Flint’s Biggest News Stories of the Year – Erin’s Top 8
It's been a crazy year so far in Flint (whether it's been crazier than any other year is an open question). I decided to put together some stories together that I thought have stood out this year and hopefully I'm not leaving anything major out.
It was a huge shock when we found out ABC-12 fired Bill Harris and Joel Feick – two Flint icons who had been on the air for decades. Earlier this year, SJL Broadcasting took over ABC-12 and made lots of changes – including letting go the two beloved broadcasters.
Harris has returned doing special reporting at times and we had the pleasure of talking with Bill when we first heard the news, so it was nice to hear that he was doing well considering what had happened.
You keep reading in the news how the Genesee County Sheriff's department keeps releasing inmates from the jail to send them to other counties to free up jail space. This has been a recent project, thanks to the State of Michigan giving $1 million in grant money for this program. With sending inmates elsewhere, authorities have been able to arrest more people, while Michigan State police have sent extra troopers patrolling the streets in Flint. This plan is supposed to be ongoing so more beds will be freed up so officers can make even more arrests.
We get a new Governor in office and he's already making people very angry. Let's talk about the ongoing saga between teacher unions and the state. They aren't happy with him and his new policies and we've had several listeners call to say they went to various protests on Capitol Hill. He just changed the tenure policy in addition to trying to hold teachers more accountable. Plenty of people locally have been petitioning to get Snyder out. The other day I saw people at Bicentennial Park in Grand Blanc trying to get people to sign the petition and there was also a group set up in downtown Flint one Saturday trying to collect signatures. Rep. Paul Scott is also on the list of recalls from locals in the area. This is still an ongoing situation and nothing has been resolved on either side. It will be interesting to see where everything is at in a few months. I've added some sites below if you wanted more information on the recalls of both politicians.
This was actually a recent story that George McIntyre posted a few weeks ago. It's kind of cool because a Clio boy was invited on stage by Katy Perry at her concert at Auburn Hills. He had to leave his shirt in the chair before he went on stage. I didn't realize this, but apparently he's the nephew of one of our co-workers. Talk about a really cool thing he'll always remember. He also did a brief interview here at the station and said he's always had a crush on Katy Perry.
This has been an ongoing problem but one of the first stories we heard about was about the boy who got hit at a drag racing event and authorities were thinking about charging his father for bringing him in the first place. Residents seemed torn about the issue with some saying drag racing is better than people committing crimes, while others thought the dad was irresponsible and should be charged. A new drag racing ordinance has been put into place where police can take and give heavy penalties for cars used in drag racing.
We all remember last year when Elias Abuelazam was finally arrested after stabbing over 19 people throughout Genesee County. He had already caused trouble in the jail but this second incident involving him was quite entertaining I thought. An inmate was actually accused of trying to poison Abuelazam with an apple by putting oven cleaner on it. Obviously Elias isn't very popular in the jail, but the guy was expected to take a plea earlier this year. I realized when mentioning this story that we really haven't heard anything new about Elias but maybe he's decided to stay out of trouble.
Flint has received a ton of good news from General Motors lately, including the recent announcement of the company investing $328 million in the Flint plant to build the next generation of Chevrolet and GMC trucks. They also hosted open houses at their five plants around the area and they continue to create more jobs for the area.
Mayor Dayne Walling was pretty happy the last time he came in the studio to tell us that they had arrested five people in connection to the arson fires on Flint's East Side. More than 100 fires have taken place since April and police believe they'll be able to arrest even more involved once the five start talking.