steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city leaders have reached a tentative deal to end their trash dispute.

Two companies have been picking up Flint garbage for weeks, as the mayor and city council disagreed on which company should have the multi-million-dollar contract.

But last week, the mayor’s choice, Rizzo Environmental Services, was linked to a federal corruption investigation in southeast Michigan. While not named in the indictment handed down against a Clinton Township trustee, newspaper reports claim an official with Rizzo bribed the township official to get its garbage contract.

Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lawsuits keep piling up in the wake of the Flint water crisis. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I talk about a new complaint that calls for a grand jury criminal investigation into Gov. Rick Snyder's legal fees. We also talk about another challenge to Michigan's 180-day time limit on collecting petition signatures and upcoming visits from vice-presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence.

Dr. Pamela Pugh has been on the job as Flint's chief public health adviser for less than two weeks.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents are being urged to cooperate with an investigation into disease outbreak that may or may not be connected to the city’s water crisis.

Since March 1, more than 130 people in Genesee and Saginaw counties have fallen sick with an illness called Shigellosis. The disease causes bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain, but has not been linked to any fatalities.

Flint City Councilman Eric Mays (right) was escorted out of Thursday's special city council meeting on Flint's trash contract
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is trying to get the city’s state oversight board to decide who should pick up Flint trash.

The council Thursday approved keeping Flint’s old garbage hauler on the job against the mayor’s wishes. The mayor’s chief of staff attended the meeting, but declined to comment. 

Council President Kerry Nelson says Republic is the best choice to empty Flint’s trash cans.

“There’s people that live in this city…that pay taxes…pay water bills….that work for Republic…I will not close the door on them,” says Nelson.

The "Flint Sprint" will tackle 20 different projects in the city over the next 60 days.
Wikimedia user Flintmichigan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Detroit bankruptcy brought government, foundations and business together, working to get through that historic crisis. Today marks the public launch of an effort to do the same for Flint.

Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes joined Stateside to talk about his latest column about the "Flint Sprint." This project brings a number of businesses -- both big and small -- to tackle 20 different projects over the next 60 days. 

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

Amid the torrent of headlines about Flint's water calamity, it's far too easy to lose track of the long history of that city.

There are powerful and poignant lessons to be learned in the way rich, vibrant neighborhoods were taken apart and plowed under in the name of "development.”

Communities like the old St. John Street neighborhood.

Charles Winfrey grew up in the St. John Street community. Today he is the executive director of The New McCree Theatre. He joined us on Stateside

Listen to the full interview below.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Monday, the Flint city council will consider contracts for the next round of lead service line replacements.

The pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains are a prime source of lead leeching into people’s tap water.  To date, the city has replaced about 200 service lines.  

The contracts before the city council would target an additional 700 homes.  The project organizer hopes contractors will be able to replace at least 300 of those service lines before winter weather sets in.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Consultants say cost restructuring may be needed to make Flint’s water bills more affordable.

Even before Flint water was unsafe to drink without a filter, many people tried to avoid turning on their taps because of the cost.

As Flint’s population dwindled, more of the cost of paying for the system fell on fewer and fewer people.   City officials added to the cost by siphoning off cash to pay for other city needs. Thousands of city residents either fell behind on their bills or had their water service shutoff. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor hopes a new court ruling will allow the city to finally end its trash dispute.

For the third time, the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling preventing Flint mayor Karen Weaver from choosing the city’s garbage hauler.

For months, Weaver wanted the city to hire Rizzo Environmental Services to empty its trash cans. But a majority of the city council wanted to keep the old trash company, Republic Services, and took the mayor to court.

Centers for Disease Control

An outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness  is easing in Genesee and Saginaw Counties.

Many of the dozens of cases of Shigella occurred in Flint, but peaked weeks ago.

Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.  More than a dozen people have been hospitalized, but there have been no fatalities.  

Dr. Eden Wells is the state’s chief medical executive. She says it’s not clear if people’s reluctance to use Flint water for basic hygiene is a factor.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint pastors says it’s time for an end to the city’s dysfunctional government.

Mayor Karen Weaver and a majority of the city council have spent months battling over city contracts and other issues. In protest, the city council recently decided not to vote on the mayor’s resolutions for 30 days.

Members of Flint’s Concerned Pastors for Social Action, who’ve supported Weaver in the past, say it’s time for the bickering to stop. The pastors held a news conference at city hall to express their frustration with the growing rift inside city hall.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is getting millions of dollars from the federal government to help reclaim former auto plant sites.

Buick City and Chevy in the Hole were once major auto production centers in Flint. Now, the two empty industrial sites are slowly being reclaimed.

The $2.5 million grant will help with building a new automotive research center in Flint. Kettering University is developing part of the old Chevy in the Hole site for research into new mobility technology.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint police department is expanding its K9 division.

The specially trained dogs are used to track suspects and find illegal drugs.

Flint police chief Tim Johnson credits his department’s four-legged officers with helping reduce crime in the city. Johnson says the dogs do things two-legged officers can’t.

“Let’s face it, even when it comes to tracking a suspect that has committed a crime, and gotten away before we had a chance to get in pursuit of him, a dog it enables us to track him,” says Johnson.

Mike and Keri Webber
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Today marks one year since health officials in Genesee County warned people living in Flint to stop drinking their tap water.

The water is improving, but Flint’s water is still not safe to drink without a filter. But there are stories of hope on this not-so-pleasant anniversary.

Gary Johnson
Gage Skidmore / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Before U.S. lawmakers left town this week, the House approved a funding bill that includes $170 million for Flint. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about what needs to happen to get the bill passed once lawmakers return after Election Day. They also talk about Donald Trump's fifth visit to Michigan since he was named the Republican presidential nominee, and The Detroit News' surprising endorsement of Libertarian Gary Johnson for president. 

The Detroit News is one of several newspapers that have traditionally endorsed the Republican nominee, but have decided against it this year.
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


It's time for another political roundup with Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas.

This week Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a legal opinion that poorly performing schools in Detroit can be closed at the end of the year, which runs counter to what Governor Snyder’s office has been saying.

The Snyder administration concluded that since the schools are part of a newly created district, they have three years before the state could step in and close the worst-performing schools.

Just another example of the attorney general and the governor butting heads.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Flint city councilman is facing a charge of driving under the influence.  

Councilman Wantwaz Davis is facing a misdemeanor charge following an accident September 3.

Davis refused a breathalyzer at the scene, but prosecutors say a blood test shows he was above the legal limit for alcohol.

Davis claims he crashed his car while he was being chased by two other vehicles.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new garbage hauler will once again be picking up trash in Flint.

On Thursday, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed a lower court order blocking Mayor Karen Weaver from hiring her pick to empty Flint’s trash cans.

Rizzo was picking up Flint trash on Monday. But a judge issued an injunction blocking the mayor from hiring Rizzo without the Flint city council’s approval.

Weaver’s choice of Rizzo Environmental Services has been opposed by a majority of the Flint city council.   The council voted to keep the old contractor on the job.

Congressman Moolenaar said this approval comes at a good time, following the release of a study this month that showed almost twice as many of Flint’s water lines may need to be replaced than originally thought.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio


It’s been over a year since the water crisis in Flint became international news.

On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives approved $170 million to go towards replacing lead water pipe lines in Flint.

The Flint funding amendment to the Water Resources Development Act was co-sponsored by Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, and Congressman John Moolenaar, R-Midland.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The U.S. Senate rejected a spending bill on Tuesday to keep the government running through December 9.

A majority of Democrats voted "no" because the bill didn't contain money to help Flint.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about the impact that could have on the upcoming election. They also discuss Donald Trump's Michigan references in the first presidential debate and calls to reduce recidivism from Hillary Clinton and Gov. Rick Snyder.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she won’t “get in the mud” with city council members accusing her of acting like “a dictator”.

Council members say they won’t take up any of the mayor’s proposals for 30 days, as a protest to her recent unilateral decisions.

Weaver questions the council’s actions.

“If you want to hold up the city, if you think that’s in the best interest of the people, then that’s on you,” says Weaver. “I’ve got to stay focused on doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A dispute between Flint’s mayor and city council over who’ll pick up the city’s trash is headed back to court.

For months, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has been at odds with a majority of the city council over trash pick-up. She wants to hire a new company. The council wants the old one to continue.

Last week, Mayor Karen Weaver hired a new company, Rizzo Environmental Services, to empty Flint trash cans. It started Monday. 

Garbage truck in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is asking a judge for an injunction to stop the city’s mayor from cancelling a contract with the city’s trash hauler.

Jan Worth-Nelson told us that high-quality writing and photography have always been staples of "East Village Magazine."
Courtesy of East Village Magazine

This year marks the 40th anniversary of East Village Magazine.

The nonprofit magazine has been bringing community news to people in Flint since 1976, a labor of love for its founder, the late Gary Custer.

East Village Magazine has hung in there to become one of the nation's oldest community media outlets. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about a sudden rule change that takes away Flint's power to sue the state over the city's lead-tainted drinking water crisis.

Lessenberry and Tribou also discuss Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's plan to keep out Syrian refugees and a push to strengthen lead regulations in Michigan before Election Day. 

Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Amidst the headlines about Attorney General Schuette's criminal investigation and charges filed in the Flint water disaster, there is another legal story unfolding.

Four separate civil lawsuits were filed on behalf of thousands of Flint residents between November of last year and this past April. And, as we mark one year since the breadth and depth of the Flint water crisis became known to the world, we decided to measure the progress of these suits.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Days after Flint's mayor served notice the city might sue Michigan over Flint's crisis with lead-tainted water, the state removed the city's ability to sue.

Flint hasn't been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, but the state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Amariyanna Copeny, 9, of Flint, Mich. with Donald Trump

A picture of Donald Trump and "Little Miss Flint" has people on the internet talking.

Amariyanna Copeny, aka Little Miss Flint, and her mother Lulu Brezzell attended Trump's visit to Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint on Wednesday.

Brezzell took the picture of her daughter's encounter with Trump where the Republican presidential candidate is smiling and appears happy, while Amariyanna doesn't.

Donald Trump is lashing out against an African-American pastor who interrupted him Wednesday to chide him for campaigning in her Flint, Mich., church.

"Something was up," Trump told Fox and Friends on Thursday morning, calling the Rev. Faith Green Timmons a "nervous mess."

"I noticed she was so nervous when she introduced me," he said. "When she got up to introduce me she was so nervous, she was shaking. I said, wow, this is kind of strange. Then she came up. So she had that in mind, there's no question."

The plaintiffs say older, poor and impoverished people in Flint aren't getting enough water
Flickr user Daniel Orth / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Should a judge force the government to deliver bottled water, door to door, to everybody in Flint?

The Flint water crisis has gone to federal court: a group of activists say the state’s efforts really aren’t reaching a lot of people – especially older, sick, or low-income people.

There’s several plaintiffs here:  a group called the Concerned Pastors for Social Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and a Flint resident/activist named Melissa Mays.