Back in August, we brought you the story of an online fundraising effort aimed at bringing in enough money to pay for the demolition of a single burned-out house in Flint. Gordon Young is a Flint expat and author of “Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City”. His idea was simple: while Flint has hundreds of abandoned homes, and some neighborhoods suffer mightily from such blight, he wanted to find a house that needed tearing down in an otherwise well maintained neighborhood, one where the demolition would improve the neighborhood’s chances of thriving into the future.
It’s no secret that Flint has been ravaged by blight and neglect over the past couple of decades. Hundreds, if not thousands, of abandoned homes are scattered across the city. While Flint’s problems are pretty daunting when viewed all at once, one former Flint resident has decided to help out by focusing on a single, burned-out, abandoned house.
In Flint, city leaders and residents continue to struggle with serious fiscal challenges. Lately, the focus of the debate has been over whether city services or benefits for municipal retirees is more important.
Flint is renowned as the birthplace of General Motors and for the prosperity it once enjoyed as “Vehicle City.” More recently, that success has been overshadowed by troubles that have trailed the decline of auto manufacturing such as population loss, blight, crime, drugs, and debt.
Flint is a city that has lost half its population over the last 50 years. Its poverty rate far exceeds the state average. And across the nation, Flint bears the harsh moniker of the “murder capital of America.”
Gordon Young, a senior lecturer in the Communication Department at Santa Clara University, has appeared in publications including his own Flint Expatriates, a blog for those no longer living in the birthplace of General Motors.
The concept of microfinance -- essentially small loans given to entrepreneurs who are too little or too under-funded to qualify for traditional bank loans -- has exploded in the developing world.
One of the leading online platforms for microfinance is called Kiva, which connects entrepreneurs with interest-free loans offered by community members. About two years ago, with the help of Michigan Corps, a Detroit-based non-profit organization, Kiva became the first microfinance effort in the United States. Last month, Michigan Corps expanded Kiva’s platform into Flint.
Last week, the rather startling news broke of a Flint woman who was killed while fighting in Syria. According to Syrian state television, 33-year-old Nicole Mansfield was killed by government forces on May 29 while fighting alongside anti-government rebels in the northwestern city of Idlib.
Dan Kildee began his electoral career in 1977 as the Flint Board of Education’s youngest ever committee member. He was 17 years old. That was followed by long tenures on the Genesee county board of commissioners and as county treasurer.
Last week, Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee said he supports a “Marshall Plan” for U.S. cities that are struggling to get back on their feet. The Flint Democrat says some cities need help transitioning to the “new economy.” Current State’s Mark Bashore talks with Kildee on his plan, the challenges facing Flint and Saginaw, and deficit reduction.
A report released Tuesday afternoon by the Detroit emergency review team all but clears the way for Governor Snyder to appoint an emergency manager to take over the city’s finances. This scenario is nothing new to Flint, where, in late 2011, Governor Snyder appointed Michael Brown as emergency manager.
We speak with Brown, as well as Flint Mayor Dayne Walling, about what the experience is like and what Detroit officials can learn from it.
Michael Brown has spent decades in public service putting out fires. Nine years ago, he restored order at the Capital Area United Way after a $900,000 embezzlement scandal. He’s also served as interim mayor of the city he grew up in, Flint.Today, Brown is battling his biggest firestorm yet. For the last six months, he has served as Flint’s Emergency Manager. WKAR’s Mark Bashore has this profile of a Lansing resident in the eye of a political storm.
Take a seat in Michael Brown’s downtown Flint office and it’s impossible not to see the man who inspired his career.