FLINT (DTV) – (08/20/2018) – Michigan’s Health and Human Services Director, Nick Lyon will be going to trial to face charges of manslaughter.
On Monday Judge Goggins made his decision for the case to go to trial which means he believes there is enough evidence for a jury to consider.
The judge’s decision in the preliminary hearing comes ten months after it started in September of 2017 and wrapped up in July of 2018.
Lyon is charged with involuntary manslaughter, willful neglect of duty and misconduct in office for the deaths of John Snyder and Robert Skidmore. Both men allegedly died from Legionnaires’ disease caused by Flint switching its drinking water source to the Flint River in 2014.
FLINT (DTV) – (06/08/18) – On Monday April 10th, people lined up along Dort highway in Flint waiting to receive their final cases of free water after the state closed the distribution pods. The state’s decision to close the water pods was based on tests that said the water was well within federal standards. Even though the tests say the water is fine, some think differently.
“We matter! And so the state is responsible for cleaning up what they did. We don’t want them to do anything for us, but we are citizens, we pay taxes, and we are entitled for them to correct in totality the mistake that they made.” said Flint Councilwoman, Monica Galloway
The people of Flint are clearly stressed, and spoke out about the state’s decision, many still not believing that the water is safe to drink, since not all the pipes have been replaced.
Representatives from Michigan United, along with several activist groups, came together at a press conference on April 9th to help project the citizen’s anger, as well as voice their demands.
“Citizens demand the state reopen Flint water pods and maintain citywide distribution until water infrastructure updates are completed at least. Flint residents demand that the state include in its budget bottled water for residents, and comprehensive testing for all residents in Flint.” said Carly Hammond, a Michigan United Representative.
They also demanded Medicaid expansion to cover anyone who lived or worked in Flint since 2014, and an end to the Emergency Manager Law that caused the crisis.
“In spite of what they say where the lead levels were before, you did wrong! There was evidence of you doing wrong. So take us back to where we were before you did those things.’ said Galloway
They also expressed their distaste for the MDEQ’s contract with Nestle and demanded it be reversed, while calling for a boycott of all Nestle products. After appeals from the mayor and citizens, the water pods remain closed.
There are some areas in Flint that are continuing to help the people of Flint with bottled water.
Starting in March Flint will have to pay 100% of their water bills. Even while Flint is receiving credits they still have some of the highest water rates in the nation, and this is water they couldn’t even use. These rates are said to be almost eight times the national average of the nations rates, according to an investigator for environmentalist Erin Brochovich. These rates are discovered to be so high because Flint is paying for more than just their water. Flint pays an average of One million dollars a month for their water from Detroit and another $440,000 to cover the KWA pipeline debt.
January 19th, 2017 marks the 1,000th day of what became known as the Flint Water Crisis. It has been days full of tainted water harmful to the people of Flint. On April 25, 2014, the city of Flint did something that would change the fate of the community forever. How did we reach day 1,000?
To see how the crisis began watch the video below
Before the crisis, Flint was put under the emergency manager law. This law allows the state to take away local power and place an emergency manager to fix a financial crisis. At the time Flint was broke, Darnell Early, Flint’s Emergency Manager, took over to cut costs in Flint. One decision made was to switch to the Flint River as a main water source. Prior to the switch, Flint was getting their water from a source in Detroit, which was quite costly. To lower this cost, plans were made to switch to the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA) pipeline that ran straight from Flint to Lake Huron, but the only problem here was that the pipeline was not built yet. The plans to finish the pipeline would take at least 3 years, so in the mean time, the city voted to switch its water source to the Flint river to cut cost.
Soon after the switch, a crisis arose when boil-water advisories were issued because E-coli bacteria was found in the water. Not long after, another advisory was released with warnings of Coliform bacteria. To combat these bacteria’s found in the water, the city had to up chlorine levels which then lead to high levels of TTHM (total trihalomethanes). These chemical compounds form when organic matter reacts with the chlorine disinfectants. People in Flint started to get rashes and become sick. On top of that, water bills were raised. After continuous water warnings, Flint was beginning to loose trust in their government and the water.
Odors, a discoloration in the water, and health issues became a common problem in Flint homes. People of Flint started to reach out and raise concerns, but the city, state officials and local media were not listening. Therefore, they took matters into their own hands. Flint mother, Lee-Ann Walters had demanded for her water to be tested and had discovered 104 parts per billion of lead in her water. She had contacted Miguel Del Toral, a manger at the EPA’s Midwest water division, to inform him that the water plant was not treating the water with the correct corrosive controls leading to the lead problem. After Del Toral had been informed of these results he decided to look into the concerns further and had found that the MDEQ was illegally not using corrosive control in the water. He had informed the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and MDEQ ( Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) of his concerns. Once the concerns were presented, he was silenced, he was then advised not to talk about Flint or to anyone from Flint. Outside of work Del Toral had released his findings to Walters and water expert Dr. Mark Edwards.
To see how government handled the crisis watch the video below
On September 15, 2015 these results were released to the public and it was confirmed that alarming amounts of lead were in the water all throughout Flint. Around the same time, the city and state began to notice a huge incline of lead in children’s blood levels. Even after these finding, the state had neglected to let the city know of the issue, but after Dr. Monna Hannh-Attisha had publicly raised these concerns, a health emergency was put into place. Flint was told they could no longer use their water, still had to pay the high bills, and now had to buy bottled water. Beyond a lead crisis, a government crisis arose.
To learn about lead in the blood
See how the crisis was more than a lead problem
Once learning that families were experiencing lead poisoning and that the water was not being treated correctly, it was undeniable that Flint needed to switch back to the Detroit pipeline. The switch back would take $15.35 million dollars. Governor Snyder signed a bill granting $9.35 million from the state, Flint would have to pay $2 million, and the Mott foundations pledged $4 million dollars to fund the switch back.
Not only was there a lead crisis, but it was also discovered that there was a huge outbreak of legionnaires’ disease. In fact, there were 12 deaths do to the disease, and the main suspect was the Flint river. The yearly average of cases of Legionnaires’ disease is 12. From June of 2014 to November of 2015 there were 91 cases in Genesee County.
To learn more about legionnaires’ in Genesee County watch the video below
Once they switched back, the EPA and other sources started keeping a close eye on the water. The data being collected is showing a trend of better results, but after all Flint has been through they just can’t seem to trust the government. To bring hope back to Flint, President Obama made a stop in the city, ensuring better lead results and security in using filters. The only question left is was Obama’s reassurance enough?
Learn more about Obama’s visit to Flint watch below
See how Flint reacted to Obama’s visit watch below
Nonetheless the crisis is NOT over. People in Flint still cannot use their water. The children still have lead poisoning, rashes, bone weakness, hair and teeth loss, and more.
To see families living with the crisis in 2017 watch below
Flint still has a long way to go when it comes to being fixed. This is a process that will take years, if not decades. The plan to replace lead pipes is predicted to take at least three years to finish. Kids in Flint with lead poisoning will need years of healthcare and special education. These plans will only follow through if Flint can manage to get the funding they need. The water plant needs an estimated $60 million alone to be able to treat raw water from the KWA pipeline. This plan for the water plant will also take some time, the best case scenario is to take three years for renovations. Typically, these kinds of renovations take close to ten years.
Learn more about Flint’s reaction to testing results
Latest testing results
To see the governors Snyder promises to Flint watch below
Seven defendants in the Flint water crisis were in court to hear Judge Manley decisions on key issues. The biggest ruling was the release of over 250 thousand City of Flint documents and emails, allowing the lawyers access to this mountain of information. Next, there was the argument against Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to get them to release all the notes from their investigations and interviews in regards to the Flint water crisis. Last year Governor Snyder halted the investigations by both the OIG and OAG before any conclusions were made. The lawyers from the OIG and OAG argued that the documents were not complete recordings or record information. Prosecutor Flood argued that this information would be very helpful and the fact that they are fighting the release it makes it look more like a cover up. Eventually, the court ordered that all those documents be released before the preliminary court cases in March. Lastly, Mr. Flood argued against the Michigan state police wanting them to halt the release of any composed statements to the public. The defense lawyers argued that they have a right to any of the information, composed or not. Judge Manley ruled that the non compelled statements are to be released and Flood will argue his case again in March. On March 13, there will be a continuation of the primary examinations, as well as the sentencing of Corinne Miller.
The people of Flint have been without drinkable water for 2 years, 5 months, and 12 days.
In recent discoveries, the water crisis is beginning to effect the people who are scared to use the lead infested water and who refuse to bath in it. The outbreak of the infectious bacterial disease Shigellosis came shortly after the outbreak of Legionnaires, which the surrounding area saw the worst cases in disease history. The people are still scared of the water, as they rightfully should be, so they stopped washing their hands and they stopped bathing. The use of baby wipes are not effective in killing bacteria and they do not replace the need to wash your hands. CNN has reports that Genesse County has the most cases of Shigellosis in the state. There have been 84 cases so far this year and at least 53 of them are in Flint. 27 people have been hospitalized. The spike of this disease started in June 2016, peaking about 5 times the number of cases since 2011.
The Federal government has not forgotten about Flint, as the Senate fought to get money for Flint, the house only agreed on 170 million that Flint will receive in 2017. The Democrats threatened that if the Republicans did not agree, they would shut down the government that Friday. Luckily an agreement was made and Flint will be receiving relief soon.
Presidential Candidate Donald Trump came to Flint recently and did not receive the warmest welcome, he began speaking about his platform when he got off topic. “Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint, not give a political speech,” Rev. Faith Green Timmons of the Bethel United Methodist Church made sure that Trump was here for a reason, to address the crisis, and that’s exactly what he did after that.
On Wednesday, September 14th in his first visit to Flint since its ‘water crisis’ started, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump came to try and get a better understanding of the city’s problems. Trump did not give any warning to his visit until the day before, and he still came despite Flint’s mayor Karen Weaver insisting that he is not welcome. He stopped at Bishop National Airport in the afternoon and his first stop was the Flint Water Plant, much to the chagrin of Mayor Weaver. Then not long after, he went to Bethel United Methodist Church to speak, where no local media was allowed in. It was at one point during his speech in the church that Trump started heckling his opponent Hillary Clinton, when Rev. Faith Green Timmons interrupted his speech and told him that he wasn’t invited to give a political speech. He then finished his speech and left as the mixed sounds of protesters and supporters chased after him.
On Wednesday, September 14th Corinne Miller stood in the Genesee District court for pre-trial on her role in the Flint Water Crisis. Miller was an employee of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services charged with one misdemeanor and two felonies. In order to avoid a trial Corinne Miller made a plea deal with the state of Michigan where she announced her role in the legionnaires cover up. At the pre-trial it was announced that Miller and two of her superiors knew about the deadly outbreak for months and, although they were required to report it, they chose not to tell the public.As a part of her plea deal, Corinne Miller will go into more detail of what happened with prosecutors and, if she follows her parole, will avoid jail time. Miller will be sentenced officially on April 19th, 2017 and DTV will keep you updated as more news on these events comes to light.
The latest lawsuit in the Flint Water Crisis, filed by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, states that the transnational company Veolia and Texas corporation Lockwood, Andrews and Newnam (LAN) have not only stalled the progress towards ending the crisis, but made the situation worse. The state is suing both parties for potentially damaging the water, click here to see the story.
President Obama came to Flint on May 4th, after receiving a letter from Little Miss Flint. This was a symbolic moment, reassuring the city that they are not alone, and that the government has their back. He followed up on the EPA and Snyder’s comments, saying the water was safe to drink with a filter, excluding those who are pregnant or under six years old.
Obama also went on to say that what happened in Flint was not by anyone’s intention to hurt the city, but instead stated that “part of what contributed to this crisis was a broader mindset, a bigger attitude, a corrosive attitude that exists in our politics and exists in too many levels of our government.
And it’s a mindset that believes that less government is the highest good no matter what.” Obama also spoke about fixing the infrastructure, in which the room he was speaking in was leaking by the minute. Before Obama took the stage at Northwestern High School, Governor Snyder did, the crowd being unwelcoming and booing him while he spoke.
This reason being the loss of trust in the state government and the fact that there is still no solution for the water. Along with Obama’s appearance one questions remains; where does the people of Flint’s trust now lie.