My City January 2022
M O U D C RYAN J. REECE, MD, FACEP PHOTO BY DOUG PIKE, HURLEY MEDICAL CENTER
Hurley now oers a Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) clinic to treat those who need help with opioid use disorder. Services are available to patients who are seen in Hurley’s ED who are seeking treatment for their opioid use disorder (OUD), self-identify as having a problem with OUD, withdrawing from opioids or with other complications
Is addiction a medical disease? Instead of understanding addiction as only a moral or spiritual failing, many medical professionals have begun to view opioid use disorder as a medical disease. e disease of addiction can be caused by repeated exposure to a drug, coupled with genetic or environmental risk factors, leading to physical changes in the brain’s opioid receptors. In this view, addiction can be treated and managed with medication, much like other chronic medical conditions. Medication has been shown to provide an evidence-based, safe, controlled level of treatment to overcome the use of a problem opioid. Hurley’s program oers a safe, comfortable environment for patients who suer from OUD. Dr. Reece notes, “ e MOUD program uses a very collaborative approach. e ED social workers, providers and nurses all play a huge role in helping this population receive much needed treatment. It provides another tool to help this population.” ®
RYAN J. REECE, MD, FACEP
of their disease or who may have experienced a nonfatal overdose. e MOUD clinic provides telemedicine care and is led by Dr. Ryan J. Reece. Dr. Reece attended Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and completed his residency at Michigan State University/Sparrow Health System in emergency medicine. He is board-certied in Emergency Medicine and is working toward his certication in Addiction Medicine. Why the emergency department? e ED is often the primary source of medical care for individuals with OUD. ED visits oer an opportunity to access life-saving treatment. Identifying individuals with untreated OUD enables providers to motivate individuals to accept treatment, eectively treat opioid withdrawal symptoms, initiate evidence- based treatment, refer individuals to ongoing care and to reduce harm by oering overdose education and dispensing naloxone kits. Treatment • Consultation with an ED social worker • Telemedicine appointments • Medication • Referral to New Paths, Inc. a local substance use disorder treatment program Benefits of the Clinic • Facilitates safer withdrawal by relieving symptoms and controlling cravings
Questions? Want to schedule an appointment? Call: 810.262.6516
• Reduces the risk of death due to overdose • Increases retention in treatment with safer, controlled medications • Works to decrease illegal drug use and, with it, the potential dangers
PUBLISHER & EDITOR IN CHIEF Vince Lorraine
F R O M T H E P U B L I S H E R
E D I T O R I A L MANAGING EDITOR Sherron Barden
A R T & D E S I G N GRAPHIC DESIGNER Brett LaCross
Happy New Year! What a di erence a year makes – or at least, it feels a little di erent. MCM started to look familiar again starting in August ‘21, when the summer “Haps” returned to infuse Greater Flint with some much-needed fun with fellow citizens.e magazine just wasn’t the same for so many months without any pages full of smiling faces. At this writing, there are murmurs of more lockdowns coming …time will tell. Once again, we capture the highlights of MCM’S 2021 volume with our annual “Year in Review” section, highlighting many of the memorable stories we shared with you. Maybe you missed one or two – that starts on p.18. Of the many types of stories found in each issue, we’re always happy to feature local businesses that give back. Last November, the Flint & Genesee Group presented the 7th Annual Art of Achievement Awards, and among the winners was Great Harvest Bread Co. Read about this deserving award recipient on p.12, and look for more winners to be proled in the months ahead. Unfortunately, we’ve been compelled to do many features about serious and troubling issues, including what is known as modern slavery. January is National Slavery and Human Tracking Prevention Month, so we chose to shed light on G.H.O.S.T., a task force within the Genesee County Sheri ’s Oce that was created to ght these heinous crimes. Read about Sheri Swanson’s success with this e ort starting on p.8. Rounding out the content this month, we have great variety in our Arts, Music and Sport pieces, as well as part one of a new history series, “e Mayors of Flint” and the monthly o erings of our contributors. Being a “glass half-full” kind of guy, I’m going to end on a note of hope that we can all leave the struggles of 2021 in the rearview mirror. Begin this New Year with positive energy and prayers for good health, peace and prosperity. Let’s make it happen! anks for reading,
ASSISTANT EDITOR / WR ITER Peter Hinterman
WEB DEVELOPER / GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jonathan Boedecker
STAFF WR ITER Cheryl Denni son
PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Jagielo
FREELANCE WR ITERS Mark Spezia
O P E R A T I O N S
ACCOUNTING/CI RCULATION Kim Davi s
CONTR IBUTING WR ITERS Ed Bradley Er in Caudel l Dr. Christopher Douglas Vera Hogan Joel P. Lagore Alexandr ia Nolan Les l ie Toldo
NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Dan Garman
S A L E S
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Terese Al len
5152 COMMERCE RD. FLINT, MI 48507 810.230.1783 ¤ MYCITYMAG.COM ISSN#1559-3436 is published monthly by My City Magazine, Inc., 5152 Commerce Rd., Flint, MI 48507. Canadian Mail Agreement #41971515. For back issues, inquire for availability. Editorial Cor- respondence: Address product information and inquiries to: Editorial Department, My City Magazine, 5152 Commerce Rd., Flint, MI 48507, phone 810.230.1783. To authors, photographers, and people featured in this publication: All materials, articles, reports and photographs in this publication are the property of My City Magazine and cannot be used without written permission. e opinions and conclu- sions recited herein are those of the respective authors and not of My City Magazine. My City Magazine is not responsible for returning unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or other materials. Every eort will be made however, to return rejected manuscripts, etc., if they are accompanied by sucient rst-class postage, but the publisher will not be responsible for any loss of such material. Copyright © 2022. All rights reserved. | Printed in U.S.A.
VINCE LORRAINE PUBLISHER & EDITOR IN CHIEF VINCE@MYCITYMAG.COM
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YEAR IN 2021 REVIEW My City Magazine 18
My Community 6 7 Questions with ... Lucine Jarrah Executive Director Arab American Heritage Council 8 Fighting Human Trafficking G.H.O.S.T. Raising Awareness 12 Art of Achievement Award Winner Great Harvest Bread Co. My Story 18 2021 Year in Review My City Looks Back My Dish 36 Winter Salad for the Win! By Erin Caudell
My Arts 38 Martin Turner, Sculptor Molding a Profession My Music 42 Heather Maxwell Sharing the Music of Africa My Sport 48 Mott Wrestling Passion & Potential My History 52 The Mayors of Flint Part 1: Opening the Office
My Reality 58 Time to Try
My Finances 66 Things to Ponder in 2022
Something New By Vera Hogan My Musings 60 Let’s Hug it Out ... Mentally By Leslie Toldo
By Joel P. LaGore My Thoughts
68 Looking Back, Moving Forward By Cheryl Dennison 69 My Can’t Miss List My Travels 70 An Invisible Line By Alexandria Nolan My Afterthought 72 Time to Start Anew
62 What are
YOU Watching? By Jonathan Boedecker My Econ
64 A 2021 Economic Wrap-Up
By Dr. Christopher Douglas
7 Questions with … Lucine Jarrah Executive Director, Arab American Heritage Council
PHOTO PROVIDED BY SABRINA JARRAH
become one of my favorite dishes to make with my mom, and it is now something that I regularly make for friends and family. What’s one thing that can instantly make your day better? I’m so grateful to be surrounded by mentors, colleagues and friends who inspire me every day. Knowing that I have such an incredible community around me has got- ten me through my hardest challenges.ey have given me hope during tough times and played important roles in my organizing. Quality time with family and friends is something I value tremendously. is year, my work and school schedules have made it dicult to nd time for my- self. However, in the last few months, I have tried to create more opportunities during the week to call or spend time with friends and family. We all need these spaces in our lives to strengthen our connections to each other and where we can rest, reect and grow together. Do you have any hobbies? I have always loved watching, studying and discussing movies. Movies played a signicant role in my life growing up, and I fell in love with the way stories can be What’s your favorite way to spend a day o ?
The words that best describe me are: Passionate, creative, and learner. Whether it’s my work at the AAHC or organizing in my community, I have found that my passion not only brings more meaning to my work but also sus- tains it.is passion has also allowed me to bring forward creative solutions to the challenges that arise within our organi- zation and with my work on the ground. In every role I take on, I have learned that when we tap into our community’s expertise, talent and ideas, we can bring forward meaningful change that will allow us to build a transformative and sustain- able future together. My passion, creativity and commitment to lifelong learning have better positioned me in my work as an or- ganizer and my future as executive director. What is your favorite family recipe? A dish called warak enab (stu ed grape leaves) – always a go-to choice for big, family dinners at my house.Traditionally, grape leaves are stu ed with rice and meat (or veggies) and placed in a pot along- side pieces of lamb and potatoes to cook for about an hour.e process requires a lot of patience, as it is one of the more time-intensive dishes. Growing up, I loved watching my mom and grandma talk about life and share stories as they stu ed and rolled warak enab together.is recipe has
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captured and shared through the medium. As I got older, I realized that what I loved most about cinema was the ability to cel- ebrate art, share space and build commu- nity with those around me. is fascina- tion with cinema eventually inspired me to create a student organization that would highlight the power of the arts and the intersection between art and activism. Who is your hero? My mom (Bahia Mourad) is a big hero of mine. She is the reason I am who I am today. Her incredible love and sacri- ce have given me the strength to stretch the boundaries of what is possible in my life. A trailblazer in her own right, she has fought hard in her life and always encour- aged my siblings and me to be compas- sionate, tenacious and resilient. She truly holds our family together. I’m so blessed to have her support to carry me through every challenge and success in my life. What’s one work-related thing you want to accomplish in the next year? A primary goal of the AAHC is to build Arab American political power by making our voices heard through civic engagement and ensuring our commu- nities are represented. Currently, Arab Americans are signicantly undercount- ed in the census and other federal data, which has had dramatic consequences on Arab American representation. As a re- sult, organizations like AAHC struggle to secure funding for resources and services that our community needs. is challenge will continue to impact our work in sig- nicant ways, and that’s why it’s some- thing I’m fully committed to ghting for in my capacity as executive director. ®
“ My passion, creativity and commitment to lifelong learning have better positioned me in my work as an organizer and my future role as executive director. ”
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BY CHERYL DENNISON The Fight Against Human Trafficking January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Every year since 2010, the President has dedicated the month to raising awareness of the different types of human trafficking – also known as modern slavery – and educating people about this crime and how to spot it. January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Here is what is being done to raise awareness and to eliminate human trafficking that is happening right here in Genesee County.
In May of 2018,G.H.O.S.T. (GeneseeHuman OppressionStrikeTeam) was initiated by GeneseeCounty SheriChristopher Swanson (whenhewas undersheri) with authority granted by then-Sheri Robert Pickell. Swansonhad been involvedwith aWest Coast international organization that supports enforcement of human tracking laws and the rescue of sex tracking victims through the use of special forces.Ayear prior, he took a trip toHaiti where heworkedwith an intel-gathering group. Somewomen from Europe had been promised employment at a ve-star resort in the DominicanRepublic and instead, their passports were taken from them, theywere put on a bus and shipped toHaiti where theywere tracked for sex 24 hours-a-day. During that mission, Swanson worked with a group of undercover operators with law enforcement and military experience, who posed as “customers.”e trackers brought the victims to the customers, the victims were rescued and the trackers were then arrested by the national police. After that successful operation, Swanson thought to himself, “If this is happening here, and it is the fastest growing criminal enterprise, I have to believe it ’s also
happening in Genesee County.” This led to the formation of the G.H.O.S.T. task force within the Genesee County Sheriff ’s Office, whose purpose is to apprehend human traffickers and people who attempt to have a sexual relationship with a child. According to Swanson, the first rescue in Genesee County happened in May 2018 without additional funding or additional people. “We added this to our normal duties,” he explained. Potential victims were identified through contacts with Probate Court, DHHS, and by using a list of kids who were age 17 and had no known address or location. “These kids are the members of the population who are most vulnerable to trafficking,” Swanson states. There were 72 names on the list. “We found and identified 50 of the kids on that list.” Not all of those kids had been tracked, the sheri explained; but their nal stop was a house o FentonRoad that led to the discovery of a 15-year-old girl who had been locked up, living in a bathtub and covered in bruises and cuts, who was being pimped out. “at was the real deal.” Swanson said. “at was the wakeup call for my team.”
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Since that first rescue in2018,over149 predatorshavebeenarrested.Swanson hasalsotakenG.H.O.S.T.members to35Michigancounties sothatother sheriffscouldlearnhowtoformtheirownstrike teams.And,accordingtothesheriff,humantrafficking is mobile.“Itmoves fromtowntotown,”hesays.InMichigan,any personunder theageof17whois involvedincommercial sex is, bydefinition,avictimofhumantrafficking. Education,awarenessandaftercareare important aspects ofhumantrafficking,thesheriff states.Thesheriff ’sofficeuses partners inGeneseeCounty includingVoicesForChildren andWhaleyChildren’sCenter forpromotingeducationand awareness.“Wehaveseveral aftercarepartners thathelpvictims whohavebeenrescuedget thephysical,emotional,spiritual and psychological rehabilitationtheyneed.” Of the traffickingcases thathavebeenprosecuted,Swanson ishappy toreport animpressiveconvictionrate.“That is becauseof theexpertiseandprofessionalismofG.H.O.S.T. andthe teammemberswhoworktomake ithappen–whoput cases together incooperationwiththeprosecutorwhohasbeen battle-tested,”hesays. TheG.H.O.S.T.teamhas caught theeyeofEmmyAward- winningfilmmaker,NickNanton,whofilmedadocumentary abouthumantraffickingtitled,“It’sHappeningRightHere.” TheG.H.O.S.T.membersandSwansonarebothinthe openingscene.Thedocumentary is set tobereleasedin2022.
“Ibelieve it’sgoingtobe thenumberonehumantrafficking documentaryof theyear!”Swansonexclaims. As January isNationalHumanTraffickingAwareness Month,Swansonsayspartof theirmessaging is toget the community,experts,momsanddads,grandmasandgrandpas, churches,teachersandfriendsall involvedinhelpingthe fight againsthumantrafficking.“Clearly,theycan’tbe involvedin the lawenforcement aspect,but theycanbepartof the team,” headds.The taskforcehas startedaprogramthatparallels the G.H.O.S.T.teamcalledtheG.H.O.S.T.CertifiedProgram, whichwillbe launchedat theG.H.O.S.T.openhouseevent takingplace from4-6pmonJanuary26.Attendeeswillhave the opportunity tomeetG.H.O.S.T.teammembersandalsotobe recognizedasaCertifiedG.H.O.S.T.member. Anyonewhowants tobecomeaCertifiedG.H.O.S.T. membercancompleteanonline tutorialwhichincludesashort examination.Thosewhopass theexamareallowedtoprovide asafeplace for someone togowhoneedshelporhasquestions abouthumantrafficking.Onceapersonororganizationis certified,theywill receiveasignedcertificateanda largesticker (to beusedfor identification) fromSheriffSwanson. Swansonreiterates the fact thathumantrafficking is the fastestgrowingcriminal enterprise intheworld.Withjustone victim,a traffickercangross$200,000-$250,000peryear,he reports.“It’sahugebusiness,”hestates.“Together,wecanfight it. This ismypersonal call toaction.” ®
GREAT HARVEST BREAD CO. OWNER SCOTT SASSACK (LEFT) AND CHAD GILLIS DISPLAY THEIR AMAZING CINNAMON ROLLS.
GREAT HARVEST BREAD CO. Giving Back Generously BY CHERYL DENNISON ® PHOTOS PROVIDED BY SCOTT SASSACK
In November 2021, the Flint & Genesee Group announced the winners of the Art of Achievement Awards at a ceremony held at e Capitol eatre in Down- town Flint attended by more than 450 people. Winners of these prestigious awards are selected from nominations gathered throughout the year. Last year, 16 awards were presented to businesses, hospitality professionals and community
leaders for their signi cant contribu- tions to the region’s success in 2021. Great Harvest Bread Co., founded in 2003, was the recipient of the Small Business Award. Scott Sassack, who co- owns the business with his father, Bob, attended the ceremony along with his wife, daughters and two of the manag- ers of the company. “I had no idea we would win!” Sassack exclaimed. “I was shocked.”When accepting the award,
he invited his family and sta to join him on the stage. “It was a team eort – I’m nothing without my team.” According to Sassack, the Small Business Award is given to a business in Genesee County that has less than
our own wheat every day.”e menu includes fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, scones and muns, as well as a variety of sandwiches, salads and soups. “We make everything from scratch that day.” At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Great Harvest Bread Co. saw a whole new group of customers who were looking for products that were not avail- able in grocery stores, and they became regulars. And it’s customer service that is a priority for Sassack. “Customer service is my forte. I don’t look at Great Harvest as just a business. I love my employees, I love my customers and I love what I do.” ®
the North End Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army, My Brother’s Keeper and various churches. “What the Chamber saw in us, I believe, was that we were going above and beyond what was expected.” Great Harvest has two locations – in Grand Blanc and in Flint at Flint Farmers’ Market. “We are a scratch bakery,” the owner explains, adding that it takes ve hours to make a loaf of bread from start to nish. Bakers arrive at 3am to start the process. “We mill
50 employees that has made a signi cant contribution to the area. Part of the Great Harvest mission is “to give back gener- ously to others.” “at’s very important to me,” says Sassack. “It’s not just a business, it’s about being part of the community.” During the pandemic, there was a very high demand for products the bread com- pany oered.With only eight employees, they worked diligently to meet the need. In a three-to-four-month time frame, Great Harvest stores also supplied nurs- es, doctors and hospital ICU workers with 500-1,500 sandwiches. “Police, re ghters and EMTs could come to us for a free sandwich,” Sassack stated.e company also supplied loaves of fresh- baked bread to organizations including love my employees, I love my customers and I love what I do.” Scott Sassack, Co-owner “I don’t look at Great Harvest as just a business. I
THE GREAT HARVEST BREAD CO. FAMILY (L-R): TAMI IRELAND, REBEKAH SASSACK, SCOTT SASSACK, BOB SASSACK, DAVE MEERMAN, GABBI SASSACK, AND FLINT & GENESEE GROUP REPRESENTATIVE GREG VIENER
Chrome & Ice 2022 February 11 - 13 Last year, COVID-19 threw a wrench into the Back to the Bricks© Annual Chrome & Ice™Winter Indoor Car Show which was to be held at Flint’s Dort Financial Center. So, we are going BIGGER and BETTER in 2022! anks to Title Sponsor General Motors and our Brought-to-You-by Sponsor Dort Financial Credit Union with special thanks to ABC-12, we have ALL NEW surprises planned for this three- day indoor classic car event. e 7th Annual Chrome & Ice™Winter Indoor Car Show will take place February 11-13. One exciting feature is an amazing collection of iconic movie cars in the lobby – cars you will recognize from historic lms like “Batman,”“e Dukes of Hazzard,”“Smokey and the Bandit” and many more! PLUS, we will exhibit classic and custom vehicles, motorcycles, sports cars, muscle cars, hot rods and trucks in the two arenas and on the mezzanine.With more than 50 sponsors and automotive- related vendor displays, demonstrations, concessions, live entertainment and a chance to attend our VIP Experience on Friday night, we know it will be a good time! Chrome & Ice™ 2022 will be open to the public on Friday, February 11 from 2pm-8pm, Saturday, February 12 9am-9pm, and on Sunday, February 13 from 11am-4pm. On Sunday at 3pm, commemorative clocks valued at $250 will be awarded to the Top 25 vehicles. Car Show General Admission tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for youth ages 12-17. Children under 12 are admitted free. Arena parking is $5 at the gates. VIP EXPERIENCE Brought back by popular demand is the VIP EXPERIENCE on Friday night from 6-8pm. Tickets are $40 each and will include car show general admission and live musical entertainment with the John Vance Band and Country Recording Artist, Josh Gracin. PLUS, your VIP Experience Ticket includes a complimentary adult beverage at any of several bars in the arena, gourmet hors d’oeuvres and dessert on the walkway above the Green Arena from 6-8pm, compliments of Dort Financial Credit Union. Proceeds from Chrome & Ice™ and the VIP Experience will support the Back to the Bricks® Youth Scholarship Fund.
ALL NEW THIS YEAR On Friday night, Dort Financial Credit Union will present the rst-ever Chrome & Ice™ Member Appreciation Concert.e John Vance Band will kick o the show before country music recording artist, Michigan native and former Marine, Josh Gracin takes the stage. VIP ticket-holders will have reserved concert seating. Friday event tickets are $25 for the car show and concert, or $15 for the concert only. Come out, see the movie and TV cars, and rock out to the chart-topping sounds of “Nothin’ to Lose,” “Stay with Me (Brass Bed)” and “We Weren’t Crazy.” Chrome & Ice™ is an excellent way to ESCAPE THE WINTER BLAHS at a fun, safe and family-friendly event! ®
St. Michael Catholic Church Closes its Doors
Genesee County’s oldest Catholic Church permanently closed in December 2020. It was the only Catholic parish in the city of Flint for 67 years. “It was such a signicant church,” said Father Tom Fire- stone. e church had struggled nancially for some time and the number of parish- ioners had dwindled. e building was turned over to Catholic Charities, who had hopes of making the necessary repairs. “We don’t want to lose it,” said Father Firestone. “It is still a Catholic church. My main concern is that the side chapel remains open. It’s been the light of the community. We are not going to leave this city.”
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A year after the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Greater Flint Area has been on the rebound. During that time, MCM found many interesting stories to share. Here is a look at some of last year’s most memorable. YEAR IN 2021 REVIEW My City Magazine COMPILED BY CHERYL DENNISON
Flint’s Future is Female: Building a Network of Support is group was co-founded by Rachel Johnson and Heidi McAra with the goal of connecting women with resources and support to help them succeed with their business and professional aspirations. e mission is to promote connectivity and
empowerment to female leaders, founders and entrepreneurs. “One of our goals is to encourage a new generation of females to get involved in their community and its organizations,” Johnson stated. “As Flint ’s rebirth continues, women leaders and entrepreneurs have a chance to make a big impact on the city’s future.”
Living the Dream
and won back-to-back World Under-18 Champi- onship gold medals before taking bronze at the World Junior Championships. His NHL career includ- ed four seasons with the New Jersey Devils before joining the newly-formed Vegas Golden Knights and playing in a Stanley Cup nal. In October 2020, his ultimate childhood dream came true when he signed with the Red Wings.
is article proles the long and exciting hockey career of former Grand Blanc resident, Jon Merrill. Chosen to be the ag-bearer for a Detroit Red Wings game at age 13, he played three years for the Univer- sity of Michigan (helping them to the 2011 national championship game while earning all-conference hon- ors), represented Team USA in international competition,
for the betterment of the city and its people. ose honored and proled included notables from the elds of government, education and medicine; the clergy, arts and culture; the legal community and law enforcement, rst responders and sports standouts.
Flint’s Prominent African American Leaders – Past & Present In recognition of Black History Month, MCM honored 21 of the many African American leaders and trailblaz- ers (past and present) who have worked
Genesee County’s First Female Eagle Scout
In October 2020, Brean- na Nicole Trecha of Fenton Township obtained the rank of Female Eagle Scout – the rst female in Genesee County and one of ten in the State of Michigan – follow- ing in the footsteps of her father and three brothers who were also Eagle Scouts. “It is an honor, but it takes a lot of time and determi- nation to accomplish it,” Trecha said. “It is achievable if you work hard for it.”
February cont. Motown Man
In November 2020, Flint Native Bob Campbell published his rst novel, Motown Man , a story of an interracial romance set in a faded, Midwestern industrial town. Campbell said, “Much of the setting is in an automotive components plant. I was able to explore gender role, family relationships, interracial communication and factory life. Humanity of the Black man is a signi cant theme.” Born and raised in Vehicle City, Campbell attended Southwestern High School, worked for GM for seven years and was a writer for various newspapers, including the Flint Journal , Lexington Her- ald-Leader and Detroit Free Press . Campbell is currently the senior communications manager for the Flint & Genesee Group.
UM-Flint Murchie Science Building Expansion Planning for the new 61,000-square-foot wing began in 2015, and opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in January.e project was aided by a $29.25 million capital outlay appropriation from the State of Michigan, and the Charles Stew- art Mott Foundation awarded an $11 million grant to help fund construction, upgrade the exist- ing building and support STEM studies campus-wide.e wing features robotics labs, design lab and fabrication workshops, inde- pendent and group research labs, reservable group-study rooms, student club hub and learning commons, to name a few.
A Lifetime of Service: Chief Christopher Miller Bishop Airport Police Chief, Christopher Miller, announced his retirement and was ready to relax and enjoy life after spending the last 20 years working tirelessly as the airport’s Chief of Public Safety. “I worked professionally non-stop for almost 39 years,” he said. Miller received a call from Mayor Sheldon Neeley who told him he was one of ve people who would receive the City of Flint Lifetime Achievement Award and a key to the city. “He told me that it was the highest award a citizen can be given and I am deeply honored to receive it,”Miller said.
Francis Gladiators. “at last drive was the best of the year for us,” said Coach Clint Galvas. “It iced the game.”e win was celebrated with a dance party in the lock- er room with Galvas a willing participant. When the team’s bus rolled back into New Lothrop, the players received a hero’s welcome.
A Family Tradition: State Champion New Lothrop Football
After a hard-fought game played at Ford Field to decide the 2021 Division 7 State Champion- ship, the New Lothrop Hornets bested perennial championship contender, the Traverse City St.
Home & Garden Special Section April is National Garden Month and MCM’s annual Home & Garden Special Section o ers tips for creating your dream garden, current decorating trends and more!
Building on Tradition: Flint United Basketball Basketball and Flint go hand-in-hand and its reputa- tion for the game is legendary. “Basketball is a sport syn- onymous with Flint and we want to continue the tradi- tion," said Kevin Mays, Team Market Owner of the Flint United Basketball franchise. Flint and sports have always
been a big part of Mays’ life. He was a standout athlete at Carman-Ainsworth, an athlete at Central Michigan University, spent time as the director of sales for the Flint Firebirds and worked with the National Champion Flint City Bucks. He loves the city and has always wanted to contribute to its growth. “A pro- fessional team in Flint just made perfect sense,” Mays added.
her mother Debra is also involved in the organization. Well of Hope’s largest undertaking is “Blessed To Be A Blessing,” a free anksgiving Dinner open to all Flint residents. “I had a literal dream,”Chia Morgan shares. “In 2009, I dreamed about a anksgiving dinner with all of the xings that we served to the com- munity. I woke up and told a friend about it, that I was going to make my dream happen.”And, she did!
Well of Hope: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty
is Flint nonpro t was found- ed in February 2005 and incor- porated in 2006. Since then, the organization has oered programs that help break down barriers to education for children and unify families.e group is run by the Morgan family: Chia Morgan is Program Coordinator and Treasurer; her father Will is the president and
Country Artist, Miko Marks At age ve, Marks was a regular on stage at Flint’s Church of God in Christ, belting out beloved gospel songs. “I would close my eyes when singing in church because I would look out and see people crying,” she says. “I didn’t quite understand it at the time, but later realized they were only happy tears and that God was using my voice to reach them.” Marks’ passion for using her singing talent to entertain, touch hearts and soothe souls was born. She spent the next 25 years honing her gift. In March 2021, she released Our Coun- try , her rst album in 14 years.
Rebecca’s Reason Founded in 2016 by Sarah Curtis, the mission of this nonpro t organization is to provide nancial assistance to families who have lost a child or their child has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness.e organization was named to honor the brief life of Curtis’ daughter, Re- becca Anne. Her baby was born with Edward’s Syndrome and died in her mother’s arms 12 hours after her birth. To deal with the grief, Curtis began search- ing for a way to give meaning to Rebecca’s life. “I decided I could raise money to help other bereaved parents pay their medical bills,” she said. “If I could oer that tiny light in their darkness, Rebec- ca’s life had reason.”
Davison Cardinals Are StateWrestling Champs It was a year unlike any other! A 2021 win over Detroit Catholic Central in the state nals gave Davison their ninth MHSAA State Wrestling title and their rst in 15 years. As an added bo- nus, Davison was able to end rival Detroit Catholic Central’s streak of four consecutive titles. “It was a little poetic justice,” says Coach Zac Hall. “We set that second-place trophy right in front of the training room door so the kids couldn’t miss it. It helped heat up the rivalry.” Davison nished with ve state champions and a record-breaking 14 wrestlers selected as all-state athletes. “It was the most impres- sive accomplishment I’ve seen in my wrestling history,” says Hall.
“It was the most impressive accomplishment I’ve seen in my wrestling history.”
2021 City’s Choice Awards After votes poured in from everywhere – over 18,000 of them – Greater Flint chose their favor- ites in nearly 200 categories! e layout featured art created by Flint Public Art Project artists.
e education, re-entry and rehabilitation ini- tiative was designed to eliminate generational incarceration through education by restor- ing value, hope and purpose to the inmate population. “We don’t call it a program,” says Capt. Jason Gould, Jail Administrator. “It is a cultural change, a way of thinking.”
Breaking the Cycle of Generational Incarceration ings have changed at the Gene- see County Jail since I.G.N.I.T.E. (Inmate Growth Naturally and Intentionally rough Education) launched in September 2020, the vision of Genesee County Sheri, Chris- topher R. Swanson.
coach in 2020. Shortly after that, however, the COVID pandemic put defense of the Bucks’ cham- pionship on hold. ey did play six exhibition matches last fall in an empty Atwood Stadium, win- ning all of them by a dominating 26-2 margin. e team has never experienced a losing season.
Accustomed toWinning: Flint City Bucks Head Coach, AndyWagstaff After experiencing a pletho- ra of success as a head coach at the college, club and high school levels and as assistant in the semi- pro and pro ranks, Andy Wagsta became the Flint City Bucks head
Flint Northern High School: Home of the State Champions
As soon as classes began in 1928, Flint Northern High School was a powerhouse in both academics and sports, winning its rst two state championships just two years later in football (behind bruising fullback, James McCrary) and in tennis. Soon thereaf- ter, the mascot was changed to the Vikings and the rst of many basketball championships was won under legendary Coach, Jim Barclay. MCM Assistant Editor Peter Hinterman shares the his- tory of the school and some of its academic and sports highlights.
A project of the Flint River Watershed Coalition (FRWC), this nonpro t group was created to protect, promote and improve the Flint River and its watershed. Since September 2018, the approximately 3.25-mile public paddle trip has launched behind Tenacity Brewing and ends at Mitson Riverview Landing.e project oers nature enthusiasts an opportunity to view the city from a dierent per- spective while enjoying a peaceful trip down the Flint River, according to Sarah Scheitler who co-manages the project with Jaime Welch. “It is a beautiful resource that not enough people know about,” says Scheitler.
More Marvelous Murals! In 2019, Flint Pub- lic Art Project (FPAP) started phase one of their plan to paint 100 new murals in Greater Flint by the end of summer 2020.e project was successful beyond imagination, exceeding the goal and bringing Flint positive news coverage and notoriety. At this printing, more than 150 murals had been completed throughout the Flint area. FPAP also partnered with Kady Yellow and the What’s Up Downtown Project to oer mural tours, and with the Flint Repertory e- atre to present “Flint Mural Plays” written by some of the coun- try’s best playwrights.
The GREAT Reset: Flint Fury Football
“We are going to surprise people with what we do this season and put the Fury back on the map,’’ said Charles Lawler, Owner/Head Coach. Lawler labeled the 2021 season “e Great Reset,” changing the team’s colors from navy, silver and white to red, black and white. And, the Fury’s promising start for the season made all of Lawler’s eorts feel worthwhile.e team, 4-4 in 2020, took a 2-1 record into their June 19 game against Tri-City Stampede. “e season has been great so far because we’ve improved with every game, which is a really good sign,”Lawler said.
“We are going to surprise people with what we do this season and put the Fury back on the map.”
Frame 42: The New Generation of Rock Rock is not dead! When Frame 42 took the stage in June 2021 for their EP release party at Diesel Lounge in Detroit, the capacity crowd wasn’t ready for the assault. Boasting dual female lead vocalists, perfect guitar harmonies and foundational bass and drum play, the band pos- sesses the sound, talent and energetic fervor of all the greatest bands of the 70s, but packages it into some- thing uniquely their own.
School’s Back! What’s New for Flint Students
Downtown is Happening!
cultural events and an abundance of eateries! Attendees of these world-class events had plenty of other things to enjoy Down- town – unique shops to browse, a happening new hotel, inspiring mural art and much more!
For an overview of the 2021-22 academic year, MCM reached out to our local colleges: Kettering University is now positioning it- self and its students to be key players in the fast-paced world of mo- bility for its next century. Mott Community College is ready to help students prepare for a changing world with a supportive learning environment and degree and certicate programs. And, Michigan State University Extension’s Family Enrichment Series (FES) was created with the goal of helping families live happier lives.
e month of August brought many exciting festivals and thou- sands of visitors to Downtown Flint including the Crim Festival of Races, Back to the Bricks, live shows at the Capitol eatre,
“Flint shaped all I know. I’ve lived in other cities and you can’t run away from it – it’s in you, not on you.”
Rylie Dewley Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen She’s a standout! In June 2021, the Grand Blanc teen was selected Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen. e creator of Start Heart Smart (spreading awareness of heart disease) and a talented baton twirler, Rylie has dreamed of being crowned Miss America since she was a little girl. And she is well on her way to making that dream a reality. Competing since the age of ten, she has won pageants including Miss Sunset Coast Outstand- ing Teen, Miss Lake Erie Outstanding Teen and Miss Washtenaw County Outstanding Teen.
The Art and Philosophy of James Thigpen, Jr.
universal perspective. And each work holds a little bit of himself and his home city. “Every piece is a collage constructed from multiple images and each one reects a little of home,” he says. “Flint shaped all I know. I’ve lived in other cities and you can’t run away from it – it’s in you, not on you.”
Using a multitude of photographs, igpen designs each piece of art exactly how he sees it inside himself. His unique style, evolved throughout the course of his life, portrays the African-American experience from a
We Remember: 20th Anniversary of 9/11 In this special section, “We Re- member,”MCM shared the story of Eric Bennett, the only person from the Flint area to perish in the 9/11 attacks. Also featured were personal accounts of the experience working to rescue and recover victims at Ground Zero from former reght- ers, Joe Ludwig and Steve omson. Advertisers sponsored highlights of area re and law enforcement personnel to honor the brave rst responders who answer the call every day. Community members shared their memories about a day we won’t – and cannot – forget.
7 Questions with … Kiara May
Soon after she was appointed Flint Downtown Authority Executive Director, MCM shared a quick Q&A about her background and her goals for the DDA.
Semaj Brown, Flint’s Poet Laureate
MCM talked with Flint’s rst poet laureate, named in September 2019 by then-mayor Karen Weaver. Brown is a poet, educator, playwright, author, performer and thought leader who received the 2021 Academy of American Poets Poet Laureate Fel- lowship Award, which was given to 23 poet laureates across the country. e recipients received $50,000 to help them grow public poetry programs in their communities. “It is really an honor,” Brown says of the award. e monetary gift will be used to continue her civic focus, the Poetry Pod.
the building features a large concert hall, mul- tiple study/general areas, an expanded child care facility, a food pantry and Ellen’s Closet where stu- dents can get free career clothing for interviews. e LCFLC provides assistance with child care, housing and transporta- tion and emergency - nancial assistance, among many other services.
MCC Opens Lenore Croudy Family Life Center Located in the newly renovated and revital- ized former Woodside Church building directly adjacent to the Mott Community College campus, the LCFLC provides a variety of student services needed to improve success. After an $8 million renovation,
“Half Dead Fred” A Flint Horror Story Flint has its dark legends, tales of haunted buildings and scary stories; but never has the horror come to life on the big screen – until now! Filmed in Flint, the new movie “Half-Dead Fred” promises chills, mystery and a new image for the city as a place separate from unattering media attention. “Flint is tired of being portrayed negatively and deserves to be regarded as a positive place,” said writer/director Broneron. “We are lming a horror movie, but we will show the murals, businesses and locations in a positive light.” Production wrapped at the end of Sep- tember anderon hoped for an early 2022 release.
FSOArtist Spotlight: Principal Harpist Amy Ley MCM shined the spotlight on Amy Ley, Principal Harpist for the Flint Symphony Orchestra and Windsor Symphony Orchestra. e talented musician has held the principal harp position in the Lansing Symphony, Ann Arbor Symphony, and Saginaw Bay
Orchestras. Ley has performed with the Grand Rapids Sym- phony, National Ballet Orchestra in Toronto, Kitchner-Waterloo Symphony, Orchestra London, Toledo Symphony, and Charleston Symphony. She also performs as a part of the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival in Washington and the Lancaster Music Festival, OH.
Leveling Up! The Rise of eSports In 2014, eSports (competitive video gaming) went collegiate when Robert Morris University - Illinois organized the rst varsity team. Today, colleges across the nation have elded varsity teams, with Michigan being one of the states leading the way. is article highlighted Genesee County’s three very competitive programs: Kettering University, Mott Community College and UM-Flint.
7 Questions with … Kara Ross
e President/CEO of Food Bank of Eastern Mich- igan graciously answered “7 Questions” for this up-close and personal feature. When asked what she enjoyed most about her career, Ross said, “I enjoy the focus on community and mission. e FBEM partners with an incredible network of organizations, volunteers, our team and caring community members. It’s rewarding to see how people working together can make an incredible dier- ence in the lives of so many.”
Flint City Handball As Shane Prouix watched the 2008 Summer Olympics, the Grand Blanc man became enthralled with the dizzying, frantic pace of team handball. He was fascinated by the way it incorporated elements of several sports he had thrown himself into at various times in his life – like basketball, soccer, hockey and rugby. He wanted to nd a way to play it. So, in fall 2020, Proulx and wife Mylisha founded Flint City Handball Club and barely a year later, it became an o cial USA Team Handball club. “We’ve found a pas- sionate group of players who do everything they can to promote the club. It ’s been pretty remarkable,” said Proulx.
Vista Visions Art Gallery
disabled, homeless or mentally ill adults, the Vista Center in Flint is a source of community and compassion. “We provide a place where they can come to get out of the house and escape loneliness and isolation,” explains Director Pat Beal,” and we will continue to add programs that bolster their quality of life whether through art, dance or other creative outlets.”
Started in 1985 under the City of Flint ’s Aging and Handicapped O ce and in collaboration with the national AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to Ameri- ca) Program, the Vista Center has helped thousands of people over the years gain a sense of freedom, respect and help in their everyday lives. For many developmentally
2021 Cityzen of the Year: Karen Church, CEO of ELGA Credit Union
with MCM about her love for her community, her years with the credit union, her service in the City of Flint and plans for the future. “I’m a little bit sad,” she admits. “ELGA Credit Union has been my life for 45 years.” Com- munity service has always been very important to her. “I love seeing what can be accomplished when people work together, giving of their hearts and their time,” Church said.
is is the third year My City has recognized a citizen who is an advo- cate for the Greater Flint community and dedicated to making it a better place through volunteerism and service. And 2021 was a very special year for our deserving honoree, as Church will retire in Feb- ruary after 45 years with ELGA. Church talked
“I love seeing what can be accomplished when people work together, giving of their hearts and their time.”
The Disability Network Founded over three decades ago, TDN has been advocating for the disabled com- munity in Greater Flint and around the country. e organization was started by Mike Zelley, father of TDN CEO Luke Zelley, after he attended a meeting of the Genesee County Handicapped Alliance in 1992. Of the 60 people in the room, only two (including himself ) identied as disabled. He thought that the disabled community should have more robust representation in the county. Since that time, TDN helps an average of 10,000 people each year through local program- ming and another 100,000 throughout the nation via government policy changes for which they fought and advocated.
Desert Angels, Inc.
is volunteer faith min- istry was founded by Louise Downs Blain, of Linden, and has been sending a “Miracle Box” to military service person- nel for the last 20 years. Blain said she attended the funeral for a young Michigan soldier named PFC Joseph ( Joe) A. Miracle, who gave his life for his country on July 5, 2007. “On my way home from the funeral, God put it on my heart to name our boxes ‘Miracle Boxes’ after Joe,” she said. Among the many snacks, treats and personal care items, each box contains a photo of Joe, a bit of informa- tion about his life and service, a note of encouraging words, a prayer cloth and a U.S. ag. ®
Valley Area Agency on Aging ALL THINGS SENIOR
T he Valley Area Agency on Aging (VAAA) is the go-to resource for any and all things senior-related. Incorporated in 1976 to serve the senior population of Genesee, Shiawassee and Lapeer counties, the VAAA has been the area leader in senior information and programming for nearly 50 years. With a mission to provide answers, action and advocacy on care for the elderly and disabled adults in an eort to sustain their independence and provide support to caregivers, the VAAA helps approximately 10,000 people per year through numerous programs and services. “One of our main goals is to keep seniors in their homes and keep them independent for as long as possible,” says President and CEO, Yaushica Aubert. e VAAA provides services for individuals 60 years old and older, disabled individuals 18 years or older, and their immediate caregivers. “We help anyone with any questions concerning seniors and the disabled, be it legal help, senior center locations, vaccinations,Medicare naviga- tion, transportation, bill-paying or anything else,” informs Aubert. If you are a caregiver who may be feeling “burned out” and need help or relief, the VAAA awaits your call. “We can provide options for caregivers to get the help they need. Give us a call – we are all things senior,” adds Aubert, “and the majority of our services are free of charge.” VAAA provides assistance with a range of services including assisted living placement, care management, home-delivered meals, legal services, home-to-home transitions, home adaptation and modication, med- ical equipment training and utilization, personal care (grooming, dressing, housekeeping, etc.), transportation and support groups. e organization provides education in the areas of elder abuse prevention, caregiver training, cooking, art therapy, nutrition and exercise. If you are feeling lonely, the VAAA provides social opportunities such as the CHAAT (Chatting Helps Aging Adults
rive) program, RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program), health and exercise programs, and special events. “When someone calls the VAAA, we will ask a lot of questions in order to get all of the information we need to make sure we get you into the correct program or service,” says Aubert. “Next, we may send a nurse or social worker to your home to determine your exact needs and qualica- tions. Your coordinator will then arrange your service and continue to make sure your needs are met.” e VAAA will always be there for anyone who needs assistance. If you have questions of any sort concerning yourself or a senior family member, call VAAA and someone will be happy to assist you. For more infor- mation or an in-depth description of what VAAA can oer you or your family, visit valleyareaaging.org. VAAA is federally funded but in need of monetary donations (100% of donations goes directly to programs) to help alleviate waiting lists, and needs volunteers to support their programming. If you are interested in volunteering, please call 810.239.7671 and talk to a representative. To donate, visit valleyareaaging.org and click on the “Donate Now” button. ® The staff at Valley Area Agency on Aging are the experts in senior independence and advocacy. Call 810.239.7671 for all things senior.
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