Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Flint Photos: AMC Pacer


On the (Gravel) Road Again

The gravel road makes a comeback in Michigan for all the wrong reasons:
"More than 20 of the 83 counties in Michigan, home to the nation’s highest unemployment rate for much of the past four years, have turned rural roads back to gravel with no immediate plans to repave, according to the County Road Association of Michigan. About 50 miles have been reverted in the last three years," reports Tim Martin of the Chicago Tribune. "About a quarter of the state’s county road agencies largely left out of the federal stimulus package, which focuses on highways and other major thoroughfares, say they can’t afford some costly repaving projects and have crushed up deteriorating roads."


Flint Photos: The Doors of the Vehicle City











John Daniels Memorial Golf Scramble

The 1st Annual John Daniels Memorial Golf Scramble

Date: Saturday, August 1, 2009
Time: 10:00am Shotgun Start
Where: Flushing Valley Country Club
Cost: $100/person entry fee due by July 10, 2009
Fee includes 18 holes of golf, cart, dinner, door prizes and some drink tickets. Four member teams, men and women, 18 and older (must be 21 for alcohol). Single players welcome! We’ll match you with someone responsible…trust us! Proceeds going to the educational fund for John’s children, Logan and Emma

SPONSORS NEEDED!
$100 for hole sponsorship with a sign. Other sponsorship opportunities also available.

UNABLE TO ATTEND THE GOLF OUTING?
Please consider a donation to benefit the educational fund for John’s children. Make checks payable to “The John Daniels Memorial Fund."

For More Information Contact:

Tom Bade (810)691-7271 John Compton (404)307-4107
Dave Morgan (248)943-1088 Brian Morley (517)281-2903
John Potbury (810)730-4446 Coach Bill Tucker (810)249-7199

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Higher Learning

A Flint write-in candidate for mayor gives new meaning to Central High School.

Goodbye, Central High: Class of 1963 and 1964

video

One in a series of videos shot at the Flint Central High School farewell gathering on June 12, 2009.

video

Haskell Community Center, R.I.P.

Even the trees seem to have checked out.

The old baseball field on the north side of Haskell is apparently reverting to wetlands.

Pool to the right, gym to the left.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dupont Street Bus


I was headed to my old street — Bassett Place — when I passed the stop at Dupont and Hamilton where I used to wait for the bus to take me to St. Mike's in 1st and 2nd grade. I moved to the other side of the street to take the bus the other direction in high school. All the traffic lights were out the day I took this photo, which made for some exciting driving adventures down memory lane.

Goodbye, Central High: Class of 2006 and 2007

video

One in a series of videos shot at the Flint Central High School farewell gathering on June 12, 2009.

Exclusive Copa Photo for Everyone Still Trapped in the Eighties

I was walking down Saginaw Street and noticed that there was a mail slot in the boarded up front door of the old Copa/Hot Rock/Metropolis. For once, the blinding flash on my camera came in handy.

The Past Meets the Future

There has to be some deeper meaning in this shot. An MTA bus idles outside the Durant-Dort Carriage Company — the birthplace of General Motors.


A justifiably wary bus driver unused to tourists.

Flint Without Us

The site of the old Double D Market on Dayton Street in Civic Park reverts to forest.


I picked up a copy of The World Without Us by Alan Weisman a few months back. It was surprisingly boring. Yet I found myself thinking about it a lot in Flint. I don't want to overstate this because Flint is definitely alive and kicking, but the city's dwindling population, industrial tax base and housing stock have led to numerous "renaturalized" areas, to use the term being floated by public officials these days.

Here's The New Yorker's brief take on the book:
"Teasing out the consequences of a simple thought experiment—what would happen if the human species were suddenly extinguished—Weisman has written a sort of pop-science ghost story, in which the whole earth is the haunted house. Among the highlights: with pumps not working, the New York City subways would fill with water within days, while weeds and then trees would retake the buckled streets and wild predators would ravage the domesticated dogs. Texas’s unattended petrochemical complexes might ignite, scattering hydrogen cyanide to the winds—a “mini chemical nuclear winter.” After thousands of years, the Chunnel, rubber tires, and more than a billion tons of plastic might remain, but eventually a polymer-eating microbe could evolve, and, with the spectacular return of fish and bird populations, the earth might revert to Eden. "

The grasses thrive and the houses suffer on Paterson Street.


The shrubbery makes a hostile takeover of the abandoned Genesee Bank drive-thru on Welch Blvd.


The backyard ghetto palm forest of an abandoned house in Carriage Town, courtesy of an out-of-state homeowner.


A fence tries unsuccesfully to stop the tide of vegetation near downtown.


The beautiful savannas near Atwood Stadium.


The path back to nature off Grand Traverse, just across the river from downtown.


Protection from grass fires.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fireworks on the Fourth

UPDATE: Oops, now the fireworks are off again:

Matt Bach writes:

"Looks like the fireworks have been canceled again. Both the Flint Journal and TV 12 are reporting that. I appreciate you putting the word out on your blog about them being scheduled, but you might want to inform your readers it's off."

Original Post:

First it appears Flint's annual Fourth of July fireworks display is cancelled, and now it appears it's not.

Matt Bach, the public relations manager for the Flint Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, writes:
"I wanted to let everyone know that the Flint DDA and some corporate sponsors agreed this morning to help fund a fireworks show in downtown Flint on Friday, July 3. It's tentatively being planned for 7-11 p.m. at Atwood Stadium. You may have seen that the local and national media was reporting last night and this morning that the fireworks were cancelled. But, like many of us had hoped, once the word got out they were in jeopardy some people stepped up to the plate.

"Sponsors of the fireworks include the Flint DDA, Citizens Bank, Health Plus, attorney Loyst Fletcher Jr., Shape the Future Things to Come, Shedd, Frasier and Grossman attorneys in Flushing and the Downtown Flint Small Business Association."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tiger Stadium: A Long Fly to Center

A Sunday in Detroit and a few shots of what's left of Tiger Stadium and the surrounding neighborhood. The centerfield flagpole (above) is still standing, but one local resident (below) is not.







Friday, June 19, 2009

Flint Fireworks


My last night in Flint, and I get thunder, lightning and fireworks at the same time. As the street signs indicate, I took these on the corner of Grand Traverse and Water, just yards from the river and the birthplace of G.M., looking toward Atwood Stadium.
(Click to Enlarge)







Thanks to Stephen Rodrick for the copy editing.

Ode to the Ghetto Palm (Ailanthus Altissima)


I mentioned the ghetto palm in my story on house hunting in Flint, and it seems some readers are not familiar with the charms of this invasive species, also known as the Tree-of-Heaven. I'll let the Plant Conservation Alliance, which describes the tree on its "Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted" list, sing its praises:
"Tree-of-heaven is a prolific seed producer, grows rapidly, and can overrun native vegetation. Once established, it can quickly take over a site and form an impenetrable thicket. Ailanthus trees also produces toxins that prevent the establishment of other plant species. The root system is aggressive enough to cause damage to sewers and foundations."
It also has a nice stank about it and is very difficult to eradicate.

"You have to cut them down and keep cutting them down for three years to get rid of them," exclaimed Tim Monahan, the president of the Carriage Town Historic Neighborhood Association, over coffee yesterday. Needless to say, he's not a big fan.

But I can't be too hard on the much-maligned trees. After all, I've got a ghetto palm forest in my temporary backyard. I'm trying to blend in and not provoke these aggressive predators, especially after learning
"each leaflet has one to several glandular teeth near the base."



Sisters of St. Mary's

Sister Agnes, Sister Ann Catherine, Sister Ellen and their vicious guard dog


St. Mary's alumni please be on your best behavior for this post. Yesterday I had a chance to visit the sisters who ran St. Mary's School for many years. They are now living at their family home in Mt. Morris and doing well. They're still teaching at a small school on their property. Sister Ann Catherine recently retired after 68 years of teaching.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Durant at Dusk

The Durant Hotel renovation in full swing.



The Road Home

A Flint expatriate tries to get repatriated at slate.com.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Did Anyone Ask Your Opinion?

"All right, folks, I have thought about it, I've given this considerable thought. I've given this more thought in the last ten minutes than most people think about anything in their life. And I am ready to change my mind on bulldozing Flint. I say go for it. Let's just bulldoze it."
— Rush Limbaugh

G.M. Sells Saab

David Jolly of The New York Times reports:
"General Motors announced Tuesday that it had agreed to sell its Swedish unit, Saab Automobile, to a consortium led by the sports car maker, Koenigsegg Automotive.

"The companies said a deal was contingent on $600 million of financing from the European Investment Bank that is to be guaranteed by the Swedish government. They did not release further financial details of the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter."

Goodbye, Central High: Climbing the Tower



My mom, Pat McFarlane Young, graduated from Central in 1948, so I went to the farewell gathering as her unofficial envoy. She loved Central and has many stories about the friends she made there. She often talks about how fun it was to use the spiral staircase in the tower to deliver items to various rooms for teachers. One enterprising Central graduate managed to find an open door at the base of the tower during the event, and a band of hearty adventurers started the long climb to the top. It was pitch black inside and the walls were crumbling, but we were a determined crew using cellphones and camera flashes to find the way. Things were even dicier when people descending passed those ascending on the narrow stairs. The view from the top was worth the effort.