Sarah Hulett

Assistant News Director

Sarah Hulett became Michigan Radio's assistant news director in August 2011. For five years she was the station's Detroit reporter, and contributed to several reporting projects that won state and national awards.

Sarah considers Detroit to be a perfect laboratory for great radio stories, because of its energy, its struggles, and its unique place in America's industrial and cultural landscape.

Before coming to Michigan Radio, Sarah spent five years as state Capitol correspondent for Michigan Public Radio. She's a graduate of Michigan State University.

Contact Sarah Hulett at sarah@michiganradio.org.

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Economy
6:29 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

What Whole Foods' opening means - and doesn't mean - about Midtown Detroit

Midtown Detroit is having a renaissance. But it's still not what you'd call affluent.
Ralf_H flickr

You may have heard that Whole Foods Market opened a store in Detroit today.

The grocery chain has a reputation for pricey organic fare.

So you might think its decision to set up shop in Detroit means there’s a little pocket of the Motor City that’s thriving. And you'd be right.

But the level of affluence in the neighborhood surrounding Whole Foods is well below what you would see in other cities that have undergone urban revival.

Bistros, bike factory, bachelor chic

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Education
9:08 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Feds dismiss state complaint regarding American Indian mascots

The U.S. Department of Education has dismissed a complaint from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights over schools’ use of American Indian mascots.

The civil rights department had argued that the images hurt Native American students’ academic performance, and create an unequal learning environment.

But federal education officials say opponents of Indian mascots and logos need to prove that they create a hostile environment for Native American students.

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Economy
2:00 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Third-annual Detroit retail contest opens today

If you have a great idea for new retail in the city of Detroit, now is the time to make your pitch. You could win a $50,000 pot of money to help you do it.

This is the third year Hatch Detroit is holding the contest for new retail ideas. Entries are being accepted today through July 13.

Joe Posch won the contest in 2011. Last November, he opened Hugh - his "classic bachelor pad" shop on Cass Avenue.

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Transportation
4:38 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Ambassador Bridge owners ask judge to invalidate permit for NITC

Lawyers for the Ambassador Bridge owners say the competing NITC would violate their exclusive franchise rights.
cmh2315fl flickr

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge are asking a federal judge to invalidate a presidential permit that would allow the construction of a competing bridge a couple miles away.

The State Department last month gave the go-ahead to the New International Trade Crossing. That prompted this amended complaint to a long-running lawsuit in federal court.

Attorneys for the Ambassador Bridge say building a competing bridge would violate its perpetual and exclusive franchise to own and operate a toll bridge linking Detroit and Windsor. The complaint points to studies that say up to three-quarters of the Ambassador Bridge's truck traffic, and more than a third of its passenger traffic would be diverted to the new bridge. 

The complaint also says the new crossing is an unconstitutional agreement. It says the state of Michigan can't legally enter into an agreement with the Canadian government.

The new bridge has strong support from Governor Snyder. The Canadian government has promised to pick up Michigan's share of the two-billion dollar tab for building the bridge.

To read the complaint, click here.

Politics & Government
11:44 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Parade-goers pay tribute to military in Dearborn

Dearborn holds one of the state's largest Memorial Day parades.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. It’s also the day when throngs of people line the sidewalks of cities and small towns across the state to watch marching bands and politicians parade down the street.

Crystal Schonfeld watched the parade in Dearborn with her mother. Her brother, Army National Guard Sergeant Michael Derome, is scheduled to return home from Afghanistan on Thursday.

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Politics & Government
12:37 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing won't seek re-election

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will not seek re-election.
Kate Davidson Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will not seek re-election.

Bing made that announcement after months of indecision. He frustrated reporters weeks ago when he pulled petitions for re-election, only to say he hadn't committed to running.

Then he called a press conference, and handed out pamphlets highlighting his successes in office.

Then he spoke for nearly 20 minutes about his achievements before announcing "that I have decided not to seek another term as mayor Detroit."

Bing said his political career might not be over.

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Law
10:50 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

NAACP files lawsuit against emergency manager law

Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Wendell Anthony announces the federal lawsuit challenging Michigan's emegency manager law.
NAACP

Michigan's controversial law that allows the state to take over the finances of cash-strapped cities is the subject of yet another lawsuit.

The Detroit branch of the NAACP filed the lawsuit in federal court today. It claims the state's emergency manager law is unconstitutional.

“It's fundamentally about our right to vote, and our right, as constitutionally guaranteed, to select and elect our own publicly elected officials,” said Detroit branch President Rev. Wendell Anthony.

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Education
6:00 am
Mon May 13, 2013

In Buena Vista, a school district's future hangs in limbo

Student artwork given to Buena Vista kindergarten teacher Marci Karwat.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

State officials announced over the weekend that they will lend money to Pontiac schools, and avert a payless payday there this week.

But there’s still no resolution in Buena Vista Township, where the school system abruptly shut down after running out of money a month before the end of the school year. So teachers, parents and students in the tiny school district near Saginaw are trying to figure out what to do next.      

“I hope the school district can work something out there,” Gov. Rick Snyder said late last week about a plan to educate Buena Vista’s 400 students.

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Law
12:55 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Detroit federal court officials look to improve jury diversity

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gerald Rosen, at lectern, says changes to the juror selection process should improve jury diversity.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

The federal court that serves 32 counties in the eastern half of Michigan is changing its juror selection process in the hopes of improving jury diversity.

Judges on the bench say one of the main problems is a high rate of "undeliverable" mail in ZIP codes where minorities live. So starting this month, when mailings to potential jurors come back to the court, another mailing will go out to the same ZIP code.

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Law
2:12 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

In Royal Oak, human rights law appears headed for ballot

morguefile.com

Royal Oak's city clerk has certified the signatures on petitions to force a referendum on a new gay rights ordinance in the Detroit suburb.

Fred Birchard submitted petitions Tuesday with 1,226 signatures seeking repeal of the law that Royal Oak's City Commission approved on a 6-1 vote March 4. The city clerk determined Wednesday that the necessary 746 signatures were valid.

The ordinance would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and other factors. It was set to take effect last month. But opponents circulated petitions to try and block it.

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Politics & Government
6:11 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Feds indict two Detroit pension officials

Federal prosecutors say two people linked to Detroit's pension systems took part in a bribery and kickback scheme involving more than $200 million in investments for the funds.

The U.S. Attorney in Detroit says Paul Stewart, a former trustee for the city's police and fire retirement system, took thousands of dollars in cash, trips and entertainment from people looking for investments from the pension fund.

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Politics & Government
10:45 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Can Detroit Be Saved?

Michigan is taking over Detroit's finances and will appoint an emergency manager to deal with the city's massive debt.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 11:04 am

Detroit is broke. On Friday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced the state will take over the city's finances.

"It is time to say, we need to start moving upward with the city of Detroit," he said.

But the question on many people's minds is whether state intervention will be enough — and whether the more ominous and painful scenario of municipal bankruptcy can be avoided.

Adding Up The Debt

Just how far gone is Detroit? Eric Lupher, director of local affairs for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, sums it up like this:

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Education
5:00 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Civil rights complaint ignites debate over Native American mascots

Marshall High School changed its nickname to the Redhawks nearly a decade ago, but "Redskins" gear still way out-sells "Redhawks" T-shirts and sweatshirts.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

For years, the debate about using American Indian names and imagery for sports teams has centered on the question of whether they create a “hostile environment” for Native American students. Courts have been split on that question, and so has public opinion – even among American Indians.

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Business
7:24 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Interior Secretary, Levin to talk historic preservation in Detroit

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Senator Carl Levin and Michigan officials will host a meeting in Detroit tomorrow to talk about how tax breaks for historic preservation projects can help distressed cities.

In a statement, Secretary Salazar says the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program has been used for 70 projects in Detroit since 2000. He says he wants to talk about how that program can help revitalize the city.

The meeting will take place in the Odd Fellows Building, which was rehabbed in 2006 with the help of historic tax credits.

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Environment & Science
4:23 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Study looks to get to bottom of 'Windsor hum'

University of Windsor Professor Colin Novak stands in front of some of the equipment that will be used to pinpoint the source of the "Windsor hum."
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Researchers in Ontario will spend the coming months trying to get to the bottom of the noise and vibration known as the "Windsor Hum."

People in Windsor have complained about the low-frequency rumbling for the past two years.

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Education
10:35 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Internet rumors close Genesee Co., Lapeer schools

A Maya mask... made before the days of social media.
Wolfgang Sauber Wikipedia

Schools in Genesee and Lapeer counties will be closed tomorrow and Friday, amid threats circulated on social media.

From the Genesee Co. Intermediate School District Web site:

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Economy
7:08 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

STATESIDE: Ambitious Detroit agriculture project starts to take root

Hantz Farms president Mike Score at the demonstration project intended to show what Hantz Woodlands will do for Detroit's lower east side.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

There are parts of Detroit that have basically reverted to nature – the homes long gone, the grass tall, the pheasants outnumbering residents on some blocks.

One entrepreneur sees potential in all that empty, blighted space. But he’s not building new houses, or opening up a factory. Instead, he’s planning to plant thousands of trees.

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Business
10:36 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Land sale draws huge, negative reaction at public hearing in Detroit

Robert Anderson, Detroit's director of Planning and Development, addresses a public hearing. Hundreds of people showed up to weigh in on the Hantz Woodlands proposal.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

A proposal to sell more than 140 acres of abandoned lots in Detroit drew hundreds of people to a public hearing tonight.

The vast majority were there to speak out against the plan.

Financial services entrepreneur John Hantz wants to buy more than 1,500 blighted city-owned lots and plant hardwood trees on them. Under the proposal, Hantz would pay $300 dollars per lot.

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Education
3:19 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

U of M Provost to become Dartmouth president

Provost Philip Hanlon

University of Michigan Provost Philip Hanlon will be the new president of Dartmouth College. Hanlon has served as provost since 2010.

"(Hanlon) has steered the University through some of its most fiscally challenging years, all the while advancing our academic excellence and impact," U of M President Mary Sue Coleman said in a statement.

Hanlon started with the university in the mathematics department in 1986. He's a graduate of Dartmouth.

Economy
11:29 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Enough consumerism, calls for 'Giving Tuesday'

Greengobbler Morguefile

Philanthropic organizations want to capitalize on the spending campaigns of "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday"  - and also flip the idea of consumerism on its head.

The idea behind "Giving Tuesday" is to take time to donate to charity, after two of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Eileen Heisman is the CEO of National Philanthropic Trust - one of the groups promoting the campaign.

"This is the first year, but I think it's going to continue," said Heisman. "I'm almost positive it is, and so I think in the following years we'll see a much bigger push and more visibility for people taking this time of year to give back in a more formal way on this day."

Charities report nearly a quarter of their annual donations come between Thanksgiving and New Years.

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