Memorial Edition 2021

HAVE YOU EVER LOOKED AT YOUR LIFE and realized that it lacked purpose? Eight months ago we admitted this to ourselves.

Throughout our lives, we are led to believe that we find our value and worth in external sources. This is not true. To place our value in external sources, we create a gap between ourselves and the meaning of life. Which will always lead us to un-fulfillment.

What we know now is that a dream is not what we save up for, work towards or achieve. A dream is the way we experience life. Life is meant to be lived purposefully.

When you ignite your dream, you discover your values. The two are inseparable and support each other. It then becomes imperative that you embody these values in every moment to bring your dream to life.

For us this means leaving Ferndale and beginning our journey of Running Into a New Earth, taking us to the Stop Line 3 Resistance in Northern Minnesota.

THE PROPOSED ROUTE FOR LINE 3 crosses 227 lakes and rivers, including the Mississippi River and rivers that feed directly into Lake Superior. As a representation of these sacred waters, we will be running 227 miles along the North Country Trail.

“If Line 3 is completed it will carry nearly a million barrels a day of crude oil – the dirtiest oil to extract and burn – from Alberta, Canada through Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin.

“When it spills, as all pipelines do, millions of people downstream will feel the effects, and wild rice beds sacred to the Anishinaabe in Minnesota will be destroyed.” – Line 3 Solidarity Action.

Enbridge, the Canadian company building this pipeline, is the same company responsible for the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history which happened in Kalamazoo, July 2010. They are also the same company pushing the Line 5 pipeline which is proposed to travel under the Straits of Mackinac.

THE WAY WE CURRENTLY LIVE as a people has an expiration date that is fast-approaching. Looking for answers within the same system that has led us down a path to our own demise, will only bring about more destruction.

It’s time to create a new energy within ourselves. Looking beyond our current societal structures. Change cannot take place within the current structures. We must change our energy, and the structure will follow.

Unhappiness and negativity is a disease on our planet. What pollution is on the outer level is negativity on the inner. Creating a new energy is to shift the way we experience life. To discover the depths of our being and the beauty that lies at our core. When this happens, our world around us will begin to change.

We heal ourselves, and by doing so, we heal Mother Earth.

To learn more about #StopLine3, visit and follow our journey on @wearebrandonandfiona

By Kevin Alan Lamb

MY FINAL HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME WAS PLAYED in East Lansing at the Breslin Center (Michigan State,) in front of close to 10,000 people, for the Class A State Semifinals. We lost, but the previous game was played at Ferndale High School, where we (West Bloomfield) upset Detroit Southeastern in the most grueling battle I’ve experienced on the hardwood.

At the time, I had no idea that I would one day call Ferndale home, and have the opportunity to write about other athletes who bled and sweat on that same hardwood. Jody Hill is a graduate of Ferndale High School, where he was first team All-Conference, earning an honorable mention for All-State. Today, he is the General Manager of the Detroit Hustle, a professional basketball team in The Basketball League (TBL). Formerly North America Premiere Basketball, TBL is a minor league basketball organization that began operating in North America in 2018 with eight teams, and expanded to over 30 teams as of 2021.

“Just wanting to give back to the great game of basketball and my community, giving people the opportunity to play at a pro level even if it wasn’t the NBA. It gives guys the chance to have their families still be able to come watch them play,” Hill credits as the catalyst for creating the organization.

TBL IS ONE OF THE FEW MINOR LEAGUE basketball organizations providing player salaries from $1,500 to $6,500 per month, with teams operating on a budget of $125,000 to $250,000 per season.

“I am a high school graduate from Ferndale High, where I was first team All Conference and honorable mention for All-State. From there I went to play for Delta College in Saginaw, where I was named an All-American. Finally, I transferred to Livingstone College, where I was a CIAA champion and all conference member, and also BOXTOROW first team All-American. Professionally, I played in Canada, Iraq and the U.S..”

Like just about everything during the pandemic, you can imagine that launching a professional basketball team was difficult, to say the least. Home games were played in a number of locations as a result of limited availability, while practices were held at the Boys & Girls Club, who were a major partner.

The Hustle’s roster has 12 players, with two reserves. There is a 24 game season, and four conferences, with seven teams in each.

“In our first season all of our players came from the Michigan area, and all went and played in college, while some also had other professional jobs overseas.”

IT WAS A STRUGGLE TO FIND GYMS for home games as a result of the pandemic in 2020, which also limited the amount of fans which were able to attend games due to the gym’s protocol.

“Also, sponsors and partners backed off because they didn’t want to take the risk due to COVID. But we had a great turnout and season, and are definitely looking forward to this upcoming season.”

Antonio Capaldi (Detroit) was named the Hustle’s first ever Head Coach. A former college standout at Madonna University, Capaldi brings a fresh energy to the new TBL franchise. With coaching experience on the high school, college, and pro level he brings a unique perspective to the Hustle.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to be a Head Coach in a strong league like TBL. We will be active in the community and play a fast paced & tough brand of basketball,” says Capaldi.

“As a player I have known Antonio to be a very tough competitor and we know what we are getting in him. As a person, he is exactly the kind of man that we need to guide us through these exciting times with always keeping an eye on our community engagement,” Hill says.

By Kevin Alan Lamb

I BELIEVE THE PANDEMIC HAS GIVEN EACH OF US A better understanding of what is meaningful in our lives, that which we take pride in, and those who comprise our tribe.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the prevalence of absence within our community, along with the events that help define its character, delivered a gut check that we will continue to recover from.

Unable to attend concerts, sporting events, and pastimes like Ferndale Pride, many were denied access to their community, and to the very ingredients which breathe life into their blood. Accessibility and inclusiveness are two qualities that Julia Music, Executive Director of Ferndale Pride, builds their foundation upon.

“One of the main things we try to do is engage the entire community, so we will have a number of organizations representing the LGBTQA. We were not able to get all of them, but we were able to get LGBTQ represented from different groups. Also, we have lots of different political backgrounds, lots of different religious and non-religious backgrounds represented in our non-profit booths. That is a big component in making sure our Pride festival is very inclusive.

We also have a lot of medical and social services available throughout our Pride festival. We will have STI testing on the street with the Matrix MAC Health Mobile Unit, and free COVID vaccines going this year so people who want to get a vaccine can come get one.”

New to Ferndale Pride this year, in addition to it taking place on Saturday, October 2, will be a third stage programmed inside 215 West Ferndale.

“We are very lucky that Liv Cannabis bought the main stage, and Green Buddha and Thoughts & Prayers are putting on the DJ Dance stage. They are very excited to be joining us this year for the first time ever. We will have 187 booths, and they are all sold out, totally full. Over 200 volunteer slots will be filled by lots of people, helping out, getting the day going, and that is really exciting to see.”

IF PEOPLE WANT TO HELP, THEY CAN VISIT FERNDALEPRIDE.COM where they can sign up to volunteer or donate. They will begin working on Pride 2022 in November.

“A silver lining that emerged from these pandemic times: We got to see places like The Candle Wick Shoppe, which is a small business in Ferndale, come back for the third year with their naming rights sponsorship, ensuring we could actually put on the event because that takes care of a large chunk of our expenses. We have really been lucky that so many businesses were able to do well during the pandemic and come back to support us, and that contributes to the fact that we are not charging again this year at the gate. There’s no gate, actually – you can just walk right in, free of charge. Bring your whole family because of our fundraising efforts and our sponsors.”

Other events happening in conjunction with Ferndale Pride include an interfaith prayer service on October 29, from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM at Schiffer Park. A multitude of different religions will be represented in prayer for a good Pride festival.

MotorBall has moved Pride Weekend, so that will be a ticketed event that you can purchase tickets for if you’re interested in going to all of those club events. TG Detroit will put on their Invasion during Pride so transgender men and women and their allies are welcome to buy tickets for those events. Lots of things to do throughout the week and weekend and we are just very excited to bring Pride back to Downtown Ferndale.”

WHEN CUSTOMERS ENTER A CLOTHING STORE, they can be full of expectations. They want gloves that compliment a coat, or shirt or blouse that matches a pair of pants. Or their mission is bigger, to come across an array of suitable patterns and styles for a wardrobe calling out for new selections.

No matter, owner Je Donna Dinges of the resale boutique Margaux & Max “has you covered.” Her shop offers a variety of “previously-loved fine women’s contemporary and vintage clothing, shoes, and accessories” at prices only a fraction of their original cost. The shop carries classic, casual, and formal wear available in sizes that range from 00-24W. Top brands include J Crew, Ann Taylor, BCBG, Banana Republic, Talbots, and many others.

An equally impressive find in Dinges herself. When customers talk to her, they may get a chance to hear her story full of several challenges. Her courage and business savvy have seen her through tough times. These traits exemplify her status as a leader, mentor, and activist in the community.

How did you get interested in fashion?

I have a background in retail, about 30 years of it to be exact. Most of my retail experience has been in management. I have always loved fashion. As a kid, I would make color swatches using pieces of cardboard and my Crayola crayons. I’d often mix the colors together to get the perfect shade; then my mom and I would shop for tights, shoes, etc. from the swatches. I read Vogue, Glamour, and Harper’s Bazaar. Fashion makes me happy!

With eBay, Etsy, and other online markets for buying and reselling clothing, why did you decide to open a brick-and-mortar store?

Online shopping is great! We offer an online shopping component with our Facebook live, but it is different from eBay, Amazon, and the like. We provide a high level of customer service, even when we are working with our clients online. People can buy clothing and accessories anywhere. Shopping at Margaux & Max is not about buying stuff; we offer our clientele a full-service shopping experience. I work with clients one-on-one to help them find the perfect pieces to fit their body types, skin tones as well as their budgets. People keep saying, “Retail is dead!” Retail isn’t dead. Bad retail is dead!

How long has Margaux & Max been in business? How did you come up with the name? How did you find the location for it in downtown Ferndale?

Margaux & Max has been in business for seven years. I started it at my dining room table with one pair of earrings and a Facebook page. The name comes from two beloved pets. Margo was a German shepherd / husky mix that my parents had when I was growing up. I liked the French spelling better, so I used that. Max was a cat that my ex-husband and I had for 15 years. They have both crossed the rainbow bridge. I’m friends with Heatherleigh Navarre, the owner of the Boston Tea Room. When she moved out of the space, she suggested that my realtor (Rachele Downs) and I look at it, and the rest is history.

Some people dread shopping. How do you attract them to your store? What sets you apart from other retailers?

I work to first earn each client’s trust. I have a knack for looking at someone and knowing what size and style works for them. I am a student of my business/industry, so that means that I present myself as a trusted advisor, a stylist. Fabrics, colors, styles, trends are what I pay attention to so that I can help every client find amazing pieces every time they visit our showroom. I offer clients an opportunity to shop with me one-on-one, so the angst some women feel when shopping in large stores is not an issue. I pull pieces that I know will fit them well. The biggest challenge our clients have is deciding what to leave behind!

How do you feel about your space? Any longterm goals for it?

I love Ferndale. The people are so friendly and supportive of small businesses. We painted the space when we moved in. We just finished painting the outside as well. I love updating window displays to keep the store looking fresh, and to keep people excited about what we have to offer.

You were featured in March on the radio about your neighbor in Grosse Pointe Park using racial intimidation tactics against you. What can be done to help others in your circumstances?

My neighbor put a KKK flag in his window, facing my home, in February. The prosecutor could not charge him, and the Grosse Pointe Park Police Department seemed to be running interference for him. I was very vocal in speaking out against him and the Department (which was all-white). I started a letter-writing campaign to demand that the Department become diverse to reflect the community that it serves. In June, they swore in a new chief who is committed to diversity and inclusion. They also hired their first Black officer. Last week, I was invited to sit on the G.P.P. Police Department’s citizen’s advisory board. I would tell people who are dealing with discrimination to make noise! Don’t stop fighting until they see changes!

Any advice for those wishing to follow in your career path?

Be prepared to work harder than you ever thought possible! I work very hard, but I absolutely love it.

Located at 224 West Nine Mile Road, Margaux & Max is open for virtual appointments.
To schedule an appointment, call 313-221-6434.
Check out its Facebook live events each Friday at 8 P.M.
The web address is
For more information on store events and displays, you may also follow margauxandmax on Instagram.

By Rebecca Hammond

IF YOU’RE SEARCHING OUT INFORMATION ON NATIVE PLANTS RIGHT NOW, it might be because you’re interested in pollinators like butterflies and bees, especially monarchs. Fifteen years or so ago, however, local experts began doing native plant presentations at places like Ferndale’s Kulick Center, and the main focus was the benefits to waterways because of the ability native plants have to hold excess storm water. Less storm water pouring down drains, less pollutants riding along, means cleaner Great Lakes. Nothing much was mentioned in those presentations about bees and butterflies except as an interesting side effect. Neither did they mention flooded basements, those still being a rarity.

If only those experts had waited a couple of years! Soon after this push to go native, basements in our local communities began to flood. And flood, then flood some more. Some homeowners now have flooded basements a couple of times a year. Heavier and more frequent rainfalls are the culprit, but the means by which water gets into our homes varies as much as our soil, plants, construction materials, and methods have varied.

Why do basements flood? Utilities Kingston, Ontario blames “…seepage or flow through the walls or foundation floor, from surface water sources, or by a sanitary or storm sewer backup.” This Old House says, “Even a small storm can trigger a deluge… a house with a 1,500 squarefoot roof sheds 1,000 gallons of water for every inch of falling rain. Once the water accumulates around your foundation, it works its way inside through cracks, joints, and porous material.” A number of sites mention gutters and downspouts sending water down walls instead of away from the house. Most mention nearby concrete and slope of landscape. Most mention soil composition, and many mention what’s planted near that basement. says “Plants are the first line of defense when it comes to erosion control and stormwater management…The extensive and deep root systems of native plants slow down runoff.” Those roots hold water in the soil. Grass roots might be only two-to-four inches deep, but Ferndale’s city flower, Purple Coneflower, has roots that can penetrate to five feet, every inch of those roots able to hold water. Texas Native Plants states that those longer roots provide “flood mitigation services” and that they also filter out pollution.

IF YOU’RE NEW TO MICHIGAN OR GARDENING you might be wondering what native plants even are. They’re just plants that were here before people like us were. There’s quite a variety, and something for everyone: tall sun-lovers like Coneflower and Black-Eyed Susan (loved by birds like gold-finches as much as butterflies); shorter ones like Canada Anemone that not only grow in shade, but bloom in it; specific host plants like Milk-weed, the only plant monarchs will lay eggs on or their caterpillars will eat. There are even some adaptees that fit in quite well, like Queen Anne’s Lace (mine is crawling with swallowtail caterpillars) or Mullein, which may not have the prettiest flower stalk in the world but you won’t mind when you see downy woodpeckers land on it for the seeds. Their long roots hold water for them, as well as for us. These plants don’t need much extra from the grower.

Turf grass, on the other hand, has much shorter roots in comparison, but that’s not the only issue. Remember Michigan master gardener Jerry Baker? He promoted a formula for lawns that included things like beer and ammonia but also dish detergent, which allowed everything else to work for one reason: turf is water-repellent. Detergent breaks the surface tension and allows water to soak in.

Yes, water-repellent. Turf websites, especially golf course sites, call it that, and so promote the use of chemical surfactants to keep water on grass. Some sites actually call grass “hydrophobic.” Thatch is the main reason for this, and the more you fertilize lawn the more thatch it likely has. It occurs when plants build up more decaying matter than nature can break down. Illinois State Extension not only advises against over-fertilizing, they advise against overwatering!

I TRIED AN EXPERIMENT WITH A FEW GALLONS OF RAIN-BARREL WATER. I poured water at intervals onto turf, irises, creeping phlox, and lastly on a patch of natives that included goldenrod and black-eyed susans. All were a few inches from concrete, and slightly uphill from it. I expected water to run off quickly in all four places at first, and it did. But as I revisited each spot, one thing stood out: runoff never slowed from the turf. The irises and surrounding soil slowed it by the second pour. The natives? I had a hard time even getting water onto the sidewalk, as the less-covered soil that surrounds them is very absorbent.

The creeping phlox was the biggest surprise and disappointment because, although it’s not native, I like it and assumed it would allow rainwater easy passage. But it was as bad as grass, or worse. I waited about a half hour and repeated the whole process a few times and, although runoff from the turf maybe slowed a bit, it wasn’t much. There was no more runoff from the irises, and very little from the natives. The phlox remained a sieve.

So where does all this water go when it runs off? Into the streets, and down our storm drains. These drains have become controversial here in Ferndale. Some folks think we should clean them off, letting water flow rapidly, and some think slow is better; don’t clear them. Both camps hope that speed or lack thereof is what keeps that storm water out of basements. (It’s worth noting that blowing grass clippings and the like into the street is actually not legal.)

Since Ann Arbor is a leader in things environmental, I went to their website. It not only says, “Cleaning out the storm drain on your street is a simple way to help keep the Huron River clean and prevent flooding in your neighborhood,” they also have a downloadable map of storm drains with a checklist for found objects. Residents can explore their neighborhoods with kids or friends and search out storm drains and help “the neighborhood and the environment.” They can even adopt a specific storm drain.

The site also points out that, “Whenever there’s a heavy rainfall, or even just a little rain, a lot of pollution can end up being washed off the streets and into the Huron River. You can help prevent that simply by reducing the amount of rainwater that flows off your property from sidewalks, driveways, roofs, etc.” Options they suggest in addition to native plants: rain barrels and rain gardens, which can be large depressions filled with native plants, or a few lower places here and there. Residents can earn stormwater credits for these improvements. A person wanting to go bigger can install cisterns or dry wells, both designed to hold excess rainwater.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE SOME CLOSER EXAMPLES of rain gardens, check out the new ones along 9 Mile Road in Oak Park between Rosewood and Scotia. There are big depressions filled with things like swamp milkweed and Joe Pye weed, along the south side’s new bike path. Most of our yards are actually reverse rain gardens, by the way, sloping up away from sidewalks and streets, setting up more flooding.

Whether basements flood because water goes down storm drains too quickly or too slowly, keeping water out of our streets would help keep it out of our basements. Deep roots, less cement, and rain gardens would help. The City could consider once again allowing gravel driveways or adding more pervious pavement.

No matter how it gets there, water pouring off our lawns and streets and into our basements seems the ultimate exercise in futility and frustration. A local waterproofing company told me that no two basements are alike. Sealing walls, repairing cracks, adding sump pumps and stand pipes are all options. Keeping the water away to begin with might be a good starting point.

And consider this: if you or your neighbors use lawn chemicals, that storm water runoff will contain those chemicals. And so will your flooded basement.

“2014: The yard had no plants other than grass; major flooding in the basement. 2016: We move in, regrade the perimeter of the house, plants galore – basement does not flood.”
– Rachel Anne Engel, Ferndale

“No lawn for 20 years now. Basement never floods. If the backyard does it’s only on paver walk, plus it’s gone in 20 minutes. I never get standing water.”
– Dean Smith, Ferndale

“Forty years, no lawn other than 30 feet of devil’s strip. Only water was the ginormous flood six years ago when every house was flooded. Thirsty trees, shrubs, and plantings take up all the water that comes down, and our house is within 15 feet of a Red Run tributary.”
– Robert Lebow, Huntington Woods

“When I moved to Ferndale 20 years ago, the previous owner had used large concrete patio blocks around the perimeter of the house. There was a lawn in the front yard and back yard. Had water in basement on west side of house once. 18 years ago I took away all lawn in the front yard and most in the back yard, native plantings, some herbs and veggies, and I have never had water in my basement and I rarely mow the back patch of grass that remains for the family dog, which is away from the house anyway.”
– Catherine Jing Rehe, Ferndale

“90 percent garden plus 2 rain gardens. Only flooded once when sump pump died”
– Lauren Yellen, Ferndale

“No grass at all, 25’x25′ mostly edible garden, mulch! Has not flooded. I do seal the walls every few years. No sump pump, and snake the drains twice a year. My weeds/volunteers are morning glories, milkweed, mint, tomatoes and marigolds. Love my yard!!!”
– Merry Gundy, Ferndale

“We’ve never flooded and I give all the credit to our giant Eastern Cottonwood. This year I did get rid of most of my front yard grass and planted natives.”
– Elissa Agans

“Ours leaks and it did flood (seven inches) in 2014. We need a french drain and our problem will be solved. We have more grass than cement, lots of flower beds.”
– Jacquelyn Marie

“I live in Canton, a couple houses over from a creek, and we replaced most of our front yard with native woodland plants in 2019. We do not have flooding in our basement.”
– Jackie Fleishcher Best

“My basement only gets a water seepage when it’s a downpour or steady rain over several hours. Only one wall leaks via an opening near the chimney. Thankfully, the water goes straight to a drain. I have grass and plants and raised beds in my yard. The back area of my yard is where the downward slope is. My neighbor’s yard gets deep enough for ducks and birds to swim and play!”
– Pamela Bentley Callaway

“My basement has never flooded except for the sewer debacle in 2014. I have no grass – all perennial gardens and maybe a few native plants – but certainly not the majority”
– Barbara Harte, Huntington Woods