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More than 80 percent of Benton Harbor lead water service lines replaced, Whitmer says

Office of Gov. Whitmer
Gov. Whitmer speaks to Benton Harbor residents during her Sunday visit.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Sunday that more than 80 percent of Benton Harbor’s lead water service lines have been replaced with new copper lines, putting the project ahead of schedule.

The governor was in the city Sunday to inspect progress on the project. In a press release, Whitmer said that, to date, more than 3,600 water service lines have been replaced or verified as non-lead, leaving just under 900 to complete. Crews are averaging 15 line replacements per day.

“I am committed to implementing a whole-of-government approach to solve the challenges facing Benton Harbor,” Whitmer said in the release. “We must complete these critical upgrades to lead service lines as quickly as possible to ensure families have access to safe drinking water. We will not rest until every parent feels confident to give their kid a glass of water knowing that it is safe.”

The project dashboard, updated daily, includes a map of the remaining lead series lines. The project aims to have all replaced by March 2023.

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Kent Fulmer joined WVPE in August of 2020 to take on one of the station's most high profile roles as the local host of Morning Edition. Kent comes to WVPE with more than 20 years experience in radio in the Michiana area. During his career, Kent has had a variety of roles including DJ, reporter and newscaster, as well as several behind-the-scenes positions. Kent and his wife, Donna, are celebrating their 32nd wedding anniversary in 2020 and have lived in Elkhart County for almost 20 years. They have two adult daughters, Sarah and Rebecca. When not working, Kent is active as a musician, playing trumpet and flugelhorn. He has performed with a number of area bands. Currently he performs with the Phat Tuesday Dixieland Band and Jazz Assemblage, as well as his church's praise band. As a member of Jazz Assemblage, Kent has appeared at the Elkhart Jazz Festival several times. He also volunteers with Bugles Across America.