Steve Carmody

Mid Michigan Reporter/Producer

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting. During his two and a half decades in broadcasting, Steve has won numerous awards, including accolades from the Associated Press and Radio and Television News Directors Association. Away from the broadcast booth, Steve is an avid reader and movie fanatic.

Q&A

What person, alive or dead, would you like to have lunch with? Why?
My wife. She’s the best company I’ve ever had, or expect to, over lunch.
 
How did you get involved in radio?
I started listening to all news radio when I was about 8 years old. In my teens, when other kids were listening to rock stations, I was flipping between KYW and WCAU in Philadelphia. I was fascinated listening to the news developing and changing through the day. When the time came to decide on what I wanted to study at college, I was drawn to broadcasting and journalism. I spent most of my four years in college at the campus radio station, including two years as news director.  
 
What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
I read (usually two books at a time, one book at work, another at home) and I go to see a lot of movies (about 50 or more a year)
 
What has been your most memorable experience as a reporter/host/etc.?
Covering the federal building bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995 was a remarkable experience. It was going to be a quiet day newswise. Not much happening. I was at the state capitol to cover a rally. The earth shattering explosion changed that. I spent the next ten hours wandering around downtown, filing reports to my home station and NPR. For the next six weeks, it was literally the only story my station covered.
 
What one song do you think best summarizes your taste in music?
Zilch. I don’t listen to music.
 
What is your favorite program on Michigan Radio? Why?
This American Life. It’s the best story telling on radio.
 
What's a hidden talent you have that most people don’t know about?
I have no talent. Anyone who knows me well would agree.
 
What is one ability or talent you really wish you possessed?
The ability to cook.
 
What do you like best about working in public radio?
I like having the time to tell a story. I’ve grown tired over time working in commercial radio of trying to tell a complex story in 25 seconds or less. You can tell some stories in less than 25 seconds. But often, a truly interesting story needs a minute, 3 minutes or more to explain.
 
If you could interview any contemporary newsmaker, who would it be?
No one really.
 
Is there a T.V. show you never miss? If so, which one?
The Amazing Race. As a fan and a former contestant, I just enjoy the thrill of seeing different parts of the world.
 
What would your perfect meal consist of?
A light appetizer. A good fish course. A well done steak. A pleasant dessert. A fine 20 year tawny port.
 
What modern convenience would it be most difficult for you to live without?
The computer. It has changed my personal and professional life.
 
What are people usually very surprised to learn about you?
That I not only watch Reality TV, but that I’ve been a Reality TV star (retired).
 
What else would you like people to know about you?
I enjoy living in Jackson, MI. So many Michigan cities and towns are struggling these days. Jackson’s no different. But, the people there are forging ahead. Jackson is also committed to being a community. 

Ways to Connect

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are efforts underway to help Flint children exposed to lead in their drinking water.

There’s also an effort to see if those interventions are working.

Children exposed to high levels of lead benefit from better nutrition and early education. A new collaboration between Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital will try to find the best ways to do that.

Aron Sousa is the interim director of the MSU College of Human Medicine. He says intervention is good, but “the key thing is figuring out if your intervention is working.”

Members of the Michigan National Guard preparing to help residents in Flint get access to clean drinking water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More Michigan National Guardsmen are on their way to help relief efforts in Flint.  

But not as many as you might expect.

Lead contamination has made Flint’s tap water undrinkable. The Michigan State Police, the American Red Cross and other groups are augmenting local efforts to distribute cases of bottled water, water filters and lead testing kits.

This week, Gov. Rick Snyder activated the Michigan Army National Guard. 

But don’t expect to see hundreds of guardsmen flooding the streets of Flint.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan National Guardsmen are in Flint today.

They’re there to pass out bottled water and filters to residents. That’s because for more than a year, the city’s tap water has been unsafe to drink.      

Numerous missteps by government agencies allowed the city’s water to become contaminated with lead, and many residents say they no longer trust the governor to fix the problem.

Tuesday afternoon, about a dozen children were sitting at a table in their school gymnasium piecing together snowflakes in an arts and crafts project.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

Members of the Michigan Army National Guard are helping distribute cases of water and filters to people in Flint.

 

  

Governor Snyder activated the guard yesterday to assist with Flint’s drinking water crisis. The first half-dozen guardsmen arrived Wednesday morning.

 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Researchers from Virginia Tech announced yesterday they are ending their investigation into Flint’s lead tainted water.

Virginia Tech sounded the alarm last summer when their tests turned up high lead levels in Flint drinking water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State troopers and volunteers are knocking on doors in Flint, handing out bottled water, water filters, and lead testing kits.

The city and state have been offering the water and kits for months. But many people say it’s difficult for them to travel, especially during the winter.

Lt. David Kaiser says the door-to-door outreach is part of a larger effort to help people in Flint get the clean water they need.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder continues to defend himself against questions about when he knew the extent of the Flint water crisis.

On Monday, the governor was in Flint to announce the formation of a joint city-state panel to examine the city’s water crisis and ways to address it. 

The Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee will be composed of state officials with emergency management, environmental quality, health and human services, and other state agencies. Flint’s mayor and Genesee County officials will also be on the committee.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, state and local efforts are being stepped up to help people in Flint have clean water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The sister of a Michigan man held in an Iranian prison for four years will be a guest at Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Last year, Flint Congressman Dan Kildee’s guest seat at the annual speech by the president was left empty as a protest against the continued imprisonment of Amir Hekmati. 

This year, his sister Sarah will fill the seat at the State of the Union. 

Hekmati was arrested on spying charges during a trip to Tehran to visit relatives four years ago.    He denies the charges.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Flint museum is opening a new exhibit later this month that will take a close look at the city’s drinking water crisis.

When Sloan Museum executive director Todd Slisher booked the national traveling exhibit “Water’s Extreme Journey” nearly two years ago, he had no idea of the crisis that would soon grip Flint.

The city’s disastrous switch to the Flint River ended up damaging the city’s water system and led to health concerns.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Congress could take up legislation this month to require a federal standard for labeling genetically modified food.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says the public has a right to know that the food their families are eating contains genetically modified organisms or GMO’s.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A group of protesters angry at Governor Rick Snyder gathered in front of Flint city hall Friday.

People holding signs saying “Fire Rick Snyder” and “Arrest Snyder,” along with one protester wearing a giant Rick Snyder papier-mache head and prison stripes, made their displeasure with Michigan’s governor clear. 

Monica Lewis-Patrick with We The People of Detroit says she believes something criminal has happened with Flint water.  But she says the problem is deeper.

Gov. Rick Snyder's office

Governor Rick Snyder says he would like to give Flint’s mayor "more authority." 

Flint has been under state oversight since 2011, when Snyder appointed the first of four emergency managers to run the city.   The last emergency manager left in April 2015.

But this week, after meeting with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver about the city’s drinking water crisis, Snyder suggested it’s time to move closer to local control.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State emergency center officials say they are working to better understand what has been done and what needs to be done in Flint.  

The governor declared Flint’s lead tainted drinking water a ‘state of emergency’ this week. The city had switched from Detroit water to water from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money, and did not reverse its decision until October.

State officials opened the Emergency Operations Center in Lansing to reporters on Thursday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Officials are now going door to door in Flint handing out water filters.

Genesee County reserve sheriff’s deputies started knocking on doors just after 10 am in a neighborhood on the city’s north side.  If someone answers, deputies  hand out bottled water and filters to homeowners who need them. 

While thousands of water filters have been handed out, many people in Flint are still not using them to filter lead from their drinking water.

Sheriff Robert Pickell says the homes in this neighborhood are some of the oldest in town, with some dating back to 1900. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Common Cause, a political watchdog group, is calling on Governor Snyder to release all documents related to Flint’s water crisis.

The governor’s office is not covered by Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed off on a state of emergency declaration for the city of Flint. It moves the city closer to getting help to recover from its drinking water crisis. 

“The health and welfare of Flint residents is a top priority and we’re committed to a coordinated approach with resources from state agencies to address all aspects of this situation,” Snyder said in a written statement.

The Flint River and the Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has declared a state of emergency in Genesee County related to lead contamination of the city of Flint’s water supply.

It’s been three months since the state first acknowledged lead contamination in the city’s water supply. The scandal cost the state’s top environmental regulator his job, and the U.S. Justice Department has joined an Environmental Protection Agency investigation into what happened.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s contaminated drinking water is now the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

Gina Balaya is a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Michigan. She confirmed the investigation today. 

“(The U.S. Attorney’s office) is working closely with the EPA” on the investigation "to address the concerns of Flint residents," says Balaya.  

She declined to comment further on the investigation.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint may soon resume shutting off water to delinquent customers.

Later this month, Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Archie Hayman will hand down a ruling finding Flint water customers are due a small rollback in their rates. In August, the judge ruled the 35% rate hike in 2011 was not done properly.

But the ruling will also allow the city to shut off water to people who owe money dating back to 2012.  

Rep. Phil Phelps official website

A state lawmaker wants to make it a felony for state employees to manipulate data in official reports.

State Representative Phil Phelps, D-Flushing, says there’s no law on the books to punish state employees who intentionally distort data to change the outcome of an official report.   

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s state of emergency declaration is on its way to the governor’s office.

The Genesee County Commission approved the declaration for the city of Flint Monday.

The declaration is tied to elevated lead levels in the city’s drinking water.

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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan State University economist predicts Michigan’s economy will continue to grow in 2016.

Economist Charles Ballard says he’s “cautiously optimistic” about next year.

Ballard says the growing economy could pull more people into the workforce.

“There is at least some room for further tightening of the labor market. It probably wouldn’t come in the form of a lower unemployment rate,” says Ballard, “But perhaps we can lure back in the labor market some of the people who have dropped out.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People in Flint will soon be able to do something they haven’t been able to do in 25 years. Skate on an ice rink downtown.

The University of Michigan-Flint is installing a new cooling system at the old outdoor ice rink by the Flint River.  They plan to open it to the public January 2nd.

The university has owned the property since 1990, but liability concerns kept the rink closed.

University officials hope the ice rink will enhance the student and community experience downtown.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan cities are getting a little help dealing with financial problems.

Michigan State University’s new Local Government Finance and Policy Center is intended to be a resource for cities. The center will offer workshops on fiscal sustainability and research municipal governance.  The center will also produce an annual fiscal health report on each of Michigan’s cities, counties and townships.

Director Eric Scorsone says mounting legacy costs are the biggest challenge facing most communities in Michigan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a push in Congress to reverse some efforts to limit voter access to the polls.

Michigan and other states have taken steps to limit early voting options and access to absentee ballots.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) says Congress should take steps to protect voter access.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a new effort to make fresh fruits and vegetables available in downtown Flint.

It’s not easy to find fresh produce in Flint. But that’s a market that Franklin Pleasant hopes to fill.

“The climate has changed in terms of full service grocery stores in town,” says Pleasant. “Quite a few have closed in the past couple of … years and we want to fill that gap. So that’s why we’re here and that’s why we know it will work.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

'Twas the weekend after Christmas, and all through the mall, shoppers armed with gift cards are expected to make a big haul. 

This is expected to be another big weekend for Michigan retailers.

Tom Scott with the Michigan Retailers says he expects many people will quickly transition from Friday’s Christmas celebration to making returns and cashing in gift cards Saturday and Sunday.   

He says for store owners, gift cards are more than just a stocking stuffer.

“(Gift cards have) changed the way we think about the holiday season,” says Scott. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials are spending the holidays finalizing a proposal that asks for help dealing with the city’s water crisis.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has been meeting with Genesee County officials to work out what needs to be part of the city’s emergency response plan.

“Sometimes we can’t put numbers to things.  But we can give estimates of what we believe it to be,” says Weaver. “So what we’re doing is identifying the resources that we need, the cost of those resources, and making sure we have a complete document to give.”

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