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.

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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 -

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.”

congressional districts map of Southeast Michigan
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 -

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

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

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.

Southern lower Michigan didn’t get a white Christmas in 2018. In fact, it hardly got any snow at all in December, with snow totals falling way below average across the region.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Soon, nearly all Michigan counties will be facing lawsuits over whether they can keep any profits from selling tax-foreclosed homes.

Current Michigan law allows county treasurers to keep any difference between the amount of delinquent property taxes, and whatever the property sells for at auction. So in theory, if a home with $3,000 in back property taxes sells for $100,000, the county pockets a $97,000 surplus.


The ACLU says a new appeals court decision will deny people facing deportation the right to make their case in immigration court, even if they believe deportation puts them at risk of death.

Macomb County Jail

Another inmate has died at the Macomb County jail, this time of an apparent drug overdose.

Nicholas DiFranco, 28, died Wednesday, according to Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham’s office.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Hamtramck’s efforts to revive its signature public space are getting a big boost from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation.

The city will receive more than $800,000 to create a community-driven master plan for the 26-acre Veterans Memorial Park—the largest green space and public gathering spot in the tiny, densely-populated Detroit enclave.

Project Innocence

Three Michigan men who say they were wrongfully convicted hope Gov. Rick Snyder will pardon them before he leaves office.

The University of Michigan’s Innocence Clinic has submitted executive clemency requests for Donyelle Woods, Frederick Freeman, and Mark Craighead.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A low-income housing development in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood promised tenants a path to home ownership.

But after nearly 20 years, Brightmoor Homes tenants say the developer hasn’t honored that promise once yet. And they want their landlord to fire its current property management company, which they say routinely fails to make home repairs and leaves some homes in dangerous condition.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some members of Detroit’s activist community are concerned about the future of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

They want more grassroots community representation on the museum’s board, and a voice in selecting its new permanent leader. They also object to a planned exhibition about life on Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation during Black History Month.

Surgery tools
Stanford EdTech / Flickr,

Two Detroit Medical Center hospitals are in danger of losing federal payments after they failed health and safety inspections last month.

State inspectors found multiple infection control violations at Detroit’s Harper and Receiving Hospitals, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services informed both hospitals in letters earlier this month.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Michigan and the Midwest are already feeling the effects of climate change, which will grow and worsen as temperatures climb throughout this century, according to a new report.

The second part of the fourth National Climate Assessment looks at impacts, risks, and mitigation efforts across the U.S. It’s the work of scientists and experts from across a variety of federal agencies. While officially released by the White House, its conclusions are sharply different from the Trump administration’s position on climate change