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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Politics & Government
1:35 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

No "grand bargain" for Detroit's water department, as Orr considers private bids

As “grand bargain” legislation sails through Lansing, the fate of Detroit’s water department could become the biggest issue holding up a speedy exit from bankruptcy.

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr maintains the city needs to find some way to generate revenue from the system, which serves more than 4 million people in southeast Michigan.

Orr is still pursuing two different possibilities: spinning the department off to a regional water authority, or leasing it to a private operator.

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Families & Community
4:25 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Cereal drive targets a downside of summer: child hunger

There’s an effort underway to make sure kids who usually get breakfast at school don’t go hungry in the summer months.

This is the fifth year that nurses at the Detroit Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital have taken up a cereal drive for those at-risk kids.

The drive was the brainchild of Pam Taurence and her colleagues on the Professional Nurse Council.

Taurence says it started in 2010, when the group was trying to come up with an idea for a community service project.

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Law
7:00 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Ruling that puts Conyers on the ballot also a victory for Michigan ACLU

The court ruling that put Detroit Congressman John Conyers back on the primary ballot is also a victory for voting rights advocates.

A federal judge recently declared a Michigan law that required petition circulators to be registered voters unconstitutional.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office has now opted not to appeal.

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Politics & Government
6:31 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Duggan's pitch to companies: Change a Detroit teen's life with a summer job

Mike Duggan

Helping Detroit teens get summer jobs could change their lives forever, and benefit whole communities.

That was Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s pitch for his new “TeenWork Initiative” at the Mackinac Island Policy Conference.

Duggan said too many Detroit teens feel like they’ve been “discarded” by society and the economy.

But he thinks that could change if they heard a different message.

“How powerful would it be if hundreds of companies came together and said, ‘We believe in you; we believe in your potential?” Duggan said.

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Law
10:59 am
Thu May 29, 2014

DIA vows court battle to protect museum's collection, as city tries to put a price tag on it

Credit Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts is firing back at creditors who say the city should use the museum’s assets to pay them off.

The DIA filed a formal objection to those creditors in bankruptcy court this week, just as city lawyers acknowledged an ongoing effort to put a price tag on the museum’s entire collection.

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Transportation
5:55 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Study finds Metro Detroit pedestrians face higher risk

A new study suggests that Detroit is the most dangerous city in the Midwest for pedestrians.

The study comes from the National Complete Streets Coalition, a non-profit that advocates modifying streetscapes to accommodate more than cars.

It calculated a “Pedestrian Danger Index” that ranked Detroit the 11th most-dangerous metro area in the country—and the most dangerous outside the South.

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Politics & Government
8:00 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Wayne County getting much-needed cash from its treasurer; report finds he owes more

Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz
Credit via Wayne County

Struggling Wayne County will get a much-needed cash infusion, thanks to its own treasurer’s office—and the county’s auditor general thinks it should get even more.

Michigan’s largest county is in major financial trouble, running a deficit of at least $175 million and growing.

The state recently approved a deficit-elimination plan that includes steep cuts and possible asset sales. And there’s been lots of speculation about a possible emergency manager coming down the road.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Mon May 26, 2014

2 from Michigan champion the A-10 in Congress--and right now, they're winning

An A-10 Thunderbolt
Credit wikipedia

If Congress has its way, it looks like the country’s fleet of A-10 warplanes will keep on flying for at least for another year.

The Obama Administration has repeatedly tried to retire the A-10 “Warthog,” an aircraft with origins in the Cold War era. The Defense Department says it’s now obsolete.

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Politics & Government
3:02 pm
Sat May 24, 2014

Duggan: "We got enough" in grand bargain bills

Mike Duggan

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says he “completely supports” the Detroit aid package being debated in Lansing, despite the conditions attached to it.

The 11-bill package would put $195 million in state funds toward the $816 million “grand bargain:” a deal to smooth Detroit’s trip through bankruptcy by minimizing cuts to retiree pensions, and shielding the Detroit Institute of Arts’ assets from city creditors.

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Law
6:00 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Christian leaders speak up for same-sex marriage: "We stand with the God of compassion"

Christian leaders speak out for same-sex marriage rights at Detroit's Salem Memorial Church.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A group of Metro Detroit clergy leaders stood together Thursday to send a clear message: They support same-sex marriage and equal rights for LGBT people.

They also strongly condemned some of their fellow Michigan Christian leaders who are fighting to uphold the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Last week, a group of about 200, mostly Michigan-based black pastors declared that “the fight is on” to protect “traditional” marriage.

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Detroit
11:58 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Koch brothers' group tries to derail Detroit bankruptcy deal

Detroit's skyline.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Listen to the broadcast version of this story.

Michigan lawmakers are debating a $200 million aid package for Detroit as the city moves through bankruptcy. Until now, state lawmakers haven’t been willing to help it with anything that could be called a “bailout.”

While Governor Rick Snyder supports the current deal, many of his fellow Republicans appear to be balking, especially after a threat of political retribution from the Koch Brothers political network.

Detroit officials have been doing lots of talking in Lansing for the past week, lobbying hard for the state aid package.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

JPMorgan comes to Detroit with $100M plan, and gets a warm welcome

James Dimon
Credit en.wikipedia.org

Global financial giant JPMorgan Chase is bringing Wall Street money to the Motor City.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon formally unveiled his company’s plans to put $100 million into a range of targeted initiatives at a Detroit luncheon Wednesday.

Dimon called the effort a “long term investment” in a rebounding city.

“We believe in Detroit’s future, and we want to see the city recover its economic strength,” said Dimon.

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Transportation
7:00 am
Wed May 21, 2014

As state looks to boost road spending, transit advocates want a fair share

Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

As state lawmakers look to boost investment in Michigan's roads, transit advocates are calling on Lansing not to forget the state’s public transportation systems.

House Speaker Jase Bolger has proposed legislation that would reconfigure gas taxes and add other measures to raise about $450 million a year for road repairs. On Tuesday, Senate Majority leader Randy Richardville said he wants to triple that amount to about $1.5 billion.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Will objections slow Detroit's trip through bankruptcy?

Detroit’s bankruptcy process has been speedy so far--but hit a few apparent stumbling blocks last week, as creditors filed a slew of objections to the city’s plan of adjustment.

They included representatives for some Detroit bondholders, who are upset about the proposed “grand bargain” to use more than $800 million to minimize pension cuts, and protect the Detroit Institute of Arts from possible liquidation.

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Law
6:36 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Campaign looks to make more Michigan immigrants U.S. citizens

Cenia Fraire talks about becoming a US citizen.
Credit via Michigan United

Immigrant advocates in southeast Michigan have launched a push to make more people US citizens.

The New Americans campaign is on the ground in eight U.S. cities, including metro Detroit.

The area is home to large numbers of people who are permanent residents, but haven’t taken the steps to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Diego Bonesatti, legal director for the pro-immigrant group Michigan United, says that’s in part because the immigration process has become a lot more complex in recent years.

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Law
8:17 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Religious groups say 'The fight is on' over same-sex marriage

Rev. Stacy Swimp leads defenders of traditional marriage First Baptist International World Changers church in Detroit.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A coalition of about 200 mostly Michigan-based black pastors says “the fight is on” when it comes to same-sex marriage.

A federal judge overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage earlier this year. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has appealed that ruling, and it’s now headed to the US 6th Circuit court of appeals.

The pastors condemned the ruling in an event at First Baptist International World Changers church in Detroit Wednesday.

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Environment & Science
9:00 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Two of Michigan's biggest industrial polluters get "updated" permits

Credit user c braun / flickr

State environmental officials have agreed to update air quality permits for two of the state’s biggest and most polluting industrial facilities.

Dearborn’s Marathon oil refinery and Dearborn’s Severstal steel plants have had trouble complying with their state permits in recent years.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality now agrees with the companies contention that some of the old standards were too strict. The updated permits relax some emissions rules, while strengthening others.

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Politics & Government
8:03 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Report: Conyers "far short" of signatures needed to put him on the ballot

John Conyers

Longtime Congressman John Conyers is about 400 signatures short of what he needs to be on the August primary ballot.

The Detroit Democrat is seeking a 26th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he’s the second longest-serving member.

But Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett has now released a report that finds Conyers only got 592 valid petition signatures – far short of the 1,000 needed to get on the ballot.

Garrett ruled that hundreds of signatures were invalid because the petition circulators who gathered them weren’t registered to vote at the time.

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Law
7:50 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Lawsuit accuses Dearborn Police of assaulting mentally handicapped man

Ali Beydoun said he was assaulted by Dearborn police

A mentally handicapped Dearborn man plans to sue the city for alleged police brutality.

28-year-old Ali Beydoun was stopped by police while riding his bike home from his job as a dishwasher in December.

A dashcam video shows that an officer approaches him, and asks a few questions.

But when the officer tries to pat him down for weapons, Beydoun resists. He’s then wrestled to the ground and kicked by officers.

Beydoun’s lawyers say that same video shows officers used excessive force.

Attorney Amir Makled says it also should have been obvious to officers that his client is mentally disabled.

Makled says the situation was complicated by the fact that Beydoun only speaks limited English. His family emigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon six years ago.

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Law
10:50 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Lawsuit says U of M uses residency requirements to "discriminate" against immigrant students

Plaintiff Hussein Berry, right, and attorney Nabih Ayad.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

 A civil rights group says the University of Michigan is discriminating against students from immigrant families.

The Arab American Civil Rights League has filed a class action federal lawsuit against the school.

It claims the university wrongly classifies some students from immigrant backgrounds as out-of-state residents.

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