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Michigan State University will conduct a study into how to communicate the need for antibody tests for COVID-19 in communities that are often mistrustful of government health campaigns, and with good reason.

Ryan Garza for the Detroit Free Press

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan has reached a milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, with the state recording more than 200,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.  

Among the latest to test positive is a top state lawmaker.

State Senator Jim Ananich announced his positive test on Twitter.

Polling station sign
user jaina / Creative Commons

The U.S. Justice Department will be closely watching Tuesday's election in seven Michigan communities.

The Department’s Civil Rights Division plans to have personnel in 44 jurisdictions in 18 states to monitor for compliance with the federal voting rights laws.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are spending the weekend campaigning in Michigan ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Former President Barack Obama served as Joe Biden’s lead in at a pair of drive-in rallies Saturday in Flint and Detroit.  

Obama’s main message focused on voting.

The Breath Project

Today on Stateside, we’ll hear about the Native Justice Coalition’s call to action in support of missing and murdered indigenous people. Also, we talk to artists working for a Flint theater project borne out of the civil rights protests sparked by George Floyd’s death.

African-American man in blue suit standing in front of green outdoor space
Courtesy of the City of Flint

The City of Flint has a new police chief. Terence Green comes to the department after several years as chief in the Flint suburb of Mount Morris Township.

Green is a Flint resident and also worked for the Genessee County Sheriff's Department for more than 20 years.

Green talked to Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about his priorities for city’s police department.

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Flint residents are getting extra help dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic through a program set up after the city’s water crisis.

The program was created to help people affected by Flint’s lead tainted drinking water. 

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha discovered evidence that the change of Flint’s drinking water source led to a spike in blood lead levels in Flint children in 2015.     She also played a significant role in creating the Flint registry.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A letter is fueling a dispute over how the city of Flint handles elections.

After the August primary, Genesee County Election Supervisor Doreen Fulcher sent a letter to Flint City Clerk Inez Brown outlining problems with how the city processed votes. The letter was sent from County Clerk John Gleason’s office. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint religious leaders plan on taking to streets on Saturday to pray, after a recent spike in violent crime.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor is decrying a Saturday night “pop-up party” that drew hundreds of people and ended with six wounded by gunfire.

Police had broken up two previous attempts to hold the event, which attracted up to a thousand people. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is looking at ways to get illegal guns off the streets, either by seizing them or buying them.

Flint officials say the city has seen a 17% increase in violent crime this year over last year, including an increase in murders.

For Mayor Sheldon Neeley, the violence is close to home.

“There have been a few shootings on my street where I live,” Neeley told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s no fun not being able to sit out on my deck and worry about what might happen in my neighborhood.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union claims Flint voters may be denied their right to vote absentee in the August primary.

The ACLU suit finds fault with how the Flint city clerk's office processes absentee ballot applications and other issues.  

Portraits of poet Semaj Brown as a student at Cass Technical High School in Detroit.
Courtesy of Semaj Brown

Buildings and streets all over Michigan bear the name of Michigan politician Lewis Cass, but in the past several weeks, there has been a push to change that. Cass was a former territorial governor and U.S. senator. He was also a slave owner, a proponent of letting states decide whether to allow slavery, and a key architect behind atrocities committed against Native Americans, including the Trail of Tears and the Trail of Death. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Over the past three months Flint has restored water service to hundreds of homes.

Mayor Sheldon Neeley ordered the city to start reconnecting water service to occupied homes on March 12, a few weeks before Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered all Michigan cities to end water shutoffs and restore service.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Flint marks the sixth anniversary of the drinking water switch that led to the city’s water crisis.

Improperly treated water drawn from the Flint River exposed city residents to lead and other contaminants.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting Thursday, the city of Flint is imposing a curfew to try to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.   

Two weeks ago, Flint was untouched by the coronavirus pandemic. As of Wednesday, Flint and Genesee County have recorded 249 positive COVID-19 cases and eight deaths.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A pair of storm sewers are being rerouted around Flint’s former Buick City site to try and keep PFAS out of the Flint River.

“We have on the site some storm water lines, old ones, that when they’re below the groundwater table, contaminated groundwater can leak into those storm sewers and migrate to the river,” says Grant Trigger. He's the cleanup manager for the former General Motors properties in Michigan. 

Trigger says they’ll spend the next three to four months replacing more than 3,600 feet of storm sewer lines.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint voters on Tuesday are being asked to support a change in how their school taxes are spent.

Voters are being asked to approve extending a current millage that raises money for capital expenses. But school officials are asking voters to allow the millage to be used to pay down the district's debt more quickly.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint mayor Sheldon Neeley admits his new budget proposal is “not perfect.”

Neeley presented his $55.6 million budget proposal to the city council on Monday.

The mayor says rising property values are increasing city revenues. But he says Flint is also facing significant legacy costs. 

He hopes Flint city council members don’t make major changes to the budget blueprint.

children sitting on floor
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Community Schools Superintendent Derrick Lopez filed a formal complaint earlier this month with the Genesee Intermediate School District over special education funding.

Flint gets less money from the county compared to other districts, even though it has more kids who qualify for special education services. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Children in Flint faced a myriad of problems well before the city’s water crisis raised new fears of potential negative health effects from lead tainted drinking water.

The challenges faced by Flint kids and the progress that’s been made since the water crisis was the subject of a conference Friday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State Police are investigating an alleged bar fight between two Flint city officials.  

The fight between councilman Eric Mays and Mayor Sheldon Neeley’s Deputy Chief of Staff allegedly took place at a Flint bar last week. City police turned the investigation over to the MSP.

Eric Mays told reporters Monday night that he’s scheduled to meet with the state police Tuesday morning. 

Mays accuses the mayor of protecting his aide.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents surprised by a recent big water bill are getting some relief.

In the past, aging meters forced the city to estimate how much water people were using.

The city of Flint is using $9.2 million in federal money from the city’s water crisis to install 26,000 new water meters. About 5,000 meters have been replaced so far.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is launching a coordinated campaign to attack blight.

Mayor Sheldon Neeley says illegal dumping is a prime target.

Michael Hood and Laurie Carpenter, founders of the humanitarian aid group Crossing Water.
Stephanie Kenner / Crossing Water

Crossing Water, an advocacy group founded to provide outreach in Flint during the water crisis, will be headed to Newark, New Jersey this week. Newark has recorded elevated of lead in its water for several years.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor admits his city should have started preparing for this year’s census a year ago. But he says the city is trying to catch up.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Liane Shekter-Smith sat quietly in court Wednesday as the Michigan Solicitor General railed against the plea deal that was about to lead to the dismissal of the case against her.

Flint school lockers
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Updated January 3, 2020: A spokesperson for Flint Community Schools sent the following statement, attributed to FCS Superintendent Derrick Lopez:   “The Flint Community Schools District is deeply committed to the well-being and success of all students. In keeping with District policy, we will not be commenting on pending litigation.” Requests for comment to the Michigan Department of Education were directed to the Attorney General's office, which has not yet responded at this time. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State prosecutors are still not saying when to expect new criminal charges in the Flint water crisis probe.

Thursday evening, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley in cutting a ribbon officially opening the department’s new office in Flint. The office will handle multiple jobs. But its highest profile mission is related to the investigation into Flint’s water crisis.

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