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Flint Business Owners, Residents Struggle On Despite Grim Reality

FLINT (WWJ) The people in Flint are dealing with more than the fact that they can't drink their own water -- the simple pleasure of going out for coffee is a challenge too.

WWJ's Laura Bonnell dropped into a local coffee shop in Flint to hear how the water crisis is being handled there.

Bruce Blackburn and buddies come to Dawn Donuts on Clio Road in Flint nearly every day to have some coffee and relax, chatting around the table, but the harsh reality of constantly worrying about using bottled water is catching up with them.

"Definitely, you're not for sure about what's going on with this water, what they're going to do about it," he said.

Everything about the water crisis depresses him.

Does he make sure they're making his java with bottled water?

"Yes," he said.

The owner Andy Patel said he is using bottled water for all drinks, but the fact people assume he's using Flint was is hurting his  business, he said. He keeps a fresh gallon of water displayed on the counter to ease the minds of customers.

"People think we are using regular water from the city of Flint and a lot of people they don't buy coffee and things like that, but we're using gallons of water," he said. "Our regular customers know. They buy it."

It's not just hard on business owners. Equally as difficult is providing water for a large family on a limited income, reported WWJ's Vickie Thomas.

Because there are 10 people in her house, Susan Manicke said it's been tough getting enough bottled water for the entire family.

"We've had it delivered to the house ... We've still had to buy water and with buying water it's a high cost," she said.

She's also worried about who's going to foot the bill to repair or replace the pipes that carried lead-tainted water from the Flint River.

"I think it's horrible because not only did it ruin the pipes and the city, it ruined the pipes in people's older houses so now we're going to have to fix the pipes in older houses, too," she said. "I think they should get assistance with it. It's not their fault."

Flint has been at the center of a national firestorm after it was discovered a cost-saving measure had potentially poisoned residents across the city with lead-tainted water. The city decided to switch water sources to the contaminated Flint River and failed to carry out procedures that would have prevented lead from seeping into the water system.

After whistleblowers made headlines out of it, bringing bottles of cloudy, grainy water from household taps to city meetings, they were first reassured tests by the state showed the water was safe. After repeated cries for help, it was revealed the tests were not properly completed and the water was actually unsafe to consume.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder apologized and the federal government is investigating.

Celebrities from Eminem, Big Sean, Diddy, Mark Wahlberg, Jimmy Fallon and Cher to Pistons owner Tom Gores have pledged millions of dollars of support and sent crates and crates of bottled water to the beleaguered city. Gores pledged to raise $10 million.

"Families and children who live in Flint are suffering, but this is a national issue," Gores said in a statement. "Flint was once a cornerstone of American industry that gave a lot to this country. We need help now more than ever and ask that people from coast to coast continue stepping up."





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