Feb / Mar 2017

Story by Maggie Boleyn
Photos by Bernie LaFramboise

Hazel Park is poised to become the first city in the state of Michigan to require microchips for dogs in place of a regular license. In 2015, San Antonio, Texas, became the largest US city replacing standard pet licenses with the implanted chip.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of dogs found in Hazel Park,” Bethany (Beth) Holland said. “We know they’ve got people, and we want to increase the number of reunions with owners.” She noted that without identification, “It’s a miracle they get back home.”

Holland has served as Volunteer Team Leader at the Hazel Park Animal Control Shelter, and was recently named as a Councilperson for Hazel Park.

Holland said that the idea for the microchip requirement has been discussed since 2015. City ordinances will have to be changed to reflect the microchip mandate for dogs, but the rollout is planned for April 2017. Currently, there are no plans to require cats to have the rice-grain sized microchip device implanted. Holland promised that there will be ample advance notice given to residents regarding the new regulations.
Supporters of the implanted devices say that registered microchips increase the odds of your pet returning home. Microchips have unique numbers that function as your pet’s ID. If your pet becomes lost, most veterinarians and all animal shelters have special scanners that can “read” the microchip. Universal scanners provide the best chance of reading microchips.

The risk of an animal shelter or vet not being able to detect a microchip is very low. Rarely, microchips, which are designed to last for 25 years, can fail and become undetectable. Human error can also lead to a chip not being read as can faulty scanners, or struggling, aggressive or obese animals. According to the Humane Society, while universal scanners can detect a competing company’s chip, they may not be able to correctly read the data.

Collars with ID tags can fall off, thereby losing your contact information. “My dog loses them all the time,” Holland confided.

Holland said microchips can be obtained at vaccine clinics, veterinary offices and at Hazel Park Animal Control. The chips are inserted with a large needle between the shoulder blades, and the animal does not need to be anesthetized for the procedure.

Prices for implanting the device vary and generally range from $10-$20 dollars. Depending on the microchip model chosen, there may be an annual fee charged by the microchip company to maintain current registration information. These fees also vary; and some companies may charge a one-time fee, while others require annual maintenance fees. Some chip companies will register pets with any brand of chip. The American Microchip Advisory Council is working to develop a network of registry databases to streamline the return of pets to their families.

Holland acknowledged that potential fees of around $30 dollars per dog would hit some Hazel Park residents hard.

“We are expecting growing pains,” she said “We’re trying to figure it out. We’re basically creating the wheel.”

She said that plans are in the works to possibly vary the fee, depending on factors such as whether the dog has been altered, has lived in Hazel Park for more than six years, or already has a microchip device implanted.  Holland said that the City of Hazel Park has purchased 100 microchips, and is actively seeking corporate sponsorships to help defray additional costs.

The Humane Society says that microchips do provide an extra level of protection if your pet loses his collar and tags, and are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the only identification method used.

The Humane Society recommends that owners who are concerned about pets having negative reactions to microchipping, or if you have questions about microchips in general, to check with your pet’s veterinarian.

Story by Jaz’min Weaver
Photo Of Bradley by David McNair

Bradley Wall is a local wood worker specializing in everything from headboards to cutting boards. “I enjoy working with wood for its innate beauty, and often feel silly about how excited I get about
different types of woods and designs,” Brad admits. That type of enthusiasm for the material is readily apparent in the things that he crafts.

His work is characterized by the use of one of his favorite materials, plaster lath. A lath is a thin strip of wood, usually built into a lattice and then backed with plaster, previously used to finish ceilings and interior walls. Lath in buildings has diminished since the ‘50s, and now drywall is employed in its place.
Brad’s ability to take a hidden, interior piece of architecture and make it the star of a new item is part of what makes his work so compelling. Sometimes, the wood he uses is reclaimed from crumbling buildings in Detroit. In this way, every creation is born with an inherent history connected to the area. The use of wood from Detroit is symbolic in a way; he wants to make a difference and witness the city rise, renascent with new ideas, artists, restaurants, and jobs.

“I get sad when I think of all the waste that goes into the demolition of houses. In reality, much of the wood from the houses is really high quality, and deserves to be reused.”

The benefits of reclaimed wood surpass connecting to the city, and even mere trendiness. It is actually a prime building material because it has had time to cure. The years spent adjusting to the climate have its advantages, according to Brad, “Often times it is much more stable than woods you can buy new…never mind the character you get from sitting in a house for 100+ years. The projects I’m working on aren’t exclusively reclaimed but I always strive to be inspired by the material I’m working with.”

Despite his great skill, Brad comes from a background of retail and desk jobs. He has been woodworking off and on for about five years. It started simple enough, as form of stress relief and a hobby. He started with remodeling and various other home improvement work. “I also grew up with a dad who has been a craftsman my whole life. He’s been a huge inspiration and encouragement to me. I remember him crafting canoes and sails boats by hand when I was very little. It has only been in the past couple years that I have begun to take the art form seriously for myself and allow myself to create fine furniture and art.”

When queried about what he enjoys working on, Brad answered, “Big tables are exciting because so much life happens at them.” That’s another beautiful thing about the work he does; undeniably, even the briefest of glances will reveal that it’s art, but so many of the pieces are also durable and functional. Some pieces are decorative, a pleasing combination of woods and colors in slanting patterns. Whether it is ornamental or serviceable, such solid handiwork is sure to be around for generations to come.

The end of January signified two big changes for Wall Woodworking; more openings for commissions and a move into a shop space inside the Russell Industrial Center. This move is an exciting adjustment, since Brad cites a lack of space for more projects and larger-scale ideas as one of the biggest challenges in his work.
Check out his website: www.wallwoodworking.com. Information can also be found on Wall Wood Working’s Facebook and Instagram pages about upcoming giveaways.

Wall is as kind as he is talented. “Half the reason I do what I do is to meet awesome people and partner with them in creating something beautiful. I look forward to getting to know more people in this awesome community!”

By David Wesley
Photo by Bernie Laframboise

Seven Reaume is a Detroit photographer and essayist producing top-flight work since the late 1990s. Now his artistic output has brought him local attention to the point where many Detroit-based photographers know his work as a staple of the photography scene. His photography is being exhibited at galleries and other outlets across the city and he even has a new calendar of his work out, called “The Detroit I See,” featuring stellar snapshots of the city as only Steve can produce.

Reaume sat down with Ferndale Friends for an exclusive interview about his life and career.
When did you start photographing and what perked your interest in photography?
Although my grandmother gave me my first camera when I was in grade school, I became really passionate about photography while in high school. A friend of the family gave me my first serious SRL camera for my 15th birthday, and I was hooked. I took classes on dark room techniques, composition, and art. My art eventually moved toward graphic design. Photography is a medium that I’ve always dabbled in, but didn’t get back to it again until the past few years. With the quality of phone cameras advancing, along with the advent of Instagram, I felt the desire to capture and share my surroundings.

Who are some of your influences as a photographer?
Detroit photographer Robert Guzman has inspired me the most. His photos are true works of art. He has an amazing ability to capture culture as well as structure.

What makes Detroit such a great subjectto photograph and what have you gleaned from the city since photographing it?
I’ve lived in the same area of Detroit for over two decades. Walked the same streets. I realized that I wasn’t noticing the beauty of my city, and specifically the areas that I frequent most, like I used to. It was all becoming very familiar. So, last summer I challenged myself to look at the city from different angles and perspectives. My recent show, ‘The Detroit I See’ is a selection of photographs from this project.

I’ve also spent a lot of time photographing nightlife, and specifically clubs and DJs. The music scene in Detroit, particularly the electronic music scene, is one of the most admired in the world. I feel fortunate to be a part of it, and capture the artists, people, and clubs that make it so unique and inspiring.

What are you aims with your work and artform?
I am now experimenting with combining the two mediums that I have worked in all my life, design and photography. They have always been separated in my work. One influences the other, but I have rarely created pieces that join them together.

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Story By Kevin Alan Lamb
Photo credit: Bernie Laframboise

His first public performance came in 1989, when he showcased his fancy feet to “Billy Jean” in a school talent show. He wrote his first song at 13, and over 50 since. His friends claim he’s a vampire, while his dog Lugar knows he s not. He’s produced five albums, mastered his ego, and is the first in his family to pursue and create music as a profession. His name is Kent Koller, his mentor is a Lyon, he prays at night to share a stage with Jesus, and he takes great pride in being a part of a hard-working, resilient, and diverse art and music culture built on soul and substance, over image and conformity.

What’s the last song you want to hear before you die?
Tchaikovsky – Waltz of the Flowers.

Do you believe music is medicine?
Music could be considered medicine, surely, but I would say it’s more of a therapist than a surgeon. I’ve always said that happiness is healthiness. Music and art possess the power to alter or magnify our emotions. Music that might relieve stress could certainly be used as a form of therapy. I’ve always been fascinated by the cognitive neuroscience of music, how it physically and mentally affects us. Goosebumps are an undeniable physical reaction to music, for example. Why? Mait’s best left unsolved, for the next pop-song hit would just be three minutes of auto-tuned goose-bumps.

If you could share a stage with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Jesus Christ. I’m not a religious person, but what a resume builder that would be! Also, to learn about marketing and promotion.

You’ve written that your music is your soul, can you elaborate?
My music is the expression of my existence. It is my truest form of subconscious. When I write, it’s spontaneous, and how I write is largely unexplainable. I hear things in my head, I feel things through emotion, and I guess as to what needs to happen next. Somehow from this jumbled combination of esoteric descriptors comes a song, a piece of me.

What was the first song you learned to play?
First song on guitar was Nirvana’s cover of “The Man Who Sold The World.” I didn’t know it was originally a David Bowie song.

Who played the greatest role in your development as a musician?
Undoubtedly Scott Lyon, my guitar instructor and friend. He taught me as much as possible about the guitar, without telling me how to use it. That sounds bad, but I think it’s genius. He’s great at explaining musical concepts through analogies, explaining theory without forming rules, and sharing new music with enthusiasm. I always called him a musical preacher, always excited to explore and talk about music and life. We became good friends after I formally stopped lessons, just around the age I started to play live shows and record music. He helped a lot in that stage of my career as well, recording my first two albums in his studio. One of the most intellectual and philosophical people I know.

Who are three bands you listen to frequently?
The Platters, B. B. King, Prince.

What’s your favorite album of all time?
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here.

Why is it special to be a musician living in a place like Detroit?
Detroit’s music scene is special because it is largely untapped. Detroit’s music scene is as blue-collar as the city’s history. We often have to create our own opportunities because there is nobody here to give it to us. We don’t have a true music industry, or some glamorous “Main-Street” known for its music venues. This creates a hard-working, resilient, and diverse art and music culture not based on image and conformity. I’m proud to be a part of it.

Koller makes his home north of Detroit, lives a nocturnal life, has played the guitar for over 20 years, regularly hosts an open mic, decided that brunettes not blondes have more fun, and he’s never died.

Photo by Bernie LaFramboise

Oak Park resident and author Soraya Biela discovered and occupied a neglected perspective in the vampire fantasy genre. Where most often the stories are overflowing with Twilight’s precocious young girls and Anne Rice’s charismatic older men, Biela’s storytelling focused on the voice of an older woman. Enter Joey Roxy; a charming woman, a radio talk show host, and a vampire.

Biela has released the first two books in the trilogy, the first entitled Velvet Heaven and the second, Velvet Hammer. The narrative is both relatable and addictive. Seductive situations and bloodthirsty intimacy can be very intriguing for readers who wanted more out of the run-of-the-mill vampire epics. Readers can feel the rush Biela gets out of peering through the consciousness of her characters, and she fashions a personal fantasy that is as enjoyable to the reader as it is to her.

Joey Roxy is completely inspired by a real-life mentor of Biela’s: a talk show host named Rollye, who spins records of obscure soul music. Biela began reaching out to Rollye first as an adoring fan, and was soon enamored by Rollye’s depth of compassion and magnetic personality.

The support Rollye gave Biela during trying times, and the admiration she felt through this relationship, nurtured the creative devotion necessary to model a character that honors their connection.

“As a thank you I wanted to write her into the novel I had going at the time,” Biela said. “But as I began to write I had 50 pages in only a month, and that were way more compelling than what I had been writing.”

As the relationship blossomed, Biela began researching her mentor’s career history. She came across an online forum where a truck driver had accused Rollye of being a vampire because her radio show employed very late hours, and her enduring youthful appearance seemed impossible without some supernatural explanation. This notion excited Biela, and after writing Rollye’s character into a story she was working on at the time, the inspiration snow-balled into the vampire character in Velvet Heaven.

“Here was this intelligent, witty, sexy woman over 60. She seemed timeless,” Biela said. “She was a perfect fit. I started to write my version of her from our conversations both on and off air. I would send her what I wrote for her approval since so much of it was her likeness.”

Biela’s interest in storytelling began as a child with wildly vivid dreams, an abundant imagination, and the drive to be a writer and a creator. As she grew into a lover of gothic literature, her trajectory into this genre seems as natural as a vampire’s thirst for blood.

“Who doesn’t want to be immortal? I’ve always been drawn to [vampires]. I never feel like we have enough time to do all we want in one lifetime. “

Biela’s books are now self-published, which gives her the freedom to maintain the storyline she is interested in telling without compromising her vision. However, Biela has big dreams. She envisions her original creation someday becoming as influential as JK Rowling’s. But for now, Biela is simply thrilled at the future prospect of the realization of her finished trilogy. Perhaps with such adult themes in the same way the wizarding world did for kids, the challenges Joey Roxy faces as an older female vampire, women of the same age can live out the fantasy.

“In book one we see Joey struggling with a human husband, continuing her already dwindling career, and just adapting to life as one of the undead at her age,” Biela said. “In book two we see more of the vampire history, as well as the lineage her husband has which is causing all kinds of problems in their marriage. We see her letting go of her human ways and really embracing the sensual monster she has become.”

Velvet Heaven and Velvet Hammer are now available on Amazon, and the third and final installment of the series still hasn’t seen the light of day. Let’s hope it doesn’t burst into flames when it does!

By Rose Carver

Charlotte Fisher’s newest book is a reminder that we all struggle, and in that reality, we are all the same.

Detroit author Charlotte Fisher is a natural-born writer. In her newest work, she pours a series of her personal experiences into a collection of short stories that reach directly into the human heart of the reader in an attempt to stimulate a powerful empathy for all people.

Hope, healing, connection and inclusion are some of the overarching themes in the book, Take a Lesbian to Lunch. The belief that we all have worth is an important point for Fisher to communicate to all of her readers.

“Through my writing, I am hoping that people begin to see the similarities among us instead of focusing on the differences,” Fisher said.

A survivor of addiction and a masters student at the University of Michigan, Fisher  downplays her projected identity in the world that makes her appear different. Her writing exemplifies what she’s learned in her 50-plus years on Earth, and she attempts to remind everyone that we all struggle in our lives, and through that connection we can realize what makes us the same.

“The fact that I am gay doesn’t make me unique,” Fisher said. “The larger part of me—my pain, my challenges, my fears—connect me to every other person on the planet who has felt the same way. Sharing our emotions connects us with each other. It’s what brings us together to heal and move forward.”

Sharing her story is her contribution to the emotional ether, and her vulnerability is potent. She is unapologetic about her past, and reminds us through her writing that compassion is the highest form of consciousness. She hopes her writing gives others the courage to claim their own truth.
“In some way, we’ve all been the lesbian, or the fat girl, or the weakling or the guy who can’t read or the guy who cheated on his wife, or the wife who’s been cheated on,” Fisher said. “It’s almost impossible to judge others when you see yourself in them. I’ve been judged, and I’ve also judged others harshly. Today I try to see ‘me’ in everyone I meet, and offer them compassion. When how we look at the world changes, what we see changes as well.”

Writing is a natural process for Fisher, as she’s been doing it since she was in the seventh grade. She exudes devotion for the process of moving thoughts and feelings into words and stories. Not only does she try to reach others through her writing, but she also finds the outlet she needs to work through the issues that she struggles with in her own life.

“If I kept all of my pain and self-hatred and shame inside of me, I would have likely killed myself with my addiction,” Fisher said (she’s been sober since 2004). “Because I’ve shared my stories, I’ve learned two important things: Most of what I thought about myself wasn’t true. I actually do have value. I do have purpose. I am loveable and strong and important. [And second] I’m not alone. Other people have had the thoughts and experiences. Through my writing, I believe I’m helping others to recognize that they are also not alone, that there’s hope, and that we all have the courage to make our lives fabulous.“

To learn more about Fisher, get in contact with her, or to order her newest book, go to lesbianlunch.com.

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Story by Sara Teller
Photo by David McNair

Frontier Promotions is an up-and-coming full service sales and marketing firm that established in downtown Ferndale in June 2014. The company works with Fortune 100 and 500 companies, and was named one of the Detroit Free Press’ Top Work Places in 2015 as well as one of 2015’s Best Businesses of Ferndale.

“We love that our office is located in a progressive city like Ferndale, and the community and environment is one of the main reasons that we initially decided to look for offices spaces here,” explains Frontier’s Human Resources Manager, Sarah McCarty. The company thrives in a highly team oriented atmosphere.” She says Frontier prides itself on its fun, interconnect-ed culture. “We focus on creating a positive environment. We empower our team members to take a hands on approach in their professional responsibilities and are constantly improving the morale of the entire crew. We have a very ‘work-hard, play-hard’ style of doing business.”

Frontier Promotions is also focused on giving back to the community, and hosts many charity events throughout the year. “We make it a priority to be involved with the community and philanthropic work,” Sarah explains. “We have provided community meals and Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless. We also have a tradition of adopting a family for Christmas to make sure that we are taking care of our local community and giving back.”

The team particularly enjoys working with Ferndale’s First United Methodist Church, located at 22331 Woodward Ave, at 9 Mile Rd. “We have done some volunteer work with First United Methodist Church and particularly like helping them because they have been so kind and welcoming to us since first moving into our Woodward location. Our office space is directly across from First United Methodist, and when we first moved into our space we struggled with parking since the lot here is shared by multiple businesses.” The church immediately stepped in to help. “Initially, we became involved with the church when they offered to let us use their parking lot. In exchange we did some volunteer work, including a Thanksgiving dinner.”

For the Thanksgiving event, Frontier Promotions had five of its team members take the day to prepare, cook, and serve a Thanksgiving meal at the church. “We prepared all of your traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green-bean casserole, rolls, etc. And, were able to service over 100 members of the local community that did not have the means to buy or cook their own dinner,” Sarah says. “It was really rewarding to see the appreciation of everyone involved, from the church staff, to the recipients of the dinner. Everyone came together, and for us it really made us feel thankful to be part of the Ferndale community.”

Frontier Promotions hosts a number of activities usually around the latter portion of the year and during the holidays, including providing a family with gifts during the Christmas season. “That is sort of a tradition for us now,” Sarah says, adding that “We pride ourselves on our work environment and office culture, so every Thursday we do some sort of team-building exercise.” Last year in December, Frontier also decided to attend the Be-a-Kid-for-a-Kid event at Dino’s Lounge. Proceeds from the event went to Blessings in Backpack, which Sarah says is “a really great organization that provides low-income students with meals for the weekend that they otherwise would not have.” The Frontier team has also planned local food drives, with the latest also held at the end of 2016.

Jack D. Arlan

What will happen if the President/Congress/Supreme Court acts to (fill in the blank)?” “Will they really do (this or that)?”

We’ve all heard these questions over the past few months.

People are asking these questions at the kitchen table, on their job, at their place of worship and on the street. Few are untouched by concern, and their concerns are many. One illustration is Medicare, the primary source of medical coverage for the elderly: What’s the effect on you, your parents or grandparents if it is changed, eliminated or privatized?

What can ordinary citizens like you and I do in a time of change and transition? How can we be heard in a time when federal policies and programs may dramatically impact many of us directly? People – young and old, a populace of varying color, religion, orientation and political persuasion -want and should have an influential voice.

Ezra Levin, Leah Greenberg, Angel Padilla and a few dozen other former congressional staffers recently published a guide for citizen-participation called Indivisible. It showed up on the web last December, and has been received by the public with enthusiasm. It’s a handbook for those who want to make their stance known on issues and hold their representatives in Washington accountable. Much of the advice is based on the successful tactics of the Tea Party. There is an overt anti-Trump tone, but the information is useful to people of all political positions. It may be found easily via Google or go directly to www.indivisibleguide.com.
Congressional staffers know how your Senators and Representatives think. They have seen how small groups of constituents can have an enormous impact on what our lawmakers do.

Your congressional representative and two United States senators want you to believe they care about you, share your values and are working hard on your behalf. Senators run for reelection every six years, Congressmen every two; they are always in a position of running for reelection or getting ready to do so. Even those in a “safe” seat care about threats in the next primary.

Your senators, Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, need to be responsive to the people of Michigan; they don’t worry as much about someone in Kentucky or Alaska. Your Congressman (for those in Ferndale, that’s Sandy Levin of the Ninth District) doesn’t lose too much sleep over those in Traverse City or Saginaw; he values his constituents first.

All of your members of Congress have web pages, showing their Washington DC and local offices, contact information and much about them and their work. Remember that independent checks are easily accessible, via the web, for voting history, your congressman in the news, etc.

How do your Congressional members feel about issues you’re concerned about? Are they speaking up? Are they attempting to support or oppose relevant policies or programs? There are four key areas where a handful of local constituents have the opportunity to make an impact:

1.    Townhall meetings. Public, in-district events are regularly held.
2.    Non-town hall events. These are ribbon-cutting ceremonies, parades, etc.
3.    District office(s). Your member of Congress has one or more local offices that he or she is at on a regular basis. It’s open for visits and meetings.
4.    Coordinated emails and telephone calls.

Indivisible is chock-full of detail about how these areas may be effectively utilized. It deals with the ways to ask questions and get answers, create public awareness as to responsiveness (or the lack thereof) and utilization of things like signs and other indications of support. There’s also a wealth of information about the formation and makeup of groups, which can be effective even starting out with a handful of like-minded folk.

Keep two things in mind: First, the authors recommend you concentrate on one issue at a time; your representatives don’t want to hear or address a bushel of issues in a single interaction. Second, focus on matters that have a current legislative priority; your influence is greatest with matters in the public eye now.
Also note that positive reinforcement can be important even if your member of Congress is already speaking and acting in accordance with your views. He or she, and their staff, can be energized by knowing their constituents believe they’re doing a good job; opponents notice.

IT’S A TIME OF TRANSITION, A TIME OF CHANGE. WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT DOES OR DOESN’T DO WILL IMPACT YOU. BE AWARE, BE VIGILANT. DEMAND THAT YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ACT ON YOUR BEHALF.

Story by Andrea Grimaldi
Photos by Bernie LaFramboise

We are open to the public. We invite anyone to visit and walk around, walk their dogs,” Machpelah groundskeeper Paul Saville explained, looking around the park in his backyard. On this quiet fall day, the grounds crew worked on blowing away leaves and tending to the flowerbeds, as the sun came through the branches of the countless trees. And, had we been anywhere besides one of the oldest cemeteries in Metro Detroit, I would have wondered how no one took him up on his offer.

To Paul, a calming walk around the cemetery is nothing new. He has worked maintaining the cemetery since 1978 in what started as a summer job. By the mid-‘80s, he had worked his way to head groundskeeper and moved into the house on the property, hidden behind a garage of maintenance machines. Machpelah is one of the last cemeteries in America that has a groundskeeper living on the property, and the Saville family treats it with the care and pride of home.

Machpelah Cemetery is a gorgeous park, regardless if tombstones scare you or not. The history and depth in Machpelah Cemetery is worth a long, winding walk. The Jewish cemetery is located on Woodward, just south of Marshall road, across from a car dealership and surrounded by businesses. Despite the busy area, the cemetery is a very peaceful place, 24 acres of immaculate landscaping backed by the David Oppenheim Memorial park. The cemetery has 9000 garden beds and circling walking trails. Machpelah has won an America in Bloom award, as well as a Ferndale Beautification award, with good reason. There is a year-round crew that keeps Machpelah beautiful. Weeding and garden maintenance is a nonstop task, starting at one end of the park and restarting as soon as they reach the other. The crew also must level out between 300 and 500 graves and tombstones a year. Along with the tradition of having a groundskeeper on the property, Machpelah is also one of few cemeteries that hand digs each grave.

The Machpelah cemetery is integral to Detroit history. The first house on Woodward Avenue stood where the cemetery is now, when Woodward was a dirt trail. The two-bedroom house was on the Granger farm property, and the occupants paid $7 dollars per month for rent.

Machpelah has a very large veterans section. Alfred Levitt, a member of the Flying Tigers in World War II, is in internment here. A Congressional Medal of Honor awardee is also buried here. Members of the Purple Gang, Detroit’s Jewish mafia and Al Capone’s liquor supplier during the prohibition, rest here as well. According to rumors, one of Al Capone’s girlfriends is here, as well as a previous mayor of Las Vegas. Gilda Radner’s parents are here in a family plot. “Babeland” – a section of early 1900’s children – is the eeriest of them all.

While all internment records are available on the Machpelah website, the staff is also available to help with genealogy questions. The employees of the cemetery are very well-educated on the history of the cemetery and are happy to show guests around the graves. The main administration building has a chapel and a family room for guests. The guest gathering room has shelves of the interesting things found while digging; old medicine bottles, beer and soda bottles, broken glasses, rusted out horse shoes. A Congressional Medal of Honor from the Civil War was also found on the grounds.

The staff is accommodating to guests of Machpelah there out of both necessity and curiosity. Walk a mile somewhere you never thought you would, and walk away more intrigued because of it.