Sarah Cwiek | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

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.

Ways to Connect

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

An undocumented Albanian man who’s been living in sanctuary in a Detroit church to avoid deportation has an important hearing this week.

Ded Rranxburgaj came to the U.S. with his family illegally in 2001, in hopes of claiming political asylum. Advocates say they’ve tried every legal way they could to stay in the U.S, but the Trump administration moved to deport Rranxburgaj in 2018.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools Community District wants parent input about how their students will be learning in the fall.

DPSCD is offering both fully virtual and face-to-face instruction. District officials say they want a parent feedback survey completed by August 4, though the “drop-dead deadline” for responses is August 21.

Kym Worthy
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Prosecutor’s races don’t usually get much attention from voters, but that’s not the case this year. With ongoing protests against police violence and racial injustice, there’s heightened attention on the role prosecutors play as gatekeepers to the criminal justice system.

There are several highly-contested prosecutor’s races on August primary ballots in Michigan. That includes the race in Wayne County, where longtime incumbent Kym Worthy is facing off against criminal defense attorney Victoria Burton-Harris.

Experience versus a reformer

U.S. Department of Justice

Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider and other federal law enforcement officials say federal agents are coming to Detroit to help fight violent crime—not to harass or arrest protesters.

Schneider provided more details about the Trump Administration’s “Operation Legend” on Wednesday. It will bring more than 40 federal agents from various agencies to Detroit to help deal with a recent surge in crime. Those agencies include the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

U.S. Department of Justice

Federal law enforcement agents and other resources are headed to Detroit fight a surge in violent crime, U.S. government officials announced this week.

The plan, dubbed Operation Legend, is a Trump administration anti-crime initiative targeting several major cities.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel should lead an independent investigation into the death of Hakim Littleton, a coalition of activists and members of Littleton’s family said Thursday.

Detroit police shot Littleton to death earlier this month. Police bodycam and dashcam footage appears to show Littleton firing at officers at close range before they shot him.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Detroit police officer has been arraigned on charges for shooting rubber bullets at photojournalists during an anti-police brutality protest in Detroit.

Corporal Daniel Debono is charged with three counts of felonious assault. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said he fired rubber bullets at three photojournalists during a May 31 protest for “no explicable reasons.”

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Detroiters will get a chance to vote in November on whether the city should borrow $250 million to tackle blight, after the Detroit City Council approved Mayor Mike Duggan’s proposal on Tuesday.

The Council vote was a narrow 5-4 victory for Duggan’s “Proposal N,” which would issue city-backed bonds for blight remediation. The plan calls for using $90 million to remediate and secure 8,000 vacant homes for later rehab, and $160 million for 8,000 demolitions. Duggan says the bond would not raise existing tax rates, which are otherwise set to drop below current levels as the city retires some debt.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Public pressure is mounting to free a 15-year-old Black girl sent to Oakland County juvenile detention for not doing her homework.

The girl is known only by her middle name, Grace. She was on probation for some minor offenses, such as fighting with her mother and taking another child's iPad.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Supreme Court has dealt a blow to county treasurers with a new ruling, finding that counties can’t keep any profits they get from selling tax-foreclosed homes at auction.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit, Rafaeli v. Oakland County, that challenged one part of Michigan’s tax foreclosure law. The current law, which dates back to 1999, allows county treasurers—who collect delinquent property taxes on behalf of local communities—to pocket the whole sale price of auctioned properties, regardless of the amount of delinquent tax debt.

school hallway
Detroit Public Schools / Detroit Public Schools

Michigan’s largest school district has approved a re-opening plan that includes in-person learning.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District board voted for the plan Tuesday night. It calls for schools to make a number of adaptations to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

delapidated Detroit house
Jason Paris / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is taking another shot at convincing voters—and the Detroit City Council—to borrow $250 million for a blight elimination program.

The Council rejected Duggan’s initial plan to issue bonds for a sweeping demolition program last year. But Duggan said on Tuesday that this new plan is fundamentally different, and addresses council and community concerns.

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District

Hundreds of Detroit students started in-person summer school programs in Detroit Public Schools Community District buildings on Monday, in the face of some public opposition.

A small group of protesters blocked the exit to a school bus depot on the city’s west side, preventing the buses from picking up more than 200 enrolled students, said DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.

detroit police car
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Update: Friday, July 10, 11:20 p.m.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says body and dash cam footage show that Hakim Littleton fired at officers before they killed him on Friday. But that came after protests erupted in the wake of Littleton’s death.

hands under pouring water
mrjn Photography / Unsplash

The ACLU and other civil rights groups are suing the city of Detroit and others over Detroit’s water shutoffs.

Detroit has shut off water service to around 100,000 homes since 2014 for non-payment. Close to 25,000 homes were disconnected in 2019.

green field with two white barns on it
David Cassleman / Interlochen Public Radio

The state will open up applications for the Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant Program next week. They’re meant to promote worker safety through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will provide $15 million in total: $10 million to food processors, and another $5 million to farms. The money can be used for things like personal protective equipment, employee testing for COVID-19, safety upgrades for farm-provided housing, or facility improvements, like installing plexi-glass barriers.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan colleges and universities are scrambling to figure out what a new federal government rule means for their international students.

That comes after the government’s announcement this week that the government will no longer issue student visas to foreign students whose universities go to online-only classes.

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The northwest Detroit neighborhood near Sinai-Grace hospital was among the country’s most devastated by COVID-19. The hospital saw so many deaths at one point, it ran out of body bags.

ACLU of Michigan

Robert Williams of Farmington Hills was arrested and held for more than a day in January, on larceny charges that he stole Shinola watches from a downtown Detroit store.

But Williams says he was innocent, and the only evidence police ever had against him was a facial recognition technology “match” of his old driver’s license photo against grainy surveillance footage of the real thief.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Protesters who have taken to Detroit’s streets in the weeks since George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police say Detroit police have brutalized them. Some recounted their stories at a self-styled tribunal on Saturday night.

Person after person gave testimony alleging that Detroit police taunted, pepper sprayed, and assaulted them at marches earlier this month – mostly for violating Detroit’s then-8 p.m. curfew.

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.
Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

Enbridge had temporarily shut down Line 5 after discovering significant damage to an anchor support on one of the dual pipelines running through the Straits of Mackinac. The company notified the state about the damage on Thursday, according to a statement from the governor's office. The source of the damage is currently unclear.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit ended its week-long celebration of Juneteenth with a rally at the city’s Spirit Plaza on Friday.

Juneteenth—June 19—commemorates the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Texas learned they were free, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

Wikipedia

The ACLU of Michigan is launching a campaign to hold prosecutors responsible for inequities in the criminal justice system.

The group says prosecutors are the single most powerful elected individuals who decide who gets incarcerated, and for how long.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Activists took to the streets of Eight Mile Road again Wednesday evening to draw attention to the Detroit area’s racial divisions. Eight Mile has long served as a dividing line between predominantly-Black Detroit, and its predominantly-white suburbs.

Organizers say that Black people often fear crossing Eight Mile because it can lead to negative encounters with police. And they say suburban residents often fear crossing Eight Mile because they associate Detroit with violence.

SVETLANA / ADOBE STOCK

Michigan's elections bureau says a group failed to collect enough petitions to put veto-proof legislation before the Republican-led Legislature that would prohibit a second-trimester abortion procedure known medically as "dilation and evacuation."

Monday's report was a blow to the Michigan Values Life committee. It submitted 380,000 signatures in December, 40,000 more than needed.

Photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Detroit is celebrating Juneteenth with a week-long series of events starting on Monday.

Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19. It commemorates the day in 1865 that slaves in Texas learned they would be freed.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Update: 8:15 a.m. Friday, June 12: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is extending a ban on evictions through the rest of June for tenants and mobile home owners. The eviction ban was set to expire when Whitmer signed a new executive order expanding it until June 30.

Original post: Wednesday, June 10: A group of protesters caravanned through the streets of one Detroit neighborhood on Tuesday, demanding more relief for renters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protesters called on Governor Gretchen Whitmer to extend the moratorium on evictions that's set to expire on Thursday. Whitmer has already extended it twice.

Jack Amick / Creative Commons

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has delivered a blow to an effort to release medically-vulnerable inmates from the Oakland County Jail.

Inmates and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit in April. They said Oakland County wasn’t doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the jail, and asked the court to order that inmates with medical conditions be released.

Back of a school bus
Pixabay

Oakland County is bringing some new employees on board for when schools re-open this fall—nurses.

The Oakland Together School Nurse Initiative calls for hiring 68 nurses. Each nurse would be assigned a school district to work with through December.

Pages