WUOMFM

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

Detroit Public Schools Community District sign
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Federation of Teachers members are set to start voting on a new contract agreement this week.

A courtroom
Bill Ledbetter / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A federal judge in Detroit has ordered the U.S. not to deport any Iraqi nationals for at least the next two weeks. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling Monday night expanded a temporary restraining order he issued last week.

That order applied only to Iraqi immigrants that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rounded up in the Detroit area this month.

A National Guardsman patrols a Detroit street during the July 1967 rebellion.
Tony Spina / Walter P. Reuther Library/Wayne State University

Fifty years ago next month, a police raid on a Detroit after-hours bar exploded into five days of violent unrest.

The city is still grappling with what happened in the summer of 1967.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Iraqi immigrants arrested in a Detroit-area immigration sweep this month cannot be deported for at least the next 14 days, a Detroit federal judge ruled late Thursday.

More than 100 Iraqi nationals were swept up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in raids earlier this month.

The government says they all have standing removal orders and criminal records, and their deportations were imminent. Most had been living in the U.S. for years under ICE supervision.

The suspect in the Bishop International Airport stabbing, Amor Ftouhi.
FBI

Update Thursday, June 22, 10:45 p.m.:

The head of Detroit’s FBI office says investigators have learned how and when Fthoui entered the U.S., but still can’t say why he ended up stabbing a security officer at Flint’s Bishop International Airport Wednesday.

Members of the Homrich Nine before their initial trial in 2015.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

After nearly three years, a judge has dismissed charges against nine defendants arrested for protesting Detroit’s mass water shutoffs.

The so-called “Homrich Nine” were arrested in June 2014 for attempting to block trucks belonging to Homrich, the contractor the city uses to shut off water service to delinquent customers.

They were charged with disorderly conduct, a criminal misdemeanor. But the case was beset by numerous delays as city of Detroit lawyers, in the words of one defense attorney, “appealed every single ruling the judge made.”

An artists' vision of Little Caesars Arena.
Olympia Entertainment

A federal judge has knocked down an initial effort to stop the Detroit Pistons from moving to a new downtown arena unless there’s a public vote on financing the project.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith heard arguments in a federal lawsuit, filed by activists Robert Davis and D. Etta Wilcoxon. It alleges team owners and city officials didn't seek public approval before using public funds for the project, in violation of state law.

An early sketch of the proposed $32M development in Midtown Detroit's Sugar Hill historic district.
City of Detroit

Detroit’s already-booming Midtown area is getting another development boost.

This time, it’s in the form of a projected $32 million mixed-commercial residential development, designed by renowned architect Philip Freelon.

Freelon has designed several prominent buildings, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Freelon says this design is still very much in development stages. He wants input from the community before it’s finalized.

The attack occurred just outside this service center, that serves many of the area's homeless and mentally ill in Detroit's Eastern Market.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some Detroit activists and community members are outraged by what they see as a low-key response to an attack on a homeless man last week, one that seems to have been at least partly racially motivated.

According to the victim and witnesses, a white man suddenly beat and stabbed the homeless man, who is black, in Detroit’s busy Eastern Market district. They also said the attacker shouted racial slurs as he did it.

The mid-day attack happened outside the Team Wellness Center, which serves many homeless and mentally ill people in the area.

Desmond Ricks in court after charges against him were officially dismissed. He was exonerated after spending 25 years in prison for murder.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

After spending 25 years in prison for murder, Desmond Ricks was officially exonerated Thursday.

Wayne County prosecutors admitted in court they simply don’t have the evidence to re-try Ricks for the 1992 shooting death of his friend Gerry Bennett outside a Detroit restaurant.

A bioswale
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Green infrastructure is the focus of a conference at Detroit’s Cobo Center this week.

The people behind it say it’s time to start thinking differently about how we handle storm water throughout the Great Lakes; but make sure we do it right.

Nikolai Vitti
via Twitter

Detroit’s new schools superintendent knows he’s taking on a tough job, but he’s also convinced the troubled district can turn around, and prove that “traditional urban public education works.”

Nikolai Vitti has started laying the groundwork for that. He took over as superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District last week.

Two of the protesters against holding the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Grand Prix will draw thousands of auto racing fans to Belle Isle starting next week. But not everyone is happy about it.

A group of those opponents took this weekend before the IndyCar race to stage a protest just off the bridge entrance to the island park.

Photograph of Downtown Detroit
Ifmuth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show Detroit hasn’t quite yet reversed decades of population loss, but it seems to be getting close.

The Census has Detroit down another 3,541 residents in mid-2016 from the same time a year before. That leaves a total population of 672,795.

That’s a very small drop compared what the city has seen in the past.

Still, many people had hoped this would be the year Detroit finally showed some gains.

The non-profit agency Samaritas is the largest resettler of refugees in Michigan.
Courtesy of Samaritas

The number of refugees re-settled in Michigan has dropped sharply over the past six months.

That parallels a larger national trend, according to new analysis of U.S. State Department data from the Pew Research Center.

Pew examined refugee resettlement data from October 2016 through April of this year.

Nikolai Vitti shakes hands at a teacher recruitment fair at Detroit's Martin Luther King, Jr. High School.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s new schools superintendent says it’s “time to think differently” about some pressing issues—including the district’s chronic, ongoing teacher shortage.

It’s Nikolai Vitti’s first week on the job as head of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

On Monday, Vitti met with teachers’ union leadership, visited two schools, and stopped by a teacher recruitment fair. He said the lack of teachers in too many classrooms is taking a toll on everyone in DPSCD schools.

Anders Sandberg / flickr.com

In 2010, Christian Kreipke was a rising star in the world of neuroscience research. He was a tenure-track professor at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine, and a health scientist with the Veterans Administration (VA).

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham listens as the study is presented to county commissioners.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Macomb County faces persistent overcrowding at its jail, but it really doesn’t have to be that way.

That’s according to an outside study completed late last year, but presented publicly to county commissioners for the first time on Thursday.

Wrapping up at the end of Detroit's cinco de mayo parade route in Clark Park.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s Cinco de Mayo celebration took place Sunday, two days after the actual Mexican holiday.

Families lined Vernor Avenue, southwest Detroit’s main thoroughfare, for the annual parade and festivities.

The parade was led by two students from Detroit’s Cesar Chavez Academy. Lourdes Escobedo carried the American flag, “representing the USA, and all the immigrants here in the USA,” while her classmate Stephanie Duran Lopez carried the Mexican flag.

Marwin McHenry
Michigan Department of Corrections

A Detroit man who was serving a long prison sentence instead prepared to walk free Monday, after a post-conviction investigation cleared him in a 2012 shooting.

Marwin McHenry was convicted of shooting a young woman during a street fight that summer.

McHenry said he was blocks away at the time, and pointed the finger at another man, James Bosley.

Initially, so did the victim. But she and other eyewitnesses later identified McHenry as the shooter.

A Flint water meeting in January 2015.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission wants the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case against Gov. Snyder.

That’s what commissioners decided with a 5-0 vote Tuesday. They ordered the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to file an amicus brief urging the high court to review the issues raised in the case Bellant v. Snyder.

Supporters of Jose Luise Sanchez-Ronquillo rally in front of ICE offices in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Supporters of Jose Luis Sanchez Ranquillo say they expect to know as early as Tuesday if he faces imminent deportation, or has a chance of remaining in the U.S.

The Ann Arbor father of two is fighting to say in the country. 

Family members say Sanchez was detained after what he thought was a routine immigration check-in last week.

That’s not a new thing. But anecdotally, immigration attorneys say it seems to have picked up steam in the early days of the Trump administration.

test with bubble answers
User Alberto G. / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Detroit Public Schools Community District starts giving students the M-STEP test this week. That’s the annual statewide test used to measure student achievement.

But more than 400 Detroit parents have opted for their kids to sit out the test, because they’re upset that the state uses that data to justify closing schools.

The unusually large number of opt-outs comes mostly as a result of a campaign organized by the Detroit Parent Network.

CEO Sharlonda Buckman says Detroit parents have come to feel “extremely disrespected” by state education officials.

Menominee River
Wikimedia Commons

Michigan’s first potential new gold mine since the late 1800s now has three of four permits it needs to open.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued a surface water permit for the Back Forty Project this month.

That proposal is an open-pit sulfide mine located along the Menominee River in the Upper Peninsula. A group of investors, led by the Canadian mining company Aquila, plans to mine the site for gold, copper and zinc.

Kevin Kellon, right, with his grandson and the family's lawyer Nabih Ayad.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A federal agent had “no justifiable excuse or reason to shoot 20-year-old Terrance Kellom” at his father’s Detroit home in April 2015.

That’s what Kellom’s family said in a civil wrongful death lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday.

The suit names Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer Mitchell Quinn, and two Detroit police officers as defendants. Quinn is the officer who shot and killed Terrance Kellom.

The officers say Kellom dropped through a hole in the ceiling, and advanced on them with a hammer.

Smokestacks spewing pollution
mdprovost ~ Prosper in 2011 / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit suffers from unhealthy levels of air pollution nearly half the year.

That’s according to new EPA data, and a national report from the group Environment America, including its Michigan chapter.

The report found that Detroit had 161 “dirty air days” in 2015, “increasing the risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts.”

A home being demolished in Detroit.
City of Detroit / via Facebook

The agency in charge of most of Detroit’s demolition program is hitting back at a recent city auditor general’s report.

That report, issued late last month, accused the Detroit Land Bank Authority of poor management and dubious practices.

The DLBA has run most of Detroit’s aggressive anti-blight program under Mayor Mike Duggan, helping demolish almost 11,000 structures during his term.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s school board interviewed the district’s second and final superintendent candidate Monday evening.

Derrick Coleman is the current superintendent of River Rouge Community Schools. He’s a Detroit Public Schools alumnus, and started his career as a teacher and administrator in the district.

He touted his success in a district that’s much smaller than Detroit’s, but has similar demographics.

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A father who went to court hoping to gain custody of his children Wednesday found himself getting arrested by immigration agents instead.

Melissa Mays, foreground, with members of Concerned Pastors for Social Action, speaks outside federal court in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

One lawsuit filed over the Flint water crisis has ended with a landmark settlement.

Federal Judge David Lawson officially signed off on a four-year deal that lays out a series of remedies for Flint’s lead-tainted tap water, and its lingering impacts.

In the short term, that includes keeping bottled water distribution centers open, and expanding efforts to make sure residents have properly installed water filters.

In the longer run, there are strict requirements for frequent water testing, detailed reporting, and water treatment protocols.

Pages