Low Turnout for Dearborn Heights City Council Candidate Forum
By Dana Inayah Cann, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
Dearborn Heights–June 25–Including the press (which consisted of Dearborn Heights Cable TV, channel 12 and WOW channel 10) and the Dearborn Heights City Council Candidates, about 40 people were in attendance at this open forum held at the Dearborn Heights City Council Chambers. The forum was sponsored by the League of Women Voters for Dearborn and Dearborn Heights (LWVDDH), a non-partisan, political organization whoâ€™s mission â€œencourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding on major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.â€œ
Of the eight candidates, only seven were present: Barbara Langlois, a retired city worker; George C. Landry, a veteran of the United States Military; Elizabeth Agius, Council Chair for Dearborn Heights and program evaluator and research analyst at Wayne State University; Rose Tripepi, a retired UAW Ford employee; Kenneth Baron, Councilman for the last 12 years and a business owner; Bob Brown, executive director of the Senior Alliance Area Agency; and Ned Apigian, a licensed builder, city planner and self-employed architect.
Candidate Maria Ellul Langlois, a patient advocate and emergency department representative at Oakwood Healthcare System was not able to attend.
The forum began at approximately 7pm. After a welcome and introduction of the forum given by the president of LWVDDH, Mona Hammoud, candidates introduced themselves prior to answering questions developed by audience members and LWVDDH.
The forum covered issues such as the upkeep of the city, ordinances, wildlife, outsourcing, top three concerns for the city and hopes for the cityâ€™s future. For each question, three to four candidates were given the chance to respond.
â€œItâ€™s a complicated issue,â€ said George C. Landry, 35 about the cityâ€˜s upkeep. Landry, a 33 year resident stated that numerous houses are going up for sale along with vacant houses and others going into foreclosure. â€œHomeowners need to be outspoken to keep up their properties,â€ said Landry.
Ned Apigian, 62 and a 36 year resident wants the city to create more ordinances. â€œThe city of Dearborn Heights needs a tree ordinance,â€ said Apigian, expressing his frustration with people who trim and cut down trees without following the proper procedures. Apigian also spoke about people who violate trash day procedures, saying that no one wants to drive down a street where residents line the curbs with trash before time. â€œWe donâ€™t seem to have enough money to enforce this,â€ said Apigian.
â€œSome neighbors canâ€™t afford to upkeep their property,â€ said Barbara Langlois, a 47 year resident. Langlois suggested that neighbors help each other by cleaning and fixing up properties, especially those of senior citizens.
Over the years, wildlife have become an annoyance for the residents of Dearborn Heights. Bob Brown and Kenneth Baron both agreed that wildlife in Dearborn Heights is here to stay, noting that the animals are everywhere in the city and if people refrain from feeding them, the animals wonâ€™t be prompted to emerge on their properties.
Apigian said of the issue that he can think of more issues to be concerned with other then the animals. â€œWeâ€™re surrounded by the woods,â€ said Apigian. â€œ I donâ€™t think itâ€™s a problem unless itâ€™s a nuisance.â€
As for the outsourcing of union jobs, Elizabeth Agius, a 20 year resident, thinks that outsourcing is not yet an issue. Retired union worker Rose Tripepi stated that she is against outsourcing. When asked about their three top concerns for the city and hopes for the future, Landry concerns are for the budget, safe guards for children and that every concern by the citizens is taken care of. He hopes that in the next ten years, the value of properties in Dearborn Heights will increase. Agiusâ€™ concerns are for the residents quality of life, the city budget and bringing in new businesses to the city. She hopes that in the next ten years the city will have a stable funding base. Tripepiâ€™s concerns are for the care of seniors, abandon homes and the children.
Tripepiâ€™s hopes that in the next ten years the city is rejuvenated and that the more businesses come to the city.
At the end of the forum, candidates expressed their love for the city and how their past and/or present job skills can be used to fulfill the position as City Council. Election day is November 4, 2007.
For more information of the League of Women Voters for Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, log onto lwvddh.org or call (313) 278-6476.
Press Releases: Metro Detroit Mosques to House Mini Jewish Libraries
The American Jewish Committee, Metropolitan Detroit Chapter, will present small Jewish book collections to two metro-Detroit area mosques on Thursday, June 28. The first Building Bridges Thru Books presentation is scheduled for 2:00 pm at the Detroit Muslim Center located at 1605 W. Davison in Detroit and the second ceremony will be held at 4:00 pm at the Islamic Organization of North America, IONA at 28630 Ryan Road in Warren.
Both Imam Abdullah Bey El-Amin of the Detroit Muslim Center and Imam Steve Mustapha Elturk of IONA will address members of their mosques upon accepting the gifts.
The two collections include books about the Jewish faith, customs and holidays, Jewish literature, Jewish codes of law and ethics and sacred texts.
Sixteen books appropriate for young adults and up will be housed in special areas of the mosques and made available to those who are serious students of the Abrahamic faiths. This project has been generously underwritten by Suzy and Burton Farbman.
â€œRecent events in the Middle East and in America have challenged many members of the Jewish and Muslim communities who value the cultivation of positive relations between the two faith communities,â€ reflects Brenda Rosenberg. As the co-chair of the Chapterâ€™s Interreligious Affairs Commission, Brenda Rosenberg feels that Building Bridges Thru Books is a model for strengthening interfaith outreach and understanding.
â€œTogether with Muslim leaders, we are paving the way to breaking down the barriers of misumderstandings, incorrect information and prejudice that so easily can divide us.â€
Imam Abdullah Bey El-Amin was the first imam to be approached by the American Jewish Committee leaders and enthusiastically accepted. He has already begun setting space aside for the mini-library. Imam Mustapha Elturk has designated space in IONAâ€™s libraryâ€™s comparative religion section and has expressed appreciation for the gift. â€œWe value this contributionnd we hope that these books will indeed help build bridges among those who follow the Abrahamic faiths.â€ Other area imams and their congregants have agreed to accept mini Jewish libraries and presentations in Dearborn and in Oakland County will be scheduled for August.
Book titles: Biblical Literacy, Essential Torah, The Book of Jewish Values, The Jewish Book of Why, The Torah, The Jewish Study Bible, The Studentâ€™s Guide Through the Talmud, The Torah–JPS Standard Edition, To Pray as a Jew, Inside Judaism, The Jewish Holidays, Symbols of Judaism, The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions, American Judaism, Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims, This Jewish Life.
AJC Interreligious Affairs Commission, Co-chairs Brenda Rosenberg (248) 790-1544 and Sheldon S. Toll (248) 613-3188.
ACCESS, NNAAC: Historic Visit to Capitol Hill
Representatives from six member organizations of the National Network of Arab American Communities (NNAAC), convened in Washington D.C. to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. On June 20, participants joined top civil rights and immigrant rights leaders from throughout the country at the Rights Working Group meeting to discuss due process and immigration reform.
NNAAC members then made a historic trip to Capitol Hill, where they met with senior staff from Representative Keith Ellisonâ€™s (D-MN) office and Representative Nydia Velazquezâ€™s (D-NY) office. In this first ever NNAAC Hill visit, participants discussed the impact of immigration reform on the Arab American community and advocated for a just and comprehensive immigration reform bill. NNAAC would like to thank Rebecca Abou-Chedid from the Arab American Institute for facilitating these Hill visits.
A day earlier, on June 19, participants joined thousands in a march to the White House. Taleb Salhab, ACCESS National Outreach Director, moderated the rally.
Participants included representatives from ACCESS, the Arab Cultural and Community Center in San Francisco, the Arab American Action Network in Chicago, the Arab American Community Center in Orlando, the Arab American Family Support Center and the Arab American Association of New York, both based in Brooklyn.
For more information about the immigration reform effort, contact Nadia El-Zein at (313) 842-4763 or email@example.com.
Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Meets with Arab American Community
On June 26, ACCESS hosted a reception in honor of Daniel Loepp, President and CEO or Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The event took place at the Arab American National Museum, and in attendance were leaders from various segments of the Arab American community. Mr. Loepp was recognized for his dedication to serving the local population in his role.
â€œDan clearly evidences a commitment to the betterment of our society,â€ said ACCESS Board President, Noel Saleh. â€œThrough his leadership and coalition building, the Michigan Blue has helped to preserve coverage to individuals year-round regardless of medical condition. He clearly has a deep concern for the well being of all people.â€
Also recognized was ACCESS Board Member Cathy Mozham, Director of Community Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield. Her contributions and support as a board member have become at tremendous asset to ACCESS and its work.
ACCESS Services for the Elderly
ACCESS provides assistance to the elderly in getting through the maze of services, programs, and options available for seniors. Our Social Services case managers provide information and referral services to seniors, to increase awareness and access to Senior Network Services that are available to them by The Senior Alliance and Detroit Area Agency on Aging.
Services include: Adult Day Services, Caregiver Support, Care Management, Case Coordination and Support, Chore Services, Congregate Meals, Elder Abuse Services, Gatekeeper Program, Health Screening, Hearing Impaired Services, Home Delivered Meals, Homemaker and Personal Care Services, Caregiver Assistance, Legal Assistance, MMAP (Medicare/ Medicaid Assistance Program, MI Choice Waiver Program, Refugee Support Project, Respite Care, Transportation, and Vision Services.
In partnership with ACCESS, the DAAA (Detroit Area Agency on Aging) and TSA (The Senior Alliance) are on a mission to find, educate, and enroll 1000 eligible individuals into the low income subsidy (LIS) program offered through the Social Security Administration known as â€œOperation Extra Helpâ€ to provide them with benefits they may be eligible for.
For more information, please contact Enam Abraham at (313) 945-8109 or Hala Ancouni at (313) 842-6755.