Opinion

By Judy Serra

Q: CAN I WRITE A VALID WILL in Michigan without hiring a lawyer?
Answer: Yes. Michigan and some other states recognize a “holographic” will. A will that is in your own writing, signed by you and dated by you, is your holographic will.

Under Michigan law, a will has to be written. The law does not allow verbal wills. The person making a will is called the “testator” if male, and the “testatrix” if female. I use “testator” to include both. Under law, a will has to be signed by the testator and at least two wit-nesses, as well as being dated. If you want to look-up the statute, it is MCL 700.2502. Under this law, there is an exception to the require-ment of two witnesses. If a will is in the testator’s hand writing, and is signed by the testator and dated, it is valid as a holographic will. When “forms” are used, these are also ac-ceptable as long as “the material portions” are in the testator’s hand-writing. The material portions of a will are the parts that say who gets what. Pre-printed parts of the form are acceptable for proving that the document was intended to be a will.

This means that it would be possi-ble under Michigan law to use a form from the Internet or to write a will in your own handwriting. The format used does not invalidate the document. Forms can be helpful, but forms are generally used to make sure the drafter does not forget something or make a mistake. This is a signal that it is possible to make such a mistake.

A common error in drafting wills is vagueness. Often people think they are being clear, but lots of confusion can arise after death. A reference to “children,” for example, could create a dispute about whether step-children or non-officially adopted persons qualify as children. Lawyers usually identify real estate with a legal description. Otherwise, refer-ences to “my home” can create con-fusion if a person moves or owns more than one piece of real estate. It is important to know that you can-not always easily “disinherit” a person who might have inheritance rights. These are all circumstances where it may be beneficial to hire a lawyer.  People often draft a will assuming that their present circumstances will not change. A drafter should consider options. If one beneficiary dies, the will should say what happens to their inheritance. Events like family deaths, moving, children reaching adulthood, and so on, are among the many things to consider and include.

If some 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 coupled 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 disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual disfunction turn on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual malfunction. Even though this medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk.

By Rebecca Hammond

DO YOU WATCH THE TV SERIES, PORTLANDIA? Ferndale is weird in some of the ways that Portland, Oregon is weird. Good weird. Fernlandia has become so dear to us, the five or six years Phil and I intended to live here have stretched to 30 (so far). This weirdness is some of the glue that holds us here, it and a neighborhood that is old-fashioned in its friendliness, with much calling back-and-forth and wandering about. Our town and its ‘hoods are a splendid combination of old and new, traditional but forward-thinking. It doesn’t take deep perusal to notice.

One obvious way is our yards. A couple of years ago I bicycled around this quadrant of Ferndale counting Fernlandia yards. If memory serves, there were then about 18 yards with no visible grass. All had been replaced with ornamentals, natives, vegetables. About 66 had gotten rid of half or more, and maybe 87 had replaced so much grass with other plants they went far beyond a lawn bordered by shrubs or flower beds. This trend has grown, especially on devil’s strips, where our sandy “soil” isn’t just inhospitable to grass, it seems actively opposed to it. Now, though, the Fernlandia approach is countered by more pesticide warning signs every year. Two philosophies on yards, two approaches to gardening.

Well, what’s wrong with pesticides, anyway? No matter which route we take, the point is to surround ourselves with property that pleases our aesthetics. If you want green, velvety turf, you must have to use chemicals, right?

No, not really. Remember TV gardener Jerry Baker? When we moved to Michigan from Germany in the mid-80s, television was a culture shock, and I remember three reasons: Oprah, Miami Vice, and Jerry Baker. Oprah and Miami Vice were the talk of mass media then, unavailable to those of us limited to the Armed Forces Network, as it ran six months behind. But we had heard of both. Jerry Baker, ex-Detroit cop turned garden maverick, was a new name.

Baker’s MO is producing a healthy yard and garden using nothing but grocery-store ingredients. His idea that a healthy lawn can stand up to pests is echoed by Bayer on its lawn-care site, which states that even nine grubs per square foot won’t damage healthy grass. Baker, now retired to Florida, recommends cocktails of odd ingredients like beer, ammonia (basically nitrogen), and liquid dish soap in a hose-end sprayer, powerful enough to need application only once every two weeks. The nicest lawn I ever saw was a Baker lawn, right here in Ferndale. Very Fernlandia.  Jerrybaker.com. Newcomer Tina Towell told me, when I noticed her husband Dick using a reel mower, “We were mow-ing about two acres at our previous home, so a city lot is a breeze by comparison. It doesn’t warrant the existence of yet another noisy, polluting gasoline engine. Our simple push mower not only gets the job done in short order, it also provides a bit of low impact exercise and a surprising sense of accomp-lishment. There is, as well, something very neighborly about it.

“Purveyors of elaborate, chemical-based turf regimens vie for our attention each spring to no avail. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s good enough. ‘Lawn order’ needn’t rule our lives.”

On June 7, 2014, the Washington Post ran an article in their Health & Science section called What To Know Before You Spray Your Lawn With Pesticides. What Philip Landrigan, professor of pediatrics at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine states may surprise you. Kids play in the grass, put fingers in mouths, and face high levels of exposure simply by that and being smaller. Growing faster, “they take into their bodies more of the pesticides that are in the food, water, and air.” And because of that growth, “These delicate developmental processes are easily disrupted by very small doses of toxic chemicals that would be virtually harmless for adults.”

In the same article, Gary Ginsburg of the Univer-sity of Connecticut points out that there is no scientific standard for the length of time we’re warned to stay off a sprayed lawn. Herbicides can still be detected in the urine of pets 48 hours after spraying. Ginsburg recommends staying off a treated area for at least two days, three being better. The chemicals are also tracked indoors, or blow in windows, and can be found on inside surfaces a week after spraying. They’re are also re-wetted by dew or rain, and it’s not even certain that they’re safer when dry.

Leslie Jones of the Pleasant Ridge Environmental Committee told me, “I think that many people, over time, have been sold on the idea of having perfect lawns at the expense of health, their own as well as the health of the whole ecosystem. I think it takes a very long time for these kind of ideas to sink in. We spend tons of money to keep our lawns perfect and our gardens free of weeds in the easiest way possible, by spraying or dousing everything with pesticides and weed killers. Better living through chemistry! That was an actual chemical industry slogan at one time. We shouldn’t tolerate a polluted, toxic environment whether it comes from carbon pollution, pesticides or industrial and chemical pollution. It’s bad for our health but also the health of our fellow earthly inhabitants. Humans need to respect and honor all life whether plant or animal. We are all connected and need to see and understand that connection on which all life is based.”

LuAnn Linker of Wild Birds Unlimited in Royal Oak said, “Remember, any chemicals that are poisonous to weeds and insects are just as poisonous to birds, pets and children. Opt for environmentally friendly lawn care products.” Fernlandia. We’re the Ann Arbor of Metro Detroit, the Lakewood of SE Michigan, the Portland of the Midwest. Keep Ferndale Weird. Becky Hammond is listening to wrens, orioles, and baby chickadees as she types this.

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 impotency and other states connected to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual disfunction turn 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 curing passes into breast milk.

By: Rudy Serra

Q: MY EMPLOYER WITHHELD MONEY from my pay for damage to a company vehicle. I sued in Small Claims Court, but the judge wouldn’t listen to me. Can you help me? How do I appeal?

A: The short answer is that you probably cannot appeal. It is probably too late for a lawyer to help you in district court. You may want to contact the Michigan Employment Security Commission.

The rules that govern small claims court say that: “A judgment of the small claims division may be modified or vacated in the same manner as judgments in other civil actions, except that an appeal may not be taken.”

In most cases, you could appeal to the circuit court, but not in small claims. The exact application of this rule varies slightly from place to place. In the state’s largest court (the 36th District Court in Detroit) and in other districts, the judges employ one or more magistrates. I explained the difference between a judge and magistrate at state and federal levels in an earlier column.

Courts with magistrates often assign a hearing on small claim matters to a magistrate. In such cases, there is often a local rule under which the decision of the magistrate can be appealed to the district judge. Aside from that situation, the judgment of the court in a small claims case cannot be appealed.

The rule does allow a small claim decision to be “vacated” or “modified.” If you have new evidence, such as receipts that contradict your former employer or photographs that show there was no damage, you may be able to get the judge to reconsider.

This is difficult because there is a separate rule for “reconsideration” of a decision on a motion, and it requires that you make a request within seven days. Technically, it should not apply in small claims, but it is a good reason to make any request to modify the decision quickly.

Regarding the help of a lawyer, you are probably going to be on your own. The rules do not allow attorneys to represent clients in small claim cases. The judge is supposed to be informal, to enable a non-lawyer to get the help they need. If you want a lawyer, all you have to do is hire one who is willing to help, and then tell the judge you want to “remove” your case from the Small Claim Division and have it filed in regular District Court.

Unfortunately, you cannot wait until your small claim is decided, and then remove it. You are not entitled to an appointed lawyer. You have to hire your own. If you consult with a lawyer, they will probably tell you it is too late for them to do much to help you. You should have requested “removal” at your hearing.

You may want to consider filing a complaint against your former boss with the Michigan Employment Security Division. They are an administrative agency and not a court. They might be able to help you. If you signed an agreement to any responsible for the kind of damage you caused, you may be stuck. Even if you did, the MESC could decide that the agreement is illegal. It may be worth the inquiry.

If slightly happened with our soundness, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a preparation. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotence and other states united to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What men talk about “viagra stories“? The most vital aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile disfunction 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 medicine is not for use in women, it is not known whether this treatment passes into breast milk.

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…we are gathered here today to debate a matter of human vs. nature. Despite its urban setting, you may have noticed deer appearing more frequently in the Ferndale Friends reading area.They may have even popped up in your own yard. The question is, which is better; to feed the deer, or not? Are we helping our animal friends, much as we would wild birds, or are we creating a new nuisance animal and a hazard? Here to debate the issue are two experts on the subject, on opposite sides of the fence: Robert Primeau and Trish Marie.

ff11636_Page_1_Image_0002Robert: My name is Robert Primeau and I’m a 32 year old landscape designer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where I am currently working on the design and management of infrastructure and restoration projects at the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, located largely in Downriver and the only multinational Refuge on the continent. I also have experience in open space preservation development, air monitoring, and wetland science. I was born and raised in Downriver but have counted Ferndale my home since 2012. I love sci-fi, standup comedy and I garden way too much.

Trish Marie: I am a 56-year-old lifelong amateur naturalist, avid (a better word would be voracious) reader – much of that primarily nonfiction, ecology, biology, natural history, (etc) related. I’ve lived on the same semi-rural tenacre parcel of property over 30 years, watching and supplement feeding the wildlife here the entire time. Married (over 30 yrs), one adult daughter (who was born on Earth Day).

Robert: I am against the feeding and welcoming of deer in Ferndale and other urban communities because their presence is incompatible with the environment we, as humans, have created. Deer are a robust “edge” species, and given a steady food supply will reproduce quickly, with each female eventually producing twins annually. With no predators in urban environments except for automobiles, deer numbers will always eventually reach nuisance levels. With more deer comes the destruction of landscaping and gardens and increased risk of car accidents on our busy roads. A subset of deer enthusiasts should not be allowed to make that decision for everyone.

Trish: People have confiscated so much of the natural landscape that wild creatures are left to live in ever diminishing “islands.” Where I live, yards are an acre or larger, yet owners keep these mowed edge-to-edge. Besides the “biological desert” effect of a mowed yard, many “landscape” favorites used are non-natives of little to no use to wildlife (If I never see another newly planted “Bradford Pear” I’ll die happy!). It seems only just to replace some of what we’ve taken–deer after all can’t go to the grocery store and buy food grown thousands of miles away. Helping wildlife also teaches children compassion and environmental stewardship, both greatly needed qualities in today’s world!

Robert: As habitat loss from development, resource extraction, and climate change builds and threatens our planet, the drive to cultivate compassion and stewardship towards wildlife is more critical than ever. However, such actions are not always appropriate to their current environment.

Unlike how deer were portrayed in Bambi or other media, deer are not animals of the forestprimeval. They are most abundant in disturbed habitats where a lush and weedy undergrowth is prevalent. The only reason the upper peninsula, for example, is so thick with deer is because it is a collection of tree plantations and relatively young forests (less than a century old) due to it all being logged out a century ago. My point is that the suburbs are such a disturbed habitat and in such an environment a deer, all looks aside, is functionally similar to a rat. It eats a wide variety of undergrowth and landscaping plants and reproduce prolifically. Unlike a rat, you will notice it if you hit one with your car on a busy street like Woodward Heights or Pinecrest, not to speak of 8 Mile or Woodward.

Compassion is critical but so is respect. I would argue that having respect for an animal also means respecting it’s life history. That includes both being responsive to what deer are capable of if we give them an inch, and what it takes to maintain a dense human habitation once you have sliced it into tiny parcels and intercut it with busy roads.

Trish: Yes, like any species deer (including humans) deer numbers can grow to the point where they threaten the integrity of their own environment. That said, supplemental feeding of deer does not drive overpopulation. Any deer that are dependent upon supplemental feeding to survive the winter, and even more so, to drive population increase are being over-artificially fed! I’m all for supplemental feeding of wildlife, but it must be done properly. (For instance, corn is a very bad winter food for deer–though I’ve seen even self-professed “sportsmen” put corn out. Deers’ digestive systems shift from summer to winter; in winter their digestion is geared towards high roughage, low nutrient foods. Corn is insanely high in sugar. Feeding corn to winter deer can upset their digestion and even kill them. Safer foods are in-shell oil sunflower and oats, in small quantities).

The primary driver of deer overpopulation in this state is the DNR. Although the DNR is tasked with managing wildlife for all of the state’s residents, not just the tiny fraction who hunt (hunters stand at less than 10 per cent of the population), what the DNR does instead is caters to that 10 per cent to the point where they are essentially running a state-sized deer farm. (This is the result of the Pittman-Robertson Act, which even many avid hunters have said is a “good idea gone bad,” which has “essentially served to undo progressive wildlife management” by directing resources and effort towards species that hunters love to hunt while leaving the integrity of the entire environment wanting…the quotes are from Dennis Fijalkowski of MUCC).

Putting out appropriate foods in small quantities not only helps those who’d rather watch deer than kill them, but helps the deer get through sometimes rough patches, and certainly makes their life more comfortable. But it does not create more deer. What creates more deer is all of the resources our state throws at …well, producing more deer!

If something happened with our health, we believe there is a solution to any maladies in a preparation. What medicines do patients purchase online? Viagra which is used to treat impotence and other states connected to erectile disfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What people 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 heart trouble. Causes of sexual disfunction switch on injury to the penis. Chronic disease, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause sexual 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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By Rudy Serra

Q: I have an old felony conviction for fraud and I was recently warned that the law about felons possessing guns has changed? Are there any changes I should know about?

A: Yes. As a general rule, a person who is convicted of a felony cannot possess a firearm in Michigan.

In May 2014, the law was changed. People who are less than three years past the completion of all terms of their sentence, parole or probation can no longer possess “ammunition” in Michigan. Previously the ban only applied to a firearm. For certain “specified felonies” the ban extends for five years.

“Ammunition” is defined as “any projectile that, in its current state, may be propelled from a firearm by an explo- sive.” The “purchase” of ammunition is not forbidden to a convicted felon under the law. Under the amended law, a convicted felon could theoretically place and pay for an order of ammunition, but it would have to be intended for the use of another, and sent or delivered to that third party rather than the purchaser. Home delivery of a box of buckshot to a convicted felon would be a crime for that convicted felon. The person making delivery could also face charges.

In addition, people with felony records need to know that the prosecutor does not have to prove that a gun operates in order to convict a felon of being in possession. The judge decides if the prior conviction was really a felony but the jury decides if the accused person was actually convicted of that felony.

Other changes in the law allowing restoration of the right to have a weapon take effect December 1, 2015. A person who has passed more than five years after successful completion of their n sentence can apply to get their right to carry a weapon restored under section 28.424 of Michigan’s compiled laws.

The application is made to the Circuit Court. The judge has to decide by clear a and convincing evidence that the applicant’s “record and are such that the person is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to the safety of other persons.” The judge also has to find that the person had paid all fines, completed all imprisonment and all terms of probation or parole. Failure to meet any condition requires denial of the application. A person cannot apply again until a year has passed from the denial of any application.

Judge Rudy Reports” is a regular feature in Ferndale Friends. This “ask the lawyer” format column welcomes questions from readers. If you have a legal question or concern, send your question e by email to rudy.serra@sbcglobal.net.

Advice about specific cases or individuals cannot be provided, but general legal questions and topics are welcome.

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 men talk about “viagra stories“? The most substantial aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as core trouble. Causes of sexual disfunction 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 physic is not for use in women, it is not known whether this curing passes into breast milk.

By Jeannie Davis

Ferndale has come a long way. I have lived here since the mid-’60s. Then, it was a big family town, with a thriving downtown which was principally a daytime retail area. People outfitted their kids at Federals, and took them for ice cream sundaes at Sanders. While moms gossiped, the kids cruised Kresge’s or Woolworths or Neisners; all dime stores, the forerunners of today’s dollar stores. Women had their choice of Winkleman’s or Fields for fashion. We boasted a magic store, and even a bowling alley.

Then, sadly, the kids grew up and moved away. People didn’t have four or six children anymore…heck, many peo- ple didn’t even have children at all. In- door shopping malls and K-Mart came along, and within a couple of short years, small town shopping districts were abandoned.

Our downtown was at least 50 per cent vacant. Then, in the late ‘90s, our city planners went to work. Ferndale re-invented itself. We welcomed new bars and restaurants. Not just any bars and restaurants, either. The early Rosie’s was amazing, Howe’s gave us variety. Our City Council worked with a few non-profits on events such as the Pub Crawl and the Blues Festival, and beefed up our participation in the Dream Cruise. Our DDA created smaller events, like Fido Does Ferndale and special shopping nights. All of this served to bring back our business district, and certainly put Ferndale on the map. Our housing market boomed, and suddenly everybody wanted to live in Ferndale.

We still have bugs to work out of our system. Parking is a big bug, and we are just starting to tackle our parks, and some of the other minor not so shiny areas of the city.

WHY AM I GOING THROUGH all this history? Because I want to remind some of you where we have been and
what we have done to come as far as f we have come.

Recently on Facebook I watched a discussion on paying to use the new dog park. People were making outrageous statements about “greedy Ferndale.” They said this city was lousy to live in. Their primary gripe was having to pay $40/year to use the new park.

Seriously, folks? A $40 fee erases all the good and all the planning done over the past 20 years? Our DPW worked hard to make the new dog park friendly and inviting. Did you note the dog-bone shaped bench, or the fire hydrant waterer? Have you noticed new playscapes in the other parks? Have you paid attention to all the hard m work our DDA does to bring you free movies, doggy events, festivals, and an x art fair? Are you aware that we have warming and cooling centers for when the power goes out, and our Rec.Dept. employees work overtime to staff these centers? Have you noticed the free outdoor concerts our all-volunteer Art Commission brings you? (I know some of you came to these because you complained about paying for the hot dogs we grilled for you.) Or maybe you have seen the art hanging in city hall, again brought to you by our volunteers.

I am proud of my city, and I count myself lucky to be living here and knowing our fine leaders are on the job, working r to make it even better. I love knowing that my neighbors and friends come out happily to volunteer whenever they a are needed. I also love that the people who are involved do not complain. They know that the city is doing the best it can do, and they are doing what they ’ can to help.

So, stop griping about parking and B dog park fees. Look around. See how i wonderful Ferndale is. If you are still unhappy about something, volunteer and try to fix it.

If some 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 dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What humanity 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 heart 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 Jackson Drapier | Photo by Ed Abeska

Matt Helms is a fan of freedom of speech.

As a writer for the Detroit Free Press and a co-founder of the popular Facebook Fabulous Ferndale forum (which has the text of the first amendment as part of its “description” section), Matt has built a life around the ability to freely community with, and about, the world around him. An active Ferndale resident for the last 20 years, the Michigan State graduate has recently found himself at the center of an exploding controversial fad in the City of Ferndale: Facebook forums. And with over 2,500 members on its roster, his Fabulous Ferndale Forum has risen quickly to become one of the city’s most popular.

Though he’s been a Facebook user since late 2007, Matt’s first foray into forum-ing on Facebook came by way of the Jerks of Ferndale forum, which he discovered after noticing an influx of Facebook groups tied to the City of Ferndale. The group, which boasts about 500 members, offered Matt a relaxed place to joke around with like-minded people and discuss current events in the city. “It’s not all that complicated,” Helms said about Jerks of Ferndale. “It’s just a diverse group of people who get together and talk about stuff.”

As his interest in local forums grew, Matt became a member of the largest Ferndale-related forum on Facebook: the aptly named Ferndale Forum, which at the time of publication had almost 5,000 members in and around the city. The idea of having an open place to discuss the ins-and-outs of life in Ferndale was certainly appealing to Helms, however, due to philosophical differences, after less than a month of membership Matt and a few friends set out to start their own, and the Fabulous Ferndale Forum was born.

“If you actually look at what gets posted in our group and what gets posted in the Ferndale forum, there’s a lot of similarity. It’s just a philosophical difference about how the groups are managed.”

The response so far has been, in a word: fabulous. After only being open for five short months, the forum already counts more than 2,500 members within its ranks, and is growing every day.

The Fabulous Ferndale Forum and the original Ferndale Forum are only two of the dozens of Ferndale-related forums that have populated Facebook in recent years. There are groups that specialize in certain areas of Ferndale like the Allen Street and Chesterfield Street forums, as well as those for specific interests like Ferndale Freecycle, Ferndale Area Runners, and the Ferndale Walking Group. All of these, says Helms, help the citizens of Ferndale better connect with the place they call home.

“We’ve attracted a lot of top city officials and a lot of business owners in the city, and we want people to be able to have access to those folks just as much as they would in the other forums.”

Though the Fabulous Ferndale Forum is mostly used for discussion about current events, recommendations, local business reviews, and variety of other hot-button topics, Helms and various members of the forum are using their collective efforts to better the community they love both on and off the computer screen. “We as a group also sponsored Clean the Ferndale Up! in May, and about 18 of us got together for that event and helped clean up a park.” Helms said. “So, that’s really the gist of what we want to do. We want people to be able to know, and have information, about how to actively participate and live in a community like Ferndale.”

When asked if there has been negativity surrounding the founding of the Fabulous Ferndale forum, Matt was quick to say no. “(There’s been) no backlash at all. I think the idea of us being about free speech and supporting the city’s diversity has caught on.”

—-

To find the Fabulous Ferndale forum, the Ferndale Forum, or any other Ferndale-related forums on Facebook, simply enter the name of the forum in the Facebook search bar.

If something 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 impotence and other states coupled to erectile dysfunction. Learn more about “sildenafil“. What men talk about “viagra stories“? The most vital aspect you should look for is “sildenafil citrate“. Such problems commonly signal other problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart trouble. Causes of sexual dysfunction include 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.

Story by Brandon Toy

On April 7th, my family and 20 or so other people protested drone warfare in front of the main gate of the Battle Creek Air National Guard base in Michigan. In 2013, the base was named a Reaper Drone Operating Station and should be operational any day, if not already. Weaponized drone operators are dropping bombs from my back yard.

We stood in the mud on the side of the four lane highway from Noon to 1pm. A few of us held signs with slogans like “Stop Drone Warfare,” while others offered conversation to each other or waved at honking cars. One father and fellow protester brought fresh-popped popcorn, which he passed out in little blue bowls to the few children present.

This wasn’t the type of protest that drew the me- dia or police in riot gear. The only law enforcement present was a lone sheriff’s deputy who was on hand to escort us across the highway from the muddy field we parked in to our assigned area. The only pictures taken were by a pink-haired woman who slowed down in the median to snap a few with her camera phone.

“Who said we weren’t going to get any press,” I said as she drove away.

I couldn’t help wondering what point or purpose our protest had. Obviously, we weren’t going to shut the drone program down or change the USG’s policies on drone warfare. I imagined soldiers and airmen trading snide comments at our expense, and commanders deriding us to their troops in formation. It all seemed a little futile and inconsequential. Halfway through the hour, soldiers and airmen started driving onto the base, probably returning from lunch.

Each drive-by was the same. The soldiers would slow down to turn onto the base, avoid eye contact with us and then disappear through the gate.

DroneWarfare2

I thought back to my time in the service and remembered the early days of the Iraq war when I used to watch Fox News and listen to right-wing talk radio. I had consumed media that had saturated me with the belief that the USA was the greatest country in the world and that it was our job to teach the people of the lost and misguided nations how to live. What would I have thought if I had seen an anti-war protest at the entrance to the base?

I didn’t know. I never had to pretend to ignore protesters, because the street sides were always bare when I drove to base. All I ever encountered were waving flags, yellow ribbons and well-wishers who thanked me for my service. It dawned on me that if we weren’t on this corner right now maybe these soldiers and airmen would have the same experience. Instead of smiling protesters and children playing, they would see only a dirty snow bank.

Perhaps, this was the purpose. We were asserting an idea into their world counter to those put forth by their bosses, colleagues and government. Perhaps we were planting a seed of doubt that would one day blossom into curiosity and eventually lead them to reject the precepts of war and embrace peace. Perhaps.

Maybe it’s more realistic to view our gathering from a more modest perspective. The hour our small band spent proclaiming our rejection of what we view as illegal and institutionalized murder is overwhelmingly offset by the entrepreneurs of war toward the side of injustice. Those who support drone warfare flood millions via the US media with a hundred pro-war messages a day for every minute we stood at that gate.

But there we were, humbly banded together, devoting a bit of our precious time to trying to solve a cypher whose key will surely only be revealed by either a true miracle, an epic amount of compounding serendipity or ages of enlightened human evolution.

And yet, my overriding emotions as I accepted the logic of the situation were peace and serenity. I hadn’t come with any delusions anyway. Like many of us, I know firsthand the enormity of the war machine and the mindless momentum of its consumption and destruction.

My thoughts returned back to the scene in front of me. I watched the children throw snowballs and hold signs with their mitten-covered hands. I remembered the stories of the children in the war zones; the ones that live each day of their lives with drones hovering above. I thought about the ones who were in the “wrong place at the wrong time” and were indiscriminately killed by the same drone operators that ignored us as they returned to their war.

The personal belief that drove me to turn my back on the war machine occurred to me again: there is no difference between my family and those killed by drone operators. There are no differences between my son and sixth-grader Mohammed Saleh Qayed Taeiman, who was killed by a drone strike in Yemen earlier this year — the latest of dozens of children murdered in US drone strikes in Yemen since 2002. Nor is there a difference between my community in Pontiac, Michigan and the communi- ties of the people that live with the terror of drones every day. Our children are their children, our voices are their voices and their tragedies are ours.

Or, as President Obama, the Commander in Chief of US drone warfare, succinctly stated: “There is no us and them, only us.”

Luckily, there are no drones that hover in the skies above me today. It’s this accident of geography that allows me to protest safely as my children play in the snow, while our brothers and sisters down- range from the drones can only pray that firebombs are not dropped on them from thousands of miles away by someone behind a computer screen sipping a latte. Since they can’t be here to remind the soldiers – and the rest of us far removed from the war zone – that they are also sentient beings with a right to life, we have to do it for them.

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Bio: Brandon Toy is father, husband and active member of the progressive community in the Greater Detroit area. He serves on the Board of Di- rectors of The Michigan Coalition of Human Rights (MCHR.org). In 2013, he publicly resigned his position at General Dynamics Land Systems where he had worked for five years as an engineering project manager on the Stryker Combat Vehicle Program. He is an army veteran who served in Baghdad. bmtoy79@gmail.com. Protests at the Battle Creek Air National Guard base will continue on the first Saturday of every month from Noon – 1PM. Everyone is welcome!

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