Feb / Mar 2017

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Story & Photos by Malissa Martin

Gumbo, corned beef and cabbage, pork chops, ribs, fried pickles, hush puppies – that’s just a few items from the menu at Southern Belles’ Bistro on Woodward Avenue in Ferndale.

Owner Tony Murry opened Southern Belles’ in May 2016. “The idea was to take a traditional soul food restaurant, and take Cracker Barrel, and kind of jam them into one. Hence, the name Southern Belles’ Bistro. The idea was to bring the best of country, Southern cooking, and soul food together in one,” Murry says.

Despite being open for less than a year, Southern Belles’ has already identified customers’ favorite dishes. Chicken and dumplings, catfish dinner, and chicken and waffles are the most popular dishes.

“People are very particular about their waffles. We searched around and use a different waffle mix now; and also wings, we use a different type flour to put them in. They look lighter because they don’t come out as brown. It tastes a lot better and gives it a lot more of a crunchy flavor.” Murry says.

Macaroni and cheese, greens, and dressing are very popular sides at the bistro. “Those are homemade from scratch and are really good.” Murry says. Southern Belles’ also offers acquired tastes food selections including chitterlings, ox tails, and a home-style turkey dinner with cornbread stuffing.

Southern Belles’ is steadily growing and business is starting to really pick up. However, Murry confesses that breakfast is a tough market to break into in Ferndale, with all the established breakfast eateries. The breakfast menu for Southern Belles’ offers a variety of options including: chicken and waffles, corned beef hash, savory chicken crepes, steak and eggs, French toast, omelettes, biscuits and gravy, fish and grits, salmon croquettes, pancakes, waffles, and much more.

When it comes to making great soul food, it all begins with the cooks. Murry says he worked closely with his cooks to create an appetizing menu. “As far as my prep cooks, I have a lot of older women who’ve cooked for years. One of them is a professional chef. They brought a lot of their recipes to the table,” Murry says. “Home-cooked dishes from scratch are Ferndale residents’ weakness when it comes to food,” Murry mused. “We get the same kinds of stories, ‘I haven’t had cooking like this since my grandmother passed away’,” he says.

What sets Southern Belles’ apart from other restaurants in the area is their commitment to making  home-cooked meals. Ninety percent of the food cooked at Southern Belles’ is made from scratch. Another distinction is that they don’t use pork in their dishes. “We don’t put pork products in any of our food. We sell bacon and ribs, but not as far as in our sides. Traditionally, a lot of people put pork in the greens, pork in the black-eyed peas or even in the gravy. Instead, the cooks use smoked turkey to add flavor to their dishes.”

So far, Murry says business has been good and he’s learning more and more about Ferndale residents. “The Ferndale consumer, they’re very loyal to their restaurant establishments. So we’re starting to pick up more business in Ferndale. A lot of the business we’re getting is transport business; like followers that go to the soul food establishments in the area like Beans and Cornbread or Motor City. Those kinds of customers came to us quickly. The Ferndale customers are starting to come in now. I’ve been noticing it for the last two, three months.”

Murry says that other Ferndale restaurant owners have been very friendly to him and even more since he’s opened. “It’s been a very friendly business atmosphere.” Murry plans to participate in Ferndale’s summer events and is looking forward to building with the Ferndale community.

Visit Southern Belles’ Bistro at 22939 Woodward Ave. in Ferndale.
For more information visit
www.southernbellesbistro.com
or call (248) 607-3788.

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Story by Mary Meldrum
Photo David McNair

She walks in to meet with me, and immediately the room is lit. Bright and peppy, with a smile a mile wide, Teri Griffin Williams is glowing. She reminds me of a young girl, perhaps 14-years-old, with her curly hair, her immaculate complexion, and the bubbly personality to match. However, it is clear when we talk that she is an old soul with some pretty incredible wisdom. I am mesmerized.

Many know Teri as the Bliss Lady. Indeed, an apt description for this nymph of happiness, but before she became the Bliss Lady, Teri’s life was very different. It is hard to imagine that she began her professional career as the assistant to a bank president, but she did. She crunched numbers, which is about as far away from her professional reality now as the Earth is from Mars. She is good at math and numbers are predictable, so she put these talents to good use early on, and now occasionally has clients who hire her as their business consultant.

Through a series of tragedies, life challenges and revelations, Teri discovered her less tangible and powerful talents with energy work.

Born the youngest of six children in a traditional Catholic family, Teri was on a traditional religious path with her family as a young child. At a certain point, she realized that the traditional path didn’t satisfy her. Now, Teri openly talks about spirituality, but not from a religious perspective. Spirituality for her is about raising your higher self; connecting with something that sustains you in the name of love and compassion.

“My own quest for personal success, contentment and peace of mind led me down many paths, having taken more seminars, workshops and classes than I can possibly begin to list. Each of which has led me to believe that what we focus on multiplies.”
– Teri Griffin Williams

An avid practitioner of meditation for the last 25 years, Teri meditates every day. Weather permitting; her practice is done outside in nature to give her the full benefit of the sunshine and fresh air. Bringing her meditative knowledge to her clients, Teri is also a co-founder of the guided meditation series: I Meditation Project (iMeditationProject.com). This series of guided meditations has been created in the first person. Instead of hearing the guide’s voice say “You are…” in typical guided meditation vernacular, I Meditation Project has recorded its series to say “I am.” In a deep meditative state, this simple change is fluid and transformative because the brain does not need to translate the “you” to “I.”

Creator of the LEARN REIKI FROM HOME study program which is on the web page  (LearnReikifromHome.com), Teri reveals that her Certified Home Study Course is founded on the original Reiki Masters’ concepts from over 100 years ago. This course fits the needs of novice Reiki practitioners as well as more experienced practitioners or Reiki Masters.

For the last six years, Teri has hosted her Soulful Living radio show that features interviews with inspiring and some well-known guests. You can listen to Teri on Empower Radio every Monday at noon, or listen to her radio content via podcast. Teri’s busy professional career also now includes being a Certified Intuitive Practitioner, a Reiki Master, and a Shamanic Practitioner. With these skills, Teri practices Soul Retrieval and Soul Work.

There is a clear warning on her website, www.SoulPractices.com, that Teri Griffin Williams makes to her clients up front: Possible side effects of following her methods may include feelings of: joy, peace, calm, connection, flow, happiness, sexiness (yes, sexiness!), enthusiasm, creativity, etc.  Whatever she does, it is clearly working for her as she effortlessly maintains her bubbly conversation and her glow. She is walking testimony to the success of her work.

 “Teaching others how to expand their potential for living life to the fullest through creating a practice of impeccable soul care is my passion.”
– Teri Griffin Williams

Teri promotes the idea that ultimately everyone is their own healer. For those who are interested in experiencing more harmony, abundance, relaxation and rejuvenation in their lives, she can help guide you to discover those and more.

We could all use that glow!

Story by Sarah E. Teller
Photo By Bernie LaFramboise

George and Cecilia Grego purchased Como’s restaurant, on the corner of Nine Mile Rd and Woodward, on April 1, 1961, and since then the restaurant has been a staple in the Ferndale community. The Italian hot spot is best known for its pizza. “We have the best pizza anywhere around,” says Como’s manager, George Grego Jr.

Como’s has a full bar and regular entertainment, combining dining and drinks, great for any sized party. It will offer a fun-filled lineup for the upcoming Blues Festival, January 27th through February 4th. “We’ll have entertainment each night,” George says.

There is a banquet area that can accommodate up to 100 people, as well as a private dining room seating up to 40. In warmer months, the outside patio seats several hundred people. “It’s a simple phone call,” George says of how quickly a reservation for a special event can be made. Como’s also hosts birthday parties, wedding and baby showers and other celebratory events.

Como’s reopened in October 2016, after having been cited for several violations related to cleanliness and the safety of its food, including citations for its kitchen area and ultimately closed by the health department the previous month. A lot of it had to do with “noncompliance of staff,” according to George. “We have a lot of new staff now and have remodeled.” Of the original 20-plus employees, only six have been retained. “No money had been put into the restaurant in nearly 20 years,” George adds.

“We’ve taken this opportunity to put the funds in that were needed.” Most of the building has been gutted and the space has been completely transformed, with all violations properly addressed and eradicated.

“We’ve made some fantastic changes and additions, and have thoroughly addressed and resolved any outstanding issues with the Oakland County Health Division,” George also indicated in a press release following the restaurant’s reopening. “All current staff are ServSafe certified.” ServSafe is a program that uses FDA Food Code guidelines to provide safety education and training to anyone employed at a restaurant who handles food.

George credits much of the positive change to Como’s new award winning chef, Pete Lech, a graduate of Schoolcraft College who served as an executive chef at Andiamo Italian Restaurant for a number of years. “Pete is just great,” he says. “He comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience.”

The restaurant has instituted some great specials to make sure members of the community stop by and check out the changes. “We have the best specials earlier in the week,” George says. On Monday’s Como’s has half-off all pizzas. On Tuesdays, pasta is buy-one, get-one free. And, on Wednesdays, patrons can enjoy a strip steak dinner for just $20.  “It’s a little-known fact that Como’s delivers, too,” George says. “And we even deliver beer and wine.

Como’s Restaurant is located at 22812 Woodward Avenue.
Staff can be reached at 248-548-5005.

By Rebecca Hammond

I’m reading a book called Nature’s God, by Matthew Stewart. Subtitled The Heretical Roots of the American Revolution, it’s the story of our nation’s beginnings combined with a history of philosophy that links to the birth of the American liberal movement, long ago. It’s a great read.

Stewart points out that opposite of “radical” isn’t necessarily “moderate,” it can be “common.” Yet radical voices commonly surround us. Do you read Mother Earth News at the Ferndale Library? A pe-rusal of MEN does not need to reveal anything specificallyuseful, the valuable part being reminded that there are a multitude of ways to live. There are radical choices we can make. The advertised way is, in fact, usually the most boring, always being the way to get the task over with the soonest. Has the idea of getting necessary tasks over with quickly so as to free up time for enjoyable or creative ideas worked? I doubt it. There’s a resurgence of doing things slowly even if that costs more, knitting being one example. It now costs more to buy yarn and knit a sweater or socks than it does to buy the finished garment, but even so, knitting is again extremely popular.

It’s common to discard worn clothing, so just re-pairing it is radical. Leather patches on elbows might be professorial, but they were once merely practical, keeping elbows intact. But a commonly-radical mom wouldn’t have tossed a sweater with holey elbows anyway – she’d have ripped off sleeves above the holes and re-knit them.

Same with socks. I used to wonder why old-fashioned socks had contrasting heels and toes until I knit a few dozen pairs myself. A woman fixing socks wouldn’t necessarily have still had the same color yarn the socks were originally made of. Not only that, if the heels and toes are a different color, they’re easier to remove and replace, even multiple times. If you knit your own socks, you know that the feet are fairly fun to knit, the ribbed ankle cuff more tedious. An entire worn-out sock foot can be cut off, the cuff stitches picked up, and the foot re-knit. This can even be done with commercial socks. What if you don’t want to buy this pricey yarn, period? Thrift stores are full of nice sweaters made of high-quality yarn that can be dismantled in an evening. You’ll find every kind of wool including merino and cash-mere, and cottons and fun synthetics. The only thing to watch for is the seams. A serged or overlocked seam (see the photo; the serged seam is on the left) means the sweater pieces were cut from large bolts of knit fabric, and if you try to reuse that yarn, every row will be a separate piece. Look for seams that look like the sweater was handmade (like on the right). Remove the seam thread, clip the yarn at the very bottom, and start raveling. I used to bother winding the yarn in a ball, even blocking the kinks out of it, but no longer. A piece of knit fabric is easier to handle than a ball of yarn, and it feels pretty radical to rip a row or two off a former sweater and instantly turn it into a sock or a mitten. The kinkiness of already-knitted yarn is not noticeable as you work. You can make a lot of socks or mittens from a $2 dollar sweater. Almost-free wool socks are radical.

Knitting was socially important and radical recently, when women spent weeks knitting pink hats for a January 21st march that included hundreds of marches worldwide, huge ones in places like London and Chicago and LA, tiny ones in places like Copper Harbor and Kodiak Island. The hats were a mere symbol, but one that kept women united for weeks, some churning out dozens for non-knitters. Keeping one’s hands busy with repetitive work is soothing and mind-freeing, so the benefits outweighed the warmth of the hats, the obvious solidarity they symbolized, and the sea of pink that make the marches unmistakable in photos. It was a modern version of a quilting bee, an online version that created unity before the marchers ever gathered.

These marches were important. Watch the documentary, Requiem for the American Dream. As interviewee, Noam Chomsky, leads through the steps that led to our current situation in America, he describes how important and nation–changing large movements have been in our past. Marches matter.

If you prefer knitting to be even more radical, check out a new Ferndale group called The Ladies Knitting Circle and Resistance League on Facebook. We bump mere social knitting up a notch or 12, chipping in for groups like the ACLU or Planned Parenthood. No, you don’t even have to knit.

Rebecca Hammond learned to knit about 52 years ago, when her Mom went to knitting classes at church and came home to teach her daughters.

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By: Jeff Milo, Circulation Specialist

We’re stirring up a significant amount of HOOPLA this winter and spring! The Ferndale Library is excited to announce that its patrons now have access to HOOPLA Digital, an app for your tablet, phone or home computer that lets you use your library card to download or stream free videos, movies, music, audiobooks, comics and eBooks! Hundreds of thousands of the latest films from all the major studios can be streamed through the HOOPLA app, and you won’t have to pay any subscription fee (as you would with Netflix or Hulu), you’ll just need your library card!

“HOOPLA is a service we’ve wanted to offer for some time,” said, Darlene Hellenberg, Ferndale Library’s Interim Director. “We are so happy that the millage passed, and HOOPLA will be a great way to start rewarding patrons for that support. We’re hoping people really utilize HOOPLA to the fullest during this initial trial period, as a popular reception would assure this exciting resource eventually becoming permanently available.”

HOOPLA is a new digital media service where you’ll access more than half a million titles
across numerous formats: Films that were recently in theaters, or recent seasons of binge-worthy TV shows, the latest eBooks and audio-books, popular music albums and cutting edge comics and graphic novels.

As with OverDrive (our original eBook/Audiobook app), you can down-load titles to your device (or computer) and read them on your screen; after a few weeks, your downloaded “check-out” is discharged from your record when the file automatically deletes it-self. But you could also just stream a movie or an album, sample some songs or just settle in for a viewing, no down-load required.

Best of all, with HOOPLA, there are no hold lists to sign-up for, no waiting, no extra apps or accounts needed, and no special steps to use it. It just works!

As a library cardholder, you may borrow (or stream) up to three titles per month. Patrons can always see how many downloads or streaming check-outs they’re permitted per month, and HOOPLA records a history of check-outs that only the patron can view. This completely revolutionizes the traditional borrowing arrangement of public libraries, and FADL’s staff are excited and energized to charge forth into the future.

“There is a potential to reach Fern-dale residents that have never used the library before said Kelly Bennett, Head of Circulation. “HOOPLA brings the library into their home, into their hands,into their lives. We’re hoping to see an uptick in new patrons.”

To register for and enjoy hoopla digital for free with your library card, please download the hoopla digital app from your Apple or Google Play store on your mobile device. If you are using a computer, you may visit
www.hoopladigital.com/home.

By: Christina Bournias, Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce

THE FERNDALE AREA CHAMBER (FAC) of Commerce’s mission is to champion the growth of business and community through leadership and collaboration. The Chamber serves as a guide by providing businesses the opportunities to collaborate with each other to improve the business climate in the Ferndale area.

By joining the Chamber, organizations are investing into a thriving business community. Members help establish the Ferndale community—and its surrounding boundary areas; Oak Park and Pleasant Ridge—as an economic leader within the Metro Detroit region. The Chamber’s vision is to make the region the community of choice to work, live, learn, and grow. FAC members receive tools to increase visibility and stay connected within the community; aiming to improve business practices. One of the most important tools is the community support 300+ active members give each other from referrals.

The FAC is now tucked inside of the Credit Union One (CUO) building at 400 E. 9 Mile. Positioned almost directly across the street from our previous facility, FAC can be found on the main floor, to the immediate right of the front lobby.

Professionalism and strong leadership are at the forefront of the FAC. The Chamber recently announced our new Executive Board of Director: Jerome Raska, owner of Blumz…by JRDesigns; Vice Chair, Lisa Schmidt of Schmidt & Long, PLLC; Treasurer, Blake Prewitt of Ferndale Schools; Sherry Kless of Oakland County Michigan Works! Oak Park. Our new elected Directors to our Board include Heather Coleman-Voss of Oakland County Michigan Works! Ferndale; Benjamin Long of Schimdt & Long, PLLC; Aaron Stone of STONE+TEAM Consulting; and Dale Vigliarolo of Lake-Pointe Construction. Attending programs and sharing terrific ideas, every Board Director provides valuable in-sight to the organization. Be sure to introduce yourself to them at our next Coffee Connection, Chamber Lunch Club, and/or Business After Five program.

The FAC hosts several programs and targeted events each year, including “Artist In You”, “Rainbow Run”, and the festive Annual “Gala.” With over ninety (90)+ donated silent auction items, and hundreds of people in the audience, the 2016 “Our Local Flavor” Gala evening was a night to remember.  As the ‘Biggest Event of the Year’, this event helps maintain the member-funded Chamber as a vital organization for its Members and for their businesses. Delightful and delicious, the Gala celebration is certainly flavorful. In addition, the tasty “Sip. Stroll. Roll!” event was added to the 2016 calendar and was also well received. Philanthropic FAC events are a fun way to highlight the community establishments and to give back to deserving organizations. The Chamber provides these events for the good of its community and looks forward to another successful 2017.
Email Kim Hart, Executive Director at director@ferndalechamber.com or call 248-542-6120 for detailed information.  Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce 400 E 9 Mile Rd, Ferndale MI 48220 http://ferndalechamber.com,
FB: @FerndaleAC

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By Jeannie Davis

THE FERNDALE SENIOR GROUP. Who are we?

We are comprised of people over 55 years of age, living in Ferndale. Or not living in Ferndale. People who join want a place to connect with others, and are not enamored of lunching and shopping. Our members range from their 60s to 90s. They are not stodgy old fogies (Well, most of them aren’t).

Our members range in commitment from people who throw themselves into our events and projects,and cleaning up after special lunches….to people who come to socialize, enjoy our programs, and then go home. They all bring different talents and person-alities to the table.

One thing they all have in common is a desire to engage. Some people become more involved after attending meetings for a while, and some don’t. This is fine. One thing is certain. They all meet people who share common attitudes and problems, and they all make friends.

We meet on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at the Kulick Center at 11:00 A.M. You don’t have to be a member to attend. However, by becoming a member ($10 per year), you will get the newsletter which outlines our speakers, coming trips, and coming events. Plus, we go on certain special trips, which are members only. Some are free!At our meetings, we host pertinent speakers: Garry Taylor from the Historical Society, Mayor Coulter speaking on the state of our city, Sergeant Brown speaking on how the Ferndale Police Force operates and how to be safe, speakers on nutrition, protection from scams, handwriting analysts, demonstrations on zentangle, even our local poet. In addition, we have entertainment: magicians, singers, comedians etc. As if this wasn’t enough, on those meeting days when we have nobody speaking, we amuse our-selves. Last week, we had a lively discussion on what the members wanted to see more of and less of. Or, we have colored, or brought in our knitting and sat and chatted.

By the way, many of our members arrive early just to socialize. Lunch is available at the center after for those who want it.

We have a committee which does nothing but arrange trips for our members. The trips are generally cost-attractive. We are planning trips to The Henry Ford Museum, The Detroit Institute of Arts, The Lavender Festival in Romeo, The Wyandotte Art Fair, the Riverwalk, and of course, the casinos. We have favorite trips which we do every other year, so they don’t get stale: Eastern Market, Art fairs, Frankenmouth, Morley Candy factory, Karr’s Nuts. When we plan these trips, we look for unusual restaurants for lunch.

For events, we have pot luck lunches in the summer, and at Thanksgiving. We Seniors supply the main meat, and the members bring in dishes to pass. This is so popular, that, we are thinking of adding another potluck in March. We have card par-ties, St. Pat’s lunches, winter picnics, and a special lunch for Tiger’s opening day. We do a spaghetti dinner in the fall.

So, why would you join us? Well, you will meet like-minded people. Nothing is more intimidating than walking into a room full of strangers, not knowing anyone. You break into a sweat imagining sitting alone with nobody talking to you. Well not at the Ferndale Seniors. We have a reputation as one of the friendliest groups in Oakland County. Several people have commented on our warmth. People come forward and introduce themselves, and ask if you would like to sit with them. You will learn many new things, and have fun doing it. You will explore our surrounding area within the safety of a group on a bus.

We are not high-pressure, visit us, see if you like what you see.
Jeannie Davis, 248-541-5888

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By: Rudy Serra

Q: I WAS A CONTRACT WORKER for 24 years for one of the Big Three. Can I file a lawsuit saying that I was really an employee because of the time involved? I had a company business card and a company employee badge.
Answer: Strictly speaking, when you ask “can I file a lawsuit,” the answer is almost always yes. The real issue is whether you’re likely to win. Without knowing a lot more, the advice I can give is limited. You may want to consult an attorney who specializes in employment law. If you are no longer on the job, it is important for your attorney to under-stand exactly what you’re trying to do. Do you want to obtain employee benefits, or are you trying to be compensated for unemployment or some injury?

The difference between an employee and an independent contractor has been the subject of many cases. Generally, the law says that a court will look at the contract involved, and will apply certain standards and tests. In some cases the courts will apply a reality test. The court will look at the real-life facts, and will consider a variety of factors. These include things like; which party [employer or contractor] decides when the work has to be done? Which party provides the tools? Is the worker supervised or independent? Does the employer require the work to be done at a particular place?

Before you get to looking at such factors, you may have to get past the language of the actual contract you signed. The terms of your employment agreement will be treated as enforceable unless you can show some reason to look past them, such as fraud or duress or mistake.

Some of the things you mentioned would probably be considered as evidence that you really had an employment relationship. Other facts might support the claim that you were merely a contractor.  When a company gives you a card that authorizes you to rep-resent yourself as an agent of the company, for ex-ample, an agency relationship is indisputable. Not all agents are employees, but all employees are agents. The long period of time you were working would also probably weigh in your favor.

An attorney will probably want to see a copy of your contract. Michigan courts generally favor strict enforcement of contracts. It can be difficult to get a court to look beyond the terms of a written contract and consider the nature of your employment relation-ship. Based on the factors you mentioned, though, it may be worth looking into further.

JUDGE RUDY REPORTS is a regular feature in Ferndale Friends. This ¨ask the lawyer¨ format column welcomes questions from readers. If you have a legal question or concern, send your question by email to rudy.serra@sbcglobal.net. Advice about specific cases cannot be provided but general legal questions and topics are welcome.

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By: Andrea Grimaldi
Photo: Bernie Laframboise

The Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society is a 501 (3) (c) nonprofit organization started in 2001 with a goal to bring more awareness to the art that is fingerstyle guitar. Maintained by six enthusiasts, several in the Ferndale area, the MFGS aims to connect guitarists from all over the world with affordable local venues and interested crowds in Metro Detroit. The Society has been responsible for over 100 acts coming to Michigan, and hopes to bring in many more.

Fingerstyle guitar encompasses many genres and refers to the technique of a single guitar performing multiple parts of the musical arrangement. This means using advanced techniques to play harmonic melodies and low bass notes simultaneously while keeping percussion with the body of the guitar. The guitar is played with fingertips rather than picks. Many fingerstyle guitarists play solo, but there are also Italy’s Guitar Republic or the world-renowned California Guitar Trio. Many of the guitarists that the Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society contact play classical guitar, or perform their own compositions that range from a classical-jazz mix to an avant-garde style, known as Contemporary Acoustic Guitar. However, not just any fingerstyle guitarist will be hosted. One of the caveats of the group is that one of the MFGS members must “love” the music of the artist they are bringing in.

Many of the musicians live to tour, using proceeds from one show to fund the next. These musicians depend on fans and groups like MFGS to help find the locations and audiences needed to sustain their tours. Although there are a lot of guitar fans and avid concert goers of all genres, it can be hard for small acts to reach these people. This is especially true for international acts. Members of the MFGS understand this and go above and beyond. They have even invited guitarists to stay in their homes and act as a local tour guide during their stay. Without the support of MFGS, Michigan could be completely skipped over on these small tours.

The guitar society used to book concerts primarily in Ferndale but they have recently spread out a bit further, booking shows in Lake Orion at 20 Front Street, and Livonia at Trinity House Theatre. They have also helped book shows as far as the Upper Peninsula, Grand Rapids, and Madison, Wisconsin. However, they hope to find a home base in Ferndale. The group is currently scouting the perfect location; a music-centered venue, intimate but not too small, professional but not too price-centered. Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society’s slogan is to Promote the Artist, Promote the Music and, with the perfect venue, the group is hoping to draw a bigger network of live music fans, creating a market for more concerts as well.

Concerts start in March in both Livonia and Lake Orion. In June, the group hopes to bring Italian guitarist Stefano Barone to Michigan. Barone has played across the US and is no stranger to Michigan. His music was featured as a backdrop for Ferndale video journalist Brian Kaufman’s documentary on the wolves of Isle Royale, “Predator/Prey: The Fight for Isle Royale’s Wolves.” Barone was honored to perform several of his pieces live before the world-premier viewing of this film at the Detroit Free Press Film Festival in 2016. Barone has also played many venues in Michigan, including the Detroit Institute of the Arts.

To keep an eye on upcoming fingerstyle guitar events, find their Facebook page or see their full calendar at  www.fingerstyle.org. These concerts are a unique and intimate experience and are not to be missed.

By Malissa Martin

Ferndale Friends, and the Underwood 5 team members working to bring a community radio station to Ferndale, hosted an emergency meeting on Thursday, January 26 to try to save the imperiled project.

The station must be on the air and broadcasting by August 7, 2017 to keep the construction permit issued by the Federal Communications Commission. In order to make that deadline, station representatives say they must raise another $8 to $10 thousand dollars by this March. Board members have had a challenging time raising the necessary $15 thousand dollars to launch the station. So far, they’ve raised $5 to $7 thousand. The most expensive item in the budget is the most important – the transmitter, which is $4,000 dollars. Without the transmitter, antenna and tower, the radio station cannot launch.

At the meeting, board members of the station presented the station’s vision, plans and updates to interested supporters. The presentation lasted 90 minutes, and ended with plans to keep meeting every two weeks until the station is on the air. Station President Michelle Mirowski says the event went well, and community members appeared to be excited again about the project. “I think it’s great that we had a meeting here and met a lot of people that really want to be involved and see it as a benefit, especially to the community,” says Michelle Mirowski.

According to the Underwood 5 materials, the station plans to offer “Hyperlocal programming, community engagement, promotion of community events, specialty broadcast, and more. Potential programming for the station include: on-air book club, interviews with local news makers, coverage of government and board meetings, Go Comedy hour, prep sports coverage, geek culture and LGBT programming involving Affirmations.”

Once broadcasting, annual expenses for the non-profit radio station are expected to be about $5,000 dollars. The owners of the Rust Belt Market, Chris and Tiffany Best, have offered space in their facility for the station. Station volunteers are on a tight deadline. Funding to help launch the station will come from local sponsors in exchange for on-air mentions once the station is up-and-running. At the meeting, one local businessman offered to donate $2,000 dollars.

Ferndale’s community radio station will broadcast on 100.7 FM, reaching a roughly three-mile radius from the Rust Belt (at Woodward and 9 Mile). It is extremely unlikely the F.C.C. will issue another such license in the Metro Detroit area in the foresee-able future. If this project fails, the dream of a community-owned radio station for Ferndale may be over forever.  “What we have is extremely rare, and I can’t express that enough to people,” says Mirowski. With the deadline fast approaching, Mirowski says she and her team are not giving up. Although they didn’t expect the fundraising to be this challenging, they will continue to work hard until the end.

“This is a passion project and we see benefit in it, and it’s just a great opportunity that doesn’t always come around.” says Mirowski. Board members for the Ferndale Community Radio include: Michelle Mirowski, president; Dave Phillips, secretary/social media; Dave Kim, treasurer/promotions; Jeremy Olystyn, program-ming/training; and Keith Fraley, radio engineer.

For information on donating to help fund the Ferndale Community Radio project email: ferndaleradio@gmail.com. Visit www.ferndaleradio.com any time for more updated information.