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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.

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.

Todd Flood and Mark Kriger men at podiums
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The stage is set for the next step in the Flint water crisis criminal probe.

Today, a judge scheduled preliminary exams for five water crisis defendants for early January. That will give defense attorneys a little less than four months to wade through tens of thousands of pages of evidence recently turned over by prosecutors.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This will be a busy week for Flint water crisis prosecutors.

A Monday court hearing will handle motions in the criminal cases against five MDEQ employees, including Liane Shekter-Smith. She was was fired from her job as head of the department’s drinking water unit. 

The five (Shekter-Smith, Michael Prysby, Stephen Busch, Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook) are facing a variety of charges, including misconduct in office, tampering with evidence, conspiracy, willful neglect of duty.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Virginia Tech researchers say their latest tests of Flint tap water are consistent with state tests showing the city’s water is within federal standards for lead.

Dr. Marc Edward’s team has conducted five rounds of testing over the past two years. The team’s original 2015 test revealed high levels of lead in Flint tap water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Mayor Karen Weaver’s office announced a plan Wednesday to continue bottled water distribution in Flint for the foreseeable future.

Four delivery sites will continue to serve the roughly 2,100 Flint residents with mobility issues or limited access to transportation. Ten pickup locations will also be accessible.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report calls for more aggressive action to reduce lead exposure, such as that seen in Flint children during the city’s water crisis.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There are fewer places for Flint residents to get free bottled water these days.

In August, Flint’s seven water distribution centers handed out 11,061 cases of bottled water a day. That's nearly 300,000 cases for the entire month. 

But just after Labor Day, the state closed three of the centers. Of the nine original sites, only four remain, located in different quadrants of the city.   

McLaren Hospital in Flint and the Genesee County Health Department have been working with the Centers for Disease Control since a court order is preventing local officials from talking directly with the state health department.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The family of a Grand Blanc woman, who family members believe died from Legionnaires’ disease in 2015, is suing Governor Rick Snyder and McLaren Regional Medical Center, among other named defendants, in a lawsuit filed Thursday.

Bertie Marble died March 20, 2015 while she was a patient at Flint’s McLaren Hospital. Attorney Bill Goodman is representing the family members that filed the lawsuit. He claims the decision by state officials to switch Flint's water source to the Flint River exposed Marble to Legionnella bacteria, and that state officials and the hospital failed to tell patients at McLaren about the risk.

A Flint water protest
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 


As the aftermath of the Flint water crisis drags on, attention has now largely turned toward the repercussions for those involved. Fifteen state and local government officials now stand accused of a combined 51 criminal charges. 

And this has led to a rather strange situation where the government is paying both the legal fees to prosecute the officials, as well as the legal fees to defend them. So far that has cost Michigan taxpayers $15.2 million.

The 15 people charged in the Flint water crisis so far.
Booking photos from the Michigan AGs office and others.

Taxpayers from the state of Michigan are funding both the defense and the prosecution in the Flint water crisis investigation.

The tab so far? $15.5 million.

City of Flint

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will face a city councilman in November’s recall election.

Scott Kincaid had tried to run both for mayor and for re-election to the city council seat he's held for 32 years. But a judge ruled he couldn’t, and ordered Kincaid to make a choice.

Scott Kincaid announced his choice to run for mayor at a UAW Labor Day rally.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

With pressure on them building, Flint city council members will sit down with their attorney Tuesday afternoon to discuss their options in their fight against tying the city to a 30-year water deal.

The state and Flint’s mayor support the deal with the Great Lakes Water Authority, under which the city would continue to get its drinking water from southeast Michigan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge has set a preliminary exam for four Flint water crisis defendants for early December.     

But defense attorneys and prosecutors remain at odds over evidence.

Two former emergency managers (Gerald Ambrose and Darnell Earley) and two former Flint city employees (Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson) will face a preliminary exam December 5th. They face a variety of charges, including willful neglect of duty. The exam will determine whether the case against them will move forward.

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