Dec 2017 / Jan 2018

By Rebecca Hammond

AUTUMN ODDSERVATION: Americans throw away the most pumpkins the week we buy the most pumpkins. Pumpkins are heavy, and we pool our tax money to put our unwanted stuff in landfills. Can we rethink them already? Maybe eat them? I’ve made pumpkin pies from ones people discard. A pumpkin can be stabbed a few times and roasted till soft, or cut up and boiled, then mashed and made into pies or bread, even soup. A Google search of recipes turns up some as simple and cute as using a small pumpkin for a dip container, and muffins, cupcakes, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin turkey chili, spread, dip, coffee additive. Pumpkin is healthy. Full of fiber and potassium, not to mention vitamin C, beta carotene, tryptophan and phytosterols (which studies show may lower “bad” cholesterol): it makes more sense to eat all those health benefits than to load them in a diesel-gulping truck, have them driven miles away, and toss them onto our mountain of discards.

Pumpkins seeds can be roasted and eaten. Scoop out the seeds and wash them. Let them dry. Roast at 325 degrees for 5-15 minutes. Some recipes tell you to toss them in butter or oil, or add seasonings like garlic. Put them in bird feeders if you don’t want to eat them. Our forebears would be amazed at how we turned good food into temporary disposable decorations.

The EPA’s website (which still happens to contain environmental information, something we may not be able to count on for long) states that in the early phases of decomposition, organic matter in landfills decays aerobically, producing little methane. The longer it remains, however, the more anaerobic the process becomes, and the more methane is produced. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, so preventing its formation is good common sense. Composting at home is the best way. We have a simple worm system in our basement, and being a skeptical person at this age of 60, I do nothing that’s recommended but put all organic waste in the bin with red worms dug from the yard. I’ve had this going for years now, and once or twice a year dig out the good stuff at the bottom and add it to houseplants or garden plants. I do not layer with newspaper, although every article I read says to. The worms know what to do; you can’t stop them from turning pumpkins or old lettuce into fertilizer.

I have in my living room a fern I rescued from the trash one fall years ago. Every year I see more ferns and plantable mums waiting for those diesel trucks. A person could fill a house and yard with the plants thrown away, at group expense, every fall. And you could stock a thrift store with the usable goods we toss.

ACTION ANTIDEPRESSION: An old friend recently told me about her struggle to replace disposable coffee cups in her counseling office with reusable cups. She’s a former seminarian, which reminded me that churches often grapple with the same two extremes, disposable, reusable? Counseling offices and churches are both places of meaning, places people go to to sort out life’s big issues. The issue of tossing vs. keeping might be bigger than being green or saving money. Lots of us love a certain mug for some specific reason. I bought my current favorite at the Henry Ford Museum with a beloved niece and her daughter on our annual January trip. A cup of coffee in that mug is more than warm liquid in a vessel, it’s a daily reminder of love and connection across miles, of a relationship important enough to prioritize. Maybe reusable cups are green, are good common sense, and maybe even a tiny little bulwark against disconnection and the depression and anxiety that we seek counseling to remedy. Quite possibly, disposable items are actually a bit depressing.

IN EARLY NOVEMBER, a big storm battered parts of the Lake Superior shore, with record
waves as high as 28 feet near Munising. A depressing aftermath turned up a few days later, with massive amounts of plastic trash washed along the shore of what we think is our most pristine Lake. Our state government won’t ban plastic bags, and they even took big government a step further and banned the banning of plastic bags. But if you visit most public beaches along the Great Lakes, you’ll see signs banning glass bottles, so it’s not bans themselves that they object to. We seem short-sighted, and have personalized risk, so a broken bottle that may cut us is unacceptable, tons of plastic junk that waves grind down until it disappears to view is fine. Plastic fibers have been detected not only in the Great Lakes, and on beaches, but in tap water, 83 per cent of samples tested world-wide. Wildlife mistakes plastic bits for food, and may fill up on it, with no nutritional benefit, of course. And in oceans, plastic trash is being found in the stomachs of creatures seven miles deep.
Is this depressing information? I don’t think so. I think it’s lack of action that’s depressing, not news itself. The onslaught of bad news has an antidote, taking action against the problem. But, I must admit, it gets harder to rectify the problems the worse we let them get.

LEAF ODDSERVATION: Last week three dump trucks, a bulldozer, and a front-end loader parked in front of our house to pick up leaves; compostable, valuable organic leaves. That maybe tells me more about cultural excess than I ever wanted to know.

Becky Hammond believes in “solvitur ambulando” (“it is solved by walking”), and practices it most days here in Ferndale.

By: Jeff Milo, Circulation Specialist

THE RENEWAL OF OUR MILLAGE in August of 2016 assured an increase in our services and resources. We are now open seven days, with Sunday hours being 12 Noon to 5:00 P.M.

The latest feature for our Fern-dale Library cardholders allows you the chance to establish a wireless connection to the Internet inside your home, workspace, or even when you’re out on vacation. Starting this month, any Ferndale patron (age 18+, with an account in good standing) can check out a Wi-Fi Hotspot for one week; the device provides you unlimited 4G LTE wireless internet access for up to ten mobile devices at once. These devices are small, lightweight, and very intuitive to set up. They can give home Internet access to those who can’t afford it.

We’re excited to announce more new digital services and subscriptions available at our library, including an increase in amount of streamable and downloadable con-tent through the Hoopla App ( We’ll also link you to NoveList, an expert online source of “read-alike” recommendations, the “A-to-Z World Travel” databases, digital magazines, and Mango’s language learning re-sources. For more info, visit:

KIDS WINTER READING CHALLENGE SINCE FERNDALE SCHOOLS will be on holiday break soon, that makes our upcoming Winter Reading Challenge an opportune time for parents to make sure these young minds are still in gear when the New Year arrives. Reading for recreation when kids are away from school is invaluable. But it’s that much more fun when there’s prizes and programs included!

Library reading programs have been shown to effectively boost literacy and broaden young readers’ vocabularies. So, the Ferndale Library invites kids to take their Winter Reading Challenge. Running Dec. 1 – Dec. 30, the FADL Winter Reading Challenge requires 20 minutes worth of reading for at least 15 days of the month. Participants will be given a game board to color in each reading day. Once complete, participants can come into the library for a prize: a free book and/or a prize from our gift card grab bag!

Phoenix Freerunning Academy will host a program at the library for kids ages 8 and up on the introduction to the swift, obstacle maneuvering technique of parkour. Other fun programs this December include an interactive workshop with the 4th Wall Theatre Company, and a double feature family and teen movie matinee.

As usual, FADL’s weekly story-times and early literacy programs will continue through the entire month for our youngest patrons.

FIRST STOP FRIDAY VISIT THE LIBRARY AFTER HOURS at 8:00 P.M. on the first Friday evening of every month for free concerts by local bands. December 1st features two pairs of married couples, Gifts Or Creatures and The Bruised Reed; each blend a range of indie-pop, folk, and Americana, with emphasis on harmonies and tender, catchy melodies. This is a free event, sponsored by the Friends of the Ferndale Library. Follow us on Facebook for more information and regular updates.

By Rudy Serra
Q: I USE MEDICAL MARIJUANA, and I’ve heard about some changes coming in the law, including roadside drug tests. What should I know?

Answer: There are multiple changes in marijuana laws going into effect in Michigan. The Department of Licensing now has a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. The Department recently conducted a half-day seminar at Cobo Hall for marijuana producers, to familiarize them with the state’s new electronic regulation system, METRC.

Growers and others will soon be required to have an account with METRC that tracks everything from moisture loss to the number of plants and identity of each individual plant. Plants will be individually tagged with a bar code and tracked throughout the process, including having manifests with bar codes for each plant that a transporter moves from one place to another.

METRC is a comprehensive system already used in other states. The state will realize huge profits from medical marijuana production. If I were a betting person, I would put my money on Michigan legalizing recreation marijuana by ballot initiative within the next few years.

Another change allows the police to use a road-side “mouth swab” to test drivers for drugs. This program is being implemented now in Berrien, Kent, Washtenaw, Delta and St. Clair County. Authorities want to use it statewide after the five-county “pilot program”. The test is designed to detect marijuana, methamphetmine, cocaine, opiates and benzodiazepines. The test can detect the presence of one of the target drugs, but it cannot prove “impairment.” Whether the test is scientifically reliable has not yet been proven in court.

The new law does not change the constitutional requirement that the police have some reason to pull a driver over. The State Police have designated a number of specially-trained officers as “Drug Recognition Experts,” and deployed them in the pilot counties. The new law does not change the constitutional requirement that the police have probable cause to request testing. In other words, they still need some objective evidence of impairment.

The law authorizing the new drug test makes refusal a civil infraction. Refusing to take a road-side saliva drug test is not a crime. You may have to pay fines.

If you agree to the test and it reports that you have a target drug in your system, then you can face much more serious criminal penalties. If a person uses medical marijuana or other prescribed medication that could show-up on the test, declining to take the test may be the better course of action. The consequences of refusal are not as serious as the consequences of a criminal conviction for impaired driving.

JUDGE RUDY REPORTS is a regular feature in Ferndale Friends. We welcome questions from readers. If you have a legal question or concern, send your question by email to Advice about specific cases cannot be provided but general legal questions and topics are welcome.

By Jeannie Davis

”TIS THE SEASON”: Time for merrymaking, gift-giving, enjoying family and friends, shopping, errands, cooking, decorating. We are surrounded by Norman Rockwell images. Happy people, tables groaning with food. Perfect Christmas trees surrounded by beautifully wrapped gifts, with well-behaved children gazing with awe. Shiny magazines with airbrushed picture spreads urge us to create homes resembling holiday movie sets. Commercials and ads manipulate us into blowing our life savings so “the kiddies can have a good time.” After all, “Christmas is for kids.” We are pushed to bake cookies so we can share the spirit by giving to our neighbors. Gather with the family, “its good for you.” Join the crowds at the mall, catch the Christmas spirit.

I say Humbug! Whatever happened to doing as we please? We are old. We hate the malls, with thousands of people jostling and sharing germs, along with their children who tear through the crowds screaming with glee, careening into people as they go. If I get knocked about by one more uncontrolled urchin, I will do something that will get me arrested. And the bad thing is that I will be smiling as they lead me away.

Decorate? I am 77-years-old, and these people in the magazine expect me to climb on a ladder to string lights which will only short out within 30 minutes. Maybe a candle and a few live pine boughs? No, I am not again vacuuming pine needles into July. People say, “Just glue this onto that, add a red bow, and it looks good.” I tried that and got third-degree burns from the glue gun.

Bake cookies for the neighbors? No way! They have loud parties every weekend, with drunks leaving at 2:00 A.M. yelling at each other, urinating on my lawn, and in one instance, stealing my garden gnome. They don’t mow their lawn until a goat would get lost in the vegetation. The only cookies I would bake for them would be spiked with Ex Lax.

Gather with the family? Not on your nelly. They take over the house like an invading army, raping and pillaging. Talk to them, listen to their stories? Well, there is Ethel who won’t stop talking about her gall bladder surgery. Ethel, it happened in 1976, shut up about it. Hubert voted for Trump, and “damn proud.” How does one pick a conversational topic with that guy? Miriam is not a problem; just show her the bar and she will be comatose within an hour. Of course, we have to go through the crying jag first. Grandma always wants someone to sit by her and tell her all the gossip. This sounds like the best bet, except that Grandma has halitosis that would stop a moose during mating season.

And the kids! They are constantly on the move, chasing each other, bickering, and sticking their grubby little fingers into all the food on the table. And the gifts! The adults give restrained thanks, telling me that when the mall opens in the morning they will be in the exchange line first thing.

But of course, the whole point for this masochistic exercise is the kid’s gifts, seeing their angelic little faces when they open them. First, their faces are definitely not “angelic,” they have more food on their faces than in their stomachs. With total abandon, they tear into the waist-high pile of care-fully wrapped, thoughtfully-chosen presents. With-in ten minutes, the living room is strewn with paper, boxes, ribbon, and I think I saw a body part in there. CSI would take a week to find out what happened here. At a few points I am fearful for my life. Then the real fun starts with kids fighting over seemingly identical toys. Anarchy takes over, and I join Miriam at the bar.

What’s the alternative? Sleep late, spend the day drinking egg nog, eating cookies. I would watch Christmas movies where all the children are clean, and mannerly, and all the adults are sane. For Christmas dinner? Well, all the Chinese restaurants are open.

Sounds good to me.
Enjoy your holiday, however you spend it.
Jeannie Davis

(Pub. Note: We are not fooled for one minute by Jeannie Davis’ “Grinch” imitation here. We’ll catch you under the mistletoe, Jeannie!

By Jennifer Goeddeke

SINCE OPENING IN 1985, THE OM CAFÉ has developed a pioneering status in the local realm of vegetarianism. Located north of 9 Mile on Woodward in the heart of Ferndale, The Om has a welcoming and cozy interior, including a range of beautiful artwork on the walls from local artist, Sumi Lee. Colleen Smiley was the original owner of The Om for over 20 years, and she helped forge a path ahead for those who favor a meat-free diet. While the meatless market is widely accepted as a healthy lifestyle in modern times, public perception was not always so favorable. The emphasis at The Om has been consistently on meatless cuisine, with menu options focusing on homegrown and organic fruits & vegetables, plus GMO-free/pesticide-free grains (macrobiotic and gluten-free menu options included). The Om formerly served fish, but these days the only non-vegan foods served are cheese (with certain dishes), and eggs are available on the brunch menu at least for the near future.

Since 2014, Om Café has been under the co-ownership of two Ferndale residents: Bill Blondy and Jessica Norwood. Both Blondy and Norwood were long-time customers and devoted fans of The Om. Norwood is currently handling the majority of the café operations, along with her husband, Matthew Helsel, and a team of 12 other staff. Norwood was introduced to The Om Café at age three, through her mom, and worked her way up over the past five years, from waitressing to management, then into ownership. She fondly describes The Om as, “a child of mine since I was little…I used to empty my piggy bank for a nori roll! This is absolutely my dream job. I can’t imagine being away from this space and this environment.”

Norwood’s main goal with the menu, as she explained, is to: “Stay fresh to the times while still respecting the tradition of everything The Om stands for. I am basically creating a niche within a niche, by focusing on ‘vegan comfort foods’! On a daily basis, I am asking myself, ‘what are people excited about eating?’”

Being the head chef comes with considerable responsibility to her customers. “There are so many different forms of vegan cuisine, and being a chef is generally an egocentric profession. But I continuously learn and grow. Food is life. It’s a gift to enjoy. Every member of staff here plays a pivotal role.”

Customers gravitate to The Om Café for a variety of reasons. Some are influenced by advice from a doctor, to eat less meat in order to lose weight for example. Others may be drawn to try vegetarian or vegan cuisine due to a girlfriend or boyfriend eating that way.  Many times, a macrobiotic diet is suggested for those fighting different types of cancer.

Norwood has an abundant passion for The Om, where she believes that even her personal attitude and energy level will be conveyed through the food she cooks, “I feel like I am home when I am here! I met my husband here, was proposed to here, and have had friends’ and family birthdays here. It can be humbling to think that my positive or negative energy translates into the quality of food that I serve.”

The Om Café has received several awards over the years. Most recently, the ‘Click on Detroit’ Channel 4 News award for ‘Best Vegetarian Cuisine, 2017.’ Norwood likes to give back to the community also; there is a donation box inside the café and the proceeds go to a local shelter. Recently, she hosted a “Nom Week,” where The Om joined forces with the nosh pit food truck, and together they raised money for Ferndale’s Catfe Cat Shelter.

Norwood is not just creating delicious vegan dishes, she is creating an overall vibe of enthusiasm and positivity, which is transferring to staff and customers alike. We look forward to seeing more of what she has in store for us soon!

23136 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, 248.548.1941
M/W/Th/Fri: 4-9pm.
Sat: 11a-3pm; 4-9pm.
Tues, Sun: Closed.

By Jennifer Goeddeke

NOW AT THEIR PERMANENT LOCATION IN OAK PARK (9 mile & Scotia), Knight Light Candle is certainly a mind-expanding store! With an abundance of light streaming in from the multiple high-set windows and an eclectic selection of items, Knight Light is a relaxing treat to browse around. The store is a family-run business, previously situated for two decades in Detroit (at Mt. Elliott & Gratiot). Customers come from all over to shop – including many from out-of-state locations and Canada.

Owner Ron Hammer started out in the candle business over 30 years ago, at a company called Skippy Candles. In 1990, he moved on to work at Goodwill Candles. Soon after, in 1992, he decided to open his own store and Knight Light Candle was born!

I recently met with Ron, Jon, Ben and Nancy Hammer for a guided tour and interview. It was immediately clear the Hammers love what they do. Immediately upon entering the building, customers are given individual attention. And Ron pointed out, “our customers always come back!”

As the name would suggest, the candle inventory is impressive. There are candles to represent almost any possible occasion, and to enable wishes or prayers to come true.

Some are even designed with humor in mind, such as the “Shut Your Mouth!” or “Obey Me!” candles. Certain candles have specific messages attached for customers to read; all candles sold can be individually blessed or ‘dressed’ with special oil. Other stores, and some churches, buy candles from Knight Light in a wholesale manner because of the high quality and variety available.

There is a diverse inventory of other unique and in-expensive items to choose from, including incense, pure oils, jewelry, crystals, beads, shells and more. The products sold cover a broad spectrum, from new age and metaphysical to various different cultures/religions.

The Hammers are always open to specific questions, and encourage customers to ask for advice. Knight Light Candle offers a great experience, and one well worth repeating!

10332 West 9 Mile, Oak Park MI 48237
Monday-Thursday 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Friday and Saturday 10:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M.
Closed Sunday

By Ann Heler, Board of Directors

HELP WANTED: Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners. We can use a little help. We like each session to have at least three practitioners. We ask that you volunteer with us once monthly. You can be retired but you need to have a current practicing license. Think about it……please.

Upcoming clinic sessions:
Saturday mornings 9:00 AM to Noon:
12/16/17, 1/6/18, 1/20/18, 2/3/18, and 2/27/18.
Thursday evenings 6:00 – 8:30 PM:
11/30/17, 12/7/17, 12/21/17, 1/11/18, 1/25/18, 2/8/18, and 2/22/18

Please call me at 248-677-2273, ext. 23 or e-mail our Head Nurse, Diane Dengate at or go to our website and pull down the Volunteers tab. I need to say a big thank you to the RNs that sent in the applications or e-mailed Diane. You are just wonderful…..thank you.

We have another very critical need for a Clinic Manager. This is a paid position – $22,000/year. Work load is 15 hours per week with some of that time by phone or e-mail. The person needs to be a Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner or RN with some administrative experience. Once again as above, call me at 248-677-2273 ext. 23 or e-mail Diane Dengate Head Nurse for more information.