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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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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Politics & Government
4:47 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Detroit, banks reach new deal on pension debt

Peter Martorano Flickr

The city of Detroit has reached another tentative agreement to pay off two banks for a complicated pension debt deal that's costing the city millions of dollars each month.

Emergency manager Kevyn Orr  proposed to borrow $350 million, and use most of it to pay off the banks and end the deal, at about 75 cents on the dollar.

But bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes questioned whether that agreement was too generous. He ordered the two sides to go back to the bargaining table.

After days of “intense negotiations,” the parties reached a Christmas Eve deal that would pay the banks more like 55 to 60 cents on the dollar, saving Detroit about $65 million.

But Judge Rhodes must still approve those terms.

Politics & Government
8:17 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Proposed new Red Wings arena, entertainment district clear more hurdles

Credit Wikipedia

A proposed new hockey arena and entertainment district in Detroit has cleared more hurdles.

The Detroit City Council voted Friday on two measures that will allow the $650 million project to move forward.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Duggan, Orr reach power-sharing agreement in Detroit

Detroit mayor-elect Mike Duggan will have broad powers to run the city’s day-to-day business.

Duggan and emergency manager Kevyn Orr have reached a power-sharing agreement that gives Duggan control over most city functions.

While Duggan will have substantial operational powers, he’s also promised not to “interfere” with any of Orr’s financial control.

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Law
6:00 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Homeowner who shot Renisha McBride will go on trial for murder

Renisha McBride
Credit Family photo

The Dearborn Heights homeowner who shot an unarmed teenager on his front porch has been bound over for trial.

Theodore Wafer will face trial for second-degree murder, manslaughter, and a felony firearms charge in 19-year-old Renisha McBride’s death.

Dearborn Heights judge David Turfe ruled Thursday the case can proceed after nearly two days of expert and witness testimony.

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Sports
10:17 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

NHL gift benefits hockey rink at Detroit's Clark Park

Clark Park hockey players prepare to for a clinic with the Detroit Red Wings.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Red Wings’ charity and the National Hockey League have teamed up to refurbish Detroit’s only outdoor hockey rink.

The gift, which benefits southwest Detroit’s Clark Park, was announced there Monday. The facility will get a new Zamboni, new lighting and other upgrades worth about $200,000.

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Law
2:56 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Judge rules that his Detroit bankruptcy finding can be directly appealed

John Meiu Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC

The judge in Detroit’s bankruptcy case says creditors can appeal his recent eligibility ruling directly to a higher federal court.

Judge Steven Rhodes ruled earlier this month that Detroit is eligible to proceed with its historic bankruptcy case.

He also ruled that city pensions can be cut in federal bankruptcy court — despite a public pension guarantee in Michigan’s state constitution.

City unions, pension funds and retiree groups immediately said they intended to appeal both decisions.

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Politics & Government
9:52 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Deal for new Red Wings arena moves forward; state could pay for Joe Louis demolition

Credit Wikipedia

The Detroit Red Wings are a step closer to getting a new home.

Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority approved a concession management agreement that provides the framework for a new $450 million sports and entertainment arena Friday.

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Politics & Government
1:08 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Obama administration touts Detroit jobs efforts

Two Obama administration officials were in Detroit this week to highlight White House efforts to help Detroit.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited Macomb Community College.

That school is one of eight Michigan community colleges sharing a $25 million grant to “create and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and businesses” to train more workers for in-demand jobs.

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Politics & Government
6:38 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

In his farewell speech Bing says, 'I will remain involved in Detroit's transformation'

Dave Bing

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says he’s pleased with how his administration has “moved the needle forward on Detroit’s future.”

Bing talked about his accomplishments and challenges as mayor in a farewell speech to the Detroit Economic Club Wednesday.

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Politics & Government
7:23 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Rand Paul says Detroit needs 'freedom from government' to flourish

Rand Paul

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says Detroit needs “freedom from government” to flourish again economically—and told the Detroit Economic Club Friday he has a plan to make that happen.

Paul is proposing legislation that would create “economic freedom zones” in high-unemployment areas like Detroit.

He says those areas would work like “enterprise zones on steroids,” mostly by lowering taxes.

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