MCM is ringing in the New Year with some fresh and exciting stories for our readers! Let’s take a few minutes and look back at some of our reader-favorites from 2018.
The votes were tallied and the winners chosen in MCM’s first Greater Flint’s Best Dressed campaign! The diverse group of stylish individuals were dapper, classic, funky, professional and fun! Maudie Coley and Anthony Strozier topped the list of 12 winners. Also chosen were: Daniel Buccilli, Kathleen Gazall, Dale K. Weighill, Kristine Janke Stefanko, Jim Baade, Patrick Hayes, Morgan Jakeway, Dr. Kent D. Key, Kristina Lakey, Karianne Martus, Jordan Paul and Dr. Bradley Ropp.
After a slow and meticulous restoration to its former glory, the Capitol Theatre, a 90-year-old Flint landmark, opened its doors to the public. According to Jarrett Hayes, Executive Director of The Whiting, the theater complex was to be much more than a performance venue. “This is not just a restoration project of a theatre, it’s a restoration project of a building that evidences an ecosystem – retail on the ground floor, public space on the second floor, and a 1,600-seat public assembly gathering place for the benefit and use of the entire community.”
Julie Lopez knows, firsthand, what it is like to lose a loved one to violent crime. Her father-in-law, Pablo Lopez, was murdered in his home on Flint’s east side in 2011. As the spokesperson for the Lopez family, she reached out to Crime Stoppers for help, and became passionate about the organization and its cause. She is now Program Director for Crime Stoppers Flint & Genesee County, which she helped launch locally and finds to be a very rewarding career. “My best days are when I feel like I have helped a family member of someone who was lost to violence, and can provide some hope that their case will be solved.”
Since it opened in the spring of 1984, the Buckham Fine Arts Project has been the place where many local artists, writers and musicians have experienced, and been part of Downtown Flint’s culture of creativity. MCM took a look back at the history, the founders, the first show, and the significance of having a gallery run by artists.
Flint Native Lakisha Jones shared the story of her dream of pursuing music, which became a reality when she competed in the sixth season of American Idol. Judge Simon Cowell said “he loved this girl” after her powerful performance of Think, by Aretha Franklin. Jones ended up in fourth place overall. She talked about her journey, her career, what lies ahead and what Flint means to her. “I believe that the City of Flint produces great talent, great people and strong people,” said Jones. “We are all individuals who can accomplish great things!”
How can you love someone who doesn’t remember who you are? Steve and Camre Curto of Linden shared their powerful love story about how they stayed together after Camre suffered a memory loss during the birth of their child. “She said she didn’t know who I was, but she knew she loved me,” Steve said. “That was good enough for me to stick by her side and be the best husband and father I could be.”
Recently retired, Judge Fullerton was on the bench in the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court of Genesee County since January 1, 1983. At the time, she was the only woman on the bench in the County, and paved the way for other female judges to follow. During her tenure as a Circuit Judge, she witnessed many changes. Her advice to other women judges who followed in her footsteps: “Do your job, pay attention and do your very best.” Fullerton said she faced lots of scrutiny. “I had to show them I could do the job by working hard.” Fullerton’s judgeship ended in 2018 due to age limitations imposed by Michigan State law.
After a 25-year career with ABC 12 News, Reporter Randy Conat, retired in 2018. His colleagues remembered him as a “respected professional and a really nice guy.” One career highlight for Conat was in 1994, when the bell of the legendary shipwrecked freighter, Edmund Fitzgerald, was recovered in Lake Superior. “I was on the recovery ship, 17 miles off the shore of Lake Superior,” he recalled. “I was one of the first people to touch the bell.” He said what he would miss most is the people he worked with through the years. “It was a different assignment every day and never boring. It was fast paced – something was always going on.”
Kearsley High School earned a well-deserved reputation for being one of the state’s most fiercely competitive girls’ bowling programs. As of mid-February, no team in the state in any division had posted a higher team score in a match than the Hornets’ 1,141. “We’ve all improved so much over last year, because we do a lot of practices outside of our team stuff and in the offseason,” said Freshman, Imari Blond. “Last year, we were good – but this year, we are crazy good.”
As spring had sprung, MCM offered some timely features about getting your home and garden ready for the warm weather. Readers learned about the fundamentals of composting, décor trends and home insurance tips for spring. Edible Flint offered some advice for those gardening in Flint. The late pop star, Prince, would be proud as Ultra Violet was chosen as the Pantone Color of the Year.
Owned by Heath Hoffman, the award-winning Downtown eatery focuses on the essentials: good sandwiches, hearty and delicious soups, salads, a few sides, coffee and smoothies. Everything is made with fresh, quality ingredients, served farm-to-table as much as possible. The local favorite celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2018. “If you give back and show you are interested in the community, they give back to you,” said Hoffman.
The moment Joey Spencer had envisioned since he was in kindergarten was drawing near. Following an accomplished amateur boxing career, the 17-year-old Linden native was ready for his professional debut. In Las Vegas, Spencer faced Mexican fighter, Uriel Gonzalez, in a junior middleweight (154lb limit) bout on the undercard of the Danny Garcia-Brandon Rios World Welterweight title showdown. In a little more than five minutes, Spencer’s first pro fight had ended by TKO. Sports Writer, Mark Spezia, shared the story of Spencer’s journey to pro-boxer. “All the love, especially from my hometown, means so much to me,” Spencer said.
Following in the footsteps of her father, Edward Bell, the Honorable Celeste Bell was appointed to the bench of the Genesee County 7th Circuit Court by Gov. Rick Snyder to replace retiring Judge Archie Hayman. She was the first African American woman to sit on the Genesee County Circuit Court. “I bring a lot to the bench – a lot more than being African American and female,” she said. “I did not know I would love being a judge as much as I do. I have been given an opportunity to excel. It’s long hours, hard work, and I absolutely love it.”
A group of Flint School of Performing Arts students returned from a trip to Paris and London! My City Magazine caught up with a few of the students who shared their experience. In addition to sightseeing, shopping and experiencing Paris, the students performed two children’s concerts and an evening concert at the Puteaux Conservatory. FSPA Director Davin Torre said, “A highlight of the concert was the encore, with the two orchestras performing together – Bruno Mars ‘Uptown Funk’ – and ended the night with a huge dance party!”
May is National Barbecue Month and MCM highlighted the finger-licking good fare at some Greater Flint BBQ restaurants, including: Beale Street Smokehouse BBQ (Fenton), Charlie’s Smokin’ BBQ (Flint Farmers’ Market), Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Cue (Flint Township), Homeboy BBQ (Flushing), Smokin’ J’s Bar-B-Que (Goodrich) and Table & Tap, Downtown Flint.
After nearly 15,000 votes poured in from everywhere, the 2018 MCM City’s Choice Award winners were chosen! The results were published for the nearly 200 categories in Food & Drink, Shopping, People, Services, Leisure, Media, and Misc., etc. My City thanked the voters and offered congratulations to the winners!
MCM shared the story of the success of the Powers Catholic High School Girls’ Soccer Team. A video caught the triumph when the team won its second state championship in 2017 and captured the camaraderie, skills, team chemistry and resiliency that made the program one of the state’s finest. The team lived up to its motto: Strong Alone, Unstoppable Together. “We have fun together, share plenty of laughs, but there is no fooling around when it comes to preparing for games,” said Coach Art Moody.
Talisha Nicole Gilbert, who was crowned Ms. Black Michigan USA in November 2017, talked about her upcoming trip to Washington D.C. in July to represent her state in a national pageant, Ms. Black USA. Born and raised in Flint, Gilbert graduated from Carman-Ainsworth High School and attended Baker College. “I’m a Flint girl all the way – through and through.” she said.
This special section provided an array of stories about caring for your pet. Biscuit aka “Biskie” was the winner of the MCM Spectacular Pet Search. Other stories included advice on fleas and ticks, boarding and feeding your four-legged friends. Valerie Franklin shared her story about her “best friend forever,” service dog Ryver, a Golden Retriever.
The state’s largest county park celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018. “It’s a whole year celebration!” exclaimed Danielle Fulcher, Communications, Event and Brand Manager at GCPR. “It is also 50 years of celebrating the best of nature, 50 years of preserving the Great Lakes history and heritage, 50 years of offering a tremendous recreational infrastructure to the people of Genesee County and beyond.” GCPR also celebrated 50 years of support from the people of Genesee County.
You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream on a hot, summer day in July. MCM checked out the frozen treats at some local scoop shops: Banana Boat and Over the Moon in Flint, Cops & Robbers and Roaring 20’s in Flushing, Feather N’ Fin in Swartz Creek, Corner Cone and Ice Cream Junction in Davison, Uncle Ray’s Dairyland in Fenton, and Ziggy’s in Grand Blanc.
There was plenty to do in July and August in the Greater Flint area! This list of entertainment and fun things to do under the summer sun included: Back to the Bricks, Flint Handmade Street Fair, Summer Concert Series, The Crim Festival of Races, Flint River Flotilla and much, much more!
Ground was broken for the Flint Cultural Center Academy, a new, public, nonprofit charter school on the Cultural Center grounds. The Academy is expected to open for the 2019/20 school year and will serve approximately 650 students. Cultural Center leaders shared their excitement about what the new school will offer. Rodney Lontine, President/CEO, Flint Institute of Music said he sees the academy as a touchstone for experiential arts learning. “I also see it serving as a gateway for many students and their families – creating a connection and a sense of community with the Cultural Center institutions that they might not otherwise have had.”
The variety of shopping opportunities in Downtown Flint just might surprise you! MCM shared a look at the many unique businesses you can find during a stroll on the bricks. Some of the shopping opportunities listed included: Article One Eyewear, Brush Alley Skateshop, Chrysa Studio, GoodBoy Clothing, The Mad Hatter, and Paul’s Pipe Shop and Pipe Hospital, to name a few.
The Lake Fenton Sail Club, located on the shores of Lake Fenton, is a nonprofit organization with a mission of promoting sailing and family fun. LFSC enjoys being a part of the community and they encourage people to come and watch the races. One longtime Lake Fenton resident, MCM Publisher, Vince Lorraine, looks forward to watching the sailors on Sunday mornings. “Our home is on the north shore, and we can watch the races from our deck. I have dozens of photos – it’s so peaceful and beautiful.”
Shon Hart knew he didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of his own father – uninvolved, inattentive, unemotional, disengaged. So, he became to his own three children everything his father was not for him: attentive, involved, emotional and engaged. In 2015, he founded a non-profit organization called InvolvedDad. “This work is my passion,” said Hart. His message is being heard and others are helping him elevate his mission.
MCM explored the robust Greater Flint Coffee & Beer Scene and discovered the local artisanal beverage culture is going strong! Whether you prefer an intriguing IPA or a luxurious latte, MCM gathered a list of craft coffee and beer businesses to give you a taste.
For Flint native and Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, Bishop Gregory John Mansour, the measurement of success isn’t about fame or fortune – it’s about living his faith and loving Jesus. Mansour shared his long spiritual journey, which included meeting the Pope, and about how, at one time, he questioned his faith. “My biggest achievement is living a happy, Christian life and following Jesus,” said the Bishop. “What makes me the happiest is to be of help to my family, friends and the people I serve, and to live my faith life to the fullest.”
MCM Publisher Vince Lorraine and Assistant Editor/Writer, Peter Hinterman crossed one activity off their Bucket Lists when they went skydiving at Capital City Skydiving in Fowlerville, and it was an experience of a lifetime! “When we got to 10,000 feet, Angelo pushed the side door of the plane open. Immediately, wind and noise rushed in and buffeted us,” Hinterman shared. “As per our training, Vince maneuvered his feet out the door “Go, Vince! Go!” I yelled. It was at that moment (and only that moment, really) that I felt any sort of doubt. Patrick and I moved into position at the open door. I put my legs out, leaned back, gripped my harness as instructed, and Patrick pushed us out. “It was amazing!”
Producing Artistic Director Michael Lluberes spoke with MCM about the Flint Youth Theatre and the new Flint Repertory Theatre – a professional, not-for-profit regional theatre. “We are basically taking what we have done for 60 years, opening it up and expanding it,” Lluberes said. “The Rep will grow from its current youth members to encompass all ages in training and entertainment. Our new mission is to provide the community with highly imaginative, thought- provoking theatre that is challenging, entertaining and inspiring for all ages.”
A 2018 City’s Choice Award winner, Black Rock Bar & Grill in Davison celebrated its first anniversary last year. The main attraction at the popular restaurant is the 755-degree Australian lava rock on which the meat is cooked, right at your table. “It keeps all the juices in and keeps the food hot the whole time, said General Manager, Dave Simonovic. “People come here for a great steak and for the ambiance!”
Congratulations, you’re getting married … now what? MCM’s Special Bridal Section provided couples with a wealth of info for their upcoming wedding. Features included the responsibilities of the groom, cakes and other delights, rings, reception trends, what’s trending (and not), how to capture those special wedding moments, and more.
On display at a far corner in the Flint Farmers’ Market in Downtown Flint, you will find the artwork of James Draper, a former engineer for General Motors. His art has been exhibited at the Vertigo Theater, the Flint Institute of Music, the Greater Flint Arts Council and adorns the walls of numerous art aficionados and collectors. His Vitrea Art Glass is made using objects found by Draper throughout his travels, and each piece is a work of rare and unusual beauty.
UM-Flint Chancellor, Susan Borrego, announced the expansion of the William R. Murchie Science Building – home to thousands of students in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program. A Groundbreaking Ceremony was held October 11. Designed by Architect, Harley Ellis Devereaux in Southfield, the expansion is expected to be complete in January 2021.
MCM caught up with four busy local chefs who shared a bit about their typical Thanksgiving feasts and offered a favorite Thanksgiving recipe: Jody Brunori – The Laundry (Boursin, Caramelized Onion & Applewood Smoked Bacon Dauphinoise Potatoes); Denny Dowdall – The Captain’s Club at Woodfield (Roast Turkey with Wild Mushroom Stuffing); Beverly Biggs-Leavy – Bev’s Place (Bev’s Banana Pudding), and Marge Murphy – Cork on Saginaw (Potato Gratin with Comté Cheese & Cream).
Genesee County Schools boast some wonderful Visual Arts programs! The teachers strive to boost the students’ self-esteem, problem-solving skills and intelligence, while cultivating their individual creativity. MCM highlighted the art programs and talked to the instructors at Carman Ainsworth High School, Armstrong Middle School, Hamady Middle/High School and Powers Catholic High School about what art education means to them.
The Flushing High School Marching Band has been one of Michigan’s premier marching bands since the 1970s. MCM spoke with Band Director Brad Davis and Assistant Director of Band, Eric Fontan, about the band’s success, dedication and all of the hard work of students and the parents. Davis said he is amazed by the level of responsibility and resolve shown by his students. “The way the parents and community help these marching bands is the untold story,” said Fontan.
This is the new, premier entertainment venue in Genesee County, according to Owner, Scott Williamson. With a 1,000-person capacity, the facility is one of the newest in the state. The center provides a large main floor and an enormous stage, with spectacular lighting and state-of-the-art sound. The appeal of the entertainment offered at BCEC is its diverse formula. “I want people to know that they can check BCEC every week, because we might have something they want to see,” said Williamson. “Come and enjoy some live entertainment at Buick City Event Center!”
Thirty years ago, the Flint Symphony Orchestra was blessed with the talent of Maestro Enrique Diemecke. As he began Season 30, he expressed how proud he was of Flint and its resilience, and says it will always be near and dear to his heart. “I love being here, because Flint has given me so much,” he said. MCM was proud to report that the Maestro accepted three more years with the FSO. “To honor my love and compassion for music is all that I want and all that I need, and Flint has given that to me. I am honored to go to every other place in the world and give Flint to them with sincerity, passion and love.”
MCM assembled a guide to dining in Genesee County and beyond! Mexican, Upscale, Chinese and more – choose a category, find your restaurant and go. Nothing can hold you back from that perfect steak, succulent lobster or spicy burrito. Meet your friends in a new pub, take in a game at a new sports bar or take your sweetheart out for some high-class dining. You can find it all in the MCM Dining Guide.
MCM highlighted the history of the Flint Union Greys and the Flint Union Blues from the Civil War through World War I. In 1855, the Union Greys were started to provide a military presence in and around Flint. Soon they found themselves answering the call to arms as a part of the Union military effort against the Southern Confederates in the Civil war. Upon returning home the survivors created a new organization, The Flint Union Blues. At the conclusion of World War 1, the Flint Union Blues were sent home and mustered out of service and were dissolved as an organization soon thereafter. The Flint Union Blues represented the proud ability of the citizens of Flint to answer any call needed to protect those they love. They fought and died for their City, State, and Country.
Carman-Ainsworth High School English teacher, Jessyca Mathews, was named Michigan’s High School English Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Council of Teachers of English, which was just one of the accolades she received. She was also named Soccer Coach of Significance by the State of Michigan United Soccer Association. The first African American to have received the English Teacher of the year, Mathews said, “It’s a huge award! It was mind blowing. It was very surreal for me to know that the work I put in is worth it.”