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

(courtesy of HIVandHepatitis.com)

A new University of Michigan study finds a particular type of liver disease is becoming increasingly common among the elderly.  

Cirrhosis is a chronic condition that slowly deteriorates the liver. Long associated with alcoholism and Hepatitis C,  obesity now  is linked to a growing percentage of Cirrhosis patients.   

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Environmentalists say significantly raising federal fuel economy standards will benefit Michigan’s auto industry.   

The Obama administration is considering more than doubling the current average fuel economy standard by 2025 to more than 50 miles per gallon. 

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Michigan Supreme Court today will consider a case that affects the 131,000 medical marijuana patients in Michigan. The case centers on where patients can grow their marijuana.   

Larry Steven King grew his medical marijuana plants in a locked dog kennel at his home in Owosso. King has a medical marijuana card. But police charged him with growing marijuana illegally. The kennel did not have roof.  

Prosecutors say that means it did not meet the state requirement for an ‘enclosed, locked facility’ . 

Attorney John Minock represents Larry King. Minock says the problem is with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, which he says is vague on what exactly an ‘enclosed, locked facility’ actually entails.   

“Larry was trying to comply with the law, as he understood it," says Minock, "The law on this area is not really clear.” The case split the lower courts. The trial court dismissed the charges, finding that the marijuana had been stored properly. But the Court of Appeals sided with prosecutors that the kennel did not meet the law’s requirements.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

According to Realty Trac, the number of home foreclosures in Michigan last year dropped to the lowest level since 2007. The actual number of foreclosure filings dropped 26% compared to 2010.   

The decline is partly due to a slowdown in the paperwork process. The average time between the first foreclosure filing and final repossession of a home in Michigan took 283 days last year. That’s a 46% increase over the number of days it took in 2010.  

Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac. He says mortgage lenders will be speeding up the pace of home foreclosures this year.  

"We’re past the peak of the foreclosure crisis in Michigan… but the numbers in 2011 were artificially lower than they should have been," says Bloomquist.  

Michigan had the sixth highest home foreclosure rate in the nation last year with one in every 45 homes receiving a foreclosure notice.

(photo courtesy of MSU's Facility for Rare Isotope Beams)

The future of Michigan State University’s half billion dollar nuclear research project is somewhat in doubt. 

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu declined to discuss future federal funding for the research facility during an appearance today in Detroit. Chu says the MSU facility is one of several worthy scientific projects on the Energy Department’s drawing board. 

“But in the end it all boils down to what our budget is going to be and how do we...spend that budget," says Chu.   

The federal government approved the MSU nuclear research project in 2008.  

MSU has already started work on the half billion dollar facility, based on the federal government’s commitment to help fund the project.  

Michigan Senator Carl Levin says it would be “unconscionable if the federal government failed to live up to its commitments.”

(LegalJuice.com)

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments today over  whether a wrongful death lawsuit can proceed against a 911 operator.    

In 2006, a 5-year-old boy in Detroit called 911 seeking help for his mother who was unconscious. The first 911 operator who received the boy’s call didn’t believe him and told the boy to stop ‘playing on the phone’.    The operator told the boy she would send a police officer to the house, but she did not.    

A few hours later a second 911 operator accused the boy of playing a prank. The second 911 operator did send a police officer to the home. When the officer arrived, he discovered the boy’s mother dead on the floor.

The family sued claiming wrongful death and emotional distress.   

The 911 operators contended they are protected by laws which give 'immunity' to local governments. But lower state courts disagreed. The Court of Appeals found the 911 operators engaged in "extreme and and outrageous conduct" and so were not entitled to dismissal of the lawsuit.   

Earlier this week, a settlement was approved between one of the 911 operators and the family. An attorney described the settlement as ‘nominal’.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

It took a marathon session Monday night, but the Lansing city council finally has a new council president.   

The eight-member council is evenly divided into two factions. But after four hours of  closed door talks, Councilman Brian Jeffries emerged as the next Lansing city council president. Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar agreed to drop her bid for the president's gavel, after receiving assurances that she will have support for council president next year.

After the council voted to confirm him as president, Jeffries admitted the process did take a toll.

“Tonight was something we had to work through. I think we did….we got to a place where everyone felt comfortable…and I think we can go from there," said Jeffries.  

Jeffries admits work on the city budget may test the Lansing city council’s strained relations. Lansing may face a $12 to 15 million budget deficit next year.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A new report predicts home prices in Detroit will continue to decline. But the report also finds Michigan home prices overall are stabilizing.   

Real estate industry analysts at Clear Capital predict nationally, average home sale prices will remain relatively unchanged in 2012. Prices nationally have been falling since the housing market crash of a few years ago.   

Detroit’s home sale prices have been declining faster than the nationally average and Clear Capital predicts another 5 percent drop this year.    

A spokesman for Michigan’s charter schools does not expect a new law that took effect this month will translate into a surge in the number of charter schools in the state.   

This week, the application period started for groups wanting to open charter schools in the state. A new law which took effect January 1 doubled the number of charter schools allowed in Michigan.   

Dan Quisenberry is the president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. Quisenberry believes there is room for growth, but he expects the number of charter schools will grow slowly over the next few years.  

“The new law will probably have more effect on fall 2013," said Quisenberry,  "And even then we wouldn’t expect some kind of dramatic change."  

The law Governor Snyder signed in December will eventually do away with the state cap on charter schools in Michigan. Critics complain increasing the number of charter schools will drain financial resources needed by existing public schools. 

(courtesy of the Chateau Chantal winery)

This year’s mild winter weather is causing problems for the makers of ‘Ice Wines’ in Michigan.   

Ice wine is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes left on the vine to freeze. The very sweet wine is also very pricey. Michigan ice wines sell for as much $90 per bottle.  But this winter, hard freezes have been few and far between.  

Mark Johnson is the chief winemaker at the Chateau Chantal winery near Traverse City. He said the mild weather has taken a toll on the grapes waiting for the ice wine harvest. 

“We always know there’s going to be a loss," said Johnson, "This year…from what we were hoping…would be a ton and a half…or about 3,000 pounds…we harvested about 1,500.”   

Other Michigan vintners decided not to produce ice wines this season. That may mean the 2011 vintage Michigan ice wines will be harder to find this fall.   

Ice wines comprise about 5 percent of wines produced in Michigan.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A sharp division among Lansing city council members kept the council from taking its first required step this year during a meeting today.   The division threatens to keep the capital city’s governing body from functioning.

The Lansing city council is so divded it can’t even agree on who should chair its’ meetings.   The council talked for nearly 90 minutes, mainly in sometimes animated one on one discussions, and still deadlocked 4 to 4 over who should be the council president. 

The sharp divide has defined the Lansing city council for years.  

Update 2:00 p.m.

An emergency manager may soon take charge of the Highland Park School District. A state review panel today  recommended the governor appoint someone to fix the school district’s "financial emergency."  

The financial review team has been looking at the Highland Park School District’s books since November.   

The panel’s report to the governor finds the school district is $11 million in the red. That works out to about $10 thousand for every student enrolled.  The school district’s deficit has grown by $3 million in just the last year. The school district’s debt has grown, as its student population has fallen. Nearly 3,200 students attended Highland Park schools in 2006.   This year, fewer than a thousand students are enrolled.   

“It is what it is.," laments Edith Hightower, Highland Park’s School Superintendent,  "I don’t disagree with any of the statements that were documented [in the report]."    

Emergency managers are already running the Detroit public schools,  as well as the cities of Flint, Pontiac, Ecorse and Benton Harbor. Financial review teams are also looking at Detroit and Inkster.       

The state Education Department is also conducting a preliminary review of the financial status of the Muskegon Heights School District. 

1:04 p.m.

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (AP) - A review team is recommending an emergency manager for Highland Park Schools after determining the district is in a financial emergency.

Michigan's Treasury Department says in a release Wednesday that a final report by the 10-member independent review team has been given to Gov. Rick Snyder. Snyder has 10 days to review the report and make a decision if the district is in a financial emergency.

Highland Park is a small city partially surrounded by Detroit. The school district's budget deficit stands at $11.3 million. The Treasury Department says expenditures outpaced revenues by nearly $4 million in the last fiscal year. The district also has had an operating deficit in five of the past six years.

Enrollment has dropped from 3,179 students to 969 over the past five years.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Home foreclosures in Michigan are expected to increase in 2012.    

The pace of foreclosure filings slowed in 2011 as mortgage lenders had to deal with new rules and lawsuits.    

Daren Bloomquist is with RealtyTrac. He said most of the issues that slowed the rate of foreclosure filings have now been dealt with. But Bloomquist said there’s always the chance that new obstacles will arise.  

(courtesy of MotorCityBlog)

The state of Michigan starts 2012 with a new incentive for film and television productions. But people in the industry in Michigan fear the new incentive will not attract the volume of business they need to stay employed.  

Mark Adler is the director of the Michigan Production Alliance. He said many film people have already left the state of Michigan to find work. 

“The people that are players…that are keys…that we need…here in Michigan…were grown here…have sought work elsewhere," said Adler.  

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Michigan may see record high prices for gasoline in 2012.

Patrick DeHaan is a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com. He expects the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded will hover between $3 and $3.50 for the next few months, but DeHaan expects prices will soar in April and May into record territory.   

Michigan’s economy will continue to stabilize in 2012.

That’s the prediction of Comerica Bank’s chief economist Robert Dye. Dye expects Michigan’s auto and furniture industries will continue to show some growth, but he expects economic growth will be uneven in Michigan.  

“I would say that central, west Michigan…the Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids…Ann Arbor…will probably show a little bit stronger gains than…southeast Michigan," said Dye.  

Dye said Michigan’s economic picture in 2012 will be heavily dependent on what happens in Europe and Asia. 

 2012 may see an increase in the number of Michigan cities and towns combining services and working more closely together.    

Governor Snyder signed a package of bills in December that remove legal barriers for municipalities seeking to consolidate services and eliminate requirements maintaining labor contracts when creating new partnerships.     

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 A federal judge’s ruling is opening the doors of Michigan’s homeless shelters to registered sex offenders.  

 Two years ago, a 51 year old homeless man was found frozen to death in Grand Rapids.  He was turned away by a   local homeless shelter because the man was a registered sex offender.   The shelter was less than a thousand feet from a school, which would have been a violation of a Michigan law barring sex offenders from living that close to a school.   

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 A new audit finds the city of Flint is still struggling with millions of dollars of debt.    But the report shows one bright spot for the troubled city.  

It´s hardly a surprise, but a new audit of Flint´s finances confirms the city ended its last fiscal year about 7 million dollars in debt.  The city´s crushing debt was one of the reasons Governor Snyder appointed an emergency manager to fix Flint´s `financial emergency´.  

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Today is the 75th anniversary of one of the key moments in the history of organized labor in the United States: The beginning of the Flint Sit Down Strike.   

The Flint Sit-Down Strike was pivotal to the birth of the United Auto Workers.   

Three-quarters of a century later the echoes of the event still resonate.  

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Michigan State and the University of Michigan will be playing more west coast teams in the future.

  A deal announced Wednesday could mean the Big Ten will  wield more power in the increasingly competitive world of college athletics.  

Other college sports conferences have added schools in recent years to make themselves more competitive.   The Big Ten is effectively adding another entire conference.  

An Ann Arbor-based consumer research firm says there’s been a shift in people’s online shopping habits. 

Ann Arbor-based ForeSee asked more than eight thousand online shoppers about their satisfaction levels with 40 of the nation’s top web retailers.   ForeSee released its 7th annual Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction Index today.  

(courtesy of True Creek)

One analyst expects Michigan will be awash in political advertising from special interest groups in 2012.  

A 2010 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court largely took the restrictions off special interest political advertising. 

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The presents have all been opened and many will be heading back to the store.   

Returning or exchanging gifts is part of the American holiday shopping season tradition.  

But Patrick Bennett with the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Michigan warns if you plan to return a present you should know the store’s rules for returning or exchanging merchandise. 

“It’s important that consumers retain the original packaging if they plan on returning items.  Or if they receive something that they know in fact they are going to return it, don’t even open it. Take it back in its original condition," says Bennett.   

Bennett also advises people returning presents to see if the business charges a restocking fee. He says restocking fees are common for businesses that sell electronics.  

Bennett says many retailers have tightened their rules on accepting returned merchandise in recent years to crack down on fraud. 

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 The next phase of the holiday shopping season will start Monday with 'After Christmas' sales.  

Tom Scott is with the Michigan Retailers Association.    He says most retailers will offer some extra incentives to get customers into their stores, especially ones who got ‘gift cards’ as presents.  

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 One week ago, a fire destroyed the Saint Vincent de Paul store and warehouse in Lansing.     

The community is helping the charity to rebuild.   

Saint Vincent de Paul provides help to those in need with clothing and other donated goods, heating assistance and even Christmas presents for children.  But last Sunday’s fire threatened all of that.    

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 This is turning into a very merry holiday shopping season for Michigan retailers.   

 The hard numbers are still coming in, but it appears early optimism for a strong Christmas shopping season is panning out.   

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 Shopping malls won’t be the only retailers doing brisk business this weekend.  

The Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries have a combined jackpot of about $300 million.   

Andi Brancato is the Michigan Lottery’s spokeswoman.   She says big jackpots usually draw in people who don’t normally buy lottery tickets.   And Brancato says that’s good news to Michigan’s eleven thousand lottery retailers. 

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 One of the nation’s largest banks is being accused of ‘nickel and diming’ Michigan’s unemployed.    

The complaints center on a state program that gives debit cards to people receiving unemployment benefits.   Thousands of Michiganders use debit cards to access their unemployment benefits.  The accounts are administered by JP Morgan Chase.    

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