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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.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team took over a tent at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival last night for an Issues & Ale event.

Co-hosts Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta joined panelists Chris Kolb, president of the Michigan Environmental Council, and Colleen Pero, chief of staff for the Michigan Republican Party, to talk about the latest political news in our state.

In the heat of the afternoon, Pluta began the discussion with a summary of the big news that came out yesterday in relation to the Flint water crisis:

Attorney General Bill Schuette
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

New charges in the Flint water crisis are connected to the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.

Five current and former government officials are now facing involuntary manslaughter charges in the Flint water crisis. The charges are in connection with a Legionnaires' disease outbreak during the height of the crisis. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious form of pneumonia caused by bacteria.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton sit across a table from reporter Rick Pluta.
Rick Pluta / MPRN

New charges have been filed in the Flint water crisis – this time in connection with the Legionnaires' outbreak that killed 12 people and sickened 78 more in Genesee County.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

A group marched on Governor Rick Snyder’s office Tuesday to call for faster work fixing Flint’s water system.

About 50 demonstrators delivered more than 11 hundred empty water bottles with messages from Flint residents curled inside each one.

Nayyirah Shariff with the group Flint Rising led the march. She says the demands include picking up the pace of replacing lead pipes, and a moratorium on city water bills until the work is done. Shariff says the process of replacing the water pipes should not take years.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council Monday night delayed a vote on extending the contract with the city’s drinking water supplier.

Flint has been getting its tap water from the Great Lakes Water Authority since October, 2015. The switch to GLWA ended an 18-month experiment that had the city get its drinking water from the Flint River, with disastrous results.

The fiercest rivalry in Michigan politics right now is between two candidates for governor who still have not actually announced they’re running.

We are seeing this rivalry play out between Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley in the nascent petition drive to make the state legislature part-time.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A lengthy order from a federal judge is allowing part of a wide-ranging Flint water crisis lawsuit to go forward. 

Plaintiffs are Flint residents Shari Guertin, her child and Diogenes Muse-Cleveland.  The suit claims a variety of state and local officials, government agencies, and private contractors’ actions caused their drinking water to become contaminated with lead and actively concealed the problem.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Progressive Democrats are using Flint’s water crisis as a backdrop for a battle over the federal budget.

On Thursday, a group of Flint residents and Progressive Democrats gathered outside the city’s water treatment plant to promote an alternative to President Trump’s budget plan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials expect the city’s pipe replacement program will ramp up in the month of June.

The city is removing lead and galvanized service lines connecting Flint homes and businesses to city water mains – and replacing them with copper pipes.

satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The Trump Administration released its proposed federal budget. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would get zero dollars if the plan is approved as is. Over the past seven years, it received $2.2 billion in funding to preserve the Great Lakes.

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss how that cut could affect Michigan residents.

Consultant john Young stands in front of his Power Point presentation.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city council members want more information about a deal to keep the city on water from Detroit.

Monday night, council member took turns grilling Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) CEO Sue McCormick and a consultant hired by the state who's recommending Flint agree to sign a 30-year deal to get its tap water from Detroit. The contract is part of a plan that includes tens of millions of dollars in new investment to repair Flint's broken water system. 

Flint water plant manager Jolisa McDay in red sweater in front of microphones
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint's top water plant manager has resigned, according to MLive.

Jolisa McDay will remain on staff until June 30, a little more than a year after she was hired as the city's water plant supervisor.

Children at Cummings Early Education Center play at a water table using bottled water
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Every child who attends the Cummings Early Childhood Center in Flint lives in the city and was exposed to lead as a result of the Flint water crisis. That can have damaging effects on their development and growth. The Cummings daycare and preschool opened late last fall to help mitigate some of those effects on the youngest children. 

downtown Flint street
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Flint City Council on Wednesday passed a resolution that puts a year-long moratorium on the city’s policy of placing tax liens on properties with unpaid water bills.

Council President Kerry Nelson said he had received numerous calls to his office pleading for the move. Multiple city council members mentioned that some city residents struggle to afford Flint’s high water rates, and other residents were refusing to pay for water that could not be used without a filter.

Water faucent in Flint.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The ACLU of Michigan and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund are calling for Flint City Council and Mayor Karen Weaver to suspend any efforts to impose liens on homes where resident's haven't paid their water bills. Those liens could eventually give the city the right to sell off the home if the debt isn't paid back. 

Notebook and pencil laid across the pages of an open book
Jane M Sawyer / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

High school graduates from Flint could qualify for college scholarships under legislation that would make the city eligible for a Promise Zone.

The Senate approved the bill 35-2 Tuesday. It now goes to the House, where a similar measure died last year in a committee whose chairman has since left the Legislature due to term limits.

groceries
Ruth Hartnup / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Thousands of children in Flint are presumed to receive additional money for nutritional foods that can limit lead exposure effects.

The Detroit Free Press reports the $7 million in food aid is going to about 15,000 kids who qualify for food assistance. Qualifying families will receive a one-time payment of $420 per child. That money is expected to be used throughout the year and is in addition to the $30 per child families got in March.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan has dropped charges against one of the government officials charged in connection with the Flint water crisis.

Mike Glasgow is Flint’s former utilities director. He appeared in court today, where a judge agreed to dismiss a misdemeanor charge against him.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Many Flint residents are upset that the city has started threatening to put liens on homes that are delinquent on their water and sewer bills.

Last month, the city of Flint sent out notices to more than 8,000 water customers.  The notices advise customers to either pay their delinquent water bills, or the city will put a lien on their home.   The delinquent bills amount to nearly $6 million.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The next phase of Flint’s lead pipe replacement gets underway this weekend.

To date, slightly more than 850 service lines have been replaced, as part of the city’s response to pipes leaching lead into Flint’s drinking water.

The goal this year is 6,000.  

“With more work crews in the field starting next week, service lines to 900 homes will be replaced each month, so we’ll really start making progress,” says Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. 

Laura Nawrocik / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Three years ago, not long after the city of Flint switched its water source to the Flint River, residents began to complain about the quality of the water coming into their homes.

The State of Michigan, however, denied the problem for a long time. It wasn’t until activists and news media proved there was a problem that the state finally did something.

This week, the state Senate passed a supplemental appropriations bill which included federal dollars for Flint. Stateside’s Lester Graham spoke with Arlan Meekhof, the Republican Majority Leader of the Senate, about that bill, and the future of funding for Flint.

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.

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