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Karen Weaver

Karen Weaver is the mayor of Flint. She was elected in November 2015 as the Flint water crisis was unfolding.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the Genesee County Election Board  will decide whether to approve language for a recall petition against Flint mayor Karen Weaver.

Organizer Alex Harris has run recall efforts against two previous Flint mayors, Woodrow Stanley and Don Williamson. Stanley was recalled.  Williamson stepped down before a recall vote.

Harris himself has run unsuccessfully for seats on the Flint city council and school board.  

Flint city leaders say water crisis is far from over

Nov 15, 2016
What caused the Flint water crisis?
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint's water crisis became national news last year, but city officials want you to know it's still not fixed yet.

This week, Congressman Dan Kildee introduced new legislation to improve lead standards in drinking water, and the Flint city council approved Mayor Karen Weaver's renewal of emergency status for Flint.

Weaver says city residents still don't have safe tap water.

“In case somebody doesn't know, unfortunately the fact of the matter is that we still cannot drink our water without a filter,” Weaver says. "And that’s a huge issue.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor says the city will do everything it can to abide by a federal judge’s order that bottled water should be delivered to households in need.   

Flint residents have been relying on water from distribution centers for nearly a year, since lead contaminated the city’s tap water. But what has become a daily chore for many in Flint can be too taxing for the elderly and disabled.

Mayor Karen Weaver says the city will reach out to the state for help, though she says bottled water is still only a “temporary fix.”  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is warning its delinquent commercial water customers that it’s time to pay up or risk being shut off.

City workers were out Friday posting shutoff notices on commercial properties with past due accounts.   Apartment complexes are among those getting the notices.

“What these landlords are doing is wrong,” Mayor Karen Weaver says. “Some owners haven’t paid the city of Flint for utility services since 2015.”

The city is trying to avoid shutting off water service which would force renters out.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials want more of a say in the state’s investment priorities in their city.

It’s been nearly a year since a state of emergency was declared in Flint because of lead contaminated drinking water.  

State officials point to millions of dollars spent during the past year to help Flint recover from its water crisis, including economic development projects.

But Flint leaders question the state’s spending priorities.

“People have seen us do a ribbon cutting at the Capitol Theater but we still don’t have a grocery store,” says Mayor Karen Weaver.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The deadline for Flint’s commercial water customers to pay their delinquent bills was today.

Flint’s commercial customers owe the city more than a million dollars.   The city may start the process of cutting off their water service next week.

On Friday, the owners of two apartment complexes paid nearly $30 thousand each to bring their accounts up to date.    

“We’re glad that these account holders have stepped up and done the right thing,” said David Sabuda, Flint’s Interim Chief Financial Officer.

Flint's next phase of the Fast Start program will target 788 homes during the next two months.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor hopes to replace the city’s one thousandth lead service line by the end of the year.

Mayor Karen Weaver says phase 3 of her Fast Start pipe replacement program will target nearly 800 homes in the next two months. That’s on top of the more than 200 pipes replaced to date.

Pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains are a prime source of the lead contamination in Flint’s tap water. The city has enough money to replace another 4,000 pipes next year.

But Weaver says Flint needs more help, especially from the federal government.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is expected to vote on a new trash pick-up contract Monday.

For weeks, two competing garbage hauling companies have been emptying Flint’s trash cans.   

Flint’s mayor and city council spent months arguing over which company should get the contract. A majority of the city council wanted to keep Republic Services. Mayor Karen Weaver insisted her choice, Rizzo Environmental Services, had a lower bid.

After weeks of court ordered negotiations, city leaders agreed to give Republic Services a one-year contract.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A garbage company involved in Flint’s trash pickup dispute is reportedly linked to a federal corruption probe in Macomb County.

The Detroit Free Press reports federal prosecutors believe a Clinton Township official was allegedly bribed by an official with Rizzo Environmental Services in an effort to get a multi-million-dollar garbage contract.

Rizzo issued a statement only saying the company is cooperating with federal officials.

Flint City Councilman Eric Mays (right) was escorted out of Thursday's special city council meeting on Flint's trash contract
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is trying to get the city’s state oversight board to decide who should pick up Flint trash.

The council Thursday approved keeping Flint’s old garbage hauler on the job against the mayor’s wishes. The mayor’s chief of staff attended the meeting, but declined to comment. 

Council President Kerry Nelson says Republic is the best choice to empty Flint’s trash cans.

“There’s people that live in this city…that pay taxes…pay water bills….that work for Republic…I will not close the door on them,” says Nelson.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor hopes a new court ruling will allow the city to finally end its trash dispute.

For the third time, the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling preventing Flint mayor Karen Weaver from choosing the city’s garbage hauler.

For months, Weaver wanted the city to hire Rizzo Environmental Services to empty its trash cans. But a majority of the city council wanted to keep the old trash company, Republic Services, and took the mayor to court.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint pastors says it’s time for an end to the city’s dysfunctional government.

Mayor Karen Weaver and a majority of the city council have spent months battling over city contracts and other issues. In protest, the city council recently decided not to vote on the mayor’s resolutions for 30 days.

Members of Flint’s Concerned Pastors for Social Action, who’ve supported Weaver in the past, say it’s time for the bickering to stop. The pastors held a news conference at city hall to express their frustration with the growing rift inside city hall.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new garbage hauler will once again be picking up trash in Flint.

On Thursday, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed a lower court order blocking Mayor Karen Weaver from hiring her pick to empty Flint’s trash cans.

Rizzo was picking up Flint trash on Monday. But a judge issued an injunction blocking the mayor from hiring Rizzo without the Flint city council’s approval.

Weaver’s choice of Rizzo Environmental Services has been opposed by a majority of the Flint city council.   The council voted to keep the old contractor on the job.

A crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Congress is closer to giving Flint tens of millions of dollars to fix its lead-tainted tap water system.

Before it left town on Wednesday, the U.S. House approved a water infrastructure spending bill. The bill was amended yesterday to include $170 million for Flint.

The House approved its version of the Water Resources Development Act by a vote of 284 to 141.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she won’t “get in the mud” with city council members accusing her of acting like “a dictator”.

Council members say they won’t take up any of the mayor’s proposals for 30 days, as a protest to her recent unilateral decisions.

Weaver questions the council’s actions.

“If you want to hold up the city, if you think that’s in the best interest of the people, then that’s on you,” says Weaver. “I’ve got to stay focused on doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A dispute between Flint’s mayor and city council over who’ll pick up the city’s trash is headed back to court.

For months, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has been at odds with a majority of the city council over trash pick-up. She wants to hire a new company. The council wants the old one to continue.

Last week, Mayor Karen Weaver hired a new company, Rizzo Environmental Services, to empty Flint trash cans. It started Monday. 

Garbage truck in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is asking a judge for an injunction to stop the city’s mayor from cancelling a contract with the city’s trash hauler.

Capitol Building, Washington D.C.
Bobby Mikul / Flickr creative commons

Congress has to ensure the federal government is funded past September 30 by its October recess. But Flint's ongoing water crisis is standing in the way of Republicans and Democrats coming to an agreement. 

NPR's Ailsa Chang reports that Democrats in Congress want money to help Flint, Michigan to be included in a government aid bill for Louisiana and other states dealing with flood relief. 

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Days after Flint's mayor served notice the city might sue Michigan over Flint's crisis with lead-tainted water, the state removed the city's ability to sue.

Flint hasn't been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, but the state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will be in Washington D.C. asking for federal help with the city’s lead tainted tap water.

Weaver says she’s scheduled to meet with Michigan’s congressional delegation.   

She says she’ll give the lawmakers an update on Flint’s lead service line replacement program and other needs.

Recently an EPA official predicted Flint residents might have to use water filters for at least another year because of the lingering lead problem. Weaver says that opinion should strengthen Flint’s case for federal funds.

A crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s long delayed second phase of its lead pipe replacement program is finally underway.

The city is replacing more than 200 lead and galvanized pipes connecting Flint homes and businesses to city water mains. The pipes are a primary source of lead in Flint’s drinking water.

Janet Hensley watched from her front door as contractors used shovels to dig up the front lawn of her home on Flint’s east side.

Little blue and yellow flags are dotted through Hensley’s block. The flags mark the location of natural gas lines and other underground utilities. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Contractors will soon start replacing lead service lines at more than 200 Flint homes.  But first they need the homeowners’ permission.

The city has hired three companies to fully or partially remove hundreds of service lines.  Representatives of those three companies (WT Stevens Construction Inc., Johnson & Wood Mechanical and Goyette Mechanical) will begin fanning out in specific neighborhoods targeted because their residents are particularly at risk from lead exposure. 

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Six state workers accused of criminal wrongdoing in the Flint Water Crisis are getting their state paychecks once again - and Flint’s mayor is not happy that.

The six suspended state workers are charged with a total of 18 felony charges. They were initially suspended without pay, but their pay was reinstated this week.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver doesn’t think the six should be getting a state paycheck.

“It makes you question what people’s priorities are,” Weaver told reporters today.  

Flint city council President Kerry Nelson addresses the board overseeing Flint's transition out of receivership.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The panel in charge of Flint’s exit from state oversight says the city council isn't ready yet.

The Receivership Transition Advisory Board has extended the end of council’s probation period from October to December.

The board cites the council’s ongoing conflict with Flint’s mayor over a trash collection contract.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Update: 5:15 pm Monday, August 1st:

On Monday, city officials reached an interim agreement with Republic to resume trash pickup, starting August 2. The arrangement will remain in place until August 12. Officials say trash collection will be delayed by one day for the rest of this week; it should be back on schedule by the start of next week.

A meeting of the Receivership Transition Advisory Board (RTAB) is scheduled for August 10th to decide who will perform trash pickups permanently.

Sunday July 31st:

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s lead tainted drinking water has been a crisis for more than a year.  

Now it’s also national political issue.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver strode to the podium at the Democratic National Convention last night after delegates watched video tracing the history of the crisis dating back to April of 20-14.

Once at the podium, Weaver stated the situation bleakly.

“The problems in Flint are not over,” Weaver told the packed sports arena. “The water is still not safe to drink or cook with from the tap. Our infrastructure is broken, leaking, and rusting away.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint continues to struggle to replace damaged pipes.    

Mayor Karen Weaver said bids from contractors to replace up to 500 service lines came in “extremely high”. 

But there is an offer on the table that could potentially present the city with a big savings.

Walter Wang is the owner of JM Eagle, a California company that produces plastic pipes.  Back in February, Wang offered to give the city enough plastic PVC pipe to replace thousands of damaged lead service lines for free.

But to date, Flint officials have not accepted Wang’s offer.

Crew works on replacing a lead service line in Flint earlier this year.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city officials are scheduled to sit down with seven contractors tomorrow with hopes of getting the city’s pipe replacement program back on track.

Contractors submitted bids last week to replace hundreds of lead service lines in Flint.

The pipes connect homes to city water mains, and are a prime source of lead that’s leeching into Flint’s drinking water.

But Mayor Karen Weaver says those bids were “extremely high.” She says Monday’s meeting is intended to hopefully find ways to reduce the cost.

Tens of thousands of water filters have been distributed in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Health officials say filtered Flint tap water is now safe enough for children and pregnant women to drink.

For months, concerns about potential lead exposure from the tap prompted federal, state and local officials to urge kids and pregnant women to only drink bottled water in Flint.

But that recommendation is changing.

Dr. Nicole Lurie is an Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.   She’s leading the federal response to the Flint Water Crisis.

Michigan Radio

The allegations in a civil lawsuit may prompt the city of Flint to reconsider a contract with a firm hired to help it with its drinking water.

The city of Flint has paid Lockwood, Andrews and Newman, or LAN, nearly $3.5 million as it transitioned from Detroit water to the Flint River and back again.

In a civil suit filed this week, Michigan’s Attorney General accuses LAN of “botching” the job, with damaged pipes and lead tainted tap water the result.

Mayor Karen Weaver says it’s “absolutely unbelievable”.

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