Spring / Summer 2019

By David Ryals

DANNY’S IRISH PUB HAS BEEN A STAPLE OF FERNDALE FOR 30 YEARS. It stands as a testament that a traditional friendly neighborhood pub never goes out of style: everyone comes here and everyone is welcome. It’s nestled along Woodward Avenue in the heart of Ferndale and is a mainstay in the community with a loyal following of longtime regulars.

In traditional bar fashion, Danny’s is small and dark save for soft lighting from the green bulbs on the ceiling. Various other interesting flair adorns the walls and bar, with a couple pinball machines tucked away toward the back. The thing that sticks out the most about Danny’s is its solid character.

Danny himself spoke to Ferndale Friends to explain the longevity of his success. “Our formula is to keep it simple: Pour good drinks at a reasonable price. Keep the menu simple and easy to prepare, add things when you see a need for them, not just because the guy down the street has them. Many bar owners think they have to have all of the latest things, but many times it’s just a waste of money. Give your customers what they want, not what you think is cool. The most important is to find the best employees you can, treat them fair, and give them good reason to stay with you. That should be the secret of any good business.”

On the evolution of Ferndale throughout the years and its impact on his business, he said, “The community has changed dramatically over 34 years. Our own contribution to the city has always been to welcome all people regardless of race, creed, color, gender or sexual orientation. As things evolved, we were in a perfect place to welcome new people and ideas into the community. However, it has always been our position that everyone was welcome, unless they caused trouble. Our relationship with our customers is one of family. And just like family sometimes we have disagreements, but eventually we make up.”

ON HIS OWN BACKGROUND AND LIFELONG RELATIONSHIP WITH FERNDALE: “My family moved to Ferndale in 1946. Back then, it was a quiet community where everybody knew everybody. Kids played outside all summer until the street lights came on. My wife, Sally, has an even longer history. Her grandfather had a grist mill on the northwest corner of 8 Mile and Pinecrest. In 1946 my father built a restaurant on 8 Mile near Pinecrest. The grist mill was gone by that time.

“I bought the bar from Nick Pappas in 1985 when everybody was saying not to buy in Ferndale. However, my history with the city made me ignore all of that good advice.

“In the beginning, Nicks – later to be named Danny’s when I accidentally broke the Nick’s sign – had more of a county-western atmosphere. There were a lot of fights and a lot of customers being barred. It was a little rough-sledding in those days.

“When you kick out your base, you have to rebuild from the ground up. Over the years, the city changed and the new residents began to discover us.

“About ten years ago I left my full-time job and decided to spend more time with the bar. I found some of the best bartenders around and convinced them to come to work for me. They are my second family and they don’t seem to want to leave. I’m a very lucky owner.”

By Richard Robbins

RECEIVING A TRANSPLANTED ORGAN IS SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE WILL NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT. But for an increasing number of people it is a reality they must confront. I became a lung transplant patient and recipient, and I’d like to share a bit of my story and some info on transplanted organs in general.

I was diagnosed as having pulmonary hypertension, emphysema, and another process that was never identified, in September 2017. I started the extensive testing process in January 2018, then listed for a double lung transplant. I was transplanted in August 2018. I was fortunate to get a transplant as fast as I did, because of the scarcity of lungs available for transplant in general.

The whole process involved a rigorous round of numerous tests to determine whether I was a good candidate. Fortunately, I took my team’s advice and participated in a Pulmonary Rehabilitation exercise program at the Providence Heart Institute in Southfield. They kept me strong by making it possible for me to walk and exercise, despite the 15 liters of oxygen I required to do so. Just sitting in a chair required 4 to 5 liters for me to maintain an oxygen level of barely 92 percent on a good day (a normal reading is usually 95 to 100 percent).

Checking my heart pressure required the pulmonary team to perform a heart catherization. That was performed by running a heart catheter through my right wrist and into my heart. The doctor performing the procedure was quite stunned as to the level of pressure in my heart, which increased my UNOS score for transplant. They checked the other arteries running into the heart and I was cleared, since there was minimal blocking of the arteries.

OTHER TESTS INVOLVED CHECKING THE FUNCTION of my stomach which involved drinking a barium solution and being turned upside down; also, eating and swallowing various things to check that functionality as well. Checking the distance one can walk in six minutes is also a must. Their baseline was a minimum of 400 feet in six minutes, but I managed to walk closer to 1400 feet on 15 liters of oxygen. Blood tests also confirmed the suitability for transplant, and they took 43 vials of blood at the initial draw. Among these tests were drug and alcohol tests and testing of other organ functions and diseases.

I was placed on the list for transplant in May 2018, and was registered with UNOS, the United Network for Organ Sharing. I was assigned a score that ranked me by need and was sent home to await a match for a double lung transplant. Blood type, antibodies, and lung size are just a few factors to consider in any lung transplant. UNOS handles other organ transplants as well, such as liver, heart, and kidneys. You can find out more about their function for transplant recipients, and statistics, at unos.org.

Then I was sent home to wait for a match. Things sped up a bit once my oxygen levels decreased due to the diseases I had. I was driven to the ER for treatment and admission into the hospital. The transplant team did a fine job bringing me back from that emergency and I spent a week in the hospital. It seemed as if the transplant team wanted to keep me at the hospital until lungs were found, but instead I was sent home.

LESS THAN TWO WEEKS LATER I GOT THE CALL. Lungs were found! We drove to the transplant center and I was placed in a bed, waiting for 8:30 AM for the surgery. After they wheeled me down to the surgical suite, we waited a few hours while the surgical team checked the lungs received from the donor. The last thing I remember was the doctor coming in, saying “It’s a go,” and I was put out for the next 12 hours. This entailed placing me on a heart lung machine, cutting open my chest, splitting my sternum, moving my heart, and replacing both lungs.

Waking after the surgery was over, I only remember someone leaning over me, saying “You’ve got new lungs.” Looking over to the telemetry, I found the blood oxygen reading, and was relieved to see it running at around 98 percent.

The nursing staff would be critical to my recovery, as were the physical therapy people who made sure I could function once they released me. The biggest trick was getting up out of a chair or bed using no hands. It’s not easy even without a lung transplant. I was sent home after nine days. A visiting nurse and home rehab after surgery got me back to speed quickly.

My lung transplant was the first major surgery I have ever had, besides tonsil removal. It was far easier than I expected. I worried about the pain from splitting the sternum, but it was not that bad at all. Healing takes a while of course, but that varies from person to person. Maintaining the “status quo” now requires doctor visits and swallowing a lot of anti-rejection pills. Also, wearing the face mask that people always give me the fish-eye for. (It’s for my protection folks, don’t worry.)

Getting this transplant has enabled me to resume my life with a few restrictions. I am grateful for all the community support I have had through this process, as well as for my donor for taking the time to check off the box for organ donation when filling out their driver’s license form or agreeing to do so in the hospital. Also, I am volunteering with Gift of Life Michigan to promote organ donation and possibly speak to those potentially undergoing similar procedures. Please consider organ donation when you renew your license or go to giftoflifemichigan.org/become-donor to sign up.

By Sara Teller

JEREMY POSNER IS A MAN OF MANY IDEAS. As his graduation date neared at the University of Michigan where he was enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering program, the toy-and-game inventor quickly realized he would not be following a traditional path. While much of his graduating class was planning work at the Big Three, he was applying for internships at game makers.

“I didn’t care about cars. So, I thought, ‘What other industries could be fun?’ I’ve always liked toys and games – I mean, who doesn’t? So, I thought I’d give that a shot,” he said.

Posner put a few applications out there and, as fate would have it, he landed a gig at Mattel. “It was in a neighborhood outside of Los Angeles. I went down there and got to see how the sausage was made, so to speak. But I was given one project to focus on, and I just kept thinking I wanted things to move faster. I was on the manufacturing side of things and there were so many pieces that went into getting the product to market,” he explained.

So, Posner was left once again considering what path would be more aligned with his interests. Soon, he realized he needed to be on the inventor side. “I met a mentor there who invited me to brainstorming meetings and he said, ‘You probably want to be an inventor,’” Posner recalled. The rest is history.

AFTER COLLEGE, POSNER LANDED A GIG at Rehkemper Invention & Design, then Big Monster Toys. In 2016, he won the Game Innovator of the Year award at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair, TAGIE Awards, for his work on Jenga Quake (Hasbro), Smackies (Goliath), Stratos Spheres (ThinkFun), Twangled (Mindware), Gravity’s Edge (Mindware), and Brynk (Winning Moves). “These [concepts] were all team efforts, but I was a key player,” he said. 

Posner met the love of his life, Allison, while in the Chicago area as well. It was a chance meeting. “We met at the Anti-Cruelty Society, an animal shelter. She was working there. I went in to play with the puppies and my friend really wanted to see the cats,” Posner reminisced. “I’m not a cat person, so I decided to talk to this cute girl for about two hours instead. I left my number with the receptionist and she called later that night.”

The couple was recently married, and they now live in the Detroit area near Jeremy’s family with the newest member of their family, a rescued mutt named Kiwi. Posner said he chose to start his company in Detroit because, “my family is here, and the rent is more affordable.” After being in the business for a little over six years for different firms in Chicago, he really wanted to see if he could make it on his own.

Having friends and family nearby certainly has its perks, according to the inventor, who said, “I have game nights. My older brother, Alan, helps me a ton with my company.” Often, he has family and friends over to play test prototypes, so he can get their feedback.

Currently, Posner has a number of projects in the pipeline awaiting licensing and expects to have his products out by next Spring. He is constantly coming up with new, innovative ideas. “My inspiration comes from everywhere,” he said. “My brain is on all the time.”

For more information on Shenanigans Toys and Games LLC, please visit the company’s web site, www.shenaniganstoysandgames.com.

By Kevin Alan Lamb

IF YOU BURIED A PIECE OF CHILDHOOD, what piece would it be? At some point or another, most people had the opportunity to bury a time capsule in school; a chance to send a message to the future from the past; to remind yourself of the joy you once held in your heart; to smile and laugh at the kid you were, and the man or woman you’ve grown to be.

But what if that piece of you was still buried? What if you never had the chance to summon what lies beneath and embrace the sweet relief of nostalgia that only a time capsule could provide? Twenty-six-yearold Warren resident David Proimos is one of a thousand students from William Howard Taft Elementary who may never uncover a piece of their childhood as the site was demolished to make way for a 72-unit housing development called Parkdale Townes.

“If I remember correctly the time capsules were made of PVC pipe and we were asked to put our most prized possessions in there. I believe it was five or ten items, and they were dated and signed by us then buried in a shallow grave. My memory isn’t the best so I couldn’t for the life of me remember where we buried the things!” Proimos recalls.

FF: Do you remember what you put in your time capsule?

My memory is hazy but I feel like a baseball card and a letter to myself confirming that I had become a professional baseball player would have been par for the course.

I really, really, wanted to see what I buried. Years and years went by, and again I forgot. When Taft was to be demolished it brought back all the memories and my curiosity, so I began asking old classmates and got with my cousin, Joseph Proimos. He believed that they were buried near the trees in the back of the park near the old oaks and I vaguely could confirm this. The plot thickened when I learned they were doing this in the early ’90s after posting in the Ferndale forum so the possibility of thousands being out there is great!

How far would you go to uncover a piece of your past? While some might dismiss the notion, I believe a time capsule symbolizes a simpler time, when your entire life was yet to unfold, and the only priority was to play. I think we could all use an intimate conversation with our younger selves. A reminder to take ourselves a little less seriously, be kind, and have fun. 

I’m very excited. If nothing else I’m going to buy a metal detector and kick it old school and try my luck, after getting permission to do so of course. Our plan is to excavate and return all the time capsules to their rightful owners.

FF: Have you made any progress with the Site Director regarding the location of the time capsules?

I have not. I was told by the City of Ferndale that I wouldn’t be able to dig until Spring, so that kind of put a halt on contacting him.

FF: How many time capsules would you guess are buried?

There very well could be thousands out there. I found that they were doing this as early as the early ‘90s.

Are you still a Ferndale resident?

Currently I am a Warren resident, but I spent my entire life in Ferndale up until I was 19- years-old.

Could you talk about some things you remember from growing up in Ferndale that are distinctly different now?

Things are very different now. I’ve noticed that downtown has transformed. Ferndale is a bustling city with so much life and business opportunities but also has stepped away from the family-like town in my opinion. I don’t see kids there like I used to. When I was a child we ran in very large groups back then.

What did you love as a seven-year-old? I ask that because I’m trying to imagine what I would have put in a time capsule at that age.

I distinctly remember two things off hand: I put Pokémon cards of high value in there and an omega yo-yo, those I know for sure. We also wrote letters to our future selves so that will be a very interesting read if found.

Outside of your own curiosity, what makes this meaningful for you?

This will be meaningful to me more than finding my own. To be able to surprise people with theirs, it brings a nostalgia that only the contents in the time capsule can produce. If I can help bridge that gap I will be paid in full!!

Since going down this rabbit hole, has your pursuit of this been contagious?

Yes, many other classmates and people in the FB Ferndale Forum have volunteered to help dig and lend a helping hand. The response was very positive and intriguing to everyone that saw it. It’s a compelling story.

WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING TO US? Look at what we have become in the past two or three years. Locally, and as a nation, we have become full-fledged, frothing-at-the-mouth, obscenity-spouting bigots. That’s right, bigots. We hate anyone who differs in opinion from us. Our blood pressure shoots up at the sight of a red ball cap, or a phrase, or the mere mention of a concept. We have become “deplorable.”

Let’s identify the elephant in the room. Mainly, Trump. No, this is not a political piece, or a rant against an idea. This is a statement of the kind of people we are becoming. And, I confess, I have been right there on the ride. I am talking about the ride from rational human beings to bug-eyed monsters. 

I have clicked on so many derogatory articles about the President, that now that is all my news feed gives me. As one older news reporter put it, “We are all addicted to Donald Trump.”

I have even tried to click on news stories about Meghan Markle, and Kate Middleton, to wean myself off this political haunted house ride. The only result is that now I get stories about the royal family, as well as Trump stuff. Actually, the royal family is juicier.

And Facebook! Good grief, can people really be this terrible, rude, and insulting? Would we be acting this way during a discussion at a gathering? Face-to-face? I wonder. Follow the feeds, and you can see situations go from zero-to-60 in a few short lines.

I remember political discussions in the ‘60s and ‘70s. We had Vietnam, civil rights, and impeachment on the table. I remember, we all had really strong opinions, yet we remained civil. We knew how our friends felt about the president or school segregation but we respected their right to their opinion. We still invited each other to our parties, and coffee clutches. We still talked about our kids, and exchanged recipes, and helped each other.

Now, people call each other names, and rant and rave through screen after screen of political dialogue aimed at changing the other person’s position. I got a news flash for you! It ain’t gonna work! People believe what they want to believe. We are firmly fixed in our minds, and insulting rhetoric badly-typed on a Facebook page certainly isn’t going to change any minds.

Tom Gagne is the one guy in town who offers us something to think about on Facebook. He reads impartial books, articles, and knows history. He thinks things through, and only then, with a quiet manner, shares his ideas. I don’t think he reaches many people, however. Keep trying, Tom!

Facebook certainly is partially to blame for our blooming rudeness. We say things while on that page that we would never say face to face. Facebook allows us to vent the hidden socially unacceptable feelings that we would never show “in public.” And yet on Facebook we are very much “in public.” Even more so than otherwise.

Facebook is fun. I love the sarcastic jokes, and share them with glee. I adore the puppies, and kittens. I am happy to be up to date on what is going on around town. And it is fun keeping up with old and new friends.

So Facebook is not entirely to blame. We have to change ourselves. We have to remember that what we type is out there for all to see, and not just now, forever. We need to be polite, and careful of other’s feelings. We need to remember to be tolerant of other’s beliefs and ideology.

In other words, be kind. Think for yourself. At least listen to the other guy. Then, here is a novel idea: If they are indeed an asshole, just keep scrolling. There is plenty of other stuff on facebook to see. Don’t be a jerk.

Have fun

jeannie davis

By: Jeff Milo, Circulation Specialist

Reading Collective

The Ferndale Library is once again joining the libraries in Berkley, Huntington Woods, and Oak Park to collaboratively host a quad-city book club known as The Reading Collective. If you’ve participated in Community Reads events in the past, like “Ferndale Reads,” then it’s essentially the same format: Patrons from these four libraries will each pick up a copy of (Ann Arborbased author) Lillian Li’s The Number One Chinese Restaurant. As each patron reads along at home, they can meet up with other readers in other communities throughout March and April at several events and programs to be hosted at each library. On Thursday, April 11 (7 P.M.), at the Berkley First (Church), all Reading Collective participants can meet the author, get their books signed, and hear about her process of writing this novel. Follow us on Facebook for updates.

Synthesizers in the Library

Musician Henry Birdseye is coming back for a second presentation that takes you deep into the world of analog synthesizers. Birdseye is eager to share his love of the history and development of this music-making technology. On Sunday, March 24, he’ll share his interest in oldschool analog modular synthesizers, bringing in his magnificent instrument, showing you how it works, and talking about the science and evolution of electronic musical creation. He’ll be joined by local musician/ songwriter Steve Greene (of Voyag3r).

First Stop Friday

Poetic lyricist and “think piece” composer Chris DuPont comes to the Ferndale Library on April 1, part of the ongoing monthly First Stop Friday series. Dupont hails from Ypsilanti, Michigan, and is a seasoned veteran of the Midwest music scene, with several tours logged and a handful of albums that you can sample online. His hybrid finger-style approach to guitar-playing is a nod to classical minimalism, but creates delicate melodies that are sure to get you nodding your head. Chris is influenced by a wide range of artists and composers from Philip Glass to Tycho, from James Taylor to Ryan Adams to Oh Wonder. These free concerts are made possible by the Friends of the Ferndale Library. Doors open at 7:30 P.M. on April 1, with music starting at 8 P.M.

Native Plants

A member from the Ferndale Beautification Commission and the Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge Gardeners online group will be here on April 14 to give a presentation on Native Plants. The Ferndale/PR social media group that he represents is an outlet for gardeners in the area to find educational programming. This is the first of a three-part series; the next presentation will be May 19. Native plants not only provide habitats for birds and other wildlife, but they require far less water, which conserves resources (and lowers your water bill). You’ll find more updates on our Facebook page.


Stop in on Saturday, April 20, at 2:00 P.M., to hang out with fellow crafters. Come with your current project and the stuff you need to work on it, or start something new. Enjoy hanging out and making with other crafters. We have plenty of tables and electrical outlets.

Art in the Library

On your way in or out of the library, make sure to peek inside of our Community Room. We regularly host six-to-eight week exhibitions of local artists, with up to eight unique shows throughout the year. Our next one will be on display starting March 24.

1000 Books Before Kindergarten

The Ferndale Library’s “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program is a fun DIY way for parents to cultivate kindergarten readiness. Participants are eligible right up until the day they start kindergarten, so that includes toddlers, but also babies. For every 100 books, kids receive a prize from librarians in the Kids Corner. 


On Facebook: @ferndalepubliclibrary

By Rebecca Hammond

BACKLASH TO THE BACKLASH. First, in response to organizing consultant and author, Marie Kondo, and her methods for and urging of the purging of possessions: Her new TV show seems like too much excess in regards to excess. Another is a handful of articles that basically say, “No, you don’t have to feel guilty for anything lifestyle-related as regards to the planet. Blame bigger entities!” A backlash against lifestyles and their direct and deleterious effects on the planet and climate and home life is being seen as excessive in and of itself, and is getting lashed back at.

My husband and I clash about Stuff – him having less, me having more – but it’s nothing compared to my inner Clash. Having too much stuff does not feel good. I suspect we mentally carry our excess around more than we know, and this could be the reason people who drastically downsize can gush for years about how good it feels.

Our culture has created an interesting loop of sorts: We’re purging our extras, so thrift shops are full of them. And, thus, we can drop stuff off then pop in and buy more. Thrift shop junk is cheap and each item has a one-of-a-kind quality, making it constantly seem another Unique Steal. We don’t so much buy stuff now as rent it; we keep a sort of circulating library of excess. We rotate our stuff.

I feel burdened with needing to make use of discards, hating to send anything to be hoarded in landfills, which, according to Pulitzer-prizewinner Edward Humes (the author of Garbology) is how we convince ourselves we’re not hoarders. Most of us store our unwanted stuff elsewhere, as a group, en masse, at group expense. We’re socialist hoarders. Hoarders on TV shows are probably more honest.

For almost two decades, I hoarded wool sweaters and made them into purses, which felt (pun intended) both earth-friendly and businesslike, since I sold both the purses and articles about how to make them. It’s easier to be creative if you have excess, because you can compare colors and textures, and you can be ready to strike when the creative iron is hot.

I began getting supplies secondhand decades ago; a fellow spinning-guild member told me to look for used hand-knit sweaters and dismantle them for the yarn. This is surprisingly guiltproducing (someone took weeks or even months to knit that sweater) and gratifying. If you plan to make the yarn into balls, it takes an evening to deconstruct a sweater and wind it up, and this is oddly satisfying. Maybe it goes way back. Surely once upon a time women regularly unraveled holey sweaters they’d knit into yarn for socks and mittens.

When Wendy Shepherd of Mittens for Detroit announced last year that they had plenty of kid’s mittens and needed adult sizes, I saw a way to reduce my stash. I’d made a pattern from a fleece mitten bought at Hudson’s, when there was still such a place, and I figured that in maybe two weeks I could reduce the sweater hoard to nothing. That was last November. I’m still working on it.

Now Heather Rhea-Wright of Painted Lady Trashions has made the Rust Belt corner into a donation station. I’m trying to drop off mittens every other day or so. It’s gratifying to see the warm items people leave: sweaters, coats, hats, scarves, gloves, even some boots, and that they’re picked up constantly. Some of us have so much, some have not close to enough. (Painted Lady Trashions might be the ultimate recycledproducts business. If you haven’t checked it out, you should. Rust Belt Market.)

ANOTHER BACKLASH SEEMS TIED to a notion of excess as a basic right in a materialistic culture, showing up in a few angry articles about environmental guilt. I’m not sure what’s so awful about guilt. It seems a normal human trait. But some writers think there is not only no need for guilt, it’s out of the question to entertain even the idea of the thought of it. Is that indirect enough?

I’ve been baffled by the environmental movement’s ability and willingness to divorce the results of our actions from the consequences of them. A copy of an environmental magazine from a big, powerful group will likely contain objections to rising sea levels, warming temps, and bizarre new weather patterns and ads and offers for world adventure travel, something with a hefty Co2 footprint because of the massive gulp of oil each trip. We finger-point at Big Oil and their wealth and power as if we didn’t contribute to it. This is all apparently supposed to ensure our happiness.

Of course, we aren’t happy. We’re a depressed, anxious, and medicated population. We seem to assume that the “only” downside we face to the excesses of modern lifestyles is a filthy and deteriorating planet. It stands to reason that if de-cluttered houses could improve our moods, a clean planet could. Maybe mammals can’t really psychologically pull off fouling our nests.

Rebecca Hammond walks in Ferndale most days, and wishes drivers would not only stop at stop signs, but would look up from their phones as they approach them. If you opt out of these niceties, please stop being angry at the pedestrians you almost kill.

By Sarah E. Teller

WHEN SUBURBAN FORD MOVED INTO FERNDALE, the company had some work to do in and around the existing facility. But this didn’t stop the family-owned business from putting down roots. Suburban Ford’s Platform President, Ron MacEachern, said, “Our company normally buys a store in a geographic area that we can develop into a larger footprint. If we have a large footprint, we can do more.”

Suburban began operations in Ferndale with the Buick GMC lot on Woodward in 2012 and acquired the Ford lot two years later. “When we got here, some major remodeling needed to be done,” explained MacEachern, including getting rid of a rodent infestation and remediating the water. “We sunk $5 million into a total campus remodel,” he disclosed. Part of that remodel included landscape improvements with greenery and brick pavers added to the front of the building. “The City asked us to do this,” MacEachern said. “We lost parking because of it, but we were happy to cooperate. We added to the beautification of Woodward Avenue.”

According to MacEachern and General Manager Jeff Huvaere, the company started with one parking lot and also a house kiddy-corner from the area. They also bought out a few other homes over time, making offers over list price. MacEachern explained, “The people who lived in these homes knocked on our door and told us they were interested in selling.” The renovations paid off, and Suburban Ford quickly expanded. Staff increased substantially to 75 employees. However, the rapid expansion came at a price and parking and other issues soon arose.

In November 2018, Suburban issued a mailer to local residents that read: “While the dealership has been through a lot of physical changes and growth…we understand that you as our neighbors have been impacted by those changes as well, with increased customer traffic, construction traffic and noise and increased street parking activity on Silman and Jewell Street.”

SUBURBAN SCHEDULED A PUBLIC MEETING For December 10, 2018 regarding “the dealership’s operations and future proposed plans,” as specified in a letter distributed by the City of Ferndale. “I don’t think they expected a standing-room-only crowd to voice their concerns,” resident Roberta Kuhn said of the meeting. “But those who have been impacted the most were there. They’re concerned about their property values, safety, and the impact on the neighborhood of tearing down old homes zoned residential to make parking lots.’”

“Progress is uncomfortable for some people,” MacEachern said of the meeting’s outcome. “But for every complaint we’ve gotten, we’ve received at least that many compliments.” Of the parking situation, he said assuredly, “We don’t park [cars] there illegally, and they’re not there overnight.” Huvaere added, “We haven’t gotten one parking ticket I can think of since we’ve been here.”

Some residents believe ‘no parking’ signs have been pulled from certain areas so the dealership isn’t issued tickets. And they’ve noticed other problems, such as an incident of antifreeze leaking onto surrounding streets.

Kuhn said, “There was a car parked across the street from my house where it is legal to park. However, it was leaking antifreeze. I went to the City and showed a picture of it to Code Enforcement, so he drove over and talked to the service managers and they had it towed. Everyone around here has cats and dogs. I’m worried about our animals and the environment.” She added, “There was also a mechanic working on a car right in front of my house. There is no parking on the north side of Silman. Another big issue has been mechanics test-driving cars, fast-braking, etc. up and down the street.”

“ANOTHER BIG CONCERN WAS THE PLAN to tear down five homes at the same time; four on Silman and one on Jewell. Some of these homes are close to 100 years old. Neighbors are concerned about lead paint, asbestos and other toxic materials that would be released in the environment and the adjacent homes.”

“Other issues discussed included home values, conserving greenspace, snow removal, limited street corner visibility due to parked cars along Woodward, and scattered trash and debris. In fairness, some of these issues have been addressed since the meeting. However, rezoning residential for parking is the pending concern.”

MacEachern responded, “We have never been cited for any environmental thing. We have never had a parking violation. Yes, we have vehicles parked on the side streets, but we have a strict rule about where employees are supposed to perform test drives. We also have rules for where customers can test drive vehicles.”

“I can tell you this,” MacEachern said. “As far as any antifreeze, we are diligent about following OSHA and safety guidelines.” “Otherwise, we’d lose our license,” Huvaere said. “The bottom line is there are a few unhappy neighbors and parking is a legitimate concern we’re working with the City on. There’s a designated test drive route,” Huvaere added. MacEachern said, “We’re hitting max capacity, and we need a couple hundred parking spots.”

BOTH HUVAERE AND MACEACHERN SAID addressing residents’ concerns is their top priority. “I know I plan to stay here. I love Ferndale,” Huvaere said. “I was working in Sterling Heights for seven years before I came here, and there’s a community feel to Ferndale that there wasn’t there. We get the sense that residents just want to be in the know, and we would too. We’re here to stay.”

Justin Lyons, Planning Manager at the City of Ferndale, said there are no future meetings in the books with the City to discuss parking, explaining, “Suburban’s team was going to review the feedback given at the December community meeting and decide their next steps. The request to expand parking would be driven by Suburban and is not a City-led project. The City would review the request once received and would notify residents in the immediate area via the email list started at the community meeting and mail. The most recent proposal by Suburban would likely require rezoning, which requires public hearings and public notice via mail and newspaper at least 15 days prior to a meeting.” He suggested, “Residents should use SeeClickFix for issues related to parking and contact the police non-emergency line, 248-541-3650, for speeding or other safety issues. Suburban Ford’s management team has also encouraged residents to reach out directly to them.”


The Art of Fire: Clay, Glass, Metal

ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S 50 FAVORITE ART FAIRS, the Royal Oak Clay Show started 25 years ago as a project of the Oakland Community College. It was a cool and eclectic event. We’re told that artists would show up the morning of the show and choose their spot from what was left. No jury or curation. The only rule was that everything had to be made out of clay. 

By 2000, the ownership of the show had transferred to the Royal Oak Chamber and they were interested in updating it into a juried art fair. A group of artists met and decided that they should add glass art to the mix. After all, they were quite similar, and it would add some variety to the show. Other than experimenting with music and layout the show stayed pretty consistent from then until 2009 when the group decided to add metal.

Metal was a popular addition. The focus remained on art created with flame and all three mediums lent themselves to dramatic demonstrations. Sunshine Artist Magazine designated the show one of the top 100 nationwide in 2010. A few years later Art Fair Calendar designated it a top 50 show.

Last year the show committee decided that it was once again time to refresh the show. The new name, Art of Fire, emphasized what makes this show unique. The show doubled down on demonstrations and hands on activities, with dramatic flame-filled action. A group of fire performers added related entertainment. Each of these areas will be returning, and there will be more and larger demonstrations. This year the plan is to add in more hands-on project activities for those that want to experiment in these mediums.

THE SHOW IS STILL TRUE TO ITS ROOTS of showcasing artists from across the country. Some new attendees start out wondering how there can be 120 artists in just three mediums without many things looking similar. They come away impressed by all the ways that minerals and flame can play out in functional and decorative art.

The Art of Fire is June 8-9 on Washington Street in downtown Royal Oak. Show hours are 10 AM until 7 PM on Saturday and 11 AM until 5 PM on Sunday. Admission and demonstrations are free as are many of the hands on art projects. Some projects have a small fee. Juried artists will be selling functional items such as mugs, glasses and jewelry as well as decorative art, with everything focused on the clay, glass and/or metal elements. More information is at www.artoffirero.com.


Funky Ferndale Art Fair

By Eve Doster

FERNDALE’S DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY describes the city’s commercial district as a place that “continues to exceed expectations and maintain the economic vitality of the district.” It’s no surprise then, that the DDA has such a longstanding relationship with the Funky Ferndale Art Fair, a popular annual juried art fair that celebrates its sixteenth anniversary in Downtown Ferndale this year.

Funky Ferndale has had nearly two decades to perfect the signature “edginessmeets- high-end-art” mien that has made it a popular destination for art fair fans, families, and serious art collectors alike. It has become a mainstay in the evolving Downtown Ferndale festival scene; and, not unlike the DDA who helps to make it all possible, Funky Ferndale has exceeded original expectations.

“When we first started off, we just wanted to bring original artwork to the people of Ferndale, who we’ve always considered culturally curious and progressive,” says event producer Mark Loeb of Integrity Shows. “We feel a strong bond with folks from this community.”

The event’s continued success has made it one of the more competitive art fairs in the region–which means that the 100 (or so) artists who are handpicked to show are selected from hundreds of submissions from independent artists from all over the United States.

The artwork ranges in scope, medium and price; which makes it ideal for art lovers searching for everything from rare Halloween decorations and handmade holiday gifts, to serious buyers looking to grow their fine art collections. It’s a fun and easy way to support independent art and an even better way to meet the artists themselves.

AND WHILE FUNKY FERNDALE’S JURORS ARE CHARGED with handpicking a broad spectrum of the most interesting art they can—make no mistake, this is one art event that does not take itself too seriously. In addition to the affable nature of event organizers themselves, Funky Ferndale is not afraid to get a little weird. Take for example past-featured artists like the Florida man who handcrafted Australian wind instruments called digeridoos or Zachariah Ribera, a creative thinker who made art from molted spider skins.

“We really take into account whether or not the artwork is ‘funky,’” says juror Kelly O’Neill. “It’s the lens through which the all the selections are made.” To be sure, attendees appreciate the opportunity to buy one-of-a-kind art that they can’t find anywhere else. And in some cases, it’s precisely the reason they come back year after year.

“I always do early Christmas shopping here because I know I can buy my friends and family gifts they’ll love and feel good about receiving,” says Funky Ferndale Art Fair patron, Amy Surdu of Detroit. “There’s an intangible value to buying gifts that were made by hand and with passion.”

Indeed, it’s no mistake that Loeb selected Downtown Ferndale as the place to hold his “funky” event all those years ago…and it’s no mystery why he remains. “Ferndale is an eclectic and unusual town that deserves a more interesting art fair,” Loeb says. “We believe that art shouldn’t just sit there looking pretty, it should invite conversation.”

The Funky Ferndale Art Fair is Friday, September 20 – Sunday, September 22 in Downtown Ferndale. Hours are Friday 3-7 P.M.; Saturday 10 A.M.-7 P.M.; and Sunday 11 A.M.-6 P.M.

Deadline for artists to apply is Friday, May 17, 2019. Online applications available at: bit.ly/ApplyFFAF19