Aug / Sept 2018
Ferndale Friends August / September 2018


ACROSS THE CITIES SERVED BY FERNDALE FRIENDS, lawn signs are displayed welcoming immigrants to our communities. What they proclaim are an echo of he familiar words mounted on the base of the Statue of Liberty—“Give me your tired, your poor. . .”

In Ferndale, Oak Park and beyond, the signs on our lawns state in three languages, “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.” These public pronouncements define communities committed to diversity, tolerance, and a charity of heart.

The “mighty woman with a torch,” as the full poem reads, reaches 305 feet into the sky, calling out a welcome to the “huddled masses” and “wretched refuse” to our shores.

Wonderful words, but rarely honored as we are witnessing today at the U.S. southern border. American history wasn’t much better on welcoming immigrants to our country either. In fact, from the first wave of European migrants, the new arrivals were despised and discriminated against.

Other than those from Northern Europe, many of our ancestors were accused of being the source of crime, disease, and social unrest, much in the way those from Central and South America are today by some. Although, it is well-known that current immigrants commit less crime than those born here, this doesn’t stop right-wing politicians from whipping up frightened Americans with images of criminal gangs and job theft.

The lower crime rate is actually somewhat surprising. Earlier ethnic groups often were disproportionately represented in law-breaking. The Irish (part of my heritage) were the targets of great discrimination, giving rise to signs saying, “No Irish need apply” at job sites, leading to lives of poverty and high crime rates.

Following their mass migration here in the 1840s and ‘50s, so many poor Irishmen were hauled off to jail that the police vehicle employed was dubbed a Paddy Wagon, using the word which became an anti-Irish slur stemming from the nickname for Pádraig (Patrick when Anglicized). And, just as the racist stereotyping of all Muslims results from the actions of a tiny fraction of those of the faith, so too were Irish thought to be more loyal to the Pope in Rome than their new country.

This was reinforced during the 1846-48 U.S. ware against Mexico, when hundreds of newly arrived Irishmen were gang-pressed into the American army. Hundreds of Dubliners deserted from the U.S. war of aggression and fought on the Mexican side, organizing themselves as the St. Patrick’s Battalion. These “red-headed fighters” battled American troops alongside the Mexican army from Metamoros to San Diego, finally falling to “the cannons from Boston,” as David Rovics’ lyrics puts it in his song about the Battalion. (Available at

As an aside, when condemning Russia’s inexcusable annexation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, we should consider the massive territory theft of Mexican territory—California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Putin’s moves are small change compared to that.

Other immigrating ethnic groups fared no better, being seen by the native born as people constantly under suspicion of crime and political radicalism. This included groups such as Jews (part of my heritage) and Italians, who upon arriving provided enough of their members involved in both to maintain stereotypes.

Although only an infinitesimal small number participated in criminal gangs, Italians in the Mafia and Jews in mobs like Detroit’s Purple Gang, they were often held to be representative of the entire nationality. For instance, in 1908, the New York City police commissioner claimed erroneously that half of the city’s criminals were Jewish.

Many Jewish immigrants were members of communist, socialist, and anarchist groups during the early years of the 20th Century, fueling anti-Semitism and a perception of disloyalty. Some recently arrived Italians were part of violent anarchist groups that carried out a string of bombings in the WWI era, including targeting Wall Street, and the homes of the U.S. Attorney General, and oil magnate, John D. Rockefeller.

Legislation such as the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and the Immigration Act of 1924 gave lie to the Lady of the Harbor’s call to “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.”

PEOPLE NOT WELCOMED, HELD IN CONTEMPT, DISCRIMINATED AGAINST, and stereotyped, find it difficult to integrate into their new homeland – which is why the signs appearing on our lawns are so important. In the tumultuous days of the early 20th Century, there was no one to say, “We’re glad you’re our neighbor.”

The early immigration waves came as a result of wars, famine, and poverty, and it is no less so today with those crossing the border from South and Central America. Rather than erecting a wall as a ridiculous way to stem illegal immigration, how about enacting a hemisphere-wide minimum wage of $15? Workers from Detroit to Guadalajara would see a rise in their standard of living and the corporations which currently benefit from paying slave wages would pay for it.

This alone would go a long way towards staunching the poverty and violence that is endemic to poor regions and cities, and could end the tide of migration. The poverty and violence of a century ago and that of today is what impels waves of immigrants to flee their homeland.

A huge redistribution of wealth in the form of an increased wage might mean that Richie Rich Guy won’t be able to buy a second Maserati or own his own island, but prosperity for all is the key to having stable, livable cities and countries.

So, let’s keep those signs up until our brothers and sisters from the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America are allowed to take their place in our society in the same manner as were our forebears.

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


Story by Mary Meldrum

CLINTON HUBBELL IS A RESIDENT OF FERNDALE, AN ATTORNEY, AND PARTNER IN HUBBELL DUVALL, PLLC IN SOUTHFIELD. He has worked since 2008 for justice for juveniles sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment. His advocacy for children began out of a devotion to his client, Cortez Davis, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1993. As a result of Hubbell’s diligence, Davis was granted parole this year.

Hubbell specializes in civil law, but Davis was his first client. That’s right: Clinton Hubbell has followed and fought for this young man for 24 years. “This is a labor of love,” Hubbell confesses. “This case gives meaning to my work.”

Cortez Davis was convicted of first degree murder, even though he was not the shooter at an armed robbery in 1993. Davis’ co-defendant, Michael Scott, admitted to shooting the victim. Davis was there, didn’t kill anyone, but was guilty of the murder by virtue of his presence and contributing to the robbery. In Michigan, in 1994, there was only one sentence available for murder: life without parole. Davis received that sentence.

Judge Vera Massey Jones, who presided over the case in Wayne County Recorders Court, held that the mandatory juvenile life-without-parole sentence was unconstitutional in 1994. “The judge, she said over and over again that she thought he was innocent of felony murder,” Hubbell says. “That is what initially got me interested. I have never heard a judge be so active in defense of someone.”

Hubbell took up the case, and in 1994 argued that Judge Jones was right. Davis had been railroaded by a bunch of Michigan laws that stacked up against juveniles. The first such law stated that if you are accused of murder, you are automatically tried as an adult. Then Michigan’s felony murder rule states that if you are present and guilty of an offense during the commission of murder, you are guilty of the murder, too.

Following those two laws, under mandatory sentencing, a judge does not have any discretion to sentence a juvenile to anything but life in prison. The law makes no distinction between adults and juveniles. This set of laws has affected over 300 juveniles in Michigan over decades. At the age of 16, Davis fell into the perfect storm of these legal parameters.

In a 2010 court battle, Hubbell relied on Graham-versus-Florida, a U.S. Supreme Court case that states that juveniles cannot be sentenced for life for non-homicide events. Trial courts shot down his Graham defense in 2010.

Then in 2012, in another landmark case, Miller-versus-Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court, found it unconstitutional for a state to implement mandatory life sentences for juveniles for any crime. Life without parole is available for the worst offenders, but it cannot be mandatory. Juveniles are entitled to a hearing to determine re-sentencing.

Following the Miller-versus-Alabama case, Hubbell spent four more years of legal jousting to drive a decision about whether the Miller decision could be applied retroactively.His argument landed in the U.S. Supreme Court, but another case found that Miller does apply retroactively and juveniles sentenced prior to 2012 could take advantage of it.

In 2014, the Michigan legislature began to act, and juveniles started to get re-sentenced under “Miller hearings.” In April of 2017, Davis had his hearing. He was sentenced to 25 to 60 years, and he became parole-eligible. He was granted parole and is eligible for release in September of 2018 – just a few months away.

Davis grew up and lived under dire circumstances in a bad home in Detroit. His father died when he was very young; Davis was taken from his mother a few times by the state when he was a little boy, and drugs were found in the house.

Served by only an eighth-grade education at the time of his sentencing, Davis persevered under his tragic circumstances and life sentence. He obtained his GED, studied and became fluent in American Sign Language. He became a master horticulturist, and completed several trades programs while in prison.

What is impressive about his achievements is that with a life sentence he was not granted access to many of the resources available to other prisoners. Davis has demonstrated remarkable tenacity under the darkest of circumstances.

After 24 years of fighting for his vulnerable client, Hubbell has been shifting toward helping Davis assemble the numerous resources he needs once he finally gets out of prison. His hope is to use what he finds as a model to give guidance to other lawyers about what to tell clients and how to help them when they get out of prison.

“These were children when they went into the system. Most were never properly socialized, never worked a real job, most have little or no family structure, many have dropped out of school and are illiterate, and they had not finished developing mentally when they were imprisoned,” Hubbell explains.

Hubbell is working on developing a protocol of sorts for others like Davis; aligning the necessary resources to get work, and especially a place to live. As Davis’ resource manager, Hubbell’s advocacy is shifting to securing a safe and conducive environment for Davis to emerge into post-incarceration.

“Maybe we are not the sum of the worst thing we have done. Something draws me to that idea. There still needs to be punishment for crimes, but there is more to a person than the crime that put them behind bars.”

If you are interested in contributing time or resources, please reach out to Clint Hubbell at

By Andrea Grieg
Photo by Bernie Laframboise

WETMORE’S AUTO REPAIR HAS THE MOST RECOGNIZABLE BUILDING IN FERNDALE. Located on the corner of Woodward and Drayton, the blue brick building features interesting architecture, large vintage signs, giant windows, and a Daffodil Yellow 1963 Chrysler soaring out of the top of the building.

It is impossible to miss.

Around the time of Wetmore’s grand opening, local garages were spending small fortunes on eye-catching balloons and banners for roadside attention. Wetmore’s original owner Roy C. Wetmore found a permanent, and incredibly unique, form of advertising. A junked Wills Saint Claire originally adorned the building, with the front wheels spinning on a belt-system showing a permanent wheel wobble, the shop’s specialty. The wheels were painted with a white stripe to accentuate the wobbling. Although the car has been blamed for a few fender benders on Woodward, the tradition has stayed for almost 90 years. The Wills Saint Claire has been replaced four times with a 1940s Buick, a Hudson (which was protested by the Hudson Motor Car Company executives), a 1949 Lincoln, and finally the current empty-bodied Chrysler which made its debut in 1966.

The car isn’t the most interesting part of the garage though. The building’s architecture was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. In the 1940’s, Mr. Wetmore’s daughter dated a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. This led to Wright and Wetmore’s introduction. Wright designed a sketch of his vision for the business, and it still included a car flying off the roof. The office area was built to Wright’s designs; however, the rest of the plans were discarded after disagreements between Wright and Wetmore.

WETMORE STARTED THE BUSINESS IN 1928, and sold it on a Land contract in 1969. The land contract was forfeited, and Wetmore sold the business to the current owner, Chris Lynch, and his father Bud in 1975. While the shop originally specialized in alignment and frame work, the Lynch’s grew their scope to include wheels, tires, and most general repairs.

Currently, Wetmore’s employs 12 ASE-certified mechanics, and the shop boasts Ferndale’s best tire inventory of used and OEM tires available. Customers can shop the tire selection on the Wetmore web site.

The Wetmore web site also features an innovative self-diagnosis tool, with which customers can look up their vehicle by year, make, and model. Customers can then look up their specific issue by the sound, feeling, sight, or smell, with very specific descriptions for each possible problem. The self-diagnosis tool gives customers direct feedback of problem possibilities, with an option for the shop to call for further assistance.

“It is great owning a business in Ferndale,” Chris Lynch says. “The people and community keeps us going.” Wet-more’s is open Monday through Friday 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM, and Saturdays 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM at 23459 Woodward Avenue. Visit for more information about their work, their history, and for customer coupons.

By Rebecca Hammond


LAST SPRING I BOUGHT A BEE HOUSE AT ALDI, being Aldi-priced into an impulse buy I didn’t really think would pan out. And last summer I was right. Although an occasional firefly hung out during the day, no bees showed any interest.

This May, mason bees found the house and got to work, and were as engrossing as birds at the feeder. They spent about a month filling almost every cavity, each now containing 4 or 5 larvae, each plugged with mud. The bees will not emerge until next summer. I noticed that they didn’t work in any form of bad weather. Maybe they have a union.

I recently watched a mother squirrel trying to get a half-grown offspring into a nest cavity in a silver maple. She crossed the street looking like she was wearing a fur stole, and ran up the maple, to spend long minutes stuffing the young squirrel into a hole it had no interest in entering. I was certain the hole was simply too small (she reminded me of a back-packer trying to get a sleeping bag into a stuffsack) but once the baby was in, she went in, too. Days later, small squirrels spent hours playing near that hole. Why that one young squirrel left the nest so early, and even crossing the street, I’ll never know, but it didn’t escape Mom. Our big, beautiful trees are wildlife assets. Our big oaks, especially, not only provide wildlife housing, but caterpillars that feed birds and their broods.

We have a bird house that has sheltered chickadees for almost 30 years, and they need thousands of caterpillars for each brood. We don’t, as recommended, remove the old nest each year, but we did have to repair a wooden house nearby, and found inside a perfect bagel-shape of cat fur and moss, fur from our 22-year-old cat Gizzie (we put the winter’s fur combed from her out every March), moss from who knows where.

So when spring cleanup at our cabin left us with a sheet of moss removed from a concrete step, a furthering of the habitat here seemed possible. Just bring the moss home, tear it up, press it down and keep it watered for awhile, right? Wrong. Robins, even in our fairly moss-free world, knew from the get-go that worms live under moss, and they tossed it around as they do leaves. I refuse to be thwarted by robins, so began holding the moss down with rocks, then poultry staples, 3-inch common nails with “washers” cut from a hummus lid, and finally T pins. All this does is make robins more creative. I now have hundreds of tiny pieces of moss that I hope soon become uninteresting. Online recommendations for getting moss started include putting moss in a blender (!!!) with water and buttermilk, and dumping the slurry here and there. This just seems mean to moss, possibly necessitating a Society for the Protection against Cruelty to Moss. But maybe the person who dreamed this up had robins.

ALTHOUGH WE HAVEN’T SEEN A NEIGHBORHOOD RAT since about 2015, they are still abundant in parts of Ferndale, and the Ferndale Rat Patrol dispenses advice and encouragement. Group leader Laura Mikulski messaged me this: “As a grassroots community group, we came together after a Ferndale neighborhood group met with the city and weren’t satisfied by the information from the pest control company the city brought in to address how to eliminate rats. They offered poison in heavy bait boxes as the only solution besides typical preventative measures. Myself and several founding members of the group had been trapping effectively for years, and decided coordinating efforts would be a more holistic, environmentally conscious way of eliminating rats.”

Why no poisons? “Because the second-generation anticoagulants are being proven to kill pets and wildlife over long periods of time. While pest control companies say that lethal doses of bromadiolone is impossibly big to achieve death of a pet, the sad fact is that second-generation poison bio-accumulates within animals, and eventually kills them. In wildlife populations studied in California, they’re finding that the poison can last eight months in the liver of animals, giving predators and pets alike ample time to consume more than one rat, and really skewing the possibility toward eventually poisoning. Due to predator secondary poisoning, rat populations flourish unabated. Remove the predators, and rats can repopulate ad nauseum.” I’m hearing screech owls, and neighbor Dan Tanner just got a wonderful shot of one taking off from a power line, and I concur. Let the predators live.

Erika Sandberg added a cautionary tale on the Rat Patrol Facebook page: “We don’t use poison, yet my dog still got into some. Other than a stressful afternoon and an unplanned vet bill, everything should be fine. But if I hadn’t witnessed her grabbing the poison, my dog probably would’ve eaten the whole thing and started unexplainably bleeding a few days from now. Thank you for discouraging the use of poison. I for one really appreciate your efforts. Poison is a selfish means of pest control as it impacts so many more than just the intended target.”

This is a banner year for monarch butterflies, both in numbers people are seeing, and in those planting milkweed and raising caterpillars indoors (where they are much more likely to survive). Raising monarchs is easy and close to foolproof. Some of the happiest people I know at this moment are currently raising their first families of caterpillars, and sharing the experience on social media. If you want plants, eggs, or caterpillars, find the Ferndale.

Rebecca Hammond lives with her husband Phil on their mini-sanctuary in Ferndale.

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I HAVE BECOME INCREASINGLY DISINTERESTED in doing the things that in the past gave me joy. I opt out of city gatherings, preferring to stay home and paint or gar-den. I began to worry about what could be wrong and why I just didn’t want to have “fun” anymore.  Chief Collins’ retirement party is a prime example. I love Collins, and wanted to go to show my respect and to see everyone. Yet, as the day rolled around: First, Virginia called to say she wasn’t going. Then I too backed out. For what? Stayed home and knitted. Huh, that’s not good.

While having lunch with my Timmy, I mentioned I didn’t want to have fun any more. He said maybe my ideas of having fun had changed. After all, nothing stays the same. Huh! I remembered how in my youth, fun meant all night parties, and the back seat of souped-up Chevys.

Then, I was a doting housewife and mother, whose idea of fun was to make cookies and sew dresses for my little girl. Later, it was work, and building my business. I immersed myself in real estate. No parties, few friends, just business transactions. I was having fun. Wheeling and dealing is kind of heady.

After the end of my second marriage, I went on a sort of spiritual/self improvement journey: Attending lectures and services at Church of Today, learning how to improve myself and be in tune with the universe. I stayed devoted to my business during this time.

After retirement, I became more interested in the community, working on a variety of commissions, and socializing and working with movers and shakers in Ferndale. I loved attending and helping with the various events: the Pub Crawl, Blues Fest, Foundation events, and especially the campaigns and elections.

But now I am happier with a few friends, and quiet lunches, and chats. Senior meetings where everyone knows me, and share the same problems and worries I have. I look forward to days without meetings so I can play with my garden or paints, or read. So, it turns out that I still like to have “fun.” The nature of “fun” has just changed.

It is interesting that some interests from phase to phase remain. I still work on my spiritual health, and any mention of real estate still perks me up. I still love baking cookies. And, I am still passionate about local politics.

Looking back at all these passages was interesting. Try it. Take some time to reflect on where you have been, and who you were. Your memories may give you new insight into your successes and failures. Then look at today and see how different it all is, and yet, some things remain. It is intriguing.

So, go out and have fun!

Jeannie Davis, 248 541 5888

HELP STILL WANTED: Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners. Do you have three hours a month to volunteer in the fabulous FernCare Free Clinic? The commitment is three hours a month. You can be retired but need to have kept your practicing license current.

Upcoming clinic sessions: 
Sat. mornings, 9:00 AM to Noon: Sept. 8 / Sept. 22 / Oct. 6 / Oct. 20;
Thurs. evenings, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM: Aug. 13 / Aug. 27 / Oct. 11 / Oct. 25.

If you have any questions, call Ann Heler at 248-677-2273, ext. 23 or e-mail our Head Nurse, Diane Dengate at or go to our web site,, and pull down the volunteers tab, complete the application and send it to Diane.

LIFT A GLASS OF CHAMPAGNE! We are celebrating our eighth year as a medical clinic on Aug.7! Yes, we opened our first clinic at the Kulick Community Center on Aug. 7. If you remember, this was a set up/tear down clinic open two Saturday mornings a month. There was a crew that set up the clinic, tore it down after and then stored the equipment and medications at their homes until the next clinic. Linda and Doug Baker, John and Lyle Ulinski, Jeanne Cavanaugh and then Christine Rainey, Joanne and Dick Willcock and Ann Heler, for 13 months until we moved into 459 E. Nine Mile. So many thanks to that intrepid crew. Now you know I did not and do not forget the clinic medical volunteers but this group created the space that allowed the clinic to be a clinic.

FernCare is still scheduling new patient appointments a month out. 248-677-2273. If you cannot wait that long, there are two free clinics with available appointments much sooner than that:
(1) Bernstein Community Health Clinic, 45580 Woodward Ave. Pontiac, MI 48341, 248-309-3752
(2) HUDA Clinic, 13420 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit, MI 48213, 313-444-5490.

If you need more resources, please call the clinic and ask for Carolyn Barr. She has the lists of all the free clinics and the services they offer in the area.

By: Jeff Milo, Circulation Specialist

THERE’S ALWAYS SO MUCH GOING ON AT THE LIBRARY! We regularly update our web site (, but you can also get more updates if you follow us on social media (Facebook/Instagram). Meanwhile, here’s a rundown of some late-summer events:

For children (age 8-12), we have our monthly S.T.E.A.M. program (for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). They’ll meet on Tuesday, August 21 to take “The Skyscraper Challenge!” Materials will be provided for STEAM participants to build a model skyscraper. The goal is to find a way to create the tallest free-standing model (skyscraper), while instilling the principles of math, geometry and teamwork. Registration is required.

We’ll host a presentation about the Ferndale Rat Patrol on Wednesday, August 22, discussing their methods designed to avoid any harm to the overall health of the environment, i.e. minimizing, if not eliminating, the use of rat poisons.

Then, on Thursday, August 23, we’ll be hosting another Uprooted: Music & Movement program. This is our weekly story time event for toddlers and parents to engage with stories through song, rhythm and melody. It starts at 10:30 AM, and no registration is required. We had quite a turnout in July when we partnered with Ferndale Parks & Recreation to host this event out-doors, in Martin Road Park. It’s one of our most popular programs and always a fun and stimulating time for toddlers to let loose and interact with each other.

On Friday, August 24, we have something for our teenage patrons. The school year will start up again in no time, so we encourage parents of teens to let them know about our drop-in recreational program, where we provide pizza, a big screen TV, Playstation 4 video games and our new VR headset. It’s an excellent way for teens to blow off some steam in a cool, welcoming and safe environment.

Later, on Saturday, September 8, we have the monthly Ferndale Game Day. Every second Saturday, at 1:00 PM, we host a drop-in marathon of strategy board games, with all ages and all experience levels welcome. Learn new games and play old favorites!

We also have two more Adulting 101 programs. Librarians Darlene Hellenberg and Michelle Williams coordinate fun classes for adults of all ages to up their game when it comes to getting things done. Adults can register in advance for September 12’s Adulting program: “Be Our Guest: Dinner Party Pro Tips.”

COMING UP: We have a new exhibition of dazzling, poly-chromatic illustrations by local artist Mara Magyarosi-Laytner. Also, our First Stop Friday local music showcase returns on October 12. And we anticipate another busy year of partnering and outreach programming with Ferndale Schools. If you’d like to get involved and support library programs and collection development, visit the Friends of the Ferndale Library online at:

By David Ryals

COMING OUT IS ALMOST NEVER EASY. Couple that with heavily Christian, highly conservative parents, and it can become nearly impossible. That’s why twins Michael and Zach Zakar, 24, fully intended on keeping it a secret from their family forever. But at 18 their mother asked if they were gay, and they decided to come out. And her reaction inspired them to turn their unique experience of being gay Arab twins to the public eye.

Zach gave Ferndale Friends an exclusive interview on their experiences, including what it was like to write their memoir called Pray The Gay Away: “It started with one simple event: we came out to our very religious mother and she threw holy water at us. I thought it was ‘interesting’ and, as two film students at the time, we wrote it on a sticky note to add it in a potential short film. Two weeks later, she tried to force feed us ‘holy grapes’ and you can say the book wrote itself. We had offers from publishing houses with horrible contracts, so we decided to self-publish to have more freedom in what we write and produce.

Their book, and YouTube videos, have made them local celebrities, appearing on Tosh. O and given loads of press from various national outlets. “After appearing on Tosh. O, we decided to slowly transition out of YouTube because it wasn’t necessarily fulfilling. We want to make bigger strides in the community and the world, so we dabbled in stand-up, speaking at LGBT events, etc.”

Honestly, I can guarantee that you’ll love our book. Yes, that sounds cocky, but it was written from the heart and we are proud of our little baby. Reviews have been equally as heartfelt. We’re glad people can relate to our story – gay or straight.”

Zach took time to reflect on being a double minority in America and how he and Michael’s aims have taken a more philanthropic angle.

“Honestly, coming out isn’t easy for anyone. Your life changes 100 percent once you come out, for better or worse. I thought, “We’re going to be those kids that took that ‘gay’ secret to the grave. I planned my whole life in the closet, but now we’re unique voices for the LGBT/Iraqi. Never thought we’d be the people to give advice to those same people. I am truly grateful to be gay, as I feel it gives me a more accepting view of the world and individuals. I am also truly blessed to have a twin by my side to share this journey with.”

As for their future Zach gave us a hint of upcoming projects they have in the works.

“There are two big (secret) projects coming up. Other than that, we are slowly going back to our roots. We want to go back to making short films, traveling the world and enjoy life! Pray the Gay Away has huge plans in 2019.

Follow them on social media:
Instagram: @zakartwins
Purchase Pray the Gay Away on

By Sarah Teller

$250,000 grant received from the Tony Hawk Foundation.

Ferndale was one of six of this summer’s chosen recipients, and the skatepark will be the first of its kind in the community. The Built to Play Skatepark Program, a result of a partnership between the Tony Hawk Foundation (THF) and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation (RCW), launched in the Spring with a goal of providing free community spots particularly centered around area youth. RCW serves the Western New York and Southeast Michigan regions.

“We found out there was a grant available only a couple of weeks before the deadline,” said resident Brad Dahlhofer, co-owner of B. Nektar Meadery.

“The Ferndale Parks & Recreation Department and I worked on drafting the application, and got it submit-ted just in time. I’m not sure exactly how they decided who would be selected, but I’m very excited and honored that Ferndale was chosen.” He added of the proposed location, “The park will be at Wilson Park, on the site of the former street hockey rink.”

The skate park will be a space for skaters of all ages and skill levels to enjoy. “We are already discussing summer skatepark lessons and camps for the kids,” Dahlhofer said. “It is so important to give kids a space to skate other than the streets, parking lots, and sidewalks. It’s much safer because they don’t risk getting hit by cars, or potentially harming pedestrians while they skate. While we don’t have an official timeline, our goal is to have the project awarded in time to break ground in the Spring.”

OTHER MICHIGAN COMMUNITIES SELECTED for $250,000 grants included Detroit, Port Huron, Ypsilanti, and Port Huron. Ferndale’s leadership team, specifically, was instrumental in bringing the park to residents.

“This would never have been possible without the support of the City. The City Council, Department of Public Works, and the Parks & Recreation Department have been fantastic to work with,” Dahlhofer said. “The City and community came out in full force when the Hawk Foundation had their Skatepark Summit last month. We have also had a ton of support from Ferndale’s local skateboard shop, Detroit City Skateboards.”

There is a community design meeting scheduled for 7:00 PM on August 29th at B. Nektar Meadery, 1511 Jarvis, Ferndale. “There, we will discuss what kind of skating elements the community would like to have at our new park,” said Dahlhofer. “These suggestions will be shared with the potential park designers and builders who will then bid on the project.” Those who cannot attend are encouraged to join the Friends of Ferndale MI Skatepark group on Facebook to offer any suggestions. For more information, Ferndale Parks & Recreation can be reached at 248-546-6767.

By Sara Teller

B. NEKTAR MEADERY WAS FOUNDED IN 2006 BY BRAD AND KERRI DAHLHOFER, with the help of good friend Paul Zimmerman, in the Dahlhofers’ basement. Not long after its inception, the crew’s brews began winning awards at homebrewing competitions, so they decided to take their endeavor to the next level and set up shop in downtown Ferndale. The B. Nektar Meadery that’s become a favorite hot spot for Ferndalians opened its doors on National Mead Day, August 2, 2008.

“Being in Ferndale was an easy choice. Brad and Kerri live in Ferndale and it just made sense,” said Sales and Market-ing Director and Taproom General Manager, Miranda Johnson. “The community was more than helpful, and it continues to be an amazing city to have our headquarters.” She added, “I believe the diversity is what makes Ferndale amazing. It’s always growing but never losing its true vibe. The community is one of the best.”

Now, B. Nektar proudly celebrated its 10-year anniversary on Thursday, August 2nd. “We had our 10th birthday party with friends and fans, cake, balloons and all. There were three bottle releases – Sanchez, Cyser Of the Lambs, and Cinnamon Raisin Cyser,” Johnson said.

Asked where the team gets their creative inspiration, she replied, “The creative for the products comes from all angles. Brad is the visionary of what he would like to see a product taste like and is always pushing the envelope with flavors and ideas. Kerri is the creative behind the label concepts, and alongside both of them is the team that brings it all to life.”

The Dahlhofers, with the help of the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce, are also responsible for organizing the recent FerndalePalooza. They wanted to put on a world-class beer festival in Ferndale with a goal of raising money for local non-profits and charities. Other area organizations that pitched in include the Detroit Roller Derby, Ferndale Literacy Project, Blessing In A Backpack, and Fermenta – Michigan Women’s Craft Collective.

“For most of the breweries and meaderies, this was their first time participating in a Michigan festival,” Johnson said. “To make things really special, Brad and Kerri asked them to bring their best, most rare, one-off products that aren’t usually available in bars or stores. So, many of these beverages had never been available before in Michigan.”

As for the future, there’s no sign of slowing down, “Keep a look out for new events in our taproom, more charity work from Brad and Kerri, and more bottle re-leases,” said Johnson. “We are finishing up a production move. Our main facility on Wordsworth will be moving into the Jarvis location in the coming weeks, and who knows what else – the geeky, weird, quirkiness is hard to stop at B. Nektar.”