My City Magazine’s Year in Review 2019


MCM is ringing in the New Year with some fresh and exciting stories for our readers in 2020! Let’s take a few minutes and look back at some of our reader-favorites from 2019.


Greater Flint’s Best Dressed 2018

There was no denying it. The 2018 winners of MCM’s Second Annual Greater Flint’s Best Dressed campaign had great style! The winners were Tracy Palmer, James Richardson, Yaushica Aubert, April Cook-Hawkins, Nadeem Gebrael, Christine Hanczaryk DC, Dwayne Harrington, Sr., Donnavin Stewart, Shannon Easter White and Asa Zuccaro.


Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

Artist Vanessa German brought her exhibition, Miracles and Glory Abound to the Flint Institute of Arts. Stemming from the central African tradition of nkisi nkondi or minkisi figures, German’s power figures are assemblages of everyday objects. Everything from sockets to string, from fabric to finishing nails is found in her sculptures that celebrate, as Jaimee Swift of One Common Unity observed, “the profound majesty and dynamism of the Africana aesthetic.”


Soup’s On!

MCM celebrated National Soup Month by highlighting some of the best soups in the Greater Flint Area. Bangkok Peppers Grand Blanc (Tom Yum soup), Bear Soup Deli (Tequila Black Bean Soup), CRUST – A Baking Company (Pasta e Fagioli), Fenton Hotel Tavern & Grille (Shellfish Bisque), Fenton House (French Onion Soup Crock), Grandma’s Recipe (Chicken Noodle Soup), Leo’s Coney Island (Lemon Rice Soup), MaMang (Vietnamese Pho), Pesto’s (Shrimp, Crawfish & Andouille Gumbo), Taboon Middle Eastern Cuisine (Lentil Soup), The Laundry (Turkey Chili) and Whitey’s (Fisherman’s Chowder) all made the scrumptious list!


Flint Through the Decades Part One: Industry Awakens (1900-1919)

In 2019, MCM took its readers through the history of Flint by the decade. In Part One, Assistant Editor/Writer Peter Hinterman highlighted Flint’s earliest history – from Jacob Smith’s Trading Post alongside the Flint River to the motorization of the nation at the decade’s end. It was a decade of beginnings, including: the birth of the auto industry, Hurley Hospital, St. Michael’s, Palace Theatre, Koegel Meats and more.


“Ring of Silence” A Film that Had to be Made

On January 16, the Capitol Theatre was filled with supportive community members at the world premiere of “Ring of Silence.” The film’s purpose was to become a force in the fight against the horror of human trafficking by shedding light on its reality. Genesee County Human Trafficking Task Force members Rosa Wang, Patti Higgins, Sue Lauber and Kim Gray sought out and teamed with Nicole Bowers Wallace to produce it.


Climbing the Career Ladder

After her November 2018 appointment, MCM chatted with the Flint Fire Department’s new Deputy Chief, Carrie Edwards-Clemons. She was the highest-ranking female in the Department’s history and the first female to be appointed deputy chief. Born and raised in Flint, Edwards-Clemons has been with the FFD since 1999. As Deputy Chief, Edwards-Clemons oversees and provides training at the Fire Department, as well as grant-writing. She is also in charge of community and department programs.


Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

In January, Greater Flint residents honored the work and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by volunteering and participating in special celebrations and events. They included: the 40th Annual City-Wide MLK, Jr. Tribute Dinner, the 34th Annual MLK Jr. Day Celebration put on by the Flint Public Library and Flint Institute of Arts, and the Genesee County Habitat for Humanity MLK Jr. Day of Service.


Rolling Through Generations – Rollhaven Skate & Fun Center

This Flint mainstay has been a destination for skaters and families since 1955. Legend has it that when the facility opened, Saginaw Street had not yet been paved and the road was a quagmire. People had to be carted up to the doors by horse and wagon to see the new rink. That didn’t stop people, however, and Rollhaven became a success – and still is, 64 years later.


Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village: Moving Flint Forward

In 2015, local neurosurgeon, Dr. Jawad Shah, saw a need for a community center in the city’s North end. Located in the old Dewey Elementary building, Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village provides after-school and summer programs and was established with the mission of cultivating leadership capacity and bringing equality of opportunity to Flint’s youth.


Pet Fostering – The Good, Bad & Ugly

It takes a special kind of person to foster an animal. According to Terry Ashley of HSGC, it can be a very rewarding experience. MCM visited Adopt-a-Pet in Fenton and the Humane Society of Genesee County to talk about the realities of pet fostering.


My Eats: Pub Grub

What’s your favorite local place to go for a cold brew and some great pub grub? MCM’s go-to picks included: the Corner Bar in Fenton (shaved rib-eye steak nachos), Jack’s Place in Flushing (deep fried delights), Linden Hotel in Linden for some of their famous fish and chips, Mo Joe’s Food & Spirits in Davison (finger-licking good chicken wings), Torch Bar & Grill for a famous Torch Burger, and a delicious pizza at the White Horse Tavern.


Never Back Down – The Blessed Journey of Joe Ryan III

Success has been a wonderful surprise for this recording artist. From humble beginnings growing up in Flint to his home in Hollywood, life has taken him through ups and downs, twists and turns. His determination and passion for music have led him to find success as a recording artist, rapper, composer, mentor and lately, as a college professor.


Home & Garden

MCM sprung into spring with its annual Home & Garden special section, offering tips for growing, current decor trends and more. Some of the stories included: Gardening Tips from Edible Flint, 2019 Décor Trends and The Buzz on Pollinators.


M.A.D.E. Institute

M.A.D.E. stands for Money, Attitude, Direction and Education. This 501c3 non-profit was founded in 2014 to help those who have been incarcerated transition back to society. Founder Leon Abdullah El-Alamin and Program Manager, Timothy Abdul-Matin, are on a mission to provide programming for returning citizen population, at-risk youth and veterans in the areas of workforce development, transitional housing, urban farming and entrepreneurship.


Andiamo of Fenton

House-made pasta is the customer favorite at this popular Italian eatery well-known for its from-scratch Italian cuisine. The Fenton community has welcomed it with open arms!


Flint Community Players Celebrates 90 Years

FCP celebrated its 90th season in 2019! MCM met with Office Manager Laura Kline and Board Member Rusty Jordan to talk about the theater group’s rich history and upcoming performances.


Genesee Regional Women’s Hall of Fame

The Zonta Club of Flint hosted this 10th Annual Awards Dinner at the Flint Institute of Arts. Inductees included women whose achievements (past and present) have made a lasting and positive impact on our community. The 2019 Inductees were: (Historical) Claire Isabel Mott White, Sister Claudia Burke, and (Contemporary) Stephanie Confer, Judy Ebbot, Linnell Jones-McKenney, Mindy Prusa and Shelly Sparks.


Berston Field House: Prepared for Growth

Bryant Nolden, Executive Director of Berston Field House, talked to MCM about the facility’s multi-million-dollar expansion project. The 95-year old sports and arts recreational facility serves more than 800 area youth. The project will be completed over time and includes new football, soccer and lacrosse fields and
a gymnasium.


The Joy of Birdwatching

Flushing resident, Jeff Buecking, shared his love of birdwatching with MCM. He has traveled to faraway places including Alaska, Ecuador, Belize, Mexico and Guatemala, and says there are many good spots right here in Genesee County to birdwatch. In his lifetime, Buecking has seen over 250 bird species in Genesee County, alone.


Great Lakes National Cemetery – Hallowed Ground

In Holly Township, this beautiful and peaceful final resting place for our veterans is a national treasure. The facility’s Director, Sean Baumgartner and Assistant Director, Christopher English, shared their thoughts about working there with great pride.


Making Connections: International Center of Greater Flint

Phyllis Sykes and Adil Mohammed created the International Center of Greater Flint to assist all immigrants to Greater Flint in getting acquainted with the community, each other and get established culturally, socially and economically. The Center’s main mission is to be a resource hub for the immigrant population and a source of cultural interaction between the city and internationals.


City’s Choice Awards 2019

The winners of this prestigious award were announced in June. Votes poured in from everywhere – over 18,000 of them – selecting their favorites in nearly 200 categories!


2019 Maize & Blue Award Recipients

The Maize & Blue Distinguished Scholar Award is the highest academic honor bestowed upon University of Michigan graduates. The 2019 recipients were: Bilal M. Ali, Charis R. Clark, Tyrice J. Denson, Andrea J. Draheim, Eucharia Ganda, Anna Maria L. Genovesi, Louis G. Haase, Noah T. Knutson, Eric I. Leverette-Goodwin, Khadija Mohammed, Kimberly T. Nguyen, Christopher Sanjurjo Montalvo and Zachary J. Sharpe


MCC Softball – Cruising Through the Record Books

In eight seasons, Rod Studaker has guided the Bears to a 223-129 record, including four MCC Athletic Association Eastern Conference and three regional championships along with three trips to the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament and the first state title in team history. In the past six years, the program has produced three All-Americans: Hunter Conzelmann, Kayla Ward (Lake Fenton) and Kendall Densmore (Davison).


Mott Culinary School: The Best There Is

The state-of-the-art facility opened in Downtown Flint featuring everything a student will see in the world of culinary arts. The Institute has a test kitchen, a baking kitchen, advanced pastry kitchen, a meat-cutting lab, a dry meat room, an oak-lined wine cellar and multiple instruction rooms. Each room is equipped with the best technology available. On the building’s main floor is Applewood Café, a student-run fine dining restaurant.


Equine Escape

On a gorgeous, late spring day, MCM visited Ted and Rachael Gilmour, co-founders of this equine-assisted learning and psychotherapy facility in Goodrich. At-risk youths and military veterans suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD and more, come there to heal – and the horses are the healers.


The Contemporaries — Sharing a Love of Art

The Flint Institute of Arts was seeking to create an organization in the museum that would reach out to young members to get them more engaged. An FIA affiliate group, The Contemporaries was formed and is focused on members ages 21-45, but anyone can join.


Outdoor Adventure Guide

The July issue of MCM featured a special section: Let’s Go Outdoors! The section included a Summer Fun and Outdoor Adventure Guide, a list of things to do and places to go from concerts and celebrations, to area camping, hiking and kayaking.


Flint Farmers’ Market Five-Year Anniversary

June 21 marked the fifth anniversary of the Flint Farmers’ Market at its current location at 300 E. First Street. It has been an exciting journey, according to Karianne Martus, Market Manager. And thanks to the generous supporters and the partnerships that have been created, there were some new things to report including: the addition of a Trolley, new demonstration kitchen, the Pavilion Patio, and a grocery delivery service.


Rico Phillips: Community Hero

This longtime Flint firefighter brought home the NHL Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award for his work with the Flint Inner City Youth Hockey Program. The award recognizes an individual who, through the game of hockey, has positively inspired his or her community, culture or society.


The Flint Public Art Project

Last summer, artists were hard at work covering the city of Flint with beautiful, colorful murals, courtesy of the Flint Public Art Project. In Phase 1, the goal was to paint 100 new murals in Flint by the end of summer 2020. MCM spoke with Flint Public Art Project Executive Director, Joe Schipani, about art, the birth of the mural project and the First International Mural Festival.


The Artistry of Avalon Black

This local band has won the MCM City’s Choice Award for the last three years. Their fun, enthusiastic shows, idiosyncratic songwriting and personal camaraderie presents a perfectly balanced rock aesthetic – their fans know that when they attend an Avalon Black show, they are getting nothing less than the best. MCM met up with the band to talk about their road to success.


University of Michigan-Flint’s New Chancellor

Last September, Debasish Dutta took the leading role at UM-Flint as its eighth chancellor. An engineering educator and longtime academic administrator, Chancellor Dutta was thrilled to return home to Michigan and seeks to make a positive contribution to the revitalization of Flint and Genesee County.


Girl Power!

Girl Scouts is on a mission to change the world one girl at a time! The organization has been teaching courage, confidence and character for more than 100 years. MCM spoke with Ruth Wilson, Director of Recruitment, as the organization had just launched 42 new badges, further expanding the options available for girls in grades K-12.


MCM 2019 Spectacular Pet Search Winner

Benjamin Pendleton was the winner of this year’s Spectacular Pet Search! The one-year-old Great Pyrenees enjoys long walks, playing fetch and evening cuddles with his owners, Tammy Pendleton and McKenna Gannsley.


Big John’s Steak & Onion: A Flint Tradition

With ten locations in the Flint area, the shop is best known for its original steak and onion sandwich made with fresh, 100% rib-eye steak, thinly-sliced and grilled to perfection with (or without) onion and piled high on a fresh-baked, Italian sub roll. It’s been a delicious Flint tradition since 1972!


Flint Public Library – Ready to Renovate

MCM sat down with Kay Schwartz, Director of Library Services at the Flint Public Library, to talk about the exciting $27.6 million project to completely renovate the library to enhance the facility’s educational opportunities and community spaces for the public. The project is proposed to begin this year. NOTE: Voter’s approved the bond initiative for the funding in November.


El Ballet Folklorico Estudiantil

For over 25 years, this nonprofit organization has focused on preserving the Mexican culture and enriching the lives of Michigan kids through dance, music and education. MCM met with Founder and Director, Susan Quintanilla, to learn about the EBFE dance programs that teach the artistry of folkloric dance originating from Mexico.


Greater Flint’s Best Pizza

October was National Pizza Month and Genesee County eateries make some of the best pies around! From the 2019 City’s Choice Award voting results, MCM compiled a “Best” list that includes: Bob’s Original Pizza, Captain’s Quarters Lounge, Fenton House, Guido’s Premium Pizza, Little Joe’s Tavern, Luigi’s Restaurant, Pesto’s, Red Devil Restaurant, Timothy’s Pub and The White Horse Tavern.


2019 Crim Festival of Races

Michigan’s greatest race once again welcomed thousands of runners and walkers of all levels and abilities, and the streets of Downtown Flint were packed with excited spectators for the city’s biggest celebration of the year. The event culminated with Kenyan, Julius Kogo, winning the men’s 10-mile race for the eighth time. The women’s winner was fellow Kenyan, Vicoty Chepngeno.


In Memoriam – William S. White

One of the longest-serving leaders of a major philanthropy in the United States, William S. White, passed away peacefully on October 9 at age 82. He held the position of CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation from 1979-2018 and continued to serve as chairman of the Foundation’s board of trustees until his passing on October 9, 2019. MCM was proud to share Mr. White’s story, his voluminous list of achievements, and heartfelt sentiments from his peers, former colleagues and family with our readers.


A Look Inside Flint Cultural Center Academy

The cutting edge, remarkable Flint Cultural Center Academy opened last year. Principal Eric Lieske said, “The building is amazing, but that is not why we are here. Our main purpose is to give our students the best start in life that they can possibly have. We are working very hard in this endeavor. We are teaching them to be engaged contributors to society in all that they do. It has been remarkable so far.”


Urban Renaissance Center – A Vision for the Future

In 2016, the Urban Renaissance Center (URC), the social service arm of Joy Tabernacle Church was established. “We created the URC because of the many social injustices that we could see,” said Pastor Robert Sherman McCathern, Founder and Executive Director of the Center. To start, the URC countered the Civic Park residents’ perception of living in a broken neighborhood by boarding up abandoned homes and creating a vision of a thriving community. To date, the URC has boarded over 1,000 homes. “They could see past the abandonment and see a neighborhood, once again,” says McCathern. “They were able to begin believing in Civic Park again.”


Colonel Donald McMonagle – At Home Amongst the Stars

This Flint native and 1970 Hamady High School grad, was the first astronaut to serve as a mission specialist, pilot and commander, logging more the 605 hours in space and traveling nearly 10.6 million miles. He then worked in R&D of new technology before becoming launch integration manager at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 67-year-old remains involved in space exploration through his work at Raytheon, a leading aerospace and defense firm.


2019 Cityzen of the Year: Stephanie Confer

Our inaugural honoree has a vivacious smile that is familiar to many as she volunteers with local charities including Flint Diaper Bank, Adopt-A-Pet of Fenton, Children’s Miracle Network, Pink Night Palooza, Voices for Children Advocacy Center, March of Dimes and more. She shared her thoughts on what volunteerism means to her and how it has impacted her life.


Shooting Stars – Local Hoops Greats

Genesee County’s wealth of basketball talent has produced NBA and NCAA champions, Olympic medalists, numerous All-Americans and an NBA All-Star, along with several Mr. and Ms. Basketball title-holders. Sports Writer Mark Spezia took a closer look at ten of the Flint-area’s greatest basketball players of all time:
Miles Bridges, Mateen Cleaves, Terry Furlow, Jeff Grayer, Roy Marble, Pam McGee, Deanna Nolan, Morris Peterson, Glen Rice and Trent Tucker.


2019 Holiday Fun Guide

Our list offered a little local holiday magic for everyone! MCM gathered info about the Greater Flint’s holiday traditions and celebrations of the season to make your days merry and bright.


Arab American Heritage Council Awards Banquet

For over 20 years, the “Ensure the Legacy” Awards Banquet has honored those who have made a difference in the community and throughout the nation. This year’s award recipients were: Community Contributor of the Year Dr. Robert McMahan, Physician of the Year Michigan Health Specialists, and Arab-American of the Year Farid “Fredwreck” Nassar. In addition to the award winners, scholarships were awarded to two deserving individuals.


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