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rich baird

State of Michigan

A $1,000 donation to Flint Mayor Karen Weaver’s campaign from a top aide to Governor Rick Snyder is drawing fire.

Rich Baird has been the governor’s point man in Flint dealing with the city’s water crisis.  He’s been seen often at Mayor Karen Weaver’s side during the crisis.

Earlier this fall, Baird bought eight tickets at a Weaver fundraiser at $125 each.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

In a sign that the Flint water crisis is possibly nearer its end than the beginning, the state of Michigan is closing more than half of the bottled water distribution centers Flint residents have relied on since the crisis began.

For more than a year, Flint residents have included a stop at their neighborhood distribution center to pick up a case or two or more of bottled water during their errands.

People in Flint waiting in line for water filters.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For more than a year, Flint residents have been told to use filters on their taps to screen lead from their drinking water. Filters on kitchen faucets are as much a part of everyday life in Flint as bottled water. Specialized filters were one of the first responses to Flint’s lead tainted tap water crisis.  

However, state officials and others are changing their message on filters.

Even just a few months ago, they were still strongly urging their use.

Now, it’s more of a mild suggestion.

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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's administration has a goal of creating 1,000 new jobs in Flint as a way of helping recover from the ongoing crisis sparked by lead in the city's water.

  The Detroit News  reports officials in Snyder's administration discussed the jobs goal Friday in a meeting of the governor's Flint Water Interagency Task Force.

 “This is Rich Baird ... " was the opening of the voice mail message left by Gov. Rick Snyder’s right-hand man and “transformation manager,” Rich Baird. The message was for union leader Carla Swift. And after that intro, it got nasty.

“I didn’t figure you would pick up on this call. It would take courage to talk to me face-to-face. Um, number one, you’d better be careful. I may be suing you …”

The voice mail from Baird is a response to a column that appeared last weekend in the Detroit Free Press, where Swift said Baird and other members of the Snyder administration play by their own set of rules.

Back to Baird’s voice mail: “I am sick and tired of you people and your unbased attacks. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

State of Michigan

Gov. Rick Snyder is standing by his longtime friend and key adviser, Rich Baird, amid calls for his firing by state Democratic Party officials.

Rich Baird has played an important behind-the-scenes role for the governor since Snyder took office.