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Selling? Buying? Contact me for a consultation 33 Year Ferndale Resident | 31 Years of Real Estate Knowledge Keith Weber, RE/MAX First, 32790 Woodward, Royal Oak, MI 48073 | KeithAlanWeber@gmail.com
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Jewelry • Electronics • Firearms • Coins • Televisions • Musical Instruments • Watches • Video Games & Systems • Motorcycles • Tools • Car Audio • Cars • Collectibles & Memorabilia • DVDs & Blu-Rays • Boats • Artwork • Sporting Equipment • Heavy Equipment • Antiques • Crossbows & Compound Bows • Knives & Swords • Fur Coats • Air Conditioners • Sneakers • Designer Purses & Eyewear • Lawn Equipment • Bicycles • Computers • Tablets • Phones
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BACKYARD RECREATION IDEAS
F YOU’RE OF A CERTAIN AGE, YOU PROBABLY REMEMBER being told when you were a kid, to “Go outside and play!” Well, it’s still valid advice, no matter if you’re a kid or an adult. Michiganders don’t get much premium outdoor weather, so let’s enjoy it while we have it! It doesn’t take much to make your backyard an inviting place to be on sunny days and breezy nights. Just relax. If you have two sturdy trees about 15 feet apart, hang a hammock and put a little table next to it. Perch a tropical drink on the table, pull up a reggae station on Pandora, and pretend you’re slung between palm trees on the beach. If you don’t have ideally-spaced trees, a hammock stand works, too. Or if you’re into home spa treatments, sprawl in a chaise lounge and let your hair, nail, and facial treatments sink in and do their work while you enjoy the outdoors. (Just be sure to scoot into the shade if you’re using products that shouldn’t be in direct sunlight, like retinol and alpha hydroxyl acids.) In the evenings, laze next to a firepit. Commune with nature. Many pollinators are attracted by certain plants, including hummingbirds and butterflies. If you’d like to be able to observe pollinators going about their busy business, Google “plants for [insert your favorite here]” and create your own nature center to encourage visitors. (Bonus: many flowers that draw in pollinators are also delicious for humans, like lavender and squash flowers.) When dusk arrives, download a stargazing app and puzzle out some constellations. You can even go camping in your own backyard if you have a tent handy.
By Lisa Howard
Play games! Ever seen those giant life-sized games at summer festivals? You can whip them out in your very own backyard to entertain folks of all ages. Classic lawn games like croquet and bocce are perennially popular, too, or you can hang some water-filled balloons from a tree and have a piñata party. Got hula hoops? Use them in a hip-jiggling competition. Or cut out about a quarter of each hoop, sink the ends into the ground, and play kickball croquet. Be handy. Even if you don’t have mad carpenter skills, you could probably build a teepee out of long sticks and some leafy branches. If you are DIY-inclined, then you might want to transform a shed into a reading nook or build a freestanding Tiki bar. Want to expand your gardening and carpentry skills at the same time? Spend an afternoon putting together a greenhouse kit and then enjoy fresh veggies and herbs year-round. Get creative. Bet you’ve seen some fun, quirky items at art fairs that made you think “Hey, maybe I could do that!” Whether it’s a funky plate perched on a stick or a birdhouse made of corks, outdoor items are a lot more rustic and less complicated to make compared to items you would want to showcase inside your house, and if you do your crafting, then it’s fine if you spill paint or glue. Chances are you already have plenty of oddball items you can use as art supplies. Try out your hosting skills. Haul out a card table, plop it in the grass, and invite people over for a Euchre party. Or depending on your group of friends, perhaps a BYO tea party would be more appropriate. (In that case, also haul out a pretty tablecloth and your best china, then pluck some nearby flowers to make a quick bouquet.) If you have a deck or patio, string some lights on whatever hooks/ umbrellas/railings are handy and host a cocktail soirée. Summertime is party time! FERNDALE FRIENDS
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ES, YOUR FURNITURE MAKES YOUR HOME DISTINCTIVE, whether you shop at Ikea or the Art Van going out of business sale. Painting in just the right color furthers the statement. Now it’s time for the cherry on the top: The right art.
Art Fairs are also curated, but don’t include the expert advice. Mark Loeb of the Funky Ferndale Art Fair suggests that there are some other advantages. “At art fairs you will meet the artist and have time for a conversation. I feel that a big reason people go to the fair is to get the full story of the art they plan to display. For example, when your friend comes by and admires your new sculpture, you can share the story of the artist. The experience of the art fair becomes a memory for you and your loved ones.”
The Ferndale Arts & Cultural Commission (FACC) reminds you that there are many places in the city to select beautiful art. Long time favorites like the Lawrence Street Gallery shares Woodward with Level One Bank’s Community Arts Gallery. A more comprehensive list follows. Then, of course, there is the Funky Ferndale Art Fair and the DIY Street Fair. This year the two are on September 18-20 and the FACC will be adding some additional element to create Ferndale Arts Week.
Why not just buy art at those aforementioned furniture stores or even Walmart? You certainly could, and it likely will be simpler. You will have something that tens of thousands of others will also display. While not all art appreciates in value, no department store pictures ever will. And don’t forget that if you love art, supporting the artists becomes an important mission. Going to the shows is not demonstrating your love of art nearly as much as buying art. Only when you buy something do you actually support the artist, and allow them to continue creating.
What’s the difference between shopping at a gallery and at an art fair? Many art lovers do both as they each have an advantage. Galleries give you an ever-changing, carefully curated selection. You have one or two people that can learn your taste and preferences and help you find exactly what you are looking for. Many can even advise on the framing and matting, which can make a huge difference on how the piece appears.
What happens when your walls are full and there’s no space left on the floor? Many collectors rotate their art. Every month or season they replace a few items with another favorite. Others start buying smaller items that fit in between the cracks. Loeb suggests that the next step is to “replace your mugs, flower pots, dishes and more with items created by favorite artists. Why not have a table as individual as you are?” n
FERNDALE GALLERY LISTINGS • KAISER SUIDAN NEXT STEP STUDIO & GALLERY: 530 Hilton, check web site for shows and hours. Indoor and outdoor galleries and event space. An emphasis on functional art. www.nextstepstudio.com • LAWRENCE STREET GALLERY: 22620 Woodward, Weds.-Sat. 12:00-5:00 P.M. (Friday till 9:00 P.M.), Sunday 1:00-5:00 P.M. A member-owned gallery that also includes other artists in juried displays. www.lawrencestreetgallery.com • LEVEL ONE BANK COMMUNITY ARTS GALLERY: 22635 Woodward, Mon.-Fri. 9:00-5:00 P.M. (Friday till 6:00 P.M.). Curated by gallerist and framing guru Mark Burton. Specializes in solo and themed shows. No web site. • M CONTEMPORARY GALLERY: 205 East Nine Mile, Weds.–Sat. 1:00-6:00 P.M. (5:00 on Saturday). Special services for collectors both individual and corporate. National presence. www.mcontemporaryart.com • PAUL KOTULA: 23255 Woodward (second floor), Check website for hours. Focused on emerging and mid-career artists. www.paulkotula.com/ • RUST BELT GALLERY: 22801 Woodward, Hours vary seasonally. A group of creative small businesses, many in arts and design. www.rustbeltmarket.com • STATE OF THE ART: 918 W. Nine Mile, Tues.- Fri. 11:00-7:00 P.M., Sat. 11:00-5:00 P.M. Gallery with full service design, printing and framing services. www.stateoftheartonline.net • THE STRATFORD: 138 Stratford, Check Facebook for hours. Gallery and event space near Eight Mile. Facebook: The Stratford Studios Ferndale. • THE WHITEBRICK GALLERY: 150 Livernois, Hours vary. A group of artists providing an opportunity for creative exhibits. www.whitebrickgallery.com Please let us know if we are missing anyone. The Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission is working on a listing of galleries and arts organizations within the city.
FERNDALE ART SHOWS • DIY STREET FAIR: September 18-20. An eclectic fair featuring everything from bath supplies to art with a focus on items under $250. Also music, food and alcohol. www.ferndalediy.com • FUNKY FERNDALE ART FAIR: September 18-20. “Twice as funky as the average fine art fair” This juried show features the traditional art mediums with a focus on edgier images. www.funkyferndale.com 16
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UR DIGS 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.
By Ginger Goldmine
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 everevolving. I feel space needs to be everchanging 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 semisecret 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) handmakes 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, FERNDALE FRIENDS
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.
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By Mary Meldrum
EEPING YOUR HOME DRY INSIDE IS A MASSIVE, ONGOING PROBLEM in Michigan lately. Chances are we will see more water in our houses in the coming seasons.
reasons that might be impacting all of your water problems. Even if they do their job like an expert, you might still end up with more water in the future because you fixed the wrong problem. For those of you who are do-it-yourselfers, get comfortable. We’re going to walk through a litany of options for you.
Almost everyone in my neighborhood has had some water challenges over the last several years, including myself. We have spent an enormous amount of time and effort securing our property since moving here in 2014.
Should you waterproof your basement from the inside or outside or both? The answer depends on what is causing all the water to get into your basement. Once you understand the menace making it easy for water to get into your house, you can put together a strategy to resolve the issue.
There are many different causes of flooding in your home. • Leaky or broken pipes. • Poor drainage. • Clogged rain gutters. • Malfunctioning appliances. • Damaged foundation. • Clogged sewer or drain lines Usually, professionals have a limited understanding of your home: The construction, the plumbing, and the landscaping
For instance, are your gutters draining far enough away from your home's foundation? The simple solution is the addition of gutter extensions from the hardware store. Keeping your gutters clear and the water flowing in the right direction is important too. You might need some professional help with this one.
BROKEN PIPES You probably don’t think about it much, but your property is filled with pipes bringing water in and out of the building. Whether it’s the sink you wash your hands in or the washing machine that cleans your clothes, you need a constant flow of water to keep your home running smoothly. But so much water also means a decent chance of indoor flooding. The most obvious cause of indoor flooding is leaky or broken water pipes. Pipes can burst thanks to changes in water pressure or faulty setup but, regardless of the cause, pipe problems often cause floods. A broken pipe can flood your home in a matter of minutes, requiring water damage repairs. Meanwhile, leaky pipes are a warning sign of problems to come, and will require a plumber to properly fix. Hidden floods caused by broken pipes in your walls can even create the perfect environment for mold, requiring mold remediation services.
LEAKING WATER HEATERS A standard water heater is designed to constantly fill itself, providing you with warm water for taking a shower or washing dishes. So, even a small leak can cause major flooding due to the endless flow of water. Make sure to inspect your water heater on a regular basis, keeping up with its maintenance to insure it doesn’t spring a leak. 24
CLOGGED SEWER/DRAIN LINES Some clogs might seem benign, allowing for a slow drain that’s merely an inconvenience. But clogs can get worse, potentially causing your sinks, toilets, and showers to overflow with water, resulting in big floods that cause big damage. If you notice minor clogging, be sure to contact a plumbing service to make sure your problem doesn’t get worse. For the home owners who prefer to do it themselves, there are many YouTube videos that can walk you through the fix.
FAULTY WASHING MACHINE HOSE Washing machines bring plenty of convenience into the home, freeing up your schedule by cleaning clothes with ease. But, like any appliance that uses water, a malfunctioning washing machine can cause indoor flooding. The most common problem with washing machines are faulty washing machine hoses. A leak in your intake hose — the hose that brings water to the machine — can worsen over time and can cause flooding in your home. You can take steps to make your machine safe, like installing a
washing machine valve shutoff kit, but there’s always a chance your washing machine will flood. You can’t control when a flood hits your home or business. Thankfully, if you can recognize the common causes of indoor flooding, you’ll be prepared to prevent floods before they happen and handle them when they strike.
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OME RENOVATIONS ARE EXCITING! YOU’RE TURNING YOUR DREAM INTO REALITY. Before you begin work, you have to take on the tough task of finding a contractor you can trust to get the job done right. A good contractor will make the renovation process smooth and exciting. Hiring the wrong person can turn your project into a nightmare. So how do you ensure you hire the right contractor? • ASK FOR REFERRALS: Has your friend recently completed a renovation project? Were they pleased with the overall work and professionalism of the person they hired? A referral from a friend is the starting point when searching for the right contractor. • FACEBOOK FORUMS: A great way to find contractor referrals is through the FB Forums. Most cities have forums that you can post and create conversations. Ask for a referral, and you’ll be amazed how many responses you will get from people who want to help. If you live in Ferndale, check out the Fabulous Ferndale Forum, or the Ferndale Forum. Oak Park has the Oak Park Forum. Hazel Park and the Hazel Park Community Forum. All are great resources! • GOOGLE REVIEWS: Looking through Google reviews can give you valuable insight into how a person conducts business. Don’t just look at the star rating, but actually read through some of the reviews. The best are the detailed reviews, which will actually provide a person’s experience.
By Fiona Garlow
• WEB SITES: Unfortunately, most contractors will not have an active web site. A busy contractor may not have the time to maintain a web site. Larger companies will have the capacity to hire out their web services but their prices may be higher to help cover those costs. You may miss out on a good contractor and overpay if you base your decision solely on a web site. But it should still be part of your vetting process. • VIEW PORTFOLIOS: If a contractor doesn’t have a web site, they should at least have a portfolio of their past work. Have them provide you with before, during-construction, and after photos. This will show that they were actually on that project and not just showing you photos from the web. • ASK FOR REFERENCES: A good contractor will come with strong references. Ask them to provide you with a couple of their client’s phone numbers. Happy clients will usually be eager to discuss their experience. • MULTIPLE QUOTES: Now that you’ve established a list of contractors that fit within your qualifications, it’s time to get them to quote your project. Receiving multiple quotes will give you a better understanding of what contractors are charging and who is overcharging. Tip: Don’t hire a contractor just because they are the cheapest. Often times the cheapest contractor doesn't have the skill set required to do a professional job. This may cost you more money in the end if you have to hire a real professional to re-do the job correctly. Another Tip: Contractors should provide license number and proof of insurance. Come to our website to download a FREE Contractor Interview Form and other helpful resources for your home renovation! www.PropertySolversDetroit.com FERNDALE FRIENDS
Painting | Roofing Siding | Gutters Carpentry
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THE LEGAL VIEW
: I am reviewing a contract that says: “The Consultant shall indemnify and hold harmless the Client, its officers and employees from and against damages, liabilities, losses, costs, and expenses, but only to the extent caused by the negligent acts, errors or omissions of the Consultant…” What does “indemnify” mean? Answer: Here’s how the Michigan Supreme Court recently described indemnity: “Generally, indemnification is an equitable doctrine that shifts the entire burden of judgment from one “tortfeasor” who has been compelled to pay it, to another whose active negligence is the primary cause of the harm.” Put more simply, “indemnity seeks to transfer the entire loss imposed on a tortfeasor to another, who in equity should pay.” Indemnification is often included in real estate contracts. An individual may not want to rent space unless the landlord indemnifies them for losses caused by the landlord’s failure to maintain the property. Conversely, a landlord may not want to rent to anyone who does not indemnify the building owner against losses caused by the tenant’s negligence. Professional service contracts also use indemnification clauses. When civil liability suits are filed, it is customary for the plaintiff (the injured party) to sue everyone who might be responsible. This can mean that one injured party sues a corporation or business for the acts of an agent or independent contractor of that business. The clause you quoted above means that you (the consultant) are required to protect your client against any claims that might arise from things you did.
By Rudy Serra, Attorney, Former District Judge
There are several types of “indemnification” in Michigan. Contractual indemnification is the most common and is involved here. You have a written agreement that requires you to protect another party. The scope of a clause like this depends on the state’s rules of statutory interpretation. For example, in California, if an indemnification clause does not include “negligence” then negligent acts are not covered. In Michigan, no such specific reference is required. If an indemnification clause gives you a “duty to defend” and requires you to “hold harmless” the other party, this “broad form” of indemnification can make you liable for attorney fees and court courts. An intermediate form of indemnification requires you to pay for “liability.” Indemnification can be mutual, and it can also be limited in time and can include monetary caps. In addition to contract indemnification, there is common law indemnification. According to the State Bar of Michigan [March 2019] “Common-law indemnity arises solely out of equity: an innocent person shouldn’t be held liable for another’s wrongful acts. Unlike contractual indemnity, common-law indemnity’s roots are in equity, so fault is its centerpiece: the indemnitor has no commonlaw obligation to indemnify unless he or she is at fault, and the indemnitee is not entitled to indemnity unless he or she is free from fault.” This short summary should make it clear that indemnification clauses may be more complicated and significant than they first appear. Even without a written clause, a court may find that equity dictates indemnification. For these reasons, it is a good idea to consult an attorney before agreeing to any contract that may require you to indemnify others.
PLANTS TO EAT
HETHER YOU HAVE AN ESTABLISHED GARDEN, A HOPEFUL STRIP OF DIRT WAITING FOR YOUR TROWEL, OR JUST A POT OR TWO, you can grow easy-to-care-for plants to brighten your yard and your plate. You can also skip spraying your lawn and harvest delicious edibles from it instead. (Not applying pesticides is better for bees and other pollinators, plus you’ll save money and won’t be contributing to pesticide runoff flowing into city water systems.) When pondering what to plant, noninvasive native species are always a good idea since they’ll thrive all on their own. Noninvasive imported plants work well, too, assuming that they’re suited to our hardiness zone. In most of Oakland County, that’s Zone 6, with a few areas being Zone 5.
LETTUCE Although lots of veggies are relatively easy to grow, lettuce is by far the easiest, especially if you’d like to grow something from seed. Unlike tomatoes and beans and peppers, lettuce doesn’t need any kind of support structure, and it doesn’t need as much sun, either. One caveat: lettuce needs to be protected from voracious bunnies! An outdoor bistro table or chair makes an excellent lettuce perch, or you can use an outdoor plant stand to get your lettuce off the ground and away from marauding rabbits. (If you have a surplus of large pots, turn one upside down and put another one on top of it — filling it with dirt should make it stable enough to plant your lettuce in.) Fencing in your lettuce also works, but another advantage of using pots is that you can move your lettuce from one spot to another if it seems to be getting too much or too little sun. Lettuce comes in many shapes and shades: closed-head varieties (crisphead, iceberg), looseleaf (red leaf, green leaf), and in between (romaine, bibb), and in hues from pale green to deep red. The more loosely the lettuce grows, the more nutrients it contains — a greater number of exposed leaves means the plant has to have a stronger immune system to defend itself from bugs and fungi that try to attack it. Deeper reddish hues also offer more nutrients in terms of antho8
By Lisa Howard
cyanin content, which is a pigment that functions as an antioxidant. Another nutritional bonus: Lettuce is high in antiinflammatory omega-3 fats. The flavors and textures of different varieties of lettuce vary, but they’re all easy to grow.
HERBS Like lettuce, herbs also grow well in pots. Large-leafed herbs like basil and mint also have especially high amounts of antiinflammatory omega-3 fats. (And come in many different varieties! Purple ruffled basil, anyone? Or how about chocolate mint?) In terms of culinary applications, you just can’t beat fresh herbs that you can snip whenever you like. Plus, you can dry them at the end of the season to enjoy your garden bounty even in the winter months.
FLOWERS If you’re looking for something pretty and practical, plant edible flowers like nasturtium, violets, pansies, and roses. Flowers from herbs and alliums are also edible and often stunning in their own right, so even if you don’t eat them, you can enjoy looking at them. (And chives are possibly the most hands-off perennial plant you can have.) Herbal flowers like lemon balm, lavender, are particularly beloved by bees, too.
LAWNS The biodiversity of an unsprayed lawn is stunning, and a lot of it is edible: Dandelions (the flowers, leaves, and roots), red clover flowers, wood sorrel leaves (wood sorrel kind of looks like shamrocks and is tangy with vitamin C), violets, plantains (aka psyllium in health food stores), purslane (an incredible source of omega-3s), and many more valuable “weeds.” Don’t spray your lawn — eat it!
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Dr. Paul Benson Be Well Medical Center
S FOUNDER, OWNER, AND MEDICAL DIRECTOR, Dr. Paul Benson sets the tone for the Be Well Medical Center. The practice reflects the philosophy that Dr. Benson has developed over the course of 40 years dedicated to his profession and his patients.
Family Practice As a family medicine practice, Be Well Medical Center provides primary medical care for people of all ages, treating many common conditions from diabetes to high blood pressure, while also maintaining relationships with other health care providers and facilities for people who need more specialized care.
where people feel comfortable speaking frankly, asking and answering questions, providing information, admitting concerns and fears, etc., even when it comes to personal and potentially sensitive aspects of their life and health.
Sexual Health If there is something that sets Dr. Benson and Be Well Medical Center apart from many other family practices, it is his conviction—informed by decades of experience—that sexual health is an underappreciated and underemphasized aspect of health care.
As defined by the World Health Organization, “Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality; not merely the Dr. Paul Benson absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual Dr. Benson refers to his practice as “your health requires a positive and neighbor-hood medical center with a heart,” respectful approach to sexuality because he is committed to the principle that and sexual relationships, [and] while ideal patient care requires keeping up the possibility of having with the latest relevant advances in medical pleasurable and safe sexual knowledge, treatments, and technology, it experiences, free of coercion, also requires never losing sight of the human discrimination, and violence.” side of medicine. A family practitioner A family doctor, Dr. Benson especially — who often maintains lifelong contends, must not regard relation-ships with patients, in some cases addressing the sexual health of across multiple generations in a family—needs his or her patients as optional or to manifest virtues including patience, being a as of minor importance. Not when good listener, and compassion in order to we live in a time when—just to provide the best care. mention a few relevant and Be Well Medical Center offers evening concerning points—there are hours four days a week, as well as some more than 110 million sexuallySaturday hours for patients’ convenience. transmitted infections (STIs) in Their staff of health care providers and this country, the lifetime risk of support staff are all highly capable and have contracting HIV for African been trained by Dr. Benson to reflect his American men who have sex with practice’s philosophy. men is approximately 50%, the long-declining rates of gonorrhea Helping people live healthier lifestyles, and and syphilis have in recent years reversed preventing health problems rather than direction and risen, approximately half of all waiting for them to arise before addressing new STIs each year occur among people 24 them, requires good communica-tion between years of age and younger, and studies show doctor and patient. To facilitate this, Dr. that people tend to drastically underestimate Benson contends, a family practice must their likelihood of contracting HIV. create an atmosphere of honesty and trust,
Addressing sexual health with one’s patients has multiple components: sexual history discussions, sex education, and STI testing. Dr. Benson maintains that if you are the physician responsible for providing a person’s primary medical care, taking your patient’s sexual history should be as much a routine part of your job as taking their blood pressure or asking about their allergies. A sexual history should be taken on a new patient’s initial visit, whenever the patient receives a routine preventive exam, and whenever there are indications of an STI. A discussion of sexual health should include educating the patient with current information regarding HIV and other STIs and their prevention, including addressing appropriate condom use with any sexually active patient. Individuals deemed at risk for STIs should be encouraged to get tested regularly, every 3 to 6 months depending on the degree and nature of the risk. Sexual health is a matter close to Dr. Benson’s heart. He has been on the forefront in the battle against HIV since before the terms “HIV” and “AIDS” even existed. He has seen far too many lives damaged and lives lost as a result of inadequate communication, education, and understanding of risk concerning sexual matters. In addition to being boardcertified in Family Medicine, he is accredited as an HIV Specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine. Dr. Benson has published extensively in medical journals, has been the principal investigator for many therapeutic drug trials in the HIV field, and is a national speaker on many health-related issues. He has served as President of the St. John Oakland Physicians Organization, as well as of the local Berkley Rotary Club. Dr. Benson’s pledge to the community is that Be Well Medical Center will always be open and welcoming to those of all races, genders, ages, orientations, etc. All people who walk in the door are respected, valued, and accepted as deserving of individualized care. n
Art by Steven Gamburd ©2020
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DIGS 2020: Our annual guide to living places and growing spaces.