Sarah Cwiek | Michigan Radio
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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.

Ways to Connect

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

An undocumented Ann Arbor man with serious health problems has received a medical deferment allowing him to stay in the United States, his lawyer says.

Abraham Navarrete-Morales is from Mexico. He received a kidney transplant last year, and needs costly medications to keep his body from rejecting the organ.

Detroit Police Department

Update: Detroit Police Chief James Craig has identified the deceased officer as Rasheen McClain, 46, a 16-year DPD veteran working out of the city's 12th precinct.

Craig called McClain's death a "heartbreaking day" for the Detroit Police Department.

McClain was "a  leader. Very tactical, very much about doing a great job," said Craig, adding that the slain officer made a “conscious decision that it was time to go in and deal with a very dangerous situation.”

General Motors

United Auto Workers President Gary Jones announced on Wednesday that he’s stepping down as president and retiring from the UAW.

That comes just as the union announced it was moving to expel Jones and another top UAW official, Region 5 Director Vance Pearson.

SMART Bus
Mysid / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Wayne, Oakland, and Washtenaw counties hope that some proposed changes to state law will pave the way for an expanded regional transit system in southeast Michigan—minus Macomb County, for now.

The proposal involves changes to the state’s Municipal Partnership Act, which allows local government units to form partnerships for the purpose of funding and offering services such as transit. They would allow the three counties to create a regional entity that could levy and collect taxes to fund expanded regional transit.

Demolition
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Detroit has demolished more than 19,000 abandoned buildings under Mayor Mike Duggan.

But a new report contends that demolition program has suffered from mismanagement and lacked oversight.

Those findings are laid out in a report from Detroit’s Auditor General. Among other things, it found that city departments failed to properly supervise demolition contractors.

That resulted in things like contractors starting demolitions before they got proper permits, and failing to take proper safety precautions.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Founders Brewing will re-open its Detroit tap room early next year and donate the location’s profits to local charities through 2022, in an effort to move past a disastrous episode for the Grand Rapids-based brewer.

That disaster started last month, with leaked details from an African-American Founders employee’s racial discrimination lawsuit. That employee, Tracy Evans, claimed Founders has a “racist internal corporate culture,” and that he was fired after making complaints to managers.

A retired United Auto Workers vice president has become the highest-ranking union official yet charged in a federal corruption investigation.

Joe Ashton was the union’s representative on the board of General Motors, and also sat on the board of the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources, a joint worker training center. He’s charged with fraud and money laundering.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts
City of Warren

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has been re-elected to a fourth term as head of Michigan’s third-largest city.

Fouts’ opponent, Warren City Council member Kelly Colegio, narrowly won the votes cast on Election Day.

But slightly more voters cast absentee ballots in the race. And Fouts won those handily, defeating Colegio with 57-percent of the overall vote.

Personal photo / via By Any Means Necessary

An Iraqi-born Michigan man who successfully resisted deportation once is now arguing he should be allowed to stay in the U.S.

Immigration agents tried to deport Muskegon resident Oliver Awshana, 31, this summer. But he put up such a fight, the pilot refused to fly with him on the plane.

On Monday, Awshana—who came to the U.S. as a teenage refugee—was back in Detroit immigration court, pleading for a second chance at asylum.

Awshana’s lawyer, Shanta Driver, said that as a Chaldean Christian with no remaining family in Iraq, Awshana will be in grave danger if returned to Iraq.

Congressman John Conyers in a light gray jacket and scarf
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Pillar of the civil rights movement. Champion of the underdog. Fighter for Detroit.

That’s how people who attended the late Congressman John Conyers’ public viewing this weekend say they’ll remember him.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Interim Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter has had a change of heart: he now says he will run for a full, four-year term in 2020.

Coulter is a Democrat. He was the mayor of Ferndale when county commissioners appointed him to fill the vacancy left by the late Republican L. Brooks Patterson back in August.

DCI

A new University of Michigan facility will be at the heart of a new development on the edge of downtown Detroit, thanks to expected contributions from two billionaire donors.

The proposed Detroit Center for Innovation will be home to a $300 million university outpost for teaching and research in emerging high-tech fields like cybersecurity, mobility and artificial intelligence, said University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Fiat-Chrysler is expanding operations—and bringing jobs—to the east side of Detroit.

But it’s also expected to bring more pollution. And some residents, along with two Detroit lawmakers, want more guaranteed protections.

State of Michigan

For the third consecutive year, Flint water is testing below state and federal action levels for lead, according to data the state released on Wednesday.

In the first half of 2016, at the height of the city’s water crisis, Flint’s 90th percentile result for lead-in-water samples was 20 parts per billion.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

When you call the city of Melvindale’s Department of Water and Public Works these days, you’ll hear a message that goes like this:

“If you’re calling regarding recent lead sampling results for the city of Melvindale, please note that the water supply we are provided from Great Lakes Water [Authority] is safe. This applies to properties that have lead service lines going into their home.”

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Courtesy of City of Detroit, Mayor's Office

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says he will not punish staff members for deleting emails related to city support for a controversial program.

Duggan said Tuesday that three employees—including his chief of staff, Alexis Wiley—will instead undergo training in public document management.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has gotten involved in the case of an undocumented Ann Arbor man who says he needs costly medications to stay alive after a kidney transplant.

Abraham Navarrete-Morales submitted his request for a deferral from deportation in December 2018. In recent months, his attorney Brad Thomson has been pressing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a response, including going public with a plea for action last month.

rollingroscoe / Morguefile

Wayne County is in the middle of an effort to reduce its jail population, and it’s just received some early data to help guide that effort.

The county is teaming up with the New York-based Vera Institute of Justice to figure out who goes to jail, and who might not need to be there.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

“I am obsessed with a goal: To eliminate blight from the city of Detroit entirely by 2025,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said recently.

New Americans in Wayne County: The Demographic and Economic Contributions of Immigrants in the County / Wayne County

Immigrants are bringing outsized economic benefits to Wayne County, and helping offset an otherwise declining population in the state’s largest county.

That’s the conclusion of a new study the county commissioned from the group New American Economy.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Every homeowner at least occasionally needs some tools. But they can be expensive and inaccessible for some people, especially in low-income communities.

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

A Michigan Court of Claims judge has dismissed a case that would have undone the state’s new Lead and Copper Rule.

The rule went into effect last year. It toughens standards for lead in water, has more stringent sampling requirements, and requires water utilities to pay for replacing all lead service lines by 2040.

City of Detroit

Detroit and Wayne County officials say a new program could help keep thousands of the lowest-income homeowners in their homes and out of tax foreclosure.

The plan, called Pay As You Stay (PAYS), calls for cutting the amount of money people owe on delinquent property taxes. It would reduce the balance to only those back taxes, or 10% of a home’s taxable value—whichever is less.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Licensed Professional Counselors, their colleagues and advocates rallied Monday night in Detroit for a State House bill they hope will let them continue doing their jobs in Michigan.

The bill would codify in law that LPCs can diagnose and treat people with mental health conditions. A proposed state administrative rule change would tighten up rules that state officials say have allowed LPCs to do that outside of their scope of practice for more than 30 years.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit will use a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to fight lead hazards in 450 homes.

The effort will target 48209, one zip code in southwest Detroit. It was chosen because of its high percentage of very old housing stock, and high poverty rate. It’s also a designated “Opportunity Zone,” a designation for certain low-income communities that gives capital gains tax cuts for investments in those zones as part of President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cut package.

Miriam Elamine / Southwest Solutions

More than 65,000 people in Michigan experienced homelessness last year, up about 3% from 2017, according to an annual report from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The report’s data is based off counts entered into a statewide agency from homeless service providers across the state. It counts the “literally homeless”—people living in shelters, on the streets, in cars, or in places like abandoned homes. It does not count people who live with friends or family members to avoid homelessness.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in its first-ever case dealing with transgender rights.

The Michigan transgender woman at the center of it all will be there watching.

A mosquito
flickr user trebol-a / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

For the first time since 1980, the state will use aerial pesticide spraying to try to curb the spread of a mosquito-borne virus.

The virus is Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). There have been nine reported human cases in Michigan so far, three of them fatal. There have also been 27 cases reported in animals, all of them fatal.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos used a visit to a Detroit charter school on Friday to push one of her policy mainstays—more school choice.

DeVos visited the Detroit Edison Public School Academy as the final stop on her national “back to school” tour. It was her first visit to a Detroit school as Education Secretary.

DeVos says DEPSA is an example of the benefits school choice can provide. Its students perform better on statewide tests than most comparable schools, and more than 95% graduate within four years.

DeVos’ choice to appear at a charter school was not coincidental. The DeVos family has been instrumental in reshaping Michigan’s school landscape to include more charters and school choice, and she appeared at the event alongside Dan Quisenberry, of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA).

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

An Ann Arbor man says he fears he will die if U.S. immigration officials don’t act soon on his request for protected status, “based on urgent humanitarian concerns.”

Abraham Navarrete-Morales, 32, is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who’s been in the U.S. for about 14 years. He says he was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure at age 24, and was on dialysis for years before receiving a kidney transplant last year.

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