Flint

Politics & Government
8:42 am
Wed August 7, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit primaries, Pontiac schools in financial emergency, Flint election

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
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. 

Stateside
5:16 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

A preview of tomorrow's Detroit primary

Detroit's skyline.
Peter Martorano Flickr

An interview with Detroit Free Press editorial writer Nancy Kaffer.

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.

Law
4:35 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Michigan communities marking National Night Out this week

A clown makes balloon animals and flowers for two children at Flint's National Night Out event
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.

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Politics & Government
12:15 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

You voting? Navigating tomorrow's elections in Michigan

Voters file in to the ballots.
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?

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Politics & Government
12:48 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Detroit's mayoral primary isn't the only race on the ballot in Michigan on Tuesday

Voters in more than 50 Michigan counties will be casting ballots on Tuesday (file photo)
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.

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Education
11:00 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Flint's Board of Education approves deficit elimination plan

Retaining students like these will be a key goal of the Flint Community Schools Deficit Elimination Plan
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.

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Law
3:58 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Flint police will get more help next month

The city of Flint will soon have more Michigan State Troopers working its streets
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.   

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Politics & Culture
5:06 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

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.

Stateside
5:00 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Could Flint and Saginaw face the same fate as Detroit?

Congressman Dan Kildee
Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

An interview with Michigan Democratic 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.

Politics & Government
6:45 am
Mon July 22, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit bankruptcy, Flint school district deficit, St. Petersburg, Russia

Morning News Roundup for Monday, July 22, 2013
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.

Education
5:17 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Flint educators take up the school district's Deficit Elimination Plan this week

Flint's big math problem: How do you eliminate a $15.7 million deficit in two years and still provide a quality education?
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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Politics & Government
3:53 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Flint's emergency manager wants to get mayor and city council more involved in budget and transition

Flint Emergency Manager Mike Brown
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager says it’s time to begin the transition back to local, elected control.

Flint’s been under a state-appointed manager since December 2011.

Mike Brown is starting his second stint as Flint’s emergency manager. He says the tough decisions have been made, and Flint is on a path to solvency. Brown says now it's time to involve the mayor and city council more in budget decisions.

“I have been sitting down with council and the mayor since I came back on to really talk about that process,” says Brown.

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Politics & Government
3:09 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

Making plans for Flint's future

Flint residents discuss how to shape their city's future
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is drawing closer to having a new plan for its future.

For decades, Flint’s population has been shrinking.  More than 50 percent of the homes in many Flint neighborhoods are vacant.  That's led to crime and other problems.

This week, about 200 city residents and consultants pored over maps of the city. They were making recommendations for which parts of Flint should be turned into parks, business centers and residential neighborhoods.

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Politics & Government
7:16 am
Tue July 2, 2013

In this morning's news: Challenge to gay marriage ban, changing public defense, bankruptcy in Flint

Morning News Roundup for Tuesday, July 2, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Federal judge will hear challenge to gay marriage ban

A federal judge is allowing a legal challenge to Michigan adoption laws and its ban on same-sex marriage to move forward. Judge Bernard Friedman says the decision to strike down DOMA last week left unanswered questions that could be addressed by this case. April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are raising three children together; they say Michigan law violates the equal protection rights of their children. The judge called a July 10th hearing to chart the next steps in the case.

Legislation to improve legal defense for indigent Michiganders

Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation yesterday that will make changes to the state’s public defense system. The bill will create a commission to set statewide standards to ensure effective legal representation for poor defendants. The commission will also monitor counties to make sure each one is meeting those standards.

Flint EM warns possibility of bankruptcy

Flint's Emergency Manager, Ed Kurtz, warns the city could run out of money if it's forced to pay retirees full health benefits. A federal judge recently ruled Flint has to give retired workers the benefits they were promised. Kurtz says the decision hurts retirees more than it helps and that bankruptcy would mean much bigger cuts for retirees and current workers.

Politics & Government
5:35 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Michigan woman the first American killed in Syrian civil war

A collage of photos of Nicole Mansfield.
Ryan Garza Detroit Free Press

Last month, a Michigan woman became the first American killed in the Syrian civil war.

Over the weekend, Niraj Warikoo at the Detroit Free Press profiled Nicole Mansfield, a 33-year-old Grand Blanc native who was killed on May 29 in the Syrian city of Idilib.

According to Mansfield’s family, Nicole’s conversion to Islam “five to six years ago” raised red flags and strained familial relationships. From Warikoo’s article:

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Economy
12:45 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Finding jobs for young people in Michigan

State Labor Department officials pegged Michigan's teen unemployment rate at 25.5%
11alive.com

Michigan’s teen unemployment rate is more than double the state’s overall jobless rate.

State and local officials say limits on federal grants intended to promote youth employment are partly to blame.

State labor officials say a quarter of Michigan teens who want a job can’t find one this summer.   And they say part of the problem is the number of requirements on youth employment programs that are funded with federal grants.

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Politics & Government
5:10 pm
Sat June 29, 2013

Flint cops not confident about Chief Alvern Lock

Flint Police Chief Alvern Lock (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Flint's police chief may not get invited to summer barbecues with his officers.

The police union says Chief Alvern Lock got a no-confidence vote from 85 percent of officers who cast a ballot. Seventy percent of 85 members participated.

The Flint Journal says the ballot mentioned a "lack of planning to increase staffing" to protect the public. Lock says he didn't know anything about the vote and had no reaction.

Mayor Dayne Walling disagrees with the union's position and calls Lock one of the Flint's hardest-working employees.

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Politics & Government
3:42 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Ground is broken on a quarter billion dollar water pipeline in Michigan

Local dignitaries break ground on the Karegnondi Water Pipeline project near Lexington, Michigan
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A quarter billion dollar water pipeline project broke ground today near the Lake Huron shoreline.

The source of the water was on the minds of the people at the groundbreaking, including Pastor Floyd Fuller who gave the invocation.

““Drink from your own cistern.   Running water from your own well,” Fuller said, quoting from the Book of Proverbs. 

The well in this case is not a well but a lake.  Lake Huron to be specific. 

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Stateside
5:14 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Flint uses art to tackle important issues surrounding the city

Andrew Morton is one of the nine artists selected for Flint's master plan.

An interview with Andrew Morton, the artistic director of the Shop Floor Theatre Company in Flint.

The city of Flint is currently working on a master plan to help shape the city’s future in the next 20 years. Part of that plan involves the role of arts.

Recently the National Endowment for the Arts gave a grant to hire nine artists who live in each of the city’s wards to explore the role arts can have in the community and get residents involved in the master plan.

One of those artists, Andrew Morton, is the artistic director of the Shop Floor Theatre Company in Flint, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:02 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, June 27th, 2013

We wrapped up our week-long look at energy in Michigan with a focus on wind. Is it really a viable energy source for our state?

And, we headed to Flint to find out how some residents are helping to shape their community through all different types of art.

Also, if you love the sound of pipe organs, head over to the Great Lakes Swell Organs festival happening in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek this weekend. We spoke with program director Brooks Grantier.

First on the show, economic development leaders in Michigan like to talk about the number of manufacturing jobs created in the state in the last couple of years. But Michigan is not keeping up with the job growth of some other states as the nation recovers from the Great Recession.

It's Thursday, which means we talk to Daniel Howes, a business columnist with the Detroit News.

Howes joined us today to discuss Michigan’s anemic job growth.

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