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.


On December 20, 2017, protesters once again gathered outside of the Theodore Levin United States Courthouse in support of community members facing deportation. The majority of detainees were picked up in raids conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on June 11, 2017. Since the raids, detainees have been dispersed between facilities in Michigan and Ohio, with the majority in Ohio. Protesters gathered as Judge Mark Goldsmith was set to hear pending motions from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

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New Home for a Local Law Firm

Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. (CMDA) has relocated their Livonia office to Livonia’s College Park Development. This move comes as CMDA has outgrown their previous office, in which CMDA occupied all three levels of the building. While this building holds a special place in the lives of the attorneys that occupy it, it also serves as a testament to their hard work.

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Steve Acho, Author

Steve Acho has made great strides as both a musician and now author. Acho wrote a technology driven book titled, “Why Technology Recruiting is Broken and What To Do About It.” Acho’s book is one of many top-rated books on Amazon. Most recently, Acho has reached a major milestone in his music career as his music has been downloaded and streamed more than 10 million times. Acho has performed across the U.S. and the world as an independent musician, including national TV and radio appearances in the U.S. and Japan. Acho has also performed with celebrities and has sung the national anthem for Detroit sports teams.  


Family Feud Time

On March 26, 2017, Theresa Sitto and her children, Jacinta, Brent, Olivia, and Spencer appeared on Family Feud.  This began with an audition at Cobo in Detroit then a second audition in Atlanta, where they were chosen to appear. The episode filmed for more than an hour. “It was an overall amazing and fun family experience; the Family Feud production staff were wonderful and very professional and impressive.  All details were handled with precision and the entire crew was welcoming and kind.  Steve Harvey told stories and had everyone laughing.  He even did the halhole during the segment, and although that part didn’t air, it was a lot of fun,” said Theresa.


UHC Baby Shower

On October 4, 2017, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan hosted a Community Baby Shower and partnered with United Community Family Services/CALC, and St. John Providence Ascension Health System. This was their third annual successful event with more than 100 expectant and new moms in attendance. This collaboration provided a unique opportunity to work jointly to educate new and expectant mothers with valuable health information exclusively presented in Arabic to promote healthy living and healthier communities. The event was once again a great success, with excellent turnout and lively participation.


University of Detroit Students Volunteer

Roughly 950 of University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy’s young men provided much-needed services to nine agencies throughout the city of Detroit.  From site beautification to providing meals for the less-fortunate. The school has this event every year where they split up the kids and tackle clean up at various Detroit locations. These boys were at Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit. It was the Academy (7th and 8th grade) and Freshman. They cleaned bushes and trees along the river.


Building Bridges

On Wednesday, October 4, members of the Chaldean community came together with members of the Jewish community for the Chaldean/Jewish Building Bridges event. This event was hosted at the Shenandoah Country Club, where event goers were given a tour of the Chaldean Cultural Museum. The Building Bridges event was sponsored by the Chaldean News and the Detroit Jewish News.


First Lady Visits Orchard Lake Middle School

Melody Arabo, Lead Ambassador Teacher Fellow for the US Department of Education, and Crystal Jabiro, English and Social Studies teacher at Orchard Lake Middle School in West Bloomfield, coordinated efforts to show First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos the Orchard Lake Middle School’s anti-bullying initiatives, like No One Eats Alone. The First Lady and Secretary kicked off the “Week of Inclusion,” part of National Bullying Prevention Month, by visiting during lunch and participating in a lesson about inclusion during “Viking Huddle,” an advisory class.



OU School of Music, Theatre and Dance Approved

The Oakland University Board of Trustees voted at its August formal meeting to approve the creation of a School of Music, Theatre and Dance. This move follows a consistent expansion and transformation of programs offered by the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance over the past 32 years. Theatre and Dance began as extra-curricular programs at Oakland University. Then, in 1985, the theatre and dance programs joined the existing music department, forming a Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. The department has flourished since that time, leading up to the announcement of the formation of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

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D-Man Foundation Cruise Woodward

For the Sixth year in a row, the D-Man Foundation helped to give life to the dreams of wheelchair patients as they organized their annual Dreams Come True on Woodward, in conjunction with the Woodward Dream Cruise. This year’s event took place on Friday August 18 at the back-parking lot of Hands on Auto Detailing. 

Each year, The D-MAN Foundation transfers more wheelchair-bound individuals into convertibles to participate in the world’s largest one-day auto event. Making the experience even more memorable is the music that the passengers will be listening to is music they’ve produced themselves in D-Man’s unique “barrier free” music therapy studio.


Search for New Recruits Heats Up

The Oakland Fire Training Institute at Oakland Community College is seeking new recruits. The Oakland Fire Training Institute at Oakland Community College is the only nationally and internationally ProBoard accredited fire academy in the State of Michigan. Oakland Fire Training Institute’s Fire Academy is currently accepting applications. A free orientation for the Fire Academy will be on August 16, 2017.


Putting Detroit on the Map

Gabrielle George, vice president of cultural strategy at Doner in Detroit, has been featured by The Drum in their 30 under 30 from the Midwest. This honor comes from George’s work as a woman, putting herself and Detroit on the map through her “creativity, achievements and dedication to an industry that is changing at a fast clip.”


Dress for Assumption of Mary

Samira Binna, once again, made the dress for Carey, Ohio Assumption of Mary prayer service held on August 14, 2017. She made and donated this dress in honor of all cancer patients and peace in the world. “Please gather and pray for peace and protection! God bless you all,” posted Binna on Facebook.


St. Fabian and St. Monica students reach new heights

St. Fabian Catholic School of Farmington Hills has partnered with St. Monica Catholic School of Kalamazoo to help their students reach new heights and actively participate in conducting scientific research. St. Fabian’s implementation program was recently accepted by the Students Spaceflight Experiments Program, giving students in grades 4-8 the opportunity to participate in a program with NASA.

This program will allow for students to create zero-gravity experiments. One experiment from each school will be chosen to be sent to the International Space Station in which astronauts will conduct research for students. Once the data has been sent back to students, they will have a chance to present their research at a conference in Washington D.C.


First Jonna Construction Home on Sale

The first home ever built by Jimmy Jonna and Jonna Construction is on the market for the first time since being built more than 50 years ago. Marcine Karmo is selling her parent’s home in Southfield. It was Built in 1966 and the family moved in July of that same year. Her father, Najib lived there for five decades before he passed away on November 16, 2016.


West Bloomfield Named Safest City in Michigan

Known for being a safe community, West Bloomfield Township has officially been recognized as one of the 10 safest communities in the country by the National Council for Home Safety and Security. West Bloomfield Township takes ninth place on the overall list, but takes first place as the safest community in Michigan.


Brother Faris Najor took his first vows as a Capuchin on Friday July 21. Community members are asking all to continue to pray for him as he is a blessing to our community. Bishop Francis was in attendance and they allowed him to make his vows in Aramaic!

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JULY 2017

Rabir is a 26-year-old Syrian refugee who escaped ISIS and is now in the U.S. He never had access to money or good healthcare but now will have his first powered wheelchair. His chair was modified by the same man who modified Danny Kassab’s wheelchair, which the D-MAN Charity was named. Rabir has been wheel-chair bound since he was 15-years-old due to an unknown infection.  You can learn more about his story and help with his medical costs by going to

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JUNE 2017

Walk for Israel celebrated Israel on Sunday May, 7th at the Temple Shir Shalom in West Bloomfield.  The event featured both a walk and a 5k family fun run, and helped raise awareness of the modern Jewish State of Israel .  The event has grown each year in size and prominence and works to unite the metro Detroit community to celebrate Israel.

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