Lindsey Smith | Michigan Radio
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Lindsey Smith

Investigative Reporter

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s Investigative Reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio's West Michigan Reporter.

Lindsey has worked as a reporter at radio stations in both West and Southeast Michigan, and her work has been repeatedly recognized by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Michigan Associated Press. Her 2015 documentary about the Flint water crisis, Not Safe to Drink, won the station a national Edward R. Murrow Award, an Alfred I. duPont - Columbia University Award, and a Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Award. The Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists named her "Young Journalist of the Year" in 2014.

She’s a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and Specs Howard School of Media Arts.

Mark Savage / Entergy Corporation

The Palisades nuclear power plant will shut down by the spring of 2022. The company that owns Palisades plans to sell it.

Located on the shore of Lake Michigan near South Haven, Palisades is the oldest of three operating nuclear power plants in the state.

Who would want to buy a nuclear plant that’s closing?

There’s opportunity for a company that can decommission a nuclear generating station faster and cheaper – more efficiently – than a utility company could.

Filling a sample bottle.
Courtesy photo / Virginia Tech

After the Flint water crisis, the state’s environment department closed a bunch of loopholes in the sampling for lead in drinking water. That means cities are taking better samples, more frequently, and at the highest risk homes with lead service lines.

 Detroit Medical Center, Harper Hospital and Hutzel Woman's Hospital.
user Parkerdr / Wikimedia Commons

The Detroit Medical Center’s Harper University Hospital passed an important inspection this month.

Harper Hospital could’ve lost Medicare payments after a Dec. 13, 2018 inspection listed several violations, including failure to accurately record time of death for three patients, "resulting in the potential for the inability to recover tissue and/or organs for use in transplant."

cash bail
Adobe Stock

The Michigan Supreme Court has launched a pilot project to test a program called Public Safety Assessment or PSA. It's a risk assessment tool using a predictive algorithm to help judges make pretrial decisions.

The pretrial period is the time between someone being arrested and tried. At pretrial hearings, judges quickly have to decide whether a defendant should spend that time in jail or out on bail. To make that decision, they have to determine whether that person is likely to not show up to court or commit a crime.

heart monitor during surgery
Adobe Stock

Doctor Ted Schreiber is the third cardiologist in a week to file a civil lawsuit against the Detroit Medical Center and its parent company, Tenet Health Corporation.

Schreiber's attorney Stephanie Ottenwess says he raised a number of safety concerns after Texas-based Tenet Health Corporation bought the hospital in 2013.

heart monitor during surgery
Adobe Stock

A pair of cardiologists who were fired from their leadership positions at the Detroit Medical Center are suing the health system.

In a court filing, Drs. Amir Kaki and Mahir Elder say they were fired for raising concerns about problems affecting patient care, including dirty instruments, unnecessary procedures, and improper billing of Medicare and Medicaid. They claim some patients died because of incompetent staff and efforts to trim costs.

arcticpenguin / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Survivors of former doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse at Michigan State University can get money for therapy again.

The university allocated $10 million for the so-called Healing Assistance Fund. It was shut down last summer. Police are still investigating whether some people made false claims and got reimbursed fraudulently.

John Geddert
Dylan Martinez / REUTERS / Adobe Stock

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office is launching its own investigation into John Geddert, the former U.S. Olympic gymnastics coach who’s been accused of physical abuse by several athletes.

 

The move comes just over a week after Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd told a group of frustrated women and girls that he does not have enough evidence yet to charge John Geddert with a crime.

Screen grab from ONE OF NASSAR'S YOUTUBE VIDEOS

A former Michigan State University field hockey player has alleged former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar raped and impregnated her in 1992 when he was a graduate student, and that former athletic director and head football coach George Perles covered it up.

Lara Moehlman / Michigan Radio

After reporting on the Flint water crisis, there’s one question people have asked me over and over: Should I be worried about lead in my tap water?

We can look at the numbers cities provide in annual reports. But those numbers don’t always tell the whole story.

Plaque on the door of the MSU Board of Trustees
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Former Michigan State University head football coach and athletic director George Perles denies he ever worked to cover up sexual assault allegations against Larry Nassar in 1992.

That’s according to Pat Perles, George’s son.

“As my mom says, the truth is its own defense. I don’t need to defend ourselves. The truth will come out. And that’s basically their attitude,” Pat Perles said.

Richard DeVos
King's College

Richard DeVos, co-founder of the direct marketing company Amway and father-in-law of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, has died. He was 92.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Three communities in Michigan are taking a much closer look for lead in their drinking water this year.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Last week, Michigan Radio published a story about the Village of Beverly Hills, Michigan; a Detroit suburb located in southern Oakland County. The village currently has the highest 90th percentile for lead in water in the state.

Two women
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Jennifer Gilchrist moved from New York City back home to the Detroit suburb of Beverly Hills in 2016. She moved to help take care of her mom Joellen, a retired Detroit high school teacher, and to fix up her childhood home.

That’s when a plumber told them they had a lead service line.

Students protesting
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

About 100 students rallied in the rain Tuesday afternoon, marched up to the second floor of Welch Hall, and confronted the president of Eastern Michigan University.

A packed public comments hearing on the recent Nestle permit.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

80,945 against to 75 in favor.

These numbers show the scope of the public opposition to a new proposal from Nestle.

The company wants to be able to pump a lot more water out of the ground in West Michigan that it can bottle and sell under its Ice Mountain brand.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality should update its rules on the level of lead that’s considered acceptable in drinking water.

That is the one thing most everyone at a public hearing in Lansing Thursday night did agree on.

But many Flint activists and environmentalists say the proposed changes to lead rules don’t go far enough. Others, especially those running community water systems, say changes go way too far, presenting major legal and cost issues.

In the 1930s, property assessors graded American cities on a four-point scale, with the worst neighborhoods coded red, giving birth to the term "redlining."
Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America / Creative Commons

It’s been half a century since the federal government banned discrimination in the home mortgage industry. But a new analysis of mortgage data shows people of color are still routinely denied conventional mortgage loans far more often than white people.

The father of survivor Katie Black weeps as his daughter speaks.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The second day of the Larry Nassar sentencing in Eaton County got off to a turbulent start when an angry father of three victims lunged at the former sports doctor.

After a brief break to calm the chaos, Judge Janice Cunningham addressed the nervous crowd:

"This is such a unique case that involves hundreds of victims, and therefore hundreds of family members, brothers, sisters, spouses, friends. And to have watched the pain and the suffering of what loved ones have gone through is [unimaginable]...So if it is hard and difficult for me to hear what [Randall Margraves'] daughters have to say, I can't imagine what it is like for a parent."

Screen grab from ONE OF NASSAR'S YOUTUBE VIDEOS

More than 13 years ago, a concerned mom brought her daughter into the Meridian Township Police Department to file a police report against Dr. Larry Nassar.

Detectives ended up closing the case without forwarding it to prosecutors. Now, police are releasing their case report to the public. The department plans to hold a press conference Thursday about what went wrong.

Survivors of Larry Nassar
Jodi Westrick and Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

It's been a tumultuous week in East Lansing, home of the Spartans.

President Lou Anna Simon resigned on Wednesday, and Athletic Director Mark Hollis stepped down Friday, in response to mounting rage over the school's handling of Larry Nassar.

MSU President Lou Anna Simon
Bike Ann Arbor / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon wanted to “personally” provide state lawmakers an overview of how the public institution is responding to the “issues surrounding the terrible crimes committed by former MSU physician Larry Nassar."

On January 10, the week before Nassar is sentenced for sexual abuse, Simon wrote that she wanted to give lawmakers a heads up that they “will likely continue to hear a variety of allegations and accusations against the university.”

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

All the snow and cold and even a bum wrist from a recent fall didn’t stop Otis Lee from his mission to get vaccinated. Using a cane, Lee hobbled into the student center at the University of Detroit Mercy, where the Detroit Health Department has set up a vaccination clinic specifically for restaurant workers and food handlers.

A nurse administers a vaccine.
Rhoda Baer / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The hepatitis A outbreak has affected at least a dozen restaurants in three southeast Michigan counties this year. That’s why Oakland County is hosting two vaccination clinics for restaurant workers this week, no appointment necessary.

Restaurant workers are a priority target for the limited supply of the hep A vaccine because they handle other people’s food. Those who catch the virus are most contagious before they show symptoms of hep A.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality is vowing to strengthen lead-in-water rules because of the Flint water crisis. At a public meeting in Lansing Wednesday night, state regulators said they cannot wait on the federal government to finish its own version of the new rules.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality is unveiling changes to lead in water rules this week.

Communities in Michigan with lead water pipes will have special interest in a public meeting Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality is hosting Wednesday night.

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) testifies at a hearing in 2009.
Rep. John Conyers office / Flickr

U.S. Congressman John Conyers maintains his innocence against sexual harassment accusations and says he will not resign. That’s according to a statement Conyers released via his new lawyer late Wednesday.

Conyers has previously acknowledged a $27,000 legal settlement with a former staffer. He says the settlement was a way to avoid a lengthy, expensive lawsuit.

The woman alleged Conyers fired her because she rejected his sexual advances.

There are lead service lines in older communities across Michigan. Because of their age and population size, it’s fair to say the bulk of Michigan’s lead service lines are in cities in Southeast Michigan.

I spent a lot of time trying to determine which Detroit suburbs have lead service lines and how many. I wanted to see how far out into the suburbs lead was found in underground water pipes.

It was relatively easy (albeit an expensive FOIA bill near $2000 for these "public documents") to track down which communities were testing lead lines. But figuring out how many lead pipes were in each community is nearly impossible.

notices
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Because of the Flint water crisis, several Michigan cities are making long term plans to replace old lead water pipes that connect homes to the water main.

That is good for public health, but well-meaning municipal water operators can actually make lead exposure worse if they’re not careful.

There’s a mix of lead and copper pipes buried near the corner of Trinity and Florence in a neighborhood on Detroit’s northwest side. When I visited a month ago the block was lined with nice, two story brick homes and orange construction barrels. It smelled like diesel.

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