Dec 2018 / Jan 2019
Ferndale Friends December 2018 / January 2019

By Sarah E. Teller

VERY RECENTLY, THERE WERE FOUR NEARLY LIFE-SIZED STATUES OF GIRAFFES standing in the last of Ferndale’s large green spaces adjacent to the controversial Pinecrest Holdings mixed housing development that’s been underway for quite some time.

Nearby, a sign read: “Giraffes are the first to flee danger. A developer wants to clearcut the woods, dig up the soil/contamination will spread over our homes and FHS students. Save our last green space!” Not long after being placed, however, the statues and the sign were removed by local law enforcement.

According to the artist and sculptor responsible for the message (who wishes to remain anonymous), “Giraffes are the first critters to flee an area when there’s severe strife. It goes back to a native, mythological belief that because of their long necks, giraffes can see trouble before it happens. They can see into the future and know when something’s coming.”

He said he wanted to make a statement about eliminating the city’s last green space, especially because he considers himself a “friend to the environment” and uses only natural materials in his art.

“There were four giraffes altogether – a mom, dad, and two kids. Police cut down the sign. The little ones are gone. The mom and dad have been knocked down. All in all, I have about four months of work in it and $350, including 37 yards of fabric, some jute cord, 200 feet of chicken wire, and spray paint. As a nature lover, this green space is important to me. There are old trees there that will be cut down. The developer said they’re going to save as many trees a possible, but what does that mean? Before you know it, they’ll just say they couldn’t save anything.”

URBAN PLANNING MASTER’S DEGREE CANDIDATE, Leah Deasy, provided some additional insight into the status of the development project. “Process-wise, I believe the City has received application materials from the developer, Pinecrest Holdings LLC, seeking site plan approval for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) on the two parcels south of the high school on Pinecrest. The last word from City staff was that these materials are in the process of being reviewed. They have not yet been made public.” She added, “Pending completion of the application and staff review, the PUD formal application could come before the Planning Commission for a vote on December 5 or 19. Before a vote, the Planning Commission will take public comment on the project. If approved by the Planning Commission, the PUD moves on to City Council for approval.”

Jordan Twardy, Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Ferndale, confirmed, “The project team is currently responding to feedback from their last appearance at the Planning Commission in July 2018 as well as the recent community meeting in October 2018. Critical next steps include a more detailed site plan and a development agreement. If those pieces are completed by the developers and submitted to the City, they could appear before the Planning Commission.”

NOT ALL RESIDENTS ARE PLEASED, HOWEVER. “I would say that there has been a lot of concern from residents on the environmental conditions of the site,” said Deasy. “Residents are very concerned, thoughtful and deliberate. We want to know exactly what risks we are facing from contaminants at the site currently and what risks we could be exposed to by disrupting it. What I’ve observed so far is that residents still have so many unanswered questions that they don’t feel anyone has enough information yet to responsibly make a decision of this magnitude.”

She continued, “The community also feels hurt by the misdeeds of past landowners at this site – Ethyl Corporation using the forest as a dumping ground for trash and chemicals and the needless destruction of Ferndale’s only Albert Kahn-designed house, circa 2012. It is a hard pill to swallow to think that no one can be held responsible for past actions at this site and that we have little choice but to consent to more destruction for its future.”

The local artist added, “The developer is not being specific about the plans. This is another big problem I have with this. They’re not being honest with us or the City, and the City says it’s private property so they can do anything they want.”

A group of concerned individuals, who’ve coined themselves the Southwest Neighborhood Association, has formed in order to discuss the issues at hand. “There was a meeting with the City. The City is not interested in a parcel of land, and Pinecrest Holdings LLC doesn’t own the land, they only have an option to buy. Just come out and be honest with us – no ifs, ands or buts.”

Deasy explained, “There is clear consensus from residents, however, that any development should be concentrated on the south portion of the site and that the forest area towards the mid-north end of the site should be preserved for the benefit of the community. We desire to see dense, walkable, mixed-use development on the 8 Mile frontage of the property, at the corner of 8 Mile and Pinecrest, and for the 15 acres of forest to remain intact. We’d like the nature that has made this site its home to stay and want the process of bio-remediation that has already started onsite to continue. We think if the developer would think more ‘innovatively’ about the relationship between current and future land use onsite and the value of the ecosystem services already in existence there, we could have something really special.”

Twardy addressed this concern. “The project, if approved as a PUD, will require the preservation of a significant number of old growth trees as well as the provision of north-south and east-west pathways for public use throughout the site,” he said. “In response to public feedback, the developers will also be looking at ways to increase the size and accessibility of open green space and wooded areas. Additionally, space is being set aside –currently proposed for the eastern portion of the site – for a defined public space, which, if the project is approved, would be designed with public input.”

THE ANONYMOUS ARTIST SAID, “There’s a large herd of deer there, coyotes, and it’s home to owls and a couple of species of bats that are endangered. It’s a beautiful place. It really is. It’s been astounding, and it will be heart-wrenching to have it all paved. The City is trying to get revenue generation and tax money, I get it. But it will also cost us money, in additional police and fire resources. And, imagine if you clear-cut everything. Then, it’s August and hasn’t rained in a month to a month and a half. The contamination will scatter, and we’ll all be breathing it and brushing it off our furniture. The students will all breathe it in.”

Addressing clean-up concerns, Twardy said, “The project will be required to, prior to any construction, clean up all contamination in accordance with applicable state and federal environmental standards. The entire site will be required to be cleaned up prior to any development activity. The applicable standards for cleanup also have provisions for ensuring the continued safety of all adjacent and nearby properties. The result would be a situation that is safer and cleaner for the property and surrounding neighborhoods than currently exists today.”

He added, “Additionally, separate from the developer’s efforts, the City has approved funding of up to $20,000 to perform an environmental concerns inventory for the site. We are in the process of also seeing if grant funds can be used to pay for the study. Our goal is to have the study completed in time for the project’s return to the Planning Commission or, at the latest, by the time the project goes forward to City Council for final approval, which would only occur if the Planning Commission were to approve it.”

As far as her personal thoughts regarding the development, Deasy, too, is concerned about the wildlife. “Myself, I often think about the deer. I’m partial to deer and having them intermingled within our city suburbs thrills me. I think that’s something really special to Michigan and Metro Detroit – that we have so many deer and that they are welcome and enjoyed alongside our neighborhoods in places like Troy, Rochester Hills and Farmington Hills,” she said. “A lot of the people focus on the trees on this site – and they are huge and amazing, but they also provide a habitat for deer and this is the only place I know of in Ferndale where deer live. When we remove the last deer habitat in the city, we are unequivocally stating that wildlife is not welcome in Ferndale. I also think the destruction of this forest will have a negative impact on our air quality, heat index and storm water retention that we do not fully understand.”

She added that the communal power of local residents shouldn’t be discounted or ignored. “Regardless of the outcome of this specific site development, neighbors have bonded together to build community. We’ve met and become familiar with people on our blocks and across our corner of the city and Royal Oak Township. We’ve organized a neighborhood association that we intend to formalize by seeking guidance from more established organizations and to continue working to make our awesome community even better. We are working together to harness our communal power and we have lots of ideas.”

By Sarah E. Teller

OAKLAND MEALS ON WHEELS is a chapter of the nonprofit organization Meals on Wheels America, in business for over 30 years. “We serve people 60 years of age and older, providing both home-delivered and congregate meals,” explained Oakland’s Vice President, Steve Haveraneck. “Depending on need and qualification, we provide a hot home-delivered meal five days a week. We also provide some clients with an additional cold meal and weekend meals as well. We serve congregate meals in Hazel Park, Ferndale, and many other cities.”

The Oakland chapter specifically caters to those in South Central and Southeast Oakland County, including Berkley, Beverly Hills, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, Franklin, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Madison Heights, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak Township, Southfield, and Troy. “All meals are produced by our staff at our central kitchen located in the Troy Community Center,” Haveraneck said. The center is located at 179 Livernois Rd., Troy.

There is an increasing need for the service Meals on Wheels provides. Older adults living at or below poverty are nearly twice as likely to be unable to live independently and, with an aging population and the number of senior citizens living in the U.S. set to double by 2050, there is an immediate need to serve those who are homebound and unable to provide for themselves. The Oakland chapter prepares and delivers a thousand meals per day to homebound seniors. But, the purpose of the organization is not only to deliver meals.

“The nutritious meal, friendly visit, and safety check we provide helps seniors cope with the three biggest threats of aging: hunger, isolation, and loss of independence,” the company’s website states. “Our mission is to provide seniors with the daily delivery of hot nutritious food delivered by a caring person interested in their safety and well-being.”

THE ORGANIZATION COULD NOT OPERATE without the help of volunteers. Haveraneck explained, “Volunteers are essential to our program. We simply could not function without them. They come from the communities we serve and provide help in either producing or delivering the meals. We run Michigan State police background checks on all our volunteers.”

Oakland’s volunteers become involved with the program for many reasons. “People volunteer out of a desire to serve their community and help senior citizens who are less fortunate than themselves,” Haveraneck explained. “The volunteers typically find this to be a very rewarding experience and we have many that have been volunteering for a decade or more!”

Members of the community can easily sign up to serve or make donations. “We are grateful for any and all help we receive from the communities we serve,” said Haveraneck. “We can’t do it without community involvement. We are ready, willing and able to serve anyone who qualifies, 60 and over.”

Meals on Wheels is funded by the state and federal government as well as by donations from meal recipients. Normal hours of operation for the Oakland chapter are 5:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Monday through Friday. Those interested in receiving meals, volunteering or donating to the cause should call 248-689-0001.

ONE IN SIX PEOPLE IN THE METRO DETROIT AREA faces hunger or food insecurity at some point in their lifetime. Food insecurity is defined as the inability to obtain sufficient food for their households. There is a very real, consistent need to provide help to families, ensuring they have enough resources.

“Our food helps some close the gap on what they earn and how much it costs them to live,” said Forgotten Harvest’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Chris Ivey. “For others, we are their main source of food for the family.”

He explained, “Forgotten Harvest is community supported and community focused. Our vision is one where these communities work together to end hunger –creating individual, neighborhood, economic, and environmental health.”

The Oak Park-based non-profit is Metro Detroit’s only food rescue operation and estimated to be one of the largest and most efficient operations in the country, providing more than 41.5 million pounds of food to over 260 partner agencies. Forgotten Harvest is a member of Feeding America, delivering resources to more than 46 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other community-based agencies.

“THIS NEED SHOWS NO SIGNS OF DIMINISHING in the foreseeable future,” Ivey said. “The problem is not the lack of food but the ability to get that food to the people before it ends up in a landfill. Forgotten Harvest rescues surplus or ‘ugly’ food that might otherwise go to waste and uses it to feed people who would go hungry without our service. This food is provided free-of-charge to anyone who expresses the need for help.”

Forgotten Harvest’s volunteers come from all over the Detroit area. “As of now, most of our volunteer opportunities are filled up. A lot of people want to help this time of year,” Ivey said. “Our need for volunteers is a year-round challenge for us. Thankfully, we had over 18,000 volunteers last year that provided over 77,000 volunteer hours. Without them our organization simply couldn’t do what we do every day.” He added, “Our volunteer workforce gleans and repacks the rescued food into family-sized portions, and then we are able to distribute that food to Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb County shelters, farmers’ market style food pantries, and agencies throughout the entire 2000 square-mile Metro Detroit area.”

The key is cross-departmental efficiency. Ivey said, “Because of the efforts of our food sourcing, logistics, and volunteer teams we can keep our fleet of 35 trucks on the road six days a week picking up from over 800 food donors such as grocery stores, farms, processors, manufacturers, warehouses, distributors, dairies, restaurants, caterers, entertainment venues, and sports arenas. Our trucks roll out of our warehouse starting at 7:30 A.M. and are not done until after 6 or 7 at night.”

As 2019 approaches, the organization has identified a new goal. Ivey explained, “Our goal moving forward of the Right Food, Right place, Right Quantity, Right Time will set us up for the future to be able to make the biggest impact on the community we serve by creating an enhanced, more sustainable food security network with nutrition food equity.”

The Forgotten Harvest warehouse is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M, and Saturdays 8:00 A.M.-4 P.M. Monetary donations can be made at

By: Ingrid Sjostrand

Hazel Park is using the power of a word to promote positive, inspiring change in the city and the word they’re wielding is “HOPE.”

Through a permanent art installation inspired by the work of Robert Indiana and his famous “LOVE” sculpture in Central Park, the bright red, metal piece spelling out the letters of HOPE sits in front of the Hazel Park Historical Museum, 45 E Pearl, for all to see and create their own meaning.

The project is a collaboration of several organizations in the city, including the Hazel Park Historical Commission, Hazel Park Creative Arts which funded the project, and the Community Engagement team. Superintendent of Hazel Park Schools, Dr. Amy Kruppe, says the team effort made this project possible.

“We have a beautiful Community Engagement committee here in Hazel Park, and we’ve been talking about doing city art projects because our team is really about developing and bringing the city together,” she says. “This piece is just a centerpiece expressing that we’re all hopeful. Without great communities, schools and organizations you don’t have a great city. You have to have all those pieces together.”

The sculpture was built by local artist Richard Gage and his team and sat in front of Tony’s ACE Hardware, at 24011 John R Rd, through the month of October for the City’s “Artober” event. It was painted, moved and unveiled at an event on Saturday, November 5th in its new home at the Historical Museum. During the event, over 60 locals purchased and painted locks to attach to the HOPE piece.

“This is really a tribute to Robert Indiana. My association with it is not on a creative level, I just executed it and helped pull the team’s ideas together,” Gage says. “It’s important for me as an artist that the proper credit goes to who it belongs.”

THE MUSEUM WAS CHOSEN FOR ITS SIGNIFICANCE TO HAZEL PARK and also for its location, says City Council Member, Bethany Holland, who also serves on the Board of Creative Arts as well as the Historical Commission.

“That section of road right there – so many people go by it or have to stop in traffic and are going to see that. My goal is that people will see the sculpture and whatever’s going on in their world at that moment, that word is going to be burned into their brain,” Holland says. “Whatever you’re going through, there’s hope.”

The inspiration for adding locks to the piece came from Kruppe at a time in her life that could have felt hopeless. In October 2017, her husband Frank was diagnosed with lymphoma and they spent a year traveling to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where an art installation was created with painted locks. She shared the story of the project in Hazel Park and HOPE was born.

“It was a really difficult time. It was the hardest year I’ve ever had, but Frank is now in remission and the beautiful thing about this sculpture for me and my family is that out of all of this grows hope and I hope that’s what this art project is going to bring to Hazel Park,” Kruppe says.

People are encouraged to continue to add locks to the sculpture, which can be purchased from the museum during open hours (the first Sunday of each month from noon to 4:00 P.M. and the third Thursday from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M.) Tony’s ACE Hardware also sells locks for $3.59, with $2 of every purchase donated to funding after-school activities for Hazel Park Schools.

For more information about the sculpture and additional lock painting dates, follow the Hazel Park Historical Commission & Museum and Hazel Park Creative Arts on Facebook.

By Peter Werbe

WHEN RESIDENTS FROM THE CITIES SERVED BY FERNDALE FRIENDS attend city council or block club meetings, their greatest concern often isn’t crime, zoning, or water bills. It’s complaints about cars speeding on their neighborhood streets.

You hear: Can’t we get more patrolling; how about speed bumps, or parking a radar speed trailer showing how fast they’re going? Unfortunately, most traffic calming (as it’s called) has little effect. In fact, it is so expected that drivers will exceed posted limits that fines for violations are figured in as a component of city revenues.

Several of my neighbors and I have “Slow – 25” signs on our lawns, and I try to abide by the limit as an example but it’s hard to keep my Ford Fusion at that speed in a vehicle designed, according to, to go 155mph!

Part of the desire for driving faster than legally allowable is obviously to spend less time in our cars and arrive at destinations quickly. According to a study by the Harvard Health Watch, the typical driver will spend almost 38,000 hours behind the wheel during one’s lifetime, traveling 800,000 miles! So, it’s understandable that someone who has sat for eight hours behind a desk or in front of a machine wants to get home fast since there is so little time before having to do it all over again.

Statistically, speeding, say five or ten miles over the limit doesn’t get you anywhere appreciably faster; only a few minutes at best on short in-city trips. However, the compulsion is always to put the pedal to the metal.

SPEED AND RAPID TRAVEL to a destination are deeply rooted in contemporary human culture, perhaps even on our DNA, since the desire to move fast seems universal. Up until the advent of the automobile, other than 19th Century train travel, people couldn’t go faster than a horse would take them.

Fast equals good; slow equals bad became the measure of all things, particularly in production. In response, the early 19th Century English Luddites destroyed machinery, burned factories and attacked their owners. They correctly realized that the looming transition from a human-scale slow society to a fast one dominated by the values of production would create a world over which they had no control. Slow was the human pace; fast, that of the machine.

With the advent of internal combustion powered vehicles in the early 20th Century, an almost delirious fascination with speed swept Western culture. The fastest cars of that era were admired and those driving them became national idols. Races of all sorts dominated sporting news. Without a doubt, speed is intoxicating. A motorcycle riding friend of mine once sported a t-shirt reading, “Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.”

Speed breathlessly entered art and culture, as well, along with the auto. The 1909 Manifesto of Futurism, issued by a radical art group enthralled with speed, machinery, violence, youth and industry, declared, “We affirm that the beauty of the world has been enriched by a new form of beauty: the beauty of speed.”

Henry Ford’s innovative assembly line is celebrated for allowing the rapid manufacture of Model Ts to meet a swelling demand, reducing production time per car from 12-and-a-half hours to a mere 93 minutes. Until recently, his anti-Semitism and fondness for Hitler was overlooked for his technical advances and his seemingly generous wage in 1914 of $5 a day for his workers. This, at the time, extraordinary wage was less a matter of Ford’s generosity than it was to stop the rapid turnover of his workforce that often quit due to the rate of the assembly line and its monotony.

AS IT TURNED OUT, the bigger paycheck compensated for the tedium, and soon humans acclimated to the demands of the machine and the modern, industrial workforce was created. Ford never wanted to be constrain-ed and sped up production according to sales demands. The idea that workers could have a say in this process through unionization is why Ford fought so long, and often so deadly, against union organizing, becoming the last of the Big Three to accept the United Auto Workers (UAW).

The idea of slowing down isn’t what most people want; if anything, they want faster cars, trains, and planes. However, a fast world, a super-fast world, is exhausting. A century ago, radicals exhorted, “Workers of the world, unite!” Not that it’s a bad idea, but maybe we need to also say, “Workers of the world, relax,” or, at least, “Slow down.”

Let’s get back to our hometown streets and speeding cars. The culture of going as fast as you can is being challenged by a movement called Slow Streets, where speed limits are reduced to as low at 20 miles-per-hour in residential areas. Also, road diets such as exist now on Pinecrest, north of W. Nine Mile Rd., reduce the road to two lanes with bike lanes curbside making speeding more difficult. Oak Park is planning the same strategy for Nine Mile Rd. from Scotia to the Ferndale city line.

But there’s been pushback from ordinary citizens who are in a hurry and don’t want to be slowed down. Publicly, the angry voice of Keith Crain, editor of Crain’s Detroit Business, who thinks bike lanes and narrowing roads are bad for business although studies show the opposite, goes on regular rants about the new traffic patterns. His is a misconceived economic argument, but it is also a cultural one. Crain says that we’re being inconvenienced by road configurations that accommodate bicyclists, a very tiny minority of the population, whose usage diminishes even more now that the snow is flying.

Also, something called “Shared Space” – the ultimate plan for traffic calming – is used in some small towns in England which have removed all traffic lights and signs, lanes, crosswalks, and even curbs, allowing cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians to share the same road space.

Although this may seem like a prescription for mayhem, the opposite has been the experience. The potentially lethal road-sharers – the cars – end up driving very slowly and carefully since they know the road isn’t theirs alone. Ready for that? Someone just went roaring down our street at 45 miles-per-hour and blew the stop sign. I wonder how’d they do on a Shared Space? Or, how we cyclists and pedestrians would fare. Transition periods are usually tough.

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

Story By Sara E. Teller
Feature Photo By David McNair


“The idea began with a conversation I had with a classmate in grad school in late 2015,” explained founder, Ursula Adams. “I knew I wanted to create a space for leadership development for women. However, my belief system is that leadership development is equal parts personal and professional. Or, rather, that there is no real difference between who we want to be at work and in the rest of our lives. My vision was that the SheHive would be a space where women could learn all about themselves – a ‘one-stop shop’ for personal development.”

“I started drafting the business plan for the SheHive while I was still in school and still working full-time,” she added. “A few months after graduating with my master’s degree, the desire to bring the SheHive idea to fruition started to get stronger and stronger, just as my full-time job of nearly 16 years was becoming less satisfying due to a management shake-up. I decided to quit my job to pursue the dream and gave myself six months to give it a try before going back to work.”

Encouraged by a mentor, Adams drafted a prototype. “A fancy way of saying I drew it out room-by-room in a $2 sketchbook,” she said. “My mentor suggested piloting a single room for a short period to explore if there was a customer base and a desire for the vision to exist. I decided to run the experiment!”

TAKING THAT NOTEBOOK ALL AROUND TOWN, Adams met with family, friends, and former colleagues, pitching the idea and asking for their input and suggestions.

“Eventually I was introduced to another woman who had a very similar vision and together we decided to pilot the first room together for 100 days. We pulled together a group of women who had expressed interest in the idea and invited them to be our advisory board. Within two months we had drafted the business plan, created a partnership agreement, filed the legal paperwork, designed 100 days of programming, built out our online presence, leased the necessary software, and leased and furnished a small space on Hilton.”

After the first 100 days, Adams’ business partner had to bow out because she was still working full-time and the schedule was too much for her. But before she left, the two women came up with a membership program in which a select group of women would deliver programming and pitch in on some of the administrative work.
“The group is called the KeyHolders and it’s proved to be very successful,” Adams said. The KeyHolders now consists of 19 women. She added, “Most of them earn revenue by hosting programming or running their own small businesses out of the SheHive.”

On SheHive’s first anniversary, the group moved into a new, larger space on Hilton and are currently constructing a podcasting studio. The SheHive podcast, Life on the Other Side of Should, will launch later this year.

The SheHive also offers classes, one-on-one and group coaching across various modalities, and community. Some of the recurring classes include an annual goal-setting seminar, resume building, personal branding, a public speaking course, a book club, Tarot classes, a weekly therapy group, a monthly Shamanic healing ceremony, a writers’ group, and relationship repair.

“We also partner with the Build Institute to offer their eight-week Build Basics business planning workshop, and the Women’s Divorce Resource Center to host their workshops for women contemplating divorce,” Adams said.

COMMUNITY IS OFFERED THROUGH SOCIAL EVENTS like game nights, Bestie Speed Dating events (to find friends as opposed to romantic partners), crafting classes, and other fun outings and activities.

According to Adams, the women who come to the SheHive are equally committed to building community and their own personal growth, and the group is adamant about maintaining certain rules that define their culture. These are: We don’t do should, only must; We don’t fix unless we are invited; We are practicing, not perfecting; We don’t yuck on other’s people’s yum; We step up, or step back, or both; We share lessons, not secrets.

“It’s a great place for women interested in becoming more self-empowered by learning from and teaching other women wanting the same,” she said. “Having said that, our doors are open to any adult. Some of our classes are mixed gender. We’ve never said no to a man who reached out and asked if he could attend a class, though we do appreciate it if they ask first.”

Adams said Ferndale is a logical choice for the start-up, because “the business community in Ferndale has been very supportive, and I love our cur-rent space and our landlord. It’s centrally located and easily accessible.”

For more information, check out

Marian McClellan, Mayor of Oak Park
Honey Garlic Butter Salmon
Even the kids ate this one.
•      1/4 cup melted butter
•      4 cloves mashed garlic
•      1/3 cup honey
•      juice of one lemon
•      salt
•      pepper
•      2 tablespoons fresh parsley
Have salmon filet at room temp – cut in serving size slices. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine: 1/4 cup melted butter, 4 cloves mashed garlic, 1/3 cup honey, juice of one lemon. Put fish on large foil and pour sauce over them – salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley. Close foil tightly. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Open foil and broil to caramelize the top for 5-7 minutes. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle tops with fresh parsley.
My favorite food is fresh young corn on the cob with butter and salt. One of the kids in my class said in his family you tried to eat your height in corn cobs! Rich, chocolate ice-cream comes in a close second. I’m afraid I’m a food snob, so I like fresh, healthy food, but interesting menus. If they use cilantro and caramelized onions, I’m in.

Story By: Ingrid Sjostrand
Photos By: Bernie Laframboise

HAVE YOU EVER ORDERED SUSHI AND HAD IT ARRIVE AT YOUR TABLE ON FIRE with literal blue flames rising from each roll as it’s placed in front of you?

It’s probably not your typical sushi experience, but it’s commonplace at Inyo Restaurant and Lounge, which is more than your typical sushi restaurant. Katie Pickhover, general manager, describes the menu – located at 22871 Woodward – as “Asian fusion.” And that flaming dish is the Dynamite Roll, their most popular item.

“It is the most-ordered and most-talked-about. The “Dynamite” specialty roll is salmon, crab, avocado, tempura fried and topped with a spicy cream sauce and roe served over fire,” Pickhover says. “We have quite a few table-side ‘wow’ items, sparking questions like ‘what is that?’ and ‘how can I get that?’”

Another one of those ‘wow’ dishes is the Beijing Duck, a three-course meal that can feed up to four and costs only $60.

“Some of our cooler items that aren’t as popular include a table-side Beijing duck: An entire duck comes out, they cut the breast table-side, and it includes two more courses, a choice of soup, lettuce wraps or pan-fried Asian noodles,” she says. “I wish more people ordered it; anything table-side is fun and can create an experience throughout the restaurant.”

THESE SPECIALTY DISHES are just part of what makes Inyo special. Opened in 2009 by Norman Acho and Executive Chef Kenny Wee, they wanted to create a unique concept using their knowledge of multiple international cuisines.

“Customers sometimes come in requesting traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean but our version has Kenny’s new flair on it, which makes it different from other restaurants,” Pickhover says. “Most people like that, but if you are looking for traditional you probably won’t find it here.”

“Kenny has an extensive background in multiple Asian cuisines, creating Asian fusion was some-thing important and he puts his personal twist on everything,” she adds. “He has lived in Malaysia and Melbourne, Australia and takes a lot of inspiration from his childhood and places he grew up. His background and experience aren’t some-thing you’d find in other Asian restaurants.”

Inyo also prides itself on creating custom, seasonal cocktails and offering specials. Each weeknight, customers can come in for deals including half off appetizers on Mondays and more. Their cocktails are often Asian inspired and utilize traditional ingredients.

“We have the luxury of incorporating sake into our drinks and that is something you wouldn’t see if you weren’t at an Asian restaurant,” Pickhover says. “It allows us to create a lot of different flavors. We also try to change our drinks up for the seasons, creating something lighter for summer like the Malaysian butterfly, which was made of muddled cucumber, sake, vodka and elderflower.”

IN THE NINE YEARS SINCE OPENING, Inyo has watched the Ferndale community grow and expand, and they credit a lot of that to City Hall and their support of small businesses.

“The downtown community has been up and coming for so many years, it’s amazing to watch everything develop in this city,” Pickhover says. “Ferndale has a lot of community and the city is great at showing love to small businesses, that really helps with success here. We try to participate in the community as much as possible – through Pridefest, Small Business Saturday and other things.”

Inyo’s hours are 11:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M. Sunday through Tuesday, 11:00 A.M. – 11:00 P.M. Wednesday through Friday, and 11:00 A.M. -Midnight on Saturdays. They also have a second location in West Bloomfield.

Story By Rebecca Hammond  Photo By Dwight Cendrowski

ONE DOESN’T USUALLY EXPECT A FEELING of mild intimidation associated with the task of interviewing two renowned peaceniks.

Sometimes, however, you can find yourself anticipating a conversation with a real sense of awe.

THAT’S HOW I FELT LAST WEEK, walking over to visit local Peace Action members, Helen Weber and Frank O’Donnell. An article on Helen and Frank’s work could have been done at any time, given their dedication. But they happen to have just won a Lifetime Achievement Award, as “Peacebuilders,” presented by Peace Action of Michigan.

Helen currently runs Peace Action’s board and Frank is treasurer, but each has spent time in various roles. Michigan’s office, in the Pioneer Building on West 9 Mile in downtown Ferndale, is an affiliate of the national organization, which Helen also once co-chaired. She visited Washington several times a year and weighed in on issues in conference calls. Frank told me that the national organization “started in 64. Right after the first Nevada (atomic) test, Eleanor Roosevelt and Albert Einstein realized that something extraordinary had happened, and they formed the group.

“In the ‘80s, here in Michigan, there was a group called the Nuclear Freeze. Nuclear Freeze and Peace Action combined and then became Peace Action.”

Helen and Frank have been involved for so many decades, they were unsure of the exact year they got started. Frank thought it was “probably in the mid-to-late 1980s. We have a good friend, Deborah Williamson. She was very active with Nuclear Freeze and she saw that the merger [with Peace Action] wasn’t really going that well, so she invited us to a two-day workshop at Schoolcraft Community College and that’s where we met the whole group. Debbie was also on the school board with me.”

Helen added that this was when they got to know Doug and Pat Lent, the namesakes of the Peacebuilder Celebration where the lifetime achievement award was presented. Like many of us who join a group, Helen and Frank were just members at first, leaders later. Helen said, “I guess we were just interested in peace.”

One commitment led to another.

Frank: “We got involved with a group in Detroit that was part of the national opposition to the Vietnam war. We just had some friends who introduced us to all of that.

We met the great Morris Gleicher (a former president of the Michigan ACLU); his daughter Elizabeth was just reelected to the Michigan Appeals Court. It was just the person-to-person contacts over the years.”

HELEN TOLD ME THAT A GOAL OF PEACE ACTION is to “always try to involve more of our members and reach out to more people around the state who can be involved. If it turned out there was a good nucleus in some other part of the state, they could be an affiliate. To the extent that someone was interested, we could work with them to set up their own chapter.” Frank added, “There are three centers outside of Detroit where we have a lot of members: Kalamazoo, East Lansing, and Traverse City.”

Peace Action is now attempting to engage more of the younger generation. Here’s one way. “At this dinner they announced a new scholarship, The Frank O’Donnell and Helen Weber Young Adults for Nuclear Abolition Scholarship, for either a student or a teacher with the goal of assisting this communication, how to work together with the younger generation.” Helen added, “We need to help that happen. The fund has been established and donations have been made, and that’s going to enable us to do more with a new group.” A committee is forming to work out the details of the application and award process. A Detroit tradition called The Buck Dinner, started decades ago by a group of civil rights attorneys, will provide some of the funding.

Helen and Frank are fond of several of Peace Action’s ongoing projects, including the Monday-afternoon gatherings at Woodward and 9 Mile (15 years and counting) and the 2,000+ plus members of their statewide-and-beyond mailing list, who receive the quarterly newsletter. But there are some disappointments, a major one being the Iraq war. Peace Action of Michigan sent buses to large protests in New York and Washington, but “it was sad that we weren’t able to be more effective in slowing it down or stopping it,” Frank said.

Helen said she was always interested in peace, and Frank remembers being taken at age seven by his dad to picket with the UAW at the Dodge plant in Hamtramck. He mused that now at age 87 he and Helen are still involved with issues in Hamtramck, one being a mural for the Bangladeshi community there, who Frank called “marvelous, lovely, and dedicated.” These are words that could not apply more to Frank and Helen themselves.

Were they surprised to receive this year’s award? Helen said, “Yes. I think this was the sixteenth year our mission group has done this and sometimes there might be three or four people. It was kind of unusual that it was just two people, but we’re a package.”

They are indeed, one that greatly benefits our community. Well done, Helen and Frank.

Amy Kruppe, HP Schools Superintendent
Foam Custard
A family recipe from my grandparents: Good, Southern holiday spirit.

Foam Custard
• 3 quarts of milk
• 1 dozen eggs , separate
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 2 tsp. corn starch
Put all of the milk except 2 cups to boil. Stir the egg yolks to boil. Stir the eggs yolks, sugar and corn starch and 2 cups of milk together. Then pour in boiling milk and stir constantly for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Beat egg whites till stiff and then fold in custard. Do not beat. Let cool and then add 2 tsp. vanilla.