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Announce New Plan to Continue Water Distribution

By | Flint, Health, Quality of Life | No Comments

Officials Announce New Plan to Continue
Water Distribution in Flint

Community Partners Step Forward to Continue Water Deliveries
to Homebound Residents 
 

FLINT, Mich. —City officials are pleased to announce a plan is in place to continue home delivery of bottled water to residents with access and functional needs (AFN), and provide bottled water at four water distribution sites, as well as 10 pick-up locations across the City of Flint.  The plan is the result of a partnership between the City, State, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, United Way of Genesee County, and several community groups.

As Mayor Weaver announced in late July, due to the settlement agreement reached in the Concerned Pastors for Social Action case, if Flint’s water quality met federal testing requirements for two consecutive 6-month monitoring periods, the state could begin gradually closing the PODs (points of distribution), with all the sites possibly closed by September.  Water quality tests show Flint’s water has met federal requirements for over a year.

“We are glad the water quality in Flint is improving,” said Weaver. “However, residents have made it clear that they are still concerned about the health and well-being of our community, should bottled water and filters stop being provided. I relayed those concerns to the governor and we negotiated a plan to have four PODs remain open indefinitely, one on each side of town. And with help from many of our community leaders the home deliveries of bottled water will continue as well.”

Under the new structure, oversight of water distribution will transition from the State of Michigan to the City of Flint’s leadership, with support from community groups and organizations. The new plan includes the existing four PODs located at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church (1st Ward), Franklin Ave. Lot (4th Ward), West Court Street Church of God (6th Ward), and Eastown Bowling Alley (9th Ward). It also includes the continuation of home deliveries to more than 2,100 residents with either access or functional needs (AFN).

Several community partners have committed to continue AFN deliveries as many of the groups have previously been conducting home deliveries in an unofficial capacity.  Community partners include: Asbury United Methodist Church, Calvary United Methodist Church, Greater Holy Temple, Now Ministries, Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist, Salem Lutheran Church, Second Chance Church, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and Veterans of Now.  Residents will receive up to 16 cases of water per month.

Residents with questions about AFN water deliveries can call the new Home Delivery Hotline at 810-410-1138.

Additionally, mini-POD water pick up stations have been established.  Locations include: Christ Fellowship Baptist Church, El Shaddai Ministries, Joy Tabernacle, Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist, Salem Lutheran Church and Vernon Chapel.  Several locations serving the senior population will also receive bottled water, including: Slidell Senior Apartments, Rosehaven Manor and Court Street Village.


“This was a big undertaking,” said Jameca Patrick-Singleton, Chief Recovery Officer for the City of Flint. “We knew we had to secure help from community groups to continue to provide this service to Flint residents. We reached out to several groups that had been providing water to residents, and we also contacted some new organizations. Once we knew who was on board, we held a series of meetings and came up with a plan we believe will work well.”


Under the direction of the City, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan will now serve as the commodities distribution leader.  Operation of the four PODs will transition from the State to the Food Bank. Effective September 18, 2017, the Food Bank will provide logistical support to ensure bottled water is supplied to the various distribution sites in Flint.

“When the water crisis hit, the Food Bank was uniquely positioned to handle the influx of water shipments arriving daily in Flint, as well as the additional distribution needed within the city,” said William E. Kerr, President of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.  “Our role has continued to be providing the logistics for warehousing, transporting, and distributing water throughout Flint.  Now, as a contracted partner with the State of Michigan and the City of Flint, the Food Bank will continue to serve as the distribution hub for water as well as filters and cartridges.  The Food Bank remains dedicated to the mission of fighting hunger and helping build community solutions to community problems.  Our involvement in the water recovery efforts reflects our commitment to our mission and the health and well-being of all.”


The State of Michigan will continue to supply bottled water for all of the water distribution sites, AFN home deliveries, as well as the water filters distributed.  Additionally, the State will cover the cost of the contract with the Food Bank. 

“Flint’s water quality has been restored and the delivery system has stabilized,” said Richard Baird, Senior Advisor to Governor Snyder. “However, we also understand and want to be sensitive and responsive to residents’ concerns.  We are grateful to the community partners for their leadership and for stepping forward to allow residents additional time to prepare for the ultimate transition to using only filtered water while pipe replacement is underway.”
Workers hired and trained by GST Michigan Works! through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor will remain in place through March 2018, so many of the delivery drivers and workers will remain the same.


The United Way of Genesee County has provided a $40,000 grant to assist the community partners serving as mini-pod locations and providing AFN home deliveries.  The United Way will also serve as the fiduciary for funding to support the new distribution plan.

“The continued distribution of bottled water in Flint won’t be exactly the same as before,” said Patrick-Singleton. “Some deliveries will occur once a month, instead of once a week for example. But, the important thing is that bottled water will continue being provided, which is what residents wanted. We want to thank the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, the United Way, and all the local groups and organizations that have partnered with us to make this happen.”


The “Call for CORE” (Community Outreach and Resident Education) Program will continue to serve as a resource for residents.  CORE teams have knocked on nearly 370,000 doors and had nearly 114,000 conversations with residents to ensure they are installing, using and maintaining their water filters properly and are aware of other available resources.  Residents can call 810-238-6700 with questions about filter usage or to schedule a home visit by a CORE member.


The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan will also continue to operate the three existing Help Centers in Flint located at Asbury United Methodist Church, Bethel United Methodist United Church, and Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ. Residents can visit the centers to obtain food, bottled water, and other health outreach services.

More information, maps and updates on the new water distribution plan is available on the City of Flint website at https://www.cityofflint.com/water-sites/.

 

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1,291 Homes Replaced So Far

By | Community, Health, Quality of Life, Safety | No Comments

Pipes at 1,291 Homes Replaced So Far through

Mayor Weaver’s FAST Start Initiative

FLINT, Mich. — Lead-tainted service lines at 405 homes have been replaced so far in Phase 4 of Mayor Karen Weaver’s FAST Start initiative. The work is part of a plan to replace lead-tainted pipes at 6,000 Flint homes in 2017.

Crews from four area companies are replacing lead and galvanized service lines leading from the street to the water meter in residents’ homes during this fourth phase of FAST Start, extending the mayor’s efforts to restore safe, clean drinking water to Flint residents. Overall, service lines to 1,291 homes have been replaced since the launch of the FAST Start initiative in March 2016.

In addition, crews have discovered copper service lines at 357 homes which did not need to be replaced. Soon, the FAST Start initiative plans to begin checking the composition of 4,000 service lines through hydro-excavation so that pipe replacement crews can avoid digging up copper service lines and concentrate just on homes with lead and galvanized pipes.

To be eligible to have service line replacements, residents must have an active water account. They also must have signed a consent card giving permission for the work to be done. In rental homes, both the owner and the tenant must sign consent cards. Residents are urged to sign the consent cards as soon as possible so crews can replace their service lines.

Mayor Weaver launched the FAST Start initiative to help resolve a number of problems created after a state-appointed emergency manager switched the City’s water source to the Flint River in 2014 without the necessary corrosion control chemicals being added. The corrosive water removed a protective coating on the inside of the pipes, causing lead to leach into the water flowing to homes and businesses in the City of Flint.

While the level of lead in Flint’s water supply has decreased significantly since the City switched back to receiving water from Lake Huron by the Great Lakes Water Authority, residents are still urged to drink only filtered water, and to replace their filters when needed.

Mayor Weaver hopes to have all of Flint’s lead-tainted service lines — nearly 20,000 — replaced by 2020, with a goal of replacing 6,000 lines annually over the next three years.

More information about the FAST Start initiative can be found on the City of Flint FAST Start Facebook page, as well as on Instagram, Twitter and the City of Flint website www.cityofflint.com. Questions about FAST Start can be directed to the FAST Start office by emailing faststart@cityofflint.com or by calling (810) 410-1133.

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Image Courtesy of Detroit Free Press

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Mayor Weaver’s FAST Start Initiative: Pipes at 460 Homes Replaced

By | Accountability, Community, Flint, Health, Leadership, Quality of Life | No Comments

Pipes at 460 Homes Replaced So Far through
Mayor Weaver’s FAST Start Initiative

FLINT, Mich. —Lead-tainted service lines at 460 homes have been replaced so far as part of Mayor Karen Weaver’s FAST Start initiative, with 55 homes getting new copper pipes last week.

Crews from two area companies are replacing lead and galvanized steel service lines leading from the street to the water meter in residents’ homes during this third phase of the FAST Start initiative, extending the mayor’s efforts to restore safe, clean drinking water to Flint residents. A total of 788 homes are set to get new pipes this fall.

Work crews plan to replace service pipes this week at homes on Copeman Boulevard and Begole Street between Forest Hill Avenue and Ballenger Highway; on Cumings Avenue between Pershing and Downey Street; and on Leland and Crawford streets and Alvord Avenue between South Grand Traverse Street and Fenton Road.

Mayor Weaver launched the FAST Start initiative to help resolve a number of problems created after a state-appointed emergency manager switched the City’s water source to the Flint River in 2014 without the necessary corrosion control chemicals being added. The corrosive water removed a protective coating on the inside of the pipes, causing lead to leach into the water flowing to homes and businesses in the City of Flint.

While the level of lead in Flint’s water supply has been substantially reduced since the city switched back a year ago to water delivered from Lake Huron by the Great Lakes Water Authority, residents are still being urged to drink only filtered water, and to replace their filters when needed.

So far, crews have installed new service lines at a total of 460 residences in Flint and capped the lines at three abandoned homes. Mayor Weaver’s goal is to have residents in 1,000 homes receive new pipes by the end of the year, and for thousands more to get new service lines in 2017.

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Mayor Karen Weaver brings Flint back into national spotlight at DNC

By | Accountability, Community, Events, Flint, Health, Leadership, Media, Michigan | No Comments

Repost from: http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/flint-water-crisis/mayor-karen-weaver-brings-flint-into-national-spotlight-at-dnc

Mayor Karen Weaver brings Flint back into national spotlight at DNC

By John Steckroth – Digital news editor


PHILADELPHIA – Flint Mayor Karen Weaver spoke to Democrats Wednesday night at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, bringing Flint back to the national spotlight and commanding attention to the country’s crumbling attention.

“Our infrastructure is broken, leaking and rusting away,” Weaver said. “Our local economy struggles to rebound, and there are many more Flints across the country where environmental issues are hurting our kids and families.”

Weaver took office after the April 2014 switch to the Flint River that led to water crisis. Hillary Clinton visited the city in February.

“Flint is also a city in crisis,” Weaver said. “Five years ago, our Republican state government used the Michigan law to take over control of the city. In 2014, the state switched our water source to a polluted river to save a handful of dollars causing lead contamination to leech into our drinking water poisoning a whole community and leading to health impacts our children for generations.”

Local 4’s Devin Scillian caught up with Weaver after her speech and talked about the convention

Copyright 2016 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.

See the full story on WDIV Click on Detroit:

http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/flint-water-crisis/mayor-karen-weaver-brings-flint-into-national-spotlight-at-dnc

Erin Brokovich Weighs in on Flint Water Issue

By | Flint, Health, Quality of Life | No Comments

The water issue in Flint have made national headlines.  Even environmental activist Erin Brockovich has weighed in on the issue.

Brockovish took to Facebook and responded to a photo of brown water gushing from a hydrant in Flint.  In her comment, she noted how serious a part environmental issues play in our lives.  She said that this is an example of “how bad it can get.”  The water discoloration was caused when maintenance crews replaced two valves in the area, according to Howard Croft, Director of Flint Department of Public Works.

The work required crews to shut off the water, which caused a backup of dirty water, and a need for extensive hydrant flushing.  The dirty water came from sediment buildup that occurred due to the broken valves.  Crews have been working for four months to identify and replace the broken valves, a number of which had been broken for quite some time.  Brockovich took a moment to point out that hours of brown running water is more than simple hydrant flushing, but that it is an indication of the poor water quality in Flint.

Brokovich also stated that “This highly corrosive water is causing serious (lead) and copper leaching throughout the community and is in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.”  Flint recently resolved other violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, but now potentially faces new violations.

Brokovich met with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) to discuss concerns about the city’s drinking water issues.

Flint River Used as Alternative Water Source

By | Flint, Health | No Comments

Residents of Flint, MI are feeling the sacrifice the city officials made to save money until the Karegnondo Water Authority pipeline is completed. The water from the Flint River has tested positive for fecal coliform bacteria.  In response, Flint city engineers increased the amount of chlorine in the water.  This, however, has caused high levels of trihalomethanes, creating a possible violation of the Clean Water Act.

The water was also found to have lead contents of 13,000 parts per billion, which far exceeds the EPA’s suggestion of under 15 parts per billion. These high levels of trihalomethanes and lead have rendered the water unsafe to drink.

This pipeline issue is not unique to Flint, Michigan, however.  According to the American Society for Civil Engineers, many of the nation’s pipeline are heading in the same direction.  Soon, the nation will have to invest its time and resources into making improvements to existing pipelines, and/or creating brand new ones.  The cost of such an endeavor could potentially reach up to $1 trillion.

The new water pipeline that will service the city of Flint Michigan, set to be completed in 2016, will bring water from Flint’s previous provider: Lake Huron. It will be a welcome change from the need to treat water from the Flint River, which has been littered with everything from dead bodies to an abandoned car.

My position on Flint’s water woes:

By | About Karen, Community, Flint, Health, Quality of Life | No Comments

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First and foremost, as a stop gap measure until the Karendgondi water pipeline is up and running, I will strongly advocate that the City of Flint purchase its water directly from  Genesee County, which ironically is still buying its water from the Detroit Department of Water and Sewerage. I say advocate at this point because, thanks to a few City Council members, any major decision proposed by the Mayor or City Council has to pass muster with the MTAB, the mechanism put in place to oversee city operations for an unspecified period of time in the absence of an emergency manager. Also, in direct contradiction to the City Charter, the city of Flint has an omnipotent city administrator who was bequeathed unparalleled powers to run the city by decree of Flint’s last emergency manager as a departing gesture. I will fight vigorously to return the city to its sovereign right, as a government by the people, in full compliance with the current City Charter, while simultaneously advocating for the stop gap measure I alluded to above.

I feel it is critical to act expeditiously to remove our citizens and our infrastructure from any further harm posed by Flint River water. The Virginia Tech studies have shown that Flint River water is seven times more corrosive than Detroit water, and is a direct cause of lead leaching from pipes used in our water delivery system. Flint River water is not only posing a tremendous health hazard to our people, it is also corroding our already frail infrastructure. The impending damage to both is immeasurable.

 

 

 

How aware and concerned are you about mental health?

By | Health, Quality of Life | No Comments

We are all affected in some way, shape or fashion by mental health issues. Approximately one in five adults will experience a mental health problem this year. But, what exactly is “mental health”? Mental health involves how a person handles stress, relates to other people, manages emotions, makes decisions, and perceives the world and their sense of purpose in life. That being said, mental health is an essential component to a persons overall health and well being.

 

Sadly enough, 75-80% of young people needing mental health services do not receive them. The reasons vary from mental health issues and issues going undiagnosed, lack of access to services, and even stigma associated with having a mental health issue of a diagnosis; no one wants to be labeled as “crazy”. The stigma of mental health issues and illness, however, is sometimes our worst enemy, and often times keeps us from seeking the help, support and services that are available to, and for us.

 

As with any illness, prevention and early intervention are our best defenses. We do screenings for cancer, we check our blood pressure and cholesterol, we eliminate foods from our diets that we know are not good for us, but when it comes to our mental wellbeing, often times, we turn our head and look the other way. We pretend things are just fine, or it’s a phase to be gone through. We make excuses for the behaviors or emotions we may be experiencing, or we see others experience, and then tragedy strikes; the molehill has turned into a mountain, and may not have had to.

 

People can and do recover from mental health problems, but it cannot be done alone or in isolation. Know some of the warning signs. This includes, but is not limited to: a change in behavior, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, loss of interest in activities or friendships, weight gain or loss, engaging in high risk behaviors, problems at school or at work, to name a few.

 

What can you do to help yourself or someone you know who might be going through some mental health challenges? Talk to someone experienced that can help you, or get you pointed in the right direction, a professional mental health provider, your clergy person, school counselor or your doctor. The sooner one gets connected to appropriate services; the sooner he or she is on the road to recovery.

 

Keep good friends close; support is important. Be good to yourself, a balanced diet, adequate sleep and regular exercise all help to support good mental health. Lastly, don’t let stigma keep you or a loved one from getting services they are entitled to. And remember…Asking for help is 60% of the battle, don’t face the battle unarmed.

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