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Sarah Cwiek

Sarah Cwiek - Detroit Reporter/Producer

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October, 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit. Before her arrival at Michigan Radio, Sarah worked at WDET-FM as a reporter and producer.

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Metro Detroit's "Big Four" regional leaders at the 8 Mile Boulevard Association meeting. From left: Moderator Ron Fournier, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Oakland County Executive L. Br
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Metro Detroit’s divisions over expanding regional transit have only hardened recently.

That was one takeaway from a meeting of the Eight Mile Boulevard Association today. That organization focuses on supporting regional cooperation across the “8 Mile divide” that’s often seen as the iconic dividing line between Detroit and its suburbs.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The concerns of lower-wage union workers dominated a debate between the Democrats in the governor’s race Thursday night.

The Service Employees International Union sponsored the event in Detroit. Workers questioned Gretchen Whitmer, Shri Thanedar, Abdul El-Sayed, and Bill Cobbs about everything from privatized correctional services, to the lack of union representation for home health care workers.

Abdul El-Sayed
Bridge Magazine

Abdul El-Sayed shows no sign of backing away from a feud with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan over the city’s building demolitions program.

The Democratic candidate for governor again slammed the program in a statement Friday, capping several days of verbal sparring with Duggan’s office. The back-and-forth followed El-Sayed’s appearance on Michigan Radio’s Stateside this week, when he said Detroit’s sweeping demolition blitz under Duggan was “poisoning kids with lead up until this year.”

Kids at a public school in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The partial settlement of a Flint water crisis lawsuit guarantees all Flint kids can be screened and assessed for effects of lead exposure.

A federal judge in Detroit officially signed off on that agreement Thursday. The case now moves on to a second phase, where the plaintiffs will wrangle with the state and Flint schools over what special services and resources lead-exposed kids are entitled to.

A packed public comments hearing on the recent Nestle permit.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Earlier this month, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit that allows the Nestle Corporation to pump up to 400 gallons of groundwater per minute to feed its bottled water operations in Osceola County.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

The Wayne County Commission sealed a deal to swap some land with the city of Detroit Thursday.

It’s part of a larger deal that has the county partnering with billionaire Dan Gilbert to build a new $533 million criminal justice center.

The land swap deal with Detroit gives Wayne County a spot to build a new jail and courthouse.

Karen Spranger
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

In a surprise to no one, former Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger is not quietly accepting her fate after being removed from office last week.

state police officer with U.S. Attorney
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Law enforcement will “vigorously investigate and prosecute” anyone who makes threats against schools.

That’s the message Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider and other law enforcement leaders made clear on Tuesday.

Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger
Macomb Daily

The twists keep coming in the case of ousted Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger, as the county’s elected leaders gathered Tuesday to call for “stability” and urge that Spranger’s current temporary replacement remain in office until the November election.

This came as Spranger appeared to attempt to regain her office by filing court documents addressing Gov. Snyder, President Trump, and others “to report a crime of Constitutional violation of the overthrow of my Constitutional offices.”

Elderly woman
Borya / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A state investigation into a Kalamazoo nursing home’s plans to remove some residents has uncovered further problems there.

The state investigated the Upjohn Community Care Center after a number of complaints that residents were being forced out to accommodate the facility’s downsizing plans.

That investigation found violated laws protecting nursing home residents from eviction. It also found additional violations for “substandard quality of care.”

a medical marijuana dispensary
Flickr/lavocado

The city of Detroit may face a slew of new lawsuits, as medical marijuana dispensaries without permits are forced to shut down.

The state sent to cease and desist letters to 211 medical marijuana dispensaries last week. 161 are in Detroit. The reason: those establishments failed to get local permits before the Feb. 15 deadline to apply for state licenses.

wind turbines in a field
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

DTE Energy says it will rely heavily on wind power double its renewable energy production by 2022.

The state’s largest utility submitted its latest plans to comply with Michigan’s renewable energy portfolio standards to the Michigan Public Service Commission Friday. Those standards require utilities to get 15% of their energy from renewable sources by 2021.

Dilapidated homes in Delray near Detroit.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

At least four Detroit families are set to be relocated to new homes in the city as part of the first round of the city’s home swap program.

The program was established for some homeowners in southwest Detroit’s Delray neighborhood, which will be home to the new Gordie Howe International Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

After spending 45 years behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit, Richard Phillips walked out of court officially a free man Wednesday.

Phillips was convicted of the 1971 murder of Gregory Harris in Detroit, but always maintained his innocence. He tried to appeal his conviction several times with no success, including a 1997 appeal that languished in the courts.

DTE energy in Detroit
Ian Freimuth / flickr user

DTE Energy wants to put a new natural gas plant on the grounds of a Ford Motor Company research facility in Dearborn.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality held a public hearing about it Tuesday night.

Ford will shut down some boilers it currently uses to power the research facility. DTE will take over providing that power with the new plant, and provide additional energy it generates to the electrical grid.

Fitzgerald High School
Fitzgerald Public Schools

Violent threats have closed down more than two dozen schools across metro Detroit Thursday.

Those include two entire school districts: Oak Park Public Schools in Oakland County, and Fitzgerald Public Schools in Macomb County. Oak Park schools will be closed again Friday due to social media threats against multiple schools.

Tenet-DMC Charity Care Report / Michigan Nurses Association

A new report says the Detroit Medical System’s for-profit owner has broken its promise to care for the city’s poorest residents.

The DMC is owned by Dallas-based Tenet Health Care. Tenet pledged to continue the DMC’s historic commitment to “charity care” when it bought the hospital system in 2013.

But the Michigan Nurses Association report says federal government data show DMC charity care spending plunged 98% in three years, from nearly $23 million in 2013 to around $470,000 in 2016.

Michigan lieutenant governor Brian Calley
User: Michigan Works! Association / Flickr / http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

As expected, Gov. Snyder is endorsing Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley to take over his job next year.

Snyder made that official with a public endorsement in Southfield today.

Snyder says he’s been waiting to endorse Calley for governor ever since he picked him to be his lieutenant eight years ago, calling the 40-year-old Calley the right person to continue what he calls Michigan’s recent “comeback.”

A SMART bus.
SMART

At one point, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel was a big proponent of the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority, and its potential to coordinate and boost the region’s lackluster, fragmented transit systems.

But Hackel now seems to have soured on the prospect of more and better transit, and on the RTA itself, just as Wayne County is making a push to put a transit millage before voters in November.

Peeling lead paint.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Starting this summer, Detroit will try a to combat its problem with childhood lead poisoning by heading to what’s usually the source: the homes where children live.

Lucas Fare / Unsplash

The University of Michigan is teaming up with the city of Detroit to fight poverty and promote economic mobility.

The university’s Poverty Solutions program announced it will put up to $2 million into an effort to understand and promote the sources of upward mobility in the city.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Lansing needs to step up and provide adequate roads funding or else tell local governments they’re on their own, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said Monday.

Hackel blasted the Michigan Legislature’s 2015 “fix” that raised fuel taxes and driver registration fees, but generates far too little revenue for the state’s actual infrastructure needs. He made those remarks as Macomb unveiled a new online resource about county road conditions, and what it will cost to fix them.

Palmer Park Preparatory Academy.
via Facebook

One Detroit school that’s shut down because of building problems will be housed in another school building for the rest of this year.

Palmer Park Preparatory Academy was shut down because of a leaky roof and mold problems. The Detroit Public Schools Community District closed the building for the rest of the year to replace the roof.

A map of new transit services proposed in the "Connect Southeast Michigan" plan.
Wayne County

Wayne and Washtenaw County leaders are making a last-ditch effort to get a millage for improved mass transit across southeast Michigan on the November ballot.

Photograph of Downtown Detroit
Ifmuth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

With real estate prices climbing steadily in some parts of Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan is putting out more details about his plan to guarantee some affordable housing remains in the city.

Duggan first laid out the plan in his state of the city address last week. 

Former Detroit State Senator Bert Johnson.
Bert Johnson

Voters in one Michigan Senate district will have to wait until November to get a new state senator.

Michigan’s 2nd Senate District covers parts of Detroit and some small bordering communities, including Highland Park, Hamtramck, and the Grosse Pointes.

Bert Johnson has been the district’s state senator since 2010, but resigned earlier this month after pleading guilty to a conspiracy to commit theft charge. He put a “ghost employee” on his Senate payroll after borrowing money he couldn’t pay back.

New DPD police officers receiving their badges.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Despite some recent, high-profile deaths in the line of duty, the Detroit Police Department is graduating plenty of new officers.

Twenty-three new recruits graduated from the police academy this past week. It’s the second class of graduating officers so far this year.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some faculty members at the University of Michigan are demanding better pay, and say they’re willing to go on strike to get it.

The Lecturers' Employee Organization represents over 1500 non-tenure-track teaching faculty across the university’s three campuses in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint. A group of LEO members met Friday on the UM-Dearborn campus to talk strategy about ongoing contract negotiations.

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has proposed a city-wide education commission, but lots of key details are still in the works.

The commission would be “convened” by the mayor’s office, and include teachers, parents, and other representatives from both traditional public and charter schools. It would mainly serve in an “advisory” role, and would lack the power to do things like open or close schools, according to Duggan’s office.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan covered a lot of ground in his annual state of the city speech Tuesday night.

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