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By Ginger Goldmine

OUR DIGS 2020 FEATURED HOME IS THE ROCK HOUSE, located in Ferndale at 519 W. Maplehurst.

Tamela Ekstrom and Evan Derian have lived here since 2011. Evan is an artist, graphic designer, and comic book creator. He creates a comic book/graphic novel series called Miserable Americans.

Tamela owns HAVEN Real Estate + Design, helping people buy and sell homes in our community. The design element to her business helps homeowners stage their properties to sell for more money.

What is one word you would use to describe your vibe or style?

TAMELA EKSTROM: Juxtapose: I like to mix furniture styles and textures to create a soulful space, artfully combining the aesthetics of modern decor with vintage spin. Flashes of metal next to rough wood. I think it’s all about balancing the space so it’s appealing to the eye. I don’t like anything too cluttered. I want that modern look to have a cozy feel. Visitors often say our home is even better in person. I usually pick some colors for a season and then curate the art from ours and our friends’ work. We are both artists, and somehow our work looks very good together. Evan can tell which color combos I’m starting to eye, and I get lucky and end up with pieces that work with that. Our home is ever-evolving. I feel space needs to be ever-changing to transform its inhabitants.

What are some design strategies you would share?

The homes in our neighborhoods were built in the ‘20s and ‘30s, and tend to have smaller rooms. So raising and widening doorways creates a whole new and airy space. I’m attracted to black or darker walls and moody spaces to sleep. I try to place the darker colors in satellite rooms, like bedrooms that are contained.

In our main space, I painted every wall a similar neutral shade. This opens up the small rooms so they flow into each other and appear larger. We recently updated the paint in a few rooms to a very light, warm color called “Gray Owl” from Ferndale’s Benjamin Moore dealer, Paint Stop. Colors contained within art and pillows absolutely pop in this hue.

I also raise the curtain rods above the windows and buy 95” curtains. This really lifts your eye up and visually creates a larger space. When we are selling homes at HAVEN we offer free staging advice, and one thing that creates compelling photos are when contrasting pops of color are used. This anchors photos and creates visual interest. Pick a color palette, match a couple of pillows with a print or art piece and suddenly you have an exciting visual story.

What are some of your favorite local artists?

I love Detroit artists and vendors! We are so lucky to have so many artists in our neighborhoods. Some that come to mind while I’m looking around my house:
• My hubby, Evan Derian (IG:@evan_k_derian) of course. He’s incredibly talented at illustration. He has his own graphic novels, but he also paints a lot of rock stars’ portraits and offers affordable, limited edition pieces.
Robert Mirek (IG:@robert_mirek) creates totem pieces out of many mediums. I find them mysterious and I’m always into his color combinations.
Eastworks Detroit (IG: @EastworksDetroit) satisfies my love for industrial lighting.
• My friend Karen Larson (IG:@karen.larson.patterns) is a graphic designer and creates patterns for custom wallpaper.
• My friend Susu (@Susu.Detroit) creates many different items, she’s now in a phase of making incredible purses and art from dolls and rough and shiny crystals. I have a piece with leather, chain, and a shard of raw crystal that is functional as a tiny vessel but also art. It’s so pretty I have it hanging on the wall and I stare at it all the time.

Do you have any special or semi-secret spots you frequent that you’d like to share?

Ok, this is big, because I’m giving up my favorite stores to you guys.

Nine Furniture and Design (IG:@ninefurnitureand design) hand-makes furniture and decor, and also sells vintage. So it’s pretty much one-stop shopping for me. I’m fascinated at how quickly Keith and Evan create these affordable, inspired pieces. I just received the curved whitewashed coffee table in the photo you see in this article. Another item hand-made by them is the large cross-hatch wood mirror you see in the living room photo.
• We have many pieces from Vogue Vintage (IG:@voguevintage). Their mid-century lighting, cabinets, tables, and chairs provide pieces to promote our modern aesthetic.
Western Market (IG: @westernmkt) for ferns for our porch and Featherstone Garden (IG:@featherstone.garden) for healthy houseplants.
Nadeau (IG:@nadeaudetroit) makes my heart beat real fast. When I moved here, I searched and searched for Asian style modern furniture, as I could find in San Francisco. After a few years, Nadeau opened up and I hope everyone shops there so they stay around forever. They have solid wood and metal furniture and home goods. I have lots of pieces from their industrial line.
Leah’s Closet (IG:@leahsclosetroyaloak) is my friend’s vintage clothing store, however, she also carries curated home items. I am constantly changing my barware, and I usually get it from Leah. I also bought these incredible beaded tassels I use on the silver glass shard lamps you see in the photos here. Sometimes she has some really great textiles and mid-century artwork as well. She’s great about posting on her Instagram.
• And then, I should mention one more shop I love, my friends’ Tanda and Lauren own Free Phoenix (IG:@shopfreephoenix). They have pillows, trays, glasses, throws, and art. Owner Tanda’s design sense is very organic and earthy and her curated pieces add texture and warmth to spaces.

By Mary Meldrum
Photos by Bernie Laframboise

FERNDALE HAS A MYRIAD OF COMMUNITY SERVICE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS AVAILABLE FOR RESIDENTS. Many are surprising in terms of their mission and scope. Below are some of our favorites, and please consider volunteering and donating.

I3 DETROIT

HAVE YOU EVER DREAMED OF A PLACE WHERE YOU COULD BUILD AND CRAFT TO YOUR HEART’S DESIRE? A place to find other do-it-yourselfers and get tips and advice? Where you can learn to use tools that would never fit into your garage or your budget?

That place exists today. Welcome to i3 Detroit. We are not a profit-driven tool center. Everyone at i3 Detroit has a burning passion to create, tinker, hack and make things, driving us to create the best possible community and space. Our members take pride in what we’ve built and for good reason! There is a wide variety of diverse things to create here, and we’ve done it all as a highly-engaged volunteer community with a pas- sion for things such as crafting, woodworking, metalworking, electronics, welding, programming, and digital fabrication.

i3 Detroit is Metro Detroit’s largest community- run do-it-yourself workshop. A collision of art,
technology, learning and collaboration; whatever you want to build, you can do it here.

Located near the heart of Ferndale, i3 Detroit is close to many local events and an amazing
community. If you are curious about – or never heard of – “makerspace,” then swing on by on a Friday evening, 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. to take a tour and get to know the membership.

Excited? Come check us out at i3 Detroit. This might just be the place you’ve been looking for! 1481-A, Wordsworth St., Ferndale MI 48220.

STAGECRAFTERS OF ROYAL OAK

STAGECRAFTERS, A 501 (C)(3) NOT-FOR-PROFIT COMMUNITY THEATER, provides opportunities for members of the community to develop their talents and volunteer their time to create an enriching, quality theatrical experience through its Main Stage, 2nd Stage, and Youth Theater productions.

Erin McKay, the Marketing and Event Manager, has been with Stagecrafters for two-and-a-half
years. Among other things, she promotes the shows and helps out with donor events, making sure the food, talent and speakers are all ready to go. Stagecrafters is a live community theater. All actors are volunteers. There are ten shows a season, with five main stage shows including musicals, comedies and dramas. They also present three second-stage shows, which are edgy dramas or comedies, as well as two youth theater shows a season for kids ages 8 to 17. While adults do the directing and also handle anything that the kids can’t manage, the kids do pretty much everything else in the youth theater.

Founded in 1956, Stagecrafters has been named Best Community Theater by Hour Detroit Magazine readers, and Best Place for Live Local Theater by Detroit Metro Times readers. Recently, the 2nd Stage show, Trevor won awards at the 2017 Michigan AACTFEST in the categories of Outstanding Featured Actor, Outstanding Actor and the Golden Truck Award.

Stagecrafters’ mission is “to provide an opportunity for members of the community, in an atmosphere of fellowship, to develop their talents and to volunteer their time to create an enriching, quality theatrical experience for the community.” Their vision is “to create and present distinctive quality theatre for the community through the collaboration of a diverse group of volunteer artists and supporters based on our shared belief that engaging in the arts enriches lives.”

FERNCARE FREE CLINIC

THE FERNCARE FREE CLINIC IS A NON-PROFIT, SELF-FUNDED, FREE CLINIC that provides no-cost medical care to the medically uninsured. FernCare treats people between 19 and 64 years of age who don’t have medical insurance or a primary care provider.

 

 

FernCare provides the following services:
● Non-emergency healthcare
● Checkups
● Generic medications
● Lab Testing

Enrollment assistance with:
Prescription Assistance Program
Affordable Care Act insurance exchange enrollment assistance
Healthy Michigan enrollment assistance
● 1:1 smoking cessation counseling
● Acupuncture (referrals to an off-site clinician.
● Nutrition counseling
● Lab testing
● Wellness/life coaching

In addition to medical clinics, FernCare is also a source for health care resources FernCare is one of 52 free medical clinics in Michigan, and one of two in South Oakland County. FernCare is a member of the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC) and Free Clinics of Michigan (FCOM).

FernCare is open 15 hours each month as an operating medical clinic and six hours each month for acupuncture treatment. On weekdays, the office is open 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. for inquiries, appointment scheduling, and as a health services resource.

All services are by appointment only. Returning patients are able to obtain an appointment within one to two weeks of their call. New patients must wait a month for an appointment simply because of high demand and limited hours.

FernCare dispenses generic and over-the- counter medications as prescribed by our volunteer practitioners.

FOUNDED IN MAY 2015, THE HIGHLY RESPECTED FERNDALE COMMUNITY CONCERT BAND (FCCB) completed its fifth season this year, and has become one of Ferndale’s most successful non-profit non-profits and largest volunteer organization in the community, boasting more than 70 volunteer musicians.

The FCCB does not hold auditions, but does consider the experience and accomplishments of a musician when accepting a new member. All concerts are free, with donations gratefully accepted at the door. There are a broad range of volunteer musicians involved, ages 16 to 84, with various levels of skill and experience. FCCB members are music educators, amateurs, professionals and students. A few members have played in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on an as needed basis. Over 200 musicians have been a part of FCCB over the years, with each concert involving 70 or more musicians. The FCCB performs five concerts per season. When invited, the FCCB has added special performances, such as the NAACP 2019 National Convention performance, and other public events to their concert schedule.

In order to establish and manage this pivotal cultural band, two residents were selected to become members of the Ferndale Arts & Cultural Commission in 2014. Both were chosen for their outstanding skills and experience: Tim Brennan (a Hamtramck High School music teacher and veteran of the U.S. Army Band) and Sharon Chess (a well-known community organizer).

Information received from the Ferndale Arts & Cultural Commission’s public survey led Chess and Brennan, to organize the Ferndale Community Concert Band. They created a promotional Facebook page, as a call to action, listing a time and date for the first band rehearsal. They also consulted with retired Cass Tech Orchestra Director, Marc Haas, on how best to form a community band. In all, 105 people responded to the request for volunteer musicians.

ON MAY 5, 2015, THE FIRST REHEARSAL WAS HELD at Ferndale High School (FHS). Both FHS Principal Roger Smith and FHS Band Director Elon Jamison were very helpful, and allowed the band to use their expansive facility for rehearsals and concerts. Additionally, Ed Quick stepped up as the Artistic Director and Conductor of the FCCB. Chess recalls the evening of the first rehearsal very clearly: “Quick wasn’t confident there would be a good turn-out. We were expecting maybe 15-20 people to show up. But people kept coming through the door, and coming and coming!” It was an incredible ensemble of every instrument and player we needed.” Hope ensued.

Even though the concerts are free, the attendees are very generous with their donations. The cost to produce each concert is over $1,800 (which includes printing, recording, sound/lighting technician and conductor fees). To help further with fundraising, a bake sale is held at each concert. “We have some really good bakers in the band!” Chess added with a smile. Members of the local Senior Group, and the Memorial Foundation, Dick and JoAnn Wilcock, and David Chess, help with the bake sale and door donations.

Another source of donation comes from the FCCB Board members, who have purchased equipment, music, recording and sound equipment, and other needs for the band. A friend of a Board member donated an expensive Yamaha concert drum kit, then, after few years, decided to donate the set to the FCCB. Another example of generosity was by a philanthropic donor, Jeffrey Chess, who purchased over $12,000 worth of equipment for the band. Chess added that sometimes Ed Quick donates the cost of music, if the total is over the $550 music budget, allowed per concert or it is a special piece he does not want the expense to fall on the Band.

The Band has played and is invited to return to the Music on Belle Isle Group (MoBIG) River Blast! Concert series. MoBIG is a non- profit dedicated to returning summer band concerts to Belle Isle. MoBIG features community bands and orchestras from Southeast Michigan throughout their season. Part of MoBIG’s overall mission includes providing free concerts on Belle Isle (Sunset Point) during the summer months, at 6:30P.M. MoBIG is also involved with fundraising efforts to restore Belle Isle’s historic Remick Bandshell. Please visit their web site at www.mobigmusic.org for updated information.

Another project which has recently developed from the original FCCB is the M-1 Jazz Collective, led by Brennan. There are 18 members and a vocalist rehearsing regularly, with the goal of playing for smaller public or private events such as festivals, fairs, and weddings. Currently, they perform in the commons area of FHS, directly preceding the full concert.

CHESS REMARKED, “WHEN I WAS FIRST HELPING TO FORM THE BAND, I figured in five years’ time either we will be broken down or a great success. Every year we become more and more memorable. We continually improve our sound, and the cohesiveness of our ensemble. Other community bands want to play with us, or they want us to play events with
them, and we never miss an opportunity.” Many musicians, in fact, have come from other bands, and the FCCB’s warm and welcoming attitude helps.

I asked if they had encountered any major hurdles or disappointments over the years? Chess mentioned they asked the City to support the FCCB: “Not financially but to post our concert schedule on their website and in their city
newsletters. We continue to hope they will recognize the FCCB as an asset to the city. Ferndale should be proud of us!”

The FCCB is setting a strong, positive example to our community as a whole and providing us with excellent musical entertainment. We wish them many more years of great success!

Euchre fundraising tournaments are held on the fourth Friday of every month at The Ferndale Elks Lodge #1588: 22856 Woodward Ave, Ferndale.
Tournaments and band events are currently on hold due to health crisis.*
info@fcconcertband.org
www.facebook.com/ferndalecommunityconcertband

By Bob’s treasured friend and former Ferndale mayor, Craig Covey

FERNDALE LOST ONE OF ITS LEADERS IN EARLY FEBRUARY, leaving behind wife Ruth and son Brad and a host of friends and admirers. Destined to become one of our city’s historical figures, Bob was beloved by thousands of people in southeast Michigan. He was 71.

Born in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, Bob settled in Ferndale in 1982 to be near Hagopian, where he worked for many years. He quickly became a contributing member of the neighborhood in southwest Ferndale and the greater community.

Best known for his outgoing personality and engaging manner, Bob loved people and his communication skills were legendary. In spite of some challenges, folks remember Bob as a cheerful, smiling guy always willing to roll up his sleeves for the task at hand.

FERNDALE HIT ITS NADIR IN THE 1980s and was a bit rough around the edges. The down- town was mostly empty, and property values were low. Woodward Avenue in the city featured an adult theater and a massage parlor. But, like others, Bob saw a diamond in the rough.

Bob’s proudest accomplishment was leading a citizens committee to pass a major bond issue to repair and rehabilitate the city’s infrastructure, which had previously failed. By bringing together residents, businesses, the schools, and community groups, the effort succeeded and allowed the City to fix its aging roads, water mains, and sewers. It was that unglamorous-but-necessary work that halted the city’s decline and laid the foundation for the rejuvenation of Ferndale that took place in the 1990s and 2000s.

Bob was a bridge in the city, linking older residents, businesses, police and fire with the new younger people that began making Ferndale home. He was comfortable talking with seniors, students, religious leaders, minorities, and the LBGT community and was respected by all of the disparate groups in Ferndale as it became more diverse.

HE WAS ONE OF THE SMARTEST PEOPLE I HAVE EVER KNOWN and understood the workings of municipal government and especially its budget and financing. Always willing to invest in the city, he also fiercely guarded the taxpayers’ money.

I once took Bob a small baggie of little hot peppers that I had proudly grown in my garden. The next
day, he brought me a grocery sack full of the largest, most flavorful peppers I had ever tasted that he had grown. He was a giving, caring, and generous human being.

In these current times of anger, division, and fear, we are going to greatly miss the warmth, under-
standing, acceptance, and cheerfulness that was Robert Porter.

From Mayor Melanie Piana

A GOOD MAYOR EMPOWERS ANOTHER EMERGING LEADER. Former Mayor Bob Porter influenced my career path by helping start the Michigan Suburbs Alliance where I worked for nine years. And he appointed me to the Zoning Board of Appeals when I was in grad school. Bob has a special place in my heart for empowering me. Rest in peace, my friend. Your impact on Ferndale continues on.

From Dean Michael Bach, owner of Dino’s and M-Brew

ALMOST EXACTLY 20 YEARS AGO, then City Council member Bob Porter took the time to seek me out and welcome me to Ferndale as the new owner of the Rialto Cafe. We chatted often and he would introduce me to many business owners, neighbors, police, fire and friends in the neighborhood. He also put me in touch with many people at City Hall able to help a young and ambitious punk from Detroit realize a dream of owning a restaurant. He told me to get involved and to simply “do the right thing” in Ferndale, and the community would appreciate and support my efforts.

As time went on, and Dino’s was able to establish itself as a local watering hole, MAYOR Porter would pop his head in the lounge for a cold beverage and shoot the breeze about city stuff. I would eventually be appointed to the DDA Board of Directors by Mayor Covey, and our breeze-shooting would turn into advisory sessions. He would never just give advice, but would kinda’ tell a story about a situation he experienced and how he or others would handle it. The conversations were always light and full of wisdom.

We would stay in touch with an occasional call, with our last chat being during this past holiday season. He sounded good although he did tell me he didn’t feel “all that great.” He would never let a conversation lead to a negative lane. He was always flattering and never had anything but nice things to say to and about everybody. His life touched a lot of people with his charm and uplifting approach.

So…on this the day of his passing on to eternal rest. I want to take a moment to raise a toast to Mayor Bob Porter. The uplifting of others in your community will forever remain a life lesson learned from the heartfelt and genuine ways in which Mayor Bob would lead, live and love the City of Ferndale.

Salute and Cheers to you, Sir.

Rest In Peace

By Jennifer Goeddeke

THERE IS AN IMPRESSIVE HUB OF DJ AND MUSICAL PROGRAMMING TALENT, tucked within the Rustbelt Market (on the NW corner of 9 Mile and Woodward).

This is the Ferndale Radio 100.7 FM station, broadcasting from a customized studio sponsored by the renowned Valentine Distillery. The core team of organizers include: Dave Phillips, Dave Kim, Michelle Mirowski and Jeremy Olstyn. The station has been going strong for several years, featuring a wide variety of musical genres that can appeal to the community as a whole. Regular weekend shows have become popular, such as: Retro Groove (hosted by Michael Zadoorian); Big & Sensitive Heavy Radio; Groove & Grain and now the new Northern Beat Radio.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Olstyn, and he clued me into the formation and development of this progressive radio project. Several friends were involved in its creation, all of whom had former experience in radio in addition to their shared passion for music. During the Obama presidency, an opportunity arose to secure a low power FM broadcasting license, which is remarkably rare in a metropolitan area like Detroit. They made the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by taking the necessary steps to actually launch a broadcast station.

Initially, they spoke with radio engineer/guru Keith Fraley, who had worked with the WXOU radio station (serving Oakland University). Fraley conducted all the necessary technical and back- ground work to ensure the frequency of 100.7 FM would be effective and would not cause interference to existing stations.

NEXT, A LOCATION HAD TO BE FOUND FOR THEIR STUDIO. After considering a few other options, they started a conversation with Chris Best at Rust Belt Market. Best responded very positively to the suggestion of joining forces, saying: “It’s weird, because originally we wanted a radio station as part of Rust Belt!” For Olstyn and the team, the Rust Belt Market was an ideal location, where they are surrounded by a like-minded group of creative people.

Once their space was established, they secured a construction permit and then it was “game on!” Obtaining an antenna was the first major expense hurdle to overcome. The initial investment goal was between $12-15 thousand. Olstyn and the team kicked it into high gear for their fundraising/promotion campaign, and fortunately they were able to raise the necessary funds through their own contributions, along with crowdfunding and local sponsors.

They began to create a broadcasting studio which meant: building walls; installing a dropped ceiling; a fire-extinguishing system and more. The overall result is a fully-equipped studio, ready for broadcasting some great shows over their 100-watt system!

Olstyn mentioned that currently they are only broadcasting live shows when the Rust Belt is open, over the weekends. He added: “We mostly do music shows, but we want to support people in Ferndale, so we might add a Community Talk– themed night.”

They are also aiming to broaden the broadcasting capabilities to include online streaming. Olstyn explained that the number-one listener complaint is the inability to listen online. Online streaming requires quite a lot more investment to cover the equipment for even a single stream, plus the cost of royalties paid to artists. Hopefully, that stream- ing will be a real possibility in the near future, as they are clearly a valuable asset to the Ferndale community.

Ferndale Radio 100.7FM is located at 22801 Woodward, Ferndale 48220.
248.313.8721 | hey@ferndaleradio.com | http://FerndaleRadio.com
You can provide support/purchase items by visiting their “Chuffed Crowdfunding” page: www.chuffed.org/project/ferndale-radio

ROUGE MAKEUP & NAIL STUDIO

ROUGE MAKEUP & NAIL STUDIO WAS STARTED IN 2010 by sisters Jeny Bulatovic and Cheryl Salinas-Tucker, who have always believed in the importance of using organic products rather than chemical-based. Bulatovic and Salinas-Tucker began working with a small, Michigan-based company, Eve Organics, to deliver high quality, natural products to their customers. “We want to offer our clients only the best ingredients – we call
it their ‘personal eco-system’,” Bulatovic explained.

The sisters loved Eve’s products so much that in 2019 they decided to purchase the company, moving the entire operation onsite. “We’re super-excited,” Bulatovic said. “We will be undergoing major renovations beginning next month, focusing on enhancing our makeup studio up front and offering makeup classes. It’s great to be able to bring this home to Ferndale.”

Integrating Eve Organics into the rest of services the business offers means customers who love the organic product line will be able to shop directly with Rouge. The sisters are also in the midst of making changes and improvements to further enhance its quality.

With the new business focus, Rouge is no longer offering massage or Reiki services. However, clients will still be able to receive top-of-the-line facials and nail care. Microblading, brow-waxing, and lash extensions are also available.

For more information regarding Eve Organics and all of Rouge’s products and services, visit
rougemakeupandnails.com or call 248-439-6012.

HOUSE CAT GLASS

DONNA MASKILL STARTED WORKING ON GLASS IN THE LATE ‘90s while attending the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Afterwards, she became involved with many studios in the area, including Greenfield Village, and eventually, her passion led to the opening of her own shop.

“I loved working with glass and enjoyed teaching others so much that I decided to start my own studio in 2001,” Maskill said. Having lived in the Ferndale area since 1992, she knew it was the perfect spot for House Cat Glass. “With the help of two close friends – and many others – I was able to build all the equipment necessary to melt glass and produce handmade, one-of-a-kind art.”

Maskill recently joined the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce and offers many events at the shop throughout the year. House Cat Glass also includes a gift area with handmade pieces available for purchase.

“I offer classes for beginners and small groups,” she added. “Studio rental time is available for experienced glass blowers. Beginners are given one-on-one attention and are able to use the tools of the trade to learn to shape molten glass.”

For more information or to sign up for a class, visit the shop on Instagram @Housecatglass or call 248-548-3228.

FERNDALE SENIORS GROUP

“COME PLAY WITH US.” The motto of the Ferndale Senior Group says it all: Come play, learn, expand, and socialize with us.

We are a social group formed to enrich the quality of life for senior citizens in Ferndale and neighboring communities. We do this through programs, trips, and activities. We offer fun trips within the Tri-County area, including museums, fashionable restaurants, festivals, and whatever else takes our fancy.

Our meetings are packed with speakers familiar with community information, fun facts, ways to ease our lives, not to mention simply socialize and relax. We are famous for our potlucks. We meet on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 11:00 a.m. at the Kulick Center. Attendance is free. So, come join us.

Jeannie Davis, 248- 541-5888

By Lena Stevens, Executive Director of the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority

THE FERNDALE COMMUNITY IS OPENING A NEW CHAPTER IN ITS HISTORY and I am thrilled to be a part of it. My name is Lena Stevens, and I was appointed to serve as the Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) in October 2019.

In my few short months working and living in Ferndale I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with residents, business owners, property owners, and city officials about their hopes for this city. I’ve gotten the sense of a city that’s experiencing exciting growth, and it’s clear that Ferndale is a desirable place to be. As Bill Murray said in Caddyshack, “So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

What has also struck me is that Ferndale is a community that prides itself on inclusiveness, not just with words but with actions. Since my arrival, the City of Ferndale has received a perfect score for inclusiveness policies by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute, banned the practice of conversion therapy within city limits, and recognized Human Trafficking Awareness Month. I’ve also seen city officials and community members eager to communicate with each other. Do we get it right every time? Of course not, but we are getting better and more creative all the time.

Since being established in 1981, the Downtown Development Authority has helped to turn Ferndale into a favorite local and regional destination. Ferndale was the first city in Oakland County to receive the Great American Main Street Award in 2010. We achieved this through bold actions such as narrowing 9 Mile Road, launching the BUILD program which leveraged over $2.5 million of private investment in façade and building improvements, and making our streets more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly. Now we must look to the future and ask ourselves, “What’s next?”

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED SOME RECENT PROJECTS from the DDA and the City of Ferndale, which included a new holiday lights display, improved landscaping, sidewalk trip hazard repairs, and the rainbow crosswalk on 9 Mile. These were made possible with a renewed collaboration with the dedicated team at the Department of Public Works.

But it’s only the beginning. In the coming year, several capital projects will be taking shape, bringing new opportunities for business development and community engagement to downtown Ferndale. The DOT (Development on Troy) will become a destination not just for parking, but also for retail, office, and small events that bring foot traffic to downtown. Schiffer Park will be redesigned with a slightly larger footprint, creating a public gathering space along 9 Mile downtown. We’re also seeking opportunities to roll out engaging public art, pedestrian alley improvements, and a fun slate of holiday events next November & December.

“I want to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has welcomed me to Ferndale and extend that welcome back to the community.”

If you are interested in getting involved with the DDA, please email us at info@downtownferndale.com. We are looking for businesses and residents to join the Vision Committee that will help see us through this new chapter in our history.

Dr. Dania Bazzi, Superintendent

WHEN WE HEAR THE PHRASE “CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT,” IT IS SUPERFICIALLY UNDERSTOOD as the practice of trying to do better every day. In education, continuous improvement is more than just a goal or a particular program; it is a driving principle around which we build an entire embedded system. The system consists of tools that regularly gather performance data, study it, plan improvements, and oversee their implementation. The process can only begin with a recognition that what we are doing today won’t accomplish the goals of tomorrow. This is not an indictment of our current performance – improvement is always necessary. In fact, this process must be cyclical: just as change never stops around us, we must never stop changing to adapt to the needs of our students.

Systemic continuous improvement is centered on multiple sources of evidence and data points. It is driven by what is taking place across the many functions of schools and systems that impact student outcomes and achievement. These functions include teaching and learning, but also resource distribution, school climate and culture, and governance. Evidence is used to make short and long-term plans that are also regularly adjusted by the many overlapping and intersecting communities represented within our schools.

The world is ever-changing, yet the school setting in many places looks the same as it did 30 years ago. How can we better adapt to the needs of our students? Continuous improvement seeks to provide a means to keep pace with the advancements in our society. According to the US Department of Labor, 65% of students today will be working in jobs that don’t yet exist. Even right now, much of our workforce is employed in positions that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

So you can see, the challenge set before our teachers is great: How can we teach our students to be prepared for jobs that don’t even exist? We teach them to be lifelong learners, giving them the ability to think critically, solve problems, and meet new demands as they occur. The system and practices of continuous improvement make that possible, while also setting the example for how lifelong learning can improve outcomes. Students in Ferndale Schools learn to regularly gather data, analyze it, plan improvements, and implement them.

In my career as an educator, I can’t tell you how many times I have asked, “Why do we do it this way?” All too often, the answer has come back, “Because that’s the way we have always done it.” This answer is not enough, and we have to have the courage to push back. The future depends on us to prepare the next generation for incredible challenges we cannot predict.

Continuous improvement is complicated and challenging. It requires regular reflection and course correction; it is the opposite of a silver bullet. A robust system allows schools to look at improvement every day. We are working towards the unimaginable, the unthinkable. We do not have all the answers. It can be frightening to admit this, and to face the unknown. It is time we become fearless in our leadership and stop seeing failure as a reason to blame, and begin seeing it as a means to improve.

By Bill Good

ON MARCH 10TH VOTERS PASSED A TRANSFORMATIONAL BALLOT INITIATIVE FOR FERNDALE SCHOOLS. This ballot measure called for a $125 million bond at no expected tax rate increase. The $125 million will be issued in what is referred to as a “3-series,” meaning bonds will be sold at three different times: 2020 ($53M), 2023 ($35.5M), and 2026 ($36M). The three main areas addressed in this bond are SAFETY, SUSTAINABILITY and RE-IMAGINING THE CLASSROOM.

SAFETY

CONTROLLING WHO CAN ACCESS OUR SCHOOL BUILDINGS AND WHEN IS VITALLY IMPORTANT for the safety of everyone on our campuses. We have a plan to improve each of our buildings toward two major goals: Deterrence & Prevention.

Deterrence is all about reducing the risks of unauthorized entry which starts with presenting a positive security image. If an intruder is faced with a secure vestibule and adequate monitoring and prevention tools, the likelihood of an incident is dramatically reduced. This bond will allow Ferndale Schools to build a secured entry vestibule at each school.

SUSTAINABILITY

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND ENSURING OUR STUDENTS ARE “WARM AND DRY” inside of their schools isn’t exciting; it’s expected. Repairing and improving infrastructure will benefit the long term sustainability of our district. This includes expensive items like roofs and boilers. This bond will be used to safeguard our community’s investment in our facilities. But more than simply replacing an aging roof or boiler system, these funds will allow Ferndale Schools to create a comprehensive, decade-long, facility improvement plan which will allow work to be done in a systematic way leading to significant energy savings.

REIMAGINING THE CLASSROOM

WHEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS WERE ESTABLISHED, THEY WERE DESIGNED to train students for the labor force of the time: primarily factory work performing a minimal number of tasks. Today, we are seeing automation take over these jobs, resulting in a return to the renaissance principles of innovation and collaboration in the workspace. Entrepreneurs and employees alike are expected to perform multiple tasks using multiple sets of tools, whether working in the physical or digital space. This has driven a major change in the mission of public education.

By Sara E. Teller
Photos by Bernie Laframboise

FERNDALE IS A HUB FOR MANY OF THE AREA’S LEADING PROFESSIONAL BUSINESSES, from law firms and credit unions to printing services, custom event and marketing products, and everything in between. The area offers many cutting-edge, innovative solutions within walking distance, and this makes it a prime location for both start-ups and companies that have been in business for many years.

SMASHBOX DESIGNS

CLIENT-FOCUSED SMASHBOX DESIGNS, BASED IN PLEASANT RIDGE and wellknown in the Ferndale area for their talented team and personalized customer service, helps companies powerfully reach their target audiences. Creative and innovative, Smashbox employees specialize in logo design, copywriting and branding, large-format and standard printing, business cards, product photography and many other marketing mediums. For more information, visit smashbox-designs.com or call 248-2751877.

ARTECH PRINTING/ROCKET PRINTING

ARTECH PRINTING, INC., based in nearby Madison Heights, is a mid-sized, fullservice printer also offering a wide array of digital printing services. artechprinting.com. 248-545-0088. And ROCKET PRINTING, in Royal Oak, provides many business-to-business services under one roof. They can produce just about any business form imaginable, while also providing collateral sales and marketing services. www.rocketonestop.com, 248-336-3636.

EVENT SOURCE

FOR THOSE LOOKING TO STAGE AN IMPORTANT, MEMORABLE EVENT, EVENT SOURCE provides the very best selection of linen, furniture, and accessory rentals. Family-owned since 1979 and serving not only the Detroit area but also Cleveland, Columbus and Pittsburg, the company has an always in-stock product line that will suit any taste or style. The team can provide quantities to customize any size event – from backyard picnic to a convention from an intimate wedding to a gala. For more information, visit eventsource.net or call 313-309-9000.

PLANFREEDOM GROUP

MAINTAINING UNIQUE PARTNERSHIPS WITH PROGRESSIVE service- and product-based companies, PLANFREEDOM GROUP acts as an independent marketer providing guidance and value to both residential and small-business clients. The company utilizes online, local, and progressive marketing techniques coupled with distinctive sales strategies to distribute products and services for channel partners through direct sales organizations. Visit planfreedomgroup.com or call 248-797-1169 or 248-701-9393.

CREDIT UNION ONE

CREDIT UNION ONE, HEADQUARTERED IN FERNDALE, HAS BEEN IN BUSINESS SINCE 1938. With 25 branch offices, 130,000 members, and 1.5 billion in assets, anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in the state of Michigan can be a member. The credit union offers full-service financial solutions, including checking and saving accounts, security deposits, loans, mortgages, credit cards, and commercial lending and depositing. It also helps members with financial planning and insurance programs.

John Kozich has been at Credit Union ONE for 46 years. “I started in a high school co-op program, went to college at Lawrence Tech, working part-time, then eventually transitioned to full-time after graduation.” He loves the Ferndale area, saying, “I grew up in Ferndale, so I have roots here that go way back. It’s a very diverse, proactive community. Everyone is understanding, open, and dedicated, willing to take risks and step out of the box.”

He believes in Credit Union ONE’s commitment to providing exceptional value to its members by delivering outstanding products and services anytime, anywhere. “We’re here to serve our members. Credit Union ONE has been around for 82 years, providing good service, and rooted right here in Ferndale.”

For more information on becoming a member, visit cuone.org or call 800-451-4292.

VIBE CREDIT UNION

VIBE CREDIT UNION HAS BEEN A MICHIGAN-BASED, NOT-FOR-PROFIT CREDIT UNION SINCE 1936, started by a handful of employees from the telephone industry. The Ferndale eCenter is located at 214 W. Nine Mile Rd, a location selected for “its downtown proximity, active community involvement, and pedestrian-friendly access,” according to Community Engagement Specialist, Ngoc Do, who added, “We love the diversity and positive energy that the Ferndale community exudes.”

Vibe’s checking account includes a mobile banking app, online banking with bill pay and mobile deposit, and monthly accumulated interest. Members also enjoy unlimited free transactions at vibe ATMs and no low-balance fee when deposit and/or loan accounts combined have balances of only $500 or more.

“We also offer low auto loan rates with flexible terms and fast funding, easy online application, ability to eSign, and the convenience of picking your payment date,” Do explained.

Finding a branch to bank with is simple, too. “We have 16 branches in Metro Detroit, many with Saturday lobby hours,” Do said. “We welcome anyone who lives, works, or worships in Michigan’s lower peninsula.”

Vibe is set to sponsor many events in Ferndale this year, including the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce/Kiwanis Unicorn Derby Fundraiser, Ferndale Community Foundation Pride Festival, the Fall Festival and the Downtown Development Authority’s (DDA) Fido Does Ferndale in October and the DDA Ice Festival in December.

For more information, visit vibecreditunion.com or call 248-735-9500/248 829 1894.

FOLEY & MANSFIELD

FOLEY & MANSFIELD IS A LAW FIRM RECOGNIZED ACROSS THE U.S. for providing a wide range of legal solutions for individuals and local businesses, as well as regional and national companies. Gary Sharp, William Osantowski, and J. Mark Mooney opened the Michigan office in 1995 in Bingham Farms.

A decade later, in December 2006, renovations began on a Ferndale-based historic building originally constructed in 1915. The structure previously served as the original Ferndale School and Central School through the 1920s, and from November 1930 through April 1953 it was the home of the Ferndale Public Library.

Foley & Mansfield extensively renovated the building, exposing beautiful brickwork, wood, and other original design, character and workmanship aspects of the building,” said Office Administrator, Dana Hagemann Burleigh. “The firm also expanded the building so the historic and modern aspects now stand side by side, reflecting the past and present.”

Ferndale was an ideal location for Foley & Mansfield, Hagemann Burleigh explained, saying, “We chose Ferndale in part because of the town’s walk-ability and conveniences.” She added, “We frequently collaborate with attorneys from our fifteen other offices, handling mass toxic torts, employment discrimination, family law, and just about everything in between. We have a network of connections and resources that enable us to obtain the services our clients need around the country.”

Foley & Mansfield is a proud supporter of Ferndale Public Schools and participates in many of Ferndale’s festivals and events. “People have been warm and welcoming since day one, and it is fun to take a break and walk around in a downtown area,” Hagemann Burleigh said. “The shop owners and employees are friendly and helpful, whether you need to host an event or find an outfit for the event.”

For top quality legal services, call 248-721-8172 or visit foleymansfield.com.