Flint

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The announcement this week that an Alabama company plans to build a pipe factory in Flint could help spur further investment in a former General Motors site there.

The 235 acre Buick City site is being marketed by the Racer Trust. The trust was set up to sell off abandoned General Motors properties. American Cast Iron Pipe is the first company to invest in Buick City.

Elliot Laws is with the Racer Trust. He says they’ll be blasting news of American’s plans to build in Flint to other potential investors…

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

An old auto plant site is getting new life in Flint.

"We are proud to announce,” Flint Mayor Dayne Walling told a news conference today, “American Pipe will be made in Flint”

Alabama-based American Cast Iron Pipe Company confirmed today that it plans to build a new multi-million dollar manufacturing plant on part of the old Buick City site.

The factory will produce pipes for a project to bring water from Lake Huron to Genesee County. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The new Flint city council was sworn in to office today, including a new councilman who served time for murder.

Wantwaz Davis served 19 years for murdering the man he claims assaulted his mother.   He was paroled in 2010.

Davis says he embraces the biblical story of Paul, who changed from being a persecutor of Christians to being a Christian leader.   He says it’s a path people in Flint should follow.

It's Election Day, and federal election monitors are keeping an eye on voting in Detroit, Hamtramck and Flint. The Department of Justice wants to ensure those cities comply with the Voting Rights Act. 

Joining us to talk about the monitoring is Executive Assistant United States Attorney, Stephanie Dawkins Davis. 

"This is an effort to protect the integrity of the process. It isn’t that there has been any specific concern or that there has been any wrong doing in any of these jurisdictions. The U.S. government would like to protect the integrity of the process," Davis said.

Joy VanBuhler / Flickr

Election Day 2013 is close at hand.

And that's when Detroit voters will decide whether their next Mayor will be Mike Duggan or Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

The winner of the election will inherit the huge challenge of what to do about the crime rate in Detroit.

At least 386 people were murdered in the city last year, and recent FBI statistics put Detroit neck and neck with Flint for the top spot of most violent cities in America.

The high crime rate means those folks who can are getting out of these cities, which makes the economic downward spiral even worse.

What can be done? And do we really know what is driving the violence in cities like Detroit and Flint?

Michigan State University sociologist Dr. Carl Taylor joined us today from East Lansing. His new book "Third City" looks at the challenges in post-industrial Detroit and Michigan. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Flint, Mich.
Flint Michigan / Facebook.com

On Monday, the Flint City Council approved a new master plan — the first new plan in more than 50 years.

The plan calls for stabilizing neighborhoods hit hard by blight, and creating new opportunities for business investment.

City officials and residents have spent the last two years coming up with the plan. Flint, about 50 miles northwest of Detroit, has been under state oversight since 2011. The city currently is dealing with $3 million in structural debt.

Will this new plan help Flint grow?

Listen to full story above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint city council approved a new master plan for the city last night. 

Now the question is how to pay for it.

City officials and Flint residents have spent the last two years coming up with the plan. The last one was drafted more than a half century ago and it envisioned a very different city than what Flint became.

The new plan calls for stabilizing neighborhoods hard hit by blight and creating new opportunity for business investment.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - An implosion planned for December is taking down Flint's tallest building.

Uptown Reinvestment bought downtown Flint's 19-story Genesee Towers in March from the city for $1.

Multiple news outlets are reporting Jacksonville, Fla.-based Drilling & Blasting will handle implosion engineering and blasting efforts, with help from Michigan-based Burnash Wrecking Inc. and Certified Abatement Services Inc.

The demolition is part of a $32 million redevelopment plan.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The rates Flint residents pay for water are going to be reviewed. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The first of 1,600 homes in Flint fell to a backhoe today.

The Genesee County Land Bank and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority are using a $20.1 million federal grant to pay for the largest blighted home demolition program in Flint’s history.

The program is expected to eliminate a quarter of Flint’s 5,600 abandoned homes. 

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling says tearing down a derelict home has a positive effect on the surrounding neighborhood. 

“When dangerous houses come down, surrounding property values stabilize.  Safety increases,’ says Walling.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

New Flint Police Chief James Tolbert says he wants to “make Flint safe for the people who live here, (and) the people who visit here”

This is the first day on the job for Tolbert.  He previously served for more than 25 years in the Detroit Police Department, where he rose to Deputy Chief. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

By the end of this month, the city of Flint could have its first new master plan in more than 50 years.

A master plan is a guide for community leaders to chart a city’s future economic development and neighborhood growth. 

But Flint’s current master plan was written in 1960, when the city’s population was twice its current size.   The plan also envisioned an economy that has long since disappeared from Flint.

Megan Hunter is Flint’s chief planning officer.  She expects this new master plan will actively guide Flint for the next 20 years. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A newspaper reports that many Michigan dams are old and need upgrades, especially the Hamilton dam in downtown Flint.

State dam safety chief Byron Lane tells the Detroit Free Press that dams are like any aging public infrastructure. He says they can be a "ticking time bomb."

The newspaper reported Sunday that the Hamilton dam on the Flint River is considered to be in unsatisfactory shape, along with the Otsego and Trowbridge dams on the Kalamazoo River in Allegan County.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - The federal government says it's settled a discrimination complaint against a Flint hospital following accusations that black nurses were barred from treating a white newborn.

The Flint Journal reported Friday the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission will conduct annual training for the management staff of Hurley Medical Center. The EEOC also will work with the hospital on other educational and developmental efforts aimed at Flint-area youth.

There's no way to capture a town, or a place, or a person through one story.

It's just not possible. It's what Nigerian storyteller Chimamanda Ngozi calls "the danger of a single story."

People in Flint live with a single story told over and over about their city - that it's "the most violent city in the U.S."

A Tumblr page has emerged painting a different image of the city.

Flint, Mich.
Flint Michigan / Facebook.com

Flint gets more than its fair share of bad press because of the crime rate and the city’s financial struggles. But, Flint is also known for urban redevelopment at a scale not known by many other cities. Land use is changing. Vacant industrial areas and foreclosed properties are being purchased, abandoned buildings demolished and the area turned into a greenway.

Doug Weiland, the executive director of the Genesee County Land Bank, and Robert McMahan, President of Kettering University in Flint, joined us today to talk about changing the landscape in Flint.

Listen to the audio above.

Flint, Mich.
Flint Michigan / Facebook.com

It isn't every day when the President of the United States turns to you for advice.

 But Flint's Mayor Dane Walling is now in that relatively small group who can say exactly that. Mayor Walling was among 18 mayors who sat down in a White House meeting with President Obama. The topic: how to reduce violence among young people -- something Dane Walling is faced with every single day. That's because Flint is among the top U.S. cities of more than 50,000 people with the worst crime rates. Mayor Dane Walling joined us today. Listen to the interview above.

In last night's Colbert Report on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert featured an interview with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (MI-5th - D), in his segment "Better Know a District."

In the course of the segment, Colbert "vogue's" Kildee, 'does' some sugar beet sugar, and steals Kildee's wallet.

Have a look:

(If the video doesn't load for you - follow this link)

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Federal, state and local government officials are meeting with Genesee County business leaders today to discuss ways to build up the county’s manufacturing industry.

After decades of decline, Genesee County’s manufacturing base has been growing since the recession.

Much of the growth has been tied to the auto industry.

Janice Karcher is with the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. She says Flint-area manufacturers are about more than cars and trucks.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

What’s being called an ‘Eds and Meds’ strategy is paying off for people trying to revitalize Flint’s downtown.

Many downtown buildings in Flint are empty. But local economic development leaders say they are making progress by attracting educational and medical investment.

The ‘Eds and Meds’ strategy is intended to not only bring in jobs, but also create activity and excitement, in a downtown in need of all three.

Crim Festival of Races

Thousands of runners will take to the streets of Flint tonight and tomorrow. 

Started in the late 1970’s, the Crim has grown into the fifth largest 10-mile road race in the country.

Andrew Younger is the race director for the Crim Fitness Festival of Races. He says they’ve made some changes to the course this year to avoid conflicts with traffic flowing into and out of downtown Flint.

“The first two miles are different this year…and the reasons are we really want to improve the experience for all runners,” says Younger. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan is getting about $1.5 million from the federal government to help with the continued cleanup of polluted former industrial sites.

The grant money will fund brownfield assessments, job training and cleanup of sites in Genesee County and southeast Michigan. 

“By redeveloping these sites, cleaning them up and redeveloping them…we’re essentially contributing economic activity to these communities,” Susan Hedman, the region 5 EPA administrator, said at a news conference in Flint, “Creating jobs….and transforming communities.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is getting $52.3 million to deal with its blight problem.

Several other Michigan cities are also getting money to tear down abandoned homes and clean up other vacant buildings.

In June, the U.S.Treasury Department approved $100 million dollars to help several Michigan cities deal with blight. 

In addition to the money going to Detroit, the governor’s office announced today that the city of Flint will receive $20.1 million. Saginaw, Grand Rapids and Pontiac will also receive some money from the federal government’s Hardest Hit fund.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new report lists Flint as one of the nation’s fastest recovering housing markets.

Realty Trac is out with a list of the best and worst recovering housing markets in the country.   And for a change, Flint is not on the worst list.

Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac. He says the nation’s housing industry has clearly shifted into recovery mode during the past 18 months. Bloomquist says one of the best recovering housing markets is in Flint.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

BERKLEY, Mich. (AP) - A big day has dawned in Michigan for classic car enthusiasts in the state that put America on wheels.

The Woodward Dream Cruise officially kicks off Saturday. But the rides - and the legions of folks who love them - have been out for days already along the Detroit-area thoroughfare.

It's the 19th year for the free event, which is hosted by numerous Oakland County communities along the route.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss the upcoming hearings on Common Core, the suburban reaction to the possible sale of DIA art, and Flint's new Master Plan.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint city council will get its first official look at the city’s proposed master plan Monday.

It’s been more than a half century since Flint leaders have drawn up a master plan for their city.

Since then, the city’s population has dwindled and much of its economic base has shifted.

Two years ago, city leaders started work on a new master plan to guide the development of residential neighborhoods, new business districts and city parks. There have been dozens of meetings, involving thousands of Flint residents.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

With all the talk about Detroit’s path into bankruptcy court, some people have been asking why hasn’t Flint gone the same route?

Like Detroit, Flint’s city finances have been a mess for a long time.

Governor Snyder not only appointed an emergency manager to run Flint, he did so more than a year before he appointed one in Detroit.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

City of Flint to recover tax money

The city of Flint has found a new source of income in the effort to balance the budget. Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reports that around six thousand Flint residents paid their federal income taxes, but did not pay city income taxes. This may allow the Flint to collect around a million dollars in back taxes.

Michigan ACLU sues Ann Arbor Public Schools

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a suit against Ann Arbor Public Schools because of its intent to charge tuition for a seventh class.  With the current plan, Ann Arbor high school students must pay $100 for a seventh-period elective class.  Kary Moss of the ACLU says “it creates a two-tiered system of education. Not only for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, but many other students won't be able to afford the seventh hour."

Detroit Schools get annual report card

Excellent Schools Detroit has released its annual report card for the school system.  Out of more than two hundred schools, twenty-five percent scored a C+ or better.  Many of these higher-ranked schools are new and “fresh-start” schools, which has officials optimistic about the future of the district.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Flint may have found about a million dollars in uncollected tax revenue.

Flint Emergency Manager Mike Brown says a check of tax records shows about six thousand Flint residents paid state income taxes last year, but didn’t pay the city income tax.

“Obviously, this is unfair to those folks who do pay their taxes in this city,” says Brown, “We just want to make sure that folks who are working here are filing income tax.”

Flint could use the extra cash.

Pages