Man seeking recall turns in thousands of signatures to unseat Flint Mayor Karen Weaver

FLINT, MI — The Genesee County Clerk Office has confirmed that more than 8,000 signatures were turned in today to unseat Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

Flint resident, Arthur Woodson, submitted 780 petition sheets to the County Clerk. Woodson who is seeking to recall Weaver over the city’s controversial trash contract, turned in the signatures after canvassing neighborhoods for nearly 60 days.

“This has been a long journey,” Woodson said. “We had about 12 people out there constantly collecting signatures and I think they did a great job. If they certify them fine. If not, then God have mercy on Flint.”

Gleason said his office will look the petitions over again next week before they are submitted Flint City Clerk Inez Brown’s office where they will do an official check to certify each signature. Woodson had the task of collected at least 5,750 signatures to move forward with putting the recall issue on the November ballot.

Recall supporters collected 8,848 signatures.

“We collected more signatures than votes she got to win the election,” Woodson said. “That’s a lot of signatures. It shows how the people really feel about her as a leader.”

Weaver took the mayor’s seat from Dayne Walling in November 2015 with 7,825 votes. Walling had 6,061 votes.

If the 5,750 signatures are verified Flint may see another mayor’s race.

Gleason says people interested in being Flint’s mayor would have to collect 900 signatures to be placed on the November ballot to run against Weaver. Weaver’s name will automatically be placed on the ballot unless she withdrawals.

Flint Beat could not immediately reach Weaver for comment.

 

 

 

Recall leader says he’s set to turn in thousands of signatures to unseat Flint Mayor Karen Weaver

Flint, Mich. — The man pushing recall efforts against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says he along with volunteers have collected nearly 9,000 signatures in hopes of removing Weaver from office.

Arthur Woodson, the man behind the recall efforts, is expected to turn in recall petitions today at the Genesee County Clerk Office at 3 p.m.

Woodson launched his recall efforts in May to collect at 5,750 signatures to remove Weaver citing Flint’s controversial trash dispute as his reason for seeking recall.

Arthur Woodson

“Enough is enough,” Woodson said. “The people of Flint need someone in office who is not tainted by the old regime. Flint has suffered enough and now Weaver’s administration is furthering the pain of the residents who have endured a water crisis for more than three years with city hall corruption.”

The signatures must first go to the Genesee County Clerks office to make sure the petitions were filled out properly. The County Clerk, John Gleason, then sends the petitions to Flint City Clerk Inez Brown’s office where each signature will be verified.

If at least 5,750 signatures are verified then Weaver along with Flint residents wanting to be the city’s leader names will go on the November 2017 ballot along with Flint City Council hopefuls.

According to Gleason, people wanting to compete for the mayor’s seat would have to collect 900 signatures to be put on the November ballot opposing Weaver for the mayor’s seat if signature collection is successful.

Weaver, who Flint Beat could not immediately reach for comment, will automatically appear on the ballot unless she withdraws.

Flint Nonprofit Leader Becomes Youngest Board Chair of Statewide Organization
FLINT, MI — Glenn Wilson, President/CEO of Communities First, Inc. was recently elected to the role of board chair for the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM). Prior to becoming board chair, he served as a board member and secretary for the statewide organization.  Glenn’s experience in real estate development, entrepreneurship, leadership, non profit management and marketing will be of benefit in his new position.
“The world of community economic development is changing rapidly.  It is now a field that includes placemaking, agriculture, financial empowerment, real estate and so much more.  There are great opportunities to improve Michigan communities through the diversity of available tools.  I am honored to serve as CEDAM’s board chair and I am excited to assist this amazing organization in this new capacity”, said Wilson of his election.
“Glenn is a rising star in the community economic development world,” said Jamie Schriner, Executive Director of CEDAM. “Every time I turn around, he’s working on a new project or program to help make Flint a more wonderful place for all of its residents.I don’t know when he sleeps! I couldn’t be more pleased to have him as CEDAM’s board chair.”
CEDAM is a nonprofit membership organization based in Lansing that represents hundreds of individuals and organizations committed to revitalizing and rebuilding Michigan through community economic development. Since 1996, CEDAM has provided policy and advocacy, technical assistance and training on issues that help create strong, vibrant communities including those related to affordable housing, financial empowerment, foreclosure mitigation, downtown and neighborhood revitalization and more. For more information about CEDAM, visitcedam.info.
About Communities First, Inc.
Communities First, Inc. is a Flint based nonprofit Community Development Corporation which was founded in 2010. The priorities of CFI are affordable housing, economic development, green programs, and quality of life programs. CFI is committed to building sustainable, equitable communities in distressed areas.  The organization is the developer of Oak Street Senior Apartments and Swayze Court Apartments located in downtown Flint and has amongst its programs Culture Shock and Green Life.  More information about Communities First, Inc. can be found at communitiesfirstinc.org.

Terrorism Strikes Michigan

Federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against the man who has been charged in the stabbing of Flint Bishop Police Officer Lt. Jeff Neville on June 21.

The complaint was filed on June 28 and charges suspect Amor M. Ftouhi  with violence at an international airport.

On June 16, investigators say Ftouhi stabbed Neville in the neck in the public area of Bishop Airport in Flint Township.

According to reports Neville, who was released from the hospital on June 26, was stabbed repeatedly by Ftouhi with a 12-inch knife that was just a few millimeters away from hitting a main blood vessel to the brain.

Because of the attack Flint officials called for heightened security at Flint City Hall on June 21.

FBI officials say the incident is being investigated as a terrorist attack saying that during the stabbing Ftouhi yelled, “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is great” in Arabic. He also referenced killings in Syria. Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ftouhi, 50, holds dual citizenship in Canada and Tunisia.

UM-Flint Presents Awards to 11 Flint Entrepreneurs 

Flint, MI – The University of Michigan-Flint’s University Outreach has announced winners of an entrepreneurship competition held June 24 in Flint. The competition was part of a celebration held at Berston Field House, to mark the culmination of four business boot camps held in Flint from February through June 2017.

A total of 49 certificates were awarded to graduates of the [IN] on the Road business boot camp. Graduates were invited to present their business ideas in a Pitch & Prize competition for $4500 in prizes.

Youth Winners of the Pitch & Prize included:

·         Tyrone Smith – Mother and Sons Cleaning Service

·         Rayven McQueen – Tutoring for peers at her elementary school

·         Aaliyah McQueen – Basketball camps and merchandise for serious youth players

·         Clayton Robinson – 3D Printing service

Adult Winners of the Pitch & Prize included:

·         Venus Nash – Sewing Cafe

·         Joyce Cade-Hitchye – Of Impact, Veterans Referral Service

·         Everett Roberts – BEEncouraged & Empowered Inc.

·         Tiffany Parsons – Be Smoothie mobile truck

·         Karl Collyer – Happy Little Greens Farm

·         Terry Kinzie – Organic Lawn Care

·         Torina Johnson – Purple Lady Nursing Service

Judges included Paula Nas, Director of University Outreach; Harry Blecker, Business Growth Coach for Michigan’s Small Business Development Center; DeWaun Robinson, entrepreneur and COO of Urban Renaissance Center; and Luke Lloyd, retired professional basketball player, and entrepreneur.

For years, University Outreach has offered popular business workshops at the Innovation Incubator, nicknamed [IN], located on the UM-Flint campus. IN on the Road turned the training into a 5-session workshop series, which was offered at convenient locations in Flint neighborhoods.

The IN on the Road business boot camps were presented at Joy Tabernacle in February; Holmes STEM Academy in March; Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint in May; and Asbury United Methodist in June. Community members took advantage of the intensive training to learn how to start a business and become financially literate. The boot camps were offered at no charge to the public thanks to funding support from the Ruth Mott Foundation and the MI-SBDC I-69 Trade Corridor Region.

Graduates of the course offered positive remarks about the boot camp. “The course provided the tools for deeper thought and considerations to get beyond the idea phase,” said one graduate. “Course materials were great for class and future planning,” said another participant. “Having business owners come to classes was the number one most useful thing about the course.”

Participants also are eligible to receive bus passes to travel to University Outreach’s Innovation Incubator for additional business assistance after the boot camp.

More information about the IN on the Road program is at go.umflint.edu/IN or contact Nic Custer at ncuster@umflint.eduor 810-424-5454 for more information.

About the Innovation Incubator

The University of Michigan-Flint University Outreach connects campus and community to support learning, collaboration and partnerships. One of its programs, the Innovation Incubator, helps students and community members start businesses and non-profits. The public is invited to use the co-work space free of charge weekdays at Northbank Center, Suite 207, 432 N. Saginaw Street.

Since 2008, about 5,878 people have been positively affected by the Incubator program and its client startups’ products and services. Of these, about 1,841 people have taken advantage of Incubator training sessions. To date, about 24 businesses have graduated from the Incubator program. At least 134 jobs have been created by the Incubator and its client startups. About 45 percent of the number of jobs created were for underprivileged community members.

State-appointed board backs liens on Flint properties
Nearly 8,000 Flint property owners could face foreclosures after the state-appointed board overseeing Flint’s finances voted June 27, 2017 against a moratorium put in place by the Flint City Council.

The Receivership Transition Advisory Board voted against the move put in place by the council on May 17, 2017 during a special Flint City Council meeting in hopes of stopping overdue utility bills from being placed on property tax rolls in Flint.

Flint’s Chief Financial Officer David Sabuda said Flint could face millions of dollars in debt if the moratorium was kept in place.

“What would happen is if this moratorium is not lifted what would happen is the $2.3 million would stay on the applicable subsidiary account or the customers accout it would be there for five years…We would hope that the customers would pay that balance that is due but…after five years state law says I cant go after that any longer… We would lose approximately $2.350 million…in the beginning of the sixth year. Then the fund balance would take a hit. We lose the opportunity to collect…I we’re collecting those dollars…we’re able to pay bills.”

So far, Sabuda said the city had $5.8 million in overdue utility accounts.

Last October, city officials launched an aggressive effort including issuing shut-off notices to collect on overdue bills. Since then, Sabuda said Flint has collected $710,000 of the $5.8 million. Of that debt an estimated $2.3 million is from the water portion of the utility bills.

“The fact that at least in combination the moratorium plus extending the temporary water source contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority would have a somewhat profound impact upon the condition of the water fund to the approximate tune of about…$12 million,” said RTAB Chairman, Frederick Headen. “It’s important to view the water lien moratorium…not in isolation but in the context of others issues including the budget.”

In addition to the moratorium, Flint City Council members have also voted during a June 26, 2017 council meeting to continue using GLWA under a three-month contract extension instead of moving forward with Mayor Karen Weaver’s recommendation to sign a 30-year contract – A move that Weaver’s administration along with RTAB members say would put Flint into further debt.

Flint City Council President, Kerry Nelson says the moratorium would only be in place for a year while council members reviewed Flint’s ordinance regarding property liens.

“We are looking trying to do what’s best for this community,” Nelson said to RTAB members on June 27. “They are already going through hardship…

Nelson, who represents Flint’s 3rd ward, said 505 of the lien letters were sent to property owners in his ward.”

“This city and the citizens of this city (are) already in hardships,” Nelson said. “Already strapped for cash and for someone to push us into something and say you have to do (it), we’ve down this road before and that road lead us to poison water.”

Under the moratorium liens would not be placed on properties for at least one year for delinquent bills stemming back to 2014.

Weaver announced in a May 3, 2017 statement that the city was obligated to follow the law regarding the city’s ordinance on tax liens for nonpayment of utility bills. The move gained national attention as Flint City Council members worked behind the scenes to figure out how to stop the lien process.

Weaver was not at the June 27 RTAB meeting but City Administrator Sylvester Jones spoke on her behalf.

“I think it’s important to know, while the mayor is certainly recommending the water source recommendation the mayor is not opposing the moratorium,” Jones said. “She is not opposing this moratorium at all.”

The lien process is typically done annually but it was not done in July 2016 because of water relief credits provided by the state covering some of the cost of water bills for both residential and commercial water customers in Flint, said Weaver’s May 3 statement.

According to the city’s ordinance, the lien process goes into effect when payments are missed on water and sewer accounts for longer than six months.

If liens are placed on properties, the outstanding utility bill balance would be forwarded to the property owner’s tax bill. If that bill is not paid the property could then go to the Genesee County Land Band. Flint would not get a reimbursement on the properties or the overdue utility accounts.

 

 

Flint NAACP to hold city council candidate forum
FLINT, MI — Flint’s NAACP will hold a Flint City Council candidate forum on Tuesday, June 27 and Thursday, June 29, 2017 at the Flint Public Library.

The forum, “A Candidate’s Forum,”  is being hosted by the Flint Branch of the NAACP Political Action Committee from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on both days in the main reading room of the library located at 1026 E. Kearsley Street in Flint.

Seventh, 8th and 9th ward candidates will participate in the Tuesday forum and candidates for Flint’s 2nd, 3rd and 6th wards are expected to participate in Thursday’s forum.

All nine seats are up for Flint City Council this year. Each candidate is vying for a four-year term on the council.

There are only two candidates vying for seats in the 1st, 4th, 5th wards. Those candidates will not appear on the August 8 primary ballot but they will be on the November 7 ballot along with the winners of the August primary.

The event is open to the public. For more information on the forum call the Flint branch of the NAACP at (810) 742-8622.

To see who’s running for Flint City Council click here or view the list below.

2017 Flint City Council Candidates

1st Ward

Incumbent: Eric Mays

Challenger: Anita L. Brown

2nd Ward

Incumbent: Jackie Poplar

Challengers: Valencia Battle, David Davenport, Maurice D. Davis, Sharmain Nixon-Gatlin

3rd Ward

Incumbent: Kerry L. Nelson

Challengers: Linda K. Boose, Santino J. Guerra, Quincy Murphy

4th Ward

Incumbent: Kate Fields

Challenger: Michael Doan

5th Ward

Incumbent: Wantwaz Davis

Challenger: Jerri Winfrey-Carter

6th Ward

Incumbent: Herbert J. Winfrey

Challengers: Deltonya F. Burns, Chia C. Morgan

7th Ward

Incumbent: Monica S. Galloway

Challengers: Loyce M. Driskell, Marcus Eubanks, Heather Morolla Kale, Mercedes Kinnee

8th Ward

Incumbent: Vicki VanBuren

Challengers: Joyce Ellis-McNeal, Louis A. Griggs

9th Ward

Incumbent: Scott Kincaid

Challengers: Erik Roebuck, Eva Worthing

 

See who’s running for Flint City Council

 

 

 

 

Communities First partners with PNC, Michigan Masons for Movies Under the Stars event

FLINT, MI –  Communities First, Inc. has partnered with the PNC Mobile Learning Adventure and the Michigan Masons for a learning and safety event on June 23 from 5  – 8pm, just before Movies Under the Stars.

The festivities will take place on the front lawn of Flint City Hall.

PNC’s Grow Up Great “Learning is All Around Me!” is designed for children ages 0 – 5 and their parent or guardian.

The Grow Up Great initiative features a traveling exhibit, the Mobile Learning Adventure, that provides an opportunity for parents and caregivers to learn about the importance of early childhood education while they engage in fun activities with their children.

Mobile Learning Adventure includes interactive kiosks and the “What I Want to be When I Grow Up” station, where kids dress up as different professionals and have their picture superimposed on an appropriate background. In addition, parents can take home activity books and learning kits that demonstrate how to take everyday moments and turn them into learning opportunities.

PNC’s Grow Up Great is a $350-million initiative that began in 2004 to help children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

This year’s first Movies Under the Stars will also feature a Michigan Child ID Program hosted by Fellowship Masonic Lodge #236.

The Michigan Child ID Program is a service that provides parents and guardians with a “completed” Child ID Package that contains all the vital information necessary to expedite law enforcement efforts to locate a missing child. The program also helps to educate families about abduction prevention and safety. A completed Child Identification Packet consists of a dental impression kit that will also provide DNA and dog scenting along with a memory stick containing the identified person’s vital information. The memory stick information also includes digital fingerprints, a still picture and a short video interview to capture the voice and mannerisms of the identified person.

Following the Mobile Learning Adventure and child ID kits, Movies Under the Stars will be held on the lawn behind Flint City Hall. The movie will be preceded by a party at 7:30 pm and the movie starts at dusk. Attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite superhero costume and join us for lawn games, a dance party and inflatables will start the evening. Special superhero guests will be in attendance. Movie snacks such as popcorn, candy and water will be provided.  There will also be prize drawings for T-Shirts and gift cards.

Movies Under the Stars will run through August. Check out this year’s lineup below.

June 23 – The Lego Batman Movie behind Flint City Hall

July 14 – Grease at Crossroads Village (ages 16 and older)

July 28 – A Bug’s Life behind Flint City Hall

August 11 – Sing at Applewood Estate

August 25 -Finding Dory behind Flint City Hall

Please check the Communities First, Inc. website at www.communitiesfirstinc.org  or their Facebook page for details about weather related cancellations and for the complete movie lineup.

Flint City Council meeting postponed following Bishop Airport attack
FLINT, MI – A Flint City Council meeting was cancelled today after officials heightened security at city hall following a stabbing at Bishop International Airport.

Lt. Jeff Neville was stabbed in the neck today by a Canadian-born suspect causing law enforcement officials to evacuate and close Bishop Airport.

“We did not know what we were up against,” said Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson. “We had to be cautious. This guy just stabbed a fellow officer.”

Nearly ten Flint Police officers manned city hall after the stabbing. The building did not close but officers did question visitors’ reasons for being at city hall before they were allowed to enter the building.

The Flint City Council committee meetings have been moved to Friday, June 23, 2017 at 1 p.m. at city hall. Council members will hold Finance, Governmental Operations, Legislative and Grants Committee meetings during that time.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver issued a statement saying she was praying for Neville, who has been reported in stable condition, and other law enforcement officers.

“Right now we are still awaiting more information about the situation at Bishop Airport this morning,” said Weaver. “My thoughts and prayers are with all our law enforcement officers who work to service and protect us each and every day. I want to the public to know that several agencies are involved and working to ensure the situation is under control. However, at this time we are taking extra precautions just to be safe.”

The investigation is being lead by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The FBI is considering it a terrorist attack.

 

Juneteenth cookout celebrates Flint fathers, mentors
FLINT, MI – Organizers of Flint’s annual Juneteenth festivities are now launching an effort to support fathers with a Father’s Day Family Fun Cookout celebration.
The celebration will be held at the University Square, at the corner of Grand Traverse and University Avenue, on June 18, 2017 from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. and not only acknowledges Juneteenth but celebrates men, mentors and fathers.
Fathers and their children will enjoy free food and entertainment. The event will also feature inflatables for children and games.
“It’s about celebrating fathers, Flint and life,” said event organizer Paul Herring of Spectacle Productions. “We have partnered with a great group of folks to make the event happen.”

Community partners include WFOV 92.1 FM of Flint, Spectacle Productions, The Paul H. & Angela R. Herring Foundation, the Greater Flint Arts Council, Flint BeatFlyCyGrace Thomas and Dr. Lee Bell.Additional Juneteenth activities include the Youth Freedom Dinner at 5:30 p.m. on June 16, 2017 at GCCARD and a Juneteenth Motorcade and Family Fun Day on June 19.
The Motorcade will start at New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church located at 1035 East Carpenter Road to University Square.
For more information about Juneteenth events or to volunteer call Paul Herring at (810) 239-2901. Vendors should call Brenda Wicker at (810) 767-1157 to reserve a booth.