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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

Tens of thousands of water filters have been distributed in Flint.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Health officials say filtered Flint tap water is now safe enough for children and pregnant women to drink.

For months, concerns about potential lead exposure from the tap prompted federal, state and local officials to urge kids and pregnant women to only drink bottled water in Flint.

But that recommendation is changing.

Dr. Nicole Lurie is an Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.   She’s leading the federal response to the Flint Water Crisis.

Michigan Radio

The allegations in a civil lawsuit may prompt the city of Flint to reconsider a contract with a firm hired to help it with its drinking water.

The city of Flint has paid Lockwood, Andrews and Newman, or LAN, nearly $3.5 million as it transitioned from Detroit water to the Flint River and back again.

In a civil suit filed this week, Michigan’s Attorney General accuses LAN of “botching” the job, with damaged pipes and lead tainted tap water the result.

Mayor Karen Weaver says it’s “absolutely unbelievable”.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of the Michigan Attorney General’s investigation into the Flint water crisis is threatening to take state agencies to court to force them to turn over documents.

Todd Flood has been leading Attorney General Bill Schuette's investigation into Flint’s lead-tainted water since January.

The probe has already resulted in criminal charges against three government officials.    A lawsuit has also just been filed against companies that acted as consultants to the city during the switch from Detroit water to the Flint River.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

After months of wrangling, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is reluctantly agreeing to hook the city up to the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline for the city's drinking water.

Emergency managers made the decision to switch Flint’s drinking water to the KWA pipeline as a way to save money. Flint's city council gave its stamp of approval as well. But Flint’s new elected leaders wanted out of the deal because of the cost.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Ingham County’s new prosecutor says she wants to restore the public’s trust in the prosecutor’s office.

Former state senator Gretchen Whitmer doesn’t take office until next month, but she got a jump on things by being sworn in this week.

Whitmer is replacing Stuart Dunnings III, who is mired in a prostitution scandal. Whitmer says restoring credibility to the office is key.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters says now’s the time “to act on guns”.

Peters and his fellow Democrats get their long-sought votes on gun control after the massacre in Orlando, Florida, but election-year politics ensure no changes in the nation's laws.

Democrats are expected to vote tonight to block two Republican amendments, saying they don't do enough. Republicans are expected to block two Democratic amendments, saying they threaten the rights of gun owners.

official portrait

A senior U.S. Senator is asking federal anti-trust officials to investigate the planned merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont.

Stockholders for Midland, Michigan-based Dow Chemical and Delaware-based DuPont vote on the merger next month.

The merger would create a company worth $130 billion, though eventually, the plan is to divide it into three different companies, one of which would be based in Michigan.

Michigan Radio

Virginia Tech researchers are back in Flint this week.

This time they’re focused on the city’s hot water heaters.

Many Flint residents fear lead and other metals leaching from damaged pipes have accumulated in their hot water heaters making bathing hazardous. 

For the next few weeks, Virginia Tech researchers will be testing water heaters not only for lead, but also for bacteria, including Legionella.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The next round of Flint’s lead service line replacement may take a little longer to get started.

Today’s 3 pm deadline for contractors to bid on the work has been extended.

Contractors will now have until next Tuesday to submit bids on replacing up to 500 Flint service lines.

City officials decided to give the contractors more time to refine their bids, after changes were made to original Request for Proposals or RFP.   The addendums to the original RFP came after concerns were raised by contractors during a mandatory pre-bid meeting last week.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new grant program is giving a hand to 30 Flint businesses struggling to recover from the economic effects of the city’s drinking water crisis.

The businesses range from a Coney Island to a beauty shop.      

Anthony Artis is an art dealer. He says the grant will ‘breathe new life” into his business, which sells art as far away as Boston.

A man protests the poor quality of Flint's water
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A congressional committee has signed off on legislation that could save Flint millions of dollars -- money that could be used to fix its damaged water system.

Today, the U.S. House Appropriations committee approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. The bill includes a provision that would allow the state of Michigan to forgive $21 million in Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loans taken by the city of Flint.

fresh vegetables at a grocery store.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The federal government will soon begin offering 17,000 Flint households monthly packages of healthy foods.

Working with local food banks and feeding organizations, USDA will provide an additional 14-pound nutrient-targeted food package, containing foods rich in calcium, iron, and Vitamin C. The intent is to limit the absorption of lead from Flint’s tainted drinking water.

Kevin Concannon is with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He says the state has been helping since the city’s water emergency was declared earlier this year.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver defends Police Chief Tim Johnson (left of Mayor Weaver).
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson will soon be certified to be a police officer.

Johnson was appointed Flint’s new police chief back in February. But the career cop allowed his state certification to lapse after he retired several years ago.

Without that certification, Johnson lacked the arresting powers of officers under his command.

Johnson says he was planning to take the two-day class later this year.

“I was trying to wait for the city to reach a calm level where I could go away for a couple of days to get re-certified,” Johnson told reporters today.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

More than 50 top business executives are in Flint today, talking about finding solutions to the city’s problems.

The Moving Flint Forward Leadership Summit at the Flint Institute of Arts is invitation-only.

Tim Herman is the CEO of the Flint/Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.  He says it’s important for business leaders from across the state to feel they can freely share their ideas.

We think it’s important to have this closed meeting…and be able to be open and honest…and let the participants be open and honest,” says Herman.

These are examples of drinking water pipes. The pipe on the left had no corrosion control in place, allowing metals to flake off and get into the water. The bigger pipe on the right (white coating), had phosphate corrosion control in place.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder’s office says new data show water quality improving in "at-risk" homes in Flint.

For months, the government has been testing the tap water in dozens of homes in Flint for lead.

After five rounds of testing, the "sentinel" testing has been expanded to include more homes most likely to have elevated leads levels. That includes homes:

·  with known lead service lines,

·  that had service lines the state paid to replace under the mayor’s Fast Start Program,

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

An independent probe has found no evidence of unethical conduct by Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

The allegations came from Flint’s former city administrator. Natasha Henderson claims she was fired, in part, for reporting that the mayor steered donations to the city into a fund Weaver controls.

Ella Marx cries at a candelight vigil in Ann Arbor for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shootings. She says her LGBT sister lives in Florida. “It’s really close to home for me,” she says.
Rick Pluta / MPRN

Members of Metro Detroit’s LGBT community and allies are mourning the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

A group held a vigil for them at Ferndale City Hall tonight.

Julia Music is the chair of Ferndale Pride.

She called the attack an act of “hate, terrorism, and ignorance.”

But Music urged the group to keep welcoming Muslims, who she says have just started to join Detroit’s LGBT community “in visible numbers.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, bids are due on contracts to start replacing Flint’s lead service lines.

But there are concerns about what’s in the contracts.

Service lines are a prime source for lead leeching into the city’s drinking water.  However, to date, the city of Flint has only unearthed 33 lead service lines. 

Mayor Karen Weaver’s Fast Start program is set to get back up to speed this week.  The city is using $2 million dollars from the state to pay for the next round of excavations. 

Inside the Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has met an EPA deadline to upgrade equipment at the city’s water plant.

The EPA sent the city of Flint a letter one week ago saying the city had until today to install and have operational equipment to add additional chlorine and other chemicals to the city’s water supply.

Flint gets its tap water from Detroit already treated with chemicals to impede the growth of bacteria and other organisms. But chemicals, like chlorine, lose their effectiveness the longer they are in the system.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University professors and neighborhood volunteers have come up with a design for a major overhaul of the old Saginaw County fairgrounds. 

The 54-acre site on Saginaw’s south side have sat decaying for more than a decade.

Warren Rauhe is with the Michigan State University School of Planning, Design and Construction. He says it may not look like it, but the fairgrounds site is a “gem.”

Gordie Howe circa 1966.
Arnie Lee / Wikimedia Commons

Hockey legend Gordie Howe has died. He was 88 years old.

Howe played pro hockey longer than anyone else, and he remains “Mr. Hockey” to generations of fans.

Gordie Howe played hockey with an intensity he learned as a boy in Saskatoon during the Depression.

In his 2014 autobiography, Howe wrote about playing for his school team -- not on the right wing where generations of hockey fans were used to seeing him -- but as a goaltender.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A small group of Flint pastors came to the state Capitol today to thank lawmakers for approving more money for Flint.

“We thank you Lord for the resources that have been allocated for Flint,” one of the pastors intoned beneath the Capitol dome around noon.

The pastors and others prayed in a small circle in the Capitol rotunda, the day after lawmakers approved $165 million for Flint’s water crisis. 

Reverend Ira Edwards calls the money “patchwork," but says he’s glad to see lawmakers moving forward.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city officials will require contractors pay a prevailing wage to workers who replace the city’s lead service lines.  Though for a time, that wasn’t going to be the case.

Next week, the city of Flint will receive bids on a project to remove up to 500 lead service lines.

When the formal request for proposals went out earlier this month, it contained a provision that workers would receive standard union wages. But Wednesday, city officials proposed an addendum that the prevailing wage would not be applied to this project.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint may have equipment in place by the end of the week to improve chlorine levels in city water.   

But it may not be operating.

The Environmental Protection Agency sent the city of Flint a letter last week saying there is an “urgent need” to have the ability to boost chlorine levels in the city’s water supply. They set a date of Friday June 10th to have equipment “installed and operational.”

Chlorine and other chemicals are added to water supplies to kill bacteria, like Legionella.  Warm summer weather helps bacteria to grow. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A pre-school art project in Flint is being praised by a world-renowned artist.

As an art project, the class at the U of M-Flint Early Childhood Center created a chandelier from thin strips from painted plastic water bottles.

The Center has plenty of water bottled because of Flint’s lead tainted drinking water crisis.

The two-year olds in the class are among those most at risk by Flint’s tainted drinking water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder is optimistic that Michigan’s budget plan for next year should be wrapped up in the next week or two. 

Time is running short. The state legislature is only has a few weeks until it is scheduled to adjourn for much of the summer and there is still a lot left to do.

The state senate is expected to tackle funding for Detroit public schools this week. Last week, the state house passed a $617 million package that Democrats complain does more to protect the interests of charter school operators than students.

FAMARTIN / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The state Senate is the next stop for a bill that would raise Michigan’s speed limit to 75 miles per hour on some roads.

The state House approved the legislation this past week.

The bill would require MDOT and the Michigan State Police to conduct speed studies with an eye toward increasing speed limits to 75 miles per hour on 600 miles of rural freeways. Speed limits could also rise on 900 miles of truck line highways, mainly in the Upper Peninsula.

Georgie Sharp / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

This weekend, AARP officials plan to sit down with older Flint residents to see how the city’s drinking water crisis affects them.

Flint’s water system has dealt with serious problems, including high lead levels.

Paula Cunningham is the state director of AARP. She says about a third of Flint residents are over 60 years old.

“These are very vulnerable folks who need some attention and need our assistance as well,” says Cunningham.

The Michigan House of Representatives.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan state House narrowly passed a bill to bail out Detroit Public Schools tonight. But critics complain the plan does more for charter schools than Detroit kids.

The main bill in the package passed by a razor-thin margin, 55 to 53 votes.    

The legislation would allocate more than $600 million for the district, including $150 million to help transition Detroit schools to a new district.  

The school system has been under state control for the past seven years. 

House Speaker Kevin Cotter says the plan will help the district succeed.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The cost of the state’s day-to-day response to the Flint water crisis could soon rise sharply.

It cost of the state of Michigan $29,300 a day to provide water resources to Flint residents in May. But that number may nearly quadruple, to $117,400, if and when the federal government ends its support.

The federal government has been picking up roughly 75% of the cost of emergency supplies and home testing. The president’s federal emergency declaration is set to expire August 14.

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