Flint

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

There appears to be rising opposition to the planned sale of the Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint.     Meanwhile, a legislative mistake threatens to delay the sale.    

A private developer wants to buy the 85 acre campus for one point three million dollars.    He’ll then build a new school and lease it back to the state for two million dollars a year.  

The Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint may soon be sold.

In the wee hours of Friday morning, as the legislature prepared to adjourn its 2010 session, state lawmakers approved the sale of the 153 year old school to a private developer for $1.3 million.

The developer plans to renovate some buildings on the 85 acre site and build a new $15 million complex for the school for the deaf.  The state will pay $2 million a year to lease the site.  

Ridgway White is the developer.  He says the current facility needs to be replaced. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A contract dispute between Flint's mayor and the city's public safety unions escalated Tuesday.

Tuesday, the city of Flint sent layoff notices to 20 police officers. The city and the police unions have not been able to agree on major contract concessions to help reduce a projected budget deficit.

Also on Tuesday, Flint firefighters rejected a proposal to slash their current contract by nearly 10 percent. Union president Raul Garcia says Flint firefighters were upset that agreeing the concessions would not protect them from future layoffs.

Flint firefighters are voting on a new contract and the outcome is far from certain.    The head of the city’s firefighters union says its chances are 50-50.

 Flint firefighters are being asked to approve a new contract that will force firemen to increase contributions to their retirement plan and force them to pay more for health insurance.

“Basically the city doesn’t give us anything.  They’re basically just taking away.," says Raul Garcia, the president of the Flint Firefighters Union,  "They made us no kinds of offers or incentives for people to leave.” 

Flint police officers will not be getting layoff notices this week after all. 

 50 city workers are expected to lose their jobs to help ease the city’s budget crisis.

 But Flint mayor Dayne Walling says there will be no layoff notices sent to city police officers or firefighters this week.   He says layoff notices will be sent to Flint public safety employees after the holiday weekend, though contract talks with the city’s police officers continue.  

General Motors formally announced today that it is investing more than 160 million dollars in plants in Flint, Bay City and in Defiance, Ohio.

 The three plants produce components for the Chevy Volt, Cruze and a third unnamed Chevrolet small car.

 Bill Jordan says GM’s announcement is an early "Christmas present.”   Jordan is the president of United Auto Workers local 599.    He says GM’s investment shows workers are doing the job right. 

 

The city of Flint has started sending out layoff notices to city employees.
But so far, none of the notices have gone out to those who work in public safety.
The city of Flint is wrestling with an estimated 5 million dollar short fall in this year’s city budget.    The mayor wants the city’s unions to absorb about half of that deficit with double digit wage and benefit concessions.

A Detroit police car
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

CQ Press released it's report "City Crime Rankings" over the weekend and two cities in Michigan made the top five. Detroit was ranked third, and Flint was ranked fourth. The city with the highest rate of crime was St. Louis.

The AP reports this as a list of "most dangerous cities," but the CQ Press says it no longer uses the phrase "most dangerous" because the data used to make the list doesn't necessarily reflect danger.

User respres / Creative Commons

The Genesee County Bar Association is sponsoring a free seminar on how to avoid foreclosure.  It’s one of many free seminars the bar association will offer this winter.

Tatilia Burroughs is executive director of the association. She says they’ve gotten feedback from the public about what topics people would like addressed. She says they include child support, custody, consumer issues, debt collection, and issues having to do with small claims court.

The foreclosure seminar is Thursday, November 18th.  It will be at the Flint Public Library.

Here's a map of foreclosure listings in Michigan:


View Larger Map

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint city leaders are working with neighborhood watch groups and others to prevent an outbreak of arson fires this weekend. 

Flint firefighters have battled dozens of suspicious fires in abandoned homes for months.

 City leaders are concerned arsonists may step up their activity this Halloween weekend.

 Police officer Tanya Meeks is the liaison officer between the Flint police department and local volunteer groups.

Abandoned house in Flint, MI
Flickr user jamesharv2005 / Creative Commons

More houses are coming down in Flint. Kristin Longley reports in the Flint Journal that 174 houses will come down by December 31st. That's on top of the 125 houses city crews are expected to take down by the end of the year.

Flint union leader Sam Muma says city crews can't take down all the homes scheduled for demolition:

"There's no way the crews I represent, the city employees, can handle all that. We have a situation quite unique in our time."

Booking photo of stabbing suspect Elias Abuelazam
Arlington, Virginia Police Department

(by Steve Carmody, Michigan Radio)

A judge has ordered the man suspected in a series of stabbings in the Flint area to be held without bond.  

Elias Abuelazam, an Israeli citizen, was arraigned today and spoke briefly during the court hearing.

Abuelazam is suspected in at least 18 attacks in three states in Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia. Five victims died in Flint.

Genesee County prosecutor David Leyton says he will seek the harshest penalty possible against Abuelazam.

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