Flint

Law
4:06 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Gov. Snyder appoints an emergency manager in Hamtramck, Flint EM replacement also announced

Cathy Square
Department of Treasury

The city of Hamtramck will once again be under state control.

The Department of Treasury announced Governor Rick Snyder's appointment of an emergency manager for the city of Hamtramck.

Gov. Snyder selected Pontiac City Administrator Cathy Square. She will assume the position on July 1, 2013. 

According to a press release from the Treasury, Hamtramck City Council waived its right to appeal the finding of a financial emergency and unanimously supported the appointment of an EM by the Governor. 

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Economy
11:26 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Courting buyers for GM's old properties in Flint, Genesee County

Buyers could be circling around Buick City and other former GM properties in Michigan
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The man leading the effort to clean up and dispose of General Motors’ vacant properties says more potential buyers are showing interest.

Elliot Laws is the Administrative Trustee of the RACER Trust.   RACER stands for “Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response.”  The trust was created during GM’s bankruptcy.

Laws says interest in the old GM plant sites is rising along with the economy.

“There’s a lot of cash out there for people to invest,” says Laws, “They’ve been holding onto trying to see what’s going to happen.”

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Education
11:16 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Flint school board passes FY 2014 budget

Flint school classroom (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint school board members last night approved a budget for next year.

The district’s superintendent says Flint schools may be close to reaching bottom with its new budget.

Flint schools have been struggling with a declining student enrollment and budget problems for years.

The budget approved last night includes closing four schools and laying off around 150 employees.

Interim Superintendent Larry Watkins says more cuts may be needed, if enrollment slides even further.

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Law
11:52 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Judge dismisses lawsuit over Flint's city water rates

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

An effort to roll back Flint’s recent spike in water and sewer rates has failed.

On Friday, a Genesee County Circuit Court judge dismissed a lawsuit against the city of Flint.

Flint's city council president sued, after the mayor, then later the state appointed emergency manger, increased city water and sewer rates. The increases effectively doubled the rate for city water customers

City leaders claim the rate increase was needed to pay for rising water system expenses.

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Education
8:57 am
Thu June 20, 2013

For Sale signs may soon pop up in front of empty Flint school buildings

Bryant Elementary on Flint's north side closed this year. It's one of about two dozen properties the school district may soon try to sell.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The man hired by the Flint School Board to find buyers for closed school buildings is not optimistic he’ll be able to find buyers.

Last night, the Flint school district hired Cooper Commercial, a Genesee County commercial real estate company, to try to find buyers for more than two dozen old schools and other buildings.

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Business
3:18 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

With a few changes, Weather Ball will remain in Flint's skyline

Red light in the Weather Ball means temperatures are climbing
user: Toxic Panda Photography Flickr

For decades, the Weather Ball has been an icon in Flint. It perches atop the Citizens Bank headquarters at 328 S. Saginaw Street.

FirstMerit  bought the former Citizens Bank in September 2012. 

Today, FirstMerit unveiled its plans to renovate the Weather Ball. 

Jeremy Allen of MLive-Flint Journal covered the event:

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Law
2:02 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

The 6 most dangerous neighborhoods in Michigan

Looking down Livernois Avenue in Detroit. Location, Inc. ranks this area as the most dangerous in the country.
Google Maps

With all the problems in Flint and Detroit, it's no surprise we see these cities end up on "most dangerous cities" lists.

The lists are generated using violent crime statistics from the FBI's annual "Uniform Crime Reports."

But all cities have neighborhoods prone to crime and many other neighborhoods that are not. They are safe, for the most part.

Location, Inc. says they took data from the FBI and other "exclusive data" developed by the company to rank the safety of specific neighborhoods around the country. 

Earlier this month, they released their list, Top 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in America, on their website NeighborhoodScout. There are six Michigan neighborhoods on the list. The top three are in Detroit.

(Click on the street names below to see a map of the neighborhoods.)

  1. Detroit (West Chicago / Livernois Avenue)
  2. Detroit (Mack Avenue / Helen Street)
  3. Detroit (Gratiot Avenue / Rosemary)
  4. Detroit (Wyoming Street / Orangelawn Street)
  5. Saginaw (East Holland Avenue / East Genesee Avenue)
  6. Flint (Chambers Street / Stonegate Drive)
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Politics & Government
11:03 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Flint woman killed while fighting in Syria

Nicole Lynn Mansfield's driver's license.
heavy.com YouTube

Update 11:03 a.m.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek is following this story for us. The Associated Press has this update on Nicole Lynn Mansfield. They report the family didn't know she was in the Middle East and that Mansfield wanted to be a "peacemaker."

Relatives of a 33-year-old Michigan woman killed in fighting in Syria say they didn't even know she was in the Middle East but that she always wanted to be a peacemaker.

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Politics & Government
2:52 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Flint's emergency manager submitting resignation, as expected

Flint Emergency Manager Ed Kurtz (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s Emergency Manager submitted his letter of resignation today.     

Ed Kurtz has long said he planned to step down at the close of the fiscal year at the end of June.  His letter of resignation simply makes that official.

Kurtz was appointed as Flint’s emergency financial manager last summer, after the city’s previous emergency manager had to step down because of changes in the law.

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Politics & Government
2:22 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Income taxes could go up in Flint

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Last night, Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reported on the city of Flint's budget.

While the emergency manager delivered a balanced budget for next year, the city council was concerned the budget cuts would negatively impact basic city services. 

This morning, MLive and the Flint Journal reported that the emergency manager, Ed Kurtz, wants to raise income taxes in order to stabilize the city's finances.

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Politics & Government
5:01 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Flint's budget balanced, but multimillion-dollar deficits loom

Flint City Hall (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager is delivering a balanced budget for next year, but the future may not be as bright.

The city of Flint is closing out its current fiscal year with a balanced budget. Emergency Manager Ed Kurtz says next year’s budget should be balanced as well. City officials gave state Treasury Department officials a briefing on the budget, before showing Flint’s city council the plan.

Flint city council members expressed concern that the proposed FY2014 budget is a little too tight.

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Politics & Government
12:23 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Flint's emergency manager to rollout the city's FY2014 budget today

Flint Emergency Manager Ed Kurtz (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager will unveil the city’s budget plan for next year later today.

Elected officials in most Michigan cities have spent the past month or so holding public meetings to discuss and get public feedback on their spending plans for next year.

But in Flint, the emergency manager has sidelined the mayor and city council

So the budget has been drafted behind closed doors.

The plan will be made public late this afternoon, after state officials have had a look and possibly made some changes.

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Business
2:19 pm
Sat May 11, 2013

Some Flint entrepreneurs are getting a helping hand

Entrepreneurs and potential microlenders meet and greet at the kickoff of KIVA Flint on Friday
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Small Flint entrepreneurs are getting a boost from a new micro-lending program.

The group, KIVA.org, uses its website to link small business owners with individuals willing to loan them a small amount of money to get their business started.

Elizabeth Garlow is with Michigan Corps.   She says the future success of the KIVA Flint program depends on local people getting involved.

“It really will depend on how quickly the community rallies around this initiative…and takes action to go and nominate an entrepreneur and lend to them,” says Garlow.

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Law
11:55 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Lawsuit next week to challenge Michigan's emergency manager law

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Leaders of the Detroit branch of the NAACP say they'll file a lawsuit next week challenging Michigan's emergency manager law.

The law has allowed Gov. Rick Snyder to put managers in Detroit and other struggling cities and school districts. Critics plan to talk Monday outside the federal courthouse in Detroit.

Other legal challenges have not been successful. An Ingham County judge in April threw out a lawsuit that claimed lawmakers violated the Open Meetings Act when it approved the bill in December.

Education
11:32 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Michigan State Police troopers bring safety message to Flint elementary schools

MSP Trooper Walt Crider talks to students at Bryant Elementary in Flint
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

About 20 Michigan State Troopers are spending the next few days meeting with Flint schoolchildren.

Michigan State Police Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue told a student assembly today at Bryant Elementary in Flint that she would like to see them waving at Michigan State Police patrol cars as they drive through their neighborhood.

“Because it really kind of hurts our feelings when our car goes by and no one waves at us,” Etue told the students.

One student blurted out “We be scared”, which drew laughter from the students.

But Etue says their fear is a problem.

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Newsmaker Interviews
9:51 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Mayor Dayne Walling on financial future of Flint

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling
Facebook

Originally aired Tuesday, May 7th 2013.

Flint’s Emergency Manager, Ed Kurtz, says he will resign come June 30th, which may put Flint a step closer to returning to local control. Flint Mayor Dayne Walling talks with Jennifer White about the financial future of Flint.

Flint’s city council recently passed a resolution asking Governor Rick Snyder to remove the city’s emergency manager and appoint a transition advisory team.

“There are a number of requirements in the law that would have to be met by the appointed manager before a transition board could be put in place, such as the adoption of a two-year budget. So, city council leadership and I have been calling on for those steps to get done as soon as possible. The city of Flint does face financial challenges, let’s get addressed as soon as possible so we can move on,” says Mayor Walling.

When asked how financially healthy Flint is right now, Walling says:

“It’s marginally stable. But our position is that it’s going to take some long-term planning, some serious community partnerships to get the city to where it’s more sustainable going forward. And that work cannot be done effectively by an appointed manager.”

Listen to the full interview above.

Environment & Science
12:58 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Report: Michigan's air quality improving

Air quality is improving in some Michigan cities, according to a new report. The American Lung Association’s annual ‘State of the Air’ report is out today.  

Jim Harrington is a field organizer for the American Lung Association. He says particulate pollution, like smog, is down in the region - including the cities of Flint and Detroit.

“In prior years they’d been ranked the worst in the country. They were one of the most polluted regions in the country,” says Harrington, “And over the last five years, they’ve gradually moved down the list. So they’ve been improving at a faster rate than other areas.”

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Arts & Culture
6:12 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Flint art students bring their work to Washington D.C.

MIRANDA L. BISSINGER Split Self Watercolor/Graphite/Watercolor Pencil
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The art and artistry of dozens of Flint school children are on display this weekend in Washington D.C.

The Flint Institute of Arts and other Flint area arts groups are taking part in the trip as part of a U.S. Department of Education effort.

John Henry is the FIA’s director.  He says the experience will help the students grow as artists.

“Most students are not exhibiting or performing until later in their career,” says Henry, “This is an opportunity for these kids to see how an audience reacts to their work.”

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Newsmaker Interview
10:21 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Rep. Dan Kildee calls for federal aid to tear down abandoned homes

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Originally aired on April 16th, 2013.

Democratic U.S. Representative Dan Kildee is one of the newest members of congress. Kildee’s first piece of legislation is a proposal  to free up more than $1 billion in federal aid to help cities such as Detroit and Flint tear down thousands of abandoned homes. He hopes this plan will serve to stabilize neighborhoods. Congressman Kildee represents Michigan’s 5th congressional district. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
8:16 am
Wed April 17, 2013

In this morning's news: Road repair plan, Flint dumps DWSD, insurance for addicts

Morning News Roundup, Wednesday, April 17, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

House committee works on road repair plan

A state House committee is working on a $1.6 billion plan to pay for repair and maintenance on Michigan's roads.

"The plan would result in higher fuel taxes and driver fees. But it would also eliminate the six percent Michigan sales tax on fuel purchases," Rick Pluta reports.

Flint dumps contract with DWSD

"The city of Flint is dumping its contract with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Flint emergency manager Ed Kurtz signed a contract yesterday to get the city’s water from a new pipeline that’s being built from Lake Huron to Genesee County...A spokesman says the Detroit water department will have to look at its options  to try and recoup investments made to Flint’s water system," reports Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody.

Michigan addicts become eligible for insurance

Nearly 88,000 drug and alcohol addicts in Michigan will become eligible for insurance starting in 2014.

"Michigan health officials say the state's substance abuse care system will be able to handle the surge of people who will become eligible for alcohol and drug addiction treatment under the federal Affordable Health Care Act," the Associated Press reports.

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