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

A former student at Detroit Country Day School accuses the school of having “a culture of systemic racism” in a new federal civil rights lawsuit.

LaNard Graham, Jr.’s family is suing Detroit Country Day, an elite private school in Oakland County. Graham was a senior student-athlete there until 2016. That’s when the Grahams say they were forced to withdraw after he was allegedly caught smoking marijuana with two other students on campus.

prescription drugs
flickr/Charles Williams / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan is getting $10 million to battle the opioid addiction crisis from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s foundation. Bloomberg and Governor Whitmer made the announcement Thursday in a joint editorial in the Detroit News.

Bloomberg and Whitmer say the federal government has failed to make and fund a comprehensive strategy to reduce opioid death rates.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has fired a second white police officer because of a seemingly racist Snapchat video.

Michael Garrison’s partner Gary Steele made the video after they towed a young black woman’s car for expired plates in January, leaving her to walk home in frigid temperatures. It included racially-charged commentary like “what black girl magic looks like.” Garrison can be heard saying “walk of shame.”

Craig launched an investigation into the incident and both police officers in February. He also launched an “environmental audit” of the sixth precinct, where both worked.

Mike Duggan
detroitmi.gov

Detroit’s finances are no longer under state oversight, but the city’s budget remains “tight.”

That’s what Mayor Mike Duggan told the Detroit City Council during his annual budget address Thursday.

Duggan says the budget is balanced, with a $1.1 billion general fund for the upcoming fiscal year. The city is seeing some slight growth in municipal income tax revenues, while other revenue sources remain stagnant.

U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib
Rashida Tlaib for Congress website

City of Detroit / via Twitter

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s annual state of the city speech Tuesday night focused on jobs — specifically, on “creating job opportunities for everyone” in the city.

Duggan touted several of his administration’s jobs initiatives, including his Detroit At Work program and a youth summer employment program.

calypsocom / Flickr

General Motors says it’s extending the life of its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant for another seven months.

The company had planned to close the plant in June, but GM said Friday it will now keep it open through January 2020.

power lines in trees
Steffan Vilcans / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

DTE Energy’s proposed rate hike will hit low-income customers the hardest and benefit them the least, according to groups who protested outside a DTE customer service center in Detroit this week.

DTE has a rate case pending before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

pile of one dollar bills
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Civil asset forfeiture. Court fines and fees. Property tax foreclosure laws.

All are things local governments in Michigan use to operate and fund themselves. And all could be changed by a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The case had to do with whether police in Indiana could seize a man’s car after he was charged with selling heroin.

Even though the man was convicted, the court ruled the seizure was illegal because the car was worth many times more than the maximum fine for the crime. In other words, it was an excessive fine or fee—the kind prohibited by the Constitution’s 8th Amendment.

Credit Melinda Odisho

A danger to themselves or others. That’s the threshold set by Michigan law to put someone in a psychiatric hospital.

But many families with autistic children say meeting that definition doesn’t seem to be enough for their kids--and they don’t know what to do.

This is one family’s story.


Early this month, judges in five Michigan district courts  started using a new tool to make bond decisions.

It’s part of a new pilot program spearheaded by the Michigan Supreme Court. The judges will use a standard risk assessment to help make those bond decisions.

For Rent sign
Kurt Bauschardt / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Most Detroit landlords will no longer be able do to criminal background checks on potential tenants until they’ve otherwise completed the rental application process.

City officials say the new Fair Chance Ordinance will help ex-offenders stay on the right path by offering them a better shot at secure housing when they return home. They say it’s needed in a city where about 1,000 people return from prison each year.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Former Congressman John Dingell was remembered in both Michigan and Washington on Tuesday as a witty, approachable and resolute lawmaker who leaves a massive political legacy.

Dingell was the nation’s longest-serving congressman, serving parts of suburban Detroit for nearly six decades. He died last week at age 92. His wife, Debbie Dingell, now holds that seat in the U.S. House.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some of Detroit’s black women leaders are rallying behind the young woman who was taunted on video by two white police officers—and calling for some bigger changes at the Detroit Police Department.

State Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo organized the event that brought some of the city’s state legislators and other officials out to support Ariel Moore.

An aerial view of Downtown Detroit with other part of the city in the distance.
Robert Thompson / Wikimedia Commons

Detroit’s ombudsman says the city should have a plan in place to prevent racial incidents from blowing up into civil disturbances.

Speaking to the Detroit Police Board of Commissioners Thursday, Bruce Simpson cited “a number of racially-charged incidents that have taken place recently.”

Southeast Michigan's congressional districts post-2010 redistricting.
Michigan House of Representatives

Was the last re-drawing of Michigan’s political district maps so biased in Republicans’ favor, they were illegal?

One of the anchors used to hold Line 5 in place under the Straits of Mackinac.
Screen shot of a Ballard Marine inspection video / Enbridge Energy

The City of Mackinac Island is joining an effort to challenge some permits issued for Enbridge Energy's Line 5, and calling for the twin pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac to be shut down.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued two permits for additional pipeline saddle supports last year, under the Snyder administration.

The Detroit incinerator
tEdGuY49 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Citizen environmental groups are planning to sue Detroit’s incinerator over alleged repeated emissions violations if the facility doesn’t clean up its act.

The groups are Environment Michigan and the Ecology Center. They plan to file an allowed citizen-initiated lawsuit under the federal Clean Air Act.

City of Detroit

Detroit property values are on the rise, reversing a nearly two decades-long slide, according to new data from the city.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

United Auto Workers members gathered outside Detroit’s Cobo Center Friday evening during the North American International Auto Show’s annual charity preview event.

They held a protest and candlelight vigil in solidarity with General Motors workers who face layoffs or relocation.

That’s because GM plans to close five U.S. plants this year, including two in Michigan: Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, and Warren Transmission.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rallied with union members before the event. She promised to “stand with” with them, saying workers had to give up a lot to keep GM afloat over the past ten years.

McNamara Federal Building
General Services Administration

Hundreds of hearings in Michigan’s only immigration court have been canceled due to the partial government shutdown.

397 hearings had been canceled in Detroit’s immigration court as of last week, data from Syracuse University’s Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse shows. That number would jump to 948 if the shutdown continues into next month.

Gretchen Whitmer
gretchenwhitmer.com

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says a sit-down meeting between her and General Motors CEO Mary Barra is "in the works."

GM’s plans to close five plants, including two in Michigan, attracted President Trump’s vocal displeasure, and an outcry from the leaders of affected cities.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

As General Motors tries to forge a new future at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, some employees spoke out Monday about how they feel the company has compromised their futures—and say the automaker owes them better.

Members of UAW Local 22 work at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant. GM announced around Thanksgiving it intends to close the plant, which employs about 1,600 people, sometime this year.

Detroit Sound Conservancy

One of Detroit’s iconic music spaces will be spared from the wrecking ball, per a new real estate deal announced Friday.

The United Sound Systems studio is where John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger, and Parliament were just a few of the legendary acts to make records.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan-based federal workers rallied against the partial government shutdown in Detroit’s Federal Plaza Thursday.

The workers say the shutdown is putting the public at risk, and families in financial peril, as the shutdown driven by President Trump’s desired border wall drags into its third week.

Fraser home falling into the sinkhole.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Human error.

That’s what Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller says caused the massive sinkhole in Fraser in December 2016.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed her ninth executive order Monday at Ferndale’s Affirmations, a community center for the LGBTQ community.

The order extends non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ state employees. It also mandates those protections for LGBTQ people who work for state contractors, or receive state services.

Detroit Land Bank Authority

For the past decade, it’s been almost impossible for aspiring Detroit homebuyers to get mortgages.

But that appears to be changing. The city notched a real estate milestone of sorts last year, recording more than 1,000 new home mortgages in 2018.

A scrap yard
Pixabay

Detroit will put a moratorium on certain types of businesses as the city tries to deal with concerns over their proliferation throughout the city.

The businesses are scrap metal processors, junk dealers, auto repair shops, used auto sales, used tire storage and sales, and auto dismantling and wrecking operations. 

U.S. State Department

The Russian government says a Michigan man who was arrested in Moscow is a U.S. spy, but the man’s family says otherwise.

Paul Whelan, 48, lives in Novi. He’s an ex-Marine and head of corporate security for automotive supplier BorgWarner.

Pages