Flint

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:

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The Colbert Report
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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.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some pastors in Flint say Governor Snyder needs to be more involved in solving their city’s violent crime problem.

The pastors prayed for “a healing in our land” at the beginning of news conference at Flint’s Mt. Carmel Baptist Church this morning.

But the pastors say more than prayers are needed to fix the city’s crime problem.

This week Flint recorded its 38th homicide of the year.   

“I’ve been to too many funerals. I’ve done too many funerals,” lamented Reverend Ira Edwards, the pastor of Damascus Holy Life Baptist Church.

stevendepolo / www.flickr.com

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A former General Motors electrician has been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for a financial scam that involved millions of dollars and more than 3,000 investors in 33 countries.

Greg McKnight of Swartz Creek took in $72 million. The government says his investors are out by more than $45 million. McKnight got his sentence Monday in Flint federal court.

The 53-year-old McKnight had no formal investment training in currencies or commodities. Authorities say he promised "outlandishly high interest rates" and suggested that investments were safe. McKnight used $2.2 million for his own use.

Defense attorney Ed Wishnow says McKnight has expressed remorse to his investors, especially in public to members of Swartz Creek Church of Christ. McKnight was arrested in 2008.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Duggan and Napoleon lead primary race

Unofficial results from the primary elections for Detroit mayor have been released. Former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan won the race in what was largely seen as a long-shot write-in campaign. He received 46 percent of the votes. County Sheriff Benny Napoleon came in second place with 30 percent. The two candidates will now face each other in the general election this November.

Snyder says Pontiac school district is in a financial emergency

Governor Rick Snyder said yesterday he agrees with a review team’s finding that the Pontiac school district is in a state of financial emergency. The district faces an almost $38 million deficit, up almost 50 percent in the past year alone. The Pontiac school district can choose to appeal the decision. If the appeal is rejected, the district must choose whether to negotiate a deficit-elimination plan, ask the governor for permission to file for bankruptcy, or request a state-appointed emergency manager.

Field of candidates narrows in Flint’s special election

“Flint-area voters narrowed the field of candidates to two in a Michigan House of Representatives special election. Unofficial returns on Tuesday in the 49th District showed Democrat Phil Phelps and Republican Don Pfeiffer received the most votes in their respective primaries. They will face off in a special general election in November, with Phelps favored to win the heavily Democratic district. The seat was vacated when former Democratic Rep. Jim Ananich was sworn into the state Senate in May,” the Associated Press reports. 

Peter Martorano / Flickr

Tomorrow is primary election day.

Detroit's primary is getting most of the attention, but there are local elections happening in many areas of the state on Tuesday.

In Flint, voters are choosing among two dozen candidates to fill largely powerless city council seats.

Flint has been under the control of an emergency manager since December of 2011. But while Flint city council members wield little power now, that may soon change.

Flint is taking steps to come out from under state oversight and that could happen late next year, so the Flint city council members elected from the field of Tuesday’s primary candidates may eventually have actual power to shape their city.

Voters are also casting primary ballots in parts of Lansing, Jackson, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

In all, voters in more than 50 Michigan counties will be casting ballots on Tuesday.

In Detroit, the stakes have never been higher because of the bankruptcy.

Detroit Free Press editorial writer Nancy Kaffer joined us today to give us a preview of the election.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Communities across Michigan will be marking National Night Out this week.

National Night Out is intended to encourage people to get out of their homes and meet their neighbors.

Flint is holding a community party downtown today. 

Flint community leaders hope this week’s National Night Out will help them battle the city’s crime problem.   Flint has recorded three dozen homicides this year.  

Mayor Dayne Walling hopes events like National Night Out will help local police and neighborhood watch groups work more closely together.

People voting
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, polls across Michigan will open for statewide local elections.

Voters in 56 of Michigan’s 83 counties will cast ballots.
Given the city’s recent bankruptcy declaration, all eyes will likely be on Detroit’s mayoral race results.

But as Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reported, counties across the states will face the usual suspects in the poll booths: school and library millages, ward elections, and filling city council seats.
How can you find out if there’s an election in your county? What’s on the ballot? And are you positive you're registered to vote?

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A lot of attention has been paid to Detroit’s mayoral primary on Tuesday. But that’s not the only election in which Michigan voters will be casting ballots this week.

Voters in more than 50 Michigan counties will be casting ballots on Tuesday.

There’s the usual mix of school and library millages.

There are also numerous local primary elections.

Voters in parts of Ann Arbor, Jackson, Grand Rapids, Lansing and other cities will be voting for local city council seats.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint Board of Education has signed off on a deficit elimination plan for the district.

The challenge now is sticking to it.

The Flint school district is $15.8 million dollars in the red.

To address that, school board members last night approved a plan that will cut jobs, close two elementary schools and trim other expenses.   The goal is to reduce the district deficit to zero by June, 2016. 

Antoinette Lockett is the board president. She says retaining students will be key.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint police department will soon get even more help patrolling its city’s streets.

26 Michigan state troopers currently assist Flint’s police officers. That number will expand next month, though the exact number is not yet known.

Flint could use the help.  Recently the city has seen a spate of violent crime that left seven people dead, including two children, in just six days.  Two suspects are in custody.  Police are looking for two other suspects.   

Lawmakers in Lansing recently approved a $65 million increase in the state's Great Start Readiness Program. That's Michigan's preschool program for 4-year olds at risk of being under-prepared for kindergarten. But, many childhood advocates say that's not enough. We took a look into whether more needs to be done.

We also heard about space exploration 21st century style. We spoke to a Michigan scientist who is using Kickstarter to make his research a reality.

Also, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will preside over the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. We spoke with Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press about what we can expect from the judge.

First on the show, the Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing by the city of Detroit has some wondering if Detroit is not an isolated incident. Could other financially struggling cities be on the same path?

To help us answer this question, we turned to Michigan Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee. Kildee represents Flint and Saginaw.

Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

The Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing by the city of Detroit has some wondering if Detroit is not an isolated incident. Could other financially struggling cities be on the same path?

Yesterday on Stateside we spoke with Eric Scorsone, economist at Michigan State University:

Certainly other cities in Michigan absolutely face these same cost pressures, whether it’s Flint or Lansing or Saginaw. They absolutely face these same problems. And, again, they’re better off relative to Detroit than today. But, they’re still facing these problems and they need to make sure they’re proactive in managing to prevent anything like this.

With that in mind, we turned to Michigan Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee. Kildee represents two of the cities Scorsone mentioned: Flint and Saginaw.

Listen to the full interview above.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Detroit bankruptcy is topic of national conversation

Snyder, Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing appeared on Sunday morning talk shows yesterday to talk about filing bankruptcy for Detroit. Snyder said he will push to protect the retired city workers whose pensions are on the table. He said the bankruptcy filing included protections for retirees and urged them to remain calm. Orr said on "Fox News Sunday" that there are going to have to be "concessions." Bing on ABC's "This Week" said now that bankruptcy has been filed, leaders have to take a step back before making a decision on a federal bailout.

Flint school district faces more budget cuts

The Flint School Board will take up a Deficit Elimination Plan tomorrow night. The district is wrestling with a nearly 16 million dollar deficit. The Flint school district has made deep budget cuts but more cuts are likely if the district follows the plan to eliminate its deficit by June 2016. The Flint School Board has until July 31st to send its deficit elimination plan to the state.  

Lansing may end its relationship with St. Petersburg, Russia

The Lansing city council will be meeting tonight to discuss its sister city relationship with St. Petersburg, Russia. St. Petersburg recently passed an anti-gay ordinance and police there arrested people at an LGBT rally. Members say they want to send a message to St. Petersburg officials by canceling Lansing’s two decade sister cities relationship with the city.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint School Board takes up a Deficit Elimination Plan Tuesday night.

The district is wrestling with a nearly $16 million deficit.

The Flint school district has made deep budget cuts, including laying off teachers and closing schools in recent years.

More cuts are likely if the district follows the plan to eliminate its deficit by June, 2016.

Larry Watkins is Flint’s interim School Superintendent. He insists the deficit elimination plan will not get in the way of the school district’s core mission.

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