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

The Flint police department is taking a more aggressive stance on crime.

Standing before a conference table piled high with guns, drugs and $18,000 cash, Flint Police Chief Timothy Johnson says a new unit has spent the past few weeks cracking down on street crime.

“This would have been on the streets if it wouldn’t have been for the efforts of the Crime Area Target team,” says Johnson. “There’s probably a lot more out there than we have on this table. I’m quite sure it is.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

“They poisoned the wrong city, everybody!” one speaker shouted at today’s rally at Flint city hall to mark the second anniversary of the city’s mishandled switch to its namesake river as its drinking water source.

In 2014, the city started getting its tap water from the Flint River as part of plan to save the city millions of dollars. But the river water was not properly treated with anti-corrosives. As a result, the corrosive river water damaged city pipes, which continue to leach lead into the drinking water. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A group of Flint water activists is starting a new charity to help people not reached by government and other groups.

Organizer Lee Anne Walters says Community Development Organization’s first priority will be to help people who find they can’t pay medical bills tied to Flint’s lead tainted drinking water.

“It’s something that needs to be done. It’s a great need in the community. And so this is where we feel we fit best right now,” says Walters. 

Walters says their initial goal is to raise $1 million, though she admits the need is much greater.

On April 25, 2014, Flint officials toasted each other as they flipped the switch to the Flint River.
WNEM-TV

Today marks the second anniversary of Flint’s ill-fated switch to the Flint River for the city’s drinking water source.

The river water was not properly treated with anti-corrosive chemicals, and the highly corrosive river water damaged pipes and fixtures, which continue to leach lead into the city’s drinking water. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A governor’s task force is urging state lawmakers to approve more money to deal with the Flint water crisis.

The Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee approved a resolution during its weekly meeting today, asking Michigan lawmakers to speed up the budget process.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State officials want Flint’s elected leaders to make a decision “soon” as to whether the city will hook up to the new KWA pipeline.

But city officials say there are questions that need to be answered first.

Construction of the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline from Lake Huron to Genesee County should be complete this summer. But more work must be done to connect the city to the new pipeline and that may take months. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation see today’s criminal charges as just a step in the right direction.

On a conference call with reporters, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, welcomed the filing of criminal charges against two state regulators and a Flint city employee in the Flint water crisis.

“But it would be incomplete if that justice did not also include those who did this to Flint … meaning the state government,” says Kildee.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Attorney General is making what his office is calling a “significant” announcement in his Flint water investigation Wednesday

It's expected criminal charges will be announced.

Attorney General Bill Schuette launched the investigation three months ago into whether any state laws were broken in the Flint water crisis.

A series of decisions designed to save money by switching Flint’s drinking water source resulted in the city’s pipes being damaged. The pipes continue to leach lead into the city of 100 thousand’s drinking water. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge may have dealt a serious blow to people suing over the Flint water crisis.

U.S. District judge John Corbett O’Meara dismissed the class-action suit after finding the claims made by Flint residents couldn’t be resolved in federal court. 

At issue are claims made by the plaintiffs in the case that their constitutional rights and state law were violated by being required to pay for water that turned out to be tainted with lead. They believed that would fall under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is “not impressed” by Governor Snyder’s pledge to drink only Flint water for the next 30 days. 

The governor made the pledge to drink filtered Flint water yesterday.

“I’m going to start drinking that tonight and do that for the next 30 days … when I’m at work and at home,” Snyder told reporters on Monday. The governor says he wants to be a “role model” to show filtered Flint tap water is safe to drink.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University researchers are predicting a good year ahead for the state’s tourism industry.

MSU’s Sarah Nicholls predicts a 3% increase in tourist traffic, and a 5% increase in spending.

Nicholls says Michigan tourism has rebounded well from the Great Recession, with year-over-year tourism spending up between 2-3% each year over a 4-5 year period.  

“Back in 2009, hotel occupancy across the state was around 48%. We’re now back up to 60%,” says Nicholls.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder is pledging to drink filtered Flint tap water for the next 30 days. 

People in Flint don’t trust that special filters are enough to clean lead from their tap water. In many homes, the level of lead in unfiltered tap water is well above the federal action level of 15 parts per billion. 

In Flint today, the governor encouraged city residents to trust the filters. Snyder says he filled up several gallon jugs today at a home with a lead service line that has tested above the federal action level for lead in the past.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder does not appear to like a state Senate plan to close two prisons and lease a private prison.  

A Senate subcommittee approved the plan last week as a way to save $15 million.  

Snyder asks,“If you’re closing prisons, why lease another?”

“I view this as part of the normal budget process…..that wasn’t part of our budget recommendation,” Snyder told reporters.

Senators are proposing closing prisons to save money as Michigan’s prison population declines.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State officials are looking at a potential new source of data on lead exposure in Flint: baby teeth.

Assessing the effects of Flint’s lead tainted tap water in children is tricky. Blood lead tests only tell part of the story. 

State Health Department director Nick Lyon says studying baby teeth could help.

“The concept would be as children’s teeth fall out there is a potential that you could use information from that going forward as part of a lead registry,” Lyon said.

Lyon says the idea of studying baby teeth is still in its early stages.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan State University pollster says new survey numbers suggest Governor Snyder has suffered “some permanent” damage from the Flint water crisis.

MSU’s State of the State Survey polled nearly 1,000 people between December and March, during the height of the crisis.

Survey director Charles Ballard says the percentage of people rating Snyder’s job performance as “poor” more than doubled, from 21% to 44%. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Local, state and federal health officials are joining forces to reduce the chances of another Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County.

The agencies are starting a pilot program to educate the managers of large buildings and hospitals on how they can reduce the spread of Legionella bacteria in their water systems. 

Sub Committee chair Mike Zimmer (lower left) delivers a report on new lead/copper testing as members of the governor's special Flint water team listen, including Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan would have the toughest lead testing standard in the nation under a sweeping proposal unveiled today in Flint, where the drinking water is still contaminated with lead and residents remain dependent on bottled water donations.

To make sure other Michigan cities don’t suffer the same fate, Gov. Rick Snyder and a team of experts have unveiled a plan to tighten water testing regulations and lower the threshold for action.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents will not be a water bill next week. But instead, they’ll get a statement showing a state credit.

The state gave Flint $30 million to help city residents who’ve been unable to drink the water since April 2014. 

Flint CFO Jody Lundquist expects some confusion when people open what they expect is a bill, but instead will show the state credit. 

“Please do bear with our customers service staff as they work to address any questions we anticipate you may have,” says Lundquist.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Senate’s rejection of a quarter billion dollars in aid to Flint has the city’s mayor looking to Lansing for help.

Flint backers in Washington were unable to convince a Republican senator from Utah to end his opposition to the Flint appropriation. 

It was stripped from a funding bill this week.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she’ll “press on” and ask state lawmakers for more help.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents continue to deal with unsafe lead levels in their water. Another group is paying very close attention. Lawyers. Lots of lawyers.

Turn the TV on in Flint and you’ll likely hear a commercial with a very specific question. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major push to strengthen neighborhoods in north Flint is getting underway.

On Wednesday, the Ruth Mott Foundation awarded $1.3 million in grants to 10 neighborhood projects. The programs are selected with input from north side residents.

Handy Lindsey is the foundation president.  He says over the next five years, the foundation plans to give $25 to 30 million for similar projects.

“It sounds like an awful lot of money,” says Lindsey. "But in the scheme of things, this community needs far, far more investment than that.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A long-empty north Flint apartment complex is being demolished.

The Genesee County Land Bank is spending $1.7 million to raze the 13-building complex.

Shawn Harris is the president of the local neighborhood association. He hopes the demolition will clear the way for a much-needed grocery store on Flint’s north side.

“We lost our Kroger’s and our Meijer’s. So I think this would be a good place to put another grocery store,” says Harris.

Land bank officials say they are reviewing several proposals for the eight-acre site. 

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Across Michigan, sirens will wail this afternoon

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan.

This afternoon at 1:30, there will be a voluntary statewide tornado drill.

“Tornadoes can develop rapidly, with little or no warning,” says Capt. Chris Kelenske of the Michigan State Police, who is the deputy state director of emergency management and Homeland Security. 

 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State officials are now confirming 12 people died in a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Genesee County.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released the updated numbers today. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Republicans picked their 59 delegates to the national convention over the weekend. Now, the lobbying begins for their votes.

At their state party convention in Lansing, 25 delegates were chosen to represent businessman Donald Trump.  Trump received the most votes in Michigan’s Republican primary.   Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich each received 17 delegates. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The issue of tax credits for affordable housing is expected to come up again at Monday night’s Lansing city council meeting.

The city council recently rejected a request for special tax credits for a low-income development in Lansing’s Old Town section.

Julie Powers is with the Greater Lansing Housing Authority. She claims several city council members worried about who the 24-unit development would attract.

“What we were told at the committee of the whole meeting was that “those people” aren’t wanted in Old Town,” says Powers.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan U.S. Senator says a federal aid package for Flint might move through Congress quicker if state officials tap the rainy day fund and budget surplus now. 

Sen. Debbie Stabenow and others have been pushing for hundreds of millions of federal dollars for Flint’s water crisis.

But action in Congress is stalled. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has put a hold on the legislation. He’s expressed concern that the state of Michigan hasn’t committed to spend more of its own money to address the crisis.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Construction of the KWA water pipeline is just a few months of good weather away from being complete.

On Friday, an excavator was digging a trench along a lonely stretch of road near Lapeer. One by one, 60-inch diameter pipes are dropped in the hole and the link to Lake Huron is extended.  

The 74-mile long pipeline will stretch from the shore of the lake to Genesee County.  There are less than eight miles of pipeline left to lay.

Jeff Wright is the Genesee County Drain Commissioner, as well as the chief executive officer of the Karegnondi Water Authority. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

In a divided year, unity was a recurring theme at this year’s Michigan Republican Party Convention.

“Are you ready to win in 2016!” shouted Michigan state GOP chair Ronna Romney-McDaniel at the convention in Lansing.

The chief duty of the state convention is to pick delegates to the national convention this summer.   The three-way race has created divisions within the party.    

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is getting nearly $7 million from the federal government to expand a nutrition program for children.

Today, dozens of children in Flint ate breakfast at the Haskell Youth Center, thanks to a federal child nutrition program. But the program hasn’t operated during the summer, until this year.

Kevin Concannon is the undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He says a special pilot program is being expanded, that will provide 16,000 Flint children with nutritious meals during the summer months too.

Pages