A Flint resident holds a jug of tainted Flint water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint switched its drinking water source in April of 2014. The city went from Detroit water to water from the Flint River, and there have been problems ever since.

Most recently, residents have been enraged to hear about elevated lead levels in kids. At this point, Flint residents have been unsure about the safety of their water for over a year.

Here's a quick rundown of the problems some Flint residents have been complaining about.  

Phil Dowsing Creative / Flickr

The Michigan Supreme Court has refused to hear a case that alleges the state and the struggling Highland Park school district are failing in their legal obligation to adequately educate students.

The so-called “right-to-read” lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Office of the Washtenaw County Prosecutor

State Attorney General Bill Schuette is asking Michigan prosecutors how many untested rape kits are in their jurisdictions.

Schuette sent a letter to county prosecutors on Friday, asking them to report the information by October 9.

Part of a polished Petoskey stone.
Michelle Pemberton / Wikimedia Commons

Tim O'Brien might be regretting the fact that he talked to reporters about the 93-pound Petoskey stone he found near Northport, Michigan.

The Grand Rapids Press story on his haul was the "most read" thing on MLive this morning.

And the stone continued to build momentum on Twitter:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has issued an advisory for lead in city drinking water.

The advisory comes a day after local hospital officials announced blood lead levels in young children in Flint have doubled, and in some cases tripled, since the city started getting its drinking water from the Flint River in April of 2014.

Mayor Dayne Walling says city residents should take steps to reduce their lead exposure.

Yesterday I was thinking that, in a sense, Flint has become Detroit’s Detroit.

In other words, for years, the urban crisis in Detroit was seen as the worst in the state, if not the entire nation.

Last year, a woman studying psychology in Marquette told me, “I feel so sorry for people who live in places like Detroit and Syria.”

Baby booties.
user - Aine D / Flickr -

Last week, Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon and his wife, Christie, gave birth to Theodore Richard Bacon – or “Teddy,” as his friends call him.

That has Bacon thinking about how to raise his boy – and how his father raised him. 

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 oil pipeline has lain deep under the water in the choppy Straits of Mackinac for more than 60 years. 

Over the decades, Line 5 has fed billions of barrels of light crude oil and liquefied natural gas into the lower peninsula of Michigan. 

Yet there has never been a drill to test the region’s readiness for a spill from a leak or rupture of the pipe. 

Until now, that is.

Family photo

A horrific video showing a naked man slowly dying in a Macomb County jail cell is sparking local and national outrage.

The death of David Stojcevski brings into sharp focus the overlap between some issues that have drawn intense scrutiny recently: deaths of people in police custody, people being jailed for minor offenses because they can’t afford to pay fines, and the opioid addiction crisis.

João André O. Dias/flickr /

You go to a fancy restaurant and order a bottle of red wine. The tuxedoed waiter calls over the sommelier who takes the order, brings the bottle, opens and pours it.

Then, you notice there’s a lot more fuss being made at a nearby table. With great ceremony, the sommelier is decanting the wine, and pouring the entire bottle into a glass carafe on the side table.

So, you think, what’s the matter with my wine? Chopped liver?

Michigan Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

Jennifer White was joined by Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, to take a look at Michigan politics.

This week, they discussed whether there were any lingering effects of the scandal involving former Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. They also took a look at the issues the legislature is likely to tackle this session, including funding for roads.

Here's their conversation:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The water in Flint is likely poisoning kids.

That’s what pediatricians in the city say, after looking at lead levels in young children before and after the city switched the source of its drinking water from the Detroit water system to the Flint River.

flickr user Texas Military Forces /

The city of Holland in West Michigan has certainly made its Dutch heritage known. If the name alone isn’t enough for you, the city has held an annual Tulip Time Festival, celebrating all things Dutch for the last 86 years.

But there’s a sizeable Hispanic community in Holland. The latest census numbers indicate Hispanics make up 23% of the city’s population.

Former Michigan Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

A Republican legislator is drafting a bill to ensure that state lawmakers who are expelled or quit remain out of office. But, it’s not clear if it’s possible to stop former Representatives Todd Courser or Cindy Gamrat from running for and winning their old jobs.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s Oliver Towers will get a multi-million dollar makeover.

A fire in 2000 made the apartment building, a block from the state capitol, unlivable. 

For more than a decade, political squabbles stalled several efforts to rehab the eight story building leaving it to decay.

There’s no other way to look at it: Volkswagen cheated and lied to its customers.

The German automaker admitted to cheating on the US emissions tests for half a million of its diesel vehicles.

CEO Martin Winterkorn has stepped down and more heads are expected to roll by week’s end, but Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says this isn’t even the end of the beginning.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A bipartisan bill meant to strengthen reading skills by the third grade has cleared a state House committee.

New language in House Bill 4822 encourages schools to adopt summer reading camps for students who fall behind.

Legislator wants to ban fish farming in Great Lakes

Sep 24, 2015
NASA / Wikimedia Commons

A Republican state lawmaker is introducing legislation to ban commercial fish farming in the Great Lakes.

State Senator Rick Jones (R) said fish farms are a source of pollution, invasive species, and disease that harm native fish populations.

They generate concentrated amounts of fish waste that can cause widespread algae blooms and damage recreational areas, according to Jones.  

Courtesy of Backyard Brains

The Next Idea

All it takes is one new innovation or successful company to change the economic fortunes of an entire city or region.

More often though, it’s the cumulative effect of many new innovations and successful companies that create lasting economic change.

Regardless if it’s one or 1000, new tech companies have an arduous path to success. Yet because of their potentially huge payoffs, competition to host them and their talented workforce is fierce.

Mercedes Mejia

The barbershop has long been a place for conversations about life, politics and neighborhood gossip.

Now, there’s a group in Detroit using that forum to get kids to think about college. The effort is dubbed the Barbershop Chats, and it's gaining recognition for the way it engages young African American boys and men.

Yesterday, a circuit judge in Washtenaw County struck a blow for common sense and sanity by ruling that Ann Arbor public schools could ban guns in their buildings.

That immediately provoked a furious reaction from those who think guns more important than anything else, including the lives and well-being of children.

The attorney for a group called Michigan Gun Owners fairly sneered, “I think the judge decided to ignore state law.”

He added that they would appeal.


The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has a plan to curb sulfur dioxide pollution in Wayne County, and it has plenty of critics.

In 2013, an area of Wayne County that includes part of Detroit and some downriver communities failed to meet new federal ambient air quality standards for sulfur dioxide.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The spotted wing drosophila is a nasty invasive fruit fly that's turning into a nightmare for Michigan berry growers.

Blueberries and cherries are major cash crops in the state.

Kevin Robson is a horticulture specialist with the Michigan Farm Bureau. He says the fly showed up in Michigan five years ago.

Researchers from the University of Michigan looked at how far oil might travel with a 12-hour release in the Straits of Mackinac.
UM Water Center

The scenario: Someone has spotted oil on Lake Michigan in the Straits of Mackinac. They place a call to an emergency response center.

What happens next?

Today, Enbridge and other emergency response officials will test whether their emergency oil spill response plan is effective.

Gun in holster on hip
Teknorat / Creative Commons / cropped from original

A Washtenaw County trial court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against an Ann Arbor Public Schools policy banning guns on school property.

The Ann Arbor School Board voted unanimously to ban guns on school grounds after a man openly carried a pistol to a school performance last spring.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Gunshot-sensing technology is the launching pad for a new community-building effort in one northeast Detroit neighborhood.

“Operation ShotSpotter” takes advantage of the sensors that Detroit Police are testing in some city neighborhoods right now.

Ben Carson Twitter /

Republican presidential hopeful Doctor Ben Carson made a campaign swing through Michigan today.

Carson made stops in Jackson and Spring Arbor University. He told an audience at the Christian college the U.S. is a “Judeo-Christian nation,” and immigrants should not be allowed to change the character of the country.

Carson told the crowd “secular-progressives” are trying to force change upon the country.

Robert James Russell / Twitter

Ann Arbor author Robert James Russell is celebrating the release of his newest book, Mesilla, this week.

Mesilla is a Western that follows Everett Root, a wounded Civil War deserter haunted by his past, into 1863 New Mexico Territory.

Representation of a chart that shows how Michigan is one of only six states with negative improvement for early literacy since 2003.
See full charts here -

The state's new schools superintendent Brian Whiston started a series of discussions seeking ideas to make Michigan a “Top 10” education state within 10 years.

Just about every measurement shows that all groups of Michigan students – black, white, poor, rich – are losing ground academically compared to their peers in other states.

Painting of a boy grabbing a sea lamprey by Mark Heckman.
Painting by Mark Heckman, courtesy of Thunder Bay Press.

Officials are reporting significant progress in the battle against an invasive, fish-killing Great Lakes parasite.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission says the population of sea lampreys has reached a 30-year low in Lake Huron and a 20-year low in Lake Michigan.