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Flint

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Consultants say cost restructuring may be needed to make Flint’s water bills more affordable.

Even before Flint water was unsafe to drink without a filter, many people tried to avoid turning on their taps because of the cost.

As Flint’s population dwindled, more of the cost of paying for the system fell on fewer and fewer people.   City officials added to the cost by siphoning off cash to pay for other city needs. Thousands of city residents either fell behind on their bills or had their water service shutoff. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor hopes a new court ruling will allow the city to finally end its trash dispute.

For the third time, the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling preventing Flint mayor Karen Weaver from choosing the city’s garbage hauler.

For months, Weaver wanted the city to hire Rizzo Environmental Services to empty its trash cans. But a majority of the city council wanted to keep the old trash company, Republic Services, and took the mayor to court.

Centers for Disease Control

An outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness  is easing in Genesee and Saginaw Counties.

Many of the dozens of cases of Shigella occurred in Flint, but peaked weeks ago.

Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.  More than a dozen people have been hospitalized, but there have been no fatalities.  

Dr. Eden Wells is the state’s chief medical executive. She says it’s not clear if people’s reluctance to use Flint water for basic hygiene is a factor.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint pastors says it’s time for an end to the city’s dysfunctional government.

Mayor Karen Weaver and a majority of the city council have spent months battling over city contracts and other issues. In protest, the city council recently decided not to vote on the mayor’s resolutions for 30 days.

Members of Flint’s Concerned Pastors for Social Action, who’ve supported Weaver in the past, say it’s time for the bickering to stop. The pastors held a news conference at city hall to express their frustration with the growing rift inside city hall.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is getting millions of dollars from the federal government to help reclaim former auto plant sites.

Buick City and Chevy in the Hole were once major auto production centers in Flint. Now, the two empty industrial sites are slowly being reclaimed.

The $2.5 million grant will help with building a new automotive research center in Flint. Kettering University is developing part of the old Chevy in the Hole site for research into new mobility technology.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint police department is expanding its K9 division.

The specially trained dogs are used to track suspects and find illegal drugs.

Flint police chief Tim Johnson credits his department’s four-legged officers with helping reduce crime in the city. Johnson says the dogs do things two-legged officers can’t.

“Let’s face it, even when it comes to tracking a suspect that has committed a crime, and gotten away before we had a chance to get in pursuit of him, a dog it enables us to track him,” says Johnson.

Mike and Keri Webber
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Today marks one year since health officials in Genesee County warned people living in Flint to stop drinking their tap water.

The water is improving, but Flint’s water is still not safe to drink without a filter. But there are stories of hope on this not-so-pleasant anniversary.

Gary Johnson
Gage Skidmore / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Before U.S. lawmakers left town this week, the House approved a funding bill that includes $170 million for Flint. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about what needs to happen to get the bill passed once lawmakers return after Election Day. They also talk about Donald Trump's fifth visit to Michigan since he was named the Republican presidential nominee, and The Detroit News' surprising endorsement of Libertarian Gary Johnson for president. 


The Detroit News is one of several newspapers that have traditionally endorsed the Republican nominee, but have decided against it this year.
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

It's time for another political roundup with Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas.

This week Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a legal opinion that poorly performing schools in Detroit can be closed at the end of the year, which runs counter to what Governor Snyder’s office has been saying.

The Snyder administration concluded that since the schools are part of a newly created district, they have three years before the state could step in and close the worst-performing schools.

Just another example of the attorney general and the governor butting heads.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Flint city councilman is facing a charge of driving under the influence.  

Councilman Wantwaz Davis is facing a misdemeanor charge following an accident September 3.

Davis refused a breathalyzer at the scene, but prosecutors say a blood test shows he was above the legal limit for alcohol.

Davis claims he crashed his car while he was being chased by two other vehicles.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new garbage hauler will once again be picking up trash in Flint.

On Thursday, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed a lower court order blocking Mayor Karen Weaver from hiring her pick to empty Flint’s trash cans.

Rizzo was picking up Flint trash on Monday. But a judge issued an injunction blocking the mayor from hiring Rizzo without the Flint city council’s approval.

Weaver’s choice of Rizzo Environmental Services has been opposed by a majority of the Flint city council.   The council voted to keep the old contractor on the job.

Congressman Moolenaar said this approval comes at a good time, following the release of a study this month that showed almost twice as many of Flint’s water lines may need to be replaced than originally thought.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

It’s been over a year since the water crisis in Flint became international news.

On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives approved $170 million to go towards replacing lead water pipe lines in Flint.

The Flint funding amendment to the Water Resources Development Act was co-sponsored by Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, and Congressman John Moolenaar, R-Midland.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The U.S. Senate rejected a spending bill on Tuesday to keep the government running through December 9.

A majority of Democrats voted "no" because the bill didn't contain money to help Flint.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about the impact that could have on the upcoming election. They also discuss Donald Trump's Michigan references in the first presidential debate and calls to reduce recidivism from Hillary Clinton and Gov. Rick Snyder.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she won’t “get in the mud” with city council members accusing her of acting like “a dictator”.

Council members say they won’t take up any of the mayor’s proposals for 30 days, as a protest to her recent unilateral decisions.

Weaver questions the council’s actions.

“If you want to hold up the city, if you think that’s in the best interest of the people, then that’s on you,” says Weaver. “I’ve got to stay focused on doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A dispute between Flint’s mayor and city council over who’ll pick up the city’s trash is headed back to court.

For months, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has been at odds with a majority of the city council over trash pick-up. She wants to hire a new company. The council wants the old one to continue.

Last week, Mayor Karen Weaver hired a new company, Rizzo Environmental Services, to empty Flint trash cans. It started Monday. 

Garbage truck in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is asking a judge for an injunction to stop the city’s mayor from cancelling a contract with the city’s trash hauler.

Jan Worth-Nelson told us that high-quality writing and photography have always been staples of "East Village Magazine."
Courtesy of East Village Magazine

This year marks the 40th anniversary of East Village Magazine.

The nonprofit magazine has been bringing community news to people in Flint since 1976, a labor of love for its founder, the late Gary Custer.

East Village Magazine has hung in there to become one of the nation's oldest community media outlets. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about a sudden rule change that takes away Flint's power to sue the state over the city's lead-tainted drinking water crisis.

Lessenberry and Tribou also discuss Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's plan to keep out Syrian refugees and a push to strengthen lead regulations in Michigan before Election Day. 


Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Amidst the headlines about Attorney General Schuette's criminal investigation and charges filed in the Flint water disaster, there is another legal story unfolding.

Four separate civil lawsuits were filed on behalf of thousands of Flint residents between November of last year and this past April. And, as we mark one year since the breadth and depth of the Flint water crisis became known to the world, we decided to measure the progress of these suits.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Days after Flint's mayor served notice the city might sue Michigan over Flint's crisis with lead-tainted water, the state removed the city's ability to sue.

Flint hasn't been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, but the state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Amariyanna Copeny, 9, of Flint, Mich. with Donald Trump
imgur.com

A picture of Donald Trump and "Little Miss Flint" has people on the internet talking.

Amariyanna Copeny, aka Little Miss Flint, and her mother Lulu Brezzell attended Trump's visit to Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint on Wednesday.

Brezzell took the picture of her daughter's encounter with Trump where the Republican presidential candidate is smiling and appears happy, while Amariyanna doesn't.

Donald Trump is lashing out against an African-American pastor who interrupted him Wednesday to chide him for campaigning in her Flint, Mich., church.

"Something was up," Trump told Fox and Friends on Thursday morning, calling the Rev. Faith Green Timmons a "nervous mess."

"I noticed she was so nervous when she introduced me," he said. "When she got up to introduce me she was so nervous, she was shaking. I said, wow, this is kind of strange. Then she came up. So she had that in mind, there's no question."

The plaintiffs say older, poor and impoverished people in Flint aren't getting enough water
Flickr user Daniel Orth / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Should a judge force the government to deliver bottled water, door to door, to everybody in Flint?

The Flint water crisis has gone to federal court: a group of activists say the state’s efforts really aren’t reaching a lot of people – especially older, sick, or low-income people.

There’s several plaintiffs here:  a group called the Concerned Pastors for Social Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and a Flint resident/activist named Melissa Mays.

Mobile farmers market on the road in Flint

Sep 13, 2016
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A traveling farmers market has begun popping up around the City of Flint.

It's a retrofitted 14 passenger bus that's been equipped to carry fresh produce and other healthy foods to Flint neighborhoods.

The project, called Flint Fresh Mobile Market, is the joint effort of several local non-profit organizations and one local business, according to Pam Bailey of the YMCA of Greater Flint.

The groups are the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Flint Food Works, The Local Grocer, Neighborhood Engagement Hub, and YMCA of Greater Flint.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is making progress on replacing lead service lines.

The pipes connect city water mains to homes and businesses. They're a primary source of lead in Flint’s tap water.

Earlier this year, the mayor’s Fast Start program sputtered, with just 33 lines being replaced.

Phase two of the program started again just before Labor Day.  

Michael Hood and Laurie Carpenter, founders of the humanitarian aid group Crossing Water.
Stephanie Kenner / Crossing Water

This weekend the group Crossing Water is calling for volunteers to continue the work they've been doing for a long time now: going door to door helping Flint residents deal with the water contamination in the city. 

Michigan’s Treasury Department deserves blame for its role in the Flint water crisis, according to a new report.
Flickr user Ian Freimuth / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

With the white-hot glare of worldwide publicity fixed on Flint, one might think the city would avoid doing anything to draw more attention. 

Like, for example, failing to pay the man heading the push to replace those lead pipes. 

Retired Brigadier General Michael McDaniel was appointed to lead the effort to rid the city of its lead pipes back in February. Seven months later, he hasn't seen a penny. 

A Flint fire truck.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is hiring nearly three dozen new firemen.

A $3.7 million federal grant is paying to replenish a department that has seen more than 30 retirements and other departures in the past few years.

“Our firefighters have been doing an outstanding job with … so few firefighters on duty,” says Flint Fire Chief Raymond Barton, “Just imagine what they can do if you almost double [the number responding to calls].”

Flint officials hope to fill the new firefighter jobs with city residents over the next six months.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials are concerned the city may not be able to pay for recommended fixes to the city’s water system.

Today, the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee responded to a list of 44 recommendations made by a special task force set up by Gov. Rick Snyder in the early days of the Flint water crisis.

“We trust that those recommendations are putting into motion things that need to be done in order to right-size … the system to be safe and drinkable,” says Harvey Hollins, the man appointed to oversee the FWICC. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More than 15,000 people will be tying on their running shoes tonight and tomorrow in Flint.   

This is the 40th anniversary of the Crim Festival of Races.

But this year’s event will be a little different.  

In response to the city’s water crisis, race organizers redirected nearly $40,000 in prize money for race winners to create free race entries for city residents.

Crim race director Andrew Younger says organizers want to use the festival to promote healthier lifestyles, especially for those directed affected by the water crisis.

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