[nfbmi-talk] Fw: flint office bldg crisis and blind information resources

David Robinson drob1946 at gmail.com
Tue Feb 9 18:21:12 UTC 2016

----- Original Message ----- 
From: joe harcz Comcast 
To: Ed Rodgers BSBP Dir. 
Cc: Mike Zimmer LARA DSA ; Elizabeth White BSBP ; Marlene Malloy MCRS Dir. ; BRIAN SABOURIN ; Sarah Gravetti MISILC DNM ; Rodney Craig MISILC ; Elmer Cerano MPAS ; Christyne.Cavataio at ed.gov ; Larry Posont NFBMI Pres. ; David Robinson NFB MI ; terry Eagle ; Mark Eagle ; Jeff Crouch- k8tvv ; Georgia Kitchen FANFB ; Mary JacksonFANFB ; Mary Ann Robinson NFB MI 
Sent: Tuesday, February 09, 2016 6:56 AM
Subject: flint office bldg crisis and blind information resources

February 9 2016 Rodgers on Flint Office Building

Paul Joseph harcz, Jr.

1365 E. Mt. Morris Rd.

Mt. Morris, MI 48458

joeharcz at comcast.net



Re: Flint Office Building What Did BSBP DO?


To: Edward Rodgers, Director

Michigan Bureau Services for Blind Persons

(Via E-mail)

Elizabeth White, District Supervisor, BSBP

(Via E-mail)

Michael Zimmer, Director, LARA

(Via E-mail)




Please note the Detroit Free Press article after my signature line that denotes state personnel at the Flint Office Building on Union Street knew or should have known of problems with the Flint water in January of 2015. Now, I’m requesting the following information:


Any correspondences to staff or customers related to the water coolers and their locations.


-Any correspondences related to any measure to notify the public who are blind in alternate formats about this option. In other words were large print and Braille notices produced, let alone disseminated and posted?


-Copies of any notice from anyone in BSBP to customers in the Flint Michigan area about the potential hazardous water during that time to the present.


-Any correspondences to any blind customer from then to the present in the Flint area detailing resources for lead testing, availability of bottled water, or any other resource. In other words just who, what, when, where, why and how were blind customers notified not only of the crisis but, also of resources?


-Also show me even one post to BSBP’s own web site relative to notice to the public and resources and note as of yesterday there was a big “nothing”.


Of course, I’m still awaiting any such document, notice, etc. as it sure hasn’t been forthcoming to my person in any format.


Regardless, please send requested information in my most effective format, a timely manner, and without surcharge in accordance with your Obligations under Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Send them as plain text attachments to my e-mail address listed above.









Paul Joseph Harcz, Jr.







Cc: several


Amid denials, state workers in Flint got clean water

Paul Egan,

Detroit Free Press 1:33 p.m. EST January 29, 2016

635895943064268577-Flint-water-tower.jpgBuy Photo


The state started buying bottled water for its employees in Flint in January 2015.(Photo: Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press)Buy Photo


LANSING  In January of 2015, when state officials were telling worried Flint residents their water was safe to drink, they also were arranging for coolers

of purified water in Flint's State Office Building so employees wouldn't have to drink from the taps, according to state government e-mails released Thursday

by the liberal group Progress Michigan.


A Jan. 7, 2015, notice from the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget, which oversees state office buildings, references a notice about

a violation of drinking water standards that had recently been sent out by the City of Flint.


"While the City of Flint states that corrective actions are not necessary, DTMB is in the process of providing a water cooler on each occupied floor, positioned

near the water fountain, so you can choose which water to drink," said the notice.


"The coolers will arrive today and will be provided as long as the public water does not meet treatment requirements."


Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for DTMB, said the water coolers were provided in response to the city health notice in late December or early January, which he

acknowledged was about a contamination issue the city said had already subsided. The state continued to provide the coolers of purified water, right up

to today, because "there were more findings as we went along," Buhs said.


Buhs said his department never told state workers the tap water was unsafe to drink, but only provided an alternative, as a landlord would do for tenants.


Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, said it appears the state was not as slow as initially thought in responding to the Flint drinking

water crisis.


“Sadly, the only response was to protect the Snyder administration from future liability and not to protect the children of Flint,” Scott said. “While residents

were being told to relax and not worry about the water, the Snyder administration was taking steps to limit exposure in its own building.”


After months of downplaying concerns, including warnings from researchers about high lead levels in both the drinking water and in the blood of Flint children,

the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder acknowledged around Oct. 1 a problem that is now a full-blown public health crisis garnering international headlines.

Michigan DEQ Director Dan Wyant resigned in December after acknowledging officials failed to require the city to use needed corrosion-control chemicals

when they switched the source of their supply to Lake Huron water treated by Detroit to Flint River water treated at the Flint water treatment plant.


The lack of corrosion controls caused lead to leach from pipes, joints and fixtures into an unknown number of Flint households beginning in April of 2014,

when the city began using the Flint River as a temporary cost-cutting move while under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager. Flint customers

were switched back to Detroit in October, but the potential danger persists because of damage to the water distribution infrastructure.


Snyder declared a state of emergency on Jan. 5 and a week later called out the Michigan National Guard to help distribute bottled water and water filters

in Flint. The state of emergency, which was set to expire next week, was extended Thursday through April 14.


Included in the e-mail string obtained by Progress Michigan is an e-mail from Mike Prysby, a district engineer in the DEQ's drinking water division, whose

name had surfaced earlier in connection with the Flint drinking water public health crisis.


Prysby, who had been forwarded an e-mail from other state officials asking whether he would know more about the safety of Flint's drinking water by March

1, forwarded the e-mail to Stephen Busch, the district supervisor, who on Jan. 22 of this year was suspended without pay for his role in the drinking water



Appears certain state departments are concerned with Flint's WQ (water quality)," Prysby said in the e-mail to Busch. "I will return the call ..."


On Jan. 23, 2015, the

Free Press ran a story,

accompanied by a photo of Flint residents holding up jugs of brown water, that said concerns of city residents ranged from the taste, appearance and odor

of the water to unexplained rashes and illnesses, even sick pets. Concerns about lead had not been raised then, though experts now say the color of the

water — and the fact GM had announced it stopped using it because it was too corrosive to metal parts — should have been a tip-off that metals, including

lead, were leaching into the water.


The January 2015 Free Press story noted that in August and September, the city issued three advisories to boil Flint water after detecting coliform bacteria.


Just before Christmas, residents received notices that state tests indicated higher-than-acceptable levels of trihalomethane (TTHM), a by-product of the

chlorine disinfectants added to the water to kill the bacteria.


The article said that despite a recent alert about TTHM levels having exceeded federal guidelines in 2014, city officials maintained the water was safe.

The article said that Michigan DEQ officials gave the same assurances at a meeting at Flint City Hall on Jan. 21.


Prysby represented the DEQ at that Flint City Hall meeting and told residents the chlorine did its job and cleaned the water of microbial pathogens that

can cause disease within days, the article said. That meant the water was safe for healthy people to drink for a short time, Prysby was quoted as saying.


The trade-off, Prysby said, was TTHM, possibly a danger for the very young, the very old, or the very sick if they ingest it long-term, he added.


"But we're talking decades," he said, adding that those who are worried should talk to their doctors.


Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan at freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4.

31621 CON





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