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

Economy
1:01 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Home sale prices plunging in Michigan

A sign of the times in Michigan's real estate market
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Home sellers in Michigan saw prices drop significantly in the last three months. And one analyst predicts it’s a trend that shows few signs of easing.

Clear Capitol reports Michigan home sale prices between October to January dropped by 5.3 percent compared to a year ago. And the overall trend is even worse.

Alex Villacorta is the director of Research and Analytics at Clear Capitol. He says home sale prices in Detroit were down nearly 12 percent. Villacorta blames the fact that half the homes sold in the Detroit during the last three months had been foreclosed. He says banks sold the repossessed home at discounted prices.

“With more than one in two homes selling as a distressed sale,  it really puts significant downward pressure on home prices," says Villacorta.

Villacorta advises people not to put their homes on the real estate market right now if they don’t have to. But if you're in the market to buy a home, Villacorta has different advice.

“For a buyer, (this is) certainty a fantastic time to buy," says Villacorta, "(With) prices at levels not seen in decades…..with mortgage rates at record low levels it’s a great time to get in.” Villacorta says other markets around the country hit hard by the foreclosure crisis are showing signs of recovery. But not Detroit.

Arts/Culture
4:01 pm
Sat February 4, 2012

Shh! The Super Bowl commercials are on.

 A group of Michigan State University professors will get together to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday.   But unlike most people, they won’t be watching the game, they’re more interested in the commercials.

Read more
Science/Medicine
3:01 pm
Sat February 4, 2012

MSU study finds divorce takes bigger toll on younger people

Conventional wisdom is younger people are able to spring back easier from a divorce.

But Michigan State University sociologist Hui Liu says her research shows it’s just the opposite.

She studied the self-reported health status of more than 12 hundred divorced Americans.  She found the younger the divorced person, the more likely they were to report health problems and for a longer period.

Liu says the effect only lasts as long as the stress of the divorce. 

“What I can see from this study is it’s a transitional effect," says Liu.  

Liu speculates life experience is one reason older divorced people cope better. 

"If you get divorced at an older age, you know how to handle your life," says Liu.      

The study found that eventually divorced people do return to the same level of health as married people. 

 The study appears in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

Flint
10:17 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Flint's emergency manager meets with city residents for the first time

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown listens as he's asked about decisions he's made, or will soon make, during a community forum last night.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A capacity crowd filled a community center auditorium in Flint last night to hear from the city’s emergency manager.    

Michael Brown has been running Flint city hall for two months, since Gov. Snyder appointed him to address the city's 'financial crisis'.   

Last night's meeting teetered between calls for action to questions about the legality of Michigan’s emergency manager law.   Several speakers complained about why and how the emergency manager is running the city of Flint.

Read more
Education
1:48 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Uncertainty about national health care worries school clinic advocates

Advocates for school-based health clinics are meeting today at the state capitol.

There are approximately 100 school-based health centers operating in Michigan. They serve about 200,000  students.

Michele Straz is the executive director of the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan. She says it’s important to maintain government, foundation and other funding so the clinics can continue to provide a critical service to children.

Read more
Flint
1:01 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Flint emergency manager sits down with city residents tonight

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Flint residents will have a chance tonight to hear directly from the man who’s been running their city for the past two months. 

 An emergency manager has been calling the shots at Flint city hall since the beginning of December.

During that time, Michael Brown has limited the power of the city’s elected leaders, fired some city employees and come up with a plan to lift Flint out of its financial crisis.

That 19 page plan talks about restructuring union contracts and combining some city departments.

Read more
Developing
3:15 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

Chicago-bound Amtrak train in Michigan derails near Jackson

An Amtrak train collided with a semi-truck near Jackson, Michigan
(JTV)

Update 3:15 p.m. - Workers hope to reopen rail line tomorrow

10 people were injured today when an Amtrak train collided with a semi-truck between Ann Arbor and Jackson.   None of the injuries were life-threatening.

The accident derailed the train’s engine and two passenger cars.   The collision also heavily damaged the tracks and the crossing. 

But a company spokesman says they hope to reopen the line by tomorrow morning.

David Pidgeon is a spokesman for Norfolk-Southern, which owns and operates the railroad that runs across southern Michigan.

 “Six passenger trains a day use that particular line…and another four to five trains of freight (a day) also use that line," says Pidgeon, "So we need to get that line open…as safely and efficiently as possible.”

While the section of track is being repaired, passengers are making part of their trip by bus.

2:17 p.m. - 10 injured

MLive.com reports that "a total of 10 people were injured" in this morning's Amtrak derailment in Leoni Township.

Blackman-Leoni Township Public Safety Director Mike Jester said all were taken to Allegiance Health with non-life threatening injuries. Authorities had previously reported six injured.

11:50 a.m. - Passengers re-routed

A westbound Amtrak train collided with a truck this morning between Jackson and Ann Arbor.

There were no life-threatening injuries. The collision left the train’s engine on its side and knocked two passenger cars off the tracks.    

Marc Magliari is an Amtrak spokesman. He says  Amtrak will bus passengers around the crash site while repairs are under way. 

“Passengers who are ticketed …let’s say eastbound passed Jackson…would be taken by chartered motorcoach…to the Ann Arbor station where they’ll meet another train and continue on," says Magliari.

 It’s unclear how long it will take to remove the derailed train and repair the damage done to the rails. 

About a half million passengers rode on Amtrak’s Wolverine line last year. 

Here's video from the Jackson Citizen Patriot speaking with Blackman-Leoni Township Public Safety Director Mike Jester:

Read more
Education
9:28 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Lansing school district may close 4 schools during the next 2 years

Sexton high school in Lansing is still on the bubble. A decision on which high school to close may not be made until August, or even later this fall
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Lansing schools will undergo a major overhaul during the next two years, if a plan released last night is eventually adopted.  

The plan calls for closing three elementary schools and one high school during the next two years. Twenty other schools would also see major changes.  

Brian Ralph is the district’s COO. He says the plan would save two million dollars over the next two years. Ralph chastised those who suggest closing schools will help the district close its estimated $20 million deficit.  

“If we’re going to sit here today and say we got to close schools to balance the budget…we got to close everything down in Lansing," says Ralph.

District officials concede closing or changing schools is an emotional issue. Guillermo Lopez is a school board member. He says it will be important to put emotional connections aside. 

"Let us no waste a lot of time…fighting for something that is….not the best for our students," says Lopez. The school board plans to hold several community meetings over the coming months to get input on the plan. Key decisions may not come until August.

Politics
6:23 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Another Michigan school district moves a step closer to an emergency manager

Governor Snyder has appointed a team to review the Muskegon Heights School District's financial records. That puts the west Michigan school district a step closer to getting an emergency manager.

The Muskegon Heights school district asked for a state review of its finances back in December.

The preliminary review found the school district was in ‘probable financial stress’, due to the district’s $8.5 million deficit.

That set the stage for the governor to appoint a state review team to scour the school district’s books. 

If an emergency manager is eventually appointed in Muskegon Heights schools, it will join school districts in Detroit and Highland Park. Emergency managers are also running things in four Michigan cities.

Politics
2:33 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Inkster financial review team gets more time to look at city's books

The team appointed by Governor Snyder to examine the city of Inkster’s financial records is getting a little more time to finish its work.   

A preliminary state review of Inkster’s books found the city was in ‘probably financial stress’.     The review found city officials proposed unrealistic budgets and failed to make budget revisions in a timely manner.    The result:  a multi-million dollar budget deficit.

Read more
Education
1:01 am
Tue January 31, 2012

Lansing school board talks about reconfiguring schools tonight

Lansing's Eastern High School may be on the list of city schools to be closed or reconfigured
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Lansing School Board will be talking about closing schools tonight. Supporters of two city high schools are trying to keep them off the list.  

The Lansing School District is looking at a budget deficit that could be as high as $20 million.

Tonight, district officials will outline their plan to pare that number down, and closing some school buildings and reconfiguring other schools is part of that plan. 

Bill Morris is a member of ‘Save Our Sexton’, which is trying to keep Lansing’s Sexton High School off the closure list. He says they’ve been working with the Eastern High alumni group fighting its closure to get district officials to delay any decisions for a year.

"They do share many of the same goals, in terms of the future of the district," says Morris, "The only thing we really differ on is the building to close.  If a building has to be closed in this matter for the obvious reasons. School Board president Myra Ford says she’s been briefed on part of the plan. She expects no action will take place for a month because the plan may be more broad and effect more schools than most people expect.

Read more
Lansing
11:12 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Lansing mayor touts changes, warns of budget 'pain' in 'State of the City' address

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero talks to reporters after he delivered his 7th State of the City address last evening
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero painted a generally optimistic picture in his ‘State of the City’ speech last night. But the mayor also raised the specter of an emergency manager as well.   

“Unlike Flint…Pontiac…Benton Harbor and others who ignored the warning signs…we will not falter…we will act," Bernero told a capacity crowd inside the Accident Fund insurance company building last evening.

The mayor veered away from the positive tone that dominated his ‘State of the City’ address when he referenced Michigan cities that have fallen under the power of emergency managers.

No one’s talking about an emergency manager for the capitol city. But after the speech, Bernero said planning for next year’s city budget will be 'ugly' and 'painful', when it comes to closing a projected $7,000,000 budget deficit.

"The point is tough decisions must be made," Bernero says, "If we don’t, the state will be there…to swoop in and do it for us.”

Bernero’s ‘State of the City’ address mainly touched upon common themes the mayor has spoken about in the past, including the need for regional cooperation with other local governments and aggressive economic development.

Lansing
9:37 am
Mon January 30, 2012

Lansing mayor talks about 'the State of the City' tonight

The seal of the city of Lansing, Michigan
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero will deliver his State of the City address this evening. The mayor is expected to stress Lansing is rebounding from the recession in tonight’s speech.

Over the weekend, the mayor’s office called attention to a new survey that found Lansing is leading the nation’s metropolitan areas in the growth of manufacturing jobs.

But Lansing’s job picture is complex. Last week, the state labor department reported Lansing’s December jobless rate stood at 6.9 percent, nearly 1.5 percent lower than December 2010.

However, the actual number of people with jobs in Lansing remained unchanged. The only difference was nearly 4,000 people left the job market.

The site of the mayor’s speech is part of the message. Mayor Bernero will speak at a former electric power plant, that after a $182 million renovation has become the headquarters for an insurance company. The mayor is also expected to talk about another project, a controversial plan to build a casino in downtown Lansing.

Science/Medicine
4:01 pm
Sat January 28, 2012

U of M study finds problems with carpooling and booster seat use

A new University of Michigan study finds most parents are hesitant to insist their young children use booster seats when they carpool.  

Public service announcements remind us that children between 4 and 8 years old,  under 4 feet 9 inches tall, must be in a booster seat when riding in a car.    But that message is not convincing most parents to insist on a booster seat when their kids carpool with other children.

Read more
Offbeat
2:46 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Jackson judge removed for misconduct

The Michigan Supreme Court has removed a Jackson judge from the bench for misconduct, which included dismissing his own traffic tickets.     

District Judge James Justin has been on suspension with pay since July of 2010. The judge had been under investigation for ‘fixing’ numerous traffic tickets issued to himself, his wife and members of his staff.  

Judge Justin was also accused of dismissing cases without conducting court hearings.  The Judicial Tenure Commission recommended last fall to remove Justin.  

In its order removing Justin from the bench, the Michigan Supreme Court found the judge routinely “failed to follow the law, apparently believing that it simply did not apply to him.”    

The judge’s attorney admits his client did wrong, but added that he deserved only an unpaid suspension.  Justin has been on the bench since 1976.

Science/Medicine
11:45 am
Fri January 27, 2012

MSU Trustees moving forward with nuclear research project

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees have agreed to move ahead with a half billion dollar nuclear research project, even though federal funding for the project is in some doubt.    

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams could make MSU a top location for nuclear research.  But U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu suggested earlier this month that federal officials were reevaluating budget priorities and hinted the MSU project may be one of those cut.  

Read more
Sports
1:01 am
Fri January 27, 2012

A Puncher's Chance - Flint boxer hopes to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

 Women will compete for Olympic medals in boxing for the first time this summer.    One of the women training hard for a shot at Olympic boxing gold is a teenager from Flint.

Claressa Shields is 16 years old.  And she is scary good in the boxing ring.  

Shields has won 19 amateur fights. 14 times she’s stopped her opponent by knocking them out. 

Read more
Economy
9:42 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Sale prices for foreclosed homes in Michigan are rising

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 The prices home buyers are paying for repossessed homes are rising in Michigan.    One analyst says it might be a sign that the real estate market may finally have hit bottom.    

Formerly foreclosed homes have saturated the market in Michigan since the recession hit a few years ago.   The high percentage of foreclosed homes on the market has been blamed for real estate prices crashing to levels not seen in Michigan since the 1990’s.

Read more
Economy
4:48 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Consumers Energy loses round in court over refund

CMS - Consumers Energy headquarters in Jackson, Michigan
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Michigan Court of Appeals has rejected an effort by Jackson-based Consumers Energy to reverse a state order that it repay $85 million to its customers.     

Consumers Energy’s customers are not getting any new money back from the utility.   Consumers already repaid the $85 Million a year ago.  

But the legal fight over the state’s order has continued since then.  

Read more
Environment
6:50 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Training for an icy water oil spill

A three-day exercise testing the U.S. Coast Guard's ability to contain oil spills on large freshwater waterways is scheduled to wrap up today near St. Ignace.    

The weather has been ideal, with a wintry blast creating the icy, unpleasant conditions Coast Guard officials wanted.   

"It's very necessary to make sure that we're ready to respond in case something does happen," George Degener, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

Pages