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.

Ways to Connect

a hospital hallway with people at the end of it
Robin Erb / Bridge

The ACLU of Michigan is asking state regulators to examine a Catholic health system’s policy of not providing tubal ligations.

The ACLU filed the complaint with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) against Ascension.  It’s on behalf of a pregnant woman whose doctor, affiliated with Ascension Providence Hospital in Southfield, advised her to get a tubal ligation in conjunction with a planned C-section.

Michigan House of Representatives

Republican state representative Bryan Posthumus has been sentenced to a 15-day jail stay for drunk driving.

Posthumus represents West Michigan’s 73rd District. In April, he flipped his car and was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
User: frankileon / Flickr /

State attorneys general have settled a number of lawsuits against opioid makers and distributors—and Michigan could get up to $800 million as a result, state Attorney General Dana Nessel said on Wednesday.

The $26 billion proposed nationwide settlement is with drug-maker Johnson & Johnson, and three prescription drug distributors: Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen. This agreement should settle most of those lawsuits. Numerous state and local governments had sued the companies, accusing them of fueling the opioid addiction crisis.

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig
YouTube screenshot

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig says he's launching an exploratory committee to run for governor in 2022. That committee allows a candidate to begin fundraising and spending money.

A solar-powered light in Highland Park.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Highland Park now has 18 streetlights powered by the sun. That’s thanks to a community solar group called Soulardarity.

Soulardarity has been installing solar street lights across Highland Park since 2012. That was soon after DTE repossessed all the city’s conventional streetlights over unpaid bills.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The intense rainstorms and flooding that wreaked havoc on southeast Michigan last month are a sign of things to come with climate change—and President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan will jumpstart a new generation of water systems that can better deal with that.

Angela Gallegos

The torrential rain and flooding that struck parts of Metro Detroit on June 26 took a “devastating” toll on some households. That’s especially true in some Detroit communities, where many people lack insurance and there are a large number of low-income, senior, or disabled residents.

The Detroit skyline as seen from across the Detroit River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on whether a proposal to revise Detroit’s city charter should appear on the August ballot.

Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay a visit to Metro Detroit later this week to assess the damage left in the wake of torrential rain and flooding on June 26.

Dan Austin

The CEO of the Great Lakes Water Authority detailed on Friday what went wrong at two Detroit pumping stations during the height of last weekend’s torrential rains and flooding.

Sue McCormick said power failures caused “operational issues” at two pumping stations on Detroit’s east side—Freud and Conner Creek. That area suffered some of the worst flooding in Metro Detroit after being pummeled with nearly seven inches of rain in several hours.

Macomb County Public Works/YouTube screengrab

Why did the Conner Creek pumping station on Detroit’s east side lose power and fail during last Saturday’s torrential storms, exacerbating serious flooding?

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller says people deserve answers from the Great Lakes Water Authority, which operates Conner Creek and the Detroit area’s regional water infrastructure. Macomb County is a GLWA member.

Flooding in metro Detroit this weekend.
Courtesy of Dan Austin

Update: June 30, 2021 - 7:15 a.m.

Tens of thousands of Michiganders are without power Wednesday morning. That’s after storms Tuesday afternoon knocked more homes offline while crews were still working to repair earlier outages.

DTE Energy is reporting more than 56,000 customers without power. The outages are widespread in metro Detroit. There is also a pocket of outages in the lower part of the Thumb.

Elaine Cromie / Bridge Michigan

Any Detroiter aged 12 and older can now get a COVID-19 vaccine in their own home, as Detroit expands its at-home vaccination effort beyond the homebound population.

Detroit is lagging the rest of the state when it comes to vaccinations—only about 37% of Detroiters 12 and up have received at least one shot so far, compared to about 56% statewide.

screengrab / ACLU of Michigan video

The Michigan State Police needs to do more confront racial disparities in troopers’ traffic stops, according to a new lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Michigan.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Black couple who was pulled over and detained for two hours while police searched their vehicle for drugs. Troopers found nothing, and the couple was eventually let go without a ticket or citation.

Spectrum Health; Beaumont Health System

Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health say they plan to merge into a single system with 22 hospitals and 64,000 employees. It's a massive shakeup for two of the state's largest health providers.

man talking at a podium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Survivors of abuse from alleged sexual predator Dr. Robert Anderson came together at a press conference Wednesday, urging the University of Michigan and its Board of Regents to take accountability for its failure to protect students over the course of Anderson's career at the university.

enlarged image of a school ID
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

police offices stand at a protest in Detroit
Lester Graham

Some state House Democrats are proposing a bill package they say would bring transformational change to policing in Michigan.

Members of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus and the House’s Detroit Caucus introduced the sixteen-bill package on Tuesday.

The Detroit skyline as seen from across the Detroit River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The court battle over whether proposed changes to the Detroit city charter will stay on the August primary ballot took yet another turn on Friday.

The Michigan Supreme Court granted the Detroit Charter Revision Commission’s request for a stay on lower court rulings that would have taken the measure off the ballot. That means that, for the moment at least, the charter revision question—dubbed Proposal P—will stay on the ballot. It’s not clear yet whether the Supreme Court will make a final decision one way or another on the matter.

But how did things get here? How did efforts to revise the city’s foundational document turn into a protracted political and legal battle? What are the stakes if the question does or doesn’t end up on the ballot? Here’s a summary of events.

Eastern Michigan University's King Hall
Wikimedia Commons

Eight more women says Eastern Michigan University officials either discouraged them from reporting on-campus rapes, or actively worked to cover them up.

This is is the second such lawsuit EMU is facing. In the prior lawsuit, brought by the same attorneys, eleven women identified only as Jane Does make similar claims.

Jars of marijuana strands
Rob / Adobe Stock

Detroit’s process for licensing recreational marijuana businesses is on hold because of a lawsuit arguing the process violates the law by favoring Detroit residents.

Proponents say it simply levels the playing field for Detroiters trying to get a foothold in the cannabis industry, and rights some historical inequities.

Judge's gavel

Raymond Gray was released from the Muskegon Correctional Facility on Tuesday, after serving more than 48 years for a murder he always insisted he didn’t commit.

Gray was convicted of first-degree murder in the Detroit shooting death of Ruben Bryant in 1973, based solely on eyewitness testimony.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy won’t file any criminal charges stemming from the death of Priscilla Slater.

Slater died in the Harper Woods jail in June of last year. Her death sparked protests, especially after Harper Woods Police revealed they fired two officers for changing the police report about her death.

Eastern Michigan University
F. Delventhal / Flickr Creative Commons

Eastern Michigan University says it can’t be held responsible campus sexual assaults that were never reported. That’s in response to a lawsuit alleging that school officials allowed a culture of rape to flourish there.

Eleven former students are suing EMU. They say they were sexually assaulted during their time there. Nine of the young women say they were assaulted by the same man, who’s since been criminally charged.

Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

The state will soon release guidelines recommending that schools keep mask mandates for now, but won’t require districts to do so.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is updating its guidelines for COVID-19 mitigation measures in schools. The agency will recommend that school districts keep whatever policies they have in place through the end of the school year.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A man who’s lived in sanctuary at a Detroit church is now free to leave, ending an immigration saga that’s lasted over three years.

Ded Rranxburgaj came to the U.S. illegally from Albania in 2001. He’s the primary caretaker for his wife, Flora, who has multiple sclerosis, and had fought to stay in the country on humanitarian grounds.

City of Detroit

Detroit broke ground on a greenway named for one of its most legendary citizens on Monday.

The 27.5-mile bike and walkway is named for the late boxing legend Joe Louis. The loop will connect the Detroit Riverfront to a number of neighborhoods, and run through parts of Dearborn, Hamtramck, and Highland Park.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald says an independent special prosecutor will investigate her own office after she discovered at least one case of what could be prosecutorial misconduct--one that could call into question a number of convictions, and has already affected the prosecution of the men accused of conspiring to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The Detroit skyline as seen from across the Detroit River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s Election Commission voted Thursday to put the question of a revised city charter on the August ballot.

The charter revision question has been controversial, and sparked a battle between Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and charter commissioners. Duggan argues some of the proposed changes would drain city finances, and put it back under state control.

The head of a major hospital in Windsor, Ontario wants Michigan to give up some of its surplus COVID-19 vaccines.

David Musyj, CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital, has submitted an emergency application to Health Canada’s special access program. Health Canada is the country’s equivalent of the U.S Food and Drug Administration, and the program allows Canada to procure life-saving drugs abroad if they’re in short supply there.