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

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

Living with the Divide

Nov 13, 2018
Anthony Brown

There wasn’t always such a clear dividing line between the two neighborhoods on either side of Alter Road.

An artist's rendering of the planned Beaumont/UHS mental health hospital.
Beaumont Health

Beaumont Health will build a new, $40 million mental health hospital in Dearborn as part of a plan to expand its mental health services.

The 150-bed facility is the centerpiece of that expansion. Set to open in 2021, Beaumont says it will double its capacity for inpatient psychiatric services and serve as a coordinating hub for mental health care across the health system.

"Vote here" sign
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Wayne County is switching up the way it will report real-time results for Tuesday’s election. Officials say the county will bypass its usual website because of performance concerns.

The Grand Rapids-based company ElectionSource has hosted Wayne County’s interactive election reporting website since 2017.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A jury is now deliberating the fate of former Michigan State Trooper Mark Bessner, who faces murder and manslaughter charges in the August 2017 death of Detroit teen Damon Grimes.

Bessner tasered Grimes from a police car during a chase through an east side Detroit neighborhood. Grimes crashed and flipped the ATV he was driving, and ultimately died of blunt force head trauma.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Low-income Detroiters spend more household income on water bills than comparable households in other cities, according to a new report that tracked residential water shutoffs nationwide.

protesters carrying signs
File photo / Michigan Radio

More than 100 Iraqi nationals being held in immigration custody should be released because the government lied about Iraq’s willingness to repatriate them, the detainees' lawyers told a federal judge in Detroit Wednesday.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Wayne County prosecutors told jurors Tuesday that former Michigan State Trooper Mark Bessner action's went “beyond the pale” when he tasered 15-year-old Damon Grimes during a police chase through a Detroit neighborhood in the summer of 2017.

Bessner’s defense attorney countered the trooper “reasonably believed” that Grimes presented a threat, and that he used appropriate force during a “tense, uncertain, rapidly-evolving situation.”

The "Diag" on the University of Michigan's main campus in Ann Arbor.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan has seen sexual misconduct complaints against faculty, staff and third parties shoot up 161% in one year, according to a new university report.

The report covers complaints made from July 2017 through June 2018. U of M policy defines sexual misconduct as a range of behaviors, ranging from inappropriate comments to sexual assault and stalking.

Wayne County Prosecutor's Office

Jury selection began today in the murder trial of a former Michigan State Police trooper.

Mark Bessner faces second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of 15-year-old Damon Grimes in July 2017.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

After spending 34 years behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit, Darrell Siggers was officially cleared of the crime on Friday, as Wayne County prosecutors announced they would drop all charges against him.

Siggers always maintained that he was innocent of the 1984 murder of Robert Montgomery on Philip Street in Detroit. He filed numerous appeals over the years, to no avail. 

Detroit Police Department

Most Detroit police officers will get raises under a newly-extended contract.

Mayor Mike Duggan opened the Detroit Police Officers Association contract two years before it’s set to expire. Under the new contract, which runs until 2022, all DPOA officers will get2 percent base wage hikes immediately, and 7 percent hikes by 2021. That’s in addition to an already-scheduled 3 percent increase in 2019.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow and Republican challenger John James
Detroit Public Television

Michigan’s senior U.S Senator and her Republican opponent faced off in a debate Monday in front of the Detroit Economic Club.

Eighteen-year incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow faces challenger John James, a Detroit native and U.S. Army combat veteran who served in the Iraq War.

Pelle Sten / Creative Commons

A new federal grant could help exonerate more wrongfully convicted people from Wayne County.

It marks the start of a partnership between Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School Innocence Project, and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Conviction Integrity Unit.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan and Canadian leaders, including Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, were in Windsor Friday to celebrate the start of construction on the new Gordie Howe International Bridge.

The Canadian government sees the new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario as a key national infrastructure project. Trudeau called it a “vital 2.5 km artery that will connect Windsor and Detroit and allow for an increased flow of people and goods between Canada and the United States.”

prison bars
Flickr user FatMandy /

A suburban Detroit police department has fired an officer after he was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Sergeant Ronald Buckley and two paramedics were charged Thursday in the death of William Marshall.

Detroit City Council

Detroit City Council member Gabe Leland was indicted on bribery-related charges Thursday.

A federal grand jury indicted Leland on two counts of bribery, and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A group of Detroit students walked out of class in protest on Wednesday, the same day the state uses student attendance numbers to decide how much per-pupil funding school districts receive.

The students say they did it to draw attention to water contamination in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. The district cut off drinking fountains and other drinking water sources before the school year started, after tests found high levels of lead and copper in some schools.

The latest rendering of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

Construction on the Gordie Howe International Bridge will get underway as soon as next week, as Canadian officials have reached a final deal with the private contractor that will build and operate the bridge.

striped safety cones on a road
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Workers will return to road construction projects that have been stalled since Labor Day due to an employee lockout, Gov. Snyder’s office announced Thursday.

The governor’s office helped broker a deal between the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, and Operating Engineers 324. MITA, a construction industry group representing road contractors, had locked out union workers over an ongoing contract dispute, bringing about 150 road construction projects around the state grinding to a halt.

Photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

One Detroit city council member is putting forth a slew of proposals she says will help correct some major inequities in the city.

Council President Pro-Tem Mary Sheffield’s bills aim to address a widely-held perception: that while pockets of Detroit boom with new development, most of the city’s longtime residents aren’t seeing any benefits. These bills deal with some of the city's most pressing "socioeconomic and human rights issues," Sheffield said.

Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

A pilot project in western Wayne County will offer people struggling with opioid addiction a possible path to recovery.

The Rescue Recovery program will provide people referred from St. Mary Mercy Livonia hospital or one of 18 participating law enforcement agencies with the opportunity to go through specialized detoxification treatment at the hospital.