Resources

By Kevin Alan Lamb

WHILE MUCH OF THE WORLD IS BETTER FAMILIAR with the comforts of working from home after 2020, I would similarly wager there is a greater appreciation for quiet, distraction-free, office space.

Founded in 2018 to be just that, Ben Long says PatchWork Collective was opened as a result of a lack of small office space in Ferndale, particularly for solo entrepreneurs and start-ups.

“The goal was to have something unique, and different from the large coworking sites like WeWork,” Long says.

Located at 22007 Woodward Ave., PatchWork Collective invites you to work the way you want, offering safe and adaptable office space with private offices, conference rooms, and special event/presentation space when permitted.

“Networking groups, weddings/wedding showers, birthdays, ballroom/ tango dance events, social events, book signings, animal adoption events, retirement parties, painting classes, and art auctions” are all examples of the events held in the space thus far.

PatchWork Collective is open to its members 24/7, and otherwise by appointment only.

“Ferndale has always been very inclusive and welcoming, and has a nice community and neighborly feel. PatchWork has a diverse member population. PatchWork has been well-received by the community with several members and occasional users being Ferndale residents and/or Ferndale business workers. Additionally, PatchWork won the Ferndale New Project of the Year in 2019 at the Mayor’s Business Council Award Ceremony,” Long says.

The Mayor’s Business Council gave out five awards to local businesses and business people who truly represented the heart of Ferndale. Mayor Coulter introduced former PatchWork CEO, Lisa Schmidt, and told everyone how the PatchWork Collective was an idea born right here in Ferndale. He talked about how Lisa and her co-founder Long had worked with the Build Institute in Ferndale to create their business plan and develop the company from concept to concrete. He shared how PatchWork is a great space for small business owners, remote workers, and entrepreneurs to work together.

A RECENT ROLLOUT AT THE COLLECTIVE IS THEIR TABLETOP MARKETPLACE, which is a way for vendors who might usually be at festivals like Pride, or those merchants with side gigs making products like candles, to sell their products.

“We currently feature homemade candles from Ferndale’s own Solas Candles, a local artist’s production, Waxing Cara (homemade goods using natural ingredients from bees), and products from Bedazzled Ballroom Dress Rental. The marketplace is open Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M., or by appointment. We’re always looking for additional vendors, so contact us if anyone is interested in learning more.”

Long hopes that once vaccines are fully rolled out and we are in the clear, they can get back to being a co-working, incubator space.

To inquire about renting space or about services offered, visit PatchWorkCollective.net or email info@patchworkcollective.net.

By Jessica J. Shaw

AS SPRING MAKES ITS APPEARANCE, warmer weather calls us to explore the green spaces of Metro Detroit. Thanks to local conservation efforts, the surrounding area is replete with several parks for those seeking good ol’ Vitamin N.

ONE INCREASINGLY POPULAR JAPANESE MODALITY in outdoor enjoyment is Shinrin-yoku, also known as “forest bathing.” As defined by the Association of Forest and Nature Therapy, forest bathing entails leaving digital devices behind and walking slowly through the forest, observing nature in its constant state-of-change.

Come join Ferndale Friends on paths near and far to enjoy the calming benefits of spending time in nature.

Stage Nature Area
6685 Coolidge Highway, Troy MI 48098

Start your walk by grabbing a map at the Nature Center. You’ll set out to experience 1.5 miles of trails in a park known for its ample wildlife such as deer and turkey. The wooded trails and boardwalks wind through upland forest, meadows, wetlands, and a cattail marsh playing a backdrop to the Rouge River. Go for the peace and quiet. Stay for the activities such as maple-tapping scheduled through the Nature Center.

Heritage Park
24916 Farmington Road, Farmington Hills MI 48836

Step onto the winding trails at Heritage Park and experience why “Let nature be your teacher” is the motto of the park. With four and a half miles of looping trails for hiking and nature study, curious hikers will find the park’s gems, including the Scout Trail where a small rumble of water cascades over rocks and the River Trail. Sweeping vistas can be enjoyed from benches throughout the park overlooking meadows and birdwatching spots.

Douglas Evans Nature Preserve
31845 Evergreen Rd, Beverly Hills MI 48025

Take a walk on the wild side at Douglas Evans. Ungroomed, rustic trails greet hikers who navigate the winding paths and invite the adventurous at heart to follow openings in the bushes to locate the riverside trail system. Sit-spots, like large fallen logs along the riverbank, make for places to pause to absorb the surroundings. Park on Evergreen Road and cross the bridge to enter this petite and untamed natural space. Be forewarned, there are no restrooms.

Red Oaks Nature Center
30300 Hales Street, Madison Heights MI 48071

You’ll find a pleasant surprise tucked across the street from Meijer on 13 Mile Road where you can steal away from the hustle and bustle at this 37-acre park. Here, trails are alive with birdsong while towering trees sway in the breeze overhead. Stop by the vernal pond in the spring and summer months to observe the dynamic changes it undergoes as the seasons progress.

Tenhave Woods Nature Trail
Lexington Blvd & Marais Avenue, Royal Oak MI 48073

Forest-bathers will appreciate this vibrant natural environment as a treat for the senses nestled away from the cityscape. This fenced-in nature area affords walkways winding through 22 acres in the Quickstad Park next to Royal Oak High School’s Raven Stadium. The park touts oak, beech, hickory and maple trees which are said to have stood since the early 1800s. Come Spring, several types of wildflowers, including trilliums dot the forest floor. Dragonfly Pond is a nice place to pause and is also a gathering spot for wildlife, like turtles and frogs.

Maybury State Park
20145 Beck Road, Northville MI 48167

Prepare for the grandest of adventures at this crown jewel of natural beauty. Start by locating the park map on signposts which distinguish walking trails from those meant for bikers and horseback riders. Meander under the canopy of trees through dense forest and rolling hills that give away to open meadows and the small lake. Paved walking trails are also available at this nearly thousand-acre park.

By Sherry A. Wells

“WE TAKE A LOT FOR GRANTED HERE IN FERNDALE.” Rev. Schoenhals observed. “There’s a cocoon of acceptance.”

Rev. Schoenhals has been ahead of his denomination in his public statements for LGBTQ persons, but the Church “is coming along and it will get there,” he believes. His stands made for a short stay at one church.

As a Methodist, he is not part of “a nice, comfortable religion.” There is anger, violence, material greed and selfishness to be overcome. The next generation is important to him.

In Ferndale, he was the first pastor of First United Methodist Church to have a large banner on church property declaring Black Lives Matter, made several years ago. Church members and members of the general public signed it. Last year it was placed on the fence. And stolen. A supportive person from the public (not a church member), paid to replace it.

He credits his wife, Jill Allison Warren, with the idea for the next banner: Love is Bigger, which came after the deadly racist confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. Church members and hundreds of the public signed that one, too. Lesson learned: It was installed very high up.

Every sentence about activism begins with “we.”

The day after Charlottesville, the church hosted a rally of support. “We had about 400 people in the church that day and another 100 out on the sidewalk.”

“We invite Green Energy, such as during the Green Cruise and bike rides. We have a solar array.”

Activism includes being a sanctuary church for immigration.

“One family was about to move in,” the Reverend said, “but got their papers the day before!”

THE CHURCH RENTS SPACE FOR SEVERAL ORGANIZATIONS’ MEETINGS, including the Indivisible Fighting 9. That group asked permission to place 1000 stuffed and other toys on stakes on the lawn, an art installation to represent the thousands of children separated from their parents. “We gave them our blessing.”

A recent sermon was titled “We Need Heroes.” Rev. Schoenhals described the relationship between the prophet Elijah and Elisha, as hero-to-trainee. The Reverend so pictured the scene that I felt as though I were walking behind the two, listening to every word. Elisha looked up to Elijah’s strong stands against the earthly powers, the political ones.

The Reverend has been accused of being too political but, he insists, and this lesson shows, he is simply being biblical.

It was thrice-weekly exposures to the Bible in his youth that led him into further studies and to the ministry. He enjoyed the in-depth Bible appreciation courses in the Liberal Arts program at an evangelical college in Indiana. A Biblical Literature major taught critical thinking and analysis. Greek and Church History and biblical languages and interpretation inspired him.

ASSIGNMENTS BY THE DENOMINATION have included seven years as a campus minister at the University of Michigan; an urban mission in Indianapolis with a small, diverse congregation housed in a gigantic, historic building; a brief stint on the West Coast; and eight years as pastor of a rural church in Armada, Michigan in the early years. Here at Ferndale First the congregation is also remarkably diverse, with about 40 percent Black members: African-American, several from Jamaica, with Ghana represented as well. He will be retiring in 2022, so Ferndale will be his last, although he will help celebrate this church’s 100th anniversary.

One advantage of the pandemic is that one may secretly attend a service via Zoom. With the link on the church FaceBook page, you’ll see Rev. Schoenhals sitting on the steps up to the chancel for Children’s Time. He looks like a grandpa. When he spoke about his grandson, his face lit up with great delight. I asked his wife if, when there are children with him on those steps, he is much more animated than on Zoom. My suspicions were confirmed with a “You got it right!”

 

www.ferndalefirstumc.org
www.facebook.com/FirstUnitedMethodistChurchFerndale

By Mary Meldrum
Photos ©2021 Parks & Recreation Staff

LAREINA WHEELER is the Director of Ferndale Parks & Recreation. She is an energetic and enthusiastic leader in the City’s very busy department. There are only four full-time and two part-time people working in the Recreation Department.

WHEELER’S DEPARTMENT IS THE LEAD FOR THE PLANNING, DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT of the city’s parks. They provide programming for all ages as well as a very robust sports program: Softball, kickball, soccer, baseball and basketball.

The Department also coordinates the city’s special events, such as the Fall Festival, the Fitness Festival, the Daddy-Daughter Dance, and other events that serve the community. The city’s Breakfast With Santa Around The World is a look at how people celebrate Christmas in different countries.

“We typically do a craft class that makes an ornament specific to the country that we are sponsoring that year. We try to do things a little differently,” Wheeler indicates.

Ferndale offers a SMART transportation program that shuttles residents from their homes to a destination within a five-mile radius of Ferndale.

Ferndale has 14 parks, and the Parks & Recreation Department has made major improvements including new play equipment, walking paths, and water fountains. The parks have been very well-maintained. Projects now include new walking paths as well as a pavilion and outdoor fitness equipment. New benches and trash receptacles are part of the improvements too.

Many of the improvements were made possible by a 2015 bond passed by the residents, including the installation of a splash pad. The community is very excited about that.

“This past year, we completed a park project downtown, Schiffer Park. We extended the park, installed custom planter boxes with seating, decorative paving, a drinking fountain and open grassy areas. We formalized and made it an official downtown park. There are custom planter boxes and seating and it is a beautiful asset to downtown.”

“SINCE COVID, WE HAVE REVAMPED A LOT OF THINGS. We offered free meals in conjunction with YMCA, Gleaners and our ongoing Meals On Wheels program. In addition, we worked with several grant partners, such as Project Play, to give out weekly sports kits. We utilized our partnerships to provide a different sport themed kit every week. The kits were sponsored by organizations like the Detroit Pistons and Red Wings. Some of the sport kits included hockey and soccer equipment.”

Wheeler went on, “We continued to have a presence online last year and we served the community the best we could under the circumstances. As we open up again, we are opening up outside. We have soccer starting this spring. Adult and girls’ softball and baseball and kickball will start again too.”

“Our Ferndale Daddy-Daughter Dance is usually held in the Winter. This year we are having a Daddy-Daughter Movie and drive-in. We plan to have some activities at the drive-in. We will have the COVID precautions in place.” There is a drive-in movie scheduled for the other kids on the same day.

The outdoor fitness festival will be in July, an opportunity for the community to come and exercise outdoors. “We collaborate with various gyms and health professionals who offer different fitness classes for youth and adults and provide health tips and information.

“In addition, our largest event is our Ferndale Fall Festival. We plan to still hold that October 2. We want to make sure we are doing everything safely. We always do safety checks. We are very excited about servicing the community, offering a little more this year and allowing the community to get out safely.”

WHEELER SHARES THAT SENIORS HAVE BEEN THE MOST AFFECTED BY THE ISOLATION and COVID. “We look forward to helping them overcome their isolation and get out-and-about.”

In 2019, Ferndale built an award-winning skate park, one of the most utilized parks in the city. You can see all abilities and ages in that park; children from three to four-years-old, all the way up to 55 or 60-years-old.

Wheeler has enjoyed four years as Director. She started in March of 2017. LaReina’s favorite part of the job is serving the community and giving them something they want and will utilize. “Knowing that I am working on something that will be successful. Projects are in line with what the community wants and I am bringing joy to the residents and youth.”

Wheeler says her Department always puts the community and the community’s needs first. “We make sure that we strive to make sure that our efforts are planned in an equitable and inclusive manner so nobody is excluded and everyone feels welcome when they participate. We work very hard. We have a great team and we share the same vision for the residents. We want to continue on our upward trend.”

KAISER SUIDAN NEXT STEP STUDIO & GALLERY: 530 Hilton, check web site for shows and hours. Indoor and outdoor galleries and event space. An emphasis on functional art. www.nextstepstudio.com

LAWRENCE STREET GALLERY: 22620 Woodward, Weds.-Sat. 12:00-5:00 P.M. (Friday till 9:00 P.M.), Sunday 1:00-5:00 P.M. A member-owned gallery that also includes other artists in juried displays. www.lawrencestreetgallery.com

LEVEL ONE BANK COMMUNITY ARTS GALLERY: 22635 Woodward, Mon.-Fri. 9:00-5:00 P.M. (Friday till 6:00 P.M.). Curated by gallerist and framing guru Mark Burton. Specializes in solo and themed shows.

M CONTEMPORARY GALLERY: 205 East Nine Mile, Weds.–Sat. 1:00-6:00 P.M. (5:00 on Saturday). Special services for collectors both individual and corporate. National presence. www.mcontemporaryart.com

PAUL KOTULA: 23255 Woodward (second floor), Check website for hours. Focused on emerging and mid-career artists. www.paulkotula.com

RUST BELT GALLERY: 22801 Woodward, Hours vary seasonally. A group of creative small businesses, many in arts and design. www.rustbeltmarket.com

SPACE CAT V-STRO: 255 W 9 Mile Rd, 248-268-3211. www.spacecatvstro.com

STATE OF THE ART: 918 W. Nine Mile, Tues.- Fri. 11:00-7:00 P.M., Sat. 11:00-5:00 P.M. Gallery with full service design, printing and framing services. www.stateoftheartonline.net

THE STRATFORD: 138 Stratford, Check Facebook for hours. Gallery and event space near Eight Mile. Facebook: The Stratford Studios Ferndale.

THE WHITEBRICK GALLERY: 150 Livernois, Hours vary. A group of artists providing an opportunity for creative exhibits. www.whitebrickgallery.com

By Rudy Serra

MY NEIGHBORS HAVE STARTED TO BUILD A NEW FENCE. I THINK IT IS ON MY PROPERTY. WHAT SHOULD I KNOW? WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Boundary disputes are not new. There are several different kinds of property line disputes. Whenever there is a disagreement about boundaries, I recommend contacting a qualified attorney.

Real estate transactions that involve a mortgage lender usually include a review of property lines and the issuance of title insurance to protect interests in the land. Where real estate is conveyed directly from one person to another, it is usually important to get professional help. The existence of mortgage is no guarantee against property line disputes.

“Encroachment” occurs when a structure on one property is over the property line, encroaching on the neighboring property. These disputes often involve sheds, fences, landscaping, decks and sometimes larger structures. It is important to act whenever you think someone’s fence or building is on your land. This is “trespassing.” If you do nothing the encroaching property owner can sometimes claim title after 15 years.

All property parcels are defined by a “legal description.” The legal description of a parcel is kept by the County Register of Deeds. These descriptions can be interpreted by a surveyor to determine where the lines of the property are located.

In some cases, even with no wrongdoing, legitimate questions may arise over the line. There could be an error in a past deed, or contradictory or inconsistent deeds may raise questions. Markers placed by past surveyors may create questions.

WHEN ISSUES ARISE ABOUT THE CORRECT PROPERTY LINE, it is always easiest and best to try to resolve the dispute by negotiation. It is essential to remember that no interest in real estate can be conveyed unless it is in writing, Verbal agreements are not enough. If you are able to work out the sale of a piece of a parcel or a trade of land to resolve the dispute, it is essential to put it in writing. All documents that modify boundary lines should be prepared by a competent attorney and filed with the County Clerk/Register of Deeds.

If neighboring property owners are unable to resolve a boundary dispute by negotiation, then a civil lawsuit called “an action to Quiet Title” may be required. A court would determine who owns the property and issue an order into the chain of title. The “chain of title” refers to the recorded documents and deeds in the possession of the Register of Deeds.

Other elements of real estate may be involved in boundary disputes. An “easement” gives a person who is not the owner of land to use the land. Easements are granted to utility companies to install and maintain poles, and easements are used to allow a person to go over a part of someone else’s property to reach their own. Waterfront property may involve additional “riparian rights.” Many zoning ordinances and building codes have a “setback” requirement that requires that other structures or uses be a certain distance from the property line.

SOME BOUNDARY DISPUTES ARE STRAIGHTFORWARD. These can be resolved by obtaining a survey. Others are extremely complicated. All involve real estate and every parcel of real estate is considered unique. If you disagree with your neighbor about your respective property lines, get a qualified real estate attorney.

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By Lisa Howard

Finding affordable housing can be tricky, especially in the wake of a global pandemic that has negatively impacted many people’s jobs. Fortunately, if you’re looking to rent or buy a home but need to keep a close eye on your wallet, various organizations in the city, county, state and federal levels may be able to help you find a home that suits your budget.

THE COMMUNITY HOUSING NETWORK, BASED IN TROY, is a nonprofit organization providing housing and housing resources for people who are homeless or facing homelessness, people with disabilities or low income, and other vulnerable residents of southeast Michigan. They offer a long list of services, including a Housing Resource Center, homebuyer and home ownership educational seminars, financial empowerment webinars, and foreclosure prevention counseling. In addition, their Home Ownership Program helps low and moderate-income households purchase a quality, affordable home. Call the CHN housing hotline at (248)269-1335 or visit them online at https://communityhousingnetwork.org.

Advantage Oakland covers all of Oakland County and is based in Pontiac. Their Housing Counseling & Homeless Services division offers home repairs, subsidized housing and rental assistance to low- to moderate-income households, and they also can assist homeowners who are having trouble paying their mortgage or property tax stay in their home. New home buyers can learn everything involved in buying a home, and everyone can receive advice and coaching on financial matters. Call (248)858-5402 to meet with an advisor or visit them online here.

The Advantage Oakland Home Improvement Program provides interest-free loans of up to $18,000 to qualified homeowners to make needed home repairs, including installing barrier-free access and energy-saving upgrades. There are no monthly payments and the total loan is due and payable only when you no longer live in your home. This program can be tremendously helpful if you’re a homeowner who is struggling to make necessary repairs to be able to stay in your home. Call (248)858-5401 to speak with an advisor or visit them online at https://www.oakgov.com/advantageoakland/communities/Pages/Home-Improvement-Program-and-Contractor-Opportunities-.aspx

• With offices in Lansing and Detroit, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority oversees and administers a variety of rental housing programs, including Housing Choice Vouchers, Project-Based Vouchers and Veterans Administration Supportive Housing (VASH). MSHDA is a Public Housing Agency; other PHAs are operated by individual cities. The Ferndale Housing Commission (http://ferndalehousing.com/) is the PHA for the city of Ferndale.

• Other MSHDA options include programs administered at individual developments that may have received federal or state funding. Visit the Affordable Rental Housing Directory (ARHD) for individual development contact information. ARHD provides a search tool of all of the MSHDA, HUD, Low Income Housing Tax Credit, and Rural Development financed developments in Michigan. Some local Public Housing Agencies have included their rental housing information in this search, too. The Michigan Housing Locator provides a search tool for both subsidized and market rental housing in Michigan.

Affordable Rental Housing Directory: https://housing.state.mi.us/

Michigan Housing Locator: http://www.michiganhousinglocator.com/Portals/mshda/

To contact the MSHDA, call (517) 335-9885 or (313) 4563540 or visit them online at www.michigan.gov/mshda.

• On a federal level, the U.S. Department of Housing (HUD) helps low-income families, elderly people, and individuals with disabilities find affordable housing. Your local public housing agency (PHA) decides if you are eligible for a Housing Choice Voucher based on:

• Your annual gross income.

• Whether you qualify as a family, a senior, or a person with a disability.

• U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.

• Your family’s size.

In general, your family’s income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the county or metropolitan area. Since the demand for public housing is often larger than the amount of housing available to HUD and the local PHA, long waiting periods are common. A PHA may close its waiting list when there are more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future.

The three main types of affordable rental housing supported by HUD are:

• Privately owned, subsidized housing in which landlords are paid by the government to offer reduced rents to low-income tenants. Recipients search for the apartment and apply directly at the rental management office.

• Public housing, which provides affordable rental houses or apartments for low-income families, people who are elderly, and people with disabilities. To apply, contact a PHA in Michigan.

• The Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly Section 8) involves renters finding a rental property themselves and then using the voucher to pay for all or part of the rent. To apply, contact a PHA in Michigan.

Veterans Administration Supportive Housing (VASH) provides assistance to homeless Veterans by combining Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Shallow Subsidy initiative provides low-income Veterans a fixed rental subsidy for up to two years. The Subsidy is available to veterans who are enrolled in the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program and live in communities characterized by high rates of homelessness and low availability of affordable housing. To encourage long-term self-sufficiency through employment, renters receive the subsidy for up two years regardless of any increases in their household income.

HUD also offers homes to qualified buyers. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) — which is part of HUD — insures the loan, so your lender can offer you a better deal. To find out more about HUD homes for sale in Michigan and HUD’s homebuying programs, visit www.hud.gov/states/michigan.

• If you’re looking for a place solo, you might also want to rent a room instead of an entire apartment, or maybe see if a buddy (or two) wants to rent an apartment or a house together. Talking to a financial coach/counselor could also help — they might be able to help you rework your overall budget and wind up with a bit more wiggle room when it comes to paying rent. Keep looking, keep asking for help, and have faith that you will find your home sweet home!