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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.

exterior of the Michigan state capital
Pkay Chelle / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The weekly political roundup on Stateside tackles a few of the biggest stories of the week. Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, along with Vicki Barnett, former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator, joined the show to break it all down.

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

ARTIST'S POV: After three years of the Flint water crisis, fatigue has set in — first and foremost, for the citizens of Flint who have had to live with the daily grind and persistent worries. But also for Michiganders living outside and looking in. 

People loading cases of bottled water into an SUV
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

All nine state water distribution sites will remain open for at least another month in Flint.

A settlement of a lawsuit gave the state the option to close two of the sites starting in May.

But Mission Flint spokeswoman Tiffany Brown says the number of people picking up cases of bottled water at each of the sites is still high enough to warrant keeping them open.

Brown says Flint residents would receive plenty of notice if the decision to close one or more the sites is made. 

Sen. Jim Ananich at Stateside's live show in Flint: "Michigan should lead the way [in water quality standards]. We should have the best standards of anywhere in the country and other people should follow us and we should start that here in Flint."
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

This week brought an important development in the future of Flint and its drinking water.

Mayor Karen Weaver says she wants Flint to return to a long-term agreement with the Detroit-based Great Lakes Water Authority. This reverses the plans to connect Flint to the new, competing Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).

The Michigan Senate Minority Leader, Senator Jim Ananich, D-Flint, joined Stateside's live show in Flint last Saturday to talk about the state of the city and why something needs to be done about the water rates. 

Flint water crisis protest
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, my colleagues at Michigan Radio have done an amazing package of stories to mark the third anniversary of the Flint water crisis. If you didn’t have a chance to hear them, I recommend you go read and listen.

Even if you’ve heard them, they are worth hearing again. In journalism, the very first sentence in a story is called the lede. And for sheer eloquence and simplicity, it would be hard to improve on the way Lindsey Smith began her story Tuesday: Three years ago today, Flint switched the source of its drinking water, and triggered a public health crisis.

University of Michigan Professor Rosina Bierbaum says scandals like Flint's water crisis have eroded public trust in the safety of drinking water
Courtesy of Raiz Up

Three years ago this week, officials switched Flint's water source to the Flint River, sparking the water crisis there. The river wasn't properly treated, and began corroding lead water pipes, which then leached lead into the drinking water.

Senior News Analyst Jack Lessenberry talks to Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about why it took the city so long to listen to residents' concerns. 

A Flint water meeting in January 2015.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission wants the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case against Gov. Snyder.

That’s what commissioners decided with a 5-0 vote Tuesday. They ordered the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to file an amicus brief urging the high court to review the issues raised in the case Bellant v. Snyder.

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

Who were the ones most vulnerable to lead poisoning in the city of Flint?

The children.

With that, Bilal Tawwab, the superintendent of the Flint Community School District (FCSD), joined Stateside's live show in Flint to talk about the state of the school district.

What caused the Flint water crisis?
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It's been three years since Flint's ill-fated switch to the Flint River as its' drinking water source.

Then-Mayor Dayne Walling pushed the button that ended 50 years of getting Detroit water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Today, people in Flint marked the anniversary of the start of the city’s drinking water crisis.

It was three years ago, when Flint officials pushed the button switching the city’s tap water source from Detroit to the Flint River.  Improperly treated river water damaged pipes, which then leached lead into the drinking water.

Since then, Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water has drawn national attention and local protests.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The Flint water crisis brought a steady stream of big names to Genesee County. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, officials from Lansing and the EPA, all visited the city.

But they flew in and out. They were not living day in and day out with water that wasn't safe to drink. 

Stateside’s Cynthia Canty spoke with two different Flint residents whose families lived through the crisis, with two different outcomes: one family stayed, and one family made the tough choice to leave Flint.

Courtesy of the Flint River Watershed Coalition

When it comes to the Flint water crisis, there has been plenty of blame to go around.

In addition to the human errors and incompetence from the likes of the Snyder administration, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the EPA, and a series of unelected emergency managers, many have pointed fingers at another culprit: the Flint River itself.

Courtesy of the Sunny Patch Learning Center

It’s been three years since Flint’s ill-fated switch to the Flint River as its drinking water source.

It wasn’t just people living in Flint that were hurt by the city’s water crisis.

Businesses in the Vehicle City also suffered.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Three years ago today, Flint switched the source of its drinking water, and triggered a public health crisis.

The Flint Water Treatment Plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Three years ago today, the city of Flint switched to the Flint River for its drinking water. We all know how that story goes.

So now, three years later, how has what happened in Flint changed the way we look at our drinking water?

A gavel
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Three years after they toasted Flint’s ill-fated switch to the Flint River, several former officials will be in court Tuesday.

Former state-appointed emergency managers Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose, along with former city officials Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson, are charged with “false pretense," among other things.

Pre-schoolers playing at a table.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the city of Flint will mark the third anniversary of its ill-fated drinking water switch. 

Tracy Samilton

Despite heavy storms Thursday night, about 150 people showed up for a town hall meeting in Flint, after  city leaders announced that Flint will continue to get its drinking water from Detroit - instead of from a new pipeline called the KWA.

Some people at the town hall told the mayor and other officials they don't trust them to do the right thing.

After being warned, several people were arrested for shouting, booing, and using foul and abusive language.

Others lined up at the microphones to ask for more information about how the decision was reached.
 

A photo collage of Flint, Michigan
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It's the newest twist in the tragic story of Flint and its water.

Mayor Karen Weaver wants her city to keep drawing its water from the Detroit-based Great Lakes Water Authority for the next 30 years.

Detroit Public Schools Community District sign
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools Community District school board has chosen Nikolai Vitti as its first permanent superintendent. Vitti grew up in Dearborn Heights and is currently the superintendent in Duval County, Florida.

Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and Senior News Analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what the district's new pick means for Detroit schools. 

Fraser home falling into the sinkhole.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are back at the Capitol following their spring break. One job facing them is ending a standoff over money to help Macomb County deal with a giant sinkhole.

The sinkhole is as big as a football field and displaced two dozen families after an underground pipe collapsed on Christmas Eve in Fraser. Now, the disaster threatens to rupture sewer lines that could send a giant mess into Lake Saint Clair, which is part of the Great Lakes system.

The state House approved a $3 million dollar grant before the spring break. But the Senate wants the money to be a loan.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (right) stands next to the lead drinking water line that was pulled from a home in Flint.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

It was April 16 of 2013, almost exactly four years ago, when emergency manager Ed Kurtz signed the contract that switched the city of Flint to the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA). It was heralded as a cost-cutting move.

That decision led to one of the biggest water contamination crises in American history.

The lead poisoning forced the city to go back to getting its water from the Great Lakes Water Authority, which serves Detroit, until the KWA system was in place.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will outline her plan for the source of her city’s tap water.

On Tuesday, Flint’s mayor will be joined by federal, state and local officials to release her recommendation for the City of Flint’s long-term primary and back-up water sources.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

As the weather gets warmer, health officials in one Michigan County are urging residents to be aware of the danger of Legionnaires' disease.

Legionnaires' disease is a respiratory infection that can turn deadly.

Between 2014 and 2015, 12 people died of Legionnaires in Genesee County.  In all about 90 people fell ill.    Numbers declined sharply in 2016, but the number of cases was still higher than normal.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

About 500 people showed up to a public hearing in Big Rapids hosted by Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality last night. Almost every one of them spoke against Nestle’s plan to pump 400 gallons of water a minute to sell under the company’s Ice Mountain bottled water brand. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee has re-introduced legislation to change the federal rules governing lead in drinking water.

Lead exposure has been linked to serious health problems in children and adults. 

The current federal action level is 15 parts per billion. Kildee wants the EPA to reduce that benchmark to five parts per billion by the year 2026.

Kildee’s bill would also tighten rules regarding water testing, service line inventories and improve public education

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The meter continues to run on the state’s legal expenses for the Flint water disaster.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People in Flint are still digesting the terms of this week’s legal settlement and what it’ll mean for them.

Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Lawson signed off on the deal, under which the state and federal governments will set aside $97 million to pay for replacing 18,000 lead and galvanized service lines during the next three years.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A growing number of Flint water customers are being told to pay past due bills, or risk having their service shut off.

The city is under pressure to get more water customers to pay up now that state subsidies have ended and the city faces mounting costs.

A few weeks ago, the city informed 18 delinquent customers that if they didn’t pay up, their water would be cut off.  According to city spokeswoman Kristin Moore, several paid the minimum amount due to keep their water service on.  But the rest will start losing their service next week.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Now that a judge has approved a legal settlement to replace lead pipes in Flint, the city is acting quickly to get the process moving.

Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Lawson signed off on the deal under which the state of Michigan will set aside $97 million to pay for replacing 18,000 lead and galvanized service lines during the next three years. 

Last year, Flint removed nearly 800 lead and galvanized steel service lines. This year, the plan is to replace 6,000.         

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says city residents are ready.

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