Steve Carmody

Mid Michigan Reporter/Producer

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting. During his two and a half decades in broadcasting, Steve has won numerous awards, including accolades from the Associated Press and Radio and Television News Directors Association. Away from the broadcast booth, Steve is an avid reader and movie fanatic.

Q&A

What person, alive or dead, would you like to have lunch with? Why?
My wife. She’s the best company I’ve ever had, or expect to, over lunch.
 
How did you get involved in radio?
I started listening to all news radio when I was about 8 years old. In my teens, when other kids were listening to rock stations, I was flipping between KYW and WCAU in Philadelphia. I was fascinated listening to the news developing and changing through the day. When the time came to decide on what I wanted to study at college, I was drawn to broadcasting and journalism. I spent most of my four years in college at the campus radio station, including two years as news director.  
 
What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
I read (usually two books at a time, one book at work, another at home) and I go to see a lot of movies (about 50 or more a year)
 
What has been your most memorable experience as a reporter/host/etc.?
Covering the federal building bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995 was a remarkable experience. It was going to be a quiet day newswise. Not much happening. I was at the state capitol to cover a rally. The earth shattering explosion changed that. I spent the next ten hours wandering around downtown, filing reports to my home station and NPR. For the next six weeks, it was literally the only story my station covered.
 
What one song do you think best summarizes your taste in music?
Zilch. I don’t listen to music.
 
What is your favorite program on Michigan Radio? Why?
This American Life. It’s the best story telling on radio.
 
What's a hidden talent you have that most people don’t know about?
I have no talent. Anyone who knows me well would agree.
 
What is one ability or talent you really wish you possessed?
The ability to cook.
 
What do you like best about working in public radio?
I like having the time to tell a story. I’ve grown tired over time working in commercial radio of trying to tell a complex story in 25 seconds or less. You can tell some stories in less than 25 seconds. But often, a truly interesting story needs a minute, 3 minutes or more to explain.
 
If you could interview any contemporary newsmaker, who would it be?
No one really.
 
Is there a T.V. show you never miss? If so, which one?
The Amazing Race. As a fan and a former contestant, I just enjoy the thrill of seeing different parts of the world.
 
What would your perfect meal consist of?
A light appetizer. A good fish course. A well done steak. A pleasant dessert. A fine 20 year tawny port.
 
What modern convenience would it be most difficult for you to live without?
The computer. It has changed my personal and professional life.
 
What are people usually very surprised to learn about you?
That I not only watch Reality TV, but that I’ve been a Reality TV star (retired).
 
What else would you like people to know about you?
I enjoy living in Jackson, MI. So many Michigan cities and towns are struggling these days. Jackson’s no different. But, the people there are forging ahead. Jackson is also committed to being a community. 

Ways to Connect

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This month’s Republican and Democratic National Conventions are big parties. 

But they’re expensive parties for the participants.

Charles Niswander is a Bernie Sanders delegate. He’s looking forward to being in Philadelphia for the DNC. 

But there’s a cost: $3,000 to $4,000 in travel and hotel.

“There is a part of me that feels like they would rather keep poor, working people out and not have their voices heard as much,” says Niswander.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

After a busy Fourth of July weekend, more than a hundred Michigan State Police troopers will travel to Cleveland to provide security during the upcoming Republican National Convention.

The Michigan troopers will be part of the large police presence in Cleveland during the four-day convention in mid-July.

The troopers leave July 16th for a seven-day deployment to northeast Ohio where they will assist with security and crowd management outside the convention center as well as motorcycle escorts for motorcades.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A top economist says Michigan’s economy is at its strongest point in seven years, but he expects growth to begin flattening out.

Robert Dye is the chief economist with Comerica Bank. His mid-year Michigan Economic Activity Index looks at home prices, payrolls, exports and a variety of other economic factors.

Dye says strong auto sales have powered Michigan’s economy since the Great Recession.    But he believes auto production has plateaued.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Institute of Arts is planning a “fiery” expansion.

FIA officials are announcing plans to expand the museum’s gallery space, and add a glass making studio.

Executive Director John Henry says museum-goers will be able to watch as glass artists work with fire to create art.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Genesee County Medical Society suggests pregnant women and children under 6 in Flint should stick to bottled water until more tests are performed.

That's despite the fact that federal agencies claimed water filters are working to remove lead from Flint tap water.

"We finally have enough data to agree that the filters work so well to remove the lead that everyone in Flint -- even pregnant women, nursing moms and young children -- can used filtered water here," Dr. Nicole Laurie, leader of the federal response to the Flint water crisis, told reporters last week.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A pastor says donations of bottled water to his Flint church have dried up in the past month.

Donations poured in from across the nation in the weeks and months after it was learned that Flint's drinking water was contaminated with lead. At times, the response nearly overwhelmed the effort to distribute water to Flint residents.  

Bishop Roger Lee Jones’ north side church parking lot used to be filled with pallets of water, but now the flood of donations has slowed to a trickle. 

Dow sign on wall
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Dow Chemical is cutting 2,500 jobs worldwide, including hundreds in Michigan and the Great Lakes Bay Region.

The layoffs come as the Midland-based company absorbs operations of Dow Corning and prepares for a merger with rival DuPont.

“We are moving quickly and effectively to integrate Dow Corning and deliver the synergies that will drive new levels of value creation for our customers and generate even greater returns for our shareholders,” said Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s chairman and chief executive officer.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Lansing has a new city attorney.

The city council confirmed Jim Smiertka Monday night. He replaces interim city attorney Joseph Abood.   Abood came on board after the sudden departure earlier this year of City Attorney Janene McIntyre. 

McIntyre’s unexplained departure and her $160,000 severance package raised questions about transparency at city hall.

Smiertka says he will work to address those concerns.

“I think it’s important to send a signal that going forward there won’t be these issues,” says Smiertka. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint continues to struggle to replace damaged pipes.    

Mayor Karen Weaver said bids from contractors to replace up to 500 service lines came in “extremely high”. 

But there is an offer on the table that could potentially present the city with a big savings.

Walter Wang is the owner of JM Eagle, a California company that produces plastic pipes.  Back in February, Wang offered to give the city enough plastic PVC pipe to replace thousands of damaged lead service lines for free.

But to date, Flint officials have not accepted Wang’s offer.

Crew works on replacing a lead service line in Flint earlier this year.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city officials are scheduled to sit down with seven contractors tomorrow with hopes of getting the city’s pipe replacement program back on track.

Contractors submitted bids last week to replace hundreds of lead service lines in Flint.

The pipes connect homes to city water mains, and are a prime source of lead that’s leeching into Flint’s drinking water.

But Mayor Karen Weaver says those bids were “extremely high.” She says Monday’s meeting is intended to hopefully find ways to reduce the cost.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is setting aside more money for future disasters and emergencies.

This past week, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill to raise the cap on Michigan’s Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund from $4.5 million to $10 million.   

The fund provides state assistance to counties and municipalities when federal assistance is not available.

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI)
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder says its “premature” to speculate on how Great Britain’s exit from the European Union might affect Michigan’s economy.

Britain entered uncharted waters after the country voted to leave the European Union.  The decision shatters the stability of the continental unity forged after World War II in hopes of making future conflicts impossible.

Tens of thousands of water filters have been distributed in Flint.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Health officials say filtered Flint tap water is now safe enough for children and pregnant women to drink.

For months, concerns about potential lead exposure from the tap prompted federal, state and local officials to urge kids and pregnant women to only drink bottled water in Flint.

But that recommendation is changing.

Dr. Nicole Lurie is an Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.   She’s leading the federal response to the Flint Water Crisis.

Michigan Radio

The allegations in a civil lawsuit may prompt the city of Flint to reconsider a contract with a firm hired to help it with its drinking water.

The city of Flint has paid Lockwood, Andrews and Newman, or LAN, nearly $3.5 million as it transitioned from Detroit water to the Flint River and back again.

In a civil suit filed this week, Michigan’s Attorney General accuses LAN of “botching” the job, with damaged pipes and lead tainted tap water the result.

Mayor Karen Weaver says it’s “absolutely unbelievable”.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of the Michigan Attorney General’s investigation into the Flint water crisis is threatening to take state agencies to court to force them to turn over documents.

Todd Flood has been leading Attorney General Bill Schuette's investigation into Flint’s lead-tainted water since January.

The probe has already resulted in criminal charges against three government officials.    A lawsuit has also just been filed against companies that acted as consultants to the city during the switch from Detroit water to the Flint River.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

After months of wrangling, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is reluctantly agreeing to hook the city up to the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline for the city's drinking water.

Emergency managers made the decision to switch Flint’s drinking water to the KWA pipeline as a way to save money. Flint's city council gave its stamp of approval as well. But Flint’s new elected leaders wanted out of the deal because of the cost.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Ingham County’s new prosecutor says she wants to restore the public’s trust in the prosecutor’s office.

Former state senator Gretchen Whitmer doesn’t take office until next month, but she got a jump on things by being sworn in this week.

Whitmer is replacing Stuart Dunnings III, who is mired in a prostitution scandal. Whitmer says restoring credibility to the office is key.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters says now’s the time “to act on guns”.

Peters and his fellow Democrats get their long-sought votes on gun control after the massacre in Orlando, Florida, but election-year politics ensure no changes in the nation's laws.

Democrats are expected to vote tonight to block two Republican amendments, saying they don't do enough. Republicans are expected to block two Democratic amendments, saying they threaten the rights of gun owners.

official portrait

A senior U.S. Senator is asking federal anti-trust officials to investigate the planned merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont.

Stockholders for Midland, Michigan-based Dow Chemical and Delaware-based DuPont vote on the merger next month.

The merger would create a company worth $130 billion, though eventually, the plan is to divide it into three different companies, one of which would be based in Michigan.

Michigan Radio

Virginia Tech researchers are back in Flint this week.

This time they’re focused on the city’s hot water heaters.

Many Flint residents fear lead and other metals leaching from damaged pipes have accumulated in their hot water heaters making bathing hazardous. 

For the next few weeks, Virginia Tech researchers will be testing water heaters not only for lead, but also for bacteria, including Legionella.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The next round of Flint’s lead service line replacement may take a little longer to get started.

Today’s 3 pm deadline for contractors to bid on the work has been extended.

Contractors will now have until next Tuesday to submit bids on replacing up to 500 Flint service lines.

City officials decided to give the contractors more time to refine their bids, after changes were made to original Request for Proposals or RFP.   The addendums to the original RFP came after concerns were raised by contractors during a mandatory pre-bid meeting last week.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new grant program is giving a hand to 30 Flint businesses struggling to recover from the economic effects of the city’s drinking water crisis.

The businesses range from a Coney Island to a beauty shop.      

Anthony Artis is an art dealer. He says the grant will ‘breathe new life” into his business, which sells art as far away as Boston.

A man protests the poor quality of Flint's water
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A congressional committee has signed off on legislation that could save Flint millions of dollars -- money that could be used to fix its damaged water system.

Today, the U.S. House Appropriations committee approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. The bill includes a provision that would allow the state of Michigan to forgive $21 million in Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loans taken by the city of Flint.

fresh vegetables at a grocery store.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The federal government will soon begin offering 17,000 Flint households monthly packages of healthy foods.

Working with local food banks and feeding organizations, USDA will provide an additional 14-pound nutrient-targeted food package, containing foods rich in calcium, iron, and Vitamin C. The intent is to limit the absorption of lead from Flint’s tainted drinking water.

Kevin Concannon is with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He says the state has been helping since the city’s water emergency was declared earlier this year.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver defends Police Chief Tim Johnson (left of Mayor Weaver).
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson will soon be certified to be a police officer.

Johnson was appointed Flint’s new police chief back in February. But the career cop allowed his state certification to lapse after he retired several years ago.

Without that certification, Johnson lacked the arresting powers of officers under his command.

Johnson says he was planning to take the two-day class later this year.

“I was trying to wait for the city to reach a calm level where I could go away for a couple of days to get re-certified,” Johnson told reporters today.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

More than 50 top business executives are in Flint today, talking about finding solutions to the city’s problems.

The Moving Flint Forward Leadership Summit at the Flint Institute of Arts is invitation-only.

Tim Herman is the CEO of the Flint/Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.  He says it’s important for business leaders from across the state to feel they can freely share their ideas.

We think it’s important to have this closed meeting…and be able to be open and honest…and let the participants be open and honest,” says Herman.

These are examples of drinking water pipes. The pipe on the left had no corrosion control in place, allowing metals to flake off and get into the water. The bigger pipe on the right (white coating), had phosphate corrosion control in place.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder’s office says new data show water quality improving in "at-risk" homes in Flint.

For months, the government has been testing the tap water in dozens of homes in Flint for lead.

After five rounds of testing, the "sentinel" testing has been expanded to include more homes most likely to have elevated leads levels. That includes homes:

·  with known lead service lines,

·  that had service lines the state paid to replace under the mayor’s Fast Start Program,

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

An independent probe has found no evidence of unethical conduct by Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

The allegations came from Flint’s former city administrator. Natasha Henderson claims she was fired, in part, for reporting that the mayor steered donations to the city into a fund Weaver controls.

Ella Marx cries at a candelight vigil in Ann Arbor for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shootings. She says her LGBT sister lives in Florida. “It’s really close to home for me,” she says.
Rick Pluta / MPRN

Members of Metro Detroit’s LGBT community and allies are mourning the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

A group held a vigil for them at Ferndale City Hall tonight.

Julia Music is the chair of Ferndale Pride.

She called the attack an act of “hate, terrorism, and ignorance.”

But Music urged the group to keep welcoming Muslims, who she says have just started to join Detroit’s LGBT community “in visible numbers.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, bids are due on contracts to start replacing Flint’s lead service lines.

But there are concerns about what’s in the contracts.

Service lines are a prime source for lead leeching into the city’s drinking water.  However, to date, the city of Flint has only unearthed 33 lead service lines. 

Mayor Karen Weaver’s Fast Start program is set to get back up to speed this week.  The city is using $2 million dollars from the state to pay for the next round of excavations. 

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