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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.

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.

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.

sign that says flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Attorneys for four Flint water crisis defendants are scheduled to be in court Monday.

A probable cause hearing is scheduled in 67th District Court for former emergency managers Gerald Ambrose and Darnell Earley, as well as two former Flint city employees.

The four are facing charges including neglect of duty in office and False Pretense.

Previous hearings have focused on defense attorneys getting information from prosecutors.

The Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills
Corey Seeman / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

After nearly 30 years, the Palace of Auburn Hills has announced that it will soon close its doors for good. Palace officials this week announced that Bob Seger's September 23rd concert will be the venue's final event. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about how businesses and the city of Auburn Hills itself will fare without revenue from the former home of the Detroit Pistons.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The man heading Flint’s lead pipe replacement program has a new contract.

The council voted 9-0 on a reconsideration vote during a special meeting Thursday. The council deadlocked 4-4 August 14 on extending a personal services contract for Mike McDaniel.

McDaniel has been the program director of the Fast Start program that has replaced more than 3,000 services lines during the past year. However, he’s been working without a contract since April.    

Bilal Tawwab, the superintendent of the Flint Community School District: "Right now, we are putting systems in place so that we're able to meet the needs of all of our children."
Flint Community School District

A federal district judge assigned to the ACLU's lawsuit over inadequate special education for Flint schoolchildren says he's "leaning" towards siding with the ACLU. 

The lawsuit claims Flint kids aren't getting screened for disabilities that could be linked to lead poisoning, and even children whose disability is known to the school district are not getting the special education help they need to succeed.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint voters will have a wide array of choices in November's mayoral recall election.

The city clerk's office says 17 people filed to run against Mayor Karen Weaver, including a longtime Flint city council member, a man that filed a lawsuit in January to arrest President Donald Trump, and a man that goes by the nickname Cowboy.

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

One of the toughest things about being a parent in Flint right now is the uncertainty. If your kid gets diagnosed with ADHD, or struggles in school, there’s a part of you that wonders: is it because of the lead exposure?  

Bruno Mars
Daniel Gregory / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Bruno Mars is donating $1 million from his Michigan concert to aid those affected by the Flint water crisis.

Mars told the audience Saturday at his show in Auburn Hills that he and tour promoter Live Nation are redirecting funds from the concert to The Community Foundation of Greater Flint, a charity.

In 2014, Flint switched water sources and failed to add corrosion-reducing phosphates, allowing lead from old pipes to leach into the water.

natasha henderson
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit claiming a former Flint city official was fired for accusing Flint Mayor Karen Weaver of corruption.

Former Flint City Administrator Natasha Henderson filed the case in federal court one year ago. On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Sean F. Cox ordered to dismiss the lawsuit, saying Henderson’s allegation against Weaver was not protected under the First Amendment.

Nick Lyon
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

The head of Michigan's health department is asking a judge to force prosecutors to release additional evidence in their case against him in connection to the Flint water crisis.

An attorney for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon has filed motions asking a judge to compel the release of requested discovery material and to issue subpoenas for the state Office of Inspector General, state Office of Auditor General, Lyon's own department, and McLaren-Flint hospital.

Judge orders Flint and DEQ into mediation over water

Aug 2, 2017
Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

A federal judge has ordered the state of Michigan and the city of Flint into mediation to try to resolve their differences regarding the future of Flint’s drinking water.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson on Tuesday appointed Troy-based attorney Paul Monicatti to facilitate an agreement between the city and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

water going into cup from faucet
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It happened last December, in the final hours of the last Congress.

After a lot of heavy lifting by Michigan lawmakers on Capitol Hill, a federal aid package for Flint was finally passed.

Today, we've learned 14.4 million of the federal aid dollars from that package will go to Michigan State University to set up a registry of everyone exposed to the lead-tainted water in Flint. 

sign that says flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint could soon get some relief from loans it took out years ago to fix its broken water system.  

Over the years, Flint borrowed more than $20 million from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. But the cash-strapped city has been struggling to pay interest on the loans.    

With its water system still broken, and the recovery from the city’s lead tainted tap water crisis ongoing, the federal Environmental Protection Agency says it’s ready to forgive the debt.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan needs to improve its oversight when it comes to the Flint water crisis. That is a finding by the Michigan Auditor General released in a report Monday.

It says the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) didn’t provide enough oversight of the food and water lead safety inspections.

“The work got done, but the paperwork, documentation, should have been better,” said Jennifer Holton of MDARD.

MDARD oversees the inspections performed by the Genesee County Health Department.

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Perhaps no state in the country is more aware of water safety than Michigan. Seeing the Flint water disaster play out since 2014 has given us all a harsh lesson in not taking safe water for granted. 

Yet President Trump's proposed budget takes an ax to the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one of the agencies most responsible for protecting our water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A literacy program is hoping to get more Genesee County children reading this summer. 

Ja’Nel Jamerson is the director of the Flint & Genesee Literacy Network.

He says it’s important for children everywhere to maintain their education levels during their summer vacation.  

But Jamerson says it’s especially important in Flint, where thousands of children were exposed to lead in their drinking water which can negatively affect their neurological development.

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