Sarah Cwiek | Michigan Radio

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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Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Detroit family facing eviction after apparently being scammed by a fake landlord has been given a reprieve of sorts.

The group Detroit Eviction Defense announced Thursday that the family will be given at least 30 days before moving out, plus additional assistance from the city of Detroit.

Detroit skyline
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city is in real danger from COVID-19 again, and things are likely going to get worse.

After months of relatively few COVID-19 cases, the virus is surging in Detroit once again. The city’s test positivity rate is now over 20%, and more than 400 Detroiters are hospitalized.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan is heeding the advice of federal agencies, and pausing its use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

That throws a wrench in efforts to ramp up vaccination as the virus resurges. And that’s particularly true in Detroit, where vaccination coverage lags the rest of the state.

The city is adjusting on the fly, for now.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Detroit is lagging the state when it comes to getting residents vaccinated against COVID-19, and the city is now stepping up efforts to correct that.

As of last week, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, more than 39% of people in Michigan have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. In Detroit, that number is less than 23%.

The Old Main building at Wayne State University
Wikimedia Commons

Wayne State University is putting classes and sports on hold, as COVID-19 rates surge in Detroit and across the state.

The 10-day pause will begin Wednesday. Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson said it’s necessary because average weekly COVID-19 positivity rates in Detroit have soared above 15%, the university’s trigger metric for in-person learning.

police officers brandish weapons at a protest in Detroit this summer
Lester Graham

Five legal observers who say Detroit police officers violently abused them as they monitored anti-police brutality protests last summer have now filed a lawsuit against the city and its police department.

Legal observers attend protests to monitor and document any possible infringement of protesters’ constitutional rights. They’re usually easily-identified by their bright green hats.

Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

Two of Michigan’s biggest school districts are taking a post-spring break break from in-person learning.

It’s a precautionary measure that Dearborn Public Schools and the Detroit Public Schools Community District will hope stem the spread of COVID-19, as cases spike again in Michigan. Both districts will temporarily return to virtual learning this week.

Judge's gavel with books on a desk

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order creating a Michigan Task Force on Forensic Science — a move advocates for the wrongfully convicted and some state lawmakers have long called for.

This new task force is charged with reviewing the current state of forensic science in Michigan, and providing its findings and recommendations to the governor by the end of the year.

a line of people waiting in a drab beige hallway to get the covid-19 vaccine
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s TCF Center will soon be giving out around 8,000 COVID-19 vaccinations every day, Mayor Mike Duggan announced on Wednesday.

The city is already administering about 5,000 shots a day through TCF’s drive-thru vaccination site, and will continue to do so.

University of Michigan/DMACS

More Detroiters now say they’re very likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine than said so in the fall, according to a University of Michigan survey.

The University of Michigan’s Detroit Metro Area Communities Study regularly surveys Detroiters about their lives and communities. Its latest survey covered more than 2200 people.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The jury is still out on whether Michigan students will have to take the M-STEP test this year. But whatever tests students do take won’t be used for school accountability measures.

The Michigan Department of Education requested a waiver on accountability measures that tests are typically used for. That includes things like public school rankings, and measuring progress toward long-term goals.

Michigan Health and Hospital Association

The number of people in their thirties and forties being admitted to Michigan hospitals with COVID-19 now matches those numbers from the state’s fall-winter surge, according to the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.

teacher kneeling at desk, showing students papers
twinsterphoto / Adobe Stock

The remainder of the school year could be in doubt if Michigan communities don’t take steps to stop the spread of COVID-19. That’s the message from some school superintendents in Wayne County.

The superintendents say that currently, they’re committed to continuing in-person learning and school-related activities. They say they’re being vigilant about precautions—and they’re confident that classroom transmission is relatively rare.

But cases in the community inevitably mean cases in schools. And that’s led to disruptive mass student quarantines in many districts.

Michigan Health and Hospital Association

COVID-19 hospitalizations are spiking again in Michigan, and this time younger people are driving much of that trend, showing that “adults of any age are vulnerable to complications from the disease,” according to data from the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.

The MHA says older adults are still more likely to be hospitalized with COVID. But in this latest spike, more younger people are being hospitalized too, and the percentage increase among older adults is much smaller.

a classroom of empty colorful chairs
Flickr user Frank Juarez / Creative Commons

K-12 schools continued to be the largest source of Michigan COVID-19 outbreaks last week, according to state data.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 63 new school outbreaks last week. That’s up from the prior week, when schools surpassed long-term care facilities as the top source of COVID outbreaks in the state. The state also reports 144 ongoing school outbreaks.

a person holds a vaccine vial
Adobe Stock

Detroit is taking its campaign to vaccinate residents against COVID-19 to more places in the city.

The city is opening up “Community Saturdays” at eight sites, mostly churches. Previously, these Saturday clinics were open only to seniors. Now, they’re also open to any adult Detroiter who has a job that requires in-person work.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says it’s part of an effort to reach the zip codes hit hardest by the pandemic, and people who don’t have easy access to the TCF Center mass vaccination site.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

K-12 schools are now the number-one source of COVID-19 outbreaks in Michigan, according to state data released this week.

For the week ending March 11, the state identified 162 outbreaks in K-12 schools, including 54 new outbreaks with the prior week. For the first time, school-related outbreaks have surpassed those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Demostrators in downtown Detroit protest police-involved shootings that have killed African-Americans.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A federal judge has dismissed the city of Detroit’s counterclaim against a group of protesters. Members of Detroit Will Breathe have been marching in the city since George Floyd’s death last May.

Some of them sued the city over alleged police brutality and mistreatment during protests last summer. The city counter-sued, saying protesters were part of a civil conspiracy to injure police officers and cause property destruction.

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city’s ability to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic depends on how swiftly it can vaccinate residents—and receive help from the federal government.

Duggan laid out his plans in the mayor’s annual State of the City address Tuesday night. The event was mostly virtual—Duggan spoke from the new Stellantis plant on the city’s east side to just a handful of people.

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District

Around 20,000 students in the Detroit Public Schools Community District are expected back in classrooms on Monday.

DPSCD suspended in-person learning when COVID-19 cases spiked in November. Now that community positivity rates have dropped well below 5%, the district decided it was time to re-open its doors, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said.

Mike Duggan
City of Detroit

Continued fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will linger in Detroit’s budget for the coming fiscal year, Mayor Mike Duggan told the Detroit City Council on Friday.

The city’s estimated 2022 fiscal year revenues are $995 million, less than what it brought in in 2019. The city has taken a particularly hard hit from the sharp drop in gaming taxes and income taxes paid by people who work in Detroit.

man wearing a rainbow wristband holds the hand of a child
XavierLorenzo / Adobe Stock

Bethany Christian Services now says it’s open to placing children in homes with LGBTQ parents. The change applies nationwide.

Bethany is headquartered in Grand Rapids. It’s one of the nation’s largest providers of adoption and foster care services.

a man wearing a mask receives a covid-19 vaccine
C/O Spectrum Health

There’s been a lot of recent discussion about a tool the state of Michigan is using to help decide where to send COVID-19 vaccines -- something called the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). It’s a formula that’s one factor the state uses in allocating vaccine doses throughout Michigan.

Some elected officials, mostly Republicans, are upset about it. They say the state has no business using a tool like SVI--which takes into account a series of demographic characteristics to determine how vulnerable a population is—in the vaccine-allocation process.

empty classroom
Adobe Stock

Many Michigan students will take some type of standardized test this school year, despite the pandemic. But there’s a lot that’s still unclear.

Michigan's third-through-eighth graders usually take a statewide assessment, the M-STEP, every year. M-STEP was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But this school year has been anything but typical, and Michigan and some other states again sought standardized testing waivers from the federal government.

WMU-Cooley Law School Innocence Project

In 2005, Kenneth Nixon was convicted of firebombing a Detroit home and killing two children.

On Thursday, he walked free from a Michigan prison, after investigators with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Conviction Integrity Unit found his convictions were based on questionable evidence.


Beaumont Health has canceled some scheduled second doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, citing an unexpected shortage of doses from the state.

Beaumont announced Monday that it would cancel 1,884 second dose appointments scheduled for Thursday.

Detroit will start getting a larger COVID-19 vaccine allotment starting next week, Mayor Mike Duggan announced on Thursday.

The city will start getting nearly triple the number of doses it had been receiving—15,000 first doses per week.

Another player in the sprawling UAW corruption scandal was sentenced to prison on Wednesday.

Edward Robinson is the former president of the UAW Midwest Community Action Program, based in Missouri. He pleaded guilty to helping orchestrate a “multi-faceted embezzlement scheme over several years in order to benefit the most senior leadership of the UAW and himself,” according to federal prosecutors.

police officers brandish weapons at a protest in Detroit this summer
Lester Graham

The Detroit City Council on Tuesday narrowly approved a controversial contract increase for a law firm helping the city counter-sue anti-police brutality protesters.

vaccinator giving someone a covid vaccine through the window their car
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Many Michigan counties are looking for volunteers to help vaccinate people against COVID-19. And in some counties, those volunteers are able to get their shots as well.

Washtenaw County is offering that option, said county health department spokeswoman Susan Cerniglia. The county is currently operating one mass vaccination site, with plans to open another when vaccine supplies increase. They also use volunteers on mobile teams that go out to vaccinate vulnerable populations.