Flint

Politics & Government
12:30 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Five Michigan cities are getting federal funding to demolish blighted homes

An abandoned home in Flint (file photo)
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.

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Economy
12:42 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Flint's housing market tagged as one of the nation's fastest recovering from the recession

(file photo)
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.

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Auto
11:00 am
Sat August 17, 2013

Woodward Dream Cruise, Back to the Bricks lure classic car lovers

(file photo)
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.

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Politics & Government
9:02 am
Wed August 14, 2013

This week in Michigan politics: Common Core hearings, suburbs weigh in on DIA, Flint's master plan

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.

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Politics & Government
2:03 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

Flint city council to get a look at the city's draft master plan Monday

Flint has changed a lot since the city adopted its current master plan in 1960.
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.

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Politics & Government
3:29 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

If Detroit's in bankruptcy court, why isn't Flint too?

Downtown Flint, Michigan (file photo)
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.

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Politics & Government
10:00 am
Thu August 8, 2013

In this morning's news: Flint budget, Ann Arbor schools, Detroit schools

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

Politics & Government
12:03 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Flint looks to collect unpaid city income taxes

(file photo)
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.

Law
12:17 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Flint pastors ask for God's and the governor's help with their city's crime problem

Flint pastors pray at the start of news conference on the city's violent crime problem
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.

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Law
12:10 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Prison next for Flint-area man in financial scam

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.

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

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

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.

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