Digs 2019

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By Sara E. Teller

IT’S FUN AND REWARDING to work on our home and garden projects. It’s also an opportunity to remember those who have no digs of their own, and are struggling just to find a safe place for their family to live. While working on DIGS 2019, we learned about a local organization, Bethany Christian Services, helping to resettle refugees from around the world.

Bethany Christian Services is a global nonprofit organization that brings families together and keeps families together. Programs include adoption, foster care and pregnancy counseling. Bethany also provides counseling to families, assists refugees and immigrants with resettling in the United States, and partners with several international countries to help keep families, near and far, together. Bethany is founded on Christian values and beliefs and they work to protect, empower, and strengthen families.

“Strengthening families for the well-being of children is our top priority,” said Starr Allen-Pettway, LMSW, Branch Director, adding, “The work we do equips families to be the answer for children in need. Every child deserves love and a loving place to call home.”

IN SOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN, Bethany’s foster care program provides homes for the temporary placement of children. They also place those children who become available for adoption with their forever families through the state. There is also a domestic infant adoption program, which offers familybased support for birth mothers who make the decision to make an adoption plan for their children, and a teen outreach initiative in which Bethany partners with various local agencies to provide life skills training and education for youth in the Detroit Metropolitan area.

“Bethany makes every effort to ensure that families have the skills and training necessary to support the needs of children coming into foster care,” Allen-Pettway explained.

Bethany staff members come from a variety of professional backgrounds. Most have social service and counseling backgrounds and provide either direct or indirect support for the services offered by the organization. Other members have appropriate academic degrees for the positions they occupy.

“The specialties vary depending on department, but the one thing consistent throughout our organization is the love and compassion that all Bethany staff have for people,” Allen- Pettway said, adding, “Bethany leaders have a heart to serve and dig into the hard places. As leaders, the commitment is to ensure that we remember the overlooked, the forgotten, and serve them to the best of our ability.Leaders understand that many of the systems for which we do work are broken, and it is our responsibility to be the hope for those that find themselves in sometimes very hard places.”

Bethany Christian Services is always looking for the help of volunteers.

“We are always looking for volunteers – or, in our eyes, partners – who can support the various needs of the children and families that we serve. It is always our desire to do more, and that ability becomes greater when we have more hands at the table to support the needs.”

www. Bethany.org/MadisonHeights •

248-414-4080 •

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By Mary Meldrum

MY BOYFRIEND (WHO IS A BUILDER) AND I HAVE BEEN BUILDING a pretty incredible garage on the back lot of our property in Berkley. We take pictures at each phase of the project. No loans or mortgage so this is an out-of-pocket project that proceeds as we get the money.

This is a 1,600-square-foot building with an 800-square-foot footprint, the size of a three-car garage, with a full apartment above. Dirt had to be brought in for the foundation to raise the elevation. The first load of lumber and materials was dropped off and Brian got busy putting together the pieces for the framing of the walls on the first floor.

In the spring, scaffolding was erected, and the roof and cedar shingles for the siding were placed painstakingly one at a time by Brian.

This is pretty much what it looks like currently. A lot of small things have happened inside, like the furnace, drywall on all surfaces upstairs and downstairs, formal stairs and risers leading upstairs, exterior lights, window trim and other details. The apartment bathroom has been tiled and the lights are hung. All inspections have passed with flying colors.

Brian pushed a project boat into the garage for the Winter and is working on restoring an old Formula speed boat. That will be ready to put in the water this Spring. Work on the garage continues. When it is finished (probably another year or two), we plan to move into the apartment and start working on our house.

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By Fiona Garlow, Property Solvers

THIS BEAUTIFULLY RENOVATED HOME HAD ITS HUMBLE BEGINNINGS back in 1926, when it was one of the first houses on the block. You would think after all that time this house would’ve changed ownership many times, but in fact only two families have owned it. After three generations ownership changed in 2017.

Originally built as a five-bedroom, one bathroom house, it no longer met today’s standards. Three bedrooms located on the second floor have been changed to a large master suite with a modern bathroom and walk-in closet.

The main floor also went through changes. Dividing walls between living room and dining room, and between dining room and kitchen, were all removed in order to create a large open floor plan.


By creating a large master suite and removing the partition walls on the main floor, the house has become more functional. Allowing light through the entire house and improving sociability, it has become a home perfect for entertaining and family communication. Having an appreciation for the times by which the house came from, it still has its craftsman-style interior. Updated with large window, door, and baseboard trim, along with its tall ceilings, the house can’t help but make you feel grand.


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By Sara E. Teller

THE FERNDALE GARDEN CLUB WAS FOUNDED IN 1931 as a way for gardeners of all abilities to connect around a shared love for gardening and to share that love with the Ferndale community. The FGC officially joined Michigan Garden Clubs in 1951. The Club includes members of all skill levels, from those with exceptional green thumbs to those just getting started.

“What we all have in common is a love for plants and the creatures that inhabit a healthy garden,” said Dominic Scappaticci, President of the Club.

Club members hope to inspire others in the community to try their hand at horticulture. They also hope to spread their love for natural, clean ways of carrying out their craft.

“We promote sustainable and ecological-minded gardening practices that will keep our natural world beautiful, healthy, and alive for future generations,” said Scappaticci. “We also promote gardening practices that encourage native birds and insects to call our community home.”

AS PART OF THIS MISSION, the Ferndale Garden Club hosts a number of events in and around the area throughout the year, such as the Think Spring Garden event that was just held on February 23rd. The event offered a chance for those with green thumbs to start preparing for the upcoming season. It included a seed swap, exhibits by local gardening groups, and information about the importance of pollinator-friendly plants.

Other upcoming events include a presentation titled “Weeds: Useful and Edible” by Ed Blondin from Hortulus Garden & Landscapes, which will take place at the March 14 monthly meeting held at the Gerry Kulick Community Center, 1201 Livernois, 7:00-8:30 P.M., as well as a native plant presentation that will kick-off the April 11 meeting.

The Club created a public garden at the corner of Livernois and Oakridge for the enjoyment of everyone in and around Ferndale. Members continually maintain the space, ensuring it stays alive and well. Gardening-themed books have also been distributed to the local elementary school by Club members so budding gardeners can get their start as early as possible.

In fact, students interested in horticulture may just get a helping hand to pursue their passion. “Every year the Garden Club awards a scholarship to a graduating Ferndale High student,” Scappaticci said. “We have awarded a scholarship every year since 1989.”

He explained, “We donate gardening and ecology-themed books to the elementary school. At our monthly meetings, we host speakers on a variety of gardening topics as well as offer a chance for gardeners to connect and trade plants, seeds, tools, and house plants. Recent speaker topics have been about raising chickens in Ferndale, propagation of house plants, using native plants in our landscapes, urban beekeeping, and more. And best of all, we offer homemade treats for all attendees!” Scappaticci added, “We also go on field trips! Our last field trip in October was to the roof of the public library to see the living roof.”

TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE FERNDALE GARDEN CLUB, the only requirement is a love for gardening and a nominal annual fee which covers the cost of all of the Club’s activities.

“We have yearly dues of $20,” Scappaticci explained. “The dues help cover costs of speakers, programs, garden maintenance, and scholarships. We are a registered 501c)(3) nonprofit.”

Meetings are held the second Thursday of every month, 7:00-8:30 P.M. at the Kulick Center. More information is available online:

www.facebook.com/theferndalegardenclub •

Instagram: @theferndalegardenclub •