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Water faucet
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Detroit's city council will consider a plan to lower the cost of water for the city's poorest residents. The plan is part of a report prepared by the council's Blue Ribbon Panel on Affordability. The panel will present its report Monday. Among the solutions it offers is a tiered rate system that would charge customers lower rates for lower consumption, and higher rates for higher amounts of consumption.

Few words carry the cultural weight of a decade like the 1960s mantra, groovy. It can seem hard to separate the word from the period, but, according to University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan, the ‘60s were not the birthplace of the groove. Nor has the word always meant what we use it to mean today.


Flickr user Pictures of Money / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A non-profit watchdog group says the person who signed a new law doubling campaign contributions was the one who ended up benefiting the most.

In December, 2013, Governor Rick Snyder signed a law that doubles the amount an individual can donate to a statewide election from $3,400 to $6,800.  The law also doubles the amount a political action committee can donate from $34,000 to $68,000.

Dr. Nicole Lurie makes an announcement about lead testing results in Flint. She is leading the federal response in Flint for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State and federal officials say water tests at some homes in Flint are coming in at 150 parts per billion or more for lead. That’s ten times the federal action level of 15 parts per billion.

They say they're still testing homes, and of the 4,000 samples collected since December, 26 had levels at 150 parts per billion or higher. In at least one case, the home’s drinking water tested at 4,000 parts per billion. 

Dr. Nicole Lurie is leading the federal response to the water crisis for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Former Flint mayor Dayne Walling joined us in-studio to discuss the Flint water crisis
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

The Flint water crisis is complicated, and more details are being revealed nearly every day.

Dayne Walling has lived it from the beginning. Walling was the mayor of Flint from 2009 to 2015, the period of time when crucial decisions were made regarding Flint’s water supply.

On Thursday, Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith took to Twitter with Reveal to answer your questions about the Flint water crisis. 

If you missed the Q&A with Smith, who produced the documentary Not Safe to Drink, catch up here: 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

We've finally got the witness list for who's going to be called to testify before Congress next week at a hearing on the EPA's role in the Flint water crisis.

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

Governor Rick Snyder signed a law today that’ll allocate $28 million in emergency funding to address short-term needs stemming from Flint's water crisis.

It'll pay for bottled water, faucet filters, testing kits, additional school nurses, medical treatment, and help with the city's unpaid water bills. There are also funds to hire outside experts to figure out whether Flint's water infrastructure needs to be completely replaced.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In Flint today, top scientists from all three University of Michigan campuses met to discuss future research into the city’s drinking water crisis.

U of M is putting up $100,000 in seed money to help get the research started. University President Mark Schlissel is encouraging scientists from Dearborn and Ann Arbor, as well as Flint, to see what kinds of research opportunities might be worth pursuing in the wake of the crisis. 

U of M-Flint Chancellor Sue Borrego says now’s the time to coordinate work being conducted on Flint’s lead-tainted tap water.

UAW sign.
UAW

Michigan union membership and representation rebounded significantly in 2015 after a sharp decline in 2014, according to federal statistics released this week.

The percentage of all employees with union memberships rose from 14.5 to 15.2 percent.

Ron Bieber is the president of the Michigan chapter of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest federation of unions.

Fred Korematsu, seated center, at a 1983 press conference announcing the reopening of his Supreme Court case
flickr user keithpr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We’ve all been hearing a lot of anti-immigrant rhetoric recently. Everything from banning all Muslims from the country to halting the flow of Syrian refugees.

This week, Karen Korematsu has been in Michigan sharing her father’s story from a similar time of fear and confusion.

The Wolverines taking the field in 2009. They enter this season with 90-to-1 odds at the championship, but fans hope Harbaugh can turn them around.
flickr use Anthony Gattine / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

  ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan hired UConn's Warde Manuel as its new athletic director on Friday, bringing back a well-regarded alumnus who once played football for the Wolverines — just like its coach, Jim Harbaugh.

The 47-year-old Manuel, who had been Connecticut's athletic director since 2012, was given a five-year deal by Michigan. The salary was not immediately disclosed.

By now, everyone in the nation knows about Flint, the aging industrial city that was switched to water that turned out to be toxic, by an emergency manager whose main priority was to balance the books and save money.

But while this wasn’t technically a failure of infrastructure, there is no doubt that in many cities, especially older industrial towns like Flint, things like ancient water and sewer pipes, not to mention roads and bridges, are wearing out.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Now that Stateside is on Fridays, we thought we’d offer a toast to the weekend. Every once in a while Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings will tell us about a Michigan related drink.

The first is a classic cocktail called The Last Word. It was created at the Detroit Athletic Club during Prohibition.

Marc Edwards alerts the people of Flint that they should take precautions when dealing with drinking water in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech University was one of the first the raise the alarm about staggeringly high levels of lead in Flint water.

For that, he was ignored by staff at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

That was last summer. Now, Edwards is returning to Flint, bringing his expertise on water treatment and corrosion to the new Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Council.

Jim Harbaugh pleads his case. Michigan's head coach first arrived in Ann Arbor as a kid in 1973.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Former Michigan quarterback Tom Brady’s team, the New England Patriots, were knocked out of the playoffs last week. But his unlikely friendship with a 43-year old Ann Arbor dishwasher is still going strong. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon heard this story a year ago, and it’s only gotten better since.

user braun / Flickr

Political leaders are lining up to blast a Detroit oil refinery’s plan.

Mayor Mike Duggan was just one of the officials speaking out at a public hearing Thursday night.

Duggan threatened to sue the state if the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approves the Marathon refinery’s plan.

Darwin Bell / Creative Commons

In January 2015, at the same time state officials were downplaying risks to Flint residents over their water, state employees in offices in downtown Flint were supplied with water coolers.

Progress Michigan released emails showing the state began providing state employees in Flint with alternative drinking water in January 2015.

Progress Michigan’s Hugh Madden says it shows a double standard.

Forty-odd years ago, when I was in college, I worked in factories and warehouses, and there was a sign I saw posted in at least one of them:

“Fix the problem, not the blame.”

That was a good idea then, and still is now. Unfortunately, the Flint water crisis seems to have entered a new unhealthy phase that involves the exact opposite.


Office of the Washtenaw County Prosecutor

More than 1,800 untested sexual assault kits from before Oct. 1, 2014,  have been found at law enforcement agencies outside Wayne County, according to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

That number comes from a survey sent by Schuette in September to prosecutors in all Michigan counties except Wayne. 

"Experience shows that testing every kit helps law enforcement solve crimes and stop serial rapists," Schuette said in a prepared statement.

CDC / CDC

Non-medical vaccination waiver rates for school kids are down significantly since this time last year.

Following a new state law starting in January 2015, the number of families obtaining vaccination waivers for their child is down 39% compared to a year ago – that’s roughly 8,000 fewer waivers this year, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The new law requires parents seeking a waiver to first meet with a health department official for a consultation.

Flint residents continue to receive bills for contaminated, unsafe water.
flickr user Bart / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state Senate today unanimously approved $28 million to help Flint with its water crisis. Three million of that has been set aside to “aid with utility/unpaid bills issues.”

Whether or not to pay for water they’re unable to use has been a big question for Flint residents, whose water rates are among the highest in Michigan. Just today residents and activists protested at Flint City Hall, calling for a moratorium on water bills.

IFCAR / Wikipedia/public domain

Ford Motor Company made a record $7.4 billion in 2015, largely on the basis of profits in North America and despite a very big loss of $832 million in South America.

Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks says the automaker also made a record pre-tax profit of $765 million in the Asia Pacific region – and the automaker returned to profitability in Europe for the first since 2011.

UAW hourly workers will share in the good news.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state is launching an effort in Flint to recycle the tens of thousands of water bottles and filters pouring into the city. By one estimate, only about 16% of Flint residents routinely recycle.  

The city’s lead-tainted drinking water crisis is creating another problem with what to do with donated water filters and bottles.

State and local officials are teaming up with local companies to give Flint residents more ways to dispose of used water bottles and filters.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Many people in Flint are not paying their water bills these days.

Now there’s a push to make sure they don’t have to.

Lynna Kaucheck with Food & Water Watch handed a stack of petitions to Flint city administrator Natasha Henderson this morning in the hallway outside the mayor’s office.

“Calling on you to issue a moratorium on drinking water bills,” said Kaucheck.

The online petition asking the city to stop charging for water drew 21,000 signatures in a day. 

Kaucheck says the city should stop charging for water people can’t afford or drink. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Federation of Teachers, with support from the American Federation of Teachers, and several parents filed a lawsuit Thursday against Detroit Public Schools and its state-appointed emergency manager, Darnell Earley.

The suit is asking the court to compel DPS and Earley to repair all existing building code violations, and for the creation of an appropriately funded capital plan that will bring schools up to "21st century standards."

Looking south on Woodward Ave
flickr user Sean Marshall / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

We may be living in the 21st century, but the transportation infrastructure in Southeast Michigan is lagging way behind.

The number of citizens relying on public transport to get in and out of Detroit for business or pleasure is on the rise, thanks in part to the millennial generation's growing tendency to forgo car ownership in favor of alternative means of transit.

In his story for HOUR Detroit, Patrick Dunn digs into a number of projects that aim to transform the way we get around Metro Detroit.

user Bjoertvedt / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Governor Snyder will not be called to testify at a Congressional hearing next week looking into the Flint water crisis.

Instead, the spotlight will be on the EPA.

On Thursday, the Republican leadership of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced the hearings would be focused on “Examining the Federal Administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, Michigan.”

Cory Morse / The Grand Rapids Press

Rockford City Manager Michael Young died Wednesday at the age of 48. According to a release, Young suffered a stroke on Monday and was then hospitalized on Tuesday.  

In the close-knit community of Rockford, Michigan, people were shocked and saddened as the news quickly spread. 

"It's a sad day here in Rockford," Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Southwick told WZZM13,  "We've lost our leader." 

Courtesy of Platinum Equity

Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores has pledged $10 million to help Flint. 

The Platinum Equity CEO announced Thursday he is launching a fundraising campaign to raise money for the city's various needs as it deals with the water contamination crisis. 

“The private sector needs to play role here, and I am committed to helping drive that effort. I grew up in Flint, my family has strong roots there, and I believe in the people who live there,” Gores said in a press release. 

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