Flint Mayor Karen Weaver and retired National Guard Brigadier General Michael McDaniel.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor unveils ambitious plan to replace all lead drinking water lines in one year

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says the city plans to team up with technical experts from the Lansing Board of Water and Light to replace all the lead lines in one year. Officials say the Lansing BWL has removed 13,500 lead pipes over the last 12 years at a cost of $42 million. The Flint lead pipe removal project is estimated to cost $55 million. That’s money the city doesn’t have, so Weaver is calling on the state and Congress to make the money available. At a press conference in Flint this mornin...
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Clockwise top left: Lee Anne Walters with her son Garrett, the Flint River, Marc Edwards, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha - Flint EMs Darnell Earley, Jerry Ambrose, Ed Kurtz, and Mike Brown. Center - water at the Flint Treatment Plant.
Steve Carmody, Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Listen to "Not Safe to Drink," a special documentary about the Flint water crisis

What would you do if your tap water turned brown? If it gave your children a rash every time they took a bath? Or worse, what if it made them sick? Listen to our special documentary below, and hear the wild story about how the water in Flint became Not Safe To Drink.
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Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

$90 million. That’s how much money the city of Flint says it needs to cover people’s water bills for the rest of 2016, and to repay the bills people have already received for lead-contaminated water over the last couple of years.

Flint’s city administrator Natasha Henderson crunched the numbers, and says Governor Snyder’s proposal to send $30 million for water bill compensation just doesn’t go far enough.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools barred independent health inspectors from investigating some school buildings Wednesday.

The American Federation of Teachers hired the industrial hygienists to look into alleged environmental hazards.

But, “The district banned all of our inspectors from any of the buildings,” said Bob Fetter, an attorney representing the Detroit Federation of Teachers in a lawsuit over, among other things, dangerous environmental conditions in DPS schools.

Foreclosure sign
Jeff Turner / Michigan Radio

A Detroit woman is fighting to win back her home of 40 years.

Wayne County foreclosed on Mary Sanders' home over about $1,200 in unpaid taxes and fees.

The home was purchased for $2,300 in a tax auction last fall by Chris Meyer, a California-based developer who owns CDM Real Estate, Inc., in Ann Arbor.

Sanders says she was unaware she owed outstanding taxes. Sanders, 80, also qualified for tax exemptions based on her age and income that she says she was not informed about.

Congressman Dan Kildee
Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

The Flint water crisis has come to Capitol Hill as Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., was one of the first to testify today before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The hearing seeks to find out how the city’s drinking water was contaminated with elevated levels of lead.

Shortly after his testimony, Rep. Kildee spoke to Cynthia Canty on Stateside, and said he hopes the facts of the situation are brought to light.

Storem / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Gun owners in Michigan would be able to carry a concealed weapon without a permit under a package of bills introduced this week in  Lansing.

Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, sponsor of one of the bills, said the permit requirement and related fees put an undue burden on lawful gun owners who want to conceal carry for self defense. 

"It's really just making sure that we're protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens," said Runestad. "Criminals will never adhere to any laws."

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A bill meant to clarify what civic and school officials can tell residents about local ballot measures is moving forward in the state House.

School districts and local governments have been bashing a new law that limits what they can say about local proposals 60 days ahead of an election. They’re calling it a “gag order.”

The witnesses called to testify before Congress today.
screen shot YouTube

The House Oversight & Government Reform Committee chaired by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, held a hearing titled, "Examining Federal Administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, Michigan."

Rep. Dan Kildee, D-MI, kicked things off in the first panel laying most of the blame for the crisis on the State of Michigan.

From his testimony:

Toyota

General Motors announced Wednesday it made a record profit of $7.9 billion in 2015. 

CEO Mary Barra told investors she thinks the good times will continue in 2016 and beyond. 

"There's been a lot written about the U.S. industry being at peak levels and that a downturn is imminent," Barra said. "We like many others do not share this view."

GM's record profit means a record profit-sharing check for UAW hourly workers, as well. Many will get $11,000 in the next month or so.

Hillary and Bernie are coming to Flint.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the Democratic presidential candidates will have a debate in Flint in March.

The first of (debates) will be tomorrow night in New Hampshire, to air on MSNBC. The second will be in Flint, Michigan (as Hillary Clinton has requested) in March; the third will be in Pennsylvania in April, and the fourth will be in California in May, a source close to the talks confirms.

Ruth Bengtsen (center), the facilitator of "Talk Time" at the Troy Public Library, sits with some participants of the program.
Photo courtesy of the Troy Public Library

Immigrating to the United States is not easy. Luckily for those who are making a new life in Southeast Michigan and are trying to learn the often difficult language of English, “Talk Time” is available every Saturday morning at the Troy Public Library.

“It’s just a matter of making them feel comfortable here,” says Ruth Bengtsen, a volunteer tutor at Talk Time. “I tell them if they can communicate with whatever words, to do so. Not worry about the grammar and being correct all the time.”

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