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Woodward Talk

Published February 10, 2016

FERNDALE — Almost anywhere you go now — restaurants, coffee shops and retail stores — the Internet is available.

However, at the Ferndale Area District Library, staff realized that not everyone has access to the Internet at home, and patrons are using the library’s computers for everything from searching for a job to connecting with loved ones to watching movies.

So when approached by T-Mobile to be part of the company’s Wi-Fi hot spot pilot program, Executive Director Jessica Keyser jumped at the opportunity.

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Published February 9, 2016

FERNDALE — Through several fundraising efforts, the Ferndale Blessings in a Backpack program was able to raise $14,000 before the new year, allowing the program to kick off at Kennedy Elementary School in January.

For $100, a student can go home with a bag full of meals for the weekend throughout the whole school year as part of the Blessings in a Backpack program. In the Ferndale School District, about 61 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunch.

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Published February 9, 2016

PLEASANT RIDGE — After more than five years of studying Woodward Avenue from Detroit to Pontiac, the Woodward Avenue Action Association has put the final touches on its Complete Streets plan for the corridor.

But that is just the beginning, WA3 Board Vice Chairman Kurt Metzger said.

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Published February 3, 2016

FERNDALE — Thanks to a matching donation from the Daniel & Pamella DeVos Foundation, Michigan Youth Arts was able to provide Arts Equipment and Supplies grants to nearly double the number of classrooms in 2015 as it was able to provide in the program’s first year.

In collaboration with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Michigan Youth Arts offers up to $2,500 to any kindergarten through 12th-grade classroom in Michigan that has a focus on a fine or performing art. The grant program helped 43 classrooms in 2014.

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Published February 3, 2016

FERNDALE — Cooking hasn’t always been Jared Bobkin’s calling, but ever since the Oak Park native got in a kitchen, he hasn’t looked back.

The constant pressure to produce, the never-ending list of things to accomplish and the chance to try new things is what appealed to Bobkin, he said.

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Published February 2, 2016

BERKLEY — The Berkley American Legion owns its building on 12 Mile Road now, but the Stanley J. Fons Post 374 isn’t out of financial trouble just yet.

A year ago, the American Legion was weeks from losing its building, which it had occupied for 75 years, after years of financial mismanagement saw the post owing $100,000 to Chase Bank for a balloon mortgage payment.

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Published February 1, 2016

FERNDALE — People from around the country are stepping up to make sure Flint residents have safe water to drink in the wake of the Flint water crisis, and Ferndale is no different, as a group of residents and business owners are working to collect water to donate to the city.

The initiative, called #FromFerndaleToFlint, was created by a group of residents as a way to collect water and raise funds to deliver to Mission of Hope Pastor Bobby Jackson, who has been coordinating water distribution during the crisis.

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Published January 27, 2016

BERKLEY — Always a fan of the game of hockey but never a player, Livonia resident Josh Krajewski finally had the opportunity three years ago to test his luck with a stick in his hands and skates on his feet.

Krajewski is an Army veteran, having served from 2005 to 2009. And when stepping on the ice, he said, he felt a sense of normalcy he hadn’t always felt since leaving the Army.

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Published January 27, 2016

BERKLEY — From the time Army Staff Sgt. Ben Eberle entered the Anderson Middle School hallways filled with sixth-graders waving American flags Jan. 20 through a ceremony in his honor and on to a meeting with six Berkley students who helped him, the Mio native never lost his smile.

In 2011, while on patrol in Afghanistan, Eberle lost both of his legs and his right hand due to an improvised explosive device. The past four years have been challenging, Eberle said, but he, his wife and two children never lost hope.

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Published January 26, 2016

OAK PARK — It’s been 40 years since Jonathan Wolff arrived in Hollywood as a 17-year-old musician fresh from Louisville, Kentucky.

Wolff became one of the most active musicians and composers in Hollywood, composing theme songs for 44 television shows, including “Seinfeld” and “Will & Grace.” He has worked on still more shows to bring his total number of shows to 75.

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Published January 25, 2016

FERNDALE — With an ever-growing downtown district, the Ferndale City Council approved a liquor license for the Rust Belt Market, 22801 Woodward Ave., in hopes of contributing to the growth of a business that cultivates other business owners in the area.

The Rust Belt Market, which has been open for nearly five years at the corner of Woodward and West Nine Mile Road, is home to about 50 businesses who use the space to set up shop and sell their products, from pictures to jewelry and food.

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Published January 25, 2016

BERKLEY — For the past few years, teachers in the Berkley School District have had the opportunity to apply for mini-grants to cover the costs of materials or trips that otherwise wouldn’t be covered by the district.

This year, all eighth-grade students in the district will have the opportunity to visit college campuses around the state in order to get an early introduction to the college atmosphere and what it may be like after they graduate.

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Published January 22, 2016

WARREN — In the summer of 1950, less than five years after the guns of World War II fell silent in the Far East, armed conflict erupted on the Korean peninsula.

The Korean War, also known in the United States and Canada as “The Forgotten War,” would eventually result in more than 36,000 American combat deaths. More than 100,000 Americans were wounded. Theater-wide, the numbers were staggering, with more than 5 million people killed, nearly half of them civilians.

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Published January 20, 2016

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation Jan. 5 that eliminated straight-ticket voting in Michigan.

Senate Bill 13, which was sponsored by state Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, updates state election law and disallows constituents from voting for single parties with the check of one box in polling places.

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Published January 20, 2016

FERNDALE — The Ferndale City Council will not be considering any liquor licenses in the near future at the request of the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority as it works to put an ordinance in place to help alleviate the downtown parking issues.

DDA Executive Director Barry Hicks brought the request to council Jan. 11 after the DDA board decided during its December meeting to ask the council to hold off on approving any more liquor licenses until a new parking in lieu ordinance is considered.

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Published January 20, 2016

FERNDALE — The children’s section in the Ferndale Area District Library has continued to grow over the past few years as it tries to encourage children to dive into a good book or enjoy one of numerous children’s programs.

Now, the library staff is looking to push the children’s learning further with the introduction of international storytimes.

Youth Services Librarian Ashley Lehman started researching the program after several requests from local parents for a storytime in Spanish.

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Published January 19, 2016

FERNDALE — The city of Ferndale has a new parental leave program that will allow both men and women to take up to 12 weeks of time off with full pay.

The new benefit came before the City Council during the Jan. 11 meeting. Councilwoman Melanie Piana, who pushed for the new benefit, said it would not only help the city recruit the best employees, but retain them when the time comes for them to become parents.

Council unanimously voted to approve the policy.

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Published January 13, 2016

FERNDALE — Ferndale Middle School has added yet another opportunity for students to get more engaged with science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, with a new class offering.

This school year marked the beginning of the Project Lead the Way class, taught by Ferndale High School science teacher Ryan Dunlap. Project Lead the Way reportedly provides STEM programs in more than 8,000 schools.

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Published January 13, 2016

FERNDALE — Pleasant Ridge resident and Ferndale School District parent Jackie Hart was named the newest Ferndale Board of Education trustee Jan. 4 after a selection process following the departure of former Trustee Raylon Leaks-May.

Leaks-May was elected in November to the Ferndale City Council, and despite state law allowing her to serve on both the council and school board, she stepped down at the end of 2015. 

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Published January 13, 2016

FERNDALE — On a normal evening, Martha Potts turns off her television after “Jeopardy!”, the one show she enjoys watching because of the education aspect, and picks up some fabric.

Potts has been sewing since the age of 5, when her small build made it hard for her parents to find clothes that fit her correctly. And just as she grew up wearing hand-sewn garments, so did Potts’ children, at least until the age at which they were able to protest, she joked.

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