Flint

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announces charges in his team's investigation into the Flint water crisis on April 20, 2016.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says lawyers hired by Governor Rick Snyder won't turn over documents demanded by his Flint investigation team. 

As of now, taxpayers are paying for both the AG's special investigation as well as Governor Snyder's attorneys, which, at least from the AG's special investigator Todd Flood's point of view, are not cooperating fully with the investigation. 

Former chief medical executive Dr. Matthew Davis received an email on the Genesee County Legionnaires' outbreak nearly a year before its public announcement.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

Did the Michigan Department of Health and Human services know about a possible Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Genesee County a year before it was publicly disclosed? Emails recently released by Governor Rick Snyder’s administration raise that question.

Dr. Matthew Davis, who served as the state’s chief medical executive and on Snyder’s Flint water task force, has previously denied knowledge of the increase of Legionnaires’ cases in Genesee County prior to leaving his post in April 2015.

Tens of thousands of water filters have been distributed in Flint.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Volunteers will be going to thousands of homes in Flint this weekend, making sure everyone's got a water filter.

Some 25,000 Flint homes are already using filters, according to the state's count.

But local and state teams are going door-to-door this weekend, to check on some 2,300 homes they still aren't sure about.

Michigan State Police Captain Chris Kelenske is with the state's emergency management team.

Michigan AG Bill Schuette
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that his office has filed a civil suit against three companies involved in the Flint water crisis.

The suit names Veolia North America, Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, and Leo A. Daly Co. as defendants.

Schuette said these companies "botched the job" when it came to providing safe drinking water to Flint.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

After months of wrangling, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is reluctantly agreeing to hook the city up to the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline for the city's drinking water.

Emergency managers made the decision to switch Flint’s drinking water to the KWA pipeline as a way to save money. Flint's city council gave its stamp of approval as well. But Flint’s new elected leaders wanted out of the deal because of the cost.

Gov. Snyder speaks at a Flint news conference.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s been almost six months since the Flint Water Task Force blamed the culture of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for the Flint water crisis.

The Task Force said a culture of quote “technical compliance” exists inside the drinking water office.

Its report found that officials were buried in technical rules – thinking less about why the rules existed. In this case, making sure Flint’s water was safe to drink.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver defends Police Chief Tim Johnson (left of Mayor Weaver).
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson will soon be certified to be a police officer.

Johnson was appointed Flint’s new police chief back in February. But the career cop allowed his state certification to lapse after he retired several years ago.

Without that certification, Johnson lacked the arresting powers of officers under his command.

Johnson says he was planning to take the two-day class later this year.

“I was trying to wait for the city to reach a calm level where I could go away for a couple of days to get re-certified,” Johnson told reporters today.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has met an EPA deadline to upgrade equipment at the city’s water plant.

The EPA sent the city of Flint a letter one week ago saying the city had until today to install and have operational equipment to add additional chlorine and other chemicals to the city’s water supply.

Flint gets its tap water from Detroit already treated with chemicals to impede the growth of bacteria and other organisms. But chemicals, like chlorine, lose their effectiveness the longer they are in the system.  

Gov. Rick Snyder at the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference
Zoe Clark / Michigan Radio

Zoe Clark from It's Just Politics is at the Mackinac Policy Conference and there's been no shortage of news at what many would consider to be the Super Bowl for political junkies. Clark joined Stateside to discuss what hasn't been discussed that much over the last few days:  The city of Flint and the water crisis that continues there.

Georgie Sharp / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

This weekend, AARP officials plan to sit down with older Flint residents to see how the city’s drinking water crisis affects them.

Flint’s water system has dealt with serious problems, including high lead levels.

Paula Cunningham is the state director of AARP. She says about a third of Flint residents are over 60 years old.

“These are very vulnerable folks who need some attention and need our assistance as well,” says Cunningham.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Next week, Flint city officials plan to sit down with contractors interested in replacing lead service lines.

The city would like to remove 15,000 service lines, but for now they only have enough money to replace about 400.

Mayor Karen Weaver admits her “Fast Start” program has been slow to reach its second phase, partly because the sity wants to give smaller, local contractors a better chance to win contracts.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Water experts from across the country are dismissing warnings from an environmental group of high levels of contaminants in Flint’s drinking water.    

The experts say new data actually show Flint’s water improving since the switch back to Detroit water last fall. The water is still not safe to drink or cook with unfiltered.  

At a news conference today in Flint, researchers from Virginia Tech University, Wayne State University and the University of Massachusetts outlined the findings of their recent tests on the city’s drinking water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This Memorial Day weekend, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is encouraging city residents to wash their cars and water their grass.

It’s not about sprucing up the city.  It’s about flushing the city’s lead tainted drinking water.

Federal, state and local officials have been asking Flint residents this month to run faucets full blast for five minutes a day for two weeks.  The state is picking up the tab for the extra water use. 

Weaver says it’s not too late for city residents to get involved.

the city of Flint
wikimedia user Flintmichigan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The flood of headlines coming out of the water crisis in Flint comes down to a basic problem: The city was starved for cash. And that led to the series of bad decisions that in turn led to the catastrophe of lead-poisoned water. 

But Flint isn’t the only city caught in a cash crunch. All across the state cities are starved for cash. Most of them not because of something the city has done, but because of things the state has done.

Roasted marshmallows
Brian Sawyer / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This summer, Flint children will have a chance to escape from the city's crisis with lead-tainted tap water.

Camp Joy will be held in southwest Michigan this summer for children from two areas of Flint considered to be especially hard hit by the water crisis.

It won't cost them a thing.

Reverend Jerri Porter of Dowagiac is one of the camp's organizers. She says transportation, clothing, toiletries and food will be included.

"We don't want any costs incurred to the families. They've suffered enough. This is our gift to them," Porter said.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about the end of Flint water hearings in Lansing and whether Detroit's struggling school district will get the cash infusion it needs from the state.


Sen. Gary Peters joined Cynthia Canty in the studio for today's "Stateside"
Mercedes Mejia

There are some important issues that seem to be mired in Republican resistance on Capitol Hill, federal aid for Flint, and hearings on a new Justice for the United States Supreme Court among them.

Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich., joined Cynthia Canty on today's Stateside to talk about the latest developments and what it might take to get these efforts running through the Senate.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s former city administrator is suing the city and Mayor Karen Weaver.

The lawsuit claims Natasha Henderson was fired after she raised questions about donations to a Flint water crisis charity being redirected to another fund created by Mayor Weaver.

Katherine Smith Kennedy is Henderson’s attorney. She claims Henderson’s job was terminated hours after she raised the issue with the city attorney.

“The timing is so suspicious,” says Kennedy, who admits she doesn’t know if there was anything illegal about redirecting donations.   

a sink
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The effort to get Flint residents to flush their pipes daily moves into its second week this weekend.

But it’s not known if people are doing it.

“Run your water for five minutes a day. In the kitchen. In the bathroom,” Nicole Lurie told reporters at a news conference this week.  Lurie leads the federal response to Flint’s water crisis.

She says running the water will help flush lead particles out and allow chemicals to get in that will heal the damaged pipes.   

The campaign to get Flint water customers to run their water every day started last Sunday.  

Crowd waits to hear President Obama speak in Flint, Michigan.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder stepped before a crowd of thousands of Flint residents Wednesday in advance of President Obama's speech at Northwestern High School.

The reaction was not warm. 

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joins us to talk about what it will take to end the free-for-all of political games and blame-shifting in the ongoing water crisis. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate has approved spending another $128 million to address the water crisis in Flint, where residents have to use faucet filters or bottled water because of lead contamination.

The emergency aid legislation that passed 34-3 Wednesday next goes to the House for consideration.

It's the fourth round of funding being considered by lawmakers since the health disaster was confirmed seven months ago.

Gov. Rick Snyder and legislators previously authorized $67 million for the emergency – mostly state money but also federal funds.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about Gov. Rick Snyder's plans to meet with President Obama in Flint today, teacher sickouts in Detroit and the future of the presidential campaign, now that the Indiana primary is over.

Six days ago, when it was first announced that President Obama was finally coming to Flint, Governor Snyder sent word from Europe that he was busy and didn’t plan to be in town that day. It was instantly clear that this was a huge political mistake.

President Barack Obama
Pete Souza / White House

When President Obama visits Flint on Wednesday, many are wondering if Gov. Snyder will meet with him. Early signs indicated "no," but this morning, Snyder asked to meet with the president and Flint's Mayor Karen Weaver. The It's Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta tries to make sense of it all.

sign that says "Flint Vehicle City"
Michigan Municipal League/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

President Barak Obama is scheduled to visit Flint on Wednesday, and Governor Rick Snyder said today  that he has formally asked to meet with the president and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver during the visit.

Snyder said it would be an opportunity to discuss at the highest level how to best support Flint.

“How can we all work together to make Flint a stronger, better community and address the water question as much as possible,” said Snyder.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Next month, a secluded treasure in the heart of Flint will open its doors to the general public.

The 100 year old Applewood estate was the home of Charles Stewart Mott, an auto industry pioneer and philanthropist.   The estate sits a short distance from Flint’s cultural district.

For decades, only the fortunate few had the chance to enter.

“It is a great Flint treasure that has been somewhat under-utilized,” says Megan McAdow, the Collections & Exhibitions Manager for the Ruth Mott Foundation.

However, that’s changing.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a push on to get more young kids in the Flint area signed up for early childhood education programs.

The state Legislature approved special funding to expand early childhood education programs in Genesee County, as part of the state’s response to Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water.

Lisa Hagel is the superintendent of the Genesee Intermediate School District. She says many three- and four-year-olds would benefit from the education and nutrition program, but they don’t know where those kids are.

money
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s U.S. senators are trying again to get $172 million in federal funding for fixing Flint’s damaged water system. 

Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow announced today they have included the money in the Water Resources Development Act. The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is expected to consider this legislation this week.

Stabenow, D-Mich, says she’s glad they’ve “found a new path forward to get urgently-needed help for families in Flint and other communities across the country with serious lead and water issues.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint police department is taking a more aggressive stance on crime.

Standing before a conference table piled high with guns, drugs and $18,000 cash, Flint Police Chief Timothy Johnson says a new unit has spent the past few weeks cracking down on street crime.

“This would have been on the streets if it wouldn’t have been for the efforts of the Crime Area Target team,” says Johnson. “There’s probably a lot more out there than we have on this table. I’m quite sure it is.”

Flint water crisis protest
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Two years ago today, the city of Flint switched its drinking water source from the Detroit River to the Flint River ​– water we now know was not treated with corrosion control chemicals. Water that went on to corrode pipes and cause lead to leach into people's drinking water.

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