News at noon: Snyder in Flint, a fire that won't quit, Harbaugh-mania
Today is Thursday, February 4, 2016. Here's what you need to know.
- Flint residents peppered Gov. Rick Snyder with questions on Wednesday night about their water bills and whether the state plans to help replace underground pipes damaged by corrosive river water. Snyder took questions during a 45-minute telephone town hall the same day he proposed a $30 million plan to credit or refund Flint residents who paid for water they cannot drink due to lead contamination.
- At a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., the same Virginia Tech expert who helped uncover high lead levels in Flint testified that a state agency tried to cover up the evidence. “One hundred percent of responsibility lies with those employees at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality," Marc Edwards said. "There’s no question.”
- As state and federal officials continue to pass blame around, Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes shares his perspective on the Flint water crisis following the hearing.
- At the same time, water problems in Detroit continue - not over quality, but over cost. In Detroit, 22 percent of all occupied homes, 44,000 in all, are on repayment plans that can increase monthly bills by as much as double and put customers one missed payment away from another shutoff, as Joel Kurth reports.
- Click here for complete coverage of the Flint water crisis. Follow reporters Jim Lynch, Jonathan Oosting, Melissa Nann Burke and Chad Livengood on Twitter.
- The CEO of the Public Lighting Authority, which aims to fix the city’s longstanding street lighting problem, has resigned, officials announced Wednesday.
- Former Detroit high school principal Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp has pleaded guilty to two felony charges in connection with a kickback scheme at the Education Achievement Authority.The 40-year-old faces 37 to 46 months in prison under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The fire continues
- The fire at a 565,000-square-foot Highland Park warehouse continues to burn more than 24 hours after firefighters first arrived to the scene. The fire chief says the warehouse, which is home to several tenants including the nonprofit Reclaim Detroit, could continue to burn for the rest of the week.
Happening in sports
- Did you catch the National Signing Day spectacle that was "Signing of the Stars" at the University of Michigan? Detroit News columnist Bob Wojnowski called it "audacious and entertaining and slightly bizarre, a spectacle that bounced from flair to Ric Flair, with special appearances by Tom Brady and Derek Jeter."
- And in case you missed it, the Wolverines and the Spartans both had a successful day. Here's the breakdown of Michigan's recruiting class and Michigan State's recruiting class.
The lighter side
- The Super Bowl is almost upon us, and you know what that means ... commercials! And lots of them! Since this is Detroit and we are all about cars, here's a breakdown of all the car commercials you can expect to see during the Big Game on Sunday.
Detroit News at Noon is a daily news briefing featuring some of the biggest stories from www.detroitnews.com.