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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Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

kids at computers
U.S. Department of Education

In yet another step that would have been unthinkable just a week ago, Michigan is asking the federal government for a waiver on federally-mandated statewide student assessments this year.

In Michigan, that assessment is the M-STEP test. It’s given to all 3rd-8th and 11th graders in public schools. It was scheduled to start the week of April 13 and run through May 28.

A home in Detroit.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

In yet another unprecedented step, Detroit has put a moratorium on evictions during the coronavirus oubreak.

36th District Court Chief Judge William McConico issued the order "effective immediately" on Monday.

Wayne County

In an unprecedented move, the Wayne County Treasurer says he will halt all tax foreclosures this year due to impacts from the coronavirus outbreak.

“In light of the rapidly changing recommendations on social distancing and the increasing economic uncertainty we are all facing, I have had to make an urgent decision to protect all the taxpayers facing foreclosure in Wayne County,” Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree said in a statement. “Given the fact that all taxpayers will be facing economic hardships in the coming months, I have made the decision to withhold all properties from the 2020 foreclosure petition.”

Michigan House Democrats

A bill introduced in the Michigan legislature would expand paid sick leave for employees in the state.

State Representative Padma Kuppa (D-Troy/Clawson) introduced the bill.

The Michigan Supreme Court is telling state courts to consider drastic steps to curb the spread of coronavirus. And some of those courts, along with some federal courts, have done so already.

One of those recommended steps: suspending most civil and criminal jury trials until the threat from the pandemic ebbs.

Gary Jones stands at a UAW podium
United Auto Workers

Something happened this week that we’ve known was coming for awhile.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit needs to find some way to compensate homeowners who were over-taxed for years.

That’s what the Detroit City Council heard from a number of residents at a sometimes-emotional hearing Tuesday night.

U.S. Marshals Service

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says he’s ending a joint task force with the Drug Enforcement Administration over its refusal to admit it used an alleged spree killer as an informant.

Kenyel Brown was a repeat felon who was released from federal supervision in October, despite violating his probation multiple times. That apparently happened at the behest of a federal law enforcement agency.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Three men who accuse a late University of Michigan doctor of sexual abuse say they want accountability from the university—and for others to speak up.

Former U of M wrestlers Tad DeLuca, Thomas Evashevski, and Andy Hrovat spoke publicly about that abuse, and the school’s reluctance to deal with it at the time, alongside attorneys on Thursday.

Old Main building exterior
Wayne State University

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and other top state officials put Wayne State University board members on notice Wednesday.

That came in the form of a letter urging the board to adopt a code of conduct.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan gave his seventh annual State of the City address Tuesday night in signature Duggan style—a whirlwind PowerPoint presentation that hit on his major accomplishments and goals.

The event was held at Flex-N-Gate, a relatively recent addition to a developing industrial park on Detroit’s east side. Duggan touted his administration’s success in drawing some large manufacturing employers back to the city, and vowed to make sure the resulting jobs go to Detroiters as much as possible.

A football.
Innovation_School / Flickr -

Prosecutors are charging seven De La Salle High School student football players with assault for allegedly hazing younger teammates.

Four of the seven accused students were arraigned in a Warren courtroom on Monday on misdemeanor assault and battery charges. Five are being charged as adults, and two as juveniles.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan will very likely ban a type of abortion procedure within the next few months.

It’s called dilation and evacuation. It makes up about 7% of abortions in Michigan each year. And it’s the most common type of abortion performed during the second trimester of pregnancy. 

Flinnoia Hall
Romulus Community Schools

The Romulus school board suspended Acting Superintendent Flinnoia Hall for ten days without pay on Thursday, citing violations of the district's code of professional standards.

Hall called an African American district employee a racial slur and another profane slur during an open school board meeting Feb. 10th. Hall is also African American.

Hands gripping jail cell bars

Ramon Ward walked out of a Detroit courtroom a free man on Thursday, after serving 25 years in prison for two murders he didn’t commit.

Ward was just 18 in 1994, when he was accused of killing two women in Detroit. His 1995 conviction was based on a supposed confession. Ward never signed that confession, and insisted it was false.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Environmental and community advocates in Detroit are pushing for a newly-proposed ordinance that would regulate industrial operations on the city’s riverfront.

The ordinance would require riverfront industrial businesses to get yearly permits from the city.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit now faces a reckoning for its history of over-taxing homeowners—and a new class-action lawsuit.

The city admits it over-assessed many homeowners for years after the Great Recession, leading to inflated property tax bills. A recent Detroit News investigation pegged the amount of over-taxation at around $600 million from 2010-2016. Wayne County has foreclosed on around one-third of all Detroit properties since 2008.

Unemployment office sign

Attorneys involved in two lawsuits over Michigan’s unemployment insurance debacle say they’ll join forces on those cases in hopes of moving them forward.

An automated computer system, the Michigan Data Automated System (MIDAS) falsely accused more than 40,000 people of fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits from 2013-2015, under Governor Rick Snyder’s administration. Many suffered huge losses as the state garnished wages and tax returns as repayment for the alleged fraud.

close up of two doors on a car  that say Detroit Police
Sean Davis / Flickr -

Detroit Police Chief James Craig tried to reassure the public Tuesday that the department is equipped and committed to rooting out corruption within its own ranks.

The move comes after a coalition of grassroots organizations publicly questioned the DPD’s willingness and ability to do that in the midst of an ongoing investigation into the department’s narcotics unit, also known as the Major Violators Section.

Courtesy of Children First

Oakland County will try a new approach to providing health services to its un- and underinsured residents.

The plan, called Oakland Health 360, calls for consolidating more services at the county’s two health centers, in Southfield and Pontiac. Those will include a range of health services, including primary care, family planning, dental, and mental health services.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan will get a new leader this weekend, and it will be a historic event on two fronts.

The Reverend Bonnie Perry will be consecrated as bishop at a ceremony in Dearborn on Saturday. She will become the first woman and first openly-LGBTQ person to lead the diocese, which covers 77 Episcopal congregations in southeast Michigan.

A home in Detroit.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is suing three major real estate investors the city calls “slumlords,” accusing them of an “invest and neglect” business model that leaves homes in deplorable conditions, and puts the health and safety of tenants at risk.

The city identifies the “notorious speculators and slumlords” as West Bloomfield father-and-son team of Steve and Stephen Hagerman; Michael Kelly of Grosse Pointe Woods; and Salameh Jaser of Dearborn. Together, the city says the men own more than 1,000 blighted properties throughout the city, and have amassed thousands of tickets from city building inspectors. They purchased many of their properties through Wayne County’s annual tax foreclosure auction.

cars in parking lot
Adobe Stock

A Wayne County program that targets cars suspected of drug activity or prostitution is an unconstitutional racket, according to a new federal lawsuit.

That lawsuit lays out how the county’s vehicle seizure unit regularly takes cars based on suspected criminal activity, even if no one is ever charged or convicted—and even if the car’s owner isn’t the one suspected of a crime.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

As most Democratic presidential candidates scurried off to New Hampshire in the wake of the Iowa caucus debacle on Tuesday, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg paid a visit to Detroit.

Bloomberg’s presidential campaign is only about two months old. This was his second stop in Michigan.,

Michigan has a real shot at reducing its county jail population if it acts on some recent task force recommendations.

That’s what Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack told the Detroit Economic Club on Tuesday. They co-chaired the task force.

A home in Detroit.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Living in homes purchased at the Wayne County tax foreclosure auction, or near demolitions, increases the risk of lead poisoning in Detroit children.

Those findings are in a new, unpublished report from University of Michigan and Rutgers University researchers.

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Under state law, Michigan counties may act as delinquent property tax collectors for their local units of government. They do this using what is called a Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund (DTRF). Here’s how it works.

Cheryl Casey / Adobe Stock

A case before the Michigan Supreme Court asks this question: How much can the government take from you if you don’t pay your property taxes?

City of Warren Police Department / via Facebook

A woman is suing a Warren police officer with a troubled history for allegedly abusing her while she was in custody.

In a federal civil rights lawsuit filed in December, Michelle Catinella says that in May of 2019, Officer Bernadette Moore shoved her face into a mirrored glass wall while she was handcuffed, leaving the glass “smeared with her blood.” This happened after Catinella told officers booking her for misdemeanor assault that she planned to file a complaint against them.