Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is beset by many challenges and problems, which means the city’s newly elected mayor has not had the luxury of gradually learning the ropes.

Karen Weaver ousted incumbent Mayor Dayne Walling on November 3, making her the first woman to hold the office of mayor of Flint.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, a judge will consider whether the city of Flint may resume shutting off water to people who haven’t paid their bills.

In August, Genesee Circuit Judge Archie Hayman ordered the city of Flint to stop disconnecting delinquent water customers. The judge found the city had illegally increased rates in 2011 and directed the city to rollback the 35% increase. 

Since September, Flint water customers have been paying the lower rate. But not everyone has been paying. 

Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint leaders want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen its regulation of public drinking water systems.

U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, and seven others testified today in front of the EPA's National Drinking Water Advisory Council. The Council is developing recommendations to the EPA about changes to its rule on lead and copper in water.

Kildee said the agency needs to tighten up its regulations to make sure what happened in Flint never happens again.

For many Flint residents, finding fresh and healthy food has become a struggle
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

To many of us, a trip to the grocery store is simply a matter of finding the time in our schedule to jump in the car and drive a few miles.

But that grocery trip presents big challenges to many of the people who live in Flint, where supermarkets are shutting down left and right.

The city lost two Kroger stores and a Meijer within eight months.

And with about half of the city’s residents living below the poverty line, many can’t afford to get a car to drive to the suburbs for fresh, healthy food.

Researchers at Virginia Tech received samples of Flint water (both clear and discolored) from residents.
Flint Water Study / Facebook

The Flint water crisis has uncovered all kinds of details about how cities test the safety of their drinking water.

In particular, critics say the state is giving bad advice on testing drinking water for lead.

The state of Michigan tells cities to do something called pre-flushing.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s public works director has resigned.

Howard Croft played a highly visible role in the city’s drinking water crisis.

Appointed by Flint’s emergency manager in 2011, Croft oversaw the city’s switch from Detroit water to the Flint River, and back again after serious problems developed from the river water. 

“They are well protected…but not absolutely,” says attorney Michael Pitt.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Attorneys are hoping to sign up tens of thousands of Flint water customers for a class action lawsuit against the city and state.

The suit was filed Friday on behalf of four families.  

Attorney Trachelle Young says they are seeking damages for people suffering health problems because of Flint’s problem-plagued drinking water.

“I don’t think the community has any idea how truly extensive the damages are,” says Young.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s water crisis is now the subject of a federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of four families was filed Friday.

The lawsuit singles out 14 state and local officials FOR “reckless” conduct connected to the decision to switch to and stay with the Flint River for the city’s drinking water source.  The lawsuit names Gov. Rick Snyder, former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and former emergency manager Darnell Earley, among others.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Dozens of families turned up for free blood lead level testing in Flint today.

Nurses tried to soothe the fears of toddlers, telling them “it’s just a little poke” before using a small lancet to prick the child’s finger.   

Many of the children were not soothed. But many parents hope the clinic will ease some of their worries.

A Flint resident holds a jug of tainted Flint water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There is a lot of controversy surrounding Michigan’s use of emergency managers. The Flint water fiasco, the decline of the Detroit Public School system – that all happened under the watch of state-appointed emergency managers.

While much has been said and written about Detroit getting through bankruptcy quickly, there are a lot of long-lasting effects of the city’s time under an emergency manager, including, but certainly not limited to, Belle Isle Park being turned over to state management, which some Detroit residents find frustrating.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Veterans’ Day observances are taking place across Michigan today.   

On this day, many vets are still struggling with old wounds and new obstacles to getting help. 

EPA region 5 director Susan Hedman (file photo).
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal agency will review how the state of Michigan monitors local drinking water.

Regional EPA administrator Susan Hedman says her agency will conduct an audit of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s drinking water program.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A meeting this week may help produce an update into a possible federal probe of Flint’s water problems.

Congressman Dan Kildee says he plans to meet this week with Regional EPA director Susan Hedman to discuss the status of an investigation into Flint’s drinking water problems.

Kildee says the investigation has to look beyond just assessing blame.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s new mayor says she wants her city to return to total local control.

Soon after Karen Weaver took her oath of office as Flint mayor, she called on Governor Snyder re-instate total local control in her city.

“I do not embrace the current governance model on a moral or political basis,” Weaver told the standing room crowd that packed the city council chambers to watch her take her oath of office. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s new mayor will be sworn into office at noon Monday.

Karen Weaver started the year as a Flint businesswoman.  She’ll end it as Flint’s mayor. 

Weaver defeated incumbent Mayor Dayne Walling in last week’s election.

Weaver emerged as the least known of a four person field in the August primary and campaigned hard on the city’s water problems.

When she takes the oath of office, she’ll become the first woman elected mayor in Flint.

Weaver will be mayor of a city still under control of a state oversight board. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor-elect Karen Weaver will be sworn in on Monday.   But she’s starting with less power than her predecessors.

When he took office six years ago, outgoing mayor Dayne Walling appointed more than a dozen top city officials.   But incoming mayor Karen Weaver can not appoint a single department head.

One of the last decisions by Flint’s last emergency manager was to give all personnel decisions to the city administrator. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint school officials will hold a lead education session next week.

Preliminary tests showed 4 of 13 Flint schools had lead levels in their drinking water at or above the federal action level. Results from more in-depth testing should be released next week.

Next Thursday, Flint Community Schools, along with the Genesee County Health Department will hold an information session for parents of children five and under.

I was thinking yesterday that I ought to apply for the job of general manager of the Detroit Lions. Now, it is true that I don’t know anything about football, and have no background whatsoever in the sport. And actually, I don’t like football.

But I’ve had some minor success at other things – I’ve been told I’m a fairly bright guy. I know how to write and teach and run my mouth, and so I was thinking – I could do this.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Beginning next month, the city of Flint plans to again disconnect water customers who aren’t paying their bills. 

The first shutoff notices are going out this week.

This summer, Judge Archie Hayman judge ordered Flint to stop shutting off water service to delinquent customers. The judge found Flint illegally raised rates by 35% in 2011. As part of his ruling, the judge ordered the city to roll back the water rates and stop disconnecting people who had run up unpaid bills under the old rate structure. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After six years at city hall, Flint Mayor Dayne Walling only has a few days to clean out his office to make way for his successor. 

Walling lost his bid for a third term yesterday. Political newcomer Karen Weaver defeated Walling by nearly 2,000 votes.  She’ll be sworn in next week. 

Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a full review of the actions taken to address drinking water quality issues in Flint. It is expected to be completed by the end of this week, with results released next week.

EPA regional administrator Susan Hedman said in a Nov. 3 letter to U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, that she was asked by the head of the federal agency to carry out the review.

Two things happened yesterday that starkly illustrate what’s right and what’s wrong with politics and government in this state. First, we had an election – or, more accurately, a whole flock of elections. Turnout wasn’t great, despite the beautiful weather.

But the vast majority of the voters behaved reasonably and responsibly.

Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry says he wasn't surprised to see that former state representatives Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser didn't regain their seats after their sex and cover up scandal. Lessenberry says Flint's water crisis was a big reason why political newcomer Karen Weaver will now take over Dayne Walling's position as Flint mayor. Lessenberry also explains the road funding plan, which is now on it's way to Governor Rick Snyder's desk. Lessenberry says the roads plan won't actually fix the roads. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint voters have chosen a new mayor.

Karen Weaver was surrounded by jubilant supporters last night as she rolled to victory in Flint’s mayor’s race.

Weaver, a political newcomer, defeated six-year incumbent Dayne Walling by a convincing margin. 

“We voted for change so some things have to be different,” says Weaver, “but at this point I want to start with putting together a team so we can look and see what we need to do.”

During the campaign, Weaver repeatedly hammered Walling on his handling of the city’s drinking water crisis.

A demolition in Flint.
Genesee County Land Bank

Genesee County has set aside $1 million to demolish blighted tax-foreclosed properties in the out-county area.

The city of Flint, which is the county seat, has seen much of the focus of the area's anti-blight efforts in recent years.

Gordon Young

It's no secret that the city of Flint is wrestling with huge challenges. A water crisis, high crime rates and a shrinking population.

But, despite its difficulties and dangers, international students are coming to Flint. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s not much on the ballot in Michigan tomorrow, but what is there is sparking controversy.

There are primaries for three state house seats.

The vacancies came as a result of a retirement, a resignation, and an expulsion. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint police are reviewing an incident where a city police officer handcuffed a child at a Flint school.

Flint Police Chief James Tolbert says he has apologized to the mother of the child who was handcuffed. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city staff snubbed city council members who wanted to hold a special meeting tonight on the city’s drinking water problems.

No city staffer showed up at the special meeting. City Administrator Natasha Henderson had objections to elements of the planned meeting. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee says he met with top federal officials yesterday to discuss Flint’s water problems.

Kildee told a town hall conference call last night about the meetings with officials from the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control.