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

Sub Committee chair Mike Zimmer (lower left) delivers a report on new lead/copper testing as members of the governor's special Flint water team listen, including Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan would have the toughest lead testing standard in the nation under a sweeping proposal unveiled today in Flint, where the drinking water is still contaminated with lead and residents remain dependent on bottled water donations.

To make sure other Michigan cities don’t suffer the same fate, Gov. Rick Snyder and a team of experts have unveiled a plan to tighten water testing regulations and lower the threshold for action.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents will not be a water bill next week. But instead, they’ll get a statement showing a state credit.

The state gave Flint $30 million to help city residents who’ve been unable to drink the water since April 2014. 

Flint CFO Jody Lundquist expects some confusion when people open what they expect is a bill, but instead will show the state credit. 

“Please do bear with our customers service staff as they work to address any questions we anticipate you may have,” says Lundquist.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Senate’s rejection of a quarter billion dollars in aid to Flint has the city’s mayor looking to Lansing for help.

Flint backers in Washington were unable to convince a Republican senator from Utah to end his opposition to the Flint appropriation. 

It was stripped from a funding bill this week.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she’ll “press on” and ask state lawmakers for more help.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents continue to deal with unsafe lead levels in their water. Another group is paying very close attention. Lawyers. Lots of lawyers.

Turn the TV on in Flint and you’ll likely hear a commercial with a very specific question. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major push to strengthen neighborhoods in north Flint is getting underway.

On Wednesday, the Ruth Mott Foundation awarded $1.3 million in grants to 10 neighborhood projects. The programs are selected with input from north side residents.

Handy Lindsey is the foundation president.  He says over the next five years, the foundation plans to give $25 to 30 million for similar projects.

“It sounds like an awful lot of money,” says Lindsey. "But in the scheme of things, this community needs far, far more investment than that.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A long-empty north Flint apartment complex is being demolished.

The Genesee County Land Bank is spending $1.7 million to raze the 13-building complex.

Shawn Harris is the president of the local neighborhood association. He hopes the demolition will clear the way for a much-needed grocery store on Flint’s north side.

“We lost our Kroger’s and our Meijer’s. So I think this would be a good place to put another grocery store,” says Harris.

Land bank officials say they are reviewing several proposals for the eight-acre site. 

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Across Michigan, sirens will wail this afternoon

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan.

This afternoon at 1:30, there will be a voluntary statewide tornado drill.

“Tornadoes can develop rapidly, with little or no warning,” says Capt. Chris Kelenske of the Michigan State Police, who is the deputy state director of emergency management and Homeland Security. 

 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State officials are now confirming 12 people died in a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Genesee County.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released the updated numbers today. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Republicans picked their 59 delegates to the national convention over the weekend. Now, the lobbying begins for their votes.

At their state party convention in Lansing, 25 delegates were chosen to represent businessman Donald Trump.  Trump received the most votes in Michigan’s Republican primary.   Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich each received 17 delegates. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The issue of tax credits for affordable housing is expected to come up again at Monday night’s Lansing city council meeting.

The city council recently rejected a request for special tax credits for a low-income development in Lansing’s Old Town section.

Julie Powers is with the Greater Lansing Housing Authority. She claims several city council members worried about who the 24-unit development would attract.

“What we were told at the committee of the whole meeting was that “those people” aren’t wanted in Old Town,” says Powers.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan U.S. Senator says a federal aid package for Flint might move through Congress quicker if state officials tap the rainy day fund and budget surplus now. 

Sen. Debbie Stabenow and others have been pushing for hundreds of millions of federal dollars for Flint’s water crisis.

But action in Congress is stalled. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has put a hold on the legislation. He’s expressed concern that the state of Michigan hasn’t committed to spend more of its own money to address the crisis.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Construction of the KWA water pipeline is just a few months of good weather away from being complete.

On Friday, an excavator was digging a trench along a lonely stretch of road near Lapeer. One by one, 60-inch diameter pipes are dropped in the hole and the link to Lake Huron is extended.  

The 74-mile long pipeline will stretch from the shore of the lake to Genesee County.  There are less than eight miles of pipeline left to lay.

Jeff Wright is the Genesee County Drain Commissioner, as well as the chief executive officer of the Karegnondi Water Authority. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

In a divided year, unity was a recurring theme at this year’s Michigan Republican Party Convention.

“Are you ready to win in 2016!” shouted Michigan state GOP chair Ronna Romney-McDaniel at the convention in Lansing.

The chief duty of the state convention is to pick delegates to the national convention this summer.   The three-way race has created divisions within the party.    

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is getting nearly $7 million from the federal government to expand a nutrition program for children.

Today, dozens of children in Flint ate breakfast at the Haskell Youth Center, thanks to a federal child nutrition program. But the program hasn’t operated during the summer, until this year.

Kevin Concannon is the undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He says a special pilot program is being expanded, that will provide 16,000 Flint children with nutritious meals during the summer months too.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder is once again being criticized by a top congressional Democrat.

In a letter sent to the governor this week, Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings says he has grave concerns about the governor’s recent congressional testimony on  the crisis. Cummings grilled the governor last month during a hearing into Flint’s lead-tainted tap water.

“You claimed you were working with local leaders rather marginalizing them and you claimed you were being transparent,” Cummings said in his letter to Snyder.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Another day, another class-action lawsuit is filed seeking damages in the Flint water crisis.

But this one is a little different from the rest. 
 

The lawsuit accuses state and local officials of racketeering.

The class action lawsuit alleges Gov. Rick Snyder, three of Flint’s former emergency managers, state officials, former Flint city leaders, and others decided to eliminate the city’s budget deficit, and avoid bankruptcy, by charging high rates for Flint’s drinking water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is taking steps to deal with a key staffing issue in its drinking water crisis.

Federal regulators have criticized Flint officials for not hiring more people to operate the city’s water plant.  The EPA says the city needs more professionals to ensure it stays in compliance with federal regulations. 

The city’s new water plant supervisor started work this week. 

Jolisa McDay has 15 years experience.  She sees Flint’s system as a “challenge”.

“I’m diligently working to be sure that we have all that we need,” says McDay.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan has filed a motion to dismiss a potential class action lawsuit in the Flint water crisis. The motion was filed Monday afternoon in federal court. Among other things, it claims the federal court lacks jurisdiction.

The suit is one of more than a half dozen lawsuits filed in state and federal courts seeking damages for Flint residents affected by the city’s lead-tainted tap water.  

Flint’s water became contaminated with lead after a state-appointed emergency manager decided to switch the city’s drinking water source to save money.    

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

By the end of the week, the city of Flint expects to finish removing water service lines from 30 homes.   The service lines are believed to be the source of high lead levels in the drinking water.

The city has been paying for the pipe removal with a $2 million reimbursement from the state.

The city’s original goal was to replace 30 lead service lines by the end of last month, but bad weather hampered progress.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s water crisis is affecting the city’s plans for next year’s budget.

The mayor outlined the city’s financial future to the city council last night.

Flint’s water and sewer fund continues to struggle and other city revenues are flat.

Flint mayor Karen Weaver says that’s why it’s important for city leaders to diligently pursue other sources of revenue.

“We’ve had enough cuts in city services. We don’t need any more cuts in city services,” Weaver told reporters after the special city council meeting.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

By the end of this week, Flint residents might start receiving water and sewer bills again.

In February, Gov. Snyder signed a bill giving the city of Flint $30 million to reimburse city residents for water they couldn’t drink safely for the past few years.

Last month, the city of Flint stopped sending out water and sewer bills. 

The city was having trouble incorporating a state reimbursement that was expected to reduce bills by about two-thirds. The city has been testing changes to its database to add the credit. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Genesee County Clerk is worried that uncertainty about lead service lines in Flint will hurt property values in the future.

The Genesee County clerk’s office has deed records going back to the 1700’s. 

Because of Flint’s water crisis, Clerk John Gleason wants to add some information to future deeds.

He’s proposing adding a note on when lead service lines were replaced.

“We think it’s critical,” says Gleason. “We think it helps stabilize property values. That will stabilize the funding of police and fire departments through property taxes.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A national group says the experience in Flint suggests Michigan should make changes to its emergency manager law.

The Pew Charitable Trusts has been studying how 20 states intervene when local governments are in financial trouble.

“Sometimes emergency managers may be part of a distressed community’s opportunity to reset their finances,” says Mary Murphy, a manager on the Pew’s state and local fiscal health team, “But they’re not always the right solution to every problem … and Flint certainly calls attention to the latter.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Like last week, when he testified before Congress, the Flint water crisis again dominated Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s schedule this week. 

First, the governor outlined a sweeping plan for dealing with the city of Flint’s drinking water crisis.

Then only a few days later, a task force that he appointed put the blame on his office, his appointees and two state agencies for Flint’s lead tainted water.

People in Flint are still lining up for bottled water. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Governor’s Flint water crisis task force is recommending a new investigation into the KWA pipeline project.

Flint’s emergency manager agreed to the switch in 2013 to save money. 

Task Force Co-Chair Ken Sikkema says there are questions about the pipeline project that prompted Flint to turn off the tap from Detroit.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This morning, state lawmakers will resume their hearings into Flint’s water crisis.

State Senator Jim Stamas, R-Midland, chairs the special joint committee looking into what happened to Flint’s water.

He toured Flint’s water plant Monday and met with city residents.

Sen. Stamas says improving communication between state and local governments, as well as Flint residents, is much needed.

“We continue to hear different individuals having different stories. We’re hearing different things from the community,” says Stamas. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County officials say they want the state to cover their costs of responding to the Flint water crisis.

Genesee County has spent more than a million dollars during the past six months dealing with Flint’s tainted drinking water.

County Commission Chairperson Jamie Curtis says the state should pay because the state is largely responsible for the crisis. 

Curtis notes Governor Snyder has promised to fix the problem. He says fixing the problem should include paying the county’s tab.

Flint River and water plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The governor’s Flint water crisis task force is turning its attention to the city’s hot water heaters.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Governor Rick Snyder is standing by Michigan’s emergency manager law. The law was repeatedly criticized at a Congressional hearing into Flint's water crisis on Thursday, and the governor admitted emergency managers failed in Flint.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder was grilled by a congressional committee yesterday investigating the Flint water crisis. 

But the governor also spent some time in Washington D.C. asking for more federal money for Flint.

The governor says he spent some time before the hearing voicing support for a bill that would spend more than $200 million on Flint’s water woes. The bill includes $100 million for Flint’s water infrastructure and more money for children’s health programs. 

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