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

Gov. Rick Snyder's office

Governor Rick Snyder says he would like to give Flint’s mayor "more authority." 

Flint has been under state oversight since 2011, when Snyder appointed the first of four emergency managers to run the city.   The last emergency manager left in April 2015.

But this week, after meeting with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver about the city’s drinking water crisis, Snyder suggested it’s time to move closer to local control.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State emergency center officials say they are working to better understand what has been done and what needs to be done in Flint.  

The governor declared Flint’s lead tainted drinking water a ‘state of emergency’ this week. The city had switched from Detroit water to water from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money, and did not reverse its decision until October.

State officials opened the Emergency Operations Center in Lansing to reporters on Thursday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Officials are now going door to door in Flint handing out water filters.

Genesee County reserve sheriff’s deputies started knocking on doors just after 10 am in a neighborhood on the city’s north side.  If someone answers, deputies  hand out bottled water and filters to homeowners who need them. 

While thousands of water filters have been handed out, many people in Flint are still not using them to filter lead from their drinking water.

Sheriff Robert Pickell says the homes in this neighborhood are some of the oldest in town, with some dating back to 1900. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Common Cause, a political watchdog group, is calling on Governor Snyder to release all documents related to Flint’s water crisis.

The governor’s office is not covered by Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed off on a state of emergency declaration for the city of Flint. It moves the city closer to getting help to recover from its drinking water crisis. 

“The health and welfare of Flint residents is a top priority and we’re committed to a coordinated approach with resources from state agencies to address all aspects of this situation,” Snyder said in a written statement.

The Flint River and the Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has declared a state of emergency in Genesee County related to lead contamination of the city of Flint’s water supply.

It’s been three months since the state first acknowledged lead contamination in the city’s water supply. The scandal cost the state’s top environmental regulator his job, and the U.S. Justice Department has joined an Environmental Protection Agency investigation into what happened.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s contaminated drinking water is now the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

Gina Balaya is a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Michigan. She confirmed the investigation today. 

“(The U.S. Attorney’s office) is working closely with the EPA” on the investigation "to address the concerns of Flint residents," says Balaya.  

She declined to comment further on the investigation.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint may soon resume shutting off water to delinquent customers.

Later this month, Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Archie Hayman will hand down a ruling finding Flint water customers are due a small rollback in their rates. In August, the judge ruled the 35% rate hike in 2011 was not done properly.

But the ruling will also allow the city to shut off water to people who owe money dating back to 2012.  

Rep. Phil Phelps official website

A state lawmaker wants to make it a felony for state employees to manipulate data in official reports.

State Representative Phil Phelps, D-Flushing, says there’s no law on the books to punish state employees who intentionally distort data to change the outcome of an official report.   

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s state of emergency declaration is on its way to the governor’s office.

The Genesee County Commission approved the declaration for the city of Flint Monday.

The declaration is tied to elevated lead levels in the city’s drinking water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s plan to recover from its drinking water problems goes to the Genesee County commission Monday morning.

The city’s use of the Flint River for its drinking water damaged the city’s pipes, and exposed thousands of people to high levels of lead.  The city switched back to Detroit water last fall.  But city residents are still being told to use water filters.  

Mayor Karen Weaver is asking the county commission to give its ok to Flint’s plan to fix the problem.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan State University economist predicts Michigan’s economy will continue to grow in 2016.

Economist Charles Ballard says he’s “cautiously optimistic” about next year.

Ballard says the growing economy could pull more people into the workforce.

“There is at least some room for further tightening of the labor market. It probably wouldn’t come in the form of a lower unemployment rate,” says Ballard, “But perhaps we can lure back in the labor market some of the people who have dropped out.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People in Flint will soon be able to do something they haven’t been able to do in 25 years. Skate on an ice rink downtown.

The University of Michigan-Flint is installing a new cooling system at the old outdoor ice rink by the Flint River.  They plan to open it to the public January 2nd.

The university has owned the property since 1990, but liability concerns kept the rink closed.

University officials hope the ice rink will enhance the student and community experience downtown.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan cities are getting a little help dealing with financial problems.

Michigan State University’s new Local Government Finance and Policy Center is intended to be a resource for cities. The center will offer workshops on fiscal sustainability and research municipal governance.  The center will also produce an annual fiscal health report on each of Michigan’s cities, counties and townships.

Director Eric Scorsone says mounting legacy costs are the biggest challenge facing most communities in Michigan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a push in Congress to reverse some efforts to limit voter access to the polls.

Michigan and other states have taken steps to limit early voting options and access to absentee ballots.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) says Congress should take steps to protect voter access.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a new effort to make fresh fruits and vegetables available in downtown Flint.

It’s not easy to find fresh produce in Flint. But that’s a market that Franklin Pleasant hopes to fill.

“The climate has changed in terms of full service grocery stores in town,” says Pleasant. “Quite a few have closed in the past couple of … years and we want to fill that gap. So that’s why we’re here and that’s why we know it will work.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

'Twas the weekend after Christmas, and all through the mall, shoppers armed with gift cards are expected to make a big haul. 

This is expected to be another big weekend for Michigan retailers.

Tom Scott with the Michigan Retailers says he expects many people will quickly transition from Friday’s Christmas celebration to making returns and cashing in gift cards Saturday and Sunday.   

He says for store owners, gift cards are more than just a stocking stuffer.

“(Gift cards have) changed the way we think about the holiday season,” says Scott. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials are spending the holidays finalizing a proposal that asks for help dealing with the city’s water crisis.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has been meeting with Genesee County officials to work out what needs to be part of the city’s emergency response plan.

“Sometimes we can’t put numbers to things.  But we can give estimates of what we believe it to be,” says Weaver. “So what we’re doing is identifying the resources that we need, the cost of those resources, and making sure we have a complete document to give.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan wildlife officials are closing out a year of battling chronic wasting disease in the state’s free-ranging deer.

The first case of Chronic Wasting Disease turned up in Ingham County in April.  By the end of the year, a total of four confirmed cases of the fatal neurological illness were confirmed, among the nearly four thousand deer that were tested.

In order to decrease the chances of CWD spreading, Gov. Snyder this week signed a law extending a ban on feeding wild deer. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s the last day before Christmas. 

And amidst the frantic last-minute shopping and traveling, some people in Flint took some time out for music.

For 78 years on Christmas Eve, a bank lobby in Flint has turned into a small concert hall.

Dozens of people filled the First Merit bank lobby in downtown Flint to listen to choir sing a mix of holiday standards and carols, as well as sing along themselves.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This holiday shopping season may turn out to be better than expected for Michigan retailers.

With temperatures approaching the 60’s, it may not feel like Christmas, but that’s apparently not stopping holiday shoppers.

Tom Scott, with the Michigan Retailers Association, says preliminary credit card data suggests holiday spending is up about 5% or more over last year, which is much higher than Michigan retailers were expecting.

Scott credits the weather, which has been much better than in recent years.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Warmer than usual temperatures are taking a toll on Michigan’s ski slopes.

Most resorts have less than half their runs operating with only thin layers of man-made snow. With temperatures expected to rise as Christmas approaches, many resorts may struggle to make more snow. 

Mickey MacWilliams is with the Michigan Snow Sports Industry Association. She admits it’s hard to motivate people to think about hitting the slopes when it doesn’t feel like winter.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint appears to have prevailed in a court fight over disconnecting delinquent water customers.

Last August, Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Archie Hayman ordered a halt to water shutoffs until the city of Flint rolled back a 2011 rate hike. The judge ruled that the 35% rate increase was done illegally.

The city started sending out bills reflecting the court-ordered lower rate in September. The lower rates have cost the city roughly $3.4 million.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan may soon apply for tens of millions of dollars in federal funding to tear down blighted homes.

Michigan U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters met with Congressman Dan Kildee in Flint today to discuss the transfer of $2 billion into the federal Hardest Hit Fund.

Peters says the evidence that this program works is “overwhelming”.

“Whenever you knock down blighted homes in a neighborhood, those property values stabilize. Those properties go up in value.  People move back into the neighborhood,” says Peters.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Updated 10:30 p.m.

Virginia Tech researchers accuse Michigan health officials of trying to “stonewall” the investigation into lead in Flint’s drinking water.

The documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, are available online. 

Marc Edwards says newly obtained internal documents show Department of Health and Human Services employees tried to hide evidence that matched the increased lead levels in children found by doctors at Hurley Medical Center.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan home builders are expecting a 25% increase in housing starts next year. But that will still be far below what they were building a decade ago.

Michigan home builders have been slowly climbing out of the hole created by the Great Recession.   Housing starts fell to only six thousand in 2009.   That number is expected to rise to nearly 17,000 in 2016.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers will consider a resolution backing the governor’s call to put a hold on bringing Syrian refugees into Michigan. 

State Senator Patrick Colbeck says his resolution is about safety.

“It’s about making sure we have taken all due diligence to fulfill our first responsibility as elected officials and that’s securing public safety,” says Colbeck. 

Governor Snyder asked the Obama administration to review its refugee vetting process, after the Paris terrorist attacks that killed more than a hundred people.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Updated 5:30 p.m. 

Flint has a new ally in its push for federal funds to fix the city’s water problems.

Michigan’s legislative black caucus is urging Gov. Rick Snyder to issue a state of emergency to address the continuing health concerns caused by the dangerous lead levels in Flint’s water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

UAW employees at Nexteer in Saginaw County are voting on a new contract today.   A ‘No’ vote could affect General Motors and Fiat Chrysler.  

This is the second time around for Nexteer’s three thousand workers at its Buena Vista plant. They resoundingly rejected a previous deal and walked picket lines for a day before this new offer.

Nexteer supplies steering and driveline systems to General Motors. It also supplies parts to Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota.

The contract includes a two thousand dollar signing bonus, as well as a wage increase. 

State of Michigan

One man will lead the state’s efforts to deal with Flint’s water crisis.

Harvey Hollins is the director of the Office of Urban Initiatives. Gov. Snyder has appointed Hollins to oversee the state agencies responding to Flint’s water crisis. 

Errors in how the water was treated (actually, how it wasn't treated) are blamed for unhealthy levels of lead in Flint’s drinking water going undetected for months. 

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