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

via sphinxmusic.org

The subject of diversity in the performing arts takes center stage in Detroit this weekend at the 2015 SphinxCon.

The annual conference is hosted by the Sphinx Organization, a Detroit-based, national non-profit that promotes diversity in the fine arts.

“It speaks to Sphinx’s mission for the arts to be representative of our diverse society,” says Abigayl Venman, Sphinx director of artistic affairs. “And really strive for the arts to be relevant to all facets of our community.”

The Tricycle Collective / via Facebook

Most Detroit households should see some relief on their property assessments this year.

Mayor Mike Duggan’s office says about three-quarters of households should see their assessments knocked down 10-20%. Outside of 25 “stable neighborhoods” where the city believes property values are truly on the rise, all city homeowners should see some kind of relief.

via city of Detroit

Detroit officials say they’re confident the fledgling Great Lakes Water Authority will work out—despite concerns and complaints from some suburban officials questioning its future.

The GLWA gives regional players a larger role in running Detroit’s city-owned water system, which services some 4 million customers in southeast Michigan.

via Detroit Economic Club

Former Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr was back in town Tuesday for an “exit interview” before the Detroit Economic Club.

Orr reiterated that municipal bankruptcy was the only real option for Detroit, but insisted both he and the city got through the process relatively unscathed.

“We got really lucky,” Orr said of his team. “We managed to get out of here without selling anything. I managed to get out without being indicated, so that’s sort of a badge of success,” he added, to audience laughter.

via buildingdetroit.org

Detroit city workers, retirees and their immediate relatives could soon qualify for a 50% discount off the purchase price on some city homes.

The deal would apply to vacant homes auctioned off by the Detroit Land Bank Authority. That online auction has been one of Mayor Mike Duggan’s signature initiatives.

Metro Detroit has any number of problems, but finding affordable housing isn’t one of them.

In fact—by one measure at least—the region offers some of the most affordable housing anywhere in the world.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The new Detroit Federation of Teachers’ President says it’s time for the union to “draw a line in the sand.”

Steve Conn was just elected to lead the union of nearly 4,000 Detroit Public Schools teachers.

He took the oath of office Tuesday, vowing to take a hard line against Gov. Snyder, the district’s new emergency manager, Darnell Earley — and the years of state-led intervention Conn says have devastated the district.

via detroitmi.gov

Troubles with a new regional water system, uncertainty about roads and mass transit, and ongoing budget difficulties—all were topics among Detroit’s “Big Four” leaders Tuesday.

The Big Four includes the heads of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, along with Detroit’s mayor. In recent years, they’ve met held an annual public meet-up to discuss regional cooperation and other issues in southeast Michigan.

A handful of Detroit-based civic-building projects will receive grants totaling $10 million from the Ford Foundation this year.

The New York-based global charity, which has its roots with the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, has upped its philanthropic role in Detroit since the city’s bankruptcy.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager is moving into a new role: as emergency manager of the Detroit Public Schools.

Gov. Snyder named Darnell Earley as the school district’s fourth consecutive emergency manager on Tuesday.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

This is a crucial week for the future of the Detroit Public Schools—and possibly holds a key test for Michigan’s emergency manager law, too.

The school district’s third emergency manager, Jack Martin, is expected to leave this week, after serving in that post for 18 months.

Under Michigan’s revised emergency manager law, elected officials—in this case, the Detroit Board of Education—can remove an emergency manager after that period of time by a 2/3 vote. The board has indicated they intend to do just that.

The 2015 VW Golf (left), and the 2015 Ford F-150 (right) at the North American International Auto Show.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Volkwagen Golf was named the North American Car of the Year, beating out the other two competitors nominated for the award – the Ford Mustang, and the Hyundai Genesis.

via shopatnorthland.com

Another major retailer is bowing out of Southfield’s struggling Northland mall.

Macy’s announced this week that it’s shuttering 14 stores nationwide—including the Northland location.

It’s yet another serious blow to Northland: Target also recently announced plans to close its Northland location this year. The mall itself is in receivership.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

While Detroit has now officially exited bankruptcy, a small but dedicated group of city retirees and employees is still fighting the city’s restructuring plan in court.

Judge Steven Rhodes approved the city’s plan of adjustment in November, and that plan went into effect in December.

However, the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association is pursuing an appeal that’s set to be heard in federal court later this year. 

Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area

A massive tree-clearing could start this week at the Bay City State Recreation Area.

The state park has been battling an emerald ash borer infestation for almost four years, and park manager George Lauinger says state and park officials eventually decided it’s best to get rid of the trees in one fell swoop.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Detroit may have wrapped up 2014 with the fewest number of homicides in decades.

The end-of-year crime data is still preliminary.

But Detroit police officials say the official homicide tally for 2014 stands at 300 right now—though several more people were killed in the final week of the year.

Some graffiti found on a Midtown Detroit youth center this week evokes recent incidents of violence and tension between police and civilians--and it's being condemned as inflammatory by both police and community groups.

Tricycle Collective / via Facebook

People living in homes owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority should get a chance to buy them back.

That’s the message from the Tricycle Collective, a group that’s been helping Detroit families facing tax foreclosure.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Wednesday is a crucial deadline for city of Detroit retirees.

It’s the last day to file applications for help from a state-backed income stabilization fund.

That fund is meant to help pensioners pushed into or near poverty by cuts made during the city’s restructuring in bankruptcy.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Ring in the New Year with a bell, not a bang.

That’s the message of a campaign to discourage Detroit’s unofficial tradition of celebratory New Year’s gunfire.

The Reverend Nicholas Hood III has spearheaded the campaign since 1997, when a Detroit woman, Sandra Latham, was killed by a stray gunshot.

There’s no real data on the subject, but Hood says there’s some evidence the campaign has worked.

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