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. 

Pages

Crime
7:57 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Saluting Michigan's fallen police officers

Law enforcement officers salute during a ceremony at the state capital honoring police officers who died in the line of duty.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The haunting sounds of bagpipes echoed in the halls of the state capital this evening.

Police officers from across the state gathered inside the capital rotunda for the 19th annual  Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service.

The ceremoney honored a half dozen police officers from Michigan or with ties to Michigan who died in the line of duty last year.   Nationwide, 163 law enforcement officers were killed on the job last year.  Already this year, 2 Michigan law enforcement officers have died on the job. 

“The loss of these officers is a testament to the dangers and realities of police work," says Colonel Kristie Kibbey Etue,  the director of the Michigan State Police. 

National Police Week begins May 13th. 

Environment & Science
5:48 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

State poised to lease oil and gas rights for public lands

Protesters are expected Tuesday morning outside of a planned auction of oil and natural gas lease rights on public land.

Lease rights on more than 100 thousand acres of public land will be available in the auction in Lansing.

Mary Uptigrove is the acting manager of the Minerals Management Section of the Department of Natural Resources.    She says much of the land on the auction list is there by the request of the drilling industry.

“They may know…areas where… current development is occurring….and they want to explore for additional development,” says Uptigrove. 

Read more
Flint
1:01 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Coming up with a master plan for Flint's future

An abandoned home on Flint's northside sits in a blighted neighborhood near a paved over site of a former factory
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The city of Flint is developing its first master plan in a half century.

The challenge is charting a future course for a city that some critics have said doesn’t have a future.

First things first.   Cities don’t just change.

They follow a plan.  The master plan outlines where to build homes.  Where to encourage retail stores to open.  Where to let businesses build factories. 

Read more
Politics
4:01 pm
Sun May 6, 2012

Michigan voters to decide many issues on Tuesday's ballot

(file photo)
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Voters across Michigan go to the polls on Tuesday.

More than 200 communities are holding elections.   

Most of the questions involve school bond issues.

Bloomfield Hills schools are asking voters to approve a $58 million bond issue to pay for renovations to a high school. This proposal is a scaled back version of similar proposals that have failed in the past. 

Some school districts are asking voters to approve bonds to pay for technology upgrades.  For example the Allegan public school district is asking voters to approve an 18 million dollar bond issue.   Part of that would be spent on computers.

Not everything on the ballots involves schools.

The issue in Delhi Township, near Lansing, is sludge.    Or more accurately,  what to do with it.

The township is asking voters to approve a surcharge on their water bills to pay for a sludge dryer.   Supporters say the dryer would turn human waste into bio-fuel. Opponents say it’s just a waste of money.

*Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the Bloomfield Hills school bond issue had failed twice before. The current proposal, however, is not that same as previous bond issues. The copy has been corrected above.

Business
4:01 pm
Sat May 5, 2012

Crop insurance now a top priority for many hard hit Michigan farmers

Many Michigan farmers are spending this May focusing on their insurance needs.

The sporadic spring freezes and frosts that followed the unusually mild winter devastated Michigan’s apple, cherry and peach crops.     Most farmers have access to some form of crop insurance.   But according to the Michigan Farm Bureau, the insurance only covers about 60 to 70 percent of the loss.

Read more
Sports
2:51 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Kentucky Derby betting giving a boost to Michigan's ailing horse racing tracks

Bodemeister is the early line favorite for this Saturday's Kentucky Derby
(courtesy of Churchill Downs)

Saturday is expected to be the busiest day of the year at Michigan’s four horse racing tracks.

The tracks usually see a big boost in simulcast betting from the Kentucky Derby.

Brett Boyd is president of the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association.    He says Michigan’s ailing horse racing industry relies more and more on the money wagered on the three races.

“This weekend we really hoping the folks come out to one of those four facilities…wager on the Derby…have some fun and make some money,” says Boyd.

Michigan’s horse race tracks have dwindled from 8 to 4 in recent years.   Industry officials blame competition from casinos and other types of gambling, including online gaming.

Brett Boyd hopes the state legislature will change state law to make the tracks more competitive.  Otherwise, he expects two more Michigan horse race tracks may soon close.

 

Flint
2:36 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Flint EM lays out public safety plan, city police and fire unions want more

Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown outlines his public safety plan for the city, while behind him represents from the Michigan State Police and other agencies look on.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint Emergency Manager Mike Brown says the city plans to work more with the state police, as well as local and federal prosecutors, to fight the city’s crime problem.

The plan calls for establishing Flint not only as a ‘safe city’ in reality, but also in people’s perception.

Using outside law enforcement help is a short term part of the plan.   Long term, Brown says the city needs to raise millions of dollars in new revenue to hire more police officers and firefighters.

Read more
Lansing
9:36 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Tribe votes in favor of Lansing casino project

An artist's conception of what the proposed casino would look like

A majority of Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians members have voted in favor of their tribe building a casino in downtown Lansing.

The vote clears the way for what is sure to be bigger challenges to the casino project.  

Tribal leaders had predicted the outcome of the referendum from the start.    The voting started last month when the tribe mailed ballots to more than 14 thousand tribal members.

In the end, more than 39 hundred Sault Ste Marie tribe members voted in favor of the Lansing casino project.    23 hundred members voted against it.

Roger Martin is the tribe’s spokesman.    He says the next phase of the project will involve paperwork.

“The hope is the have the land purchase completed and the application to take the land into trust by the Department of the Interior by Summer,” says Martin.

The federal government must agree to take the land into trust for the tribe so it can be used for gaming. 

Other tribes that operate casinos near Lansing, as well as Governor Snyder,  oppose a casino in the capital city.  Legal challenges to the project are expected.

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero issued a statement thanking the tribe for its affirmative vote.

"I am more convinced than ever that this is the right project at the right time with the right partners.  The Lansing Kewadin casino will create thousands of good jobs, fully-fund college scholarships for Lansing public school children, and generate hundreds of millions in new economic activity for the Lansing region." Bernero said in his statement."

FLINT
3:15 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Flint's Board of Education can't agree on which schools to close this fall

Flint Board of Education members David Davenport and Blake Strozier react as the debate over school closings hit another snag
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint’s Board of Education last night deadlocked on plans to close a half dozen schools next fall.   The board argued for more than five hours before giving up hope of agreeing on which middle and elementary schools to close. 

Board member David Davenport strongly opposed two different proposals which would have closed the districts three middle schools and three elementary schools, most on the city's northside.

"That's not fair to the children who are going to suffer," said Davenport, "Because they're going to be packed in or bussed somewhere else."

Several board members also expressed concerns with expanding the student populations at Flint's high schools to include 7th and 8th grade students.

Next year the school district is looking at a $19 million deficit.   Closing schools is critical for the district to stay within a deficit reduction plan submitted to the state.        A point that several Board of Education members repeatedly cited.

"We’ll just have to go back to see if we can craft it so that we get one more vote," said board member Harold Woodson after the meeting, "That’s basically what we need.  One more vote to get it moved forward so…..but it has to happen.”

And it has to happen quickly.  

The Flint Board of Education will soon have to pass a budget plan for next year.   That plan will require decisions to be made as to which schools will be open this fall. 

One member of the public told the board members that they were in a "pickle".   A statement none of the board members appeared to disagree with. 

Crime
3:18 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Michigan State University study claims stun guns cause more injuries

(courtesy of Guyism.com)

There’s a new study from Michigan State University that finds stun guns, when used by police officers, are more likely to cause injuries to civilians than previously believed.

Its becoming more common for police officers to carry stun guns. The weapons deliver a high voltage electric charge subduing combative individuals. The weapons are marketed as being ‘non-harmful’.    

But MSU criminologist Bill Terrill disagrees.

"It’s clearly not the case in our studies," says Terrill, "In fact, they have significant greater percentage of injuries when officers use a Taser as opposed to using other types of force.”

Steve Tuttle is a spokesman for Taser, the largest manufacturer of stun guns.  Pointing to other studies, he says the MSU study’s numbers are inflated. Tuttle says the type of minor puncture wounds and burns caused by most stun guns are hardly significant injuries.

"We would be seeing challenges in court if there were significant injuries from these and we’re not," says Tuttle.

MSU researchers also found police officers who use a stun gun to subdue an individual are half as likely to be injured as an officer who uses a different non-lethal method. 

Flint
12:24 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Critics lash out at Flint's emergency manager

One of the many angry Flint residents who turned out for last night's public meeting on the budget plan the city's emergency manager imposed last week
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint’s emergency manager got an earful during a public meeting last night on the budget he imposed on the city last week.

Emergency manager Michael Brown had planned to take the first half hour of a 90 minute public meeting to review his budget plan and then allow an hour for questions.

But the budget presentation had barely started, when several people in the nearly full auditorium jumped to their feet to shout down the emergency manager.

After the outburst, a parade of people took turns at the podium denouncing emergency manager Michael Brown, the law that put him in charge of Flint and the budget he introduced and imposed last week. That budget cuts the city’s workforce by about 20 percent and imposes hundreds of dollars in new fees for city water, street light and other city services.

Flint resident Carolyn Shannon questioned the expertise behind the decision to make deep cuts to the city’s police and fire departments.  

“Even a person off the street…can cut somebody’s throat," scolded Shannon.

One man, identified only as Maurice, glared at Brown as he talked about how he can’t afford to pay any more taxes.

"You want to take more from me and my daughter?" the man asked, "You ain’t no different than these people that are out here murdering our own children."  

Brown insists the budget cuts and fee increases are needed to address Flint’s  projected $25 million gap next year. That's not Flint's only financial problem. The city is also seeking the state's OK to sell more than $18 million in loans to pay off the city debts from the past few budget years.

Lansing
12:06 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Lansing city budget review entering final weeks

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero seen here delivering his FY2013 budget address earlier this year
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Lansing city council may soon face a critical test to see if it might be able to override the mayor’s plans for how to spend property tax money earmarked for public safety.

The Lansing city council is expected to vote in two weeks on the city’s budget for next year. But one major point of contention between the council and mayor Virg Bernero remains.

Voters last year approved a special public safety property tax. The mayor wants to spend part of the revenue next year on hiring back more than a half dozen laid off police officers and renovate a city owned building for police operations.

But Council President Brian Jeffries and other council members would rather all the money be spent on hiring laid off police officers. But in the end, he says it’s a question of numbers.

"It takes five votes to amend the budget on the floor," says Jeffries, "and once its passed it takes six votes to override a veto."

Jeffries says he hasn’t polled his fellow council members on how they will vote on the mayor’s public safety budget.

The council has until the middle of this month to act on the mayor’s budget plan.

Lansing
4:01 pm
Sun April 29, 2012

Tribal vote on Lansing casino project nearing an end

Artist's conception of the proposed Kewadin Lansing casino
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Voting wraps up this week in a referendum that may decide if plans for a casino in downtown Lansing can move forward.

Ballots were mailed to 14 thousand members of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians earlier this month.

The basic question is should the tribe move ahead with plans to build a $245 million casino adjacent to Lansing’s downtown convention center.

Read more
Crime
4:15 pm
Sat April 28, 2012

Michigan clergy members discuss ways to reduce youth violence

Rev. Ira Edwards addresses other Michigan clergymen and women during a recent meeting in Lansing
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A new group is trying to organize clergy members statewide to address the problem of youth violence in Michigan.

The group Prophetic Voices gathered a Christian, Muslim and other religious leaders to a meeting in Lansing this past week. 

Reverend Ira Edwards is the spokesman for Prophetic Voices.   He says youth violence is hurting more than just young people in Michigan.

Read more
Environment
4:01 pm
Sat April 28, 2012

Wind turbines to add power to Lansing city hall

Three wind turbines sit in front of Lansing city hall. In the coming weeks, the turbines will be installed on building's roof, as part of a test of their ability to economically generate electricity.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The city of Lansing is turning to a new source for its electric power.

"Thank you all for joining us on this breezy, lovely day in downtown Lansing…perfect for the announcement that we’re here to make," [Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero joked, as high winds spun three small scale wind turbines on the plaza in front of Lansing city hall.    The turbines are part of a one year trial.

John DeGray is with Windstream Technologies, an Indiana company developing  small corkscrew shaped wind turbines for residential and business use.

Read more
Auto/Economy
1:01 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Job prospects improving in most of Michigan

Job applicant Daniel Zanetti talks with a recruiter at the Michigan Works job fair at the Lansing Center
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Unemployment rates declined in most of Michigan during the past month.

State officials reported Thursday the Detroit Metro region saw the sharpest decline, down about six tenths of a percent from February to March.   Unemployment ticked up slightly in Ann Arbor.

In Lansing, unemployment held steady at 7.2%.

Daniel Zanetti was at a job fair in Lansing Thursday.    The recent college graduate is hopefully he can soon find a job in his field.

Read more
Auto/Economy
1:01 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Most Michigan cities see declining home foreclosure filings

(file photo)
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Most Michigan cities saw their home foreclosure rates tumble during the first quarter of the year. One analyst says that might signal a trend for the rest of 2012. 

Home foreclosure filings dropped between 20% and 30% in Detroit, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids during the first three months of the year. That's compared to the first quarter of 2011, according to Realty Trac. 

Lansing was the only Michigan city on Realty Trac’s list to see an increase in home foreclosure filings between January and March. Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac.

He says Lansing’s foreclosure rate increase was tied to a big increase in final bank repossessions. "It seems like it’s more of a clearing out of the foreclosure pipeline rather than a lot a new foreclosures coming online and starting the process," says Bloomquist. 

Bloomquist expects other Michigan housing markets will see spikes in foreclosure filings as the year goes on, but he predicts the general trend will be fewer foreclosures in Michigan.

Lansing
10:23 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Lansing's mayor defends budget plan

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero speaks at a public forum on his FY 2013 budget plan
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

City residents are questioning how Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero plans to spend money from a recent property tax hike.

The tax hike was approved last year. Many voters expected the money would be spent to hire back dozens of police officers and firefighters laid off in recent years. But Mayor Bernero's plan calls for bringing back just seven public safety officers.

Bernero says he’d like to hire more cops, but the city can’t afford it.

"I’m not going to hire people that I’ve got to turn around and fire tomorrow. I’m not going to do it," says Bernero.

Some Lansing city council members complain the mayor wants to spend money on rehabbing a building for the police department. That's money they say could be spent hiring police officers.

Brian Jeffries is the Lansing City Council president. He wants more money spent on rehiring laid off police officers and firefighters.

"We thought we’d get more police out there.  That’s what we thought.   We thought we’d get more fire personnel out there," says Jeffries, "Basically all we’re being told is this is just going to back stop any future losses.”

The city council has until the middle of May to approve or change the mayor’s budget proposal. The council will hold its own public hearing tonight.

Flint
10:18 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Flint budget calls for higher fees/curtailed city services

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown (at the podium) explains his fiscal year 2013 budget to the FLint city council
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Next year, the city of Flint will charge residents higher fees in exchange for less service.

The budget plan unveiled last night was greeted with anger from city residents and city council members.

The budget plan calls for trimming 20 percent of city government workers from the payroll.   Flint police officers and firefighters are not being spared.   The emergency manager didn't include public safety officers in the budget whose positions are funded with grant money that hasn't been secured yet.

Read more
Flint
9:34 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Flint city council to be briefed on next year's budget by emergency manager

The Flint City Council will hear this afternoon how the city’s emergency manager plans to spend the city’s money next year.

Emergency Manager Michael Brown has been poring over Flint’s finances since he was appointed by Governor Snyder in December to deal with the city’s “financial crisis.”

Brown’s budget plan for next year is expected to reflect the need for further financial belt tightening for a city that has already felt the pinch of past cuts.

Flint’s finance director has said the budget will probably show the city will have to do “less with less.”      That may include layoffs and furlough days for city employees.

Several city unions agreed to contract concessions this month.

The emergency manager’s budget plan may also include selling bonds to address Flint’s long-term debt problem.

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