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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.

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”.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

After months of wrangling, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is reluctantly agreeing to hook the city up to the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline for the city's drinking water.

Emergency managers made the decision to switch Flint’s drinking water to the KWA pipeline as a way to save money. Flint's city council gave its stamp of approval as well. But Flint’s new elected leaders wanted out of the deal because of the cost.

Could bankruptcy change the flow of Flint water?

Jun 18, 2016

 

Flint’s water war is intensifying, if that’s possible.

Genesee County officials backing the new Karegnondi Water Authority are warning that Flint could “lose everything”  -- if Mayor Karen Weaver turns her public second guessing into action and bolts from the city’s long-term contract with KWA.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver defends Police Chief Tim Johnson (left of Mayor Weaver).
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson will soon be certified to be a police officer.

Johnson was appointed Flint’s new police chief back in February. But the career cop allowed his state certification to lapse after he retired several years ago.

Without that certification, Johnson lacked the arresting powers of officers under his command.

Johnson says he was planning to take the two-day class later this year.

“I was trying to wait for the city to reach a calm level where I could go away for a couple of days to get re-certified,” Johnson told reporters today.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

An independent probe has found no evidence of unethical conduct by Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

The allegations came from Flint’s former city administrator. Natasha Henderson claims she was fired, in part, for reporting that the mayor steered donations to the city into a fund Weaver controls.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city officials will require contractors pay a prevailing wage to workers who replace the city’s lead service lines.  Though for a time, that wasn’t going to be the case.

Next week, the city of Flint will receive bids on a project to remove up to 500 lead service lines.

When the formal request for proposals went out earlier this month, it contained a provision that workers would receive standard union wages. But Wednesday, city officials proposed an addendum that the prevailing wage would not be applied to this project.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver admits pressure is building on the city to make a decision about hooking up to the new KWA water pipeline.

Flint’s water crisis is a tangential result of emergency managers' decisions to save money by switching the city off of Detroit water and on to the new pipeline from Lake Huron, and to use Flint River water in the interim.

Weaver says she still needs answers to basic questions.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Next week, Flint city officials plan to sit down with contractors interested in replacing lead service lines.

The city would like to remove 15,000 service lines, but for now they only have enough money to replace about 400.

Mayor Karen Weaver admits her “Fast Start” program has been slow to reach its second phase, partly because the sity wants to give smaller, local contractors a better chance to win contracts.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor is moving forward with the next phase of the city’s lead service line removal program.

Damaged service lines are suspected of being a prime source for lead in Flint’s drinking water. But to date, only 33 lead service lines have been removed from Flint homes.  

However, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says the city is starting the process of hiring contractors to replace hundreds more. She says the requests for proposals will be posted tomorrow.  

Weaver expects the next round of her Fast Start program will begin in about a month.

karen weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has hired an attorney to investigate allegations that Flint’s mayor tried to redirect donations from a water crisis fund to another fund she controlled.

The allegation is part of a wrongful termination lawsuit filed earlier this week by Flint’s former city administrator. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver declines to address the allegation, but she does have a few words about the suit.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s former city administrator is suing the city and Mayor Karen Weaver.

The lawsuit claims Natasha Henderson was fired after she raised questions about donations to a Flint water crisis charity being redirected to another fund created by Mayor Weaver.

Katherine Smith Kennedy is Henderson’s attorney. She claims Henderson’s job was terminated hours after she raised the issue with the city attorney.

“The timing is so suspicious,” says Kennedy, who admits she doesn’t know if there was anything illegal about redirecting donations.   

money
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s U.S. senators are trying again to get $172 million in federal funding for fixing Flint’s damaged water system. 

Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow announced today they have included the money in the Water Resources Development Act. The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is expected to consider this legislation this week.

Stabenow, D-Mich, says she’s glad they’ve “found a new path forward to get urgently-needed help for families in Flint and other communities across the country with serious lead and water issues.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is “not impressed” by Governor Snyder’s pledge to drink only Flint water for the next 30 days. 

The governor made the pledge to drink filtered Flint water yesterday.

“I’m going to start drinking that tonight and do that for the next 30 days … when I’m at work and at home,” Snyder told reporters on Monday. The governor says he wants to be a “role model” to show filtered Flint tap water is safe to drink.

Sub Committee chair Mike Zimmer (lower left) delivers a report on new lead/copper testing as members of the governor's special Flint water team listen, including Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan would have the toughest lead testing standard in the nation under a sweeping proposal unveiled today in Flint, where the drinking water is still contaminated with lead and residents remain dependent on bottled water donations.

To make sure other Michigan cities don’t suffer the same fate, Gov. Rick Snyder and a team of experts have unveiled a plan to tighten water testing regulations and lower the threshold for action.   

Flint water plant manager Jolisa McDay in red sweater in front of microphones
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is taking steps to deal with a key staffing issue in its drinking water crisis.

Federal regulators have criticized Flint officials for not hiring more people to operate the city’s water plant.  The EPA says the city needs more professionals to ensure it stays in compliance with federal regulations. 

The city’s new water plant supervisor started work this week. 

Jolisa McDay has 15 years experience.  She sees Flint’s system as a “challenge”.

“I’m diligently working to be sure that we have all that we need,” says McDay.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

By the end of the week, the city of Flint expects to finish removing water service lines from 30 homes.   The service lines are believed to be the source of high lead levels in the drinking water.

The city has been paying for the pipe removal with a $2 million reimbursement from the state.

The city’s original goal was to replace 30 lead service lines by the end of last month, but bad weather hampered progress.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s water crisis is affecting the city’s plans for next year’s budget.

The mayor outlined the city’s financial future to the city council last night.

Flint’s water and sewer fund continues to struggle and other city revenues are flat.

Flint mayor Karen Weaver says that’s why it’s important for city leaders to diligently pursue other sources of revenue.

“We’ve had enough cuts in city services. We don’t need any more cuts in city services,” Weaver told reporters after the special city council meeting.

As if their relationship wasn’t complicated enough already, now Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is threatening to take Governor Rick Snyder and the state of Michigan to court.

Flint pipe-removal effort working through early delays

Apr 1, 2016
Flint Mayor Weaver, Lansing Mayor Bernaro, and Ret. Brig. Gen. Michael McDaniel stand next to the lead pipe.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Crews working to replace Flint's lead water lines have encountered some delays.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver's goal for the first 30 days of work was to replace lead lines for 30 homes. As of Friday morning, crews had finished work on only 19.

Michael McDaniel, former National Guard Brigadier General and professor at Western Michigan University's law school, is heading the removal effort, called the Fast Start initiative.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People in Flint say they have questions they want answered at this week’s congressional hearings into the city’s water crisis.

Starting Tuesday, former emergency manager Darnell Earley, former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and Gov. Rick Snyder are scheduled to testify before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform committee.  

Current and former officials with the Environmental Protection Agency are also scheduled to appear before the committee.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she has a list of questions.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s so much confusion about Flint’s water and sewer rates that the city is suspending mailing bills to the city’s residents.

During the past year, there’s been almost as much happening to Flint’s water and sewer bills as the city’s water pipes.

A judge last year ordered the city to roll back a 2011 and also ruled the current rates were OK.  

The city is trying to collect on some old delinquent accounts. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is getting a $25 million loan to remove its lead pipes. 

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says the Union Labor Life Insurance Company has agreed to the low cost loans.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says she’s hopeful that the U.S. Senate will soon take up a bill with tens of millions of dollars for Flint.

The legislation has more than $100 million earmarked for fixing Flint’s water system and added health care for people exposed to lead in their tap water.

But a Republican senator is holding up the bill. Utah Senator Mike Lee says the state of Michigan should first spend its own money to fix Flint’s water issues, before the federal government should get involved. 

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (right) stands next to the lead drinking water line that was pulled from a home in Flint.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

It was a symbolic day in Flint on Friday as the city removed its first lead water service line under Mayor Karen Weaver’s “FAST Start” program.

The Mayor wants to remove all the lead water lines in the city under the program. She’s seeking $55 million to fund the program. Right now, they’ve started the program with $2 million from the state. That money was reimbursed to the city after it spent it last fall as part of the payment to reconnect Flint’s water supply to Detroit’s system. Weaver says the state could pay for the rest using its "rainy day" fund.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

With the Democratic Presidential Debate taking place Sunday in Flint, Michigan, the national spotlight is once again focusing on the city’s lead-tainted drinking water.

Some people in Flint are getting tired of being in the glare of the national spotlight.

The whirl of electric clippers mixes with ESPN’s Sports Center on the TV and music from the radio as six men wait for one of two barber chairs to open up in the Consolidated Tattoo and Barbershop in downtown Flint.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint plans to start digging up lead service lines tomorrow. But today, a contractor paid by a private group got to work doing the same thing on the city’s north side.

Brittani Felton watched from her driveway as workers dug a deep trench in front of her home on Flint’s Alma Avenue. At the bottom of the muddy hole lay the service line connecting Felton’s home to the city water main.

She’s had her water tested, but the results aren’t back yet. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor believes a U.S. Senate deal could free up federal money to pay to remove the city’s lead service lines.

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.,  Gary Peters, D-Mich and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., hammered out the deal.  

The proposal would authorize $100 million in emergency aid to fix and replace the city's lead-contaminated pipes, as well as $70 million in loans to improve its water infrastructure.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A divided Flint city council approved Mayor Karen Weaver’s picks for the city’s new police and fire chiefs during a raucous meeting tonight. 

Earlier this month, Weaver fired the city’s police and fire chiefs, who were both hired by the city’s former emergency managers.    

An overflow crowd jammed Monday night’s city council meeting. The audience cheered council members who talked of voting for Tim Johnson for police chief and Raymond Barton for fire chief. The crowd booed the council members who spoke out against the picks or the process.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver’s team at city hall is taking shape. 

Weaver fired the city’s police and fire chiefs, as well as the city administrator earlier this month. The three department heads were all appointed by Flint’s former emergency managers.

The city council will consider their proposed replacements tonight.

Weaver has tapped Timothy Johnson to be Flint’s next chief of police, Raymond Burton as the next fire chief and Sylvester Jones as city administrator.

Weaver says her appointments will bring needed change.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is a step closer to getting money from the state to replace lead service lines.

Governor Snyder says the state has approved a grant request from the city.

“That frees up $2 million that could be … several hundred lead service line replacements,” says Snyder.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says this is a “positive step.”

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