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
6:00 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Detroit leaders promise ambitious 'Future City' plan will become reality

Detroit Future City will focus heavily on stabilizing Detroit neighborhoods, in part through blight eradication.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit officials say they’re committed to making the Detroit Future City plan a reality.

The comprehensive –and controversial – plan has been years in the making. It’s meant to serve as a long-term guide for city leaders and policy-makers.

Detroit Future City started with a more modest goal –finding a better way to deal with Detroit’s abundant vacant land.

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Politics & Government
1:36 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Fate of Detroit's water department a big question mark in city's plan to shed debts

Credit Kate Boicourt / IAN

What does the future hold for Detroit’s water and sewerage department?

We should have a better idea later this week, when the city’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, submits a landmark plan in bankruptcy court this week.

Orr must submit a plan of adjustment for how to deal with Detroit’s estimated $18 billion in long-term debt, and one major sticking point has been what to do with the water department.

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Politics & Government
11:26 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Snyder urges feds to act on new bridge, immigration proposal

Governor says plans to build a new bridge connecting Detroit and Canada have hit a snag—and he’s getting frustrated with the federal government.

The Governor spoke to the Detroit Regional Chamber while President Obama signed the new farm bill in Lansing Friday.

In 2012, Governor Snyder went around the state legislature and signed an agreement with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to build the New International Trade Crossing between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Detroit gets a new sports and entertainment district, but not without controversy

Governor Snyder signed legislation to create the arena district in late 2012. The Detroit City Council sealed the deal Tuesday.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit City Council has approved a major land deal to create a new hockey arena and entertainment district.

The Council transferred all city-owned land within the 45-block entertainment district’s borders to Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority Tuesday – for just $1.

That Authority will manage the mega-development, along with Olympia Development of Michigan.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Detroit's Belle Isle on the cusp of becoming Michigan's newest state park

The Scott Fountain on Belle Isle

As Detroit’s Belle Isle is about to become Michigan’s newest state park, the island’s state park advisory committee met for the first time Thursday.

That committee is meant to add a measure of transparency to the island’s new governing scheme, members said they would work to earn Detroiters' trust.

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Auto
6:00 am
Tue January 28, 2014

100 years ago, Henry Ford doubled factory wages – and changed history

Henry Ford in 1919
Credit via Wikipedia

The home of the Ford Model T is now an abandoned factory complex along busy Woodward Avenue in Highland Park, Michigan – and there's not much to distinguish this place from Detroit's other industrial ruins.

But if you stop and walk up to the front of the building, you'll find a historical marker telling us that by 1925, this place churned out more than 9,000 Ford Model Ts a day.

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Law
2:00 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

More options, protections against heat shutoffs this winter – but no guarantees

Michigan customers who struggle to pay heating bills have some additional legal protections from heat shutoffs this winter.

But with the ongoing brutal cold, this will prove a painful winter for people already struggling to pay utility bills. And some households still face the very real prospect of going without heat.

In 2013, the state implemented a variety of new rules outlining how and when utilities can shut off service to residential customers.

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Law
6:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

New report details 'abusive' surveillance of former Detroit police commissioner

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The former chairman of Detroit’s Police Board of Commissioners was the target of inappropriate surveillance, according to a new report.

The report, from Detroit’s Office of Inspector General, confirms that Jerome Warfield was the subject of police surveillance on “multiple occasions” in early 2013.

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Politics & Government
10:24 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

A crucial week in talks to decide fate of Detroit's water system

Credit Kate Boicourt / IAN

Intense negotiations regarding the future of Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department continued behind closed doors in federal court Tuesday.

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr is pushing hard for a deal that would largely transfer control of the water department to a regional water authority.

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Offbeat
10:30 am
Tue January 21, 2014

New study: Nowhere close to 50,000 stray dogs in Detroit

Reporter Sarah Cwiek's excellent guard dog, Mencken, hails from the streets of Detroit. While strays are a big problem in the city, new data suggest previous "wild dog" estimates were hugely inflated.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Personal photo

An animal welfare group says there are far fewer “wild dogs” running Detroit streets than many have suggested.

Detroit has captured national headlines in recent months for its stray dog problem, with some reports estimating the city was home to at least 50,000 dogs roaming the streets.

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Law
12:01 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Canadian trucking company slammed with $75,000 Asian carp fine

Asian carp
Credit DNR

A Canadian court has slammed a trucking company and one of its drivers with a combined $75,000 fine for trying to haul live Asian carp across the U.S.-Canadian border.

Driver Yong-Sheng Zhang is with the Edmonton, Alberta-based Alltheway Trucking Inc.

Twice in early 2012, Zhang crossed the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, with a truckload of fish from Arkansas. The fish were packed in ice, and included two species of Asian carp.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Biden at Detroit Auto Show: 'We bet on you, and we won'

Vice President Joe Biden at the 2014 NAIAS.
Sonari Glinton NPR

Vice President Joe Biden says the US government bet on American automakers—and won.

Biden touted the auto industry’s comeback during a stop at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show Thursday.

Biden said Detroit’s automakers have come a long way since GM and Chrysler went bankrupt in 2009.

And he said that resurgence proves the government-backed restructuring worked—and saved the country from a much deeper recession.

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Auto
9:47 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Meet the workers who power Detroit's Auto Show

A Fiat product specialist at the auto show
Credit Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

At Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, the focus is naturally on the cars.

But behind the scenes, more than 2,000 people labor to make sure visitors are impressed by what they see.

Detroit has hosted an auto show for over a century now. And in a place known as the Motor City, it’s always been a pretty big deal.

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Auto
12:37 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

With the Chrysler 200, automaker is looking to "redefine" a changing brand

The Chrysler 200

Chrysler introduced the car it’s promising will “redefine the brand” at Detroit’s auto show Monday.

The “flagship” 2015 Chrysler 200 is the Auburn Hills-based automaker’s first venture into the highly competitive mid-size sedan market in more than a decade.

Chrysler officials say the model will go “head-to-head” with its competitors in terms of quality, design and – at just under $22,000 – price.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Detroit emergency manager "freezes" pension benefits, then backs off -- temporarily

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr moved to “freeze” pension benefits for some city retirees — then suspended that action as the city and pension fund representatives talk in mediation.

Orr quietly issued that order late last month. It affects members of Detroit’s General Retirement System—not police officers or firefighters, who have their own, separate pension fund.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Democrats urge extension of emergency unemployment benefits

Sander Levin

Some top members of the US House—including one from Michigan—say Congress should act on unemployment insurance this week.

Emergency federal benefits for the long-term unemployed expired in late December. 1.3 million people lost unemployment benefits immediately—including more than 43,000 in Michigan.

Michigan Congressman Sander Levin is one of the Democrats who argue it’s counter-productive to cut off the long-term unemployed.

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Law
5:00 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Police Chief: Detroit crime down in 2013

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s crime rate fell slightly in 2013, according to data released by the city’s police department Thursday.

Detroit recorded 333 criminal homicides last year, down from 386 in 2012.

Non-fatal shootings also declined, though there were still well over 1,100 of them.

Overall, violent crime declined by 7%, and property crime was down by the same amount.

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Politics & Government
5:01 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Duggan sworn in as Detroit's 75th mayor

Mike Duggan, after winning the Detroit mayoral primary.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Wasting no time, Mike Duggan was officially sworn in as Detroit’s 75th mayor on New Year’s Day.

Duggan took the oath in a small interoffice ceremony, surrounded by his family.

He comes into office as Detroit’s fate hangs in the balance in bankruptcy cout, with his mayoral powers limited by emergency manager Kevyn Orr.

Orr and Duggan have a power-sharing agreement that gives the mayor control of most day-to-day city operations. Duggan says he’ll do what he can with that.

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Sports
6:00 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Hockey fans invade Detroit, gear up for NHL Winter Classic

Hockey fans outside Comerica Park in Detroit
Credit NHL Network / via Twitter

Downtown Detroit is alive with the sounds and smells of outdoor hockey right now, as the city enters the fifth and final day of the Hockeytown Winter Festival.

And those festivities are just a prelude to the big event in Ann Arbor — the 6th annual NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on New Year’s Day.

That outdoor game will feature two of the NHL’s Original Six teams, the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The game alone is expected to draw well over 100,000 fans to the Big House.

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Transportation
9:59 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Expect to see driverless cars test-driving on Michigan roads soon

A Toyota Prius, modified by Google to function as a driverless car
Credit Wikipedia

Governor Snyder has signed a law that opens up Michigan’s roads as testing grounds for driverless cars.

More and more, it seems that these autonomous vehicles — “intelligent” cars that can drive themselves and even communicate with each other — will be a big part of our transportation future.

At least, that’s what Gov. Snyder and the state’s carmakers are banking on. And they want to stay ahead of the curve in research and design.

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