Thursday, September 21, 2006

Throwing Gasoline on the Fire

With the world teetering on a new type of world war between Western Societies and Fundamentalist Muslim extremists, how timely and helpful was the recent proclamations by Pope Benedict! Reiterating very negative anti-Islamic writings from an obscure 14th century Byzantine emperor was just what the world needed.

Instead of supporting Muslim moderates and speaking out to the world about moderation, diversity, and tolerance, the Pope has made a bad situation worse.

One can't help to wonder if the fundamentalist Christians are actually interested in a world struggle between religions that could result in the death and destruction of millions. Many of them believe the "rapture" and the "end times" are coming soon to a planet near you. Is this why they continue to support the simplistic and dangerous policies of "born again" George Bush?

Does the Pope want to join in another bloody "crusade" to wage war against Islam?

Do folks not realize that Chrisitans, Muslims, and Jews all worship the exact same deity?

And what happens to the rest of us, who simply want to live, learn, and make the real world a better, safer, and more peaceful place?

Watch for Pat Robertson and the other religious extremests on "our" side to gleefully proclaim the nearing second coming of Christ.

With two more years of George Bush, are we going to be able to survive?

Friday, September 15, 2006

There's Nothing Pretty about Tina

For the past year, the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project (MAPP) has been working on addressing the growing problem of methamphetamine abuse and addiction. MAPP has always been cognizant of the relationship between certain types of drug use ( including alcohol) and HIV/ AIDS risk behavior. Increased meth use, particularly among some gay men, is fueling new HIV infections in many states. We would like to prevent or reduce that potential crisis from happening in Michigan.

Known as crystal, ice, meth, or tina, the drug is highly addictive, and very damaging to the body. Users of meth damage their heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. Regular use causes extreme damage to the teeth and gums, and can also cause impotence in men. And while meth is often used as self-medication for depression or social isolation, its continued use actually exacerbates those problems. The crash after meth use is severe, debilitating, and leads to the addiction, or need for more of the drug.

Meth initially makes one feel invincible. It increases energy, and can increase libido. To counteract the deflating effects on sexual function, it is sometimes used with viagra or other performance enhancing drugs. In this scenario, men may have multiple high risk sexual contacts at a bathhouse or party, thus explaining the higher rate of disease among such men.
Rates of syphilis, HIV infection, and other sexually transmitted diseases run two to three times higher among meth users than non-users.

While amphetamines, and their dangers, have been around for a long time, the new meth is home-made, cheaper, much more toxic, and more addictive.

The final insult from meth is that its use causes one to age quickly. While many people, including gay men, like to look younger than their age, meth users quickly begin to look much older. Regular meth use will add years to one's looks. And there is nothing pretty about that.

For more information about meth, including treatment and help...check out our new web site...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

8/10/06 - Thanks Joe Lieberman, now take a break.

An open letter to the Senator from Connecticut

Senator Lieberman:

You dont know me, but I worked for your election to the Vice-Presidency in 2000. Lots of us worked hard, and you should have won that race. Michigan went for you and Al Gore.

But now, after many years of hard work and community service, it is time for you to take a break. Work to elect Democrats in the races around the country that are close. Help to defeat Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania. I sent a check to help in that struggle.

Please dont run a spoiler campaign as an Independent against your own party. You have done good work...except of course the bad decisions you made to support George Bush and his phony war on terrorism in Iraq. That is why you lost your primary race on Tuesday. And you deserved to lose that one.

Many Americans are furious about this expensive, bloody, misguided, and doomed war in Iraq. You are partially to blame. And you need to realize that, and put away your own hurt feelings. This is bigger than even you, Joe.

Quit now while you still have some dignity and respect. It is time to let someone else try their hand.

8/10/06 - Vacation Time for the President

While we all like to take the annual vacation from work, it seems really lame that our President decided he could once again take ten days to go to his Crawford ranch while the Mideast continues its month-long descent into flames and destruction. Nevermind the growing chaos in Iraq, as our troops become engulfed, after nearly four years of death and destruction, into all out civil war. Israel and Lebanon are the scene of terrible and expensive destruction and bloodshed, to the horror of most of the world, while the President is clearing brush.

Is it just me, or does it seem like every time the President takes a vacation, that destruction and death from terrorism, hurricanes, or other disasaters seem to take place.

And is it better to have him engaged, or are we better off is he is not paying attention?

6/13/06 - What Would Jesus Do?

Incredibly, the Vatican is reiterating its policy opposing the use of condoms, even for disease prevention. The Catholic Church hierarchy, which purports to direct and guide a billion Catholics on the planet, can not figure out how to help millions of people protect themselves from the deadly HIV virus beyond the tired and barely helpful directive to abstain from sex until marriage, and then to stay monogamous. It can't seem to realize reality which is that 40 million people are already infected, many of them already married. Following the directive against condom use would be a death sentence for millions.

A slender slip of latex, used for centuries to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, costing today a few pennies each, is against Catholic dogma.

How very very sad.

For decades the Catholic Church couldn't even get hundreds of its own priests to keep their hands off teen-age boys and girls. But they can advise the masses to abstain from all sex, and even if they do have sex, to not use protection.

Anyone who has read the history of the life of Jesus would be dumbfounded at such hypocrisy, ignorance, and denial.

He told people to be kind, gentle, and to care for the weak and the ill. He ranted against the hypocrits and the those in authority who failed to honestly care for the people.

Jesus would be in Africa today, teaching people how to protect themselves from AIDS, showing them how to care for the sick, and he would be handing out medicine for free...and condoms.

6/6/06 - While Rome Burns

The anniversary of the first cases of HIV reported back in 1981 was Monday June 5th. And what did our great President do on that day? Did he use the power of his "bully pulpit" to rally Americans to continue the battle against HIV? Did he meet with people living with HIV?

Perhaps he used the occasion to reiterate the importance of education, or the need to increase access to HIV drugs for low income patients.

No, President Bush used this once in a lifetime opportunity to come out strongly to amend the United States Constitution to forever ban same sex marriage.

Here is a question for my readers...."Do you think George Bush will go down in history as the WORST President we have ever had?" Let me know your thoughts. If you think there was a worse President, let me know.

I grew up with Nixon as President in the late sixties/early seventies. I never thought I would actually wish to have him back...but I think his failures and foibles were miniscule compared to the havoc and evil that Bush Junior has caused, and for which we will be cleaning up for decades to come.

5/25/06 - Abstaining from Compassion or Intelligence

"Abstaining from sex until marriage" is the mantra of the fundalmentalist right-wing when it comes to fighting the world-wide HV/AIDS pandemic. Their solution to the most serious plague known to mankind is simple...control your sexual urges, wait until marriage, then be monogamous. And that is it. There are no other choices in their plan. It is obviously a presciption for death for millions. Twenty-five million deaths so far since 1981.

While abstaining from sex will prevent HIV transmission from sexual intercourse, it certainly doesnt help the people who get infections from needle-sharing, blood to blood contact, or blood transfusions, or through pregnancy or birth.

A monogamous marriage does not protect a husband or wife if their spouse is ALREADY infected...and their are 40 million people infected right now with HIV.

We must also question their motives when it comes to same sex relationships. How does abstinance before marriage protect gay men? Since gay men in most countries CAN'T get married, are the moral guardians of chastity suggesting that gay men never have sex? Or are they going to support gay marriage?

I suspect they just don't care. Since gay men have born the brunt of dying in this country over the past 25 years, maybe the crusaders of the Christian right would be happy if gay men continued to do so.

To honestly believe that all young people, teens, and adults will abstain from sex until marriage is beyond foolish. It is beyond denial. It is taking a political position on a life or death issue that should be left to experts and those who have compassion for their follow human being.

The average age for marriage in the U.S. is now 25 to 26. Very few people are able to resist the basic and compelling need for physical intimacy that human beings are wired for.

The truth is that the fundamentalist religious conservatives in this country hate sex. They oppose gay sex, pre-marital sex, condoms, oral sex, masturbation, birth control, anal intercourse, abortion, and just about anything else to do with the subject. They want to impose their own pathetic fears and dysfunctions on the rest of us.

Finally, they usually claim incorrectly that condoms do not prevent AIDS , and fail to protect folks from HIV infection. If they were honest, they would also admit that abstainence fails far more often.

4/28/06 - Several important events and dates this month

Several important events and dates this month, especially for those who enjoy, celebrate, recognize, and support our Latino(a) communities.

May 1st Monday National "Day without Immigrants" A day when millions of people in the United States and around the world will not go to work, will stay home, and not buy anthing or spend any money-a "national strike" if you will. Put together by immigrant organizations, Latino groups, labor unions, peace groups, and others, the one day event is to draw attention to the issues surrounding immigration, labor, and diversity. Supported now by peace organizations and many corporations as well as those who support and sympathize with our guest workers and immigrants, it is the first such national strike called since the Vietnam war days. I am taking one of my personal days, and will not be going to work. I also intend to not purchase anything. It will be a perfect day to leave the rat race, do some gardening, talk to some friends, and maybe go to the gym. Perhaps others will join me in the area and make a statement.

Cinco De Mayo A holiday celebrating an important military victory in Mexico's past, which has become an obervance here as well, to enjoy the culture of Mexico in the U.S. (May 5th)

Salsa Wednesday May 10 Our annual fundraiser/dance party at Boogie Fever in downown Ferndale featuring Salsa dance lessons, local Mexican restaurants offering delicious food, great music, professional dancers and camraderie. Funds raised help La Comunidad, our Latino health and community program at Midwest AIDS Prevention Project. Tickets $20 in advance...$25 at the door. Tax deductible
call Monica Mills at 248-545-1435 for more information.

4/11/06 - Flying Flags Proudly - Vive Mexico

With hundreds of thousands of people marching through the downtown streets of dozens of major American cities, it has been gratifying to me to finally see citizens and visitors in America demonstrating their beliefs in an energetic and public way. For too long public protest has been muted and stifled and limp. People need to get out of their easy chairs and off their couches, and get out of their cars. They need to walk the streets in the warming spring air and speak their minds.

Those protesting the U.S. House bill that would make felons out of undocumented workers have organized huge masses of people to take to the streets with colorful and poignant placards and banners. Many carry flags...including flags from Mexico as well as the American flag.

Monday in Atlanta, however, a small group of counter protesters burned a Mexican flag. While they have the right to protest and speak their minds, it was disconcerting that they had to take the next reactionary step to burn the flag of Mexico.

Nevermind that 40% of the 11 million undocumented workers here are NOT from Mexico. And forget that millions of proud American citizens trace their ancestors from Mexico. Even discount that half of the Western United States was part of Mexico and settled first by the Spanish.
Arrogance and ignorance take precedence as evidenced by the mean-spirited and almost violent action of burning the Mexican flag.

Monday morning I decided to hang my Mexican Flag from my porch. I usually do this during the week of Cinco de Mayo for my many Mexican friends. But why wait until May? It is a beautiful spring week in Michigan, and the proud green, red, and white flag looks great in the sunshine.

4/5/06 - Medical Marijuana Growing

Yet another state has just changed its laws to legalize the medical use of marijuana. Rhode Island has become the 11th state to do so. Beginning April 1st, 2006, residents in the smallest state of our country can register under Rhode Island's Medical Marijuana Program if they have delibitating diseases such as cancer, or HIV disease, for photo ID's allowing them to grow up to a dozen marijuanna plants or possess up to 2 and 1/2 ounces of the herb. Patients often use the plant to relieve pain, nausea, and lack of appetite. It is still illegal there to sell pot, or for the general population to use it.

Rhode Island joins some of the largest states, including California and Alaska, which have decriminalized marijuana or legalized medical use.

The federal government continues to stonewall on its position, however, and lists marijuana as one of its top most dangerous drugs. In fact, the feds continue to focus on pot with the lion's share of its drug fighting resources, while failing to deal adequately with the growing and very serious problems created by meth, a drug with dangerous effects to users, families, and society. The Bush administration is being criticized severely for ignoring the epidemic of meth use, which is ironically a disasterous problem in many of the heartland "red" states such as Iowa, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Utah.

The voters in the City of Ferndale, Michigan, voted overwhelmingly in November 2005 to decriminalize medical marijuana. Despite dire warnings from law enforcement, there is no evidence that pot use has increased in any jurisdiction where this action has been taken.

3/10/06 - The Right to be Mentally Ill

Fred Phelps, the lunatic "preacher" from Kansas, and his family are planning to picket yet another funeral of an American casualty from the Iraqi War, this time in Flushing, Michigan.
Only in America, one of the most libertarian societies on earth, would a person be able to protest against homosexuality by picketing grieving families of war dead.

Phelps twisted logic says that America is evil because it "allows" or tolerates and supports gay people. Therefore, his God will destroy our country, and that is why our soldiers are dying in Iraq. I neednt spend time here dwelling on this idiocy. I bring it up because of the irony of the situation. The conservative wing of the Republican Party doesnt like the gay community much, and yet they support the war in Iraq. How much dissonance must they feel seeing someone as obnoxious as Phelps who hates gays, and yet totally offends the families of our war dead.

Those of us who oppose the war in Iraq, still support the loyalty and sacrifice of our troops. So we find ourselves in solidarity with the Bush war machine, at least in our opposition and horror with the dark evil that is Fred Phelps.

3/6/06 - Blues Festival Funds to top $20K?

We shall soon know, and will announce, the final totals for this year's Blues Festival fundraising.

It appears that we have raised to date in excess of $19,000 in total gross proceeds so far, with a few more checks expected, and a mailing to 700 Ferndale residents and businesses last week.
Watch for the council meeting in April when we should present the total totals, and hand out the checks.

And now its on to the next parking for hybrid cars, and a human rights ordinance for the City of Ferndale.

2/10/06 - Contributions reach $16,000

As of Friday, June 10, total funds generated from the Annual Ferndale Metro Blues Festival V have reached the astounding amount of over $16,000. (Last year's final total was $14,000)
The total jumped today after Dean Bach, owner of Dino's on Woodward Ave. south of Nine Mile Road, brought us his donation. Dean has won each year since 2003 the coveted "Pig's Head Award" which goes to the venue that raises the most money during the Blues Festival. Today Dean brought us checks and cash of $3,600! This is an increase of over 55 % from 2005.
More money is coming in daily.

2/7/06 - Money Rolling In

We are pleased to report that the proceeds are rolling in strong from last week's Blues Festival venues and "blind blue pig" locations. As of today (Tuesday Feb. 6th) we have grossed nearly $13,000 in cash, donations, and sponsorships. Expenses may end up totalling less than $5,000.
Our goal was to be able to distribute at least $14,000 in donations directly to the two charities.
We are well on our way. We still have to collect from a couple of the "heavy hitters" such as Dino's, Post, Danny's, and Woodward Ave. Brewers. And many of the blue pigs have not yet been collected.
Again, thanks to all the volunteers and business owners who helped. This thing could have not been accomplished without you. And special thanks to the dozens of visitors from Pittsburgh who donated to the cause.

To date, leading in the funds raised so far, is Rosie O'Grady's, which has already turned in over $1,000 to the Festival Committee.

2/6/06 - Blue Monday's all finally over....the Blues Festival ended Saturday night (sunday morning) well after 2 a.m., and the Detroit Super Bowl ended last night as well. And by all accounts both were very successful.

My (offical) night ended at Tony's with one last set from Albert Young and the Straight 8's. They played until 2 a.m. to a standing room only crowd.

Sunny Girl wowed a standing room only crowd at Via Nove again.

Dino's was rocking, as was Sneakers. I bought the BB King signed sneakers for $130 and a decent tax deduction.

We have begun counting the money for the charities, and so far, in addition to depositing over $10,000 in the bank, ....we have found the following in the blue pigs:

1 Five euro note
1 prayer coin
1 yen
1 peso
assorted buttons, washers, a painted happy face quarter
1 blue condom
1 $50 bill (from the Via Nove pig)
1 $100 bill (from the Club Bart's pig)

We still have lots of pig collecting and counting to go.

2/3/06 - Highlights from the Blues Festival / Blue Love

Thursday night was another busy night in downtown Ferndale. Tony's was full, again, and patrons sang happy birthday for the second night in a row, this time for MaryAnne, Tony's beautiful wife. Wednesday night the Brian Schram Blues Band and the Moll girls sang it for me.

Eddie "Guitar" Burns was magnificent last night at Club Bart...Im told he is 75 year old, but the crowd loved him. Dino's was full, and Rosies had a great fun crowd. The music at Buffalo Wild Wings was great as well, and the crowd was warm last night.

We have deposited nearly $9,000 in the bank so far for the Blues charities...expenses are around $5,000, so we have raised at least $4,000 in proceeds. Our goal is to raise $14,000 free and clear for Ferndale Youth Assistance and Midwest AIDS Prevention Project.

And speaking of MAPP, our staffers and volunteers began handing out blue condoms last night at some of the bars. What with thousands of tourists, sports fans, and partying locals mixing with great food and drink and music, it can't hurt to remind folks that if romance becomes part of the festivities, we want them to protect themselves and their partners.

2/1/06 - Birthday Blues

I'm one of the "boomers" who are evidently not planning on going quietly into that good night. Today is my birthday, and while dwelling in the wrong end of the forties is actually kinda fun, it is a shock when I'm out there flirting, and the object of my attention calls me "sir". But this is just one more reason to worship the blues.

It is certainly fun to be throwing a party, and having 20,000 people attend! The Ferndale Blues Festival could not be doing better. Even on a Tuesday night, not usually a hot night in Fern-wood, the music was going and crowds were out in force. Mike Boyd and the Gennessee Ramblers were very fun, especially the hot bass player. The Mayor of Ferndale, Bob Porter, was out again. He is the best at raising money, and the patrons and bands are so thrilled to have the city's mayor partying with them.

Buffalo Wild Wings had great music Tuesday night....although the crowd didnt seem to know what to do. They are not used to live entertainment, and probably dont applaud the videos they usually watch. Tony's was rocking as usual. It will be standing room only from here on out.

My birthday tonight will include oysters on the half shell from Howe's Bayou, and rockin' blues at the New Way, and maybe End of the Park. I dont feel 46 at all today, but I suspect I may feel it and then some tomorrow.

1/31/06 - $ coming in for charities...generous blues fans

The blue pigs, used to raise money for the charities during the Blues Festival, have begun filling up, which is a good thing. Organizers have emptied out several from some of the very popular venues such as Via Nove, Tony's, and Bart's. We have already managed to count and deposit close to $2,000 from just the first weekend. Thank you to all who have donated by "feeding the pigs". A special thank you to the person who threw in a fifty dollar bill at Via Nove, which had standing room only last Saturday night with Sunny Girl and the Detroit Automatix.

While things slowed down a bit on Sunday night, and Monday, with "just" a handful of events, things start heating up again tonight, with six concerts tonight. See the full menu on

By the way, the free weekend shuttles, courtesy of the City of Ferndale, are a hit. Just stand outside your favorite club or bar on a weekend night during the festival, and within a few mintutes a free darta bus will take you and your party to any of the other venues you choose.


So says the large outdoor sign on Woodward Avenue at the nearly one hundred year old St. James Catholic Church. St. James has served Catholic families in this small working class suburb of Ferndale, Michigan since the beginning of the last century. Irish and Italian automobile factory workers moved here in the early 1900's to what was then farmland and bogs filled with bright green ferns. The church was one of the first buildings to go up, from what was then a chicken house.

St. James decided to become an "Alberta Adams" level sponsor of the Ferndale Metro Blues Festival V, which delighted the festival organizers. Local churches have supported the annual music festival each year with blues brunches at the Lutheran church and jazz concerts at the Methodist.

And of course, God would Love the Blues. He has watched his people suffer wars and pestilence since the beginning of time. He commiserates with those who hurt or are lost or suffering. And if Blues music is the sound by which we soothe the pain that comes with life, then God may well have had a hand in its creation as well. Surely he gave us the tools by which to use sound, and words, and instruments, and emotion to create that which we call Blues.

When one hears the mournful words of a good blues song, one will often nod his or her head in acknowledgement of the pain and hurt and disappointment that often comes with life. But as we sing the words, and create the music, and share the feelings, we thereby release and celebrate the very human emotions that are inside. We feel better because we know we are not alone.

When I read the sign at St. James, I just nodded my head and smiled. God Loves the Blues

1/29/06 - First weekend Blues wails across the city

Forty eight hours after the beginning of the annual Ferndale Metro Blues Festival began, the organizers, club owners, the musicians, and the patrons are very very happy. Full houses, great music and great camaraderie were evident at each of the first two dozen events that have taken place. We have a breather tonight, there are just two concerts at Club Bart and Dino's.

Friday saw eleven separate concerts and all were popular and well-attended. Barbara Payton played to a packed house at Club Q, which held a women's concert as part of the Blues Festival. Three hundred women (and a half dozen guys) were treated to great rock in a beautiful nightclub.

Rosie O'Grady's was rocking all night long, and owners and patrons were on Channel 7 news three times during the evening newscast.

The Comos pig was full after Saturday, and will be swapped out for another one so patrons can continue to donate to the local charities. The Coffee Beanery raised $60 for festival charities. Festival volunteers at that concert included the new Ferndale Fire Department Chief Schmidt and his wife, his brother, and sister in law.

Saturday night the Reefermen packed Dino's, and patrons began to line up outside Dean Bach's front door, hoping to get in.

Via Nove, the four-star Italian restaurant that once housed the Ferndale Masonic Temple and later the Temple nightclub, featured Sunny Girl & the Detroit Automatix. This was a first for the restaurant, the place was jammed, and Chief Chef and Owner Joe Beato was beaming. The great food there was eclipsed only by the music.

And Little "Junior" Cannaday played amazing and classic blues at Club Bart. I got to meet that Blues legend out on Woodward Ave, where we got some air, he sold some CD's and we watched the free Darta shuttles ferrying merry makers from venue to venue across downtown Ferndale.

1/24/06 - Super Bowl Blues Festival Daily Report

Beginning this Friday, January 27, I will begin posting daily blogs reporting on the Ferndale Metro Blues Festival V as it builds toward the Super Bowl Sunday Feb 4 in Detroit. The festival is a sanctioned Super Bowl XL event, and will attract tens of thousands of fans, visitors, and tourists to Ferndale, while raising thousands of dollars for local charities.

Ferndale is a renovated inner suburb on the edge of the north border of Detroit (8 Mile ) known for its great restaurants, fun clubs and pubs, and diverse populace, including the areas largest concentration of Gayand Lesbian community members.

The Blues Festival this year features an astounding 75 concerts over nine days in 20 venues.

Join us for "Super Blues in a Super City" ... Nine Mile and Woodward Avenue.

See more info at

1/24/06 - Super Bowl XL Blues Festival V

Press Release: Ferndale Metro Blues Festival V Ready to Go!

1/6/06 - Character Sketch - Suburban Bluetopia -- published in Real Detroit news magazine by Amanda Hanlin

Despite ringing phones, a relentless Instant Messenger alarm and colleagues appearing at his door, Craig Covey remains smiling and unnerved. His understated Livernois office is a hodgepodge of awards, racy safe sex posters, photos alongside politicos like Senator Debbie Stabenow, and an assortment of plastic and ceramic pigs. The intriguing array of miscellany hints at Covey’s multi-persona. He is free-spirited yet industrious. He is a politician without being self-aggrandizing, an advocate without seeming overbearing.

As founder and CEO of the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project (MAPP), he spends his days working to prevent the spread of HIV through AIDS education and dissemination of safer sex information. Covey started his career in Columbus, focusing on gay and lesbian rights. When the AIDS epidemic started to hit home, he shifted gears. “Men were dropping quickly, and I lost friends…Around 1987, I began to devote all my time to AIDS prevention work thinking it would last a few years. Now 18 years later, we’re still fighting AIDS,” he says.

Covey focused behavior-based educational messages on a number of targeted groups including teens, college students, gays and lesbians, women, people of color, health care workers, church groups, HIV outreach workers and others. Although progress has been made against the epidemic, Covey notes the reality of AIDS in today’s communities. “People aren’t dying of AIDS as quickly, but it is still an unpleasant and dangerous disease that causes pain, suffering, heartache and still, death.”

Although the rigors of being a non-profiteer rarely relent, Covey finds the key to a happy career in combining his professional mission with his personal aspirations. A Ferndale resident since 1989, he felt the city’s potential for change and quite unabashedly wanted a more interesting and exciting place to live. “Ferndale 15 years ago was a sleepy little community barely holding its own. Property values were stagnant, people were moving out, and downtown was empty,” he says.

Inspired, Covey ran for a seat on Ferndale’s City Council in 1995 only to come in last place in the vote. In true underdog fashion, he worked tirelessly to come back with a landslide win in 1999. His work as a Ferndale Councilmember involves many of the issues he holds dear – civil and human rights, drug and alcohol education and city beautification through parks and recreation and economic development.

Covey’s love of home fuels his dedication and civic enthusiasm. “Ferndale is fun without being arrogant. You don’t have the attitude of other suburbs that might be trendy. We’ve kept it fun and neighborly while also making it hip and entertaining and interesting. It’s become a progressive city with a much more diverse population,” he says proudly.

Keeping the fabulous in Ferndale also keeps Covey in tune with his constituency. As Ferndale Pub Crawl committee chair, he and FANS of Ferndale have created a Ferndale tradition and successful charity event – not to mention a decent excuse to pound beers in Ferndale’s finer establishments. The event has grown from 35 attendees touring 8 bars at its inception in 1996 to 500 participants and 14 featured venues for the 2003 crawl, which lasted seven hours and raised $3600 for FANS of Ferndale and the Ferndale Education Foundation.

Covey explains his approach to politics simply. “Whenever something new comes along, you are filling a need that is unfulfilled. You look to see what is missing, and you fill that void,” he says. Being a bit of a blues hound, Covey’s new pet project is to remedy the great blues implosion afflicting Metro Detroit. “Blues Fest is my most favorite new thing,” Covey says, bubbling. The January festival features an array of performers throughout Ferndale’s clubs, bars, coffee houses and churches. The city pipes blues over the downtown P.A. for the stragglers, and all festival proceeds benefit Ferndale Youth Assistance.

But although Covey has become quite good at hosting the party, he remains grounded in his dedication to fighting the good fight in both his professional and political work. “There’s just a lot I want to do, and I think you can fight an issue on many fronts. Whether it’s through health education at high schools, advocacy in Lansing with the Legislature, or whether it’s political work in Ferndale, I like to think all of my efforts are still headed in one direction – to make life better for the people who live in this region,” says Covey.