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Flint water crisis

Scroll through all of our coverage of the Flint water crisis below. And you can find our special series Not Safe to Drink here.

car crash
W. Robert Howell via Wikimedia Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

Michigan legislators are debating auto insurance this week. One proposal would let people choose different levels of coverage – dropping the mandatory open-ended catastrophic medical coverage that's in place now.  Another plan would prohibit the use of zip codes and credit histories to set rates. Everyone – with the possible exception of the insurance companies – seems to agree rates are too high.

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou asks Michigan Radio's senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry if he sees any path to a deal. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city council members are assessing their options now that a federal judge has told them the time has come to decide the city’s long-term tap water source. 

Flint has been getting its drinking water from the Great Lakes Water Authority since the fall of 2015.   Flint’s mayor and state government officials agreed to a 30-year contract to keep the water flowing. But Flint council members have balked.

Their main concern is about rising future costs.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor delivered her State of the City address last night.

At times, it sounded like a campaign stump speech.

Mayor Karen Weaver focused on positive developments over the past year in a city usually associated with problems. During the mayor’s 40-plus minute speech, she talked about economic development, lower crime rates and improving city services. 

Weaver also stressed the need to continue to recover from the city’s drinking water crisis.

purple rose sign
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr- HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL

Jeff Daniels says he was originally going to write a comedy when he sat down to work on his newest play Flint.

But then Trump happened. And Charlottesville. 

So Daniels started to think about the precursors that might explain what made those things possible.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Monday marks the second anniversary of Flint’s switch back to Detroit water.

October 16th, 2015 was the end of Flint’s experiment with getting its tap water from the Flint River.   

But the ramifications of improperly treated river water continue.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is sidestepping questions concerning whether Governor Rick Snyder may have misled congress about when he learned of a deadly Legionnaires Disease outbreak.

Between 2014 and 2015, at least 12 people died after contracting Legionnaires in Genesee County. Dozens more fell ill with the bacteria pneumonia. Prosecutors have charged or announced their intent to charge six government officials with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the outbreak, which they say is connected to Flint's drinking water crisis.  

Appearing before a congressional committee investigating the Flint water crisis, Gov. Snyder testified under oath last year that he didn’t learn of the outbreak in Genesee County until January, 2016.  But as part of the criminal probe of the Flint water crisis, a top aide to the governor testified they talked about the outbreak a month earlier.

group of activists
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More than 3,000 progressive activists are expected to be in Detroit later this month for the Women’s Convention.

Many of them will receive an education on Flint’s and Detroit’s water issues.

Groups from Flint and Detroit plan to host a workshop for  conventioneers on the eve of the weekend-long event.

governor rick snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A congressional committee has asked Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to address when he learned about a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires' disease during the Flint water crisis after an aide contradicted the governor's timeline.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Flint city councilman says it’s time for the tents to come down from a six-month protest against Flint’s water crisis.

Out-of-state activists founded Camp Promise in April in Flint’s Kearsley Park to draw attention to Flint’s water crisis.  The collection of tents and fire pits takes up a large section of the park.  

Six months after its founding, most of the activists have left, but the tents remain.

Councilman Wantwaz Davis says it’s time for the campsite in the middle of a city park to be cleared out.

Marijuana plants
Flickr user A7nubis / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The criminal prosecutions in the Flint Water crisis are just starting to make their way into the courts. This week, the state's medical officer, Dr. Eden Wells,  was supposed to begin a preliminary exam to determine if her case would go to trial, but prosecutors said they're adding charges including involuntary manslaughter. That pushed the exam back to next month. There are 13 defendants who have not pleaded guilty. Only one has actually begun an exam.

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou asks senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry whether the trial process is moving too slowly. 

Alex Pasarelu

The state health department says it found no significant increases in stillbirths or infant mortality in Flint, following the city's water crisis.

Judge's gavel
Pixabay.com

The criminal cases in the Flint water crisis are unfolding. State health director Nick Lyon had a hearing in court last week. The state’s chief medical officer Dr. Eden Wells had a hearing on Monday and she is now facing some new charges.

Michigan Radio reporter Steve Carmody has been covering the criminal prosecutions and was at that hearing. He spoke with Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about the ongoing proceedings. (You can hear the conversation above.)

Dr. Eden Wells
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A top state official will face new charges in the Flint water crisis.

Dr. Eden Wells is Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive. She was already charged with obstruction of justice and lying to a police office.

Special Counsel Todd Flood announced in court this morning that he plans to file involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office charges against Wells.

“Based on new review of other documents and testimony that came out last week, we believe that discovery put us in this place,” says Flood.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s top doctor, Eden Wells, will be in a Flint courtroom Monday.  The hearing will determine whether she'll go to trial on charges related to the Flint water crisis.

Dr. Wells is Chief Medical Executive in the state health department.

Wells is charged with “obstruction of justice” and “lying to an officer” in connection with a Legionnaires' disease outbreak during Flint’s tap water crisis.

Wells allegedly lied when she claimed she had no knowledge of the outbreak until September 2015, when she actually was aware of it six months earlier.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A court hearing concerning the state health director’s handling of a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak abruptly ended today amid questions about when the governor knew about the outbreak.

Governor Rick Snyder testified last year before Congress that he learned of the Legionnaires' outbreak in Genesee County in January 2016. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Who should issue a health alert and when they  should do it became the focus during a long day in a Genesee County courtroom today. 

State health department Director Nick Lyon is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Genesee County man in 2015.

More than a dozen people died during the Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County from 2014 to the end of 2015.

Aditya Romansa/Unsplah

You couldn’t miss the headlines about Flint’s “fertility crisis” a couple weeks ago. “Flint’s water crisis led to fewer babies and higher fetal death rates,” Science Daily summarized. “An estimated 275 fewer children were born in Flint, Michigan, while the city was using lead-contaminated water from the Flint River, according to new research findings,” the article said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Attorneys have consolidated nearly a dozen Flint water crisis class-action lawsuits and dozens of individual suits. They filed the paperwork with a federal judge on Friday.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s back to court this week for state Health Department director Nick Lyon.

Lyon’s preliminary exam on an involuntary manslaughter charge is scheduled to resume on Wednesday.  

Last month, prosecution witnesses testified that Lyon was aware of the Legionnaires outbreak in Genesee County in January 2015. But the public was not informed until a year later. At least a dozen deaths have been linked to the outbreak from 2014 to 2015, with roughly half the deaths occurring after state health department officials became aware of the problem.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A couple hundred Michigan water activists gathered in Flint this weekend.

They represent a variety of different groups, from water rights activists in Detroit and Flint to groups opposed to corporations bottling and selling Michigan water.

Conferences speakers included representatives of the Council of Canadians, Flint Democracy Defense League and the Detroit People’s Water Board

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint City Council members are accusing state officials of trying to bully them into signing a 30-year contract for the city’s tap water source.

This week, both sides were in federal court, working with a mediator to reach a deal for the city to continue getting its drinking water from the Great Lakes Water Authority.  

The authority has been providing Flint’s tap water for nearly two years, in the wake of the city’s lead tainted tap water scandal.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A class-action lawsuit claiming state and local education officials are not doing enough to identify and educate Flint students exposed to lead-tainted tap water is moving forward.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow brushed aside almost all the legal motions offered by attorneys for the Michigan Department of Education, Flint Community Schools and the Genesee Intermediate School District seeking to dismiss the suit.

michigan.gov

Governor Rick Snyder says the ongoing Flint criminal cases are dragging on too long, and it’s affecting the ability of the state to recruit and retain public servants.

The governor’s remarks at a Republican conference on Mackinac Island this weekend seemed to be a poke at state Attorney General Bill Schuette, who filed the criminal charges against 15 current and former state employees. They include former Flint emergency managers and the director of the state health department. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

An infectious disease expert says the public should have been alerted to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County sooner. 

At least a dozen people died from the respiratory illness between 2014 and 2015. 

State health officials were discussing concerns about an outbreak in January 2015. But the government did not publicly acknowledge the outbreak until January 2016.

sign that says flint vehicle city
Michigan Municipal League / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

There’s long been the sense that someone should pay for the Flint water debacle — that someone should be held responsible for the decisions that lead to tap water being contaminated by lead and people dying because of a spike in Legionnaires’ disease thought to be connected to the water. 

State Attorney General Bill Schuette has responded by filing criminal charges against several members of Governor Rick Snyder’s administration.

Yesterday, the court proceedings began with an “involuntary manslaughter” charge against Nick Lyon,  Director of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Attorneys spent hours Thursday battling over what the state’s chief health official knew about a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak, and when. 

Between 2014 and 2015, a dozen people died and dozens more were hospitalized for the respiratory illness.  

In January 2015, state health department officials started circulating an email raising concerns about a rising number of Legionnaires' cases in Genesee County. But it was another year before state officials publicly announced the outbreak.

pregnancy test
Fred Jala / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Researchers from the University of Kansas and West Virginia University say lead-contaminated water in Flint may be linked to lower fertility rates and higher fetal death rates in the city.

The researchers compared the birth and death certificates in Flint to more than a dozen other comparable Michigan cities, like Detroit, before and after the city's water switch in April 2014.

Courtesy photo / 110th Attack Wing, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base

There’s a new guy running the drinking water division at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Eric Oswald served 12 years of active duty in the Air Force. He spent the last five years as a commander at the Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek.

Oswald is not a drinking water expert.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council voted tonight to extend the city’s tap water contract for another month. 

The council continues to balk at agreeing to a 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority.

Council President Kerry Nelson says council members remain concerned about future rate hikes.

“Our one goal is to make sure we’re getting the best, affordable, drinkable water there is,” says Nelson.

In June, the state filed a complaint with a federal judge claiming the city is endangering Flint residents by not having a long-term water contract in place.

Michigan Health and Human Services Dept. Director Nick Lyon
State of Michigan

Tomorrow, a judge will begin hearing the prosecution’s case against State Health Department Director Nick Lyon.  

It’s the first preliminary exam in the ongoing criminal investigation of the Flint water crisis.

Nick Lyon is charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with a deadly Legionnaires' Disease outbreak in Genesee County in 2014 and 2015. The outbreak killed at least 12 people.

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