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Flint

“Inspiration in the wake of desperation.” That’s the theme of a powerful documentary called For Flint.

In the film, director Brian Schulz shows the foundation for a rebuilt Flint can be found in the lives of its neighbors.

There is just so much to process, so much to, well, not to sound old, but growing up we just never would have anticipated this level craziness.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents are celebrating the reopening of a downtown landmark.

The Capitol Theatre has been closed for nearly 20 years.

But thanks to a $37 million restoration, the theater is once again opening its doors.

“What makes this building special actually is the connection that the community has had with it for nine decades,” says Jarret Haynes, the executive director of the Whiting theater, which will manage the Capitol Theatre.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major obstacle to Flint’s recovery from its drinking water crisis has been removed.

The city of Flint has been hobbled in its efforts to remain on its aging water system by its inability to repay more than $20 million borrowed from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF).  

Flint City Clerk Inez Brown administers the oath of office to the new Flint city council members.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“I do solemnly swear,” intoned City Clerk Inez Brown, as she led the nine members of the Flint city council through their oath of office.

The new city council were sworn in today at noon. Five of the nine council members are new to the job.  Last week, Flint voters ousted a majority of incumbents from the panel.   

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver suggests voters wanted the new blood on the council to move beyond old arguments.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver scored a double win on Tuesday.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Another top state official is scheduled to appear in a courtroom in Flint Monday in connection with that city’s tainted tap water crisis.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of used, clear plastic water bottles collected in Flint will be worn by runway models in New York next spring.

Recycling water bottles has been an issue in Flint since the city’s lead tainted drinking water crisis.

Conceptual artist Mel Chin and a fashion designer, Detroit native Tracy Reese, are working with the Queens Museum in New York City to recycle water bottles from Flint into fabric for raincoats, swimwear and other clothes.

“The thing is, if you don’t....do something, we’re just talking,” says Chin. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint police department is turning to technology to help reduce response times to calls.

Flint’s new police intelligence center will monitor closed circuit cameras in businesses and other locations around the city. It will also serve as a clearinghouse for data on criminal suspects.

Police Chief Tim Johnson expects the center will help officers get to the scene of crimes faster.

“We’re doing excellent for responding to crimes,” says Johnson. “But, of course it’s not good enough when you’ve got people waiting 20 and 30 minutes for police to respond to a call.”

Sign of Flint Police Headquarters
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is getting some help from the federal government to combat its violent crime problem.

The $1 million grant from the U.S. Justice Department will help fund community programs on Flint’s north side for the next three years. Flint is one of nine communities nationwide to receive the grant from the U.S. Justice Department.

Hamilton Community Health Network, Flint city officials and local neighborhood groups will work together to develop community-based crime reduction plans and programs.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is proposing a possible solution to the city’s long-term tap water needs, or at least a longer short-term solution.

Last night, city council members voted to extend Flint’s current temporary contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority by two years. GLWA has been supplying Flint’s water for two years already.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Next month, Flint voters will decide if they want to recall their mayor.  

The unusually large field of candidates may draw an unusually low number of voters to the polls.

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.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge is tired of waiting for officials to choose the city of Flint’s long-term drinking water source.

Flint has been getting its drinking water from the Great Lakes Water Authority since the fall of 2015, when the city officially ended the ill-fated experiment of getting its tap water from the Flint River.

For months, a final decision on whether Flint would sign a 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority has been on hold. Flint’s mayor and state officials signed off on the deal last spring.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major project to remove century old contamination from the Flint River is moving into its final phase.

Last week, crews finished dredging part of the Flint River bottom to remove the last remnants of coal tar from the sediment. The coal tar came from a coal gasification plant that shut down in the 1920s.

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

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.

banner that says flint fresh
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Officials broke ground in Flint today on a center to promote local farm goods. 

The million-dollar project will transform a dilapidated old building on the city’s east side into a climate-controlled warehouse.  

Erin Caudell, VP of Flint Fresh, says when it opens next spring, the food hub will enable small farmers to sell to larger institutions, like schools and hospitals.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major dredging project in the Flint River remains on schedule.

Consumers Energy is paying to remove tons of coal tar waste along a third of a mile stretch of the river in downtown Flint. The coal tar waste is the legacy of a gasification plant that closed almost a century ago. 

Consumers spokesman Kevin Keane says crews recently started using a so-called “moon pool” as part of the dredging work.

“The moon pool is used to contain excavations in the river and it collects sheen and sediments that otherwise might travel over the dam,” says Keane.

Amor Ftouhi
File photo / FBI

It appears likely the trial date for a suspect in a possible terrorist attack in Flint will be delayed.

Amor Ftouhi is scheduled to go on trial in January for allegedly slashing a police officer at Flint’s Bishop Airport in June. He’s charged with “violence at an international airport” and “interference with airport security.” He could face up to life in prison.  

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

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.

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.    

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Next year, professional golf will return to the Flint area.

The Buick Open was a popular stop on the PGA tour for decades.

Tiger Woods won the final Buick Open in Flint in 2009. A lot’s happened to Flint and Tiger Woods in the decade since. At least professional golf is successfully making a comeback in Genesee County.   

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.

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.

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