Oct / Nov 2016

By Jeff Milo
Photos by Jeff Milo and David McNair

Ferndale could still have our own Community Radio Station by the end of the year, but not without help.

“We’re noticing that once people learn about the project, they’re geeked about it” said Dave Phillips, head of communications for Ferndale Community Radio. “But we’ve had difficulty spreading the word on a wide scale.” At the end of September, a two-month campaign to raise $15,000 from individual donors via indiegogo (online) came up short.

The team behind Ferndale Community Radio includes volunteers with a passion for bringing an independent low-power FM station to Ferndale. The primary members are Michelle Mirowski (president and general manager), Dave Phillips (head of communications), Jeremy Olstyn (head of programming and training), and Dave Kim (promotions), and they were able to raise just under $4,000.

They may be down, but they’re not out. There is still a chance, but it is a much smaller chance and the clock ff1561011_radiois ticking even faster, it seems. The team behind FCR has a lot to do, yet. However, with each bringing a substantial amount of experience in broadcasting, journalism and communications, they had known all along, when the idea first sprung among them six years ago, that it would take a lot of things falling in to place for their own “On-Air” sign to light-up.

If they can raise around $15,000 (or more) then they will start erecting a tower for transmitting atop the Rustbelt Market. Those funds will also allow them to start ordering all of the equipment they’ll need (which will likely take months to arrive), and start testing the frequency before broadcast.

Chris Best, co-owner/manager of the Rust Belt Market, expressed considerable enthusiasm last year for partnering with FCR. In fact, it was initially in the Rust Belt’s business plan to eventually help set up and host a community radio station. They just hadn’t anticipated the harder parts of jumping through the various hoops required to get that FCC approval.

Mirowski said that the future plan centers on approaching all of the local businesses and organizations who originally expressed enthusiasm and encouragement toward the campaign to hopefully become underwriters. Ferndale Community Radio is a Michigan nonprofit, so it’s certainly feasible for Ferndale’s business community to help raise them toward the cause of broadcasting.

There could be a number of culprits as to why they fell short of their crowdfunding goal. “I think people are a bit burned out with crowdfunding, unfortunately,” Best said. “It has been watered-down, in many ways. (The Rustbelt) feels fortunate that we were able to make it work for us four years ago, before much of that burn-out occurred. However, we do feel Ferndale Community Radio is the perfect type of project to pursue crowd-funding. So, they are a victim of circumstance.”
Best continued, saying that as soon as everyone becomes better acquainted with the good people behind FCR and realizes the benevolence behind FCR’s mission (locally-curated music programs and Ferndale-centric news reporting), then more donations will doubtless come in.

“(Ferndale Community Radio) would be such a welcomed addition to Ferndale,” Best said. “Think of how wildly popular ‘Ferndale Forum’ is on Facebook… Whether you like Facebook or not, that does show there’s a yearning for a ‘community’ and a way to stay connected with the business, political, and social aspects of this city and surrounding areas.”

There are still a lot of things that have to fall into place like testing the frequency, ordering extra parts, and a handful of other, possibly unforeseeable variables, but what would expedite all of it is the financial support from the public.

“We’ll likely need a structural engineer to look at the tower before it goes up. We need to get the $15,000 needed for equipment by this December, or the whole project is dead…”

The FCR team received a permit for the 100.7 FM spot on the dial from the Federal Communications ff1561011_supportfrCommission, and it shouldn’t be overlooked how rare of an opportunity that is in this day and age. “This might actually be the only chance for Ferndale to have a community FM station,” Mirowski said. “The 100.7 FM frequency might not be open anymore if we miss this. And if we don’t get the funding, it’s not like the FCC is going to say: ‘Oh, take your time, we’ll just hold onto this for you…’ We’d have to wait until this window of opportunity opens again…”

And that could be several years. This is it, Ferndale.

“We’re all over the moon about the support we’ve received from the Rust Belt,” Phillips said. “(Best) and his crew have been very involved, helping spread the word. Regardless of the outcome, we will be forever grateful. We’re also encouraged by the support of the city, our friends and families and other local businesses who have expressed interest in helping out. It’s such a cool thing to see people throw their weight behind a cause you’ve watched grow from nothing into something.”

The desire remains for this team to bring you a terrestrial radio station just for you; something you can tune in to while you’re driving down 9 Mile or chilling at home. No corporate sponsors, no moneyed interests. Just passionate people doing quality radio for the love of it and directing their efforts towards promoting local events, local businesses, local artists, local organizations…ALL FERNDALE.

As we went to print, the FCR team was meeting to hammer out their next moves. But local businesses should start “tuning in” to their mission via Facebook (or online at FerndaleRadio.com), because this non-profit is hoping to find some helpful underwriters. In November, you can anticipate a benefit concert, Mirowski said, hosted at one of Ferndale’s local venues.

Our fingers are crossed…

More information at : Ferndaleradio.com

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By Adam O’Connor

Craft beer pioneer Samuel Adams is partnering with local event producers Ultimate Fun Productions and The Social Connection to present the first annual OktoBEER & BBQ Festival in downtown Ferndale. Friday, October 14 through Sunday, October 16 will transform Vesper Street into a 50,000-square foot beer gardenff15614_people1 featuring tons of beer, traditional German food and mouthwatering BBQ. Live music, themed games and a Sam Adams’ “Raise the Stein”-sanctioned qualifying event round out the entertainment for the weekend.

OktoBEER & BBQ Festival will showcase an unparalleled selection of German cuisine, BBQ and food trucks – along with an extensive selection of beer, including brews from Samuel Adams, Coney Island Brewing Company, Traveler Beer Company and many more. Angry Orchard, Truly Spiked & Sparkling, Wild Turkey Bourbon and SKYY Vodka will also be providing cocktails.

More than a dozen food vendors will be present throughout the weekend, offering up a spread of culinary ff15614_foodgoodness that’ll please any crowd. Stonewood Smokehouse, Smoke Ring BBQ, Detroit BBQ, Smoke Shack and more will be selling their well-known and popular brands of barbecue.

With an impressive list of bands, OktoBEER & BBQ Festival presents a carefully cultivated entertainment lineup fit for all ages. The Wild Turkey Bourbon Stage will feature local favorites Killer Flamingos, Reefermen, Dan Tillery, Ryan Dillaha and more – plus traditional German music provided by Immigrant Sons.

“In Ferndale, we take our fun seriously,” says Mayor David Coulter. “We enjoy rolling out the welcome mat for residents and visitors alike, and showing off our special community.”

OktoBEER & BBQ Festival will be jam-packed with fun activities and entertainment that are sure to please and delight. Guests have the opportunity to participate in a variety of themed contests and games including ff15614_people2Sam Adams’ “Raise the Stein”-sanctioned qualifying event for the National Championship. The Sam Adams Stein Hoisting competition is searching coast-to-coast for two national champions to send to the 2017 Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, Germany. Those interested in participating in this qualifying event are encouraged to sign up via the website (oktobeerfestival.com).

Additional games and activities at OktoBEER & BBQ Festival include the Barrel Roll, Stein Race, Brat Toss, Schwartze Loch (us Michiganders know it as “Corn Hole”) and Brat Eating Contest. These games are open to all OktoBEERfest guests and will be free to play!

The event also benefits CARE House of Oakland County, the first organization in Oakland County proactively addressing the issues of child abuse and neglect. Care House implements that mission-critical goal through programs and services which mirror its core belief of “It shouldn’t hurt to be a child!” Visit www.carehouse.org for more information on how to get involved.

OktoBEER & BBQ Festival takes place in downtown Ferndale on Vester Street from:
5:00–11:00 P.M. on Friday; Noon–11:00 P.M. on Saturday; Noon–8:00 P.M. on Sunday

Entry is free all weekend and open to all ages. More information about the festival is available at: www.oktobeerfestival.com


By: Sarah Teller

The City of Ferndale’s sewer system, maintained by the Department of Public Works, consists of approximately 80 miles of piping. The system is considered a “combined system” — this means it serves a dual purpose of carrying both storm water away from the streets and also handles the city’s sanitary flow. One hundred per cent of the sewage drainage is treated to remove pollutants before it is released into the environment. The sewer system has been routinely maintained, revised, and renovated as needed since its inception in 1920, but the basic structure has been in place for nearly 100 years. Since the 1980s, the City of Ferndale has also lined nearly half of the entire system, leaving the pipes in excellent, “better than new” condition, according to City of Ferndale’s Director of Public Works, Lloyd Cureton, who was elected to his current position in 2012 after serving several months as interim director and the retirement of previously-appointed Bryon Photiades.

“Over the years, numerous city employees and contractors have been involved in the maintenance and upgrading of the system including public works staff and engineering consultants,” Loyd explains. The current system uses a pipe restoration process referred to as Cured in Place, or C.I.P for short. Cured in Place piping is a joint-less piping system, one of several trenchless rehabilitation methods used to repair existing pipelines. This type of piping does not require excavation should a limited portion of the system need to be repaired. C.I.P. piping can reduce the risk of infiltration by tree roots and other underground objects, as well as prevent leaking. “This process lines the pipe with a hard plastic that is smoother, better able to withstand the sewer substances being transported, and is installed seamlessly,” he explains. “Seamless means no water infiltration from groundwater or openings which proved a place for tree roots to grow in to the system and clog it.”

In recent years, the City of Ferndale has initiated the installation of restrictor plates on a limited number of the system’s catch basins. These plates are specifically designed to slow the rate of storm water into the sewer system. There has been some concern, however, from local residents that the streets are now flooding after heavy storms due to the new design. It appears that the restrictor plates are inadvertently causing the pipes to back up and clog with miscellaneous debris, making it impossible for water to drain as it should. Sizable puddles are accumulating on the streets for extended periods of time.

However, the design is actually intentional and essential in order to prevent rain water from entering their homes during the heaviest storms.

“This is especially important during significant rain events,” says Cureton. “The system is not clogged. It is designed that way. The City would rather have the streets flood temporarily than have the storm system be overwhelmed and potentially back up into basements.” And, although the plates may cause the streets to hold water for a longer period of time, this back up is not significant enough to be considered a worrisome level of flooding. “Streets that flood temporarily, and drain within an hour without causing property damage are not considered flooded,” Loyd says assuredly. Residents can rest easy that the sewer system is functioning properly and water will drain in a reasonable period of time. Despite the water pooling, routes will remain accessible during the prolonged draining process.

For more information regarding Ferndale’s sewer system, please contact the Department of Public Works located at 521 East Cambourne Street. The department is open for business weekly, Monday through Friday, and can be reached at 248-546-2525.

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Story by Carol Jackson
Photos by Bernie Laframboise

What do Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow, the music industry, art and dog and cat grooming have in common, you ask? I’ll tell you: Lori O’Brien, dog/cat groomer extraordinaire.

Lori works out of West Woodward Animal Hospital on 9 Mile. She grooms both the clinic patients and non vet patients. I’ve known her since 2003, but was amazed to realize how much I didn’t know about my friend before this interview. I guess we all have a lot of layers to peel off before we get to the core!

I asked Lori about the past lives that led her home to her pet grooming business in our fair town.
“I graduated with an art degree from Wayne State University. My passion for art has no boundaries. I worked my way through all my schooling, got my degree and taught for a short time.

“I ventured out into the music industry for the next 15 years. I worked hard, lived in New York City, Minnesota, Los Angeles and Detroit. I traveled with the small and big bands: Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow, to shamelessly name a few! It was quite the 15 years, I wouldn’t give up one minute of it. I have friends all over the world. However, as industries change, so must some of the loyal staff. I could see the handwriting on the wall.

“Since Detroit is my hometown where my parents are (Father is a retired Detroit detective, mother a nurse and successful sister), it started to make sense to close down my career and find my calling in Detroit.

“During my last couple years in music, I became obsessed with animal rescue, and was introduced to Animal Cops Detroit. I made my friends tune in every time it was broadcast. Then a germ of an idea started. I love dogs, I love cats. I took the leap of faith, quit the big-paying job and in 2003 moved back to Detroit.

“I was determined to find my calling, so I started out smart, worked at small vet clinics, at MHS as an adoption counselor, doggy day care facilities, learning the ropes to the next step. Grooming. I went to school in 2008, found I have a natural talent and a complete love affair with every dog and cat (and occasional bunny) I met. I was truly home. The grooming has evolved into dog-sitting (your place or mine) and dog-walking. Anything your dog or cat needs outside of vet care, I’m up for it.”

I asked how she is different from other groomers.

“We have a lot of talented groomers in and around Ferndale. My experience allows me to be multi-faceted. A lot of groomers don’t groom cats. I love cats, but find the clinic is too stressful. So I cut nails, etc. at the client’s homes. And working at the Michigan Humane Society gives you an education no one else has. I’ve worked on big dogs, small dogs, severely-matted, embedded collars, abused pets. When a dog leaves with its family and the family is in tears because I was able to get the matts out, and now they won’t hurt the dog when they brush it — that’s what makes it all worthwhile.”

And her dreams for the future?

“Well, I want to continually get better at my craft. I want people to know they can approach me on the street. I usually come back from the grocery store with a couple of dog sits or grooming jobs. I want to keep the trust people place in me. I know my life to this date doesn’t look like there is a thread that runs through where I was and where I am today. But it took the same passion, love and creativity to become a fine artist and promote music that it takes to groom animals. I get to give and receive love, and use my creative side to create designs in grooms. Sometimes I draw a picture of a beloved pet. My job is like working on a moving train, either you get kisses or pooped on!”

On a personal note, Lori is a gifted artist, one of the funniest story tellers ever and a loving, compassionate person. She has been watching my pets since 2008 and we all love her.

Contact Lori at 248-414-9700

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Story by Andrea Grimaldi
Photography by brother Willy Aschmetat

At some point this summer, you may have seen Bernie Laframboise’s garden. It would have been hard to miss, and impossible to forget. His corner lot was lined with giant corn plants, with a dense forest of vegetable plants hiding behind them. Bernie has over 30 tomato plants in 15 different varieties, with some seeds coming from as far as China and Russia. The tomato plants are staked and trained to grow upwards, all reaching over six-feet-tall. The uglier the tomato, the more delicious it is, and his heirlooms are a point of pride. A handful of tomatoes have weighed up to two pounds.

In addition to the impressive quantity of quality corn and tomatoes, Bernie grows squash, zucchini, rhubarb, ff15682_blg_2pumpkins, green onions, jalapenos, pimentos, bell peppers, asparagus, grape leaves, okra, potatoes, beets, pole beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, lettuce, chilies, kale, and cucumbers, just to name a few. He has a handful of fruit trees, including pears and apples, as well as melon and berry plants throughout his garden. There is also a wide variety of spices and herbs. Bernie places plants strategically,like encouraging companion growing by mixing basil plants in between his tomatoes. The entire yard is also lined in beautiful flowers and hanging baskets that attract bees and butterflies.

Bernie offers gardening tips, such as using 100 per cent organic materials in your garden for a higher quality produce. Cow manure and fish emulsion help to enrich soil. Pruning leaves off of tomato plants help direct ff15682_blg_3the growing energy to the tomatoes themselves. Collecting rain water is very useful – Bernie’s 250-gallon tank helped him make it through the heat spell this summer.

Above all, Bernie says you need dedication. “Be prepared to be married to the garden,” he explains.Bernie works full-time as a developmental mechanic. He also provides Ferndale Friends with some of the beautiful photography you see in each issue.  His garden is his third job. He uses his vacation time to plant and prepare every spring, using PVC hoops and plastic sheeting to make greenhouses on his raised beds. Every night after work as well as throughout the weekends, Bernie can be found in his garden, digging, weeding, and picking.

The reward certainly outweighs the amount of work. Not only does Bernie have more produce than he can eat, he has a backyard oasis. The height and density of his garden makes for the perfect amount of privacy. He has a small cabana in the midst of the gardens, perfect for him and his friends and his dogs to relax. Although Bernie has only lived in his house for three years, his efforts look like they have taken a lifetime.

The importance of growing natural healthy food is a message Bernie wants to share with the world. Watching your efforts grow from seed to food is a process that not many people get to partake in, but it is a very important one. Canning and preserving food is how people have made it through difficult times, and is an important part of surviving. In addition to the health benefits that fresh produce offers the body, there is a therapeutic aspect to gardening. “It is good for the mind to keep the body busy,” Bernie explains. “You forget the world exists when you’re making your own world in the garden.” It doesn’t take a lot of land to grow your own food, just a lot of love and dedication.

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Story by Sherrad Glosson
Photography by Bernie Laframboise

Jodi Knittel, owner of Tangerine Road, prides herself in finding the true gift people have inside of them, and bringing it into fruition. A certified facilitator of The Passion Test, Jodi is an authentic ingredient in helping people in need of re-branding or structuring their career paths. A guru, when it comes to helping people live the life they desire by doing something  they love and making a career out of it. In addition, she also works with companies around the country, training their employees to be more engaging in their work and committed to bringing out the best product possible.

“Do what you love, and service others with what you love,” says Jodi, matter-of-factly. In 1995, Knittel moved to Ferndale. She spent many years as an executive recruiter and HR manager at a Fortune 500 company. Her dad, a military man, traveled all over and she bounced around a lot throughout her life. But when she came to Michigan, and witnessed the pleasant peace and camaraderie, she realized that Ferndale would be her home. While working for these major companies, she asked herself what was it that not only companies were looking for out of their businesses and employees, but also, what people are looking for from themselves.

I asked her about the name, Tangerine Road, and she said, “It’s not only my favorite fruit, but it’s a unique fruit that only comes around during the end of summer and fall season, and it’s just a burst of enthusiasm.” A small fruit, but very impactful with citrus and flavor Indeed! Tangerine Road is a consulting firm for not only businesses but also individuals. On the business side of things, she uses, as mentioned earlier, “The Passion Test,” which helps companies break down their mission and align their employees with what they are good at and how they can benefit and excel in the company. The test also helps companies select their potential employees more carefully. That way, it’s a win/win situation. You get the job doing the things you love, and not trying to fit in where you don’t feel comfortable.

On the individual side, Jodi understands that people sometimes fall short of the path of a prosperous life and became complacent, and sadly it could be as severe as a death of a close relative or divorce that can put people in a rut. Guaranteeing that with just a few sessions you will have a new outlook on life and most importantly yourself, Tangerine Road is designed to build companies, individual lifestyles and most importantly help people understand the knowledge of self. I asked, Jodi what her goals are. “My number one passion is to inspire others to create the life they want!”

For more information on how to schedule your consultation, visit www.TangerineRoad.net.

Story By Sara Teller

The Detroit Together Men’s Chorus (DTMC for short) is a Detroit-based, all male chorus founded in 1982. The chorus, now in its 33rd season, serves the communities of southeastern Michigan, northern Ohio and Windsor, Ontario. Over the years, its members have come from all over the world–from local communities in metro Detroit, those in the extended area, such as Ann Arbor and Toledo, and as far away as Australia! The premiere gay and gay-supportive men’s chorus currently contains 35 active members from all backgrounds and orientations, and includes a strong volunteer membership and steady support from area donors. It was formed with the primary purpose of advocating for and promoting a positive image of the metro Detroit LGBT community.

DTMC’s volunteers are a much-needed component of the group, and donations are always appreciated. “Our ff15674_dtmc_1volunteer membership gives tirelessly of themselves. Without our donors and volunteers, DTMC wouldn’t be able to sing as proudly as we do and we are forever grateful,” says Vince Houle, board member and chorus singer. “We are currently looking for volunteers in so many areas that are needed,” he adds, including aid with various new advertising, printing, fundraising and photography initiatives. “We are looking for a graphic artist to help with playbills and advertising media, a printing company, help in planning and executing fundraising and concert events, people to record us and help us make a CD, and a photographer to capture moments at concerts and events and help with community outreach. We are in the process of trying to organize a volunteer guild,” he explains, which is still in the works. Donations can be made on the group’s web page, and donors receive recognition and free concert tickets.

The chorus is currently restructuring, and some of the group’s immediate goals include expanding the group, increasing its presence and creating partnerships with non-profits and other local area organizations. It continues to look for new male singers interested in utilizing their vocal skills to contribute to its overall mission of providing support for the LGBT community. “We are always looking for men with singing abilities to join our chorus from all background and orientations,” Vince says, and he is excited for the many changes to come. “We are always mindful of our beginning and accept the challenges that lie ahead. It is an exciting time for the Metro Detroit area and its LGBT community. As DTMC breaks new ground and achieves new heights, we do so in the fellowship and joy of making music together!”

DTMC’s upcoming Christmas holiday concert will be held at the Ferndale High School on Saturday, December 17, 2016, at 7:30 PM. As always, proceeds from concert ticket sales will help with the annual budget, and ff15674_dtmc_3local residents are encouraged to check out what the group is all about. Those who donate $50 or more in advance will receive free admission to the event. Those interested in advertising can choose to have their ads placed at the concert and can reserve ad space ahead of time on the chorus’s website.

More information about the Detroit Together Men’s Chorus, including how to donate and volunteer, can be found on its webpage at DTMC.org. The group can also be found on Facebook.
Those interested in volunteering can contact Vince at 313-690-3559 or schauhoule@gmail.com, or Artistic Director, Brian Londrow, at 313-320-9792 or blmusicmcc@yahoo.com.

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Story By Malissa Martin
B& W photo by Daniele Lanci

Music has a way of entering the soul, enticing listeners to become one with the melody. Internationally renowned composer and guitarist Pino Forastiere has mastered this concept along with various music styles including jazz, rock, improvisational, and classical music.

And he’s coming to Ferndale! Thanks to the Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society, Forastiere is stopping in Ferndale, while on tour in America, to perform in concert at First United Methodist Church (22331 Woodward Ave.) on Saturday, October 29, 2016.

Forastiere is a graduate of Santa Cecilia Conservatory, a very prestigious school of classical music in Rome. Throughout his career, Forastiere has played all over the world, including the New York Guitar Festival. He’s ff15640_pino_play1also toured with the International Guitar Night for 4 years. In January 2015 he released his fifth solo album “Deconstruction.”

Fifteen years ago, Forastiere moved away from using classical nylon-stringed guitars and decided to compose his music on lightly amplified steel-stringed instruments, after hearing a CD of the late American composer and guitarist, Michael Hedges.

The Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society is a nonprofit organization supporting the art or style of fingerstyle guitar. “Fingerstyle guitar encompasses a lot of different kinds of music, and basically we look for unique guitarists who are in a late level in their style. Most of them just do their original compositions, so that shows the unique component to this,” said President of the Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society, Ron Stavale.

Stavale said it took a few months to plan the concert. “I knew about six months ago that Pino would be coming to the states. So our group helped him set up about seven concerts in Michigan, one in Ohio and one in Wisconsin. We don’t do that for all the artists, but if they’re from Europe and the language is an issue then we try and help them out,” Stavale explained.

The Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society has an average of six concerts and workshops per year. Although a workshop isn’t planned for Forastiere, the organization is open to having one if enough interest is garnered.

Tickets are $20 at the door and the show starts at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. First United Methodist Church (22331 Woodward Ave.) on Saturday, October 29, 2016.

For more information about The Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society please visit www.fingerstyle.org or email the group at michfingerstyle@gmail.com.