News

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Hillary Clinton is bringing her presidential campaign to Flint Sunday.

But her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination is also setting up shop in town this weekend.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will top the Democratic side of Michigan’s presidential primary next month.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is defending how his office responded to an email flagging a potential link between a surge in Legionnaires' disease and Flint's water.

  The Republican governor told The Associated Press Friday that an aide, Harvey Hollins, asked the Department of Environmental Quality to look into a local official's concerns further. He says the DEQ was skeptical of any link last March and "didn't bring it forward" again.

A dive team works on Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Recently released information about the condition of Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac shows some signs of corrosion. But company officials continue to say the twin pipelines running under Lake Michigan are safe.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants all Flint kids, age six and under, to get a blood test for lead by April 1.

That's more than 8,000 kids, according to census data.

"That's a lot of kids to test,” says Dr. Nicole Lurie of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  “Testing is underway. And there are lots of places in this city, whether it's your doctors office, or other sites where you can get tested in the next two months."

The state says it's important to assume all kids who drank Flint water in the last two years were exposed to lead.

Michigan Legislature
Matthileo / Flickr

Former Michigan Teasurer Robert Kleine added another layer to the debate about what caused the Flint water crisis. Decisions made by Flint’s emergency manager led to the water crisis, but Kleine says the EMs aren't given enough tools to fix the problems in these struggling cities.

Gov. Snyder signs a bill that secures $28 million in aid to Flint on January 29, 2016 in Grand Rapids.
Gov. Snyder's office

In the coming months, there will continue to be much debate and discussion over the Flint water crisis. Who made the wrong decisions, and who knew what, when?

What about a discussion about the way Gov. Rick Snyder’s team, and the governor himself, have handled what has been a public relations nightmare?

Matt Friedman, the co-founder of Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications, joined Stateside to give some expert analysis and critique on the public relations side of the water crisis, starting with a missed opportunity by Gov. Snyder and his team.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Gov. Rick Snyder

Organizers at the University of Michigan Law School postponed an event, which drew some controversy, which was to feature Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

The event's page online has been updated to include the following statement:

“The organizers of the event do not wish to distract from efforts devoted to higher priorities in the state and have postponed this event."

Larry Caruso / The News-Herald http://thenewsherald.com/

Liane Shekter-Smith, the former head of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance unit, was fired today. A handful of officials have resigned since the Flint water crisis came to light, but this is the first time anyone’s been fired over it.

Governor Rick Snyder’s office put out a written statement saying Shekter-Smith was “officially terminated” Friday. It does not list the exact reasons for her termination.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a sign on the front door of Blackstone’s Pub and Grill in downtown Flint.  It reads: Water Test: Lead Free.   

Business is down at many Flint restaurants. Their owners blame the city’s drinking water crisis, but there’s a push on now to change people’s minds.

State, county, and local officials held a news conference today to show what’s being done to make sure the water used to prepare food, and the water used for ice is lead free.

Jake Neher / MPRN

The Eastern Michigan University board of regents has voted sever ties to the Education Achievement Authority.

EMU, along with the Detroit Public Schools, was part of the inter-local agreement that made the EAA possible.

The EAA was Gov. Snyder’s key education reform initiative. Launched in 2012, it was supposed to serve as a statewide school reform district.

Jennifer Harely

Michigan’s Chris Bathgate has gotten national acclaim in recent years, touring the country playing music and even being featured in one of NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts.

For the past four years, he’s taken a little hiatus.

He stepped away from performing for a while and tucked away an EP he had, until now.

Chris Bathgate is touring again and is releasing that EP. It’s called Old Factory


A sewage main for the Detroit sewer and water system.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency says communities in the eight Great Lakes states will need close to $80 billion to update and replace wastewater infrastructure in the next 20 years.

The recently released 2012 Clean Watersheds Needs Survey says national waste water management needs total $271 billion. 

That includes general water treatment plant infrastructure, storm water management systems, and aging sewage systems.

Lead pipes
Mitch Barrie / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Flint water crisis has attracted attention and outrage from all over the globe, but unfortunately, the city of Flint isn’t the first to have its population affected by lead.

Due to the age and condition of lead water lines, it’s entirely possible that other cities around the country are currently suffering from elevated lead levels.

The most recent large-scale example of lead poisoning was discovered in 2001 in Washington D.C.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley at a news conference in Flint, Michigan.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley declined to answer questions about calls for Governor Rick Snyder to resign. 

Democrats say the Republican governor should step down because of his handling of the Flint water crisis.

If he did, Calley would become governor.

In Flint today, Calley declined to speculate on Snyder resigning.

“I know the governor is completed committed to seeing this through,” he said.

There’s no question that some of the wilder criticism of Governor Snyder has gone too far. There’s absolutely no evidence the governor, or anybody else, deliberately set out to poison the people of Flint as some sort of racist plot.

Accusations of that sort are inexcusably irresponsible. However, there are legitimate questions about what he knew and when he knew it. And yesterday, new information surfaced proving that, at the very least, the governor’s staff failed to properly inform him.

Governor Snyder speaking at a Flint water press conference on January 27, 2016.
SnyderLive

Gov. Snyder spoke at a morning meeting of the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee.

His remarks come after revelations that one of his top aides knew about an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Flint and its possible links to the Flint River, almost a year before Snyder says he found out about it.

Thetoad / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Legislative hearings are underway on a plan to keep Detroit Public Schools from going broke.

Bills in the state Senate would commit more than $700 million from the state to restructure Michigan’s largest district and help pay down its crushing debt.

Lawmakers serving on the state Senate Government Operations Committee acknowledged repeatedly that the stakes are high.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

New tests suggest filters work even in Flint homes with high levels of lead in the drinking water.

EPA officials say 50 homes have tested at 150 parts per billion of lead, well above the federal action level, and at the filters’ posted limit.

But the EPA’s Mark Durno says tests at 10 of those homes show filters can still remove the lead.

“Even at those higher levels, even the ones that came back still over 150, when you pass them through the filter they are non-detect,” says Durno.

Karen Blaha / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The public might not get to see a new plan to test and track a toxic groundwater plume that's been spreading for years in the Ann Arbor area. 

Pall Corporation is responsible for the dioxane plume. It developed and submitted the monitoring plan to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – and marked it "confidential."

Bob Wagner, chief of the MDEQ's Remediation and Redevelopment Division, said department officials are asking Pall to explain why the company thinks the plan should be treated confidentially.

U.K. police constable Michael Matthews spent a couple weeks shadowing Detroit police officers, performing research for his upcoming book
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio


If you’re a police officer in the United Kingdom, chances are you don’t carry a gun.

In fact, you might go through your entire career and never fire a weapon, a stark contrast to police on this side of the Atlantic.

Michael Matthews is a police constable with the London Metropolitan Police and is now attached to Scotland Yard. He’s just spent time shadowing Detroit police officers, conducting research for a book Matthews is writing about the Detroit Police Department.

Flickr user audreyjm529 | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode / Flickr

A pair of bills aimed at preventing repeat offenses by animal abusers has returned to the Michigan Legislature, having passed through the state Senate. 

One of the bills, sponsored by State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, would prevent anyone convicted of one of a variety of animal abuse charges from purchasing an animal for five years. 

Gov. Snyder at a Flint water press conference in January.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

UPDATED 11:30 AM  Emails released Thursday show a top aide to Gov. Rick Snyder knew about an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Flint and its possible links to the Flint River, almost a year before Snyder says he found out about it.

flickr user Lee Carson / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

A new theater group in Michigan is bringing a fresh approach to funding and producing plays.

It’s called Kickshaw Theatre and its first production, “The Electric Baby,” is at the Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth in Ann Arbor.

Courtesy of Jeanine DeLay

The Michigan High School Ethics Bowl competition is hosted each year by A2Ethics in partnership with the University of Michigan Philosophy Outreach Program.

“It is a judged tournament and includes a philosophical discussion and conversation,” said Jeanine DeLay, president of A2Ethics.

Michigan is one of 17 states and one Canadian province with Ethics Bowls and the program is in its third year.

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The MILegalize Board of Directors announced today that their campaign has collected over 240,000 signatures to legalize cannabis in Michigan. In order to qualify for the November 2016 general election ballot, the petition hopes to collect another 50,000 to comfortably reach the 252,000 required valid signatures.  

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate has voted to spend $30 million to help pay the water bills of Flint residents who may have lead-contaminated water.

The bill approved 37-0 Thursday goes to the House for its consideration.

The city's water supply became contaminated when it switched its source from Detroit to the Flint River in 2014 and didn't use proper corrosion controls.

A bill backed by all members of Michigan's congressional delegation aims to strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency's reporting requirements in the event of drinking water emergencies. 

A press release from Representatives Dan Kildee, D - Flint, and Fred Upton, R - St. Joseph, said the new bill, called the "Safe Drinking Water Act Improved Compliance Awareness Act," would require the EPA to establish better lines of communication between state and federal agencies, as well as the public. 

Last weekend Cindy Estrada took her twin twelve-year-old sons Jason and Jesse to Flint, to do what they could to help. What they saw shook them up. Knocking on doors, delivering water, they met a grandmother who dissolved in tears.

She felt she was responsible for poisoning her grandchildren by bathing them in water that state officials had told the residents was safe.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced yesterday afternoon they’ve sent a “public health strike team” to Flint.

HHS says it has sent in more than a dozen officers with the Commissioned Corps. That’s a uniformed service of public health experts.

They’ll be doing follow-up medical visits with kids whose tests have come back with elevated levels of lead in their blood.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

High levels of lead in their drinking water have Flint residents relying on cases of bottled water for just about everything.  

It may come as no surprise that thousands of those residents have stopped paying their water bills.  

And that presents both questions and problems.    

Last week, Lynna Kaucheck handed a stack of papers to a staffer outside Flint’s mayor’s office.

Pages