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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The remains of the tanker that exploded on I-75 on August 20. The truck's driver was killed.

Exploding tankers have added another layer of headache to Michigan’s road woes this year, and the state is still totaling up the damage costs.

Three tankers have blown up in 2015 so far—all along busy interstate corridors in or just outside Detroit.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Thousands of union members marched into downtown Detroit Monday as part of the city’s annual Labor Day parade.

Mirroring the downward trend in union membership nationally, parade attendance has lagged in recent years.

But the event still draws a big crowd, and there was an effort to bump up attendance this year, particularly from UAW locals.

The UAW is in the midst of bargaining new contracts with Detroit automakers.

 A suburban Detroit police officer won’t face charges for shooting and killing a high school senior.

Police in the downriver community of Trenton shot 18-year-old Kyle Baker inside his home in late May.

They were called to do a welfare check on the teen, after school officials reported his “erratic and paranoid behavior before leaving campus.”

Officers entered the home, where Baker advanced on them with a two-foot-long lawnmower blade, according to Trenton police.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

There’s a lot of talk (though as of yet, no action) about a long-term solution for fixing Michigan’s crumbling roads.

One question that comes up a lot in the surrounding debate: What role do all those heavy trucks play, and what should we do about them?

That’s the question at the heart of this edition of MI Curious, Michigan Radio’s series investigating listener questions about our state.

Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek looked into this question from Ethan Winter, who asked: “Why are all the weigh stations always closed?”

City of Sterling Heights / via Facebook

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor is clarifying comments he made online this week about a controversial mosque project that’s divided the city.

Taylor has said on Facebook and elsewhere that he opposes plans to build a mosque at a busy intersection in the Macomb County suburb.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Muslim flight attendant disciplined for refusing to serve alcohol has filed a federal complaint in Detroit.

Attorneys for Charee Stanley filed the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Tuesday.

Stanley is a flight attendant with ExpressJet Airways, working with Detroit-based management and crew.

When she converted to Islam about two years ago, Stanley says she arranged for fellow flight attendants to serve alcohol on her behalf.


Forty-three Michigan school districts will start this school year with a lower credit rating.

The Detroit News reports that Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the districts over the past year.

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Oakland Community College, Michigan’s largest community college system, will sharply cut back its online course offerings next year.

OCC has offered online courses for years.

More recently, it sought accreditation as a “virtual campus” that’s authorized to grant online-learning based degrees as well.

Friends School Detroit / via Facebook

Michigan’s only Quaker-run school is closing its doors—at least for now.

Detroit’s Friends School told parents the news this week.

Parents and board members say it’s a huge blow to the school and larger Detroit communities.


The Detroit Institute of Arts’ chairman says top museum officials — including the museum’s recently-departed director — deserve bonuses and other perks.

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Federal prosecutors and law enforcement from a half-dozen states across the Midwest and South met Wednesday in Detroit.

On the agenda: how to grapple with the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s long-suffering firefighters are getting some much-needed new equipment.

The city unveiled five brand-new fire engines Friday. They’re part of a total ten new vehicles the department added to its fleet this month.

The rigs will go to five fire stations spread across the city, says Detroit fire commissioner Edsel Jenkins.

Gregory Vadon / flickr

Another Republican presidential hopeful dropped in on the Detroit Economic Club Tuesday.

Florida senator Marco Rubio was the latest Republican candidate to address the Economic Club, which has already hosted Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The federal agent who shot and killed Detroit armed robbery suspect Terrence Kellom was justified in doing so, Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy said Tuesday.

Worthy said that following a lengthy investigation, there's no evidence to warrant charging Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer Mitchell Quinn with a crime.

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A Detroit police officer is accused of knowing about a conspiracy to commit murder, then lying to investigators about it.

A one-man grand jury indictment unsealed Monday lays out charges against Officer Elijah Lately.

Lately is accused of knowing about a plot to murder a witness in another criminal case.

via Michigan United

A Metro Detroit restaurant worker has been spared from deportation — for now.

Jose Adolfo Zaldana says he fled El Salvador and entered the U.S. illegally because he faced forced recruitment by the notorious MS-13 gang.

When local governments get sued and lose, Michigan residents can end up paying taxes that voters never approved and that exceed state limitations.

Normally, that can’t happen under the Headlee Amendment to the state constitution. But as the result of a Michigan Supreme Court decision, there’s an exception for court-ordered judgments.

State of Michigan

Wayne County commissioners will officially decide Thursday how to tackle the county’s financial emergency.

Michigan’s largest county has reported a running budget gap of around $50 million a year, prompting Wayne County Executive Warren Evans to ask the state to step in.

via Michigan United

Supporters of a metro Detroit man facing deportation pleaded his case in front of Detroit’s federal courthouse Monday.

Jose Adolfo Zaldana came to the U.S. illegally. He’s been in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention for over a year, and he could be deported back to El Salvador as soon as this week.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools’ elected board has filed a federal civil rights complaint against Governor Rick Snyder.

The Title VI complaint — the portion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which deals with discrimination claims against institutions that receive federal funds — asks the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate a number of allegations against the district and its state-appointed officials.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

An unspecified “technical glitch” in the Detroit Public Schools’ payroll system has left teachers in the lurch this week.

Some teachers were shorted hundreds of dollars in the last pay period, while others weren’t paid at all, according to Detroit Federation of Teachers President Steve Conn.

Jim Wallace / flickr

After several postponements, the Detroit City Council has voted to approve the first step in a controversial land swap deal.

Detroit will receive almost five acres and $3 million from the Detroit International Bridge Company, which owns the Ambassador Bridge.

via 38th District Court

A low-income Metro Detroit woman who faced jail time over dog license fees got help from a higher court this week.

The Macomb County Circuit Court stepped in to stop an Eastpointe judge from sentencing Donna Anderson.

Anderson told 38th District Court Judge Carl Gerds she couldn’t afford the $455 in licensing costs and court fees.

The Detroit City Council has reversed course and agreed to hike the city’s water and sewerage rates.

The Council voted 5-4 to approve a 7.5% increase Tuesday, after voting it down last month.

Thomas Hawk / flickr

A state review team has confirmed a financial emergency in Wayne County.

The governor will have 10 days to decide whether he agrees that Wayne County is in dire straits. But no one expects the governor will take that long.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s two largest counties are illegally foreclosing on thousands of properties for delinquent taxes, according to class-action lawsuits filed this month.

Wayne and Oakland counties have both foreclosed on thousands of properties for unpaid taxes in recent years.

But in doing so they’ve denied property owners their due process rights, according to the lawsuits filed in circuit courts for both counties.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans says the time to right the county’s finances is “fading quickly.”

Evans issued that warning Tuesday as he sent his $1.54 billion recommended budget to the Wayne County Commission for approval.

Jim Wallace / Flickr

The Detroit City Council Tuesday pushed back a vote on a major land deal backed by Mayor Mike Duggan until next week.

Some Council members have lingering concerns about a proposed land swap with the Detroit International Bridge Company. They’re still waiting on state reports and legal opinions concerning some key elements of the deal.

University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment

The Detroit City Council is set to vote on a riverfront land deal heavily touted by Mayor Mike Duggan today.

But some council members say there are too many unanswered questions about a key part of it.

Wikimedia Commons

A dog’s death at Detroit’s animal control shelter is sparking renewed calls to overhaul the facility.

The dog died of the highly-contagious parvovirus, after its owner and staff found it in grave condition at the shelter. Animal control officers had been holding the dog after it reportedly bit two people.