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As winter begins to thaw into spring, couples everywhere look for unique ways to celebrate their upcoming matrimony. Now, thanks to the brainstorming power of handmade advocates Angela Ficorelli (owner of Moving Beauty), Carey Gustafson (owner of Glass Action!), Lish Dorset (crafter extraordinaire), and Stephanie Tardy Duimstra (owner of Type Shy), Metro- Detroiters have a great new resource to find innovative vendors, artists, and venues to help them make the happiest day of their lives also the most functional and fashionable.

The idea for the Indie Detroit Wedding Ring came during a discussion at a 2013 craft fair. Ficorelli, Gustafson, and Dorset realized that, despite having a large, supportive crafting and handmade community, there existed no go-to resource in Detroit to connect brides and grooms with artists and independent businesses that could provide unique options to help color their special day. They acted quickly and put together the Indie Detroit Wedding Ring – a consortium of like-minded businesses and entrepreneurs from across Metro Detroit.

Vendors must meet the criteria of being a boutique business featuring high-quality handmade goods, exhibit a modern wedding design esthetic, and participate in, and support, the do-it-yourself community.

The list of vendors has grown exponentially since they began, with florists, venues, DJs/bands, photographers, and more signing on to offer their unique brand of goods and services to DIY wedding planners in the Detroit area. “Think of a real-life Etsy,” Ficorelli said, who oversees the day-to-day operations at the Indie Detroit Wedding Ring. “Since February 2013, we have been a growing online resource for couples wanting a wedding rooted in the values of handmade goods.”

Now the minds behind the IDWR are bringing that resource to life with the announcement of the Detroit Indie Wedding Show to be held at Rust Belt Market on March 8th.

The second event presented by the IDWR (they held a bridal showcase in June), the March 8th show promises to be “a more formal show featuring music, DJs, flowers (and flower alternatives), glass work, stationery, photographers, videographers, catering, and desserts,” Ficorelli said. With over 20-plus vendors and musical acts expected, the event will be a diverse display of some of Detroit’s best talent and most original work.

The choice of venue is no accident, as Rust Belt fits perfectly within the ideals and requirements of the IDWR. The creation of Chris and Tiffany Best, Rust Belt’s aim is to foster an environment for small, creative businesses to grow and thrive. After a successful Kickstarter campaign recently helped to raise the funds for a massive redesign and renovation effort, the Bests’ brainchild is one of the premiere venues for events and shows in the Midwest.

The first Detroit Indie Wedding Show presented by the Indie Detroit Wedding Ring takes place on March 8th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The show will be held during market hours, so visitors will have the chance to view and experience the entire living market.

To see the latest news and information on the upcoming show, be sure to follow the IDWR on Facebook at facebook.com/IndieDetroitWeddingRing. Potential vendors interested in displaying their services at the show can
find the vendor application on the IDWR blog at IndieDetroitWeddingRing.blogspot.com. For information on all of the upcoming events and vendors at Rust Belt, visit rustbeltmarket.com.

If slightly happened with our health, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a cure. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotency and other states united to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you must look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual disfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual disfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this curing passes into breast milk.

Eric Hinchman knows something about creativity In fact, he knows something about Ferndale, too. The entrepreneur behind Ferndale’s Bedoshirts (a hip clothing business that sells threads with cutting-edge designs) and the Detroit Bachelor DJs is now taking that same creative spirit he’s brought to clothing and live music, and sharing it with a much larger audience via a the new pod- cast: DBDJs Audiocast. With eleven popular episodes and the podcast reaching the top spot under New and Noteworthy Podcasts on iTunes, Eric Hinchman sat down with us to talk about DBDJs and their new-found podcast popularity.

Ferndale Friends: Let’s start with the basics, who are the Detroit Bachelor DJs?

Eric Hinchman: The DBDJS are a collective of like- minded individuals who are talented enough alone, but when joined together create a giant unstoppable robot. We each have our own unique personalities that shine through in the tracks that we select while performing. We’re probably best known for playing an eclectic hybrid of techno and house music, but we’re not limited to that, and can often be found dabbling in drum and bass and jungle, electro, ambi- ent, IDM, and other genres, depending on what’s most appropriate for the venue and the event taking place. Regardless of genre, we’re generally exposing brand-new music for the first time, or reminding you of something long forgotten about. We don’t play top-40 hits and we generally don’t take requests. Not that we’re jerks, it’s just that most of what’s in our collection isn’t popular yet.

We basically play music people need to hear.

FF: What kind of live events do DBDJs typically play?

EH: It used to be difficult to hear the sounds that we play unless you attended early underground dance parties (or raves) back in the day. We don’t play hits, we generally play brand-new music, and some of those songs may become popular. And whether they do or not, we have probably already grown tired of them by that time and have moved on. But, eventually the music became more mainstream and now the most obvious events would be gigs at nightclubs. We have also performed at events like grand openings for businesses, charities, radio broadcasts and internet streams, concerts, festivals, in-store performances at record shops and musical instrument retailers, corporate parties, bars, restaurants, salons, holiday parties, gallery openings, etc. Anywhere we can fit a sound system and mixing gear, and there is a desire for the mood of the room to be enhanced by music — there doesn’t have to be a dance floor.

FF: How did the idea for the new podcast come about?

EH: Most of the media I consume is in the form of an audio or video podcast, and I have been a fan for a long time. As far as I know, they were the first true forms of digitally distributed on-demand content, and the fact that they’re generally available for free is always nice. Throughout my life, I’ve found myself interested in a number of multimedia-related trades. From film and video editing and production, animation and illustration, design and web development, there was even a time when I considered pursuing journalism.

The idea came about once I realized I could essentially combine all of those interests and produce them from the comfort of home, or anywhere else for that matter.

After some research, I found that I already had the tools and knowledge necessary. It was just a matter of creating the package. There was definitely an intimidation factor and fear of the unknown, but once the show was approved by Apple, a weight was lifted, and I only wished we had started earlier.

FF: What are you trying to accomplish with the podcast?

EH: The main thing is to simply grow our audience by reaching new fans. But, the podcast is accomplishing things I didn’t anticipate. We are reconnecting with old friends and colleagues that we’ve lost touch with over the years. It’s also reinvigorating and inspiring us now that we’re able to reach people on an international level with the help of our website and social media. It’s a great feeling when you release a new episode, then watch in real-time people listening and having a conversation about it immediately after you post it online.

FF: What does the future hold for the DBDJs?

EH: We are working on a handful of other shows with slightly different themes, and plan to start creating video podcasts after the new year. Live video streaming from events would be nice eventually. We’re also discussing getting back into organizing and promoting events when the right opportunities come our way. Some of us write original music or are experimenting more with it, so it would be a logical step to eventually evolve into a publishing company and record label. We have acquired a nice collection of original designs throughout the years that could be incorporated into some really nice merchandise, so I’m toying around with the idea of adding an online store to the DBDJs website.

FF: You’ve started two businesses in Ferndale. Besides being your hometown, why did you pick Ferndale?

EH: Originally, it was because of location and mainly sentimental reasons. Being able to jump on the expressway and travel in any direction possible is a real luxury, and I used to dream of a day where we would have high-speed rail from Detroit to Pontiac and it appears that may finally become a reality. Over the years, I’ve watched Ferndale grow while staying committed to independence, diversity and it’s DIY attitude — an unexpected bonus. Coincidentally, most of us in the DBDJs live here currently, or have at one time or another.

Ferndale has always been important to me and is the right town for more reasons than I can count, but it has always been an intentional and strategic decision to stay here.

The Detroit Bachelor DJs are Derek Plaslaiko, Craig Gonzalez, Keith Kemp, Matt Clarke, RJ Covert, Drew Maddox, Andy Toth, Greg Mudge, Mathew Boynton, James Teague, and Eric Hinchman. To find episodes of DBDJs Audiocast visit detroitbachelordjs.com or search for it in iTunes. Show announcements can be found on their facebook: Facebook.com/DetroitBachelorDJS and Twitter: @dbdjsinfo.
For booking information email info@detroitbachelordjs.com.

If something happened with our heartiness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a preparation. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotency and other states united to erectile disfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as soul trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction turn on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a state called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual disfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this curing passes into breast milk.

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A kickoff meeting for a new phase of Oakland County Beyond Coal drew a capacity crowd to the Ferndale Public Library on January 21st.

One of the best-attended environmental campaign meetings I’ve seen, it featured two of Ferndale’s own as moderator (Andrew Cissell) and keynote speaker (Craig Covey) as well as nationally-known environmental justice organizer Rhonda Anderson of Detroit, and Physicians for Social Responsibility member Stephanie Dernek of Ann Arbor. Green Corps organizer Zack Deutsch-Gross has chosen Ferndale as his temporary residence while in Michigan revving up Beyond Coal’s latest juncture.

Dr. Dernek pointed out that Physicians for Social Responsibility created a Michigan chapter primarily because of coal’s health issues here. Coal contributes to several of our leading causes of death, including cancer, stroke, heart disease, and chronic respiratory problems, and is “especially bad for babies and young developing minds,” Dernek said.

Michigan’s reliance on coal is still higher than the national average, according to the doctor, and PSR supports “the closing of coal plants and replacing coal with renewables” for “cleaner, happier, healthier communities.”

Some of Covey’s environmental roots are in the six years he spent as a Boy Scout; he’s been involved in environmental causes since his teen years, and not just coal. “Coal may be the ugliest house on the energy block but fracking is right next door,” he told us, reminding us of other threats Michigan faces, and also that environmental issues know “no boundaries like 8 Mile Road.” He urged us to “hold our politicians accountable” and pointed out that “we don’t own the earth as property. We get to use it as stewards and pass it on to the next generation.” Craig delighted attendees by calling Ferndale “the Ann Arbor of Metro Detroit, and the San Francisco of Michigan.”

Rhonda Anderson, who heads the Sierra Club Environmental Justice office in Detroit, connected the issues of pollution to the recent celebration of Martin Luther King Day as well as to present struggles for environmental justice. Moving beyond coal is a “continuation of the fight begun in the ‘60s for civil rights. Everyone has a right to clean air and clean water.”

“I did not know until seven years ago how bad things were. I had become accustomed to all that major pollution [in southwest Detroit]” which she pointed out is “a community that’s so impacted by dirty energy. What’s the solution? Clean energy.”

The crowd, 67 strong, got better acquainted in breakout sessions, brainstorming topics like grassroots organizing and attracting media attention (and with the abundance of social media, many realized that we ourselves are the media now). It was heartening to not only see the usual green suspects but those who had come to such an event for the first time, whether out of curiosity, an eagerness to connect various Ferndale commissions in common causes, or a new willingness to become directly involved. The refreshments provided by Blaze Pizza, Jimmy Johns, and Starbucks were gratefully enjoyed, and some of the crowd headed to the WAB after the hour-plus meeting ended.
Want to become involved yourself? Look for and “like” Oakland County Beyond Coal on Facebook for news of coming events or contact organizer Zack at zack@greencorps.org.

If some happened with our health, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a medicament. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotence and other states connected to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people talk about “viagra stories“? The most essential aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual disfunction switch on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual disfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this treatment passes into breast milk.

Excitement is already filling the hallways and classrooms of Ferndale High Schools as the award winning theater department readies another in a long line of incredible student productions.

Years past have brought us classics like The Sound of Music, and The Music Man — with each year’s ensemble cast impressing with their diverse array of talents. This year, Ferndale High is tackling Thoroughly Modern Millie, a musical about a small-town girl from Kansas named Millie Dillmount who comes to New York City to marry for money instead of love. Millie soon begins to enjoy the “flapper” lifestyle, checks into a hotel, and trouble and mischief quickly begin.

The musical is “flashy and colorful, with lots of dancing,” says Judy Donlin, the highly respected producer who helps bring Ferndale High’s shows to life. “It’s just very, very entertaining.” Donlin is working side-by-side with Melissa Smith, who is acting as director for Thoroughly Modern Millie, to insure that the production is another smash hit. Based on a book by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan, the show opened on Broadway in 2002 and went on to win six Tony awards including Best Musical and Best Performance by a Leading Actress (won by Michigan-native Sutton Foster).

Taking over the lead role in the Ferndale High School production is senior Samantha Berger. A veteran of the Ferndale High Theater, Berger is excited about the chance to play the lead role.

“[The production is] theatrical, modern, and it’s the biggest dance production we have ever done,” Berger said.

Samantha’s character leads the well-known opening number “Not for the Life of Me,” and continues to flavor the show with a variety of song-and-dance numbers. The ensemble cast features a large number of talented Ferndale High Students including David Burk (playing Millie’s love interest Trevor Grayton II), Joanna Gaden, Angel Morales, McKenna Voss, and Grace Wilson (playing the Priscilla Girls), and many others.

Along with the great student talent and vision of Donlin and Smith, many dedicated people use their time and energy to make these productions some of the best in the state. Kim and Ken Schroeder work hard to help the students learn the challenging melodies and complexities of the music. Jan Whinham choreographs the performances (an important task for a musical that brought home the Tony for Best Choreography) and has been working with stu- dents on tap dancing rehearsal since October. Carol Digby is the master seamstress who creates each and every article of clothing worn on stage, and the husband and wife team of Jim and Liz Pfleger design the sets and facilitate the props, respectively. Books are kept by Tom Jaksa, who helps to ensure the financials are balanced and the production is able to acquire all items needed. All of these people make up the “really dedicated group of adults who are tireless in their work, much of which is also volunteered,” Donlin said.

Another wonderful addition to the upcoming production is the chance to premiere it in the newly remodeled Ferndale High School theater. Using money from a bond passed in 2012, the theater’s stage equipment, sound system, theatrical lighting and rigging system, curtains, stage access, acoustical wall treatments, and projection booth have all been updated and modernized.

Donlin is encouraging the community to come out and see the results of the bond they voted on. The show is sure to be “a nice evening out and [guests will] leave having had a great time,” Donlin said. With such a talented cast, dedicated crew, and impressive venue, Thoroughly Modern Millie is primed to be yet another in a long line of incredible productions from Ferndale High.

Thoroughly Modern Millie runs the weekends of March 22nd and March 28th. For tickets or information you can visit the box office, online at http://fhsmusical.bpt.me, or call 248-586-8609. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors or students (with valid ID).

If slightly happened with our soundness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a preparation. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat emasculation and other states connected to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What men talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction turn on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a status called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual malfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk.

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When Dave Garcia started as the new executive director at Affirmations in 2011, he heard complaints about the floor every day — or so it seemed. The off-white carpets were stained, ripped, and had become an eyesore.

The beautiful building that opened in 2007 as a showcase of the LGBTQ community four years later was languishing because of a bad interior design decision. The floors were affecting how the community felt about the building. Dave heard feedback from members that the space was great but the floors made the building seem shabby. Every day, it was “the floors, the floors, the floors.”

And that’s the nature of running an organization: Oftentimes, you don’t get to choose the priorities. Instead, they choose you.

Recovering from this bad decision was more than a cosmetic change. It was having profound effects on Affirmations. In 2011, the building didn’t even open until 4:00 P.M. and Dave said about his priorities when he joined Affirmations, “the first thing was to fight the public perception that we were dying.”

So rather than raise money for the new flooring from donors — donors who less than ten years ago had raised over five million dollars for the Open the Doors capital campaign — Dave looked to Building for the Future, a financial service that helps nonprofits plan for capital improvements. Though flooring was not initially on the list of big ticket items that Building for the Future would help fund, Dave negotiated an agreement to get the flooring replaced.
Making sure the floor was fixed was a reality but also a metaphor.

Dave worked with staff and the board of directors to build expertise. He went about meeting the financial challenges by increasing donations, grants, and corporate sponsorships. He raised the profile of Affirmations by adding a premiere fund-raising event called Spring Bash. This black-tie affair provides a venue to court more affluent donors and corporate sponsors. The Shore 2 Shore Equality Ride’s inaugural voyage was held last summer. Based loosely on the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride, it benefited all Michigan LGBT Community Centers and was a big success even in its first year.

Now on solid financial ground, Affirmations has started adding programs to serve the community. Last year, it expanded the David Bohnett Cyber Center. A bank of 15 computers is available for member use, and provides the technology resources which allowed Affirmations to collaborate with the Michigan Educational Partnership in hosting an alternative high school program. Besides expanding programs, Dave’s love of public policy and political activism also led him to spearhead the Hungry 4 Equality campaign last fall. Corresponding with the Fall election, hunger strikers gathered in a “living room” staged in Affirmations’ front window along Nine Mile. The strike raised awareness about existing anti-gay legislation in Michigan, especially anti-adoption, anti-marriage, and laws that allow discrimination in the workplace. Dave was one of the first wave of hunger strikers, and the event was covered by local, national, and international media.

Affirmations also posted an Equality Rights Hall of Shame that was visible from Nine Mile Road. Members of the Hall of Shame included Michigan legislators, politicians, and the Supreme Court. Dave saw the Hall of Shame as an opportunity “to educate the community, especially our straight allies, about who is behind the anti-gay movement here.” While both of those campaigns were very successful, they also brought criticism. Some felt the campaign was too in-your-face or that it was not the role of a community center to push a political agenda. But one thing is sure: Nobody thinks that Affirmations is dying. With a strong board and staff and the finances on the rise, Affirmations’ future looks bright. But Dave feels sad and a little guilty for leaving. “We still have work to do here,” he said. The fights for marriage and adoption and against workplace discrimination still need to be won. But he feels confident that “it’s just a matter of time.”

When the lifelong Michigander goes to Los Angeles to work as the Director of Public Policy and Community Building at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, it will be big challenge. But serving as Executive Director of Affirmations and before that of the Gay and Lesbian Center in Kalamazoo has prepared him. It has “toughened my skin,” he said. “There will always be criticism. I’ve come to expect it and that’s going to help me moving forward.” Dave turns 40 this year and his son is graduating from high school, so it is an ideal time to try something different. In his new position he will travel and advocate for changes to public policy internationally. But while he is saying goodbye, Affirmations will continue.

It celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, anchoring West Nine Mile with all the stuff that makes Ferndale fun and fabulous.

If something happened with our health, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a preparation. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotence and other states connected to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people talk about “viagra stories“? The most vital aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual malfunction switch on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual disfunction. Even though this physic is not for use in women, it is not known whether this curing passes into breast milk.

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After spending more than 20 years serving the citizens of Ferndale as part of the Ferndale School Board, long-time education advocate Chuck Moeser announced his intention to retire from his position last December.

With an impressive list of accomplishments and accolades, including serving ten years as Board President, Moeser felt the timing was right to announce his
departure. “With the Board’s organizational meeting in January, [announcing my retirement in December] would give the Board and my replacement a full year to work together,” Moeser said. “I felt it to be the right time for myself and the Board.”

His thoughtfulness about the timing of his announcement was no surprise to the people who know him best, including School Board President Jim O’Donnell
who has served with Moeser for several years. “Chuck has always been the epitome of graciousness and was a well-prepared and strong leader and advocate
for the district,” O’Donnell said. “The school board wishes Chuck Moeser all the best in his retirement.”

Looking back on a long and distinguished term, it wasn’t hard for Moeser to point out the proudest moments of his tenure – both personal and professional. “My proudest moments were when each of my three kids graduated from the same high school I did and I was able to sign their diplomas,” Moeser said.

“And from a Board perspective, keeping the many programs that make Ferndale a great district intact while balancing the budget during State revenue reductions and increased State mandates. And helping to keep our schools both economically and academically in good shape over my 20-plus years of service to the community.” For now, Chuck Moeser and his wife are planning on moving to Traverse City for their second retirement. They’re counting on relaxing, volunteering, and spending plenty with time with their children and grandchildren. Though nothing is set in stone, he’s looking forward to what a new experience might bring. “My wife and I are about to begin our next great adventure in life,” Moeser said. “You never really know what comes next.”

Selected to fill the vacant seat on the board left by Moeser’s departure is Jennifer LaTosch, a Senior Attorney at Miller Canfield and a long-time Ferndale resident. Her interest in seeking the position came from a decision made with her partner to stay in Ferndale and get more involved. “When we decided to stay in the Ferndale area, we both committed to getting as involved as possible to help make the schools the best possible for our kids and all of the kids that go to school here,” LaTosch said.

“We have an amazing community, and I know our schools can be just as amazing.”

Only a month into her service, LaTosch is already making a fast impression on her colleagues. “Jennifer LaTosch is a worthy successor to Chuck,” Board President O’Donnell told Ferndale Friends. “She impressed the board with her intelligence and thoughtfulness on the Citizens’ Strategic Plan Review Committee and in her application and interview for the open board position. Jen is going to be a tremendous colleague on the board.”

Speaking of the work the Ferndale School Board has done over recent years, LaTosch said that she is “so impressed with the vision to create a strategic plan, the follow-through in creating a community driven strategic plan, and the dedication to carrying it out.” She believes that “we are at a very difficult crossroad in public education, but by rallying together and sticking to our collective vision, I am confident that we will come through this and be even stronger.”

With full elections coming up in November, LaTosch’s term will last until December 31st, 2014. In that time, she’s excited about the possibilities of what the Board will be able to accomplish together. “I am excited about seeing the vision and goals of the strategic plan come to fruition,” LaTosch told Ferndale Friends. “I would also like to continue the commitment of the board to provide transparency and open communication. And at the base of making our schools successful is the need to work towards a balanced budget that provides for the excellent education for our kids, the programs that we all love, and a positive and supportive environment for our kids, families, staff, and community.”

If something happened with our soundness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a medicament. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat emasculation and other states coupled to erectile malfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people talk about “viagra stories“? The most essential aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual dysfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this treatment passes into breast milk.

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Kurt Metzger is a mayor who can do the math. But Pleasant Ridge’s first new mayor in a generation is no number-cruncher; he’s more like a number-coordinator.

Metzger wants to illuminate a “regional vision” for our closely-tied communities to share. It’s possible we could all start seeing this vision by way of numbers and statistics. At least, if any mayor will show you a thing or two about stats and demographics, it’s Metzger. Metzger’s background is in data analysis. He began his career in the ‘70s with the U.S. Census Bureau and recently retired as Director of Data Driven Detroit — a regional information hub for data coordination, providing information analysis for a range of groups and institutions thus that they can make the best-informed decisions. Metzger, who won 53% of the vote in Pleasant Ridge’s mayoral election last November, is the guy, the “data-guru,” as he’s known, who can show you what it all adds up to. Put another way, his equations, if worked out, show the “potential” for improvement.

And, when Ferndale Friends asked Metzger about the “unrealized potential” of the Southeast Michigan region, it strikes quite a chord in him. “That term truly captures the message that I have been trying to spread for years,” said Metzger.

“We have all the pieces here, we just need to figure out how we bring them all together and get them working with a unified vision.”

Metzger assures that he’ll work to preserve and strengthen the close ties between our two communities, along with his amicable relationship with our mayor and council members. There are contractual ties between us, but then, also, we can connect by sharing a new and improved vision (or mentality). Metzger speaks of what’s been, heretofore, a detrimental mentality for our region, that being one of “home rule and win-lose confrontation.”

“We have to begin to believe that collaboration can ‘grow the pie’ for all and get away from the idea that the ‘pie’ is finite and that we can’t afford to share even a sliver.”

Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge are just players in a larger tri-county region, anchored by Detroit. Metzger, who worked downtown for decades as a research analyst for the Michigan Metropolitan Information Center and the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, implores that we work together to appreciate “Detroit’s success as being: our success.”

“It starts with Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge,” he said, “and it grows to Hazel Park and Huntington Woods and then Detroit and Highland Park and Warren.”

Metzger grew up in Cincinnati, OH. He moved to Detroit in 1975 to begin his work with the Census Bureau. He spent his first Michigan-years in Ferndale (first on LaPraire and then on Troy St.), before he moved to Pleasant Ridge in the mid ‘80s. As an analyst working in Detroit, Metzger said that “the issues of this region have allowed me a ‘laboratory’ of study where demographic knowledge is critical for understanding regional dynamics.” A mayor who’s constantly contemplating “regional dynamics” and revels in poring over numbers? Metzger likely isn’t your typical idea of a local politician.

“I have a strong belief in fact-based decisions,” he says. Indeed. From the start, that’s refreshing rhetoric. But, like we said, Metzger has the numbers to back himself up.

But, more personally, he’s also been able to work and meet people from all over the state; from corporate execs to block captains, he’s worked with the wealthy and the homeless, from all races and ethnic groups. As Metzger sees it, he’s been fortunate to be able to bring a “gift of information” to the region. “I believe in outcome measurement,” he stressed. “I believe that one needs to monitor results on a regular basis to make sure you are getting your money’s worth.”
Among his respected beliefs are transparency in government, community involvement, and participatory government: open, shared, and debated decision-making. “We’re a small, highly-educated community. I feel we have a chance to take the lead in community involvement. A strong message of open data sharing will drive in increase in resident participation in community decision-making.” He admits, though, an “aversion to politics. I never had an interest in running for anything.”

The City Commission’s vote to cancel its fire contract with Ferndale and switch to Berkley back in 2011 spurred Metzger to get further involved. He found encouragement by two young residents, Ann Perry and Jason Kryziak, winning seats on the Commission. When election season came around “no one else would come forward for mayor,” Metgzer said. “I owed them for their courage over the last two years and therefore could not say no when they asked.” Metzger’s expertise with demographic trends and data coordination has aided the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council, SEMCOG, Michigan Kids Count, the Michigan Early Childhood Investment Council and many more. He has also served on the board for the Greening of Detroit. But as of last November, he’s the mayor-next-door.

“We are working closely with Ferndale to envision regional transit and complete streets coordinated between the two communities,” Metzger said. He’s looking towards developing a seamless set of bus and bike lanes connecting the community and providing a more walkable, friendly Woodward — from Detroit past I-696. “These are exciting discussions that Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge will be driving with SEMCOG, MDOT, and others.” Mayor Metzger proclaims it, (just as our bumper-stickers do): “I love Ferndale! I love the energy of its elected officials,” he continued. “I love the diversity of its residents. It’s a great example of what the Millennials are looking for — density, diversity, walk-ability, a culture of openness and innovation, a government that cares and listens. Not to mention, the best librarians I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with….”

“I could go on but…my electorate might start questioning my allegiance.”

Retired from his day job, Metzger is looking forward to spending more time with his wife of 36 years. “We’ll never leave this area,” he assures, proudly and gladly. Professionally, though, he assures that he’ll also never leave “the data-game….in both consulting and volunteer roles with various institutions.”
He’s enthused by his “terrific” Commission partners who are working with him to help Pleasant Ridge blossom into a more “participatory government.” Collaboration, he repeats. A Regional Agenda, he also reiterates.

Sounds good to us. Here’s to a new year, to a new mayor, and to new ideas for collaboration.

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