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

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Update: 8:15 a.m. Friday, June 12: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is extending a ban on evictions through the rest of June for tenants and mobile home owners. The eviction ban was set to expire when Whitmer signed a new executive order expanding it until June 30.

Original post: Wednesday, June 10: A group of protesters caravanned through the streets of one Detroit neighborhood on Tuesday, demanding more relief for renters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protesters called on Governor Gretchen Whitmer to extend the moratorium on evictions that's set to expire on Thursday. Whitmer has already extended it twice.

Jack Amick / Creative Commons

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has delivered a blow to an effort to release medically-vulnerable inmates from the Oakland County Jail.

Inmates and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit in April. They said Oakland County wasn’t doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the jail, and asked the court to order that inmates with medical conditions be released.

Back of a school bus
Pixabay

Oakland County is bringing some new employees on board for when schools re-open this fall—nurses.

The Oakland Together School Nurse Initiative calls for hiring 68 nurses. Each nurse would be assigned a school district to work with through December.

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

“Black lives matter to public defenders!”

That was the rallying cry in front of Detroit’s Frank Murphy Hall of Justice on Monday, as a group of well over 100 public defenders and allies came out to protest against the justice system they see every day—and say is fundamentally unjust.

Groceries, including milk, eggs and produce, sitting on a counter.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

With the economic fallout from COVID-19 hitting many people hard, Wayne County says it will use federal government money to help some residents with rental and food assistance.

The county is providing nearly $3.5 million for help with rental payments, and another $400,000 for food. The money comes from the federal CARES Act and other re-allocated federal funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and will be distributed by the Wayne Metro Community Action Agency.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

As retail businesses re-open throughout Michigan, small business owners are being asked to walk a fine line:  Attracting as many customers as they can, while also enforcing new state and local rules meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We talked to two small business owners about how they’re navigating this new world. We also spoke to a number of grocery store workers from across the state, all of them union members in UFCW Local 951. 

Here’s what they had to say.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of the Grosse Pointe communities on Friday to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

The peaceful march up and down Kercheval Avenue was racially mixed. It was organized by youth activists, but included people of all ages.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Board of Police Commissioners is considering changes to the department’s use of force policy.

This comes after the eruption of nationwide protests sparked by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. Detroit has now seen seven straight days of protests.

Police Commissioner Evette Griffie made the motion for the board to implement the following changes to the Detroit Police Department’s policy manual:

Protestors in Detroit got what they wanted Wednesday night when they were allowed to keep demonstrating past the city’s temporary 8 p.m. curfew, with the support of Police Chief James Craig.

It was a distinctly different attitude from police towards protestors than on Tuesday night, when 127 were arrested for being out too late. Protests against police brutality -- sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police -- have continued each day in Detroit for nearly a week. 

Ryan Patrick Hooper / WDET

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan praised protesters and the city’s police force for keeping the city relatively calm Monday night.

But Duggan cautioned on Tuesday that the city must remain on high alert—and will keep an 8 p.m. curfew throughout the week.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city will continue an 8 p.m. curfew for the next week, after police used tear gas, rubber bullets, and other aggressive measures to break up groups of people violating the curfew in downtown Detroit on Sunday night.

The clashes came as Duggan, Police Chief James Craig, and some of the city’s African American pastors and neighborhood activists asked people to stay off the streets at night, and for people from outside the city to refrain from coming in for after-hours protests sparked by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

Ryan Patrick Hooper / WDET

Update: May 30, 2020 4:20 p.m.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says 60 people were arrested during Friday night’s melee. Thirty-seven of them were from outside the city of Detroit.

Macomb Township Board of Trustees

A former Macomb County politician is facing up to ten years behind bars after pleading guilty to federal theft and extortion charges.

Dino Bucci was former Macomb County Public Works Director Anthony Marrocco’s right-hand man for more than 20 years. And he was an elected Macomb Township trustee.

Mike Duggan
detroitmi.gov

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he’s excited that some Michigan retail businesses will be able to re-open on Tuesday, but warns the city will be vigilant about enforcing health and safety standards meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer laid out those rules in an executive order that allows businesses “engaged in the selling of goods and the rendering of services incidental to the sale of the goods” to re-open. Sit-down restaurants, bars, gyms and fitness centers, and salons remain closed for now.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As the pandemic weeks turn into pandemic months, many questions remain about how we know what we know about COVID-19. One of the major limiting factors in testing for the virus is the availability of supplies for test kits.

Jack Amick / Creative Commons

A federal judge has ruled that Oakland County must set up a process to release medically vulnerable inmates from its jail.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit that alleged the Oakland County Jail has taken inadequate steps to protect inmates from COVID-19.

New Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter
Dave Coulter for State Representative

As Michigan moves more toward re-opening its economy, Oakland County says it will now test anyone 18 or older for COVID-19.

Oakland County has drive-thru testing at three places in Pontiac, Southfield, and Novi. Starting now, any adult who wants to get tested there can do so.

Judge's gavel
Pixabay.com

Macomb County Circuit Court judges have picked a prosecutor’s office veteran to fill in as county prosecutor.

The circuit court bench met via Zoom on Wednesday, and chose Jean Cloud as interim prosecutor to replace resigned former prosecutor Eric Smith.

Michigan State University

A team of Michigan State University researchers hopes Detroit sewage will hold clues about the trajectory of COVID-19.

The group has been sampling raw sewage as it arrives at a Great Lakes Water Authority water treatment plant every week since mid-April.

Courtesy photo / City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he’s “entirely confident” in a rapid-response COVID-19 test the city has used heavily, despite some doubts raised about its accuracy.

Several small studies found the Abbott Labs 15-minute tests produce a significant number of false negative results. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an alert about the tests, saying it’s still evaluating whether the tests produce too many false negatives.

slemboskilaw.com/

Update: 8:21 a.m. Friday, June 12: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is extending a ban on evictions through the rest of June for tenants and mobile home owners. The eviction ban was set to expire Thursday when Whitmer signed a new executive order expanding it until June 30.

Original post: Thursday, May 14: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued another executive order extending a moratorium on evictions until 11:59 pm. on June 11. 

Joe McGuire, a staff attorney with the Detroit Justice Center, said Whitmer should have extended the moratorium sooner, and that many other states have instituted longer and more comprehensive bans in the face of COVID-19 than Michigan has.

University of Michigan Poverty Solutions

University of Michigan researchers say Detroiters will need many more protections to protect people from losing their homes in the wake of COVID-19.

The U of M Poverty Solutions paper examines existing housing instability in Detroit, also finding that there’s a shortage of affordable housing in the city, when taking into account blighted and uninhabitable units.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Aimee Stephens, the Michigan woman at the center of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court civil rights case, died on Tuesday.

Stephens was fired from a Garden City funeral home when she publicly transitioned from male to female in 2013. The resulting legal case asked a fundamental question: do laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex apply to LGBTQ people?

Mike Duggan
detroitmi.gov

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Monday he’s confident that it’s now safe enough to start bringing more city employees back to work, but that’s only because of health and safety measures the city has implemented.

Duggan said the evidence for that lies in recent test results for frontline workers, such as first responders and bus drivers.

Adobe Stock

Some Michigan manufacturing businesses will re-open for production starting Monday. That opens up a whole new set of places where people could potentially become infected with COVID-19.

Some manufacturers have detailed plans for protecting workers. But they’re largely missing one key safeguard: testing.


money
user penywise / morgueFile

The head of a Metro Detroit non-profit social services agency that’s in charge of distributing federal stimulus funds says the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people struggling to meet basic needs.

The Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency was allotted $11 million in CARES Act funds to distribute to households in Wayne County. $8 million of that is reserved for the city of Detroit.

Workers set up a field hospital at the TCF Center in Detroit.
Paulette Parker, Michigan Radio

The last remaining COVID-19 patient at Detroit's TCF Center field hospital was discharged on Wednesday.

The 1,000-bed hospital, rapidly constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the pandemic surged in southeast Michigan, has stopped admitting patients. It has treated just 39 people since it started up in early April.

flickr user Bernt Rostad / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Detroit City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a new city budget for the city’s upcoming fiscal year. It included $348 million in cuts.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the budget is balanced, but the COVID-19 pandemic made deep cuts necessary.

beaumont hospital wayne exterior
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Beaumont Hospital researchers are hoping that two common drugs can help treat COVID-19 patients.

The drugs are naltrexone and ketamine. Naltrexone is used to treat inflammatory pain conditions and addiction. Ketamine is an anesthetic that also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Paulette Parker / Michgian Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said on Monday that he’s confident the city can beat COVID-19 with focused testing and other precautionary measures.

Detroit has been hit hard by the pandemic, reporting 9,388 cases and 1,088 deaths so far. But both cases and deaths have steadily declined over the past two weeks.

Pages