Flint

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

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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.

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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.

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