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


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.

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

A new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been identified in Michigan, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced on Saturday.

The new variant, B.1.1.7, was identified in an adult woman from Washtenaw County. She had recently traveled to the United Kingdom, where the variant was first identified. MDHHS says the woman’s close contacts have been notified and are in quarantine. Two of those contacts have tested positive for COVID-19, though it’s unclear if they have the B.1.1.7 variant.

delapidated Detroit house
Jason Paris / FLICKR -

Detroit is ready to restart its sweeping demolition program, Mayor Mike Duggan announced on Friday.

Detroit voters approved Proposal N, a $250 million bond proposal, in November. The city will use that money to both demolish and rehab many of the city’s remaining abandoned properties.

creative commons

Last week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said that she wants all schools to offer at least some in-person learning by March 1. At the same time, she opened up eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to K-12 teachers, among other “frontline essential workers.”

Michigan Radio spoke with a number of teachers, all of whom said that they—and most of their colleagues—are eager to return to the classroom. But most want to get vaccinated first, and worry about whether educators will be able to get the necessary two doses before that happens.

a group of women on yoga mats in an exercise class

Being more physically fit may protect you from having severe COVID-19, according to a new study from Henry Ford Health System.

Researchers looked at patients who had taken an exercise stress test over the past four years, and were also diagnosed with COVID-19. That was about 250 people.

man in a mask gets a vaccine from health care worker in a mask
Adobe Stock

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has unveiled a three-part plan to get COVID-19 vaccinations rolling in the city.

One major component is turning the TCF Convention Center garage into a drive-thru vaccination site. Starting next week, people 75 and older can get vaccinated there. So can people 65 and older so long as they accompany someone over 75. K-12 teachers and child care providers who wouldn’t otherwise get vaccinated through their employer are also eligible to get vaccinated at TCF.

detroit police car
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Some violent crimes spiked in Detroit in 2020, Police Chief James Craig said on Wednesday.

In aggregate, the city’s serious crime rate (violent and non-violent) actually fell last year, with sexual assaults, robberies, and carjackings all down significantly.

University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center

Preliminary data suggest that opioid overdoses rose in Michigan this year, according to a University of Michigan database.

The U of M Injury Prevention Center tracks opioid overdoses reported by county medical examiners, and EMS administrations of the anti-overdose drug naloxone, in close to real time.

This pandemic year has been tough for lawyers who work with people facing eviction.

The need for their services is greater than ever. Support programs have helped, but they’ve been a patchwork that often leave attorneys scrambling to help clients.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A now-canceled state contract for COVID-19 contact tracing was the result of a rushed, imperfect process, but there’s absolutely no evidence it involved anything criminal, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office has found.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer canceled the contact-tracing contract with Every Action VAN soon after it was signed in April, saying it didn’t go through the proper procurement process.  That was after some state Republicans alleged the contract was awarded based on the company’s political connections to Whitmer and other Democrats.

City of Dearborn Heights / via Facebook

Dearborn Heights Mayor Daniel Paletko has died from COVID-19 complications, the city confirmed on  social media Tuesday night, calling his death “sudden.”

Paletko was 70 years old. He had served as Dearborn Heights mayor since 2004, and also served in the Michigan State House of Representatives.

A vial of Pfizer's mRNA COVID-19 vaccine
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Wayne County

Mourners paid their respects to the late former Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon at a Detroit funeral home on Monday.

Napoleon died earlier this month after contracting COVID-19. He was 65.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Frontline workers at Michigan’s largest health care system started getting COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday.

Southeast Michigan’s Beaumont Health received 975 initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two shots. It’s vaccinating the highest-priority health care workers, like respiratory therapist Tamara Allen, first.

Ali Elisabeth / Michigan Radio

This week, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan made a startling announcement: the city will continue its moratorium on water service shutoffs for the next two years.

The current moratorium went into effect in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rationale was that leaving people without running water would exacerbate the public health crisis. But the state health order prohibiting shutoffs was set to expire December 31.

Oakland County

“The only way to beat it is to face it.”

That’s the slogan Oakland County is using in its public messaging campaign urging people to stick with COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic drags on.

Dana Nessel
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Protesters who gathered outside Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s Detroit home this past weekend crossed the line from protected speech to threats and intimidation.

That’s according to statements made by Benson, and state Attorney General Dana Nessel. Nessel was a guest on Stateside Monday.

A neighborhood in Detroit
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is offering assistance to people applying for a property tax exemption at the TCF Center this week.

Detroit offers full and partial property tax exemptions to low-income homeowners who meet certain guidelines every year. In recent years, the city has made the program more accessible as a way to help people avoid losing their homes to tax foreclosure.

Michigan State University

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is providing $800,000 to expand an ongoing COVID-19 detection program in wastewater.

The expanded program, which has been running as a pilot since spring, will test untreated sewage in some Detroit zip codes, as well as certain targeted zip codes in suburban communities like Sterling Heights, Oak Park, and West Bloomfield.

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

There’s no way two ways about it: November has been a dreadful month when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan.

young woman wearing glasses and smiling in front of a yellow background
Courtesy of LaToya Henry

As COVID-19 surges to new highs in Michigan and nationwide, Michigan Radio has been speaking with people deeply touched by this pandemic.

One of them is LaToya Henry. She’s forty-four years old, and lives in Oakland County’s Lathrup Village. When COVID hit her in March, things got bad fast.

voting booths
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

County board of canvassers meetings are usually the dullest events imaginable. The boards, comprised of two Republicans and two Democrats, meet to review the results of a post-election canvass. That canvass is meant to catch any major irregularities, down to the precinct level, make sure every vote is accounted for, and then certify the unofficial results.

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Tuesday night’s Wayne County Board of Canvassers meeting was a wild ride.

After initially deadlocking 2-2 along partisan lines—meaning the county’s election results would not have been certified—the Board reversed course and unanimously voted to certify the election, while also urging Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to do a “comprehensive audit” of certain precincts.

Kids wearing masks at computers
Mediteraneo / Adobe Stock

Michigan's largest school district will suspend in-person classes next week, joining other districts that have shifted to online-only classes as coronavirus cases rise significantly around the state.

BRYCE HUFFMAN / Michigan Radio

Michigan health officials plan to study the potential long-term health effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposure on people in four West Michigan communities.

PFAS are a class of industrial chemicals linked to health problems like cancer, and thyroid disease. Known as “forever chemicals” that remain intact in the environment and human bodies for a long time, PFAS are present in substances ranging from firefighting foam to food packaging.

Eric Seals / Detroit Free Press

Michigan’s coronavirus cases just keep going up, as the state broke yet another record for the number of COVID-19 cases reported in one day on Tuesday.

That daily number was 6,473. Over the past week, the state has reported on average more than 5,000 new confirmed cases per day. Those numbers are far higher than we ever saw in the spring, when COVID-19 testing was far more limited.