September 2019

Improvements at Shenandoah

A plan to improve Shenandoah Country Club’s golf course has been approved after several years of careful deliberation by the Shenandoah Country Club Board of Directors, members of the golf committee and the golf course construction committee. The improvement plans will target holes 14 and 15, in addition to the overall water drainage issues. The country club has consulted with a number of professionals to determine the price range of repairs and through extensive research, have found the estimated cost of repairs to be approximately $700,000. A special meeting was hosted on August 20 where the board convened to receive membership approval of the plan for the improvements.


Enriching Young Minds

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On July 18, The Chaldean Cultural Center hosted the Holy Martyrs Chaldean Catholic Church Summer Camp.  A total of 94 students and volunteers attended the event.  Students were divided into groups and were sent on their way to enrich their knowledge of their ancestors, their faith, the villages, the Journey to America, and where the future may take them. The students also enjoyed their afternoon having lunch and learned Chaldean dances. Tours can be scheduled by visiting


Academic Scholarships for the Community

The Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) has launched their Academic Scholarship Program. Through support from w3r Consulting, the Nona family, and Dr. Nathima and Peter Atchoo, the CCF will be awarding 10 students with scholarships totaling $30,000. All qualifying recipients will be awarded at the Chaldean Community Foundation’s 2nd Annual Awards Dinner Gala on Thursday, November 14, 2019 at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township. The deadline to apply is October 4. Students can apply online at


CCF Census Awareness Program

Census Day is April 1, 2020! The Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) launched a 2020 Census awareness campaign to promote and support a fair and accurate count in the 2020 United States Census. “The primary goal of the 2020 Census is to county everyone once, only once, and in the right place.”


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Back-to-School Event with Utica Community Schools and Warren Consolidated School District

The Chaldean Community Foundation hosted two separate, well attended back-to-school events with Utica Community Schools and Warren Consolidated School District this month, with more than 50 families in attendance for each. Both school districts provided information on what parents need to know for the upcoming school year, including information on school nutrition, PowerSchool, transportation and parent involvement. Families received a backpack with school supplies to get them started for the school year.


Breaking Barriers Celebrates Seven Successful Years

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More than 200 attendees packed St. Josephs Chaldean Catholic Church Hall on Saturday, August 17 to celebrate a successful and groundbreaking program from the Chaldean Community Foundation.

The Breaking Barriers program provides service and advocacy to those with special needs. Started in 2012, the program includes group recreation events, meditation with Michigan state agencies for those with special needs, referrals to service providers for additional needs and respite for caregivers.

Families who have benefitted from the program filled the church for a celebration of its successes. The festivities included a five-course dinner, family photos, and dancing, courtesy of entertainers, DJ and Zarna Tubil. The dance floor was full all night as attendees capped off another successful year for the program.

Over seven years the program has expanded to include two new projects. Braille, English as a Second Language, Acculturation and Mobility (B.E.A.M.) helps those with visual impairments become better equipped to live independent lives. Hard of Hearing, English as a Second Language, American Sign Language and Life Skills (H.E.A.L.) helps those with hearing impairments on the path to independence as well.

Those interested in learning more about the Breaking Barriers program are encouraged to contact the Chaldean Community Foundation at (586) 722-7253.

August 2019

On July 16, 2019, the Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) hosted a group of 21 students from the Iraq Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP). IYLEP brings undergraduate college students to the U.S. from all over Iraq, diverse regions, institutes and backgrounds for one month to learn about leadership, civic engagement and peace building.

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July 2019

Guests had the distinct opportunity to attend the launch of professor and author Joe Grimm’s latest cultural guide, 100 Questions and Answers About Chaldeans, on Wednesday, May 22. This guide about Chaldeans was written by Grimm, with the help of his Michigan State University students. The book launch was hosted at the Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield.

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June 2019

On Friday, May 3, members of the Oakland County Congressional Del­egation came together before the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce’s 16th Annual Awards Gala at Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield to introduce a bill intended to protect Iraqi nation­als at risk for deportation.

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MAY 2019

Diaconate Ordination

The Diaconate Ordination of Kevin Yono and Marcus Shammami was hosted at St. Thomas on Sunday, April 7.

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A Message from the Bishop’s Office

During a routine financial audit of St. George Church, financial irregularities were identified and, subsequently, investigated more thoroughly.

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In keeping with protocol for such matters, based on guidance from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, we notified law enforcement officials who have initiated an investigation. In addition, consistent with recommended best practices, Fr. Wisam Matti and Fr. Anthony Kathawa will be temporarily detached from their current assignment until the investigation is completed. Both priests are still active in our diocese.

Please know that I and church leadership take this matter of stewardship very seriously and are serious about management of people’s funds. We are doing all we can to resolve this matter and are proceeding in a spirit of openness, transparency, and fairness to those involved.

As more information becomes available, I will keep everyone informed.

– Faithfully Yours in Christ,

Bp. Francis Y. Kalabat

St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean

Catholic Eparchy of the U.S.A.

Blessings of Liberty

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“At the height of American political polarization, hundreds of Iraqi Christians living in Detroit face deportation from the president they helped elect.” Directed by Michigan native Emily Thomas, Blessings of Liberty follows two Assyrian/Chaldean-American families as they fight to save members of their family from being deported. Filmed at the height of the deportation crisis that continues to plague the Chaldean community, Blessings of Liberty is a documentary that offers a small glimpse into the fight to save lives. The short film premiered at the Detroit Free Press Film Festival on Saturday, April 13 at the Detroit Institute of Arts as a part of the Mixtape America Vol. 1: Shorts Program 4. Also featured in the documentary were prominent community leaders, activists, and attorneys who have taken on clients facing deportation.

APRIL 2019

Small Business of the Year


W3R Consulting has been named the 2018 Detroit Lions Comerica Bank Small Business of the Year. Chosen among the eight Michigan-based Comerica Bank Small Business of the Game winners announced for each Lions’ home game in 2018, the award-winning talent and IT provider earned the top award based on overall contributions in the small business community and efforts to showcase its position as a Small Business of the Game honoree.

“For nearly 25 years, w3r Consulting has built a valuable service and produced robust partnerships across several industries through talent and data management solutions that generate success for its clients,” said Kim Kersten, Comerica Bank Senior Vice President of Business Banking. “Eric, Keith, Patrick and their entire team represent the true spirit of a small business built from the ground up, and it is a privilege for Comerica to serve businesses like w3r Consulting.

“This recognition is well deserved.” Chief Executive Officer Eric Hardy and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Tomina founded w3r Consulting in 1995 and then partnered with Executive Vice President Keith Echols two years later. Since the mid-1990s, w3r Consulting has delivered results by building trusted, strategic partnerships in data analytics, talent solutions and technology consulting services. They have expanded their diverse reach into numerous industries such as automotive, financial, government, health care, insurance and retail.

“Being selected from among our Michigan-based peers as the Comerica Bank Small Business of the Year is a genuine honor,” said Eric Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of w3r Consulting. “We pride ourselves for our integrity, accountability, innovation, and discipline and receiving recognition at this level from a long-standing partner indicates those values naturally radiate from our people.”

“This award is especially meaningful because we have such a long-running partnership with Comerica Bank,” said Keith Echols, Executive Vice President at w3r Consulting. “At the time, their organization was one of the first banks to provide our fledging business with a loan 24 years ago and we are committed to maintaining that relationship now and in the future.”

Fundraiser Benefitting Chaldean Community Foundation


The University of Michigan’s Chaldean American Student Association has chosen the Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) as this year’s charity to benefit from their annual Live from Babylon fundraiser. Honoring the foundation for the work they do throughout the Chaldean community, Live from Babylon bring CASA chapter from universities throughout Michigan together under a common cause. Raising $13,000, all proceeds will benefit the CCF. See more photos on events page 37.

Senior Living Apartments Unveiled


The Chaldean Diocese celebrated the unveiling of the newest senior living apartments with a ribbon cutting ceremony and mass on Tuesday, March 19. Taking residence next to Holy Martyrs Church in Sterling Heights, these apartments are the second senior living facility built by the Chaldean Diocese, with the first being Chaldean Manor. See more photos on events page 34.

Private Showing of Unplanned

The Eastern Catholic Re-evangelization Center hosted a private showing of the newly released movie, Unplanned. Hosted at AMC Livonia, the showing was attended by members of the community who were eager to see this pro-life movie. Unplanned is the true story of Abby Johnson and her story of transformation. Involved in more than 22,000 abortions, Abby counseled countless women about their reproductive choices. Her passion surrounding a woman’s right to choose even led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in. Until something happened that changed it all.


MARCH 2019

Holiday Inn Grand Opening

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Livonia Mayor Dennis Wright joined Mike and Kenny Koza for the ribbon cutting at the new Holiday Inn Hotel at 275 and 6 mile in Livonia on Thursday January 31, 2019 at 5 p.m.

Just a 20-minute drive to and from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the new Holiday Inn Detroit Northwest off of 275 is a choice destination stay for business travelers as well as visitors to Michigan. The hotel is just minutes from restaurants, shopping and entertainment in cities such as Novi, Plymouth, Northville and Farmington Hills. It also features a banquet all for both corporate and personal events such as weddings and bridal showers.

“This Holiday Inn-Johnny’s Steakhouse project is the latest of several hotels to open in Livonia, continuing several years of incredible economic development in our community,” said Dan West, president and CEO of the Livonia Chamber of Commerce. “We are grateful for this latest project that converted a dated hotel and restaurant into a fresh new property.”

Meeting the Pope

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On November 21, 2018, the Mansour family, thanks to the wish granted to Adriana Mansour by Make A Wish Foundation, were able to meet Pope Francis after the Pope’s Audience held at St Peter’s Square in Rome. “We are thankful to be in the presence of our Holy Father to have the opportunity to receive his blessing,” said the Mansour family.

Chaldean News Goes to Land Down Under

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Reader Ban Manna took the February issue of the Chaldean News on vacation with her to Australia.

New Shenandoah Board Members

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The Shenandoah Country Club board members met in early January to elect new board members. The following were chosen to sit on the board.

President: Raad Kathawa

Vice President: Jamal Kalabat

Treasurer: Oliver Bahoura

Secretary: Nada Jamoua

Officers: Hani Mio, Patrick Kattoo, Saad Abbo, Kal Najar, Raid Putrus.

State of the City at Regency

Regency Manor of Southfield is undergoing extensive exterior renovations just in time to host the annual State of the City address organized by the Southfield Chamber of Commerce.

The event brings together Southfield and Lathrup Village residents, businesses, and government leaders to discuss the future of the cities, build strategic partnerships and to network.

The event, presented by Beaumont, will feature speeches from Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver and Lathrup Village Mayor Kelly Garret along with remarks from Beaumont President.

“We always make a point to host the State of the City in Southfield and this year we will be doing the annual address on March 18 at the Regency Manor,” said Mayor Siver. “The Regency is a great facility and we are looking forward to highlighting the year’s accomplishments and looking to the future. We’re also looking forward to employing the new audio-visual equipment that Regency has included with their renovations to give our presentation.”

The renovated exterior will compliment the elegance of the newly renovated interior. Designed to accommodate both social and corporate events, the newly renovated luxury hall will offer a number of amenities for guests.

The venue offers a, “newly renovated luxury hall with classic, sophisticated and elegant décor providing a brilliant ambiance for any special occasion or event. Designed with high ceilings, magnificent crystal chandeliers, two full bars and more than 7,000 Sq. ft of distinctive elegance, our superbly equipped facility has been designed to accommodate social and corporate events alike.”

In addition to these renovations, Regency Manor offers a “truly unique” menu and an experienced staff to bring their guests the perfect experience.

These renovations to the venue will be complete just in time to host the Southfield State of the City address in mid-March.

Mayor Kenson J. Siver will be giving his annual State of the City address on Monday, March 18 at 10:00 a.m. Joining Mayor Siver will be Lathrup Village Mayor Kelly Garret. The mayors’ joint address will bring together residents from both Southfield and Lathrup Village, businesses, and government leaders under one roof to discuss each city’s future, build strategic leaderships, and network.

“We will be ready to host Mayors Siver and Garret as they give their annual State of the City addresses,” said Jason Najor of Regency Manor. “We are honored to share and showcase our beautifully renovated hall while hosting an event where members of the community can join their representatives and leaders in conversations about the progress of their city.”

Tickets to the State of the City address can be purchased online. Tickets must be purchased in advance as they will not be sold after March 13 and will not be sold at the door. Tickets include a plated lunch, refreshments, valet and coat check.

Receiving of the Habit

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On Saturday, February 2, Postulants Monique Setto and Angie Kassab received their habits and religious names. Becoming Sr. Mary Bernadette and Sr. Maria Immaculata respectively, they took this next step in their formation at Mother of God.

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The Fun Begins

The Ropes Course at Our Lady of the Fields Camp and Retreat Center in Brighton Michigan is now open, and registering groups starting in May 2019. It is great opportunity for Corporate Events, schools, church groups, sport teams and student clubs. The course includes nine high elements and 11 low elements. You can register by calling 248-379-0943 or go to

Also, come and join the fun this summer at Our Lady of the Fields Camp. (We will host three weeks of a boys camp and two weeks of a girls camp. Also, check out our Mother Daughter Weekend and Father son Weekend. Contact us to register and reserve your spot for this summer with Camp Director Michael Hickey

Enjoy the great feel of up north living in Nearby Brighton Michigan. The 164 acres includes an impressive tree filled camp and beautiful waterfront. Some of the activities that are awaiting your arrival are: Featuring a new High and Low Ropes course, numerous sports such as football, basketball, floor hockey, soccer, ultimate frisbee, team handball, Chicago style softball. There are water front activities such as Canoeing, kayaking, swimming and fishing.

Also camping activities such as: outdoor cooking, wilderness survival, back packing and nature and wild life awareness. Other activities include: arts and crafts, adventure games like Live Action Role Playing (larping), and team building Initiatives. The camp’s mission is to live the Gospel and to practice the Golden Rule. From this camp experience you have the opportunity to come to know “The Lord” more closely. You also, have a great opportunity to meet many new people and of course have fun.

Our Lady of the Field Camp and Retreat Center

P.O. Box 2385

Birmingham, MI 48012

Opera Street Scene at OU


Shelbi Jouni played Olga Olsen in the Opera Street Scene by Kurt Weill at Oakland University. Jouni is a senior vocal performance major at Oakland University’s School of Music, Theater, and Dance.

15 Million Sales and Streams

Musician Steve Acho is celebrating a monumental achievement as he has surpassed 15 million sales and streams of his music. These sales and streams are across platforms including iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube.

Visiting Shaklawa


Bishop Shaleta, Fr. Simon Esshaki, and Patros visited the Village of Shaklawa in Iraq. While in Shaklawa, Fr. Simon also visited the Chaldean church there. This was Fr. Simon’s first time ever visiting Iraq.

Assembly Jiu Jitsu Comes to Bloomfield Hills


David Garmo, featured in our January issue, has officially signed the lease on his new building where Assembly Jiu Jitsu will be taking residency. Assembly Jiu Jitsu is salted to open in March.

New Acting Director

Appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Farah (Arabo) Hanley will be stepping in as the acting director of the Department of Health and Human Services. Hanley was formerly the deputy director of financial operations.



People’s Choice Winner


Maysoun Y. Seman, who’s faith inspired artwork graced our cover last month has been named People’s Choice Winner for her mixed media artwork titled “Mary and Elizabeth – The Visitation” in the Seventh Juried Catholic Arts Exhibition, part of a multimedia show of religious-themed art at The Saint Vincent Gallery at Saint Vincent College. This award is based solely on ballots cast by visitors to the exhibition during its month-long run.

A total of 44 works by artists from 17 states and three countries were included in the unique exhibition where artists worked in mixed media, stainless steel, oil, acrylic, photography, watercolor, cast stone, plaster, fabric and others.

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A Priestly Ordination

Fr. Daniel Shaba and Fr. Peter Patros are the newest priests at the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle of San Diego. Fr. Daniel and Fr. Peter were ordained alongside each other on December 19.

New Board of Directors Elected

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The Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual board elections on Wednesday, November 14 at the Shenandoah Country Club. This year, 15 chamber members ran to fill the seven open seats. About 200 members attended the event to vote for their next board of directors.

2019 CACC/CCF Board of Directors
Executive Board

Chairman: Sylvester Sandiha
Executive Vice Chairman: Patrick Tomina
Vice Chairman: Michael Sarafa
Treasurer: Saad Abbo
Secretary: Eman Jajonie-Daman
Executive Committee Members: Nahid Elyas, M.D., Joe Hurshe, Jason Najor

CACC Directors

Jason Abro
Ron Babbie
Salam Elia
Caldin Konja
Michael Romaya
Anthony Toma


Sexual Abuse in the Church

News broke in early November that a sub deacon at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church had been charged with sexual assaults on a teenage boy in the parish. Hurmiz Ishak was charged with a felony for allegations of multiple sexual encounters with the boy.

Being held at Oakland county jail with a cash or surety bond of $300,000, Ishak is facing a total of three counts of criminal sexual conduct, two of which are first-degree and the other is third-degree. All charges relate to one victim.

Police told the Detroit News that the alleged assaults began in May of 2017 and were reported by the parents to a pastor in October. The church reported these allegations to the Troy Police.

In his position as sub deacon at St. Joseph, Ishak is what Fr. Rudy Zoma described as an “elevated altar server” with responsibilities such as setting up the altar for everything from Masses to weddings and funerals.

Following Ishak’s arraignment on Wednesday, October 31, the church put out a statement and Fr. Rudy spoke with WXYZ about the alleged assaults and the church’s duty to the wellbeing and safety of the parishioners.

Fr. Rudy stressed that this matter has not been and will not be taken lightly as the church continues to co-operate with the investigation.

“We are trying to assure the faithful that we here at the church, we are so much concerned about the safety of their children. This is something that we take very seriously,” Fr. Rudy told WXYZ. “Everything has to be given to them in a transparent way, where there was an accusation and we took action. Now we have to unite together in a spirit of prayer.”

In the church’s statement, parishioners are urged to turn to prayer for all individuals involved. “At this time, we are called to pray for all those who are involved, most especially for the victim. We try to the greatest of our ability to maintain a safe and healthy environment for all of our parishioners, especially the children as they are the most vulnerable.”

In the statement, the church stresses their moral and legal obligations in situations such as this. “There is an appropriate protocol to be followed in these cases, and it was observed by St. Joseph church pastor.”

While the damage cannot be un-done, says the church, they urge others who may be facing sexual abuse to also speak up in an effort to prevent any further abuse.

The church also urged parishioners to redirect their energy from “gossip and slander” to beg the Holy Spirit to bring the “healing power of Jesus to the hearts of all those who are involved.”

Masses throughout the Diocese were offered up for the victim and family members, the sub-deacon and his family and all of those who are suffering with the emotional, physical and mental pains caused by sexual abuse.

To report any sexual abuse, please contact Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Janan Senawi, at (248) 354-3066.

Celebrating the Future


Chase Zebari was recognized as one of Michigan’s “Up and Comers” by the Michigan Nurse’s Association. In addition to this recognition, Zebari was the recipient of the American Nurses Association of Michigan’s “Celebrating the Future” award in late October. According to the American Nurse Association, this award is intended to “recognize and acknowledge five nurses in Michigan who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in nursing that have been a licensed RN for five years or less. This award is intended to celebrate dedicated service, encourage exemplary commitment to the nursing profession, and promise to grow in leadership in the advancement of nursing in Michigan.”

Year in Review

As the year comes to a close, we want to revisit our cover stories from this year.

January: In our first cover story of 2018, Vanessa wrote about a number of business trends to keep an eye on in the new year. Industry professionals were consulted and provided insight on everything from the booming marijuana industry to the customer driven food industry.

February: For our annual wedding guide, we covered the evolution of the traditional Chaldean wedding. Our cover featured the story of George and Susie Essa, the first documented Chaldean wedding on American soil.

March: The ongoing battle to save community members from being deported to Iraq was the cover story in March. While Judge Mark Goldsmith ruled that each detainee was entitled to a bond hearing, the fight was far from over.

April: The April cover was all about the new beginnings for the Our Lady of the Fields Camp as it opened to the public in the Spring. Several community members worked to make the new camp a reality.

May: Our May issue was about surviving loss. We talked to several mothers throughout the community who had lost a child. They were brave and strong as they told us about their children, how they coped with the loss, and even offered advice to anyone else who may be dealing with loss.

June: In our June cover story, we touched on the Iraqi elections and the work of community member and elected officials who were working to amend immigration laws. Community members worked with Congressman John Moolenaar to amend the Nationality Act.

July: Our July issue was all about the midterm elections. We wanted to help inform readers ahead of the primary elections in August. From the gubernatorial race to Chaldeans running for local office, we wanted to ensure readers knew who was on the ballot.

August: With the cover of the August issue, instead of sticking to our traditional back to school guide, we decided to highlight the many universities and colleges throughout Michigan.

September: The September issue featured the rapidly growing Chaldean Moms of Metro Detroit Facebook group. Thousands of women in the community have come together in this group to form a sisterhood of sorts.

October: With five generations of tahini making spanning two countries, the Ayar family graced our October cover. The Ayar family started making tahini in Iraq and have since brought their trade to the United States.

November: Our November issue featured a candid conversation with Bishop Francis. Chaldean News

Co-Publishers Vanessa Denha Garmo, Martin Manna, and Mike Sarafa sat down for a conversation with the bishop about the community, the sexual abuse crisis, and the church.

Our newest generation of lawyers



“The first duty of government is to protect the powerless from the

powerful.” – Code of Hammurabi, circa 1772 B.C.

The Babylonian code of law was enacted by Hammurabi, the sixth Babylonian King. It’s the oldest known code of laws in recorded history. That’s why today, we continue to celebrate our new generation of Chaldeans, embarking in the field of law.

Carly Hakim Babi, daughter of Carl and Azucena Hakim is one of Michigan’s newest attorneys. She received her JD, MBA from Detroit Mercy earlier this year. While in law school, she represented indigent defendants, and assisted community attorneys in protecting the rights of Chaldean immigrants.

A private swearing-in ceremony took place on October 25, 2018 at the 35th District Court in front of Chief Judge Michael J. Gerou, where her husband, Attorney Randy Ramzi Babi was her attorney sponsor. The family hosted a dinner to recognize Carly and the historical legacy of Chaldeans in lawmaking.

Attorney Carly Hakim Babi now joins her husband as a partner in the firm they have been building for the past two years, focusing in the areas of criminal law and business. She will be leading the firm’s family and immigration practices.

They can be reached at 888-778-2224 or


Marian Prep Bowl

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Five Chaldean students were chosen to represent Marian High School at the Catholic League Prep Bowl at Ford Field on Saturday, October 20. Each year the Catholic League honors the students who hold the highest grade point averages in their class based on their cumulative grade point at the end of the previous school year. The following were among a group of 28 other students chosen to represent Marian High School. Senior Gabrielle Gappy, daughter of Wala and Harry Gappy of West Bloomfield; Junior Isabella Shunyia, daughter of Dalia and Ronnie Shunyia of West Bloomfield; Sophomore Isabelle Elia, daughter of Sewan Mansour-Elia and Sean Elia of Bloomfield Hills; Sophomore Rea Sadek, daughter of Suzanne and Chris Sadek of Birmingham; and Sophomore Lauren Yaldo, daughter of Ban and Steve Yaldo of Bloomfield Township. Each student is actively involved in extracurriculars in and outside of school.

Agent of the Week

Nick LaFave was named ‘Agent of the Week’ at North American Senior Benefits (NASB) for his accomplishments. LaFave was the agency’s top producing agent in September as he wrote $17,155 in A/P and protected 13 lives. According to NASB, at only 19-years-old, LaFave has “written by far the most premium while experiencing the fewest days on planet Earth of anyone in NASB’s storied history.”

Slight Return Nominated for Grammy

Slight Return – comprised of Mark Kassa, Tony Mitchell, Ronnie Karmo, and Mike Schneider – has been nominated for a Grammy award. The band is on the Grammy Awards ballot in three categories for their song “69 Days Til Freedom”.


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Congratulations Julian M. Daman for passing the bar exam and joining the law firm of Jajonie Daman, P.C. practicing with his mother, immigration and nationality law.

Cultural Center Welcomes Archbishop Vigneron

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The Chaldean Cultural Center was pleased to welcome His Eminence, Archbishop Allen Vigneron for a tour and discussion. The Archbishop was joined by Fr. Jeff Day, Moderator of the Curia and Fr. Steve Pullis, Director of Evangelization and Education. The tour was presented by Mary Roumaya, the previous Director of the Chaldean Cultural Center. Board Chair, Judy Jonna, participated along with Shenandoah President Hani Mio and Board Member Raad Kathawa. Over appetizers and dinner, Chaldean Community Foundation CEO Martin Manna provided the Archbishop and his staff with an update on the status of Chaldean refugees. The Archbishop was also provided an update on Our Lady of Fields Camp and Retreat Center and the newly formed Finance Council for the Chaldean Diocese of the United States. Also, joining the evening was Retired Bishop Walter Hurley who has been advising with Bishop Francis Kalabat on organizational matters.

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The New Consulate

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Both the incoming Iraqi Consulate Adnan Almaajoon and outgoing Consulate Dr. Mustafa met with Martin Manna and the Chaldean Foundation on many issues including deportations. “We want to welcome you here and continue a strong relationship with the consulate and office of foreign affairs,” said Manna to the new Consulate.

Manna addressed the immigration and deportation issues including cases in Federal Court; there are about 130 people currently detained. However, there are 1400 people at risk of being deported. The Detroit Consulate office is most responsible for stopping deportations. “Our door is open, said Almaajoon. “We can work with you on many issues not just on deportations. We recognize your value and strength in the community.”

Father Anthony Becomes a Captain

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Father Anthony became a Captain for the Selfridge International Air Base where he will be their chaplain once a month.

Society of Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers highlighted University of Kentucky graduate student Mujan Seif. A member of the Society of Women Engineers since her start at the University of Kentucky in the Fall of 2012, Seif is studying Materials Science and engineering.

The New Deputy

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Finance Director Derek Dickow, founder of Birmingham-based Steward Media, a PR and political relations firm, has been retained by the Michigan Republican Party as its Deputy Finance Director. Dickow, an established community and political activist, has raised financial support for Republican candidates and elected officials for several years. He is part of the team tasked with advancing the MRP strategy, facilitating high level introductions, and relationship building. He works directly with MRP Chairman, Ambassador Ron Weiser. Dickow was recently Finance Director for Lt. Governor Brian Calley, is an active board member of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, and Chairs its Political Action Committee.

DBusiness’ Most Powerful Leaders

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Saber Ammori, CEO of Wireless Vision has been named as one of DBusiness Magazine’s 500 Most Powerful Business Leader in Metro Detroit.

ECRC’s Fall Programs

A number of ECRC’s Fall programs have started! Bible Study with Bishop Francis is hosted at ECRC every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Theology classes with Hubert Sanders are hosted at St. Joseph every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.

“Journey to Heaven” taught by Jeff Kassab is hosted at ECRC every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

Endow Women’s Study Group is hosted at St. George every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. For more information about each class, visit

Transcending Anxiety

Sabrina Jo Atto is releasing her debut book, Transcending Anxiety. The book is a “down to earth guide for transforming stress and worry through mind, body, and spirit.”

A New Pita Way

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Entrepreneur Brandon Bahoura opened his eighth Pita Way. The newest Mediterranean grill will be taking residence in Livonia.

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Bundles of Blankets

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Morgan Garmo got involved with Fleece & Thank You through her aunt Nancy Kattoula, a high school teacher. Kattoula met Nicholas Kristock, founder of Fleece & Thank You at PBJ Outreach with her high school volunteer group, Giving Tree.

Kattoula hosted a blanket making event at her house and introduced not only Morgan Garmo to Nicholas but many other Chaldeans. “After that there was a small group of us who were completely bought in to making Fleece & Thank You what it is today,” said Garmo. “We saw the profound impact a Fleece & Thank You Blanket made with children starting their battles as well as their families. We knew 30,000 children in Michigan are admitted to the hospital for long term treatment. It has been our goal since day one to ensure every one of those children start their battle with a Fleece & Thank You Blanket.”

Over the last three years, there have been dozens of Chaldeans participating in blanket making. Also, Chaldeans serve on the board, host blanket making events, and participate through schools. Walled Lake Central hosted a Make a Blanket Day earlier this year and a lot of Chaldeans helped head that event with Kattoula.

“They did an extraordinary job from start to finish,” said Garmo. “They fundraised not only within the school but within the community. They even got Mojo in the Morning out to help spread the word.

One of the most notable Chaldean connections to Make A Blanket Day today would be with Airtime. John Zebari first learned about the organization on Facebook and reached out to see how airtime could get involved. They hosted an event there with the Children’s Leukemia Network.

“It says a lot about people and an organization when they tell you creativity is the limit to the possibilities and are willing to make our visions for an event a reality,” said Garmo. “They  were not only willing, but excited to partner with us on a Saturday which is a busy day for them. Being able to partner with people in our community is nothing short of a blessing. It’s a great reminder of the generosity, creativity, and ambitions that are woven within our community.”

Chaldeans have not only helped make blankets, a few have been recipients. Nicholas took a photo with Rita who received a blanket during her stay in the hospital. She was going through chemo when she received a blanket.

The Fleece & Thank You team have made and delivered more than 40,000 blankets to date. “On average, Michigan has 30,000 pediatric inpatients a year,” said Garmo. “Our goal is to consistently make 30,000 blankets a year to ensure every child in Michigan starts their battle with a Fleece & Thank You Blanket. We also have plans in the world to provide Fleece & Thank You blankets across the country – we partnered with the American diabetes association and have launched our partnership with them in Arizona.”


Changing Perceptions

Following the publication of the revised section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the death penalty, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, welcomed the change and echoed the call to end the death penalty in the United States.

“For decades, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for the end of the death penalty in the United States,” said Dewane. “As the revised Catechism states, “more effective systems of detention...which ensure the due protection of citizens: exist, ones that also maintain the human dignity of all. It is our hope that the announcement will bring new attention to this critical issue, and speed along the end of this practice, which, as Pope Francis has said, in the light of the Gospel, is ‘inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.’”


Middle Eastern American Affairs

The Chaldean Community Foundation’s president, Martin Manna, was appointed to the Commission of Middle Eastern American Affairs by Governor Rick Snyder in late July. The 15-member commission was created to act in an advisory capacity to the governor, and to empower, promote, and advance the Middle Eastern American community of Michigan.


Congressman Trott Addresses Chamber Members

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Outgoing Congressman David Trott addressed both the Chaldean Chamber and Livonia Chamber members at Shenandoah Country Club on Friday, August 17 about the problems facing our government as he sees them, and offered advice for anyone aspiring to go into politics. Additionally, he spoke about a bipartisan committee he serves on, which is working to give more power to newly elected officials so freshman congressmen and congresswomen can effect real change immediately upon taking office.


A Sweet Endeavor

After nearly 25 years in the retail chocolate business, Stephanie Acho Tartoni sold her Northville Store front this past spring to another retailer, the owner of Adorn Fine Flowers. Like Stephanie who bought Chocolates by Renee in in 1996, the owner wanted to keep the name, which is nearly 30 years old and it goes with the existing retail clientele.

However, Stephanie is not giving up the sweet business all-together. “I love working with Chocolate,” she said. “It serves so many purposes. First and foremost, it is a fantastic marketing device. It is utilized in so many ways and can make people so happy.”

Knowing she wanted to continue in this field, she decided to open, the Detroit Chocolate Company. “We still manufacture out of our Northville location,” she said. “We are strictly corporate and cater to all gift-giving needs. I love the responses from our clients, knowing, that we make them look good!”

Corporate logos are timeless and taste amazing, she noted. To find out more go to,




After Saturday Comes Sunday

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Born in Rochester, New York, Susan Adelman is a pediatric surgeon, artist, silversmith, and author. Her latest book “After Saturday Comes Sunday” was inspired by Adelman’s 92-year-old Chaldean “mother” Norma Hakim.

The book begins with the biographical story of Norma Hakim, who hails from Northern Iraq, and the biography of a Kurdish Jewish woman who is now living in Israel. Adelman writes about the history of Christians and Jews in the Middle East. “Their languages, dialects of the 3000-year-old Aramaic language, are under threat, and their homelands continuously threatened by war.”

“Their stories illustrate the rich centuries-long traditions that are at risk. Can the remaining Christians and their language be saved from extinction in their very birthplace? At least the United States must extend them an umbrella of support so they may rebuild their indigenous communities and train their own militias if they ever hope to resettle safely at home, resume their traditional way of life, and raise children who speak their language.”


Zipping Through Nature

Camp Dearborn, located in Milford, unveiled their latest attraction on July 14 – a 1,400-foot-long zip line. Said to be the longest zip line in Michigan, Camp Dearborn’s new amenity is sure to be a hit with lovers of heights and nature. The line will take riders from a six-story tower at Elm Circle over a lake and down onto the main beach. It will be open noon to 6:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday.

For more information about the zip line or ticket pricing, call (248) 684-
6000 or (313) 943-2076.


Chaldean Mass at St. Anne's

Chaldean Mass was celebrated in honor of St. Anne at the Roman Catholic parish of St. Anne’s in Detroit on July 23.













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Detroit Skating Club - Annual Ice Show

The Detroit Skating Club hosted their 19th annual ice show from June 28 through
July 1. This year’s them was “...And the Greatest of These is Love”. This year’s show included about 160 ice skaters across a number of age groups and skill levels – several of which were Chaldean children.





CAAHP Scholarship and Awards Gala

The Chaldean-American Association for Health Professionals hosted their second annual Scholarship and Awards Gala Shenandoah Country Club on July 13. With more than 350 people in attendance, there were several distinguished guests including Wayne State University Vice President of Health Affairs, David Hefner and State Representative Klint Kesto. The evening’s keynote speaker was Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. Honored at the gala: Dr. Rena Daiza received the Rising Star Award, Dr. Sabri Shukri received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Dr. Paul Shikwana posthumously received the Leader in Medicine Award. View more photos on


Vacation Bible School

The Eastern Catholic Re-Evangelization Center (ECRC) once again hosted Vacation Bible School. The first week was hosted at Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Church and the remaining three weeks were hosted at St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church. Due to increased popularity, this was the first year in which a fourth week of VBS was added.

JULY 2018

Represented in West Bloomfield

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While running for Township Supervisor, Steve Kaplan was also on a mission to help Chaldeans find representation in the township.  “He tirelessly helped me while I was running for the board of Trustees,” said Jim Manna who is the first Chaldean ever elected in the township.

Since taking office in November of 2016, he set out to make sure the Chaldeans who make up about 20 percent of the population were hired for open positions and appointed to various commissions. 

Kaplan has been in public office for more than 20 years and was also prosecuting attorney and a professor of law. The most recent appointment was Wendy Acho who, by a vote of 6-0 competing against three other candidates, won a seat on the Zoning Board of Appeals. “Every board committee has at least one Chaldean person on it,” said Manna. “This is truly significant. People care that their city or township represents their community.”

“It is extremely important that our employees and commission members reflect the members of the community,” said Kaplan.

It is the first time the city has had such representation. “It is important to note in recruiting and selecting Chaldeans for employment and boards, it is not about affirmative action, it is about equal opportunity, explained Kaplan. “It is based on merit and competence.”

“And based on the supervisor’s knowledge of our hard work ethnic and it is something that I truly respect him for because he understands our community,” said Manna.

The representation is something Kaplan and Manna want the community to know.  “And, Mr. Kaplan is setting the bar for the entire state of Michigan,” said Manna, “because it is the first township of its kind and an affluent one that is adding Chaldeans and no other city or township is doing that yet there are high Chaldean populations in various cities.”

West Bloomfield has the second largest Chaldean population in Michigan. Sterling Heights has the largest Chaldean population.

Originally from Malta, Anabelle Karana is married to a Chaldean. She speaks Maltese, Aramaic (Sourath), English and Italian. “We do have Chaldeans who come to city hall and I am able to translate for those who don’t speak English,” said Karana who learned Sourath from her in-laws.

She works in the assessing department where she processes paperwork for new homeowners. “It is so important that the townships represent all aspects of the community.”

“Anabelle generates goodwill for the township because she always speaks so highly of us,” said Kaplan. “We want our residents to know that we have an open-door policy. We are here for them.”

“I can honestly say the employees here truly go out of their way to help the residents,” said Karana. “We really want them to feel welcome here.”

There are also four Chaldean police officers in the West Bloomfield Police Department.



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Corbin Yaldoo is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and was recently appointed as ICSC’s Michigan Next Generation State Chair.  As the Next Generation State Chair, Yaldoo provides vision, leadership and support for the next cohort of industry leaders.  Through a variety of programs, the Next Generation Chair works with the ICSC Team to create the forum in which the young professionals network. Yaldoo is also a member of ChainLinks Retail Advisors and on the board of several local organizations.

Yaldoo specializes in landlord representation and placement of retailers in regional and neighborhood shopping centers.  His area of expertise also includes the leasing of new developments and land/asset acquisition and disposition.


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Granted Scholarships

The Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers (AFPD) hosted their annual scholarship luncheon on Tuesday, June 19. Each year, students across the Midwest are selected to receive scholarships from the association’s foundation. Thirty-eight students were selected to receive the scholarship award of $1,500, bringing the total amount given away $57,000. Eleven of these students were Chaldean. The following recipients are Chaldean: Anne Elizabeth Acho
Tartoni, Tristan Attisha, Spencer Haisha, Emily Kado, Miranda Kajy, Zena Kashat, Ryan Kizy, Celeste Nafso, Lauren Zaitouna, and Christopher Hamama.


Country Fresh Closes Livonia Location

Country Fresh announced last month that they will close their operations in Livonia. Michael George sold Melody Farms to Dean Foods and Country Fresh is a subsidiary of Dean Foods.  “This is one of several facilities across the nation that Country Fresh plans to close as part of cost-efficiency efforts for the company,” said Dan West, president of the Livonia Chamber. 

“It is never fun to see any company close an operation and 100 people lose their jobs, but it is really tough to see a company like Country Fresh leave because it had so many connections to Livonia. Tom and Michael George, revered leaders in the metro Detroit Chaldean community, founded Melody Farms in 1950 when some dairy products were produced out of Wilson Farms, now a historical barn in Livonia.

Melody Farms was headquartered in Livonia until the George family sold the operation to Dean Foods in 2003. The City, Livonia Chamber of Commerce and Michigan Works are already discussing plans to connect the displaced workers with new job opportunities locally after the Livonia Country Fresh plant closes later this year.”

Company representatives stated their “commitment to the Chaldean community and independent grocers won’t change.


JUNE 2018

New Cardinals Appointed

Pope Francis announced on Sunday his picks to become cardinals in the Catholic church. He will make 14 new cardinals on Friday, June 29. Among the new cardinals is Louis Raphael I Sako. Sako has been the Baghdad-based patriarch of the Chaldeans since 2013.


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Charitable Celebration

Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan hosted its annual Celebration. “The works of Catholic Charities are the corporal works of mercy. We are not principally a social service agency, but an Instrument of God’s love and mercy,” said Archbishop Allen Vignernon, President of Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan. St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church was among those honored at the event. They are faithful supporters of CCSEM. The church’s ladies group, Wings promotes Project Hope through its pro-life work and hosts and annual Mother’s Day Tea. They support and volunteer monthly at the All Saints Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. During the Advent/Christmas Season, the adopt families from CCSEM ministries including Project Hope and Behavioral Health. Fr. Manuel Boji, Fr. Rudy Zoma and Fr. Brian Kassa were all in attendance among three tables of Chaldeans.


Students go to Washington D.C.

Back row L-R: Teacher Ms. Crystal Jabiro, Cameron Kenaya, Angelina Jabboori, Angelina Manjo, Ella Dabish, and Mrs. Wasan Garmo. Front row: Mary Jarjosa, Leann Karim, Michael Antone, and Lucas Garmo.

Back row L-R: Teacher Ms. Crystal Jabiro, Cameron Kenaya, Angelina Jabboori, Angelina Manjo, Ella Dabish, and Mrs. Wasan Garmo. Front row: Mary Jarjosa, Leann Karim, Michael Antone, and Lucas Garmo.

Several Chaldean students from Orchard Lake Middle School journeyed to Washington, DC for their 8th grade trip in May.

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Recognized by Crain’s

Justin Hanna has been recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business’ ’Twenty in their 20s’ for his part in helping Iraqi nationals facing deportation after they were rounded up and detained last June. An attorney without any immigration experience, Hanna led a team of attorneys at Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss P.C. to help those affected get representation.



Stabenow Calls on Trump Administration


In May of 2018, United States Senator Debbie Stabenow wrote the office of President Donald Trump regarding the hundreds of Iraqi nationals that had been picked up in raids and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on June 11 of last year. In her letter, Stabenow expresses her concern and requests an update on the individuals from Michigan who were detained last year and how the “recent Supreme Court Sessions v. Dimaya decision could impact their cases.” Stabenow cites The United States’ travel advisory to Iraq warns “U.S. travelers: ‘Do not travel to Iraq due to terrorism and armed conflict.’” Stating that while those who are detained are not citizens of this country, their families are and the risk of kidnapping and violence for the purpose of extorting their families. Stabenow ends her letter by urging Trump’s administration to use its authority to “exercise discretion in carefully considering” each detainee’s case.



MAY 2018

Career Fair
Orchard Lake Middle School’s (West Bloomfield) annual Career Fair had nearly a dozen Chaldean-American speakers from several fields. Pictured from L to R— nurse Wasan Garmo with Krystal Hermiz and Chantel Bahoura, both lawyers.

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Breakfast of Nations
The Breakfast of Nations event was designed to highlight the diverse immigrant and refugee residents/business owner in Macomb county and uplift their stories, experiences and contributions to the community. Panelist stories included: what it was like arriving to the area, what made their transition easier, and what community activities they’ve been involved since arrival. There were about 130 individuals in attendance, from non-profit organizations, to community colleges, health care professionals and law enforcement. The event took place on Friday, April 13 at the Carpathia Club in Sterling Heights.

CIAAM Book Release
Released April 16, Chaldean Iraqi American Association of Michigan by author and CIAAM president Jacob Bacall is “the newest addition to the Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series.” This book highlights the association of early Chaldean immigrants that came to America seeking a better life. All of the author’s proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit the Chaldean Cultural Center located in West Bloomfield. Pick up CIAAM today for a walk through past and present success stories that inspired several generations of Chaldean to come to America in search of the American dream.

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Buddy Bench to combat bullying
The St. Fabian Catholic School Girl Scout Troop 75122 raised the necessary funds to purchase a buddy bench for their school as a part of their community project. The purchase of the Buddy Bench is part of an anti-bullying campaign. The idea behind the Buddy Bench is to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. It’s about spreading the message of inclusion and kindness. If a child is sitting on it alone, it serves as a signal to the other kids to include him or her.

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Goodbye to Volleyball
Eighth-graders (L to R) Rakal Kizy, Angelina Manjo, Ella Dabish, and Leann Karim say goodbye at their last volleyball game at Orchard Lake Middle School. 


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Thursday Fast
Local police officers were invited to St. George Chaldean Catholic Church on Thursday, March 23 for a foot washing ceremony. Father Wisam Matti washed the feet of the following local police officers: Jason Abro, Samir Kato, Joe Haddad, Lance Seba, Nick Loussia, Michael Gorges, Albert Yasso, Anthony Petrykowski, Jason Conklin, Martin Youhana, Sevan Zaitou, and Jimmy Kinaya.

Chaldean for Kids

Creators and authors of the book series Chaldean for Kids books and accompanying learning materials are seeking legal action against the creator of a mobile application using the same name and Copy Right materials. Margaret Saroki Shamoun is asking members of the community to not support what is said to be a “blatant rip-off” of her books. From Shamoun, whose attorney has contacted the creator of the APP, has posted on social media, “...The copyrighted concept, name, and carefully designed pronunciations are the same. We would
really appreciate it if you would not support this stolen material...”

In response, the APP developer, has put out a statement on the Chaldean for Kids Mobile Application Facebook page. In this statement, the APP developer states that they have decided to donate all proceeds made by the APP will be donated to Chaldean churches and/or the Chaldean Iraqi Refugee Fund. Additionally, the APP developer states that graphic materials, texts, fonts, and translations were not reused and are their original content.

Heart of Mercy Award
Mercy High School senior, Annie Acho Tartoni was selected as this year’s student recipient of the Heart of Mercy Award. Students who “consistently display the values of human dignity, service, option for the poor, justice and mercy” are selected to receive this award.

APRIL 2018

Passing on Knowledge

Set up by Derek Dickow, for Walled Lake Central’s CASA group, Clarence Dass and Matthew Sharrak spoke at Walled Lake Central High School March 6. The gentlemen talked about how they chose the professions they did, things they have learned, things for students to think about and focus on while they make their career decisions, etc.  The students asked many questions of the two, gaining insight about their careers and great advice about college and pursuing their passions.

The Vigil Project Comes to ECRC

The Eastern Catholic Re-Evangelization Center hosted The Vigil Project for a night of spiritual renewal during the Lenten season. The night of song and adoration took place at St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church on February 24, in place of Ignite the Spirit. The Vigil Project is a “community of artists, musicians, and filmmakers that produce multimedia resources for authentic encounters with God and growth in prayer.”

CALC Communication

Chaldean News Publisher and Editor in Chief Vanessa Denha Garmo spoke to a group of youth at the United Family Services Chaldean American Ladies of Charity about communicating with bullies and mean kids.

Clergy Assignments

Fr. (elect) John Jaddou has been assigned as Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church and Fr. (elect) Fadie Gorgies has been assigned as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chaldean Catholic Church. Additionally, Fr. (elect) Gorgies will take the lead in celebrating Mass in Boston. Other assignments include Fr. Sanharib Youkhanna as Rector of Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Cathedral, Fr. Hermiz Haddad as administrator of Mar Aprem Chaldean Catholic Church in Chicago, Fr. Bryan Kassa as vocation director of the Diocese, and Fr. Pierre Konja as spiritual director at St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Seminary in Enkawa, Iraq. 

2018 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Baghdad, Mar Louis Raphael Sako, has been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize award for his work with Christians in Iraq who have faced persecution. L’Œuvre d’Orient, a French Catholic association, submitted Sako’s nomination which was later accepted by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The nomination has received support from both Christians and Muslims from not only Iraq, but Jordan, Lebanon, and France.


MARCH 2018

Chamber Welcomes U.S. Senate Candidate

The Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce hosted a meet and greet on Friday, February 2, where they welcomed U.S. Senate candidate John James. 

Blowing out 100

Known for his religious writings written in Aramaic, Shamasha Sadik Barno turned 100 years old this past February and a party in his honor was thrown. His actual birthday was part of a long family debate because proper records were not kept.  He was believed to be born between 1917 and 1919 so the family, through some research, determined that 1918 was the year.  In San Diego, California, family, friends, clergy and other religious figures gathered in his honor.  Barno was married to the late Agatha Poullath Barno and had 17 children, five died at young ages in Iraq.  He has 64 grandchildren and is a great great grandfather.

Honored for Her Service

Huda Konja celebrated 20 years of service at Childtime in Farmington Hills on January 31, 2018. The school dedicated a plaque in her honor at the entrance.

ECRC in Arizona

Representing ECRC, a group of women attended the Alpha Conference focused on a Catholic context in Arizona. Alpha is a tool to introduce people to an initial proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ. As Pope Francis said, “Nothing is more solid, profound, secure, meaningful, and wisdom- filled than that initial proclamation.” The conference was held in Arizona. Those who attended included ECRC Ambassador Terry (Therese) Dickow, ECRC Director Patrice Abona, Chaldean News Co-Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Denha Garmo, Co-Founder of ECRC Neran Karmo and ECRC Ambassador Ahlam Shango. 

Vying for Conyers Seat

Westland Mayor Bill Wild garnered much media attention when he announced last month his candidacy to be the Democratic nominee for Michigan’s 13thCongressional District seat.

Mayor Wild views the vacant congressional seat as a call to service and will bring to Congress more than 20 years of experience as a public servant whose hard work, shared values and energy will ensure that Washington D.C. works for everyday people of Michigan’s 13th Congressional District.

“When the legendary Dean John Conyers stepped down from his seat, our communities lost an institution of public service.  I believe my work ethic, energy and proven track record of getting things done are what everyday families in the 13th Congressional District need now,” said Wild.

The native son of the 13th Congressional District, Wild is in among several candidates in the race including former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, and state Sen. Coleman Young II.  There are also two candidates on the list who share Conyers’ last name — his son John Conyers III, and his nephew state Sen. Ian Conyers.  Candidates have until April 24th to file ballot petitions for the August primary.

Award Winning Writer

Caitlyn Zawideh was awarded the University of Michigan Granader Family Upper-Level Writing Prize in Humanities. Zawideh’s piece, Mother of Exiles, was written for her English 325 class and nominated by her instructor Molly Beer. Zawideh was one of two winners selected by a panel of judges who deemed her writing as exceptional.

Wife of detainee attends State of the Union

On Tuesday, January 30, Nahrain Hamama, wife of then detainee Usama “Sam” Hamama, joined Rep. Sander Levin for the annual State of the Union address in Washington D.C. Sam Hamama was among hundreds of Iraqi nationals picked up in raids carried out by ICE throughout metro Detroit on June 11, 2017. Also joining Rep. Levin were Hamama’s children Britanny, 20, and Chris, 17.

U.S. Ice Carves it up at the Winter Blast

U.S. Ice provided several ice carvings for the annual Meridian Winter Blast for the second consecutive year. Each year this Winter celebration is hosted at Campus Martius in Detroit. U.S. Ice provided a variety of ice carvings, each weighing about 300 pounds. From animals to the Spirit of Detroit, these carvings took many different forms. 


Congresswoman issues statement in support of detained Iraqi Nationals

In response to Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling on January 2 – in which he ordered federal authorities to release Iraqi nationals that have been held for six months or more or grant them individual bond hearings by February 2 – Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) issued the following statement on January 3. 

“In America, due process is not a privilege, but an inalienable right for all. It is unacceptable, unjust and un-American for our government to simply lock up these individuals and hold them without proper cause and without full access to our judicial system and process. The Iraqi detainees and their families have suffered months of uncertainty and denial of basic rights. This court ruling is a step in the right direction. We must continue to demand a fair and transparent judicial process and adherence to the right of due process.” 

The following is an excerpt from Judge Goldsmith’s ruling. “Our legal tradition rejects warehousing human beings while their legal rights are being determined, without an opportunity to persuade a judge that the norm of monitored freedom should be followed. This principle is familiar to all in the context of the criminal law, where even a heinous criminal — whether a citizen or not — enjoys the right to seek pre-trial release.” 

Tune In

Songwriter and vocalist Steve Acho just signed an agreement to have his songs in commercials and movies in Europe.

Liberated and Celebrating

Holy Mass was celebrated on Sunday, January 20 in the town of Telkaif one year after being liberated from ISIS. Telkaif was primarily Chaldean Catholic before its people were forced out.

AFPD Partners with Convenience Stores Against Trafficking to take a stand against human trafficking

Recognizing the pivotal role that convenience stores can play in combatting the growing issue of human trafficking, the Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers (AFPD) have teamed up with Convenience Stores Against Trafficking to take a stand against the crime. Using a brief video and printed reference cards for in-store use, CSAT will provide training so that employees can understand the indicators of human trafficking and employee appropriate response protocols. These items were mailed to AFPD members, along with an informational packet.

Through this partnership, AFPD is hoping to educate convenience store owners and their staff of the warning signs of human trafficking and how to effectively deal with it.

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that occurs in every state, including Michigan.  “We are asking store owners to work with us by displaying hotlines in their stores,” said Auday Arabo, president and CEO of AFPD. “We want victims to find the help they are seeking.” 

CSAT provides training, victim outreach, and public awareness of human trafficking through convenience store partners. CSAT reaches out to victims through their Freedom Stickers. These stickers contain a message of hope and a phone number for the National Human Trafficking hotline - a nongovernmental agency with local networks of victim-centered responders.

Belting the Tunes

Shelbi Jouni played the role of Molly Pitt and a huntress in the Opera Martha by Friedrich Von Flowtow through the School of Music, Theater and Dance at Oakland University. Shelbi is a third-year vocal performance major at OU.