Dec 2016 / Jan 2017

By Sara Teller
Photo By Bernie LaFramboise

The Ferndale Memorial Association was orginally founded in 1919 out of the Ferndale Memorial Society, by members of the American Legion and VFW organizations. It continues to be a community-driven group, and residents of Ferndale are encouraged to participate in the organization’s ongoing meetings, events and other initiatives. The Ferndale Memorial Association coordinates the yearly Memorial Day parade and observance, and the Veterans Day observance. “We have the oldest, continuous Memorial Day parade in the state of Michigan,” says Barbara Earl, active Ferndale Memorial Association Director.

Barbara herself has been with the FMA for 43 years, following in her father’s footsteps who was a World War II veteran and former member of the FMA. Five years ago, the Ferndale Memorial Association began working ff16654_page_1_image_0004with the City of Ferndale to plan a much-needed renovation of the city’s Memorial Mall located at the 9 Mile Rd and Livernois corridor. “The preliminary work – planning, design, and securing proper permits – took up the majority of the time, but we are hoping to have the renovation finalized within the next year,” Barbara says.

The Memorial Mall was originally constructed in 1956 as a commemorative centerpiece for World War veterans, both I and II, affiliated with the Ferndale community, whether in residency, or by school, work, or other means. Additions were made a few years later to include a brick monument upon which the names of deceased veterans who were associated with the city are still proudly displayed.

The City’s Memorial Day and Veteran Day services are centered around this Memorial Mall, a well-known pillar to local residents, including the city’s annual Memorial Day parade. “As part of the Memorial Day services, we have a tradition of reading all of the names of the veterans who passed in the previous year. We put their names at the niche of the monuments for an entire year, with new names added year after year,” Barbara explains.

The various events are kept tasteful out of respect for the veterans and their families, without the hustle and bustle of carnival or vending activities. The city will celebrate its 100th-year event in 2018.
The Mall renovation will make the Memorial area more accessible to all of Ferndale’s residents, regardless of mobility or age. “The main objective was to make the mall more handicapped accessible,” Barbara says.
“We’ve added the needed structure to hook up new handicapped ramps and walk ways, which will be designed to help senior citizens with limited mobility get around as well.” The improvements will ensure the Memorial Mall’s landscape meets all Americans with Disability Act (ADA) standards.

There are two planned phases to the renovation, with the first phase currently underway. It includes demolition, site prep and improvement to the existing structures, making them ADA compliant. In Phase 1, existing vegetation is being removed, and hand rails and ADA approved ramps are being installed. The existing brick wall is undergoing repairs, a new limestone cap is getting installed at the top of the wall and the limestone steps are being replaced. “The main expense will be in installing sidewalks and walkways in the Mall that will connect to the existing curb cuts already installed by the city. That is our current fundraising push, so we can begin that work next summer,” says Ferndale Memorial Association member Karen Roos.

Phase II will focus on landscaping, fencing, engraved brick placement, and renovation of the existing brick area. “We’ll replant flowers, and place new trees and bushes,” Barbara explains. “The goal is to maintain the area, making minor improvements to clean up the space, but leaving it as the Founding Fathers intended.” The City of Ferndale and the Ferndale Memorial Association hope that making the needed improvements will help to preserve the Memorial Mall for future generations.

The Memorial Mall restoration project is projected to total between $40,000 and $60,000. Fundraising events, including a large civic and community outreach campaign, have been scheduled. The plans were shared with the public during this summer’s Memorial Day celebration, and the group is currently focusing on completing the ADA structure. Donations are also being graciously accepted. The FMA will work with the City of Ferndale to determine how residents can best get involved as the project moves forward.

Those interested in volunteering their services or in making donations can contact Joann Willcock through the Ferndale Memorial Association at FerndaleMemorial@gmail.com.

By Rebecca Hammond

SIGH: Michigan has been discovered, alas. While I’m continually amazed that I can keep finding new and enjoyable trails, towns, rivers in Michigan, I’m not happy that we keep making this-or-that list of national wonderfulness. The latest? Nikon has ranked Michigan the number-one spot in America for fall photography. (What took them so long?) Years ago I was driving to Ohio and was pleased to hear that NPR was doing an entire hour on Marquette, which was continually winning a spot on “Ten Best Places . . .” lists. At the end was an interview with the owner of a downtown business, who was maybe the grandson of its founder. His last words? “Don’t move here.” I now understand. A friend who lives in Marquette said that the last two summers were off-the-charts busy with tourists, and that even Munising had times with not enough hotel rooms or restaurants. Perhaps Musising will be to Marquette what Ferndale once was to Royal Oak.

RETRO FESTIVE: Darwin’s Home Evolution on the west side of Woodward north of Nine Mile has windows so
full of retro holiday wares, I defy you to take a look and not feel nostalgic. They sell housewares, furniture, jewelry, books, and games. Darwin’s will have a Christmas Party, date not yet selected, but check their Facebook page or website. They have treats at all times, a free drawing every week, and since items are only in the store for three months, there’s something new constantly. Check out their after-Christmas sale. Used gifts are green gifts. Regift and degift.

NATURE, A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP: A praying mantis set up housekeeping on our porch for about two weeks this summer. The Number One sign you might be a nature lover: finding yourself with tweezers, picking spider webs off the back of a mantis. We humans seem to think wild things want the relationship with us that we desire with them. Just as I can wishfully-think that wild creatures enjoy relating to me, I can also think that they get into spider webs accidentally, instead of en-joying a free source of food they didn’t have to bother catching.
When you see the rather putrid fungi that pops up all over Ferndale in late summer, the red stems with slimy brown tops that are often crawling with flies, do you also wonder why you’re a nature lover to begin with? Nature can be disgusting. On the other hand, this was a marvelous year for fungi in the woods. When you see groups of spherical inch-wide brown fungi, each with a small hole on top, give one a press. A cloud of fine spores will puff out of that little hole.

PIPELINES: The Dakota Access Pipeline remains in the news and remains a concern for members of our community. NPR reported yesterday that in below freezing temperatures, police sprayed protesters with water cannons. And police complained that they had been hit with rocks and wood. President Obama may be considering rerouting this pipeline. While this would make most of us happy for the Standing Rock Sioux, the pipeline, which is heading for Illinois and consumers, will then become someone else’s battle. As of yet, no environmental groups that oppose the pipeline mention our demand for oil.

RANDOM GREEN THOUGHTS: I notice that any life activity becomes a learning experience if continued long enough. Hiking might be my favorite activity. Michigan is a hiker’s dream. We recently hiked the Highbanks Trail along the Au Sable Valley east of Os-coda, happy that we waited till mid-October. All memories of this day are glowingly positive, although many moments of the hike were not. Traffic was heavy along nearby River Road, parts of the seven-mile trail were “crowded” with hikers, and as always, my feet hurt. Some of this hike is along power-line rights-of-way. Gorgeous valley views are interspersed with dull second-growth woods. When you commit to a certain activity as way of life,moments of like and dislike do not end up mattering. When they seem to (my feet can really hurt!And there are bugs, sweat, cold), a mental reminder that even badly sore feet can’t wreck a hike overall is warranted. This is freedom, something to be nurtured and valued.

I read once that Grand Canyon river guides have a high rate of off-season depression, nothing else life offers being as exciting and absorbing as running rapids. Coming and going from the natural world can end up more complicated than reason would have it. Transitions even to a beloved place or state of being can seem like jarring oneself out of a rut that is simply comfortable. It’s easier to keep doing anything than it is to stop and start it. A hiker in motion tends to stay in motion.

Maybe all discipline is the realization that deciding a course of action ahead of time and sticking to it is better and easier than going with the whims and moods of particular moments. I’ve known musicians to keep going through all the “-itises”: bursitis, arthritis, tendonitis; I myself once pulled the top off a music stand and right into my upper lip, sending me from a rehearsal straight to the ER, and still played an oboe concerto two days later. Most things are doable if you made up your mind ahead of time they’re worthwhile.

Conversely, things that are worthwhile will end up avoided if each mood is weighed for validity. If the forest calls you, go. If that particular experience isn’t wonderful, you went anyway. You smelled the forest and the water and heard the wind (and maybe pressed a fungi).

Sooner or later you accumulate enough wonderful excursions that the occasional mediocre or even lousy one can be laughed off. You’ll have faith that good times are plentiful enough to count on.

Rebecca Hammond lives in Ferndale where she continues to struggle with putting her things away when done with them. Life is a journey.

By Sherrad Glosson
Photos by Bernie Laframboise

Christine Kole, now one year into retirement from the Ferndale School District, is living her days in the bliss of enjoying her four grandchildren, and caring for her husband and family. She moved to Ferndale at age 19, and has spent her entire adult life here, enjoying the diversity, the friendly residents and the quaint old home. Christine stated, “The city of Ferndale was very different in a way. The architecture, and the way the community is involved with each other is very appealing.”

Her daughter attended the FACE Preschool in the old St. James school building, and Christine was so impressed that she applied for a job there. Her college courses were concentrated in child development and she loved children, so it was a good fit. Christine made her transition from school to school, including evening child care at Ferndale High, Clinton Center, Roosevelt, Wilson, Coolidge Intermediate, and JFK Academy.

During those years, Christine had her third child late in life, just when her husband was diagnosed with a serious illness, so she took a break from teaching. Later, she returned to what she had been doing for years, in the school system. It didn’t stop there! She wanted to be more involved in the city she adored so much so she became a community activist and a big Ferndale supporter. She reached out and volunteered with the senior program at the Senior Nutrition Site, taught Stretch & Tone classes through Ferndale Adult Education for ten years, got involved in local cable TV, doing commercials. She also ran the “Kiddie Kapers” at the Ferndale Recreation Department (writing and narration), produced a commercial for the Ferndale Concert
series, co-produced, wrote and narrated an award-winning cable overview of the Ferndale preschool program in the mid- ‘90s. A parishioner at St. James for many years, she wrote bulletin articles, sang solo (professionally) and in choirs, did publicity and led home based “Renew” Bible study.

Throughout her professional singing career, she’s had opportunities to perform in coffee houses as a teen, sung in bands, in duos, weddings, parties, for the Ferndale seniors, at the 75th Anniversary celebration and at many metro Detroit area churches.

What a pleasant circumstance to have such a motivated and willing person with so much passion and joy being a helping help and community activist in the city of Ferndale. Christine McCabe Kole is our friendly neighbor of Ferndale.

By Jeff Milo

Zander Michigan – 48018
Zander’s pretty unforgettable. It’d be one thing if his performance style, his music and his lyrics weren’t already charismatic and theatrical, but he’s often sporting a bow-tie, a stately blazer and a basher hat brimmed over a typically smiling face. With his third album, the local songwriter conjured a bit of his own mythology, inventing a city inside which the narratives of each song could play-out, with heartbreak, soul-searching, community spirit and existential contemplation, over a sonic gravel path of acoustic folk strums and rock ‘n’ roll riffs. I think most early fans remember Zander’s implicit nods to Dylan, but this album’s strayed admirably towards his own signa-ture sound and style.
www.zandermichigan.com

Anthony Retka – Fields & Fortresses
Local songwriter Anthony Retka’s heart has always been on his sleeve, going back more than a decade ago with Americana/folk projects like Tone & Niche. With Fortresses, his mind and his musings are both exceedingly more observant of the human condition with a weary voice melodically threaded to slow a pulse or percolate some goosebumps. There’s often a raging storm inside of Retka, but emotional torrent never sounded so sweet.
https://anthonyretka.wordpress.com

Counter Elites – Pledge of Aggrievance
We interviewed the two Ferndalians behind this terrifically tempestuous hardcore punk-rock band in the October 2016 Edition of Ferndale Friends. Together for four years now, they’ve industriously assembled several DIY recordings, satirical dadaist/gallows-humor propaganda sheets and a slew of sweat-drenched concerts (continually incognito with bandanas, sunglasses, wigs and more). While still keeping their tight tunes as aerodynamic as ever, the riffs and the reverb, the rhythms and the rhetoric are showing substantial stylistic evolution. Beautifully cathartic, philosophic, and at times straight up metal!
https://thecounterelites.bandcamp.com

Nolan The Ninja – He(art)
I can’t remember hearing hip-hop with such urgency, such ferocity, such profundity. Nolan The Ninja is Detroit-based emcee/producer Nolan Chapman, and his He(art) LP is a tour-de-force of vital conversation-starters lyrically catapulted with rapid/energizing cadences of words and beats, imbued with soulful brass samples, atmospheric jazz vibes and propulsive rhythm. The credits in the liner notes are also noteworthy, with plenty of cameos and contributions from big name producers and contemporary emcees in the recent renaissance of hyper-conscious hip-hop.
https://nolantheninja.bandcamp.com

Audra Kubat – Mended Vessel
This is the most powerful album on my list. Audra Kubat’s got a voice to freeze time. It’s supernatural; able, it would seem, to even alter the luminescence of the very room or space where you find yourself listening, glowing radiantly at the choruses or dimming to a chilled discreteness during her more muted verses. Mended Vessel finds the local composer/music-educator embracing her family’s roots in holistic healing and her own already-assured renown for reinventing the folk-singer trope. While her majestic voice is salve enough for any weary heart, there’s also excellent production and accompanying Americana-inclined instrumentation to sweeten the overtures.

Six & The Sevens – It Has To Be That Way
The second this EP kicks off, you feel like you’re flying… driving, running, moving, pure power pop with a bit of refreshing grease and grit, this local quintet have some dangerously enticing guitar hooks, classic garage-rock bluster, but sweetened with an earnest baring of hearts on sleeves. Some songs feel like ‘80s underground-indie (“Nothing To Say”), others like throwback ‘60s pop (“You Belong To  Me”), while others trudge some tremendous blues and funk onto the dancefloor (“Go, Go, Go”). And then, “By My Side” is full on tsunami of soulful rock, packed with such a full-sounding production by Zach Shipps (with a handful of songs also recorded with Jim Diamond).
www.sixandthesevens.com

Escaping Pavement – the Night Owl
Guitars, mandolins and mellifluous voices merged in melody are all you’re going to need… Ferndale-based songwriting partners Emily Burns and Aaron Markovitz are gracefully getting us back to the basics and the beauty of folk, country and bluegrass, exuding the power of the organic/earthy qualities of acoustic musical performances, strums and serenades.  The Night Owl is a fully realized folk odyssey, the recordings so full of intonation, heart and harmonies.

Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms – Basement Punk
Allen’s still a young man, but the pop-punk auteur got started in bands bouncing off basement walls in his teenage days, finding him nearly in his mid-‘30s with a deep well of perspective and perceptive poise. This collection has some tenacious and tough tunes that are as urgent and aggressive as anything on his resumé, along with some softer acoustic mini-ballads bearing the more heartfelt sides of “punk” without a shred of self-consciousness. Riffed-out and as rambunctious as anything you’d need, but enriched with more of a storyteller’s insightfulness.
https://extraarms.bandcamp.com

Zoos of Berlin – Instant Evening
We can’t limit this record to any genre-tag. These are ornate sonic smorgasboards of funky bass lines, caustic guitar drones, buoyant synth-pop runs and carefully reverb-coated vocal crooning all fused together into an uncanny harmony, with toe-tapping percussion that you could almost dance to and a nonchalant-chic or casual epic-ness simultaneously tightened by post-rock guitar riffs and salved by smooth clouds of ambient dream-pop.
https://zoosofberlin.bandcamp.com

FAWNN – Ultimate Oceans
FAWNN’s pretty much a super-group, with each member having fronted, or continuing to front, other local bands leading up to their formation in 2012. The rhythms are energetic and agile, the dual vocalists hit us with a sonic yin and yang with their harmonies, and the guitars are splashed with a splendid amount of reverb so as to evoke this dreamy fog, like gazing at a sunrise through a rain-beaded windshield or hearing distant thunder at a shore as the tide comes in. Each song is full with timbre and tone, a tidal din of pretty sounding drones barreling into ornately threaded earworm riffs.
https://fawnn.bandcamp.com

Story & photo by Kevin Alan Lamb

Let us turn back the clock and relive a time where a meal meant to break bread with the artisan who cooked it and the farmer who harvested the grain, a time when we gathered in a celebration of community and progress in the form of shared creation and indulgence, fine whiskey, seasons passed, music and simple food, not made simply.

“The place is called Otus Supply. Otus is the genius of the great horned black owl, and the Supply really works with the industrial flavor, but also it plays from a marketing perspective: we’re supplying good friends, good cheer, good music, good food, good life,” Thom Bloom said with the type of smile that insists you believe him.

Located on 345 E. 9 Mile, Otus Supply opens in December and reminds us of the immense love and magnificence in the minutia with its intentional design, decor, and chef-inspired menu.
“It’s going to be a pretty full menu that’s seasonal, and it’s really inspired by the Great Lakes. Folks you know who have migrated over the last couple hundred years to the Great Lakes you know, whether that’s the Lebanese, the Polish, the German, the Dutch, the French. We drew influence from Chicago over to Cleveland, northern Michigan and Detroit. We call it simple food not prepared simply.

Since first learning of Ferndale’s newest spruce goose in July, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the men behind the mission of inspiring and connecting a community through good food, good music, and art.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the concert business, I have other restaurants I’ve done. I was in the advertising business. Throughout all of these different careers you have a position or takes on different things. I took little bits and pieces of things that I really thought were important, and this is what Scott and I jokingly call our spruce goose.”

Before stepping foot in the newly-renovated, almost 11,000 square foot building, it becomes apparent that you are about to experience something special; something that you may not be able to articulate, but certainly feel and look forward to sharing it with others.

“We went out of our way to find as many recycled and architectural salvaged pieces to not only build the space, but to augment and decorate the space and kind of give homage to the last hundred years in Detroit history and living, prewar and postwar industrial revolution. In our design elements we kind of went back almost 300 years to the founding of Detroit. The French played a role in creating the kind of softer, feminine side of the design aspect.”

“We even went over to Paris and shopped, found pieces and windows and doors. Matter of fact, one of the old doors to a downtown Pairs building entered into a courtyard, a 10-foot door, you’ll see in our foyer. We also brought in three or four main artists who have played a major role in designing the space. One is Alex Morales from Smartmouth Designs out of Chicago, another is Daniel Ross from Detroit who does a very similar sculptural kind of woodworking perspective.”

When the doors open it will satisfy a number of needs in the Ferndale community, bringing in national and international acts to showcase a live room with over 30 taps, high ceilings, state-of-the-art acoustics, a sound booth made from reclaimed remnants of the train station, and music intent on making you move. There isn’t a music venue like it.

“Any music that happens here is going to be from the heart and soul, kind of roots Americana, New Orleans influence. It’s kind of, good old music you know? It’s really about having the musical side tap into the same kind of passion that we put into the food. We don’t want to make a mistake about the order here either, you know? It’s food first, and music a close partner alongside.”

Otus will host the official Greensky Bluegrass New Year’s afterjam with Greg Burns & Friends,  featuring Anders Beck, Mike Shimmin, Mike Lynch, Dave Menzo and special guests, The Kitchen Dwellers and The Whistle Stop Review. A free shuttle will be provided from Royal Oak Music Theatre to the Otus each night.

The building has been expanded with a new foyer and garage door space, along with a patio covered by a steel roof, with steel girders, and three large garage doors that ascend 18 feet in the air to be out of sight.

“It’s a real wide open outdoor space in warm weather scenarios, it’s open if it’s sunny in the winter, as much as possible when it’s warm, it’s a four-seasons scenario, on the Inside as well.”

An open door or window, a startling sound, or sometimes a traumatic event like a car accident, can separate a pet from its human and leave it wandering the streets.

“It is estimated that one in three companion animals will become displaced in a lifetime,” Leah Doslea says. “Mobility is the top cause for displacement, if your animal can move or if your animal travels with you, it faces potential displacement risk.”

Doslea, who grew up in Ferndale, is the founder of “For the Love of Louie,” a Michigan-based community Facebook group aimed at using social media to reunite pets with their owners and offer a platform for posting found animals. Currently, the group boasts over 1000 reunions per month and has found K9 dogs, senior animals and even a partially-paralyzed tortoise.

Doslea started the group in 2011, after sharing a coworker’s missing family pet on social media and receiving an overwhelming response.

“I was in complete awe of the compassion that quickly surrounded me; strangers shared information with their networks, performed searches, distributed flyers, contacted local veterinary clinics, generated ads and offered encouragement,” Doslea says.

Soon after her coworker’s pet was found, another dog named Louie went missing. This Louie had been recently adopted out of a hoarding situation, and was only visiting the area from Baltimore. His great escape, which included climbing a dresser, lifting a window and pushing out the screen, had him on the run for three weeks. Doslea thought she would try using social media again and, after the sharing and support of thousands, Louie re-found his family.

“His reunion, once again, demonstrated the importance of awareness, the power of social networking, and the compassion embedded in our community. Recognizing the need for broad displaced animal advocacy, ‘For the Love of Louie’ was launched.” she says.

The Facebook page is run by a small group of administrators, and is online 18-plus hours a day. They welcome volunteers and offer training. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact loveoflouie13@yahoo.com — all you need is a computer, Internet access and knowledge of Microsoft Excel.
What are some ways to ensure your pet returns home safely? Identification such as tags and microchips are the best start, says Doslea.

“A collar with an identification tag is important, as it’s visible to a potential finder and contact can be quickly established,” she says. “Microchips are wonderful invisible identification tools; Collars and tags can fall off and microchips provide alternative identification.”

And if you come across a lost animal, Doslea says the worst thing you can do is make assumptions. Even though an animal might look disheveled, underfed or skittish, these are all potential side effects of being displaced.

“We have networked and reunited animals witnessed being thrown from vehicles, tied to posts, and placed in random fenced areas — these actions were not done by their families,” Doslea says. “While it’s important to use our voices to speak for animals, we must be mindful of our words and actions. We best serve displaced animals by avoiding assumptions, following laws, and embracing advocacy.”

While For the Love of Louie is not an official organization with a logo yet, Doslea says that the community is what makes it successful and her favorite part of running this group is seeing strangers’ eagerness to help reunite animals with their loved ones.

“For the Love of Louie would not be successful without the community; every share, suggestion, tip, or positive comment has value and may lead directly to a reunion or provide knowledge or encouragement to families and finders. Those seemingly simple ‘shares’ have the ability to cover distance far more rapidly than a displaced animal and can yield great joy,” Doslea says. “We are truly grateful to each and every person who engages in displaced animal advocacy.”

Story by David Stone

Darlene Hellenberg, Interim Director of the Ferndale Area District Library, wants all Ferndale residents to have access to the wonderful materials the FADL has to offer. That’s why, in 2015, they began a delivery service to apartment complexes. And that’s why, on Wednesday, December 7, Ferndale’s Traveling Library, and Ms. Hellenberg, paid their monthly visit to Withington West and Autumn House apartments.

They “provide specially selected titles for residents to check out and borrow for one month. With the Traveling Library,” she said, “we’re able to service an area of our community that can’t always make it into our building to access materials or services.” She hopes more people at Withington West and Autumn House will sign up. She would also like to hear from other apartments or residences that could benefit from this service. She likes to speak of the impact this program has had. “One of our outreach patrons lost a ton of weight because of the cookbooks we brought.”

Then she told me how she determines what books to bring. She told me that “when we sign people up for cards, we gave them a little form with a series of questions.” From these answers she determines what kinds of books people will want. She then uses that information to select popular authors and their more recent books. Later, the book selection is based on what they started checking out.

I asked our dedicated library director to tell us a little about herself. “I grew up in Ferndale,” she replied. “I am a Ferndale High School graduate. I have worked at the Ferndale Library on and off since high school.” Hellenberg began her library career as a library page, and has since “worked in most of the departments of the library. She went on to say that her “favorite area of library life is getting to buy the adult fiction. Putting a book in the hands of somebody who is excited and wants to read, that’s my favorite part.”

She explained to me how the nature of our community influences the types of books she orders. She pointed out that if a book has a “sort of off-beat title” she will almost always give it a try. She likes to order books that may be “getting a little buzz but are not super mainstream.” She also pointed out that “new book authors, first book authors do well.”

Hellenberg wants to make the library available to even more Ferndale residents. If anyone has difficulty getting to the FADL, “They can call me and we can figure out something. It may be something as simple as signing people up for library cards, and if they are mobile, they can come here and use the library. She also mentioned that if they are not mobile, they can be added to the Traveling Library’s list of stops.

So, if you would like to get to the library but are unable to do so, call Darlene Hellenberg. Perhaps the library can come to you!

Ferndale Area District Library,  222 E. 9 Mile, Ferndale, MI. 48220
(248)546-2504
info@ferndalepubliclibrary.org

By Jenn Goeddeke

Situated just North of 9 Mile on Woodward (22848 Woodward Ave), Howe’s Bayou is a popular bar/restaurant with an intimate, low-lit ‘artsy’ vibe which Michael Hennes runs with his partner, Patti Barker. Howe’s Bayou has been serving its patrons with authentic, Southern-style dishes since 1999. During that year, Hennes – who is now the proprietor – began working with Tom Brandel, a local restauranteur (of Tom’s Oysters, in Roy-al Oak). Hennes explained that Brandel was initially looking for management help but, after only a year, Hennes was able to purchase the establishment. Prior to purchasing Howe’s Bayou, Hennes had extensive experience in the food industry, having lived and worked for restaurants in Detroit for 25 years.

The Howe’s Bayou family-friendly menu offers something for everyone at an affordable price including steak, sandwiches, and seafood – along with traditional New Orleans favorites. My personal favorite is the Voodoo Chicken Po’ Boy: “strips of grilled chicken tossed in our savoury New Or-leans BBQ sauce – $7.95” (All Po’ Boys are served with southern slaw and home-baked potato chips).

For adult clientele, there is a wide offering of beverages: craft beers, as-sorted cocktails, and various wines. The wait-staff are always friendly, and able to offer good suggestions regarding food/beverage combinations. For those with a ‘sweet-tooth’ craving, I would strongly suggest trying the bread pudding with a bourbon sauce, or the peach cobbler with whipped cream (at $4.25 each). Tuesday dinner specials are available for just$10/plate, so new customers can find their favorite dish!

Hennes has a definite interest in ‘giving back’ to the community, and in serving others. At one point in his career, Hennes took a break to work with “Focus Hope,” where he managed the café and oversaw the confer-ence center full-time for 18 months. More recently, Howe’s Bayou donated food for over 150 guests at an ‘Awards for Youth’ event, through Peace Action of Michigan; Hennes has been contributing to this charity in a simi-lar way for five years.

I asked Hennes what stood out to him while working over the years at Howe’s Bayou. He responded, “The community here is the greatest experi-ence, my staff are awesome and we have a very loyal base of customers. It’s mostly just word-of-mouth advertising now. Everyone knows each oth-er from the surrounding businesses. We all take a vested interest in what’s going on. This neighborhood really takes pride in itself!” Hennes added that this community spirit has encouraged him to volunteer for different local causes/events including the DDA and FernCare.

Hennes and Barker certainly have a great way of making their customers feel welcome and wanting to come back for more of the Howe’s Bayou Southern-dining experience.

Howe’s Bayou can be reached at: (248) 691.7145, or by email: info@howesbayouferndale.net. Private and Business Catering is available. Street-side dining open in the Spring & Summer months. Visit the website for online ordering/menu information: www.howesbayouferndale.net

Story by Andrea Grimaldi
Photography by Bernie Laframboise

What do you get when you combine a life-long obsession with yarn and an endearing sense of humor? The Happy Hooker Detroit shop. Owner and operator Christina Larson has arguably the coziest corner of the Rust Belt, as well as an eclectic online shop. She takes comfortable crocheted items and gives them her own spin. The website explains her work as “Inspired by your grandma and taken to the streets, Happy Hookers Detroit provides comfortable knitwear with an attitude.”

Each product in the Happy Hookers shop is created from patterns written by Christina. The clothing section of the shop is extensive. “Armies” are fingerless gloves and feature unique designs, like swirls and a snakeskin print. “Butt Sweaters” are beautiful skirts that are as warm as they are unique (because what are skirts, but butt sweaters?). “Cloaking Hoods” are neck scarves with a unique shape that can be worn several different ways. “Scarf Sleeves” can also be paired with the cloaking hoods, or purchased in contrasting colors for a one of a kind look. The scarf sleeves can also be worn in any number of ways and are a stand out on their own.

The Happy Hooker shop also has bowties, gorgeous hats, and scarves, all made with integrity and make layering up for winter weather less depressing. No two items at Happy Hooker Detroit are alike, making each piece a work of art.

In addition to clothing items, the Happy Hooker Detroit shop now features pillows with unique designs. Personalized wedding pillows feature stick figure portraits of the couple, the wedding date, and optional initials. The wedding pillows are a great gift for the couple who has it all.  Other pillows include whales or a robot fighting a dinosaur.

The pillows are made with a knitting machine that can take two-color images and put them in yarn. While the images are simplistic, they are very entertaining. The machine that creates the pillows is aptly-named “Mr. Fancy Pants,” because of the fancy image technology. Christina has another machine named
“Workhorse,” who makes a lot of the hats and sleeves for the shop. Christina’s third machine is a Brother 270 named “Greased Lightning” for its efficiency.

It is hard to say if Christina’s biggest talent lies with yarn or with naming inanimate objects.

While Christina learned to crochet as a child, she picked up knitting from a coworker during her time as a director at Channel 7. She worked in broadcast for 17 years, before the job changed into something she wasn’t enjoying. She realized she had a business ready to go in her craft room, and has been running Happy Hooker full time for the last two years. In addition to the year-old Rust Belt shop, Christina takes her hooking on the road with booths at various music festivals.

Christina’s newest project is a group effort called Fuzzy Tripod (another Christina name). Created alongside photographer Evans Tasiopoulos and artist Dave Messy, Fuzzy Tripod is a new group aiming to bring Detroit-area artists together. The group put on a Summer Art and Beer Garden earlier this summer, and plan on creating more venues to showcase local talent. Another event in the works will pair poets with painters for an extended period to see what they can inspire each other to make. Follow the Fuzzy Tripod page on Facebook to see what is coming next.

While Christina will tell you that her true love in life is yarn, creating things that make people happy is her true passion. The pride in seeing someone wearing her clothing or making the perfect gift for her customers is what keeps Christina hooking. Visit her at the Rust Belt to see her wears in person, or check out her website at www.hhdclothing.com to place an order.

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Story by Jason Shubnell

If you keep a close eye on the Ferndale bar and restaurant scene, then you may have already heard of The Conserva.

The city’s latest eatery takes up the spot of Torino, the popular kitchen that closed in the summer of 2015. In its place is The Conserva, and the idea of a comfortable space with an extensive wine and beer menu. Conserva presents a combination of creatively-prepared meats and seafoods, vegetables, fresh made mustards, and aiolis, some of which are prepared using the Italian process called conserva.

So, when can you get a taste of this place? Right now!

The Conserva has been hosting soft opening weekends for a few weeks now, which are open to the public: Thursday through Saturday from 5:00 P.M. to Midnight. The kitchen closes at 10:00 P.M. each night.
“We plan to continue them until we open, but we suggest people check our Facebook page and sign up for ff16634_conserva_foodour mailing list to check to make sure that we are open before they come,” said Janna Coumoundouros.
That name might be familiar, as Janna runs Lilacpop Studio on Woodward. She and her husband, Chef Matthew Barbridge, came up with the idea of The Conserva.

“We didn’t have a restaurant but still wanted to cook good food and add in the art element, all while serving high end food in a non-stuffy environment,” the restaurant’s website reads. “We wanted people to sit together and enjoy the experience at one long table. That way they can interact while enjoying great food and drinks, because dining can be an experience rather than just a meal.”

Janna and Matthew were mum on a specific date for their grand opening, but hopefully it will be in the near future. Janna continued, “The soft openings have been an excellent way for Chef Matt to test out menu items until we officially open, and everyone that has attended has really enjoyed it.”

What will separate The Conserva from some of Ferndale’s other dining establishments?

“We are doing a different concept. Creative, medium plates with a kick-ass bar,” said Janna. “Our goal with the ff16634_conserva_barspace is to be eclectic with fine art but not pretentious. The food is sort of the same way. The food is creative yet accessible.”

The average plate price is between $7.50-$14. Drinks are about the same price range, and will feature craft cocktails from an up and coming talented bartender and a beautifully curated wine and beer list.

“You could bring a family, as long as the kids are adventurous eaters.”

Janna said they are using local art and artisans on everything, from the signage to the interior.