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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

Incoming sheriffs attend a training session in East Lansing.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

On January 1, 33 new sheriffs will begin their new jobs.

It’s the biggest change at the top of Michigan law enforcement in decades.

Terry Jungel is the executive director of the Michigan Sheriff’s Association. He can’t remember a time when so many of Michigan’s 83 county sheriffs were new to the job.

“I think it’s a new generation coming in with a new expectation,” says Jungel, who adds that many of the retiring sheriffs had difficulty with public demands for greater transparency, including body cams.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Many students received digital devices for Christmas and Hanukah presents this year. 

But a new Michigan State University study suggests the students should not go online when they return to class.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

“Cavalier." That’s how one group is describing the state of Michigan’s response to the latest attempt to force bottled water delivery to Flint homes.

Several groups, along with Flint residents, want the state and city to deliver bottled water to Flint homes without a working water filter.

Last month, a federal judge ordered home water deliveries.  And last week, an Appeals Court rejected the state’s request to put the order on hold.

wolfenotes.com

The proposed merger of Midland-based Dow Chemical and DuPont is now part of a lawsuit filed by a town in New Jersey.  

DuPont operated the Chambers Works plant near Carneys Point, New Jersey for more than a hundred years.   Teflon was invented there in 1938. 

Chestnut tree.
user Tommy1969 / Flickr - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

This is the big time of year for Michigan’s fledgling chestnut industry.

From Nat King Cole to Justin Bieber, singers sing the praises of chestnuts this time of year.

Crack in a sidewalk.
user Derek Bridges / Flickr - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Michigan’s trial lawyers are urging Governor Rick Snyder to veto a bill they say will make it harder to sue cities and towns for injuries from uneven sidewalks.

Tom Waun is the president of the Michigan Association for Justice.  

He says the bill would put plaintiffs in a ‘Catch-22’. They wouldn’t be able to sue if they trip on a crack less than 2 inches in height.  But if the crack is more than two inches, the law finds they should have been able to see it and avoid tripping.   

Waun says that’s not fair.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder has signed into law legislation compensating people who’ve been wrongfully imprisoned.

Under the “Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act,” the compensation would amount to $50,000 for every year the individual was incarcerated, in addition to reasonable attorney fees and expenses.

“Michigan’s criminal justice system does a tremendous job, however there is always more we can do to make it better, particularly for those who have been wrongfully imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit,” Snyder said in a written statement.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal court is giving the state of Michigan and the city of Flint until Friday to show how they are complying with a court ruling ordering the immediate delivery of bottled water to Flint homes without working water filters.  

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (left) and Special Counsel Todd Flood, along with Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton and the Flint Water Investigative Team have been investigating the Flint water crisis for most of the year
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Prosecutors say they will announce another round of criminal charges in the Flint water crisis tomorrow.

The announcement does not indicate if there are new charges against the current defendants or if charges are being filed against new defendants.

Nine current and former government employees have been charged so far in the aftermath of the Flint water crisis.

Flint’s former utilities director and a retired state health department epidemiologist have cut deals with prosecutors. 

The other seven defendants face court hearings next year.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

New state laws take effect Tuesday that will regulate Michigan’s medical marijuana industry.

The three laws taking effect will legalize medical marijuana dispensaries, regulate growing and processing facilities and extend legal protections to registered patients who prefer to use non-smokable forms of the drug, including edibles and oils.

It’s the first major update to Michigan’s medical marijuana laws since voters approved legalizing pot for medicinal purposes in 2008. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional to sentence people younger than 18 to mandatory life without parole. And just about one year ago, the court made that decision retroactive.

In Michigan, prosecutors have been testing the limits of that decision. They’re asking courts to uphold life-without-parole for most of the 363 inmates affected.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A year ago today, Flint, Michigan’s mayor declared a state of emergency because of lead contaminated drinking water.  

That attracted national outrage and sympathy, as well as millions of gallons of donated water.

But a year later, donations have slowed to a trickle and unfiltered water is still unsafe to drink.

From their hometown streets to the halls of the nation’s capital, Flint residents have spent 2016 demanding drinkable water.

But as the year nears its end little has really changed.

Smoke shop.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new University of Michigan report finds teen drug use is continuing to decline in the U.S.

U of M’s Monitoring the Future project has been studying teenage drug use for more than four decades.

“Teen smoking at 12th-grade, 10th-grade and eighth-grade is at the lowest level we’ve ever recorded in 42 years. The same with alcohol use. Same with measures of heavy alcohol use, like binge drinking or getting drunk,” says researcher Richard Meich. “So it looks like teens are moving away from drug use.”

mark brush / Michigan Radio

The city of Lansing will reach a major milestone this week when crews replace the capitol city’s last remaining lead service line. The last lead line is scheduled to be replaced on Wednesday.

Service lines connect homes and businesses to city water mains.

A decade before Flint’s lead tainted tap water became a national scandal, utility crews in Lansing started replacing aging lead service lines.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The house flipping market appears to be cooling off in metro Detroit.  But it is heating up in other parts of Michigan.

Home flipping is where someone buys a home, fixes it up and sells it again quickly for a profit.  Hopefully. 

Michigan is not one of the hotter flipping markets.  But Daren Blomquist, with real estate tracking company Attom, says it’s getting warmer.

“We still saw nearly 1500 properties being flipped in the state during the quarter and that’s the ninth highest of any state nationwide,” says Blomquist.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Congress has approved a wide-ranging bill to authorize water projects across the country, including $170 million to address lead in Flint's drinking water. 

graph
MDEQ

New tests show lead levels in Flints water are back within federal standards.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the new data shows more than 96% of the samples are at or below the 15 parts per billion (ppb) federal lead action level. It’s the sixth round of sentinel testing that has produced results within the federal lead action level.

The MDEQ’s results come after new independent testing by researchers from Virginia Tech University, which also showed improvement in Flint’s lead tainted tap water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Commercial water customers in Flint who haven’t paid their bills could be shut off next week.

On Thursday, the city posted shutoff notices at businesses that are delinquent on the water and sewer bills.

Businesses, including two apartment complexes, have been told to pay up by next Thursday or lose water service.   Local charities are making arrangements to assist tenants of the apartment complexes find new places to live if their water and sewer service is cutoff.   Water service was part of the rent people living at the apartment complexes were paying. 

At PechaKucha 20x20, speakers have to tell the audience "Why Flint?" using 20 images and 400 seconds.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Congress is moving forward with millions of dollars for the Flint water crisis.

The House approved $170 million to help Flint replace pipes and deal with health issues tied to the city’s lead-tainted tap water. 

The money is part of the Water Resources Development Act, which includes funds for many infrastructure projects across the U.S.

But it’s Flint’s ongoing drinking water crisis that drew the most attention to the legislation.  

“Flint needs action,” says Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, “this bi-partisan legislation delivers that.”

Sink in Flint with a warning sign.
Virginia Tech

A federal appeals court may weigh in this week on a lower court order that directs the state of Michigan and the city of Flint to start delivering water to homes without a working filter.

The city’s is still dealing with a public health crisis after it was found tap water was contaminated with elevated levels of lead. Recent tests by researchers with Virginia Tech show significant improvement in lead levels, but the use of filters is still encouraged.

Many Flint residents still rely on bottled water.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A federal judge says the state must start weekly deliveries of bottled water to Flint residents who do not have properly installed or maintained filters.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report finds, despite improved access to health insurance, a large number of poor Michiganders still fall in and out of coverage.

The University of Michigan’s Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation looked at something called “churning”.  Churning is when individuals pass from one health insurer to another, either by changing plans or entering and exiting Medicaid.

Marianne Udow Philips is the center’s director. She says there remains a lot of health insurance instability.

For many Flint residents, trips to a nearby water distribution center is a regular part of life.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Two federal courts are weighing legal arguments over requiring the government to deliver bottled water to Flint residents.

A federal judge ordered the state to make weekly home deliveries. The Snyder administration and water activists have filed dueling motions over the judge’s order.    

Attorneys for the state say the order would create an “insurmountable burden.”

Recall organizer Alex Harris (right at podium) could not convince a panel of Genesee County officials to approve his petition language against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (left)
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An effort to recall Flint’s mayor has been derailed.

It didn’t take long for the Genesee County Board of Electors to dispatch the petition, maybe two minutes.

The extremely short meeting ended after recall organizer Alex Harris admitted he didn’t have evidence of his first claim against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver that she didn’t pay her water bill.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

We may soon see a draft proposal for how Michigan will handle more than two billion dollars in Medicaid funding earmarked for mental health.

The Snyder administration caused an uproar earlier this year when it backed a plan to further privatize the public nonprofit mental health system by turning over $2.4 billion in state funding to Medicaid HMOs.

Mental Health groups said this would put control of the money into the hands of out-of-state, for-profit insurance companies.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the Genesee County Election Board  will decide whether to approve language for a recall petition against Flint mayor Karen Weaver.

Organizer Alex Harris has run recall efforts against two previous Flint mayors, Woodrow Stanley and Don Williamson. Stanley was recalled.  Williamson stepped down before a recall vote.

Harris himself has run unsuccessfully for seats on the Flint city council and school board.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Monday, some Michigan fast food workers and others are expected to walk out of their minimum wage jobs.

Strikes are planned in Detroit and other Michigan cities, as well as around the country.

Pastor W.J. Rideout is one of the organizers of the D15 campaign pushing for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“You will see us all over,” says Rideout, “and it’s going to have a great big large impact. It’s going to blow the minds of people.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

If you've ever driven down a pot-hole strewn road, or needed  a filter just to drink your tap water in Flint, you know just how crappy parts of Michigan's infrastructure are right now. 

Now a special commission is expected to deliver a report to the governor next week, outlining what needs to be done to address the state's growing infrastructure needs.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan officials are fighting a court order to start delivering bottled water directly to some Flint homes.

But local activists say that water is needed now, even as the case is appealed to a higher court.

Earlier this month, federal judge David Lawson ordered the state and the city of Flint to deliver cases of bottled water to homes without working water filters.  The filters are needed to screen out lead in the drinking water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Money talks - and in 2016, it also wins elections. In 91% of state house races this year, the candidate with more money won. 

That's according to analysis by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. Executive Director Craig Mauger compared the election results with financial reports.  

“In the other 8 races where the candidate...who had less money won, it was often very close.  Both candidates raised a lot of money,” says Mauger.

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