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Flint

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The city of Flint is trying something new to reduce water shut-offs, while at the same time increasing revenues from water and sewer services.

The city is launching a 60-day trial of lower fees for residents trying to get their water service turned back on.

Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, Wayne State University / Wikim

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, a public charity created by and for the people of Genesee County. Isaiah Oliver is the youngest-ever president and CEO of the foundation. He is also the first Flint native and first African-American to lead the group.

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Michigan congressional leaders are asking the EPA about the status of an investigation into the causes of the Flint water crisis.

The EPA Office of Inspector General launched its investigation in January 2016 into the causes of the crisis that exposed the people of Flint to lead-tainted tap water and other health threats.

However more than two years later, the full report has still not been released.

Inconsistent lead level readings led to the closure of three buildings on Northern Michigan University's campus.
Flickr user Bart / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Low-income, rural areas are the most vulnerable to drinking water quality violations that could affect people’s health, according to a new nationwide study.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Work begins this week on the demolition of a nearly century-old dam in Flint.

The Flint River has flowed through the Hamilton Dam since it was constructed in 1920.

But the dam has been crumbling for decades.

Last year, the state government approved spending $3.1 million to demolish the dam, as part of a project to revitalize Flint’s riverfront.

flint symbol
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State Treasurer Nick Khouri says Flint's mayor and city council now have the ability to conduct most city business without state oversight.

Khoury said Monday that state oversight through the Flint Receivership Transition Advisory Board has been diminished after the panel recommended moving the city out of receivership and continuing the process of transitioning to full local control.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/NPR

Michigan State University and Flint officials are kicking off a campaign to get people exposed to the city’s lead-tainted water to sign up for a special registry.

Tens of thousands of people who drank Flint tap water since 2014 have likely been exposed to lead.

The Flint Registry being launched this week is a way to connect people with resources aimed at minimizing the negative health effects of lead, as well as programs promoting wellness.

Sign of Flint Police Headquarters
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint City Council has approved a $24,500 payment to a former police investigator who said he was demoted after reporting the possible mistreatment of another officer.

The Flint Journal reports the lawsuit alleged that police Chief Tim Johnson retaliated against Rodney Williams after he allegedly corroborated claims of gender discrimination that Capt. Leigh Golden brought against Johnson and the police department.

Courtesy of Carma Lewis

Today marks two years since Governor Rick Snyder declared a ‘state of emergency’ in Flint because of lead contamination in the city's water.

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reported that water quality has improved since the city switched back to Detroit system after using the Flint River, whose improperly treated water corroded pipes. The city has also seen almost 6,000 lead lines replaced. That’s around a third of the number to be replaced.

But there’s still a lot of confusion among Flint residents. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint water crisis criminal process is set to resume after taking a break for the holidays.

State health department director Nick Lyon is due to return to court next week. For the past several months, a series of witnesses have testified about how the health department under Lyon was slow to publicly reveal a deadly Legionnaires disease outbreak in Genesee County.  Lyon is charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with that outbreak.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting next month, Flint’s first city-organized youth basketball league in 15 years will tip off.

Sean Croudy, the city’s director of community recreation, says the program will fill a void in after-school programs for 8- to 17-year-olds. Croudy adds it’s not just about playing basketball.

“Teamwork, build self-esteem,” says Croudy. “A lot of learning opportunities.”

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says promoting sports is also an important part of helping Flint kids exposed to high lead levels in the city’s tap water.

flint mayor karen weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency wrote a letter to the City of Flint and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality last week urging them to spend $100 million in federal funds for water infrastructure repair.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver responded Friday that the city plans to have any requested information available to the EPA in January.

“Inspiration in the wake of desperation.” That’s the theme of a powerful documentary called For Flint.

In the film, director Brian Schulz shows the foundation for a rebuilt Flint can be found in the lives of its neighbors.

There is just so much to process, so much to, well, not to sound old, but growing up we just never would have anticipated this level craziness.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents are celebrating the reopening of a downtown landmark.

The Capitol Theatre has been closed for nearly 20 years.

But thanks to a $37 million restoration, the theater is once again opening its doors.

“What makes this building special actually is the connection that the community has had with it for nine decades,” says Jarret Haynes, the executive director of the Whiting theater, which will manage the Capitol Theatre.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major obstacle to Flint’s recovery from its drinking water crisis has been removed.

The city of Flint has been hobbled in its efforts to remain on its aging water system by its inability to repay more than $20 million borrowed from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF).  

Flint City Clerk Inez Brown administers the oath of office to the new Flint city council members.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“I do solemnly swear,” intoned City Clerk Inez Brown, as she led the nine members of the Flint city council through their oath of office.

The new city council were sworn in today at noon. Five of the nine council members are new to the job.  Last week, Flint voters ousted a majority of incumbents from the panel.   

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver suggests voters wanted the new blood on the council to move beyond old arguments.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver scored a double win on Tuesday.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Another top state official is scheduled to appear in a courtroom in Flint Monday in connection with that city’s tainted tap water crisis.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of used, clear plastic water bottles collected in Flint will be worn by runway models in New York next spring.

Recycling water bottles has been an issue in Flint since the city’s lead tainted drinking water crisis.

Conceptual artist Mel Chin and a fashion designer, Detroit native Tracy Reese, are working with the Queens Museum in New York City to recycle water bottles from Flint into fabric for raincoats, swimwear and other clothes.

“The thing is, if you don’t....do something, we’re just talking,” says Chin. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint police department is turning to technology to help reduce response times to calls.

Flint’s new police intelligence center will monitor closed circuit cameras in businesses and other locations around the city. It will also serve as a clearinghouse for data on criminal suspects.

Police Chief Tim Johnson expects the center will help officers get to the scene of crimes faster.

“We’re doing excellent for responding to crimes,” says Johnson. “But, of course it’s not good enough when you’ve got people waiting 20 and 30 minutes for police to respond to a call.”

Sign of Flint Police Headquarters
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is getting some help from the federal government to combat its violent crime problem.

The $1 million grant from the U.S. Justice Department will help fund community programs on Flint’s north side for the next three years. Flint is one of nine communities nationwide to receive the grant from the U.S. Justice Department.

Hamilton Community Health Network, Flint city officials and local neighborhood groups will work together to develop community-based crime reduction plans and programs.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is proposing a possible solution to the city’s long-term tap water needs, or at least a longer short-term solution.

Last night, city council members voted to extend Flint’s current temporary contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority by two years. GLWA has been supplying Flint’s water for two years already.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Next month, Flint voters will decide if they want to recall their mayor.  

The unusually large field of candidates may draw an unusually low number of voters to the polls.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor delivered her State of the City address last night.

At times, it sounded like a campaign stump speech.

Mayor Karen Weaver focused on positive developments over the past year in a city usually associated with problems. During the mayor’s 40-plus minute speech, she talked about economic development, lower crime rates and improving city services. 

Weaver also stressed the need to continue to recover from the city’s drinking water crisis.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge is tired of waiting for officials to choose the city of Flint’s long-term drinking water source.

Flint has been getting its drinking water from the Great Lakes Water Authority since the fall of 2015, when the city officially ended the ill-fated experiment of getting its tap water from the Flint River.

For months, a final decision on whether Flint would sign a 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority has been on hold. Flint’s mayor and state officials signed off on the deal last spring.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major project to remove century old contamination from the Flint River is moving into its final phase.

Last week, crews finished dredging part of the Flint River bottom to remove the last remnants of coal tar from the sediment. The coal tar came from a coal gasification plant that shut down in the 1920s.

Aditya Romansa/Unsplah

You couldn’t miss the headlines about Flint’s “fertility crisis” a couple weeks ago. “Flint’s water crisis led to fewer babies and higher fetal death rates,” Science Daily summarized. “An estimated 275 fewer children were born in Flint, Michigan, while the city was using lead-contaminated water from the Flint River, according to new research findings,” the article said.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There are fewer places for Flint residents to get free bottled water these days.

In August, Flint’s seven water distribution centers handed out 11,061 cases of bottled water a day. That's nearly 300,000 cases for the entire month. 

But just after Labor Day, the state closed three of the centers. Of the nine original sites, only four remain, located in different quadrants of the city.   

McLaren Hospital in Flint and the Genesee County Health Department have been working with the Centers for Disease Control since a court order is preventing local officials from talking directly with the state health department.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The family of a Grand Blanc woman, who family members believe died from Legionnaires’ disease in 2015, is suing Governor Rick Snyder and McLaren Regional Medical Center, among other named defendants, in a lawsuit filed Thursday.

Bertie Marble died March 20, 2015 while she was a patient at Flint’s McLaren Hospital. Attorney Bill Goodman is representing the family members that filed the lawsuit. He claims the decision by state officials to switch Flint's water source to the Flint River exposed Marble to Legionnella bacteria, and that state officials and the hospital failed to tell patients at McLaren about the risk.

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