Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along premiers

Rob Bliss & Jeff Barrett, creators of the fantastic Grand Rapids lip dub video premiered their Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along at halftime of the Lions game on Sunday. It was filmed in 50 Michigan cities in 7 days. It’s a pretty cool travelogue of the Great Lakes State in under 4 minutes.

Check out the finished video below and also don’t miss the behind the scenes blog from PureMichigan.org.

Flint boxer Claressa Shields wins Olympic gold

London Olympics Boxing Women

Clarissa Shields by multimediaimpre

NPR’s Bill Chappell has a feature on Flint gold medalist Claressa Shields, the first woman ever to win middleweight gold. Shields defeated Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova by a score of 19-12 in yesterday’s final. The feature includes a nice account of the title bout and adds a bit about a legend of boxing who took notice of the Flint fighter:

One of Shields’ heroes is legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard — who tweeted about her earlier this week: “Your Jab is so solid use it more! Your Hook, wow (just like mine) win every round and bring home the Gold Claressa!”

Speaking by phone with All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block hours after her match, Shields said, “Yeah, you know I was kinda shocked that he tweeted me. I didn’t know, because he didn’t tag me in it. I was like, What?”

“Just hearing he’s been watching me is a complement,” she said. “It means a lot, because he’s somebody who I studied. It was great.”

Also see this piece from Michigan Radio on the reaction from her contemporaries in Flint and definitely don’t miss Teen Contendor from Radio Diaries, who followed her for a month.

PS: If anyone finds a good video from the match, please post it in the comments!

Earth Day 2012 in Michigan

Untitled by Brooke Pennington
Untitled by Brooke Pennington

Sunday (April 22) is the 42nd Earth Day. Here’s some highlights from this morning’s Earth Day post on Michigan in Pictures - don’t miss the CBS News segment on Albion featuring Walter Kronkite from Earth Day 1970 below!

The Daily Michigan: Jar Head Salsa Party Platter

Today on The Daily Michigan we’re giving away a Jar Head Salsa party platter featuring 2 pints of Jar Head Salsa – 1 Regular – 1 Mild – with 2 bags of Jar Head Chips and a serving platter!

Jar Head Salsa was created by Gunnery Sergeant Dave Smith USMC, Retired. Smith is a native of Flint who was responsible for feeding 3000 Marines a day for much of his 20 year career. His Top Secret Recipe includes eight different vegetables (fresh from Eastern Market in season), citrus juices, and spices. Each serving has 15% of your daily Vitamin C (over 3 times the average salsa) and 10% of proceeds from sales of Jar Head Salsa are donated to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

More information and online ordering at their website!

Click here to sign up

Emergency Manager Michael Brown takes over in Flint

Hope For The Future by Flint Foto Factory
Hope For The Future by Flint Foto Factory

Last week Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Michael Brown as the emergency manager for the city of Flint under Public Act 4. A state-appointed review panel recommended a state takeover for the city of Flint, citing recurring cash flow shortages and other financial deficiencies. Flint had an estimated $15 million deficit in 2010 and is projected to have a $7 million deficit in 2011. The Flint Journal explains that:

Brown is under no illusion that fixing the city’s long-standing financial problems will be an easy task.

“I know it’s a major challenge, there’s no glossing it over,” Brown said hours after his appointment was announced by Snyder’s office. “I think there’s a long road ahead and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Photo Friday: North by darkson33


Yes, it is Saturday.

darkson33 (Bryant Windom) lives and takes pictures in Flint.Here’s his Shutterfly web site.

His sets include Outdoors, People and Flint and things (slideshow).

Dive into his Flickriver.

Michigan seeks to use Land Banks for redevelopment

Abandoned Richardsonian Romanesque House in Detroit ( Former James Scott Mansion ) by Derek Farr
Abandoned Richardsonian Romanesque House in Detroit
( Former James Scott Mansion )
by Derek Farr

Michigan has 29 land bank authorities – more than any state. The Detroit News reports that Michigan is going to try to use these land banks to spur redevelopment and garner nearly $300 million:

With the federal money expected to come in January, cities such as Detroit and counties such as Oakland are starting land bank agencies for the first time. The state filed for the Housing and Urban Development funding through a coalition that includes 12 city governments and eight counties. It’s a national competition, and the overall fund totals $1.9 billion. Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Pontiac, Saginaw and Wyandotte also would be targeted for revitalization.

The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority would provide land bank services in Detroit; Oakland County, including Pontiac; and Kent County, including Grand Rapids, until local land banks are ready to take over.

Under the plan, the Michigan land banks aim to buy and redevelop more than 6,000 foreclosed, abandoned and vacant properties. The land banks also envision razing 2,500 structures and rehabilitating or building 1,500 homes.

There’s also an effort to encourage urban gardeners to develop empty city lots and allow homeowners to buy inexpensive vacant lots next to their property. “We expect (Detroit’s land bank) to be the most aggressive developer in the city,” said Douglas Diggs, interim director of the city’s land bank office.

Good news for Michigan cities! Check out the Abandoned slideshow from the Absolute Michigan pool for some likely suspects for the money!

Year-round at the Flint Farmer’s Market

market vendor. by sarah. reed.
market vendor. by sarah. reed.

Flint Farmer’s Market Slideshow

Last weekend’s Chicago Sun Times featured a great writeup on the Flint Farmer’s Market, nothing that one thing Vehicle City has over the Windy City is a year-round, enclosed farmer’s market:

In September, the market was named “Most Loved Market in America” in a nationwide contest sponsored by Care2.com and LocalHarvest.org. Hundreds of the country’s 4,500 farmers markets entered the competition. The Flint market grabbed the $5,000 prize thanks to Web blasts and Facebook voting.

The Flint Farmers’ Market is anchored by a beautiful red brick WPA (Work Progress Administration) building from 1940. It is set in a ravine along the Flint River and has more than 30 vendors. The steel trusses supporting the roof date to 1920, when they were used at the feisty auto town’s former Union Market.

The 15,000-square-foot market features an art gallery, book store, restaurant and Michigan’s only farmers market wine shop….

“One of the downsides of Flint is that there are 18,000 vacant properties,” (market manager Dick) Ramsdell explained during an autumn stroll through the market. “People who worked here left. The upside is that there’s community gardens opening up all over Flint. There’s an emerging food security system for low-income folks, using not only local farmers but people who are starting to grow on vacant lots inside the city.”

Learn more in the article and also on the Flint Farmer’s Market web site. Be sure to check out Sarah’s slideshow in the link above as well!

Photo Friday: Flint Birds by jmbarclay

flint birds

jmbarclay (Jim Barclay) says he first discovered photography when i was about 7 years old and his father brought home his new 35 mm camera and dark room equipment. He spent many hours watching the images come to life in the chemicals under the glow of the orange bulb.

Check this photo out bigger in his Flint – Michigan slideshow. Also see his other sets including bldg, vintage and up north.

Dive into his Flickriver.

Editor’s Note: Today is of course Monday. Some wires got crossed on Friday apparently.

Flint’s Carriage Town makes a comeback

Electric Blues by Rudy Malmquist
The Mason House c 1872 in Carriage Town by mansardroofsf

The New York Times has taken note of an area in Flint called Carriage Town that is making a comeback due to some industrious and motivated homeowners. In the midst of an otherwise impoverished area and dire economic circumstances these people are taking advantage of real estate deals and restoring the beautiful old homes that make up the area. The article Faded Glory: Polishing Flint’s Jewels also notes that as people move in businesses follow and once again becomes a community.

In a city that is synonymous with faded American industrial and automotive power, Carriage Town’s success is both unexpected and inspiring. A persistent group of long-term urban homesteaders — along with newer arrivals eager to live near a downtown showing signs of life — has restored dozens of Victorian-era houses and buildings in the last 20 years. While many Flint neighborhoods feel all but abandoned, in Carriage Town home ownership has increased 10 percent over the last decade, according to Census data.

In a worldwide recession, development projects with more than $47 million in public and private financing are in progress or recently completed in the 30-square-block Carriage Town area, including the conversion of the derelict Berridge Hotel into lofts and the ongoing renovation of the long-vacant Durant Hotel into 93 apartments and commercial space. There are even plans for a neighborhood grocery store.

But there’s no denying that Carriage Town is a work in progress, and that those who call it home must deal with challenges like speculators, abandoned houses and lack of code enforcement by the cash-strapped city.

For more images of Flin’t Carriage Town check out this slideshow from Flickr…