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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

A Flint firefighters teaches adult volunteers how to escape from a smoky home.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Next week, people in Flint, Lansing and Royal Oak will vote on renewing public safety millages.

Flint police officers are spending their off-duty hours handing out information to promote the vote. Last night, firefighters showed volunteers how to escape a smoky fire, while city officials talked up the millage renewal.  

The renewal vote could be the difference between Flint hiring new firefighters or layoffs.

There is less than a week before Michigan voters go to the polls.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

High-profile allies for the Clinton and Trump campaigns will be in Michigan Wednesday. 

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT, will be stumping for votes for Democrat Hillary Clinton in Kalamazoo and Traverse City. Clinton will need Sanders' supporters. They gave him the win in Michigan’s presidential primary earlier this year.

Donald Trump Jr. has stops planned at college campuses in East Lansing and Allendale.  His sister, Ivanka will be meeting with a businesswomen's group in Troy on Wednesday evening.  

The last pipes for the KWA were laid earlier earlier this year.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Federal, state, and Flint officials sat down behind closed doors at city hall on Monday to discuss ways to respond to questions about the city’s planned switch to a new water source.

Possibly next year, the city will connect with the recently completed Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline.   The city is committed to switching to the KWA pipeline as its new primary source of drinking water. 

A glass being filled with tap water.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint-area charities are concerned that hundreds of people may be forced out of their apartments as the city tries to get commercial water customers to pay their delinquent bills.

Flint is under pressure from the state to get more of the city’s water customers up to date on their bills.

The city has put many commercial customers on notice that their water could be cut off soon. That includes large apartment complexes.

The United Way’s Jamie Gaskin says charities may have trouble finding enough places for displaced tenants to stay.

Flint's next phase of the Fast Start program will target 788 homes during the next two months.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor hopes to replace the city’s one thousandth lead service line by the end of the year.

Mayor Karen Weaver says phase 3 of her Fast Start pipe replacement program will target nearly 800 homes in the next two months. That’s on top of the more than 200 pipes replaced to date.

Pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains are a prime source of the lead contamination in Flint’s tap water. The city has enough money to replace another 4,000 pipes next year.

But Weaver says Flint needs more help, especially from the federal government.

Artist's conception of proposed Lansing casino.
Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Next month’s presidential election is causing some concern for those backing a proposed casino in downtown Lansing.

More than two years ago, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians asked the U.S. Interior Department to take some land in Lansing into trust for the tribe. 

The tribe wants to build a casino on land next to Lansing’s convention center, but nothing can happen until the Interior Department decided whether or not to take the land into trust.

Doctor's office
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tuesday, Michiganders will start signing up for health insurance coverage under the next round of Obamacare.

Many will find fewer choices and more expensive policies to choose from.

Nearly 400,000 Michiganders got health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace. But in Michigan, the next round of Obamacare is offering fewer choices and a nearly 17% increase in rates next year.

Back in March, boxes containing testing kits filled a room in the Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Researchers from Virginia Tech University will be back in Flint this week to test the city’s drinking water.

This is the fourth and possibly final time Virginia Tech researchers will be in town collecting water samples and testing them for lead.

The first round of tests conducted a year and a half ago revealed much higher than acceptable levels of lead in the tap water. Those test results helped spur the decision to switch Flint back to Detroit water, after the city spent 18 months getting its drinking water from the Flint River. 

Campaign signs stacked against a wall in a union office.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Political parties are gearing up their “get-out-the-vote” efforts as the 2016 election enters its final days.

Unions have been a critical part of the Democratic Party’s get out the vote efforts for decades. This past week, union leaders held a get out the vote rally in Flint.

Becky Pringle is the vice president of the National Education Association. She says “they have work to do” convincing union families to support Hillary Clinton.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson spoke to a small but enthusiastic crowd in Detroit last night.

“Don’t vote for Trump ... Don’t vote for Clinton,” shouted Johnson to several hundred supporters gathered at Cobo Center.  

The crowd cheered Johnson’s calls for eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, dismantling the Department of Homeland Security and pardoning Edward Snowden. 

Before the rally, Gary Johnson told reporters his “small government” message is “resonating” with voters --  at least the ones his campaign is able to reach.

Homeless man
SamPac / creative commons

The last residents in Lansing’s homeless hotel are moving out today.

The owners of the Magnuson hotel announced in August that they were evicting more than a hundred people. The owners said they were closing the south side hotel so it could be renovated. They gave the residents two weeks to move out.

“Most of the people have some type of disability or no jobs,” says Joan Jackson Johnson, Lansing’s director of Human Relations and Human Services. 

Volunteers learn the ropes of poll watching during a meeting this week in Flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Training is underway this week in Michigan for people planning to be poll watchers during next month’s election.

Complaints of rigged voting and voter intimidation have spurred people to volunteer as poll watchers.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s elected leaders once again have the ability to file a lawsuit against the state for its handling of the city’s water crisis.

Today, the city’s state-appointed oversight board reversed a policy that effectively blocked the city from filing lawsuits.  

Back in March, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver filed a notice with the court, saying the city was potentially looking at suing the state of Michigan for decisions and mistakes made by state employees that led to Flint’s drinking water crisis.

Oscoda residents talk with government officials about the PFC plumes contaminating their wells.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Residents of a northern Michigan town are getting briefed today on a threat to their drinking water.

For decades, fire crews trained at Wurtsmith Air Force Base not far from Lake Huron. But while the base closed more than 20 years ago, the chemicals used to extinguish the flames continue to seep into nearby wells and streams.

The plumes of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) have been migrating from the former air force base into surrounding neighborhoods and the Au Sable River. PFCs have also been detected in fish in Lake Huron.

Garbage truck in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As expected, the Flint City Council last night approved a multi-million dollar, one-year contract for the city’s trash pick-up.

The city’s state oversight board is expected to give the deal its approval. The contract would pay Republic Services $3.7 million, and carries an option for an additional year.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver wanted to use a different company, Rizzo Environmental Services for the city's trash pickup. Councilman Scott Kincaid fought against Weaver to keep Republic Services on the job.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

You may want to fill up your gas tank. 

Michigan gasoline prices dipped below $2 a gallon in many parts of the state. 

But rising wholesale prices are expected to boost pump prices over the next 24 hours.

Patrick DeHaan is with GasBuddy.com. He says gas prices across the Midwest fell recently as a Chicago area refinery ramped up production after being down for unscheduled maintenance.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is expected to vote on a new trash pick-up contract Monday.

For weeks, two competing garbage hauling companies have been emptying Flint’s trash cans.   

Flint’s mayor and city council spent months arguing over which company should get the contract. A majority of the city council wanted to keep Republic Services. Mayor Karen Weaver insisted her choice, Rizzo Environmental Services, had a lower bid.

After weeks of court ordered negotiations, city leaders agreed to give Republic Services a one-year contract.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s little more than two weeks left before the November 8 election.

Recent polls have shown Democrat Hillary Clinton holding a double-digit lead in Michigan.

Stephen Neuman is the senior adviser for the Michigan coordinated campaign. 

He says they are now looking to use those poll numbers to help Democrats down the ballot.

“We are working to include targeted House races, both targeted state House and congressional races, on the various scripts we use both on the phones and at the doors,” says Neuman.

FLICKR USER MATT PICIO / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Next month, voters in four southeastern counties will decide if they want to pay a new tax to fund a regional public transportation plan.

The 20-year transit millage will generate about $3 billion to pay for expanded bus service and light-rail train connections. The 1.2 mill tax rate would cost the average taxpayer about $120 annually.

Ned Staebler is with ‘Citizens for Connecting our Communities”. He says the campaign is stepping up its efforts in the final weeks before the election.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Relatives of a man fatally shot by a Dearborn police officer have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officer and city.

  The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report the $10 million suit was filed Friday in federal court. It alleges the officer used excessive force and violated the rights of 35-year-old Kevin Matthews during the Dec. 23 arrest.

  Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad told The News he hadn't seen the lawsuit and declined comment. The Associated Press sent an email seeking comment from city spokeswoman Mary Laundroche.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Next month, voters in Traverse City will decide if they should have a say whether there will be taller buildings in town.

The proposed charter change on the November 8th ballot would require a public vote on plans for buildings taller than 60 feet.

Jay Zelenock is with the group Save Our Downtown.  He says they are not opposed to new tall buildings.  But Zelenock says people in Traverse City are worried about the aesthetic of their community.  He also worries about tax breaks given to developers.

EPA Emergency response vehicle in Flint.
EPA

The EPA’s Inspector General says the agency should have issued an emergency order in Flint, Michigan seven months before it did.

The Inspector General’s investigation into the Flint water crisis found EPA Region 5 had enough information and the authority to issue an emergency order to protect Flint residents from lead-contaminated water as early as June 2015.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city leaders have reached a tentative deal to end their trash dispute.

Two companies have been picking up Flint garbage for weeks, as the mayor and city council disagreed on which company should have the multi-million-dollar contract.

But last week, the mayor’s choice, Rizzo Environmental Services, was linked to a federal corruption investigation in southeast Michigan. While not named in the indictment handed down against a Clinton Township trustee, newspaper reports claim an official with Rizzo bribed the township official to get its garbage contract.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Democrats and Republicans are spending heavily on TV ad buys to sway voters in a handful of state house elections.

Democrats need to win 9 seats currently held by Republicans next month to take control of the state house.    

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal class action lawsuit to force fixes to Flint’s problem-plagued school district.

Flint’s public schools struggled even before the city’s lead-tainted tap water threatened to negatively affect the development of its students.

Trump merchandise
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state Republican leader is losing her party position because she won’t back Republican nominee Donald Trump for president. Wendy Lynn Day was elected grassroots vice chair at a state party convention last year. In the role, she served as a liaison between the Republican Party and the tea party movement.

Day backed Senator Ted Cruz in the primary, but said she cannot support Trump, whom she does not consider a Republican.

Bruce LaBrecque says there are so many painful issues that a woman's OBGYN might be reluctant to ask about that can be treated with physical therapy.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The next round of Obamacare will cost more for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who get their health insurance through the federal program.

Four fewer companies are offering health insurance plans through Michigan’s Affordable Care Act marketplace next year.  That will directly affect about 10,000 Michiganders currently covered by plans offered by those companies.

Michigan's 10th Congressional District.
United States Department of the Interior / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan’s 10th Congressional District stretches from the tip of the Thumb to northern Macomb County. 

Voters will choose between two candidates with relatively thin resumes in the District.

Businessman Paul Mitchell is making his second run for Congress. He ran two years ago in a different district in a different part of the state.  

When asked about that, this was his initial response.

“Turn that off for a second,” Mitchell asked for the recording to stop, “I have one question for you.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan will announce plans for a new class action lawsuit related to the Flint water crisis.

The ACLU’s new lawsuit will focus on the education rights of Flint area school-age children and what is needed to ensure their right to free and quality education.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Update 1:05pm 

Power distribution was restored at 11:38am today to 29,729 customers following a suspected lightning strike at 8:55am that caused the Eckert Substation to trip offline causing outages across BWL’s service territory.

 Original Post - 10:45am  A suspected lightning strike on a key power substation knocked out power to 29,729 Lansing Board of Water and Light customers just before 9am this morning. 

Electricity service is slowly being restored.

A utility spokesman is urging BWL customers to avoid any downed power lines today.  

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