Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint may soon resume shutting off water to delinquent customers.

Later this month, Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Archie Hayman will hand down a ruling finding Flint water customers are due a small rollback in their rates. In August, the judge ruled the 35% rate hike in 2011 was not done properly.

But the ruling will also allow the city to shut off water to people who owe money dating back to 2012.  

Rep. Phil Phelps official website

A state lawmaker wants to make it a felony for state employees to manipulate data in official reports.

State Representative Phil Phelps, D-Flushing, says there’s no law on the books to punish state employees who intentionally distort data to change the outcome of an official report.   

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s state of emergency declaration is on its way to the governor’s office.

The Genesee County Commission approved the declaration for the city of Flint Monday.

The declaration is tied to elevated lead levels in the city’s drinking water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s plan to recover from its drinking water problems goes to the Genesee County commission Monday morning.

The city’s use of the Flint River for its drinking water damaged the city’s pipes, and exposed thousands of people to high levels of lead.  The city switched back to Detroit water last fall.  But city residents are still being told to use water filters.  

Mayor Karen Weaver is asking the county commission to give its ok to Flint’s plan to fix the problem.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People in Flint will soon be able to do something they haven’t been able to do in 25 years. Skate on an ice rink downtown.

The University of Michigan-Flint is installing a new cooling system at the old outdoor ice rink by the Flint River.  They plan to open it to the public January 2nd.

The university has owned the property since 1990, but liability concerns kept the rink closed.

University officials hope the ice rink will enhance the student and community experience downtown.

Flint City Councilman, Josh Freeman, resigns

Dec 30, 2015
Provided by Josh Freeman

Flint City Councilman, Josh Freeman, has resigned.

Freeman, who was first elected in 2004 and represents the 4th Ward, says he's fed up with the atmosphere at council meetings.

“It's circus-like at most meetings,” says Freeman. “We have members that are being arrested and audience members that are drowning out the folks that are there honestly trying to get information.”

As for his eight fellow council members, Freeman says, “It's all, 'How can I one-up one of my colleagues?' So, it just gets old after a while.”

What it means when the MDEQ's director resigns

Dec 29, 2015
Tap water in a Flint hospital on Oct. 16, 2015.
Joyce Zhu / Flintwaterstudy.org

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant has resigned because of the agency's role in the Flint water crisis.

But will more state officials resign in the near future and why does all of this matter?

Michigan Radio's Kyle Norris talks with Rick Pluta, the State Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, about Wyant's resignation.

Listen here:


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

UPDATED AT 5:37 PM ON 12/29/15

The head of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has resigned over the drinking water crisis in Flint.

Gov. Rick Snyder has also now apologized to the community of Flint for his administration’s involvement in the situation.

“I want the Flint community to know how very sorry I am that this has happened,” said Snyder in a statement on Tuesday. “And I want all Michigan citizens to know that we will learn from this experience, because Flint is not the only city that has an aging infrastructure.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a new effort to make fresh fruits and vegetables available in downtown Flint.

It’s not easy to find fresh produce in Flint. But that’s a market that Franklin Pleasant hopes to fill.

“The climate has changed in terms of full service grocery stores in town,” says Pleasant. “Quite a few have closed in the past couple of … years and we want to fill that gap. So that’s why we’re here and that’s why we know it will work.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s the last day before Christmas. 

And amidst the frantic last-minute shopping and traveling, some people in Flint took some time out for music.

For 78 years on Christmas Eve, a bank lobby in Flint has turned into a small concert hall.

Dozens of people filled the First Merit bank lobby in downtown Flint to listen to choir sing a mix of holiday standards and carols, as well as sing along themselves.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan may soon apply for tens of millions of dollars in federal funding to tear down blighted homes.

Michigan U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters met with Congressman Dan Kildee in Flint today to discuss the transfer of $2 billion into the federal Hardest Hit Fund.

Peters says the evidence that this program works is “overwhelming”.

“Whenever you knock down blighted homes in a neighborhood, those property values stabilize. Those properties go up in value.  People move back into the neighborhood,” says Peters.  

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

A pediatrician who raised concerns about elevated lead levels in children's blood in Flint, Michigan, says a new study provides the strongest evidence yet of a link between those levels and the cash-strapped city's water system.

In a report released Monday, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha of Hurley Children's Hospital and other experts said a more refined analysis shows that areas in Flint with the highest levels of lead in tap water corresponded with where children with the highest blood-lead levels lived.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Updated 10:30 p.m.

Virginia Tech researchers accuse Michigan health officials of trying to “stonewall” the investigation into lead in Flint’s drinking water.

The documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, are available online. 

Marc Edwards says newly obtained internal documents show Department of Health and Human Services employees tried to hide evidence that matched the increased lead levels in children found by doctors at Hurley Medical Center.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Updated 5:30 p.m. 

Flint has a new ally in its push for federal funds to fix the city’s water problems.

Michigan’s legislative black caucus is urging Gov. Rick Snyder to issue a state of emergency to address the continuing health concerns caused by the dangerous lead levels in Flint’s water.

State of Michigan

One man will lead the state’s efforts to deal with Flint’s water crisis.

Harvey Hollins is the director of the Office of Urban Initiatives. Gov. Snyder has appointed Hollins to oversee the state agencies responding to Flint’s water crisis. 

Errors in how the water was treated (actually, how it wasn't treated) are blamed for unhealthy levels of lead in Flint’s drinking water going undetected for months. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A push to declare a state of emergency in Flint is running into some pushback.

Mayor Karen Weaver called for the declaration this week. She says the city needs state and federal help to repair its problem-plagued water system.

Flint’s water system is antiquated. In 2014, partly to save money, the city switched from Detroit water to the Flint River for its drinking water.

Lee Anne Walters with her son Garrett outside of her home in Flint.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Up until October, the Walters family lived in a yellow two-story home on the south side of Flint. A couple of red maple trees shade the tiny front yard.

Walters heads to the back of the house, in a small room off of the kitchen, where the family keeps its stockpile of bottled water.

“This is our water stash. Once a week we go and we fill 40 gallons of water, so we have water to drink with, to cook with, and to bathe Gavin and Garrett in,” says Lee Anne Walters.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is taking new steps to reduce lead in the city’s drinking water.

Flint is adding phosphates to water it gets from Detroit. Detroit already adds phosphates to the water to make it less corrosive to pipes. 

Flint Utilities Administrator Mike Glasgow says adding more phosphates to the water should help create a biofilm within the city’s water pipes. 

“That should help alleviate our lead issues out in the system,” says Glasgow.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, a judge will hear more arguments over whether the city of Flint may resume shutting off water to delinquent customers.

Last August, Genesee Circuit Judge Archie Hayman  ordered the city to stop disconnecting water customers who didn’t pay their water bills.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A top researcher says it’s still too soon to drink Flint’s tap water unfiltered.

Virginia Tech University researcher Marc Edwards has been studying Flint’s water problems for months.    Tests conducted by Edwards’ team on water samples from more than 250 Flint homes showed elevated levels of lead.  

Edwards has been in Flint this week testing tap water in ten ‘sentinel’ homes.  He says the tests are tracking what’s happened in the six weeks since Flint switched back to Detroit water, after 18 months of getting tap water from the corrosive Flint River. 

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

Our Issues and Ale discussion about Flint's water crisis was a full house.

Flint residents posed important questions to our panel, which included Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, director of the pediatric residency program at the Hurley Medical Center; Marc Edwards, professor, Virginia Tech University; Michigan Radio's Flint reporter, Steve Carmody; and state Senator Jim Ananich, D-Flint.

Last night I moderated perhaps the most significant Issues and Ale panel Michigan Radio has ever done.

It was on Flint’s water crisis, and took place in an excellent restaurant called the Redwood Steakhouse and Brewery. 

I thought I knew about the water crisis before last night, and intellectually I largely did.

But I found myself powerfully affected by the enormity of what has been done to the people of Flint, mostly by the State of Michigan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Malls and big box stores are busy today with holiday shoppers.

A steady stream of customers filed into Totem books in Flint on Black Friday.  The bookstore was holding a ‘soft’ open on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.  

That may seem to be an unconventional idea. But that’s not the only unconventional thing you’ll noticed about Totem books. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is beset by many challenges and problems, which means the city’s newly elected mayor has not had the luxury of gradually learning the ropes.

Karen Weaver ousted incumbent Mayor Dayne Walling on November 3, making her the first woman to hold the office of mayor of Flint.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, a judge will consider whether the city of Flint may resume shutting off water to people who haven’t paid their bills.

In August, Genesee Circuit Judge Archie Hayman ordered the city of Flint to stop disconnecting delinquent water customers. The judge found the city had illegally increased rates in 2011 and directed the city to rollback the 35% increase. 

Since September, Flint water customers have been paying the lower rate. But not everyone has been paying. 

Flint water treatment plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint leaders want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen its regulation of public drinking water systems.

U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, and seven others testified today in front of the EPA's National Drinking Water Advisory Council. The Council is developing recommendations to the EPA about changes to its rule on lead and copper in water.

Kildee said the agency needs to tighten up its regulations to make sure what happened in Flint never happens again.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

To many of us, a trip to the grocery store is simply a matter of finding the time in our schedule to jump in the car and drive a few miles.

But that grocery trip presents big challenges to many of the people who live in Flint, where supermarkets are shutting down left and right.

The city lost two Kroger stores and a Meijer within eight months.

And with about half of the city’s residents living below the poverty line, many can’t afford to get a car to drive to the suburbs for fresh, healthy food.

Researchers at Virginia Tech received samples of Flint water (both clear and discolored) from residents. Dr. Edwards and his team there were among the first to call attention to lead contamination in Flint's water.
Flint Water Study / Facebook

The Flint water crisis has uncovered all kinds of details about how cities test the safety of their drinking water.

In particular, critics say the state is giving bad advice on testing drinking water for lead.

The state of Michigan tells cities to do something called pre-flushing.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s public works director has resigned.

Howard Croft played a highly visible role in the city’s drinking water crisis.

Appointed by Flint’s emergency manager in 2011, Croft oversaw the city’s switch from Detroit water to the Flint River, and back again after serious problems developed from the river water. 

Michael Pitt is one of the attorneys representing the people of Flint in these class action lawsuits
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Attorneys are hoping to sign up tens of thousands of Flint water customers for a class action lawsuit against the city and state.

The suit was filed Friday on behalf of four families.  

Attorney Trachelle Young says they are seeking damages for people suffering health problems because of Flint’s problem-plagued drinking water.

“I don’t think the community has any idea how truly extensive the damages are,” says Young.