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Three of the top five most-violent cities in America are in Michigan, according to new FBI statistics released Monday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report estimates it will cost the city of Flint $1.5 billion to repair the damage done since the switch to the Flint River as a water source.

Researchers from Virginia Tech based their estimate on the tests of the corrosiveness of the Flint River.

The researchers say the corrosiveness is “eating away” iron pipes, aging the system by more than 11.5 years in just the last 16 months.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials are seriously looking at returning to Detroit water.

City Administrator Natasha Henderson is talking with the different groups needed to make the switch back to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The demand for clean water is growing louder in Flint.

Dozens of people chanted “Fresh, Clean Water” as they jammed the lobby of Flint city hall Monday.

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It took five Home Depot employees a couple trips to unload a pickup truck filled with dozens of cases of bottled water into a classroom at a Flint elementary school this afternoon. 

The donation was the largest, but far from the only, bottled water donation to Flint schools today. 

Hekmati family

The President of Iran suggests he may be open to a prisoner exchange with the United States. 

That is giving hope to a Flint family.

Amir Hekmati has sat in an Iranian prison cell for nearly 1500 days.  The U.S. Marine veteran was visiting family in Tehran when he was arrested.  He was convicted of spying for the U.S., a charge he denies.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has issued an advisory for lead in city drinking water.

The advisory comes a day after local hospital officials announced blood lead levels in young children in Flint have doubled, and in some cases tripled, since the city started getting its drinking water from the Flint River in April of 2014.

Mayor Dayne Walling says city residents should take steps to reduce their lead exposure.

Marc Edwards, PhD, of Virginia Tech University holds two vials of water, one from Flint and the other from Detroit. Edwards' research helped uncover the serious problems affecting Flint's water supply.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This past week, researchers from Virginia Tech University were back in Flint to conduct more tests of the city’s tap water. 

A previous round of tests of nearly 300 homes found ‘serious’ lead levels in nearly one in five homes.  

That’s at odds with tests conducted by the city of Flint and overseen by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, which didn’t show higher than acceptable levels of lead in the water. 

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The Michigan Court of Appeals has dealt a blow to Flint’s legal fight against an order to lower city water rates.

The Court of Appeals turned down the city’s request to appeal an August ruling by Judge Archie Hayman. 

Hayman ordered the city to roll back a 2011 water rate increase. He found Flint leaders violated city ordinances by imposing the 35% increase in water and sewer bills. That increase was eliminated this month, and city officials have warned the lower revenues could spell financial disaster for Flint.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An attorney is looking for parents in Flint who may have lost custody of their children after having their water shutoff.

Attorney Valdemar Washington is heading a class action lawsuit against the city of Flint. The lawsuit seeks damages for the city’s sky high water rates.

Washington says he’s heard stories of child protective services allegedly removing children from Flint homes after the city shutoff water service because the family failed to pay their water and sewer bills.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality plans to respond Monday to a demand for answers about Flint’s water woes.

Last week, State Sen. Jim Ananich, D-Flint, state Rep. Sheldon Neeley, D-Flint, and state Rep. Phil Phelps, D-Flushing, sent a letter to DEQ director Dan Wyant demanding answers to a list of questions about the safety and treatment of Flint’s drinking water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

New tests show that possible changes to how Flint treats its drinking water may not solve a problem that could be creating "serious" lead levels in people's tap water.

Virginia Tech University researchers say a big part of the problem with Flint’s tap water is the corrosiveness of Flint River water.

They claim it’s 19 times more corrosive to lead solder used in pipes than the Detroit water it replaced.     

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A candidate for Flint mayor wants the federal government to investigate the city’s problem plagued water system and how city officials have responded to those problems.

Residents have complained about the city’s water since a switch last year from Detroit water to the Flint River as the source.

The latest concern has focused on lead levels. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s the first day of school in much of Michigan.   

Dozens of men stood in the rain at the entrance to Flint’s Northwestern High School greeting students as they stepped off the bus.

From politicians to pastors, the men shook the students’ hands and wished them “good morning”.  

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By the end of this week, a team at Virginia Tech University may complete testing of water samples from 300 Flint homes. Preliminary tests have shown “serious” levels of lead in city water.

Professor Marc Edwards is a MacArthur fellow who has spent decades analyzing lead in municipal water supplies. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s new school superintendent wants to do something with the district’s unused buildings.

Superintendent Bilal Tawwab says he’s forming a task force to figure out what’s the best thing to do with nearly two dozen empty school buildings, many of which have sat unused for years.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting tomorrow, Flint water and sewer customers can expect to see a drop in their bills, though maybe not by as much as they expected.

Last month, a judge issued an injunction ordering the city to stop collecting a 35% rate hike put in place in 2011. The judge found the rate hike was improper.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Critics say they have new reasons to demand the city of Flint go back to Detroit water.

“It’s time for us to stand up … speak up and tell this mayor to get out of town,” Pastor Allen Overton told a small crowd gathered outside Flint city hall on Monday. Overton and others are angry with Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and other city leaders for the city’s problem-plagued water system. 

Courtesy of Michigan Nonprofit Association

The Next Idea

In Michigan and across the country, our society is suffering from a lack of civic engagement. Many people do not have strong connections to their communities. In addition, we have vast unmet needs in our cities, our neighborhoods, and our other social infrastructure. Government has limited resources, and communities are suffering. But there is a generation of young people like me who want the opportunity to make a difference in our country by helping communities address their most difficult social challenges.

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A judge will consider granting class action status  on Monday to a lawsuit against the city of Flint in the continuing legal fight over that city’s water rates.

Giving the lawsuit class action status could expand the suit to include as many as 30,000 Flint water and sewer customers. 

Since the city raised rates by 35% in 2011, many Flint residents say they can’t afford the higher bills.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting next week, Flint pastors will begin handing out water filters to people who don’t trust the city’s tap water.

The 1500 water filters come from an anonymous donor. A spokesman says the filters will remove particulates, like lead. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint may soon cut its water bills to comply with a court injunction.  Maybe.

The injunction requires the city to reduce its rates, stop disconnecting delinquent water customers and reimburse the city’s water fund for $15 million. 

The city announced Monday it plans to utilize a lower rate structure with its next water bills.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As many as 20,000 runners and walkers will take part in the Crim Festival of Races this weekend in Flint.

This week, the Crim Fitness Foundation announced a partnership with the University of Michigan-Flint to expand its campaign year-round.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Flint police officer has lost his job because of a post on his Facebook page.

Police Chief James Tolbert says Robert Garceau violated the department's social media and code of conduct policies with a Facebook post after a recent double shooting. One man died and another was critically wounded. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge is expected to sign an order Monday to force the city of Flint to roll back its water rates. But an appeal is also expected.

Judge Archie Hayman is expected to sign a preliminary injunction ordering the city to stop disconnecting and enforcing liens against delinquent water customers.

The city would also have to roll back a 35% rate hike put in place in 2011.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gun violence has claimed 11 lives in Flint in the past two weeks.

As police work to solve the murders, the community is left to find its own answers.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State Police say they are seizing more illegal firearms in Flint.

This as the city reels from 11 gun-related murders in two weeks.

First Lt. Tom Kish is the state police post commander in Flint. Wednesday he stood next to a table filled with hand guns and long guns confiscated by troopers in the past two weeks.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After 11 murders in two weeks,  law enforcement officials say the city of Flint is facing a crisis.

Police have made five arrests and have suspects in four other cases. But the double murder of a one-year-old boy and a 71-year-old woman remains unsolved.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This story was updated at 1:49 pm on 8/11/15

Flint officials will meet this evening to look for money to hire more police officers.

There have been eleven murders in the past 2 weeks.  The latest victim was shot and killed last night.  So far this year, Flint has seen 35 homicides.  That’s more than in all of 2014.  

Budget cuts have dramatically reduced the size of Flint’s police force in recent years.    

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of people will be in Flint this week for the annual ‘Back to the Bricks’ auto showcase and cruise.

Flint police Captain Collin Bernie says a 6 p.m. teen curfew will be in effect again this year.