Flint

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council will do something today it hasn’t done in four years: play a role in writing the city’s budget.

An emergency manager has made all Flint’s budget decisions since 2011.

But that’s changing.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is facing a BIG bill to clean up thousands of blighted properties.

A third of Flint properties are blighted. It’s estimated it will cost roughly $100 million during the next five years to fix the problem.

That’s according to Flint’s Blight Elimination Framework. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Flint’s emergency manager should receive the final report from a consultant hired to look at the city’s troubled water system.

Drafts of the final report were circulated last week. 

Flint Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose says the report will make specific recommendations on what chemicals to use, and how much of each, to treat Flint River water. The report will also touch on other operational issues facing the system.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Once again, tempers flared during a public meeting on Flint’s water problems.

The city’s water system has been plagued with problems for the past year.  

Thursday, Flint officials held another meeting on the city’s troubled tap water.

And once again, a shouting match erupted.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Police Department is missing dozens of firearms.

The department says it can’t find 22 firearms. An inventory completed last month showed the missing shotguns and hand guns.

That’s on top of 17 firearms the police department says have been stolen from the department since 1996.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials say levels of a potentially harmful chemical in the city's drinking water are now within acceptable limits. 

Flint residents got a shock earlier this year when they learned their tap water had unacceptably high levels of total trihalomethane, a byproduct of chlorine. The city used a large amount to chlorine last summer to treat the city’s water.

Steve Carmody

Many Flint residents have been complaining about the quality of their tap water since the city stopped getting water from Detroit. Some people blame the Flint River. The city’s been using the river since April as its drinking water source. 

Jason Lorenz / City of Flint

Flint Police K9 Officer Edo received a bullet resistant vest in a special ceremony today, after a crowdfunding campaign started by a neighborhood association successfully raised $3,500 online to buy the vest.

Officer Edo is a German shepherd, born and trained in Poland before being donated to Flint last year as the city’s sole K9 officer.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s water is safe. That’s the opinion of a consultant hired by city officials.

But a preliminary report released yesterday says steps must be taken in the short and long-term to avoid problems with Flint’s water system.

Flint residents have been complaining about the taste and smell of the city’s water for nearly a year. Many are concerned the water’s not safe.

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Coliform bacteria and boil-water alerts, rashes on kids, and water that tastes and smells horrible are some of the side effects associated with Flint’s decision to disconnect from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and switch to the Flint River while it transitions to a new system.

Conditions in Flint grew so terrible that environmental activist Erin Brockovich caught wind of the situation and turned her team’s attention towards Michigan.

The cause of this water crisis? Money.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An outside expert is making some surprising recommendations to fix Flint’s water woes.

The report issued Tuesday recommends Flint discontinue the process of fluoridation, among other things.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Dozens of people braved the arctic cold to march through downtown Flint today. 

Chants of “What do we want? Good water. When do we want it? Now!” echoed through downtown Flint.  

The protesters alternated between waving homemade signs and hunching over to ward off icy winds which knocked the wind chill well below zero.      

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Flint switched from Detroit’s water system last year and is now using the Flint River until it can hook up to Lake Huron.

But there have been major problems. Residents complain about the water tasting and smelling bad. The Department of Environmental Quality cited Flint in December for violating the Safe Water Drinking Act. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Anybody worried about the water coming out of their taps in Flint can get a city employee to come test their water personally – on the city’s dime.

That’s according to about a dozen or so letters the city says it is sending out to people who’ve complained about their water quality in city meetings or in letters to city hall.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials expect to announce this week a decision on hiring a consultant to help with the city’s water problems.

Only one company applied for the job. 

City officials want an outside eye to evaluate its water treatment process. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

These days, many people in Flint choose not to drink the city’s water. 

Many others have no choice. They cannot afford to pay their water bills. 

During the last few years, Flint water rates have soared, as city officials have struggled to maintain its aging water system. 

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This week, Jack and Emily discuss what’s missing from President Obama’s proposed budget, a grant to help Flint’s water woes, and a new bill that would make it legal for unmarried people to jointly adopt children.


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People lined up in single digit cold outside a church on Flint’s south side to get some free water this morning.  A few blocks away, others lined up outside a union hall. 

Combined, Catholic Charities and the UAW were giving away several thousand gallons of water.

Mary Stevenson with Catholic Charities was helping coordinate today’s water giveaway.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow morning, Catholic Charities and UAW workers plan to distribute two thousand gallons of free water to Flint residents. 

It’s just the latest water giveaway in Flint. 

Last week, dozens of people lined up for cases of bottled water being given away by local businesses. 

Photos of people standing in line waiting for water have been seen around the state and the country.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s search for a consultant to help with its water problems is down to one, by default.

Only one company applied for the water consultant job.  

Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose says he “would have preferred more.” 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Cars started lining up at dawn today at a Flint business giving away free water.

Concerns about the safety of Flint’s tap water has created high demand for bottled water. 

But many Flint residents say they have trouble paying for what little bottled water is still sitting on store shelves. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week in Michigan politics, Jack and Emily discuss anguish over Flint’s water, a plan for some Detroiters to pay half price on auctioned homes and a new gun bill moving ahead in Lansing.


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Flint's general fund deficit has gone from $19 million to $9 million in two years, and is on track to being eliminated entirely in five years.

That's according to an audit presented to the city council Monday night.

The second bit of good news for the city's fiscal health was legacy costs.

Andrew Pennebaker / Flickr

A small crowd of Flint residents came out to Monday night's city council meeting to protest what they say is discolored, odorous, unsafe water coming out of their taps. 

"It smells horribly," says Cindy Marshall. "I took a shower the other night and my eyes were blood red and burning. I broke out in a rash and was scratching like crazy just from taking a shower."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A consultant’s report says Flint police should stop responding to non-emergency 911 calls. The consultants say that would give police more time to investigate violent crimes in Flint. 

That’s just part of a report delivered by a Washington, D.C. consulting group to the Flint city council, mayor, emergency manager, as well as the city’s police and fire chiefs last night. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials tried again last night to convince city residents their tap water is safe to drink. 

Most of the people at the meeting left with doubts.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor says the governor has some responsibility to ensure that Flint residents have “clean, safe and affordable water.”

Mayor Dayne Walling sent a letter to the governor this week.   

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is starting an effort to help people in a low-income housing complex connect with the rest of the city.

The Atherton East apartment complex is literally on the other side of the tracks.  It’s closer to strip joints than grocery stores. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Carriage Town neighbors in Flint are divided by more than fences these days.

A proposal to shrink the size of the neighborhood's historic district has pitted neighbor against neighbor.  

The neighborhood is just north of downtown Flint.   Many of the homes and buildings in the neighborhood pre-date the city’s auto industry. The neighborhood gets its name from Flint’s late 1800’s carriage manufacturing business.

The neighborhood now is a unique collection of restored and blighted homes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents turned out Tuesday to complain about the quality of Flint's water and safety concerns.

Chanting “Clean water…that’s all we want,” a small group gathered outside city hall to protest against the quality of the city’s water and rising water bills.

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