else. But I knew we would make progress and it has been steady and continual. From the end of sodomy laws in the 90’s to civil rights state by state and then having stars on TV like Ellen Degeneres and others to the recent ending of the military ban. Gay marriage was always coming. But it didn’t come from elected politicians and established gay rights organizations. It came from grass roots activists and individuals fighting door to door and neighborhood to neighborhood, and by young people of the millennial generation saying that discrimination was over.”

While 39 cities throughout Michigan, including East Lansing, already have some form of nondiscrimination ordinance in place that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in either housing, employment, public accommodations/services or some combination of those, Michigan as a whole has not made these adaptations yet. Michigan is one of 28 states without a law prohibiting discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation, and one of 29 states without a law prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to the Humans Rights Campaign. And while the fight for equality throughout Michigan and the country continue, it feels less of a struggle than an optimistic battle given the landmark decision. The future looks bright for human equality now and the rights and laws will follow suit in the wake of the good fight.

If some happened with our health, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a medicament. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotency and other states connected to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you must look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual disfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a state called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual dysfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk.

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Story by Sherrad Glosson | Photos by J. Capella

“Would you like something to drink?” said Jason McIntosh as I sat on the couch, visiting he and Jim Shaffer’s home in Ferndale. As I took my first sip, a baby started to cry. I’m puzzled, because I had no idea that there was a third person in the house. Jason ran to the back and Jim followed behind just seconds later. A dog started barking and within minutes they came to the front room holding a beautiful baby.

Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes

Norah McIntosh-Shaffer is her name. She’s a twenty-month-old African American baby who was adopted by the two men when she was only three days old. “It took a couple of days for us to name her because we wanted to get to know her first.” said Jason. “We are finally, legally, her fathers,” said Jim, referring to the Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage for all couples across the country.

Jim and Jason met online about thirteen years ago and the only things that separated them from one another was a river and a border. Jason, who at that time lived in Canada just on the other side of the bridge, worked as a marching band teacher in the Ferndale school system and Jim was on the brink of selling houses in the area.

Once they made contact, their love grew and the rest became history.

“When Oakland County made it legal to marry in the spring of 2014, people were texting me all day. I woke Jason up and told him, “WAKE UP, WE ARE GETTING MARRIED TODAY!” Jim recalls. They were one of the 300 couples who got married on that day, before the law changed again the very next day. They were indeed married, but they weren’t accepted by the State of Michigan, only by the federal government.

When the Supreme Court ruling was handed down early this summer, Jim said it was painstakingly exciting. They didn’t go out and celebrate like everyone else because they had already been married for a year. But still, it was blissful because now they can say they are legitimately both fathers for their beautiful daughter.

Nowadays, Jim still sells houses to the wonderful people in Ferndale, and Jason is now the Dean of Admissions in Birmingham at the Roeper School. As for Norah, well, she’s enjoying childhood riding on the back of the family dog like a horse, and receiving love from two lucky parents!

If slightly happened with our soundness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a medicament. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotence and other states connected to erectile malfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people talk about “viagra stories“? The most essential aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction turn on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual dysfunction. Even though this physic is not for use in women, it is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk.

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By Jeff Lilly

LOOKING AT THE YEARS OF FUROR over same-sex marriage, it’s interesting to study the history of other marriages that the moral scolds of society have found troublesome.

Anti-miscegenation laws have an interesting, and eerily parallel, history to same-sex marriage struggle. Masako, my wife, is Asian. I’m white. Not too uncommon a pairing these days, so it’s easy to forget that as recently as 1967, our own marriage would have been illegal in several states… and for many of the same silly reasons people found to keep same-sex partners apart until now.

The first anti-miscegenation laws in the United States were enforced right after independence, though New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont and New Hampshire (and later Wisconsin and Minnesota) never had any on the books. Other states adopted such laws as they were admitted to the union. Mainly, the purpose of these laws was to keep black and white Americans from marrying or procreating, though they were also enforced against whites marrying Native Americans, East Indians, Chinese, and others. The infamous “One Drop” rule was used; if you had any provable non-white ancestry, no matter how distant, then you were automatically considered black for the purposes of this and other discriminatory laws.

This led to a couple of cases where persons destroyed a rivals’s marriage by digging through their family history and finding that they or their wife had a great-grandfather, for example, who was not white. The law often made it so the couple had no choice but to divorce. It was especially bad in states like Arizona, where the laws, as written, kept anyone of mixed race from marrying anyone, even another person of mixed race!

The first wave of repeal happened after the Civil War, with ten states (including Michigan) dropping the laws before 1887. After that, there was a lull until 1948, when California became the first of many to clean up their act. As of 1967, though, fifteen southern states (plus, oddly, Delaware) still restricted marriage along racial lines. The breakthrough case was Loving vs. Virginia.

In 1958, Mildred Jeter (an African American / Native American woman) and Richard Loving (a white man) married in Washington, D.C. and moved to Virginia, where mixed-race marriage was still illegal. Their house was raided late one night by police and they were arrested and charged with “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth.” Found guilty of the felony, their prison sentence was commuted on the condition they leave the state. The judge in the case used a religious argument, a tactic which should be all too familiar to the LGBT community:

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents… The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

The Lovings moved to Washington, D.C. and spent years appealing the decision. Their appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court was rejected on the grounds that the law applied to both white and “colored” people equally, so there was no discrimination. With the help of the ACLU, the Lovings appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Richard Loving sent the following message to the court via his lawyer: “Mr. Cohen, tell the Court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.”

On June 12, 1967, The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the law was unconstitutional. With those strokes of the pen, all remaining anti- miscegenation laws in the United States were swept into the dustbin of history. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote:

“Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes… is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law.”

June 12 has since been celebrated as “Loving Day.” Here’s hoping that June 26, 2015 will be similarly remembered!

If something happened with our heartiness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a medicament. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotency and other states coupled to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What folk talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as soul trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual dysfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this treatment passes into breast milk.

Often overlooked in this Age of Information is the sheer amount of data children are exposed to before they’ve developed the means to mediate mass-messaging. Evolving communication technologies and the Internet have given kids keys to an endless field of information, without the compass or map necessary to navigate them. Creating art is organic and cathartic therapy that enables people to process and purge experience.

As the world keeps changing, creat- ivity is such an important aspect to be able to keep up with that, and under- stand it all. You can jump in to the technical side, or you can jump into the aesthetic side, but if you just let it go by, you’re not going to keep up” says Ferndale Funky Art Fair creator, Mark Loeb.

Art enables people to transform suf- fering into beauty; disorder into a tangible medium to be appreciated, and utilized for the well-being of others.

“An interesting statistic I took a look at: Artists tend to make less money than the general public; and artists tend to be happier than the general public. Interesting mix. So I will extrapolate that people who buy art are probably happier as well because they are surrounding themselves with that happiness.”

Happiness, like positive energy, is contagious. The miserable love company because they dare not look their unhappiness in the eyes. By osmosis, happiness is shared between the creator of an artistic rendering, and he or she who intercepts its message.

“I’ve been an art guy for most of my life. My mother was a painter and I’ve been doing events since ‘82. There seemed to be a good opportunity in Ferndale. There was a really nice art fair that existed but it was more of a plain-vanilla affair. It was a great art fair but it was just like everyone else’s art fair, and it didn’t seem to me that it fit the community. So I met some different stakeholders like the DDA and said, ‘Maybe there should be something else, something a little bit more interesting, edgier, or whatever.’ So we came up

with the concept for the Ferndale Funky Art Fair, with the tagline ‘Twice as Funky as the Average Fine Art Show,’ and started doing really well with it right away.”

In it’s 12th year, the Ferndale Funky Art Fair will take place September 25-27. Located on Nine Mile Road, west of Woodward, Funky offers art with a little more edge.

“Our emphasis is away from the calmer art, if you’re looking for something to match a sofa, unless your sofa is really intriguing, then this is not the place for it.”

Attendees are encouraged to visit local shops and eateries, many of which offer specials during the event.

“One of the things that we take pride in is that a lot of the businesses tell us that it’s like Christmas during Art Fair Week and that’s another reason to go to Funky because the things we are doing compliment the businesses.”

Art inspires a sensation that could be likened to the Christmas Spirit. It can tickle your soul and release an ineffable goodness which is best shared with others.

“We’re trying to find art that helps people think; that starts conversations; pushes some of the edges but we’re not as extreme as some people might expect because we still want to be accessible to most any group. There are certainly art shows out there that are much more extreme, and that’s great, but that doesn’t cover all the bases.”

Simultaneously happening across the street is the DIY Street Fair which features local creatives.

“Chris, of Woodward Avenue Brewery, about ten years in said, ‘Mark, we need to add music, we need to have this and that,’ and I said ‘Chris, you need to add your own show,” with a laugh. “It’s all pretty cool but it doesn’t really fit the vibe of what we’re doing, so the DIY show came along and we kind of just co- habitated ever since. It’s worked out really well.”

Use 200 West Nine Mile, Ferndale, MI for GPS. There are parking lots throughout the city. After Funky closes, cross the street and enjoy a craft beer along with some quality local music.

Friday, September 25: 3:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. • Saturday, September 26: 10:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M. • Sunday, September 27: 11:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.

If something happened with our health, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a preparation. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotency and other states coupled to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What humanity talk about “viagra stories“? The most vital aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction switch on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual malfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this treatment passes into breast milk.

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Story and photos by Kevin Alan Lamb

“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.”

― Gordon B. Hinckley

Life is a beautiful phenomenon that helps us discover that helping hands can relieve the burden hung upon heavy hearts. We learn that our time is valuable, and with it comes the choice of just who and what we will be present for. A house is not a home; a home is built with love, positive energy, and a willingness to serve a collective best interest.

Since the 1920s the Willcock Family has made their home in Ferndale, and spent their time serving their community.

‘Volunteering gives you a sense of community. You meet people and have fun. It’s not work. It’s a pleasure. And as a bonus, you get to go to some of these events for free!” says Joann Willcock.

Joann first volunteered at her children’s schools, attending most every field trip and frequent to help in the first Open Classrooms. Over the years Joann and her husband Dick have served on a plethora of commissions and volunteered for community events and political campaigns including: Beautification Commission, Memorial Association, Arts and Cultural Commission, and the Ferndale Community Foundation.

“We’ve volunteered for the Woodward Dream Cruise since the first one, missing few years along the way. Also the Ferndale Pub Crawl, which we missed this year for the first time! We also participated in Clean the Ferndale Up! several times.”

You get what you give in this life. When you invest your love, time, and energy into helping others, you discover an abundance of goodness and quality through mean- ingful relationships.

“I have been in the Ferndale school district all my life, my husband and I rented a house on the East side of Ferndale starting in January, 1966 and had our first child there (Cindy). Then we bought our ‘starter’ home on the Southwest side in November, 1967. In fact, we signed closing papers on Dick’s birthday! When our family grew, Donna in 1968 and Bill in 1971, we thought about moving, but we liked our home and neighbors. So, we added on. Since we have been here, we’ve added a garage, three additions, new windows twice, remodeled the kitchen, added a bathroom, and Dick built a gazebo.”

Building breeds strong hearts and hands: Strong hearts and hands continue to build our better world by lifting others. When we help others we discover that we are really helping ourselves in ways beyond our imagination.

“I’m proud of how far we have come, from ‘Oh, you live in Ferndale?’ to ‘Oh! Wow! You live in Ferndale?’ I love Ferndale! I’m proud of my city. I love the Downtown Development and the city involvement, the residents; just all of it.”

Ferndale is a community ripe with righteousness. Within its streets, homes, and eccentric celebrations, the Will- cock’s benevolence resides, interwoven with their realization that the meaning of life – is each other. They are a family that has never spent their time waiting on the world to change itself.

“As teens, we hung out at one of the coffee shops downtown and at Como’s. A lot more retail at that time. My mother, who grew up on West Woodland, always said , ‘If you can’t get it in Ferndale, you don’t need it.’”

Some of their favorite Ferndale family events include Fido does Ferndale!, Ice Fest, Dream Cruise, and the Ferndale Memorial Day Parade.

“This year was the 97th parade, making it the oldest continuous parade in Michigan. Also, art fairs, music
in the park, Salon Sunday, Ferndale Pride, garage sales, block parties and my neighbors.”

In a community wealthy with good humans and culture, there is no reason to be bored. When you find yourself flipping through the channels, complacent with how your time is being spent, then get off the couch, go outside, and start building!

If some happened with our health, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a medicament. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotency and other states united to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What folk talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you have to look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual dysfunction. Even though this physic is not for use in women, it is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk.

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Story by Jeff Lilly

THE PACE OF PROGRESS IS OFTEN SLOW AND HALTING. Sometimes we even take a step or two backwards. But, as Martin Luther King Jr. once observed, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Charles Alexander, columnist for Between the Lines, has watched a lot of that arc. “In 1956, my senior year at Cass Technical High School, when I came out…” He pauses. “We were considered perverts, queers… there were no protections at all. Everyone was against us. The possibility of something like same sex equality was beyond belief, as were openly gay publications and organizations. None of this was in any way considered possible. If someone would have told me then (where we are in 2015,) I would have said they were crazy.”
The fight isn’t over yet. But how did we get to where we are today, to this crazy, wonderful world where loving couples of all descriptions can now freely marry? How did we build this lovely, inclusive city where people can feel free to be themselves?

SocialChange2It started with a Supreme Court case that would seem ridiculous today. 1958’s One, Inc. v. Oleson was the first Supreme Court case mentioning gay issues. The ruling was that “speech in favor of homosexuals” was not considered obscene. A small enough start, but now at least it could be talked about. Former Ferndale mayor Craig Covey remembers, “Growing up gay or lesbian prior to (the 1970s) meant keeping everything very much under wraps. The worst fears of gay people besides getting beat up were being arrested by the police for simply being gay. When I was 24 and still living in Columbus, I had my cat run over and killed by homophobic neighbors and later my lover and I had our house set on fire by them. The police response to us was a suggestion that we move.”

It was the bravery of early gay activists in the face of this onslaught that began to plant the seeds for social revolution. “I did hundreds of speaking engagements to thousands of people in the 1970s and ‘80s and gay activists did the same all over America.” Covey recalls. “That is how we got started on changing society.”
The first recorded gay activist group in Michigan was the Detroit Gay Liberation Movement, founded by Jim Toy in 1970. Progress was slow. A number of non-discrimination ordinances were passed in cities throughout Michigan, notably East Lansing in 1972, Ann Arbor in 1978, and Detroit in 1979.

Then disaster struck. “AIDS nearly wiped out the movement in the 1980s.” Covey says. “Many of our leaders were stricken and died.” But the survivors soldiered on.

Ferndale was just another Motor City bedroom community then, but LGBT people began to notice it. “At that time, Royal Oak was the place to be,” recalls Ann Heler, now director of FernCare. “But the cost of housing there had gone way up. So how could you stay near Royal Oak and still afford a home?”

Ferndale had a great supply of solidly-built, appealing houses that only needed a little TLC. It had a downtown crying for redevelopment. It was the perfect fit.

Nearby, in Palmer Park, Jeffrey Montgomery started the Triangle Foundation (now Equality Michigan) in 1991, out of the remnants of the Michigan Organization for Human Rights (MOHR.) Ferndale, following the leads of other cities, put a human rights ordinance on the ballot that same year.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.40.43 AMAttorney and former judge Rudy Serra put together this first ordinance, designed to offer protections against employment and housing discrimination. He spent hundreds of hours in research. “I read every U.S. case dealing with a local civil rights enactment in existence.” He says. He then took to the streets to help gather signatures to put it on the ballot. “During the petition phase, almost no one refused to sign. There was no organized opposition at all until city council members… started the usual anti-gay scare campaign.” Although it contained language protecting against discrimination based on race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, it was negatively portrayed simply as a “gay rights ordinance.” This misrep- resentation, combined with outside money from anti-gay groups and zero support from any elected officials or businesses, sent the measure to a heavy two-to-one defeat.

In 1996, Ferndale’s LGBT community decided to step out a little with the foundation of FANs, or Friends and Neighbors. Started by Kevin Rogers, Robert Lalickie, and Mi others, it “didn’t start off as a political organization.” Ann Heler explains. “It was just gays and lesbians living inFerndale, saying hello.” FANs members volunteered locally, joined committees, and tried to be visible. “The idea was to get people used to the idea… of us.” Heler says. It was FANs that organized the first Pub Crawl in 1997 (now run by the Michigan AIDS Coalition), a major annual event that’s raised over $150,000 for charity.

But the homophobic elements in Ferndale and elsewhere were pushing back. A number of states enacted laws specifically banning gay marriage in the mid-‘90s. Michigan’s legislature overwhelmingly passed such a law in 1996, the same year the execrable Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was enacted by Congress on the federal level. DOMA defined marriage as “between one man and one woman” and allowed states to not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. In Ferndale, meanwhile, a rash of anti-gay hate crimes erupted, coming to a peak in 1997.

SocialChange3“We looked at each other and said, ‘This isn’t right.’” Heler recalls. “You live in the neighborhood, you own a home, everybody should be safe.” So they formed the Police Positive committee, which Heler chaired. She called Ferndale Police Chief Sullivan, who met with members of FANs and the Triangle Foundation. Chief Sullivan’s response was immediate and unequivocal: “Criminal behavior of any kind has no place in Ferndale, period. It will not be condoned, and it will not be ignored.” Haters would still hate, but the police were firmly on the side of the local LGBT community.

1999 in Ferndale saw a second attempt at a human rights ordinance, this one organized by a blue- ribbon committee formed by Mayor Chuck Goedert. It was adopted by the city council and passed, but the victory was short-lived. A petition drive landed it back on the ballot in 2000 and it was overturned by popular vote. The final margin was agonizingly close: 51% to 49%. On that election night, Ferndale made national news when then-Councilman Craig Covey called the religious right a “vampire that needs a stake driven through its heart.” Gary Glenn (now representing District 98 in the Michigan House) came to a council meeting, and asked that Covey be arrested for that statement as a hate crime. He wasn’t. Statewide in 2004, Michigan voters passed Proposal 04-2, amending Michigan’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Over 58% voted yes. The tide was turning elsewhere, however. On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

In 2006, prompted by local transgender leaders, a third effort to pass a human rights ordinance in Ferndale was once more undertaken, only to be dismayed when trans people were at first left out of the proposed ordinance. It was feared that including transsexuals might lead to the proposal being voted down a third time, and thus possibly killing it for good. However, Ann Arbor had amended their ordinance in 1999 and East Lansing in 2005 to include transgender people, and Grand Rapids (in 1994) and Ypsilanti (in 1997) had passed their ordinances including them right off the bat, so precedent existed. In the end, Ferndale’s ordinance was reworded to include transsexuals, and it passed easily, by a two to one margin. Ferndale would not only be welcoming to everyone, but everyone’s civil rights would be protected under the law.

What had changed? Straight folks were increasingly understanding that “(We’re) like everyone else, sharing common values, just different in one little way.” Heler muses. The increasing visibility of LGBT people in communities across the nation, the progressively less- stereotyped portrayals in the media of LGBT relationships and family life, the growing realization among the straight majority that the apocalyptic, society-destroying predictions of anti-gay forces were complete bunk, and, most importantly, the raising of a new generation who have lived, worked, and went to school with people who were unapologetically out of the closet have also played their parts. The courage of the early activists, risking reputation and limb to come out to a hostile world, was finally bearing fruit.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.52.18 AMIn November of 2007, a quarter-century after having his home be the target of attempted arson by bigots, Craig Covey was elected mayor of Ferndale, the first openly-gay elected mayor in Michigan.
Nationally, despite continuing legal roadblocks, the momentum toward equality was unstoppable. In May of 2012, President Barack Obama openly voiced his support for same-sex marriage. In November of that year, voters in Maryland, Washington, and Maine legalized same-sex marriage, the first time this had been accomplished by popular vote instead of via court decision.

The news grew ever brighter. 2013 saw the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, rule DOMA unconstitutional (United States v. Windsor.) That same year, the court also decided (in Hollingsworth v. Perry) to overturn California’s Proposition 8, making same-sex marriage legal in California. Finally, June 26, 2015 came, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Obergefell v. Hodges, overturning bans in the last twelve states (including Michigan) where same-sex marriage was either illegal or partly restricted.

Work remains to be done. Civil rights protections for LGBT people at the federal level are spotty and incomplete. While some laws have been enacted, mostly regarding protections for federal workers, LGBT people are still not included as a class in national civil rights law.

Also, in Michigan, as Rudy Serra points out, “There are still sodomy and gross indecency laws.” Breaking these laws is a felony. “Criminal statutes overrule civil law. Accordingly, you can now legally marry your same sex spouse in Michigan and still get charged with a felony for having sex in the privacy of your home. This is an important remaining legal oppression of LGBT people in Michigan, (and) Michigan stands in open defiance of the U.S. Constitution.”

But for others, the writing is on the wall. “I honestly believe the movement is 98 per cent over,” says Covey, “because we have gotten rid of (many of the bad) laws, the ban on serving in the military, and now (we have) gay marriage. But truthfully, it was a whole lot of people working hard for 50 years that made all this happen.”

The arc continues, into the future.

“I want to recognize the Millenials.” Covey says. “I noticed their embrace of diversity over the past 15 years as I spoke on college campuses, and knew that it was just a matter of time…the millennials and the ones (who follow) are the generations that once and for all will get rid of racism and homophobia. I am so glad that I get to live to see it happen.”

Not everyone did live to see it happen. Many were killed by hate or snatched away by AIDS. Some just ran out of time, growing up and growing old in a world where they always had to hide, to suppress who they were out of fear of rejection, violence, or worse.

But we’re quickly heading on to a future where being gay or straight will be no more worthy of comment than having blue eyes or brown. Hopefully, when we get there, we’ll all be defined not by who we prefer to sleep with, not by our color or creed, not by the circumstances we were born into and the limitations imposed by society… but simply, and finally, by who we really are.

If some happened with our soundness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a preparation. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat emasculation and other states connected to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What men talk about “viagra stories“? The most essential aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a state called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual malfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this curing passes into breast milk.

Story by Derek Lindamood | Photos and Art courtesy of Linden

“Throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, the myths of Man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind.” – Joseph Campbell, Hero with 1,000 Faces

Local Artist Linden, formerly known as Lindsey Harnish, is a nine- year Ferndale resident who recently moved to New Center, Detroit. A long-time artist, she is looking to use art as a means of bringing people together within a community. Last May, she led a group of artists on a project inspired by author Joseph Campbell, called “Monomyth,” installed at the Lincoln Street Art Park and Sculpture Garden in Detroit.

“The basic idea is that, in many myths and stories, there is a recurring plot pattern, essential elements that occur in ancient books like the Bible to modern tales like Lego Movie,” Linden explains. “This archetypical pattern was called ‘Monomyth’ by mythologist Joseph Campbell.” The monomyth involves a hero going on an adventure. In a decisive crisis, she or he wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed.

“What my project sought to do is reinterpret those themes in a creative way, so that anyone could experience a heroic journey for themselves. I hoped that, by walking through the Monomyth installation, they would also realize that we are all heroes in a story and these themes that seem so epic on the movie screen reoccur in our own lives in a way that is grand, unique and gorgeous.”

In Linden’s interpretation of Monomyth, passerby going through the “ordinary world” would encounter a sign that read “To Adventure.” Linden’s idea was that the Monomyth’s integral feature would be its labyrinth, while each individual artist designed his/her own art piece representing one piece of the journey at each station. Other artists involved with creating these stations included Mike Ross, Joseph Lapham, Sicily Amaris McRaven, Stephanie Mae, DVS, John Finazzo, Terri Light and JoJo Smedo, with much support from other artists.

“We all want to be doing our individual work, but I’m trying to incorporate art into community,” Linden comments. “Art is an individual expression, but it takes working together to bring it out in the world. Monomyth really taught me how much it takes working together to make something great happen.”

Linden’s own recent work is inspired by myth and symbolism, but the ties to Campbell are loose. Most of Linden’s paintings are inspired by internal psychology and human identity. She found the artists for the project and filled the gaps.

“I went into this project with the intention of giving, but I got so much back, even getting a shifting impression of my new neighborhood. There was this guy pull- ing bottles out of a [trash] can near our project. He asked me what I was doing. I told him about it, and he really got the idea, made some very insightful com- ments on it. This taught me that some- one doesn’t have to be Oxford educat- ed to see and appreciate something like this. The literal ‘man on the street’ got it.”

Before Monomyth, Linden’s art was primarily painting. “I used to be a writer, but you can get to a point there are things you can’t articulate, so it’s easier and more…expedient…to just make art. The stories in my art are bigger than me. A friend recently said we pull these things out of the stratosphere, which I think is a great way of putting it.”

Two years ago, Linden shifted from painting in oil and acrylics to using ancient painting technique called encaustics. “This type of piece is made with beeswax mixed with resin, then painted. The picture must be painted

while it’s hot. So, [the medium is kept at] 200 degrees while painting, and has to be fused with a hot iron, a heat gun, a blowtorch or some other fiery element. It all has an interesting smell.” Linden was drawn to this labor-intensive form of painting upon seeing encaustic paintings at museums and galleries. Even after visiting the studio of Birgit Huttemann-Holz at the Pioneer Building in Detroit and taking a season of classes at Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Linden was hesitant to pursue the medium further. “It’s labor intensive, [there’s] a lot of equipment, it’s dangerous, toxic—but once I started, it changed my life.” Because of the toxicity of encaustic painting, Linden typically works outdoors. She keeps painting until it’s too cold to tolerate. “Last year, I stopped in December.”

Linden hopes to work with other exhibit spaces in Ferndale and coordinate gallery nights, like the Third Thursday events in Detroit, where studios often have open houses or receptions. She also works for the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce and is helping to produce the next year of “The Artist in You. “ This program, put on through the CoC, the DDA, and Ferndale Schools, put on a contest for artists from Ferndale High and surrounding areas, and put the students’ art on large panels mounted on businesses around Ferndale. “Last year was a little bit too subtle; this year, hopefully all of the students who participate will get some recognition, other than just the winners.”

Linden is now teaching encaustic painting classes at PonyRide in Detroit. “I’m only able to paint this way because others shared it with me, so the classes are a way of continuing that sharing,” she says. “I also am excited to get plugged into the creative energy of the PonyRide community, where they’re doing a bit of everything, in a way that is very Detroit.”

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If you are interested in learning about encaustic painting, Linden’s classes are twice per month. Details are at http://lindenartworks.com/classes

Pictures of the MONOMYTH project can be seen on http://www.detroitmonomyth.com and Linden’s personal art can be seen at http://lindenartworks.com

If something happened with our heartiness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a medicament. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotency and other states connected to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you must look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction turn on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual disfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this therapy passes into breast milk.

Story and photo by Kevin Alan Lamb

Good citizens of Ferndale, the moment you’ve been waiting for is here! After a decade of overwhelm- ing demand your dog park will be delivered to Wilson Park, located at University and Hilton. No longer must you leave the friendly confines of Fabulous Ferndale to enjoy a silly and safe afternoon with your canine.

“It will open in mid-August, and feature a large and small dog play area,” says Lloyd Cureton with the Department of Public Works.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 9.56.48 AMCome one, come all! So long as your dog is licensed, vaccinated, and plays nicely, of course.

“Parks and Recreation are still determin- ing the rules and guidelines, and will likely require Good Citizen Certification to rule out aggressive dogs and ensure they play nice.” Cureton explained.

Local vendors will offer the required Good Citizen Certification. There will be a waste cleanup area to ensure dog owners dispose of their furry friends’ business. While it is still under consideration, there may be a small fee to enter the park.

“There will be a pet-friendly drinking and washing area with an enhanced landscape surrounding the dog walking area.”

Access to the dog park will be through a wirelessly controlled gate which enforces the park’s hours of operation.

While there has been speculation of an intramural flag football league for dogs, the inability to find a “one-size-fits-all” football has ruled out the idea.

Current Wilson Park amenities include a baseball, basketball, and soccer fields, grills and picnic tables, an in-line rink, park benches, play structure and swing sets.

The dog park rules and regulations, when decided, will be available through the city’s website.

When asked if he had a dog who would be enjoying this wonderful addition to the Ferndale community, Cureton said, “Absolutely! My Frank can’t wait.”

Dog parks are an excellent source of both dog-dog social interaction, and dog-people interaction. They offer a shared community space to meet and engage other dog owners, set doggy play dates, and free your dog from the confines of leash exercise. With adequate physical and mental exercise, your canine will be less likely to participate in destructive or annoying behaviors.

In many instances dog owners must govern and worry over their pet’s antics; dog parks provide a healthy opportunity for owners to learn about their dog through observation and through more experienced owners.

The addition of a community dog park will reduce the likelihood of owners letting their dogs run free in on-leash parks, ensuring the Ferndale parks community is safer for children, dogs, and humans.

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For more information, dogs and their humans can contact the Department of Public Works at 248-546-2519. The DPW is open Monday through Thursday, 7:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

If some happened with our health, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a medicament. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat emasculation and other states coupled to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What folk talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction switch on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual dysfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this curing passes into breast milk.

Story by Jackson Drapier | Photo by Ed Abeska

Matt Helms is a fan of freedom of speech.

As a writer for the Detroit Free Press and a co-founder of the popular Facebook Fabulous Ferndale forum (which has the text of the first amendment as part of its “description” section), Matt has built a life around the ability to freely community with, and about, the world around him. An active Ferndale resident for the last 20 years, the Michigan State graduate has recently found himself at the center of an exploding controversial fad in the City of Ferndale: Facebook forums. And with over 2,500 members on its roster, his Fabulous Ferndale Forum has risen quickly to become one of the city’s most popular.

Though he’s been a Facebook user since late 2007, Matt’s first foray into forum-ing on Facebook came by way of the Jerks of Ferndale forum, which he discovered after noticing an influx of Facebook groups tied to the City of Ferndale. The group, which boasts about 500 members, offered Matt a relaxed place to joke around with like-minded people and discuss current events in the city. “It’s not all that complicated,” Helms said about Jerks of Ferndale. “It’s just a diverse group of people who get together and talk about stuff.”

As his interest in local forums grew, Matt became a member of the largest Ferndale-related forum on Facebook: the aptly named Ferndale Forum, which at the time of publication had almost 5,000 members in and around the city. The idea of having an open place to discuss the ins-and-outs of life in Ferndale was certainly appealing to Helms, however, due to philosophical differences, after less than a month of membership Matt and a few friends set out to start their own, and the Fabulous Ferndale Forum was born.

“If you actually look at what gets posted in our group and what gets posted in the Ferndale forum, there’s a lot of similarity. It’s just a philosophical difference about how the groups are managed.”

The response so far has been, in a word: fabulous. After only being open for five short months, the forum already counts more than 2,500 members within its ranks, and is growing every day.

The Fabulous Ferndale Forum and the original Ferndale Forum are only two of the dozens of Ferndale-related forums that have populated Facebook in recent years. There are groups that specialize in certain areas of Ferndale like the Allen Street and Chesterfield Street forums, as well as those for specific interests like Ferndale Freecycle, Ferndale Area Runners, and the Ferndale Walking Group. All of these, says Helms, help the citizens of Ferndale better connect with the place they call home.

“We’ve attracted a lot of top city officials and a lot of business owners in the city, and we want people to be able to have access to those folks just as much as they would in the other forums.”

Though the Fabulous Ferndale Forum is mostly used for discussion about current events, recommendations, local business reviews, and variety of other hot-button topics, Helms and various members of the forum are using their collective efforts to better the community they love both on and off the computer screen. “We as a group also sponsored Clean the Ferndale Up! in May, and about 18 of us got together for that event and helped clean up a park.” Helms said. “So, that’s really the gist of what we want to do. We want people to be able to know, and have information, about how to actively participate and live in a community like Ferndale.”

When asked if there has been negativity surrounding the founding of the Fabulous Ferndale forum, Matt was quick to say no. “(There’s been) no backlash at all. I think the idea of us being about free speech and supporting the city’s diversity has caught on.”

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To find the Fabulous Ferndale forum, the Ferndale Forum, or any other Ferndale-related forums on Facebook, simply enter the name of the forum in the Facebook search bar.

If something happened with our soundness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a preparation. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotence and other states coupled to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What men talk about “viagra stories“? The most vital aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a state called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual disfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk.

Story by Jeff Milo | Photos courtesy of Woodshed Studios

When I walk into Woodshed Studios on an early summer’s evening, I can feel excitement. Secluded, subdued and soundproofed so as to affect a startling silence, I can still hear all of the music that’s been captured here. I can particularly catch the passion for the craft of recording, emanating from my two hosts, Ed Sertage, head engineer, along with his protégé, Jonathan Berz. They’re bustling through one of their busiest years ever in terms of clientele. Lots of exciting new releases from local artists are on the way, thanks to their recording work.

The goal at Woodshed, Sertage says, leading me around the main tracking space, is to provide a professional environment with a relaxed atmosphere, optimally conducive to the creative process. That responsibility, in balancing a certain welcoming ambiance along with applying their skills as collaborative (and adaptable) producers, is one of the many things they’ve learned from having worked inside this space in the past with their own bands when the studio was run by local music icon Tim Pak.

Producer/musician Tim Pak started Woodshed back in the mid 1990’s. Local punk and rock groundbreakers like The Suicide Machines, The Amino Acids and Thoughts of Ionesco have recorded some of their greatest albums inside these modest walls. Although, beyond the romanticized rock glories captured here, Woodshed has also served as an ideal facilitator for a wide range of clients and genres, from jazz to metal, gospel to hip-hop.

“This place means a lot to so many people, including myself,” said Sertage, who took over Woodshed from Pak in 2007. “(Pak)’s legacy around here is very well known; his shoes are definitely big ones to fill.”

For Berz, it’s essentially a dream come true. “A handful of records (Pak) made here had a huge impact on me when I was just discovering local music. It’s great to have the ability to work out of such an inspiring space with a lot of history.”

Sertage and Berz have collaborated continually for several years, currently with the group experimental pop outfit Songs From The Moon. Berz is also part of local throwback country/pop group The Walking Beat while Sertage serves as lead guitar in the rock group Bedford Drive.

Sertage says he started recording out of necessity. “When I was 13 and playing with my friends, we didn’t have the money for a big studio. We had to get creative with what we had available.” Sertage says these early trials with two-track tape decks and microphones were not only an invaluable learning experience but also the spark that started his “love affair with the recording process.”

Berz, who started assisting Sertage at Woodshed more than a year ago, had made recordings even before he started playing music, recording the radio or samples from cassettes to mash them up into his own rock remixes or maybe sonic sketches of his own “phoney radio shows.” He started recording an album with Suicide Machines bassist Royce Nunley in 2005 and soon after joined (and released three more albums) with the group Blasé Splee. Ever since,

Berz hasn’t had his keen ears away from headphones for very long.

Sertage and Berz are in the midst of a particularly busy year. The studio helped record/produce new albums from local bands like Yes Wait No, My Shaman Dentist, Matt Dmits, The Walking Beat, The Mythics, Zombie Jesus & The Chocolate Sunshine Band, High Arrow along with more work with their own group Songs From The Moon.

There’s also the forthcoming launch for their own YouTube channel featuring original Woodshed content and Sertage’s continued collaboration with licensing company ALP Music. That’s 2015, alone! As we went to print, Berz reported finishing the Zombie Jesus album, his first official project as an engineer (and not just an “intern”). Meanwhile, High Arrow’s album is likely already streaming online as you read this…

“Woodshed is essentially full-service,” Sertage said. “I have access to an extensive amp and pedal collection for all the gearheads out there like myself and work hard to keep all the equipment in great shape.”

Berz & Sertage try to make bands feel like they are jamming in their basement and not under the microscope in a laboratory. “’No’ is the worst thing” that you could tell a band, says Sertage. “The world is full of ‘no’s…’ and none of us play music to be told ‘no!’ We play music to be told: Yes, you can do that…”

At Woodshed you can try anything. And as several local bands with new releases on the way can assure you, you’ll find accommodating collaborators at Woodshed.

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Interested in recording at Woodshed? Contacts and more information at: http://www.woodshedsound.com

If some happened with our soundness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a medicament. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotence and other states connected to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people talk about “viagra stories“? The most vital aspect you must look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual disfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual dysfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this therapy passes into breast milk.