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Genesee County

Recall organizer Alex Harris (right at podium) could not convince a panel of Genesee County officials to approve his petition language against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (left)
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An effort to recall Flint’s mayor has been derailed.

It didn’t take long for the Genesee County Board of Electors to dispatch the petition, maybe two minutes.

The extremely short meeting ended after recall organizer Alex Harris admitted he didn’t have evidence of his first claim against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver that she didn’t pay her water bill.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the Genesee County Election Board  will decide whether to approve language for a recall petition against Flint mayor Karen Weaver.

Organizer Alex Harris has run recall efforts against two previous Flint mayors, Woodrow Stanley and Don Williamson. Stanley was recalled.  Williamson stepped down before a recall vote.

Harris himself has run unsuccessfully for seats on the Flint city council and school board.  

McLaren Hospital
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County has recorded its 15th case of Legionnaires Disease of 2016.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the latest case of the serious respiratory disease was reported in a male patient at Flint’s McLaren Hospital.

A Genesee County health official says the man is recovering from major surgery unrelated to Legionnaires. 

None of the Legionnaires cases in Genesee County reported this year have been fatal.

Genesee County Jail
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A jury has awarded nearly $37 million to a man who was arrested for drunken driving and taken to the Genesee County jail where he was pepper-sprayed, hit with a stun gun, and restrained face-down with a hood over his face.

The verdict in favor of William Jennings was returned Thursday in Detroit federal court. He sued five former or current county officers, accusing them of excessive force after an arrest in 2010.

More than half of the multimillion-dollar verdict came in the form of punitive damages.

Centers for Disease Control

State health officials have asked for help from the Centers for Disease Control to investigate shigella outbreaks in Saginaw and Genesee Counties.

Shigella is a highly infectious bacteria that causes gastro-intestinal illness. 

According to Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan's Chief Medical Executive, the State Epidemiologist made the request last Friday. The CDC investigative team arrived today to map the bacteria's spread, and to look into possible risk factors and causes.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A printer’s error is forcing Genesee County to order 300,000 new ballots for next month’s election.

The original ballots contained mistakes that prevent the ballots from being tabulated. For example, problems with the timing track on the side of the form will prevent a computer from reading the ballot. 

County Clerk John Gleason is concerned some absentee voters have already mailed back defective ballots. He says new ballots will be sent out.

“There’s no excuse,” says Gleason, “This is the most critical instrument in our democracy … our vote.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County is looking for people who are willing to open their homes to foster children.

The number of children in Genesee County in foster care remains stable.  But the number of foster homes has dropped significantly during the past few years.

Mike Milks is Genesee County’s Child Welfare director. He says the stress associated with Flint’s lead tainted drinking water is a factor for some.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Local, state and federal health officials are joining forces to reduce the chances of another Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County.

The agencies are starting a pilot program to educate the managers of large buildings and hospitals on how they can reduce the spread of Legionella bacteria in their water systems. 

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

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

Flint’s plan to recover from its drinking water problems goes to the Genesee County commission Monday morning.

The city’s use of the Flint River for its drinking water damaged the city’s pipes, and exposed thousands of people to high levels of lead.  The city switched back to Detroit water last fall.  But city residents are still being told to use water filters.  

Mayor Karen Weaver is asking the county commission to give its ok to Flint’s plan to fix the problem.

A demolition in Flint.
Genesee County Land Bank

Genesee County has set aside $1 million to demolish blighted tax-foreclosed properties in the out-county area.

The city of Flint, which is the county seat, has seen much of the focus of the area's anti-blight efforts in recent years.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Recent studies have shown blood lead levels in Flint children have doubled, even tripled in some parts of town, since the city started using the Flint River as its drinking water source. 

So today Genesee County officials declared a public health emergency.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The ACLU is pressuring a Catholic hospital in Genesee County to change its policy on tubal ligations.

Jessica Mann is scheduled to undergo a Ceasarean section next month. It will be her third child, and she hopes her last.

Mann has a medical condition that would make having another pregnancy potentially fatal. But Genesys Regional Medical Center is refusing to give her doctor permission to perform a tubal ligation after Mann’s C-section.

DonaldJTrump.com

A Republican Party fundraiser in Michigan featuring Donald Trump is still scheduled despite his controversial remarks about a former prisoner of war.

The billionaire businessman-turned-presidential candidate angered many when he questioned whether U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is actually a war hero.

McCain was captured by the North Vietnamese and spent five years as a POW. He says Trump owes an apology to  POW's

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

On a five-to-four vote, the Flint city council OK'd merging the city’s 68th District Court with Genesee County’s 67th District Court.

The council held a special meeting Monday to consider the court consolidation proposal.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council holds a special meeting this afternoon to discuss a plan to merge two local district courts. 

68th District Court covers the city of Flint. 67th District Court covers the rest of Genesee County. 

Under the merger plan, the 68th District would become a division of the 67th District. The merger would save the city of Flint more than $8 million over the next ten years. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is rejoining Genesee County’s 911 system.

Since 1997, the city has been using its own operators to handle emergency calls, but the city’s system is aging and out-of-date.

Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley says the plan is to fold Flint into the county’s 911 system by the middle of next year.

“Our citizens will have access to the most up to date features of next-generation 911, which will include the ability to send text or photos to 911 and other more cutting edge technology,” says Earley.

Gaurav Pandit

Feral cats have become a serious problem in Genesee County.

The cats can be seen all over the county's towns.

Cats can reproduce up to four times a year with an average litter of six. So officials and animal activists have been pushing residents to spay and neuter their cats. 

Jody Maddock is the program director for Adopt-a-Pet in Fenton. She said the problem has really gotten out of hand.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A handful of Michigan county health department leaders say “health” should play a bigger role in local decision making. 

Health department officials from Wayne, Genesee, Ingham, Kent, Kalamazoo, Saginaw and Washtenaw counties met in Lansing this past week to strategize how to change the way local governments do pretty much everything. 

Linda Vail is Ingham County’s Chief Health Officer.   She says city and county leaders often fail to consider the potential effects their decisions will have on their community’s health.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of Genesee County teenagers just completed a program that may help them land a summer job.

Teen Quest gives 14 to 19 year olds a chance to learn a variety of skills, from how to apply for a job to how to behave in the workplace.

Rhetta Hunyady is the Vice President of Education and Training for the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.   She says it’s very important for young people to learn workplace skills.

“Teens who generally don’t have any work experience, while they’re a teen, really don’t fare well later in life,” says Hunyady.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Consumers Energy is suspending plans to start building a $700 million power plant in Genesee County.

The utility announced today it will instead buy an existing Jackson County power plant for $155 million.

“You know, frankly, we can look out our windows at our headquarters at Consumers Energy, look east, and see the steam when that plant is operating, which is quite often,” says Dan Bishop, a Consumers spokesman.

The Jackson County power plant has been generating electricity for a decade. As a merchant power plant, it sold electricity on the wholesale market.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Flint may soon propose new regulations on pawn shops and scrap yards.

Flint police chief James Tolbert says he’s concerned about “the crime behind the crime” of burglaries in the city.

He’s looking at a new ordinance for city pawn shops and scrap yards.

“We’re working on a way where we can better monitor what goes in and goes out,” says Tolbert, though he declined to say exactly how that would be done.

Tolbert says he’s also been talking with other Genesee County chiefs of police about the problem.

Slow enrollment for Obamacare in rural counties

Jan 6, 2014

People in rural areas trying to enroll for health insurance as part of the new Affordable Care Act can face special challenges. Registration must happen online, and many people in Michigan’s rural counties do not have a home computer or access to the Internet. 

catster

Genesee County Commissioners decided today to resume euthanizing dogs and cats at the county animal shelter.

Less than two months ago, the county decided to institute a ‘no-kill’ policy at the shelter.  

Under the old policy, dogs and cats would only be “put-down” with a written order from a veterinarian or a court.   But shelter officials say the shelter’s animal population has soared since the policy began.   

The new policy will give the shelter broader latitude to euthanize dogs and cats.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Federal, state and local government officials are meeting with Genesee County business leaders today to discuss ways to build up the county’s manufacturing industry.

After decades of decline, Genesee County’s manufacturing base has been growing since the recession.

Much of the growth has been tied to the auto industry.

Janice Karcher is with the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. She says Flint-area manufacturers are about more than cars and trucks.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A quarter billion dollar water pipeline project broke ground today near the Lake Huron shoreline.

The source of the water was on the minds of the people at the groundbreaking, including Pastor Floyd Fuller who gave the invocation.

““Drink from your own cistern.   Running water from your own well,” Fuller said, quoting from the Book of Proverbs. 

The well in this case is not a well but a lake.  Lake Huron to be specific. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The man leading the effort to clean up and dispose of General Motors’ vacant properties says more potential buyers are showing interest.

Elliot Laws is the Administrative Trustee of the RACER Trust.   RACER stands for “Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response.”  The trust was created during GM’s bankruptcy.

Laws says interest in the old GM plant sites is rising along with the economy.

“There’s a lot of cash out there for people to invest,” says Laws, “They’ve been holding onto trying to see what’s going to happen.”

Lilly the deer's Facebook page

State wildlife officials have agreed to let a Genesee County family keep its pet deer.

Lilly the deer was born shortly after her mother was struck and killed in an auto accident.   

A family took the animal in and for the past five years has raised it as a pet.  Lilly has the run of the house and the fenced-in yard.

But it’s against the law in Michigan to keep a deer as a pet. After receiving a complaint, the Department of Natural Resources tried to remove Lilly from the home.

National Weather Service

Tornado conditions merely amounted to warnings in Washtenaw County, but a tornado did touch down in Atlas township last night.

Ron Fonger, of MLive.com reported that the majority of the damage was probably caused by small twisters as well:

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