Businesses work to spread awareness in October
BY MELANIE YOUNG
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the businesses in the City of Wyandotte have special events planned to educate women about the disease, celebrate survivors and remember those who have been lost.
The fourth Annual Paint the Town Pink event is a community-wide effort to raise awareness and educate women on the importance of annual mammograms with the ultimate goal of preventing breast cancer. Visitors to Wyandotte during October will find a sea of pink ribbons lining Biddle Avenue, donated by BASF.
The event is the brainchild of Janelle and Peter Rose, owners of The Willow Tree clothing store on Biddle. They had been to a similar event in another community several years ago, and thought it would be a good fit for Wyandotte because there are several businesses owned by or geared toward women.
Also, according to Janelle Rose, manager of The Willow Tree, “We are all touched by breast cancer in some way. The goal and focus of the month-long calendar of events is to stop breast cancer, and the fundraising is just a bonus.”
Event coordinator Cheryl Washburn has very personal reasons for getting involved. Her sister is a breast cancer survivor and her brother is fighting another form of cancer. Rose praises Washburn’s tireless efforts to get the message out.
“They are faithful fighters that share their time, talent and message while going through their own struggles.”
The theme for this year’s events is Educate-Celebrate-Remember.
The money raised from the different events is donated to the Yes Ma’am Program at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. Every $100 raised provides a free mammogram for a woman in need.
The 17th Annual Yes Ma’am Free mammography Program will be held on Sunday, Oct. 10th, from 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. The program is available to women 40 and over who have no health insurance or whose health insurance does not cover a screening program. Call (734) 246-9601 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are required.
Paint the Town Pink will officially kick off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 3 at BASF Waterfront Park. It will be followed by the annual Family Fun Run, Walk and Roll at 9 a.m.
An event that will be going on throughout the month is “Bras for a Cause.” Any member of the community can decorate a bra using any theme or material and submit it on a decorated non-wire hanger to The Willow Tree for display throughout the month of October. The bras will be judged in three categories: Best Overall, Most Creative and Unique and Best Themed for the Cause. The bras will be judged and raffled off at the Pink-A-Palooza celebration Nov. 7 at Biddle Hall.
Other Wyandotte businesses will hold their own events in conjunction with the Paint the Town Pink month and they will also donate to the Yes Ma’am fund. Wyandotte High School will hold a special “pink” football game. Pip’s Painting Pub will host “TaTa Tuesdays” where $5 for every canvas will go to “Yes Ma’am.”
Those interested in Halloween-type fun will be happy to hear that the second annual Zombie Pub Crawl will be held on Saturday, Oct. 17. Proceeds will also go to the Yes Ma’am fund.
The Willow Tree will host the “Wall of Fame.” Here, visitors will see a display of photographs of breast cancer survivors. The Willow Tree will also provide breast self-exam cards in all of its dressing rooms for patrons to take home.
The month long event will culminate in the Pink-A-Palooza Party to be held at Biddle Hall on Nov. 7. This is the grand finale to the month of events. Tickets are just $30 and include appetizers, live music, door prizes and drink tickets. The Bras for a Cause will be judged by VIP judges, including U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, and then raffled off at the event.
Janelle Rose said this is a very warm and wonderful party to attend. “The camaraderie of the patients and survivors is pretty special.”
Tickets can be purchased at The Willow Tree, Chelsea Menswear and Tuxedo, or Downriver Stone Design.
For more information about any of these events, visit www.lovewyandotte.org. www.facebook.com/tatas.taskforce, or contact Rose at (734) 282-8232.
BY MICHAEL McCONNELL
Downtown Wyandotte may not have the cachet of Royal Oak, Ferndale or Birmingham, but that doesn’t bother Mayor Joseph Peterson.
The 36-year resident says he thinks those trendy Oakland County suburbs could learn a few things from his waterfront Downriver city.
“I’d rather they make comparisons to us,” Peterson said. “Once they see it, people are surprised by what we have to offer.”
It’s not hard to find people who agree with the mayor’s assessment. In the last three years, a surge of public and private money has spurred developments which have started to transform the central business district in this community of almost 26,000 people.
Formerly vacant storefronts along Biddle Avenue, the city’s main thoroughfare, are being remodeled for new tenants, and some older structures are being torn down to make way for new businesses. Condominiums and upscale apartments are being built in and around the city’s downtown, giving one of metro Detroit’s oldest suburban areas more of an urban feel.
New businesses such as sushi bars, coffee shops and nightclubs mix with longtime retail establishments like clothing stores and ice cream shops.
Mark Kowalewski of the city’s Engineering Department said all the projects may surprise people who visit the city for events such as the annual art fair or weekend farmers markets.
“They see all the buildings under construction and they’re like ‘Wow. What’s going on in Wyandotte?’ ” he said.
Asked for a list of new developments, the mayor and Kowalewski said the city has been too busy issuing permits to compile one. Among the larger projects recently completed is a medical office complex at the corner of Eureka Road and Biddle. Dr. Anne Abrahamson of Grosse Ile built the 2-story, $1.9 million building and moved her physical medicine and rehabilitation practice from Taylor. She started seeing patients at the new site in August.
Abrahamson, who bought the building in 2009, said she always wanted to practice medicine in the city.
“I love Wyandotte,” she said. “My parents were born in Wyandotte. I grew up in Lincoln Park. My mother still lives in Lincoln Park. I am the medical director and the chairperson at Henry Ford Wyandotte (hospital). So I am there seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. “And I just love downtown Wyandotte.”
The 15,000-square-foot building will eventually include a pharmacy and a number of upscale apartments, she said.
Longtime Downriver residents may remember the Gail’s Office Supply on Biddle that was part of a metro Detroit chain of family run outlets. It closed in 2003 and has been vacant since. The 1860s-era building was recently sold by the Gail family to the owners of Total Health Foods, which have been renovating the structure since April.
Janette Crossman, one of the owners of the store, said she’s really excited about moving into the building.
“It’s a great piece of property,” Crossman said, adding that the four owners of the store are all Wyandotte residents. “Wyandotte’s been very good about advising and helping us. Very supportive.”
Another site seeing redevelopment after decades is a former Sears store along Biddle. That site is being remodeled into a mixed-use building that will likely include a restaurant, offices and nine loft-style apartments.
The $5 million project received $798,000 in grants from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and another $220,943 from the city’s Downtown Development Authority. It also qualified for multiyear tax exemptions worth over $1.9 million.
MEDC Chief Executive Officer Steve Arwood said it is the kind of project the state’s cities need.
“These projects will act as catalysts for viable residential neighborhoods by creating downtown living options and redeveloping obsolete buildings into vibrant commercial and residential spaces,” Arwood said. “We are pleased to support these efforts to strengthen and further revitalize these communities.”
As part of the project, the developers said they plan to construct a connecting four-story building that will include an entrance lobby, elevators and stairs.
All the construction in the area has encouraged owners of other longtime businesses to remodel or expand, Peterson said. With the city’s blessing, a number of restaurants have installed or expanded outdoor seating areas to make a livelier street scene.
The mayor said it’s turning downtown Wyandotte into a truly walkable urban environment — perhaps an unexpected statement for a mayor from a region with so many automobile-related jobs.
“You can almost live here and don’t have to have a car,” he said. “Wherever you work at, you can park your car, you can walk, you can eat, you can go wherever you want.”
BY DAVE MERCHANT
People who like salons and enjoy excellent, star-like attention will appreciate the arrival of Downriver’s second Daybreak Salon, which opened Sep. 14 on Biddle Avenue in downtown Wyandotte.
A formal ribbon-cutting is scheduled to be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 16, which coincides with Wyandotte’s monthly Third Friday event.
The company’s other salon is in the Woodhaven Commons shopping center in Woodhaven, right in the heart of the city’s retail district.
The father of the group of owners is Gary Rushlow, and he and his family are no strangers to the salon business.
The business is truly a family affair with his wife, Mary (Troffoli), son Jerad and daughter Jenee (Rushlow) Osborne involved in various aspects.
“My mom is in her 90s and still lives in Wyandotte,” Rushlow said. “I am excited to come back to my hometown of Wyandotte.”
Rushlow’s first venture into the salon business stretches back to 1973, when he opened Headway Salon in Southgate.
The Woodhaven location is approximately 3,600 square feet. The new Wyandotte facility is slightly larger at 3,800 square feet. It also offers space for the client to look at the Detroit River as they are being pampered.
“Wyandotte is a good place,” Jerad said. “It is close to attract clientele. There are businesses that the workers can shop or eat at (that are relatively close).”
The Woodhaven location now has more than 50 employees. The Wyandotte salon opened with 17 employees but will expand as business dictates, the Rushlows said.
“We will get downtown foot traffic,” Jerad said. “Salons do great in a downtown atmosphere. I like how the (stylists) can enjoy the area’s downtown appeal.”
He is excited about running the facility and having his family doing it as well.
“(Woodhaven) being eight years open and our kids were tiny, now they are seven and eight,” Jerad said.
Gary said that his shops have been using Aveda products, which is all pure and natural since 1981, making them one of the oldest customers for these products.
“We are now called an Aveda Lifestyle Salon, which means we are allowed to have their products in our logo,” Gary said. “There are only two or three salons in Michigan that have this.”
So if you want to be treated like a star, given a drink and pampered to your heart’s content, check out this new location in Wyandotte across from Mama’s Kitchen or try the location in Woodhaven.
Visit the salon online at daybreaksalon.com.
Dave Merchant is a freelance writer for the Trenton Trib and can be reached at email@example.com.
BY DAVE MERCHANT
Assisted-living residences are not always located in big buildings. In fact, Wyandotte has one that takes a small number of patients and specializes in care for elderly patients with dementia.
The three-story Victorian home is located at 1404 Chesnut, about midway between downtown and Fort Street and one street north of Oak Street.
Registered nurse Claudia Palchak runs the house and it was opened the middle of last year.
“We do have a waiting list,” Palchak, who has been working with the elderly as a nurse for more than 26 years Downriver, said. “There are six private rooms and it is adult foster care to take care of the elderly.”
She works during the day as a business development manager for Home Partners. Her job includes visiting nursing homes and assisted-living facilities for patient evaluations and also helping people find a facility that is right for them and their personalized needs. She has lived in Wyandotte for 29 years.
The patient must be at least 55 years old. The current average age of a patient in this facility is in the 80s.
“At the facility we assist with medical, bathing, grooming, laundry and meals.” she specified. “There are eight employees who work here.”
With her as the manager, the current staff include certified nursing assistants that are all CPR certified, at all times.
Palchak said there are employees at the facility 24 hours a day. They encourage relatives and friends of the patient to visit around the clock to make it seem like a home for them. The facility does have an alarm system from Wyandotte Alarm which is ironic because they are located very close to the house. It is locked 24-7 and you have to be let in and out by staff members.
“It is a three-level ranch,” she said. “We added a chair lift to the house. It is a beautiful home with grab bars and people are welcome to take a tour.”
It is also convenient for patients there who are visiting physicians including foot doctors, hospice and other needs that can be taken care of without leaving the facility.
According to Palchak, this facility is for patients who don’t necessarily need to be in a larger nursing home, but still need some assistance in their day-to-day lives.
She said that taking care of the elderly can be emotional. They have a garden house the people there can work on or just relax if they like. They stress educating the patients and keeping them active.
“It’s just a very down-to-earth, pleasant place to be,” said Ann Lebert, who is one of the caregivers at the home and also Palchak’s sister. “I’m really proud of my sister for what she has done here.”
Anyone interested in a tour or looking for more information can call Palchak (734) 925-0868.
Dave Merchant is a freelance writer for The Trenton Trib and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Museum plans open house
In cooperation with Wyandotte’s Third Friday festivities, the Ford-MacNichol Home, one of four downtown area buildings comprising the Wyandotte Museum campus, will hold a special Evening Open House throughout October.
Carved jack ‘o’ lanterns and festive decorations greet visitors as they stop in for a glimpse of the celebrations of Halloween evenings long past. Guests can enjoy the charm and fun of an Edwardian Halloween party, and get some historical decorating ideas for their next event.
Also, learn about the customs of Victorian mourning as the museum displays a 19th century funeral in the parlor, using many artifacts from Thon’s Funeral Home, which is celebrating 158 years in Wyandotte.
The exhibit is up for the entire month of October during normal tour times. Open House times are from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Admission is free during this event.
The Wyandotte Museum is dedicated to inspiring and fostering public awareness, interest, understanding and appreciation of the unique history of the city of Wyandotte and its relationship to the Downriver region.
The museum aims to preserve the community’s heritage through its historic buildings, collections, archives, publications, exhibits, programs and special events using the shared past as a foundation of the future.
Hours are 12-4 p.m. (the last tour starts at 3:30) Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (closed holidays). The Museum is closed for tours during the months of November, January, February and March.
Cost is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children age five to 12. Children age four and under are free. Parking is free in the lots behind the museum. Contact the Museum by email at email@example.com, phone at (734) 324-7284, the museum office line (9-5 Monday-Friday) at (734) 324-7297.
Other Wyandotte Museums attractions include the Marx Home Museum, the Burns Home and the Old Timer’s Cabin. For more info visit www.wyan-dottemuseums.org.