Flint

Flint enjoys ‘Diplomat’-ic initiative

Flint is home to the largest privately held specialty pharmacy in the United States. Didn’t think you would ever read that sentence, did you? But Flint is indeed home to Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy, a firm with more than 500 employees that is […]

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Scoring the ’00s: How Michigan’s 14 regions changed

Despite billions of dollars in construction projects on the University of Michigan’s campus and Ann Arbor’s reputation as a high-tech business hotbed, the regional economy there contracted slightly over the past decade. Gross domestic product in the Ann Arbor metro area fell […]

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All Michigan regions grew in 2010

Michigan’s regional economies surged ahead in 2010, propelled by a surprisingly robust manufacturing sector and solid growth from the “information economy.” The latest figures are a positive pivot from a decade that saw most Michigan regions lag economically. Between 2001 and 2009, […]

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Cuts don’t fall evenly across Michigan

A welfare recipient in Flint is four times more likely to be kicked off cash assistance next month than a welfare recipient in bucolic Luce County — even though the Upper Peninsula county has a higher poverty rate. In rural northern Lake […]

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‘Shadow Tax Cut’ deepens local budget crises

A $900 million cut in property tax revenues since 2007, the “Shadow Tax Cut,” has devastated the budgets of local governments that heavily rely on these taxes to provide police and fire protection — and a host of other services. They’ve laid […]

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Land O Links

“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours” – John Locke, 17th century English philosopher * Propublica says the EPA has a report linking fracking chemicals to an instance of groundwater contamination […]

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Big township bank accounts draw concern, defense

We all know Michigan’s local governments have been struggling because of a plunge in tax revenues caused by the Great Recession and the housing collapse, not to mention shrinking state revenue-sharing payments. Or do we? A controversial new study by Isabella County […]

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That’s your government. You can’t look in there.

A legal battle over who will run the city of Flint has centered on the provisions of the rewrite of the state’s emergency manager law — PA4. But an alarming side note was sounded in the fight this week — an idea […]

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Michigan’s ‘Faltering 40′ on college prep

If you want your son or daughter to succeed in college, there are 40 public school districts you may want to avoid. In an analysis by Bridge Magazine and Public Sector Consultants, these 40 districts, spread across the state and ranging from […]

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Guest column: Change tax code to feed starving Michigan cities

By Dayne Walling/Flint mayor In Michigan, cities were the greatest victims of the recent near failure of the economy and the housing market. Michigan is not seeing the same renaissance of returning to the city at a significant rate equal to the […]

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Pension costs burn through city budgets

Lansing’s taxpayers were doused with some difficult news last week: The city’s pension fund for police and fire retirees could use a nearly $2 million boost from the city’s general fund. And the city’s already fighting a budget deficit. Big-city fire departments […]

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Land O Links

“There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating — people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing” – Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright and author. * Durable goods manufacturing, as a percentage of total economic activity, is […]

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Guest column: Unfunded legacy costs = big trouble for local governments

By Robert Daddow/Oakland County deputy executive “Property tax revenues implode.”  “Deficit elimination plan draconian.”  “Troubled pension plan may not pay benefits.”  “Pension investments crash, will cost retirees.”  These troubling headlines reflect a branding that no responsible official would ever want to see […]

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Learning life outdoors: Old idea, new generation

Dick Laing recalls with pride working with Michigan Tech Universityon a residential “boot camp” style program in forestry and conservation skills in the Upper Peninsula that helped disadvantaged youngsters develop life skills. The program eventually fell victim to budgetary neglect, he says. Laing […]

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Why the lights never come on in some preschool classrooms

Gobles is a small, rural, almost exclusively white community on the west side of the state. Beecher is an old blue-collar suburb of Flint, racially mixed and overwhelmingly poor. But the children of Gobles and Beecher do share a characteristic — one […]

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Land O Links

“Knowledge is not a passion from without the mind, but an active exertion of the inward strength, vigor and power of the mind, displaying itself from within” — Ralph Cudworth, 17th century English philosopher. * ProPublica gives a grand tour of campaign finance […]

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Land O Links

* As this ProPublica story mentions, Michigan is familiar with the consequences when an oil or gas pipeline ruptures. The story also notes that pipelines are considered safer than alternative means of fuel transport (trucks, trains): http://www.propublica.org/article/ pipelines-explained-how-safe-are-americas-2.5-million-miles-of-pipelines * Jack Lessenberry pays […]

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Detroit’s problems echoed in a (far) smaller Flint

The website is not the type of brand identity any city would seek. Called “Abandoned Flint,” it posts photos of ruined homes and businesses and a running commentary that reads like a post-modern apocalypse. Under photos of “Abandoned Travelodge,” it notes: “… […]

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