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FROM ELABORATE MARKETING PROJECTS to smaller business PR campaigns, mo marketing + pr can help create measurable results. At the helm of the team is a ‘powerhouse’ entrepreneurial duo: Julia Gillespie and Blake Moore. Formed in 2009, the innovative mo business model is the result of combining decades of Gillespie’s and Moore’s joint experience in marketing, public relations, advertising and design. They describe their uniquely blended approach to promotions as “integrated marketing,” and each campaign is tailored specifically for the individual client.

Originally based in Brooklyn, NY, mo has now moved into an open-plan, welcoming space (located at 3025 Hilton, nestled between Pole Addiction and BeHave Gym). Both Gillespie and Moore recognized Ferndale to be an eclectic, creative hub; therefore, a perfect new location for growth. They spent two years waiting for the right space to become available and are looking forward to setting up many new projects, both locally and nationally.

The office has a definite ‘high energy’ feel: campaign graphics are arranged on display boards around the walls, and desks are stacked with var- ious research materials. As I sat talking with Gillespie and Moore on the stylish couches near the center of the office, two of the team members continued working hard at their computers: Eliza- beth Arnott (PR, social and content development), and Justin Dunn (digital marketing). Clearly, the mo team are driven to create an impact!

The focus at mo is on clear, thoughtful, intelligent messaging. Clients are encouraged to ‘tell their story’ through a variety of strategic methods. As they described to me, “…everyone is aconsumer…and people buy the brands they be- th lieve in. Creating brand awareness is key!” Utilizing various analytical tools, including digital in reports, clients can clearly see what works and what doesn’t.

A strong emphasis at mo is to unify and streamline all aspects of promotion. Perhaps a business has a certain goal to build its brand recognition and sales; Gillespie and Moore will spend considerable time researching this company (often, a week-long process!) During this time, an ‘a la carte’ style proposal is developed for the client’s final approval. During our conversation, Moore described the interaction with clients as…”brutally honest!”

It is important to both Gillespie and Moore that clients are directed to what actually works, not to what might just seem to be effective, in a superficial way. Unlike some marketing groups, who delegate accounts entirely to other members of staff, mo takes pride in keeping the two owners involved- no matter how large or small the campaign might be. Overall, mo maintains an impressive, cutting-edge work ethic- and plenty of creative ‘mojo’!

Reach out to Julia Gillespie at: 248.556.5799, or email: Julia@lessismo.com; and Blake Moore at: 248.953.5564, or email: blake@lessismo.com. Also, check out their website/social media sites: www.lessismo.com; facebook.com/moMarketingPR; twitter.com/mo_lessismo.

If something 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 united to erectile disfunction. 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 heartiness problem such as soul trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction turn 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 medication passes into breast milk.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 1.50.49 PMA COMMUNITY CAN ONLY GROW AND FLOURISH if residents are willing and enthusiastic about its success. Ferndale has no shortage of dedicated individuals contributing their talents and time to building a caring, tight-knit neighborhood, but sometimes matching those skills with organizations in need can be a challenge.
In an effort to bring those willing to help together with the nonprofits making a difference, the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) combined efforts to connect the two for a night.

On Tuesday, September 22, eleven nonprofits from the Ferndale area gathered at Blumz by JR Designs, located at 503 East 9 Mile Road, for a Volunteer Open House. About 50 people attended.

“Knowing that Ferndale is a very giving community, and many people have been inquiring on social media about volunteer opportunities, we thought it would be a good time to offer residents the opportunity to easily meet with a variety of organizations to find out where they fit,” Cindy Willcock, Interim Executive Director of the DDA, says of the event.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 1.50.42 PMThe hardest part of building a volunteer relationship might be deciding what cause is right for you. For two hours, attendees had the chance to learn about the various groups making a difference in metro Detroit and how they could get involved.

Some of the participating organizations include Camp Casey, a 501C3 nonprofit horseback riding program for kids with cancer and their families, and Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County, where residents help build homes for their neighbors.

Modeled after a similar DDA event held in 2010, Willcock and Ferndale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ashleigh Laabs decided to host the open house after the DDA and Chamber began collaborating on multiple events this year.

“We realized that we both sometimes struggle with not having enough volunteers to help us achieve our goals,” Willcock adds.Organizations chosen for the open house were a combination of those from the 2010 event and prominent organizations in the Ferndale community. Willcock says they strived to represent a diversity of nonprofits and cover a range of needs.

The DDA is actually one of the groups constantly in need of volunteers. According to their website, volunteers worked over 5000 hours in 2014 helping with events, engaging in committees and serving on their boards.

“I don’t think that many people realize that the Ferndale DDA is a grassroots, volunteer-driven organization that is overseen by staff,” Willcock says. “We couldn’t accomplish everything we do; events, programming, advocacy, promotion, business assistance, etc. without our outstanding group of volunteers.”

For those that missed the event this year, you can see the full list of participating nonprofits below and should expect this event to return next year, if not sooner.

“I think we’d definitely like to do it on a yearly basis, although based on the feedback from groups that want to participate, we might consider doing something more often,” Willcock anticipates.

Whether you attend the open house or not, volunteers are essential to a community and volunteering means much more than the efforts you put in. It builds community, creates new relationships and can make a lasting impression on those in need.

“One of my favorite quotes about volunteers is, ‘Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless’,” Willcock says.

More information about volunteering can be found here on the Chamber website: www.ferndaleareachamber.com/volunteer.html

The form for nonprofits submitting volunteer opportunities can be found here: http://bit.ly/FACnonprofitvolunteerform

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 have to 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 core trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction switch on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a state 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 medication passes into breast milk.

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Remember to VOTE on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2015! The ballot this year is small, but the issues are as important as ever. Voting takes only a few minutes, and on an off-year election like this, turnout is usually dismal…all the more reason to get out and vote, because your choices will carry more weight!

We’ve gathered candidate statements and information on the city proposal and Ferndale schools millage proposal. This guide is non-partisan and for informational purposes only.

So, what’s on the ballot?

• Mayor: Dave Coulter is running for re-election unopposed, though voters may choose to write in another candidate.

• City Council: Three candidates are vying for two City Council seats. Incumbent Dan Martin, Raylon Leaks-May, and William S. White are in the race.

• City Proposal- Charter Amendment 15-01: Here’s where things get a bit cryptic. The text of the proposal reads as follows:

“This Charter amendment would modify the nominating petition deadline and process for counting nominating petitions where a voter signs more petitions than the number of candidates to be elected.
Shall the City of Ferndale, Charter, Chapter IV, Section 3, be amended to so provide?”

Council Member Greg Pawlica explains: “Voters are being asked to support a change to the charter regarding how a voter’s signature is counted when a candidate’s petition is submitted to the city. State law dictates that a registered voter can only sign the number of candidate petitions equal to the number of seats available. For example, if there are two council seats open and there are five candidates interested in running for those two seats, a registered voter can only sign two of the five candidate petitions. State of Michigan law dictates that if a registered voter (in this instance) signs three or more candidate petitions, then the first two signatures (based on date signed) are valid signatures and any signatures after the first two are invalid. However, according to Ferndale’s City Charter, using the same scenario, all three signatures of the registered voter are invalid. A YES vote in November will align the City’s charter with the State and allow that registered voter’s first two signatures to remain valid.” A NO vote will leave the City Charter’s language the way it is.

Ferndale Public Schools Millage Proposal: The text of the proposal reads as follows:

“This proposal would (a) reauthorize and restore the authority of the Ferndale Public Schools to levy mills previously authorized and levied for general operating purposes on non-homestead property (such as industrial and commercial property and rental properties) which have been reduced by application of the Headlee Amendment and expired with the 2015 levy and (b) increase the limitation to 20 mills, to allow the District to continue to receive revenues at the full foundation allowance permitted by the State in the event of future Headlee rollbacks of up to two mills. Under existing law, the District may levy no more than 18 mills on non- homestead property. Owner-occupied homes, certain personal property and qualified agricultural property are exempt from this levy.

Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable non-homestead property in the Ferndale Public Schools, Oakland County, Michigan be increased by 20.00 mills ($20.00 per $1,000 of taxable value) for twenty (20) years, the years 2016 to 2035, inclusive, to provide funds for operating expenses of the District? If approved, this millage would raise an estimated $4,073,000 for the District in 2016.”

An explanation from ferndalevotinginfo.org:

“If you are a homeowner, the passage of this millage will NOT impact your property taxes. This tax ONLY applies to Non-homestead property owners (such as industrial and commercial property and rental properties).This millage would continue to charge these owners at the rate which they are currently paying. This millage does allow the District to raise the amount we levy but only in the event of a Headlee rollback. The maximum rate Ferndale Schools would ever be able to levy is 18 Mills. This millage brings in approx. $4 million each year. If it is voted down, it will result in a 14 per cent reduction in the total budget for Ferndale Schools.”

• For information on registering to vote or receiving an absentee ballot, visit www.ferndalemi.gov/Services/Elections

• For information on polling locations, visit www.ferndalemi.gov/Services/Elections/Polling_Locations

• If you are interested in working as a precinct inspector on election day, visit:

www.ferndalemi.gov/Services/Elections/ Election_Workers

For general questions or information, contact the City Clerk’s office at: 300 E. 9 Mile Road, Ferndale, MI 48220

If slightly 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 malfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What men 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 heartiness problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction switch on 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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WHETHER YOU’VE LIVED IN FERNDALE for decades or just a short time, the best things about Ferndale are exactly the same. We make newcomers feel welcome, and make neighbors feel like family. It’s a special community, and it’s an honor to serve as your Mayor.

Working together with City Council, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far:

●  We lowered taxes more than 2 mils (about $166 for the average homeowner) this year, and lowered water rates 10% in 2014;

●  We renovated our dilapidated courthouse and police station – without using tax dollars;

●  We created a new health clinic for city employees in collaboration with Royal Oak and Madison Heights, as we continue to look for ways to reduce costs while still offering outstanding city services;

●  We upgraded Livernois and West Nine Mile to transform them into more vibrant, successful streets, and we’re almost done with upgrades to Hilton and East Nine Mile. We’re already seeing significant private investment following our work in these areas;

●  My Mayor’s Business Council continues to help attract new investments, jobs and tax revenue to our formerly neglected industrial sector.

●  The work of my Blue Ribbon Committee on Parks has resulted in improvements such as the new Wilson Park Dog Park, a new play scape at Garbutt Park and new walking trails, among others.

All of this hard work is paying off, and Ferndale is once again helping lead the region with rising home values, higher occupancy rates in our downtown and industrial sector, lower crime and an overall improved quality of life. But there’s more I’m eager to do, including continuing the transformation of our parks, expanding retail, foot traffic and parking in our downtown, and ensuring that this progress preserves affordable housing and independent retailers and entrepreneurs in our city.

Thanks to the voter-approved infrastructure bond passed in May, I’m excited to bring even more attention to our parks and develop amenities residents will use and enjoy. Together with the work of repairing our local streets, these bond projects will soon be a reality and will help transform our parks and our neighborhoods into even more vibrant places of recreation and community.

I’m also looking forward to partnering with the new leadership at the DDA to address issues like increased retail activity, housing and office development, transportation and parking (including planning already underway for a possible replacement of the 3- 60 project) to ensure our downtown remains a popular regional destination in the face of increased regional competition.

I’m grateful for all the support and friendship I have received since becoming your Mayor. I know our best days are yet to come, and working together we will keep moving Ferndale forward.

If something happened with our heartiness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a cure. 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 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 soul trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction switch on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a state 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 curing passes into breast milk.

Fall-2015-airfair-diy (1)_Page_1 Fall-2015-airfair-diy (1)_Page_2

If slightly 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 impotency and other states connected to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What men talk about “viagra stories“? The most essential aspect you must 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 soul trouble. Causes of sexual malfunction 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 medication passes into breast milk.

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By Jeff Lilly

LOOKING AT THE YEARS OF FUROR over same-sex marriage, it’s interesting to study the history of other marriages that the moral scolds of society have found troublesome.

Anti-miscegenation laws have an interesting, and eerily parallel, history to same-sex marriage struggle. Masako, my wife, is Asian. I’m white. Not too uncommon a pairing these days, so it’s easy to forget that as recently as 1967, our own marriage would have been illegal in several states… and for many of the same silly reasons people found to keep same-sex partners apart until now.

The first anti-miscegenation laws in the United States were enforced right after independence, though New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont and New Hampshire (and later Wisconsin and Minnesota) never had any on the books. Other states adopted such laws as they were admitted to the union. Mainly, the purpose of these laws was to keep black and white Americans from marrying or procreating, though they were also enforced against whites marrying Native Americans, East Indians, Chinese, and others. The infamous “One Drop” rule was used; if you had any provable non-white ancestry, no matter how distant, then you were automatically considered black for the purposes of this and other discriminatory laws.

This led to a couple of cases where persons destroyed a rivals’s marriage by digging through their family history and finding that they or their wife had a great-grandfather, for example, who was not white. The law often made it so the couple had no choice but to divorce. It was especially bad in states like Arizona, where the laws, as written, kept anyone of mixed race from marrying anyone, even another person of mixed race!

The first wave of repeal happened after the Civil War, with ten states (including Michigan) dropping the laws before 1887. After that, there was a lull until 1948, when California became the first of many to clean up their act. As of 1967, though, fifteen southern states (plus, oddly, Delaware) still restricted marriage along racial lines. The breakthrough case was Loving vs. Virginia.

In 1958, Mildred Jeter (an African American / Native American woman) and Richard Loving (a white man) married in Washington, D.C. and moved to Virginia, where mixed-race marriage was still illegal. Their house was raided late one night by police and they were arrested and charged with “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth.” Found guilty of the felony, their prison sentence was commuted on the condition they leave the state. The judge in the case used a religious argument, a tactic which should be all too familiar to the LGBT community:

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents… The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

The Lovings moved to Washington, D.C. and spent years appealing the decision. Their appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court was rejected on the grounds that the law applied to both white and “colored” people equally, so there was no discrimination. With the help of the ACLU, the Lovings appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Richard Loving sent the following message to the court via his lawyer: “Mr. Cohen, tell the Court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.”

On June 12, 1967, The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the law was unconstitutional. With those strokes of the pen, all remaining anti- miscegenation laws in the United States were swept into the dustbin of history. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote:

“Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes… is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law.”

June 12 has since been celebrated as “Loving Day.” Here’s hoping that June 26, 2015 will be similarly remembered!

If something happened with our heartiness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a medicament. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotency and other states coupled to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What folk 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 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.

Story by David Wesley

Same-sex weddings took place all across the country the weekend after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled all 50 states must now permit same-sex couples the “fundamental right to marry.” The ruling on June 26 put an end to the unconstitutional same-sex marriage bans that remained in 14 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, most of Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. The court’s decision could impact some 70,000 couples living in these states, out of an estimated one million same-sex couples nationwide.

The Michigan couple at the forefront of last month’s watershed U.S. Supreme Court ruling are finalizing invitations to their August 22 ceremony in Southfield. Hazel Park nurses Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer will be married by Judge Bernard Friedman, who overturned Michigan’s gay marriage ban in 2014, paving the way for the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling declaring marriage a right of all Americans.

Now that the Supreme Court has made marriage equality the law of the land, the effects are going to be felt everywhere, including the economy. According to a report from the Williams Institute issued last year, all the additional dollars spent on weddings and everything that goes along with them will produce a big economic bump. In New York, $228.6 million has been pumped back into the economy since they legalized same-sex marriage in 2011. California is on track to see even greater gains. Obviously less populated states will see less revenue, but there are still potential economic gains for everyone, according to the report. In fact, they predicted that nationwide marriage equality would net $2.6 billion in spending, including $184.7 million in tax revenue, and help create over 13,000 jobs in the first three years overall. Ferndale Friends spoke to local Judge Rudy Serra about the semantics behind the ruling, his role in its development, and its direct impact on the local and state level.

“Michigan’s overtly anti-gay state constitutional amendment was probably a contributing event. It forced the Federal Courts to realize that LGBT people in Michigan had no hope of a state remedy. Here we have an electorate that argues that, first ‘marriage is a sacrament’ but, secondly, we should regulate that sacrament by law! We do not regulate baptism or ordination in the Constitution, so why would any reasonable person of faith want to regulate marriage there? The recognition of a distinction between the religious sacrament of matrimony and the civil contract of marriage is an important concept.

“Our Republican state leaders have been frank and honest about how much they hate us and want to oppress, injure, ignore and eliminate us. The Republican Attorney General’s decision to tear insurance coverage away from the innocent children of LGBT state employees was probably also a factor. You could point to Loving v. Virginia (the case that struck down laws against inter-racial marriage) as an important precedent.”

I asked him his concerns with the legal aftermath of this ruling and what will pro-marriage equality voters need to do to ensure its standing?

“As a former judge, I am always concerned when extremists suggest things like ‘term limitations’ on federal judges and other ways to try to make the court vulnerable to bribery and improper influence. When the Republicans stole the 2000 presidential election with overtly partisan Supreme Court assistance, they didn’t complain about ‘judicial activism.’ But whenever the court expands civil rights the fat cats howl. There may be litigation in case-by- case situations where individual religious bigots who hold government office get told that religious people have to obey the same laws as others. Such ‘after shock’ litigation happened in desegregation cases. Inflammatory rhetoric is just part of the free expression we enjoy.”

He went further, relating how this has impacted the Ferndale community both personally and professionally.

“My next door neighbors, who have been together 32 years, plan to get married in September. DeBoer and Rowse plan to do the same. Most of the impact is yet to come. LGBTQ people will deal with divorces, property divisions, and support and parenting time disputes, just as straight couples have. Perhaps the most important real-world impact will be the ‘normalization’ of LGBTQ couples. There should be increased understanding and recognition than a woman can be the medical decision maker and next of kin for another woman and that a man can do the same for another man. As LGBTQ relationships become more ordinary, anti-LGBTQ violence and policy should become more and more extraordinary.

“Like many others, I had a very small part in this particular victory. I attended events to support the litigation, and expressed my personal support and encouragement to DeBoer and Rowse. In a more general way, I’ve been working for this change since 1980. I helped get ‘sexual orientation’ into Ferndale’s Public School policies back in the 1980s. I worked on Ferndale’s first civil rights ordinance. I was counsel for The Triangle Foundation for years and helped to litigate cases to stop the pogroms in Michigan against LGBTQ people. Each effort to raise visibility, protest oppression and fight back against injustice was a small step toward this event. Ironically, on the day there was a Marriage Equality demonstration outside the Federal Court, I was inside finalizing $150,000 settlement against Wayne County and Westland for their anti-gay harassment and arrest of a man in a park in a shameless and illegal ‘bag-a-fag’ bust. Michigan still has a law making unpaid oral sex a felony. Michigan still has an ‘Abominable and Detestable Crime Against Nature’ law. These laws MUST be repealed. There is a great deal more work to be done.”

Indeed there is, for it is still legal to fire someone for being gay in Michigan. Despite polls showing public support for statewide anti-discrimination protections, legislative action this session remains a long shot.

While the Supreme Court ruling was a big victory for members of the LGBT community, there is still a lot to be done in Michigan in order to make our state a truly accepting place, but lawmakers differ on what direction Michigan should go.

Former Ferndale Mayor Craig Covey lent his highly qualified commentary. His personal journey fighting for LGBTQ rights his entire life has finally culminated in an intimate victory that has vindicated his private and personal aspirations therein. His pragmatic view on its coming about differs slightly from Judge Serra’s.

“I started working on gay rights back in 1976 at the age of 19 and we were working on just being respected and not being called fags and getting beat up. Back then it was illegal to have gay sex and we couldn’t be protected in jobs, housing, the military, or anywhere else. But I knew we would make progress and it has been steady and continual. From the end of sodomy laws in the 90’s to civil rights state by state and then having stars on TV like Ellen Degeneres and others to the recent ending of the military ban. Gay marriage was always coming. But it didn’t come from elected politicians and established gay rights organizations. It came from grass roots activists and individuals fighting door to door and neighborhood to neighborhood, and by young people of the millennial generation saying that discrimination was over.”

While 39 cities throughout Michigan, including East Lansing, already have some form of nondiscrimination ordinance in place that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in either housing, employment, public accommodations/services or some combination of those, Michigan as a whole has not made these adaptations yet. Michigan is one of 28 states without a law prohibiting discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation, and one of 29 states without a law prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to the Humans Rights Campaign. And while the fight for equality throughout Michigan and the country continue, it feels less of a struggle than an optimistic battle given the landmark decision. The future looks bright for human equality now and the rights and laws will follow suit in the wake of the good fight.

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 impotency and other states connected 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 health problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual disfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a state 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 medication passes into breast milk.

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Story by Sherrad Glosson | Photos by J. Capella

“Would you like something to drink?” said Jason McIntosh as I sat on the couch, visiting he and Jim Shaffer’s home in Ferndale. As I took my first sip, a baby started to cry. I’m puzzled, because I had no idea that there was a third person in the house. Jason ran to the back and Jim followed behind just seconds later. A dog started barking and within minutes they came to the front room holding a beautiful baby.

Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes

Norah McIntosh-Shaffer is her name. She’s a twenty-month-old African American baby who was adopted by the two men when she was only three days old. “It took a couple of days for us to name her because we wanted to get to know her first.” said Jason. “We are finally, legally, her fathers,” said Jim, referring to the Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage for all couples across the country.

Jim and Jason met online about thirteen years ago and the only things that separated them from one another was a river and a border. Jason, who at that time lived in Canada just on the other side of the bridge, worked as a marching band teacher in the Ferndale school system and Jim was on the brink of selling houses in the area.

Once they made contact, their love grew and the rest became history.

“When Oakland County made it legal to marry in the spring of 2014, people were texting me all day. I woke Jason up and told him, “WAKE UP, WE ARE GETTING MARRIED TODAY!” Jim recalls. They were one of the 300 couples who got married on that day, before the law changed again the very next day. They were indeed married, but they weren’t accepted by the State of Michigan, only by the federal government.

When the Supreme Court ruling was handed down early this summer, Jim said it was painstakingly exciting. They didn’t go out and celebrate like everyone else because they had already been married for a year. But still, it was blissful because now they can say they are legitimately both fathers for their beautiful daughter.

Nowadays, Jim still sells houses to the wonderful people in Ferndale, and Jason is now the Dean of Admissions in Birmingham at the Roeper School. As for Norah, well, she’s enjoying childhood riding on the back of the family dog like a horse, and receiving love from two lucky parents!

If slightly 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 impotence and other states connected 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 dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction turn on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual dysfunction. Even though this physic is not for use in women, it is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk.

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Story by Jeff Lilly

THE PACE OF PROGRESS IS OFTEN SLOW AND HALTING. Sometimes we even take a step or two backwards. But, as Martin Luther King Jr. once observed, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Charles Alexander, columnist for Between the Lines, has watched a lot of that arc. “In 1956, my senior year at Cass Technical High School, when I came out…” He pauses. “We were considered perverts, queers… there were no protections at all. Everyone was against us. The possibility of something like same sex equality was beyond belief, as were openly gay publications and organizations. None of this was in any way considered possible. If someone would have told me then (where we are in 2015,) I would have said they were crazy.”
The fight isn’t over yet. But how did we get to where we are today, to this crazy, wonderful world where loving couples of all descriptions can now freely marry? How did we build this lovely, inclusive city where people can feel free to be themselves?

SocialChange2It started with a Supreme Court case that would seem ridiculous today. 1958’s One, Inc. v. Oleson was the first Supreme Court case mentioning gay issues. The ruling was that “speech in favor of homosexuals” was not considered obscene. A small enough start, but now at least it could be talked about. Former Ferndale mayor Craig Covey remembers, “Growing up gay or lesbian prior to (the 1970s) meant keeping everything very much under wraps. The worst fears of gay people besides getting beat up were being arrested by the police for simply being gay. When I was 24 and still living in Columbus, I had my cat run over and killed by homophobic neighbors and later my lover and I had our house set on fire by them. The police response to us was a suggestion that we move.”

It was the bravery of early gay activists in the face of this onslaught that began to plant the seeds for social revolution. “I did hundreds of speaking engagements to thousands of people in the 1970s and ‘80s and gay activists did the same all over America.” Covey recalls. “That is how we got started on changing society.”
The first recorded gay activist group in Michigan was the Detroit Gay Liberation Movement, founded by Jim Toy in 1970. Progress was slow. A number of non-discrimination ordinances were passed in cities throughout Michigan, notably East Lansing in 1972, Ann Arbor in 1978, and Detroit in 1979.

Then disaster struck. “AIDS nearly wiped out the movement in the 1980s.” Covey says. “Many of our leaders were stricken and died.” But the survivors soldiered on.

Ferndale was just another Motor City bedroom community then, but LGBT people began to notice it. “At that time, Royal Oak was the place to be,” recalls Ann Heler, now director of FernCare. “But the cost of housing there had gone way up. So how could you stay near Royal Oak and still afford a home?”

Ferndale had a great supply of solidly-built, appealing houses that only needed a little TLC. It had a downtown crying for redevelopment. It was the perfect fit.

Nearby, in Palmer Park, Jeffrey Montgomery started the Triangle Foundation (now Equality Michigan) in 1991, out of the remnants of the Michigan Organization for Human Rights (MOHR.) Ferndale, following the leads of other cities, put a human rights ordinance on the ballot that same year.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.40.43 AMAttorney and former judge Rudy Serra put together this first ordinance, designed to offer protections against employment and housing discrimination. He spent hundreds of hours in research. “I read every U.S. case dealing with a local civil rights enactment in existence.” He says. He then took to the streets to help gather signatures to put it on the ballot. “During the petition phase, almost no one refused to sign. There was no organized opposition at all until city council members… started the usual anti-gay scare campaign.” Although it contained language protecting against discrimination based on race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, it was negatively portrayed simply as a “gay rights ordinance.” This misrep- resentation, combined with outside money from anti-gay groups and zero support from any elected officials or businesses, sent the measure to a heavy two-to-one defeat.

In 1996, Ferndale’s LGBT community decided to step out a little with the foundation of FANs, or Friends and Neighbors. Started by Kevin Rogers, Robert Lalickie, and Mi others, it “didn’t start off as a political organization.” Ann Heler explains. “It was just gays and lesbians living inFerndale, saying hello.” FANs members volunteered locally, joined committees, and tried to be visible. “The idea was to get people used to the idea… of us.” Heler says. It was FANs that organized the first Pub Crawl in 1997 (now run by the Michigan AIDS Coalition), a major annual event that’s raised over $150,000 for charity.

But the homophobic elements in Ferndale and elsewhere were pushing back. A number of states enacted laws specifically banning gay marriage in the mid-‘90s. Michigan’s legislature overwhelmingly passed such a law in 1996, the same year the execrable Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was enacted by Congress on the federal level. DOMA defined marriage as “between one man and one woman” and allowed states to not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. In Ferndale, meanwhile, a rash of anti-gay hate crimes erupted, coming to a peak in 1997.

SocialChange3“We looked at each other and said, ‘This isn’t right.’” Heler recalls. “You live in the neighborhood, you own a home, everybody should be safe.” So they formed the Police Positive committee, which Heler chaired. She called Ferndale Police Chief Sullivan, who met with members of FANs and the Triangle Foundation. Chief Sullivan’s response was immediate and unequivocal: “Criminal behavior of any kind has no place in Ferndale, period. It will not be condoned, and it will not be ignored.” Haters would still hate, but the police were firmly on the side of the local LGBT community.

1999 in Ferndale saw a second attempt at a human rights ordinance, this one organized by a blue- ribbon committee formed by Mayor Chuck Goedert. It was adopted by the city council and passed, but the victory was short-lived. A petition drive landed it back on the ballot in 2000 and it was overturned by popular vote. The final margin was agonizingly close: 51% to 49%. On that election night, Ferndale made national news when then-Councilman Craig Covey called the religious right a “vampire that needs a stake driven through its heart.” Gary Glenn (now representing District 98 in the Michigan House) came to a council meeting, and asked that Covey be arrested for that statement as a hate crime. He wasn’t. Statewide in 2004, Michigan voters passed Proposal 04-2, amending Michigan’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Over 58% voted yes. The tide was turning elsewhere, however. On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

In 2006, prompted by local transgender leaders, a third effort to pass a human rights ordinance in Ferndale was once more undertaken, only to be dismayed when trans people were at first left out of the proposed ordinance. It was feared that including transsexuals might lead to the proposal being voted down a third time, and thus possibly killing it for good. However, Ann Arbor had amended their ordinance in 1999 and East Lansing in 2005 to include transgender people, and Grand Rapids (in 1994) and Ypsilanti (in 1997) had passed their ordinances including them right off the bat, so precedent existed. In the end, Ferndale’s ordinance was reworded to include transsexuals, and it passed easily, by a two to one margin. Ferndale would not only be welcoming to everyone, but everyone’s civil rights would be protected under the law.

What had changed? Straight folks were increasingly understanding that “(We’re) like everyone else, sharing common values, just different in one little way.” Heler muses. The increasing visibility of LGBT people in communities across the nation, the progressively less- stereotyped portrayals in the media of LGBT relationships and family life, the growing realization among the straight majority that the apocalyptic, society-destroying predictions of anti-gay forces were complete bunk, and, most importantly, the raising of a new generation who have lived, worked, and went to school with people who were unapologetically out of the closet have also played their parts. The courage of the early activists, risking reputation and limb to come out to a hostile world, was finally bearing fruit.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.52.18 AMIn November of 2007, a quarter-century after having his home be the target of attempted arson by bigots, Craig Covey was elected mayor of Ferndale, the first openly-gay elected mayor in Michigan.
Nationally, despite continuing legal roadblocks, the momentum toward equality was unstoppable. In May of 2012, President Barack Obama openly voiced his support for same-sex marriage. In November of that year, voters in Maryland, Washington, and Maine legalized same-sex marriage, the first time this had been accomplished by popular vote instead of via court decision.

The news grew ever brighter. 2013 saw the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, rule DOMA unconstitutional (United States v. Windsor.) That same year, the court also decided (in Hollingsworth v. Perry) to overturn California’s Proposition 8, making same-sex marriage legal in California. Finally, June 26, 2015 came, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Obergefell v. Hodges, overturning bans in the last twelve states (including Michigan) where same-sex marriage was either illegal or partly restricted.

Work remains to be done. Civil rights protections for LGBT people at the federal level are spotty and incomplete. While some laws have been enacted, mostly regarding protections for federal workers, LGBT people are still not included as a class in national civil rights law.

Also, in Michigan, as Rudy Serra points out, “There are still sodomy and gross indecency laws.” Breaking these laws is a felony. “Criminal statutes overrule civil law. Accordingly, you can now legally marry your same sex spouse in Michigan and still get charged with a felony for having sex in the privacy of your home. This is an important remaining legal oppression of LGBT people in Michigan, (and) Michigan stands in open defiance of the U.S. Constitution.”

But for others, the writing is on the wall. “I honestly believe the movement is 98 per cent over,” says Covey, “because we have gotten rid of (many of the bad) laws, the ban on serving in the military, and now (we have) gay marriage. But truthfully, it was a whole lot of people working hard for 50 years that made all this happen.”

The arc continues, into the future.

“I want to recognize the Millenials.” Covey says. “I noticed their embrace of diversity over the past 15 years as I spoke on college campuses, and knew that it was just a matter of time…the millennials and the ones (who follow) are the generations that once and for all will get rid of racism and homophobia. I am so glad that I get to live to see it happen.”

Not everyone did live to see it happen. Many were killed by hate or snatched away by AIDS. Some just ran out of time, growing up and growing old in a world where they always had to hide, to suppress who they were out of fear of rejection, violence, or worse.

But we’re quickly heading on to a future where being gay or straight will be no more worthy of comment than having blue eyes or brown. Hopefully, when we get there, we’ll all be defined not by who we prefer to sleep with, not by our color or creed, not by the circumstances we were born into and the limitations imposed by society… but simply, and finally, by who we really are.

If some 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 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 heartiness problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction include injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a state 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 curing passes into breast milk.

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THE THOUGHT OF CRISTINA SHEPPARD- DECIUS doing anything other than serving as the Director of the Ferndale DDA is a bit startling to all of us in Ferndale. And yet, as of May 27, 2015, she is now pointed in a new direction on her life-map. For fifteen years, to say that Sheppard Decius served with dedication is to say not nearly enough. It was not her job — it was the center of her universe and the font of her personal pride. Everyone in Ferndale has benefited, and will continue to benefit for many years beyond, from her sacrifice, initiatives and her legacy.

We now present her farewell message.

I have had the privilege and honor to serve my hometown, my community, for 15 years as Executive Director of the Ferndale DDA, bringing to reality the dream and vision of so many residents and businesses of a revitalized downtown that mirrors the passions of this community…smart, progressive, creative, open-minded. Working tirelessly all of these years to make sure we are top of mind in the Metro Area, we have not only successfully attained that goal, but also notably in Oakland County, across the state and nationally as a Great American Main Street Community. We have the respect of the region for leadership in downtown management, and I hope that you will help and continue to be a part of that great tradition.

When I first began, we had a 30% vacancy rate and a downtown that few said that they wanted to be a part of, nor had much faith in at first. I pushed hard for us to adopt the Main Street approach because it is the right organizational tool for a downtown, and although we only had a small contingency at first, I built a base of volunteers and community involvement in the process of revitalizing a downtown that has changed our culture and opened up many other minds to Downtown Ferndale. We even defied economics, by reversing vacancy rates and increasing investments and property value leading up to and during the state’s toughest economic conditions. This was not done by myself alone, nor this organization alone, but we all played a major role in providing a secure economy to weather the storm. We have now ascended from it, and there are many opportunities now in the near future that we need to make sure we nurture and guide to the finish. A collective voice is needed to do this, and I hope the recent vision session the DDA held is a good start in doing this, but don’t stop there!

I am Downtown Ferndale’s biggest fan…biggest advocate….biggest promoter. I always will be. I am proud and stand behind the work I have done, but more importantly those of my fellow co- workers, volunteers, businesses, residents and board along the way, many of whom I now call friends. I am so proud of all of the great things we have accomplished, and literally changing the culture and perception of Downtown Ferndale into this amazing downtown that it is. This community has made my job so rewarding. I will forever be grateful and have wonderful memories of all that we have accomplished together.

It is with bittersweet emotion to say good-bye to Downtown Ferndale and the Ferndale DDA. This has been my life, and I have so enjoyed living it, but it doesn’t stop here for me. I will continue to be passionate for downtowns, and plan to bring this knowledge and know-how to the rest of Metro Detroit area. Ferndale is still my home, so I will be ever watching, and hope you will uphold our successes and make more along the way.

Thank you for allowing me to serve and work with you all these years! I know that we will continue to see each other around these parts, just under different premises….perhaps as a friend, a neighbor or a consumer.

Please keep Downtown Ferndale strong and growing!

All my best– Cristina Sheppard-Decius, CMSM

If slightly 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 coupled to erectile malfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What folk talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you have to look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile malfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart 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.