Flint

Politics & Government
5:26 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

State OKs Flint's plan to get water from pipeline to Lake Huron

City of Flint
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Update 5:26 p.m.

Flint needed the state's permission to join the water pipeline project because the city is run by an emergency manager. Supporters say the new pipeline will save Flint money.

Bill Johnson, spokesman for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, said the state previously told Detroit water officials they would have more time to reach a new agreement with Flint. He says the Detroit water system stands to lose big if Flint starts getting its water from Lake Huron.

"Detroit will lose 6 to 7 percent of its total revenue base, amounting to something like $22 million. That cost would have to be absorbed by the remaining 3 million Detroit Water and Sewerage Department customers."

Detroit has until Monday afternoon to make one final offer to the city of Flint to keep its water business. Flint’s emergency manager has said he wants to see Detroit’s offer.

12:39 p.m.

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - The state of Michigan has approved Flint's plans to get its water by participating in a pipeline project that would tap Lake Huron.

The Flint Journal reports the approval is subject to review of a final offer from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department by Monday. State Treasurer Andy Dillon told Flint's state-appointed emergency manager Ed Kurtz of the decision.

Under the proposal, Flint would get 16 million gallons of water per day from Lake Huron, pipe it to Flint for treatment and then sell it to city customers. Another 2 million gallons per day would come from the Flint River and would be treated in Flint.

The Karegnondi Water Authority project could serve Flint and Lapeer as well as residents elsewhere in Genesee, Lapeer and Sanilac counties.

Law
9:28 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Insurer: Flint arson ring operated for 2 decades

A Flint firefighter hoses down a home next to another building already consumed by fire. Like many fires in Flint, the building that burned was vacant at the time. (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - An insurance company says more than a dozen people operated an arson-for-profit ring in Flint that collected more than $2 million over two decades.

The Flint Journal reports State Farm Insurance says in a lawsuit in Detroit federal court that fires purposely were started at homes owned or rented by members of the group. The insurer says insurance claims were filed to receive thousands of dollars in insurance payouts.

No criminal charges have been filed against any of those named the case.

The case has sparked counter lawsuits by some of the defendants. Six of those named in the State Farm lawsuit have settled, including Flint-based public adjustment company Allied and Associates and Gary Lappin, its president. He calls the case "witch hunt."

State Farm isn't discussing the case.

Politics & Government
3:53 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Former city firefighter is now Flint's new fire chief

Flint Fire Chief David Cox
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has its first full-time fire chief in eight years.

David Cox says he’s ready for the challenge.

“ I want to go in and take a look at what we have and if we have to make any changes…we’ll tweak it,” says Cox, “But they are doing a pretty good job over there I think.”

Cox takes over a fire department that has been dealing with deep budget cuts and an explosion of arson fires in recent years.  

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Politics & Government
11:47 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Could there be a "Water War" between Flint and Detroit?

Flint leaders want to change where their city gets its tap water. But Detroit is fighting the change.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A battle is brewing over where the city of Flint will get its tap water.

Last month, the Flint city council voted to join a project to get fresh water from Lake Huron.   Supporters say the project will save the city millions of dollars by replacing its current water source: the city of Detroit.

But the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is asking the state Treasury Department to veto the plan.

Bill Johnson is with the DWSD. He says state officials need to step in to prevent a “water war.”

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Law
11:16 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Many vacant Flint buildings burn multiple times

Flint home burns to the ground (file photo)
Steve Carmody/MIchigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A newspaper's analysis says that many vacant Flint buildings that caught fire since 2008 ended up burning multiple times.

The Flint Journal reports Monday that of the 1,631 suspicious fires at vacant buildings in the city from 2008 to 2012, more than a quarter involved structures that burned multiple times. In all, 416 structures caught fire multiple times during the period.

The report comes as Flint deals with a high rate of fires that's stretched thin the fire department.

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Law
3:21 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

A new class of Michigan State Police troopers is sworn in

New Michigan State Police troopers are sworn in during ceremonnies in Lansing
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Ninety new Michigan State troopers will soon be on the road.

The troopers were officially sworn in today in Lansing.

Governor Rick Snyder told the new troopers they are part of reinventing Michigan, in part by helping those communities hit hard by violent crime.

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Politics & Government
7:45 am
Tue March 26, 2013

In this morning's news: Affirmative action, Flint wants to remove EM, balancing Lansing's budget

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

U.S. Supreme Court looks at affirmative action case in Michigan

"The U.S. Supreme Court will review Michigan’s ban on race- and gender-based affirmative action in university admissions. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is defending the amendment to the state constitution. It was adopted by voters in 2006," Rick Pluta reports.

Flint City Council takes steps to remove EM

"The Flint City Council is asking Governor Rick Snyder to remove the city’s emergency manager and phase out state control of its finances. The council unanimously approved a measure last night to request a state-appointed transition board to oversee the city’s finances," Jake Neher reports.

Lansing Mayor wants residents to pay more for utilities to help with city budget

"Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero wants to close the city’s looming budget deficit by asking city utility customers to pay another $46 a year. Bernero delivered his $112 million proposed budget to the city council last night," Steve Carmody reports.

Politics & Government
12:27 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Flint city council asks governor to begin the process away from an emergency manager

Flint residents have long opposed the emergency manager appointed by the governor to run their city (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint City Council has taken a first step toward taking back control of the city’s finances.

The council last night unanimously passed a resolution asking Governor Rick Snyder to remove the city’s emergency manager.
 

Flint city officials want the governor to replace the emergency manager with a transition team to phase out state control of the city’s finances over two years.

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Politics & Government
10:33 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Flint opting to get its future tap water from Lake Huron

Downtown Flint, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint city council has voted to get its future water supply directly from Lake Huron.

The city council last night committed Flint to a contract to get 16 million gallons of water a day from a new pipeline. 

Flint has been getting its tap water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.   But that has become more and more expensive in recent years. 

Supporters, like Flint Mayor Dayne Walling, say the new Lake Huron pipeline would be cheaper. 

“We think that having a mid-Michigan system makes more economic sense long term,” says Walling. 

Politics & Government
12:07 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Flint leaders look to emerge from emergency manager control

Many people in Flint have not been happy to have an emergency manager running their city. (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is expected to vote tonight on a plan that may set the stage for the city to emerge from state oversight. 

The council will consider asking the governor to appoint a “receivership transition advisory board.”    

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling says the board would guide the city after the departure of the emergency manager.

“This is an area of the law that we want to take advantage of,” says Walling, “We want assistance with our revenue estimates…with budget amendments.”

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Stateside
5:04 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Will 7 new police officers in Flint help?

Flint Police Deprtment Headquarters, Flint, Michigan
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

There are seven new police officers patrolling the streets of Flint. They were hired as part of a public safety millage approved by Flint voters last November.

The millage is expected to generate $5.3 million this year, but what's going to happen in future years as the population keeps shrinking and property values drop?

With the recent hiring of seven officers, the Flint Police Department now has 124 officers. That is down from an estimated 350 officers when times were better.

Will these new officers help make a dent in Flint's crime rate? Flint is in the unenviable spot near the top of many of the "most violent city" lists.

Kevin Smith is the president of the Flint Police Officer's Association.

He mentioned that the seven new officers won't make a big difference any time soon.  We asked what it would take, in terms of staffing, to make Flint noticeably safer.

To hear the full interview, click the link above.

Politics & Culture
4:51 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Today on the show, the city of Flint recently hired seven new police officers, but some say that might not be enough to make a noticeable difference on the streets.

We explore public safety in the one of the nation's most violent cities.

And, new data show women in the U.S. prefer foreign-made cars to domestics. We find out why and talk about what it will take for the Detroit Three to win over those women.

And there are almost fourteen thousand children in Michigan who have been taken out of their own homes by the state because of an abuse or neglect allegation.

Those kids rely upon the state to keep them safe and put them in an environment where they have a chance to thrive.

Six years ago, the state was sued over treatment of kids in its care. The state was back in court today to see where things stand. Michigan Radio's Sarah Alvarez brought us a report.

Politics & Government
7:34 am
Tue March 19, 2013

In this morning's news: Blue Cross overhaul, Detroit EM unpaid taxes, Flint delays project for water

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Governor Snyder signs Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul

"Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation overhauling Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The bills let the state's largest health insurer transform into a customer-owned nonprofit and ends its tax-exempt status. The Republican governor signed the legislation Monday at a meeting of the company's board of directors in Detroit," the Associated Press reports.

Detroit EM accused of unpaid taxes

"Governor Rick Snyder is standing by his pick for Detroit’s emergency manager - despite some criticism over unpaid taxes. The Detroit News reported over the weekend that Kevyn Orr had two tax liens against his Maryland home. Orr says he has since paid the taxes," Jake Neher reports.

Flint postpones decision to get water from Lake Huron

"The Flint city council has delayed a decision on whether to take part in a quarter billion dollar project to pipe water from Lake Huron for the city’s drinking water. Council members are concerned the city will end up paying too much.   There is also concern that whatever decision they make could be overruled by Flint’s emergency financial manager," Steve Carmody reports.

Politics & Government
11:04 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Flint leaders delay decision on water pipeline project again

Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright (right) addresses last night's Flint city council meeting
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint city council has delayed a decision on whether to take part in a quarter billion dollar project to tap water from Lake Huron for the city’s drinking water. The panel delayed taking action on the proposal last week as well.

The project has been in development for years. But supporters say they will soon have to start work on the project. They want Flint leaders to decide now if the city is going to be part of the project. 

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Politics & Government
12:44 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Flint city council to consider signing on to water pipeline project

Flint leaders have been looking for ways to ease the city's rising water costs (including tapping the Flint River). But tonight the city council will consider joining a regional plan to get water from Lake Huron.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A decision could come tonight that may determine if the city of Flint will look elsewhere to get its tap water.

The Flint city council will consider whether to sign on with a project to build a pipeline to carry water from Lake Huron to Genesee, Lapeer and Sanilac Counties.

The quarter billion dollar Karegnondi Water Authority project has been in the discussion stages for years, but actual work on the pipeline may begin soon.

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Politics & Government
11:11 am
Thu March 14, 2013

'It's not just Detroit,' hundreds of Michigan cities face huge unfunded liabilities

State capitol building, Lansing, Michigan
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Hundreds of Michigan cities are not saving enough to cover their future retiree health care costs.

A new report says more than 300 Michigan municipalities have in excess of $13 billion in unfunded liabilities for health care costs of retired public employees.

Michigan State University researchers found only half of the municipalities are prefunding retiree health care. The rest are setting aside no money despite longer lifespans and rapidly rising health costs.

While the collective bill of funding those benefits is $12.7 billion, the bulk of it, almost $11 billion, is attributable to local governments in a 10-county region of Southeast Michigan including Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties. The city of Detroit alone will owe $5 billion in retiree health care costs.

But MSU professor Eric Scorsone says cities like Grand Rapids, Flint, Lansing and Saginaw also face difficult choices.

“That’s already happening today….these cities…are paying millions of dollars in retiree premiums so it’s already having an effect and it will have an even bigger effect in the future,” says Scorsone.

Scorsone says the new national health care law may help some.   But tax increases, budget cuts or broken promises to retirees are inevitable, unless the state takes action.

Education
7:34 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Plans to close 4 Flint schools to cut costs

Flint Community Schools (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - The Flint School District board has decided to relocate Flint Northern High students and close four other schools as part of a cost-cutting effort.

The Flint Journal reports that following Wednesday's decision Flint Northern, known as the "Home of the Champions," will close as a seventh through 12th grade building. Students there will go to Northwestern High and Southwestern Academy.

Flint Northern will become the Northern Alternative Education Center and offer a new program for students in seventh through ninth grades.

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Politics & Government
1:34 am
Wed March 13, 2013

May special election set for vacant state senate seat

Candidate Jim Ananich hugs his wife Andrea after winning Tuesday's Democratic primary. He'll face Robert Daunt in the May general election to serve out the unexpired term in the 27th state senate district seat.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State Representative Jim Ananich easily won Tuesday’s Democratic primary to fill a vacant state senate seat in the 27th district, which includes Flint.

Ananich collected 51% of the vote to defeat four other candidates in the Democratic primary. The 27th is a heavily Democratic district which likely means Tuesday’s primary win will mean Ananich will win the May special election. Still Ananich insists he won’t take his Republican opponent lightly.

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Politics & Government
12:01 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Tuesday primary begins the process of filling an empty state senate seat

Democrat candidate Woodrow Stanley speaks at a recent forum, while Republican candidate Adam Ford listens
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, primary voters in Genesee County will narrow down the field of candidates to fill an open state senate seat.

There are seven candidates on the 27th state senate district primary ballot, though one has dropped out of the race.

On the Democratic side, State representatives Woodrow Stanley and Jim Ananich are facing off against Genesee County Commissioner Ted Henry and GM auto worker Chris Del Morone.

At a recent public forum, Stanley echoed the comments of his fellow Democratic candidates in hoping for a change at the state capitol.

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Arts & Culture
3:19 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Now showing in Flint...Emergency managers: the play!

"State of Emergency" looks at the EM law from Flint's perspective
Kate Wells Michigan Radio

Artists are often idealists, but in Flint this weekend, a new theater company is trying something really optimistic.

They’ve written a play about…emergency managers.

Sure, it may not be the sexiest topic, but it’s got people talking.

"There's this overwhelming sense of apathy."

Like us, for example. I sat in with an auditorium full of ninth graders from Beecher High School as they got a sneak peak. 

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