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
12:20 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Republican Bentivolio moves on in race to replace McCotter

Kerry Bentivolio
via bentiviolioforcongress.com

Republican Kerry Bentivolio has moved on in the special election to replace Thaddeus McCotter in Michigan’s eleventh district.

Bentivolio was one of four Republicans vying to serve out the remainder of McCotter’s term in Congress.

He topped former State Senator Nancy Cassis and two others in the suburban Detroit district. He faces David Curson, the only Democrat on the ballot, in the special November general election.

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Offbeat
12:04 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Navy Week sails into Detroit to celebrate War of 1812 bicentennial

The USS De Wert approaches Detroit.
US Navy via ourflagwasstillthere.org

The US Navy’s past and present is on display in Detroit this week.

Detroit is just one “Navy Week” stop on a Great Lakes tour commemorating the War of 1812.

The war pitting the newly-independent US against Great Britain was more or less a draw—though it’s seen very differently just across the border in Windsor, Ontario.

But everyone agrees that the war gave birth to the modern US Navy.

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Politics & Government
8:55 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Election groups up the ante in battle over "citizenship checkbox"

Ruth Johnson
MI SOS

The Michigan Election Coalition has asked Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to remove the “citizenship checkbox” from ballot applications statewide.

But so far, Johnson says she has no intention of doing that.

The question—asking voters to affirm their US citizenship before voting—confused and outraged some voters in the August primary.

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Politics & Government
8:29 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Little support for twin span, but Ambassador Bridge owners still push to keep permit

Jim Wallace flickr.com

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge are trying to renew an environmental permit for a proposed twin span.

The twin span idea has been rejected by both Governor Snyder and Canadian officials. They’ve already signed a deal to build a new bridge, the so-called New International Trade Crossing, further downriver.

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Politics & Government
10:37 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Oakland County officials: State should pay for McCotter special election

Some officials from Oakland County are trying to turn up the heat on Lansing to pay for a special election.

That election was called to replace Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, who resigned last month.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley called for the September 5th special election to fill out just the few remaining weeks of McCotter’s term. State officials maintain it’s required by law.

But that leaves local governments in suburban Detroit’s 11th district to pick up the tab.

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Politics & Government
7:21 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Biden in Detroit: 'General Motors is alive, Osama bin Laden is dead'

Vice President Joe Biden warns that if Mitt Romney is elected President, the country will return to the “failed policies” that caused a near-economic collapse in 2008.

Biden rallied supporters at Detroit’s Renaissance High School Wednesday. It was a stop on a brief campaign swing through Michigan that also included a fundraiser in West Bloomfield.

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Politics & Government
11:57 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Slowly, Bing plans for Detroit neighborhoods move forward

Detroit officials are showing off progress on some of Mayor Dave Bing’s signature initiatives.

Bing toured a rehabbed historic house in the city’s once-prestigious Boston-Edison neighborhood Tuesday. Boston-Edison has historically been one of the city’s stronger communities, but it’s seen blight creep in steadily over recent years.

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Politics & Government
8:09 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Michigan Syrians take risks to help refugees

Kate Wells Michigan Radio

Members of Michigan’s Syrian community are stepping up to help refugees fleeing the bloody conflict in that country.

Some lawyers in particular are helping Syrians seeking “temporary protected status” or political asylum in the United States.

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Politics & Government
6:49 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Detroit officers win day in court, raise questions about future of city's consent agreement

Detroit police officers have won a day in court—and the temporary suspension of new contract terms that were set to go into effect in the coming week.

The case’s legal outcome could have major implications for Detroit’s consent agreement with the state.

Mayor Dave Bing imposed new contract terms on most city employees, including police, last month.

Those changes included a 10% pay cut, and throwing out old work rules—which led the department to implement new 12-hour shifts for officers.

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Anniversaries
12:09 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Remembering the victims of Flight 255

A memorial service at the crash site of Northwest flight 255.
Larry Jonas Michigan Radio

Mourners gathered near Detroit Metro Airport Thursday to remember those who died on board Northwest flight 255.

In a small grove just off Interstate 94, a priest reads off the names of the names of 156 people who died her 25 years ago.

They were killed when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff on August 16th, 1987. One 4-year-old girl survived.

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Politics & Government
6:56 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

"DREAMers" gain protections under new immigration policy

Juan Sancen, right, and Congressman John Conyers in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Immigrant advocates are celebrating a new policy that offers some protections for young immigrants.

And a few of them wasted no time heading to US immigration offices in Detroit on Wednesday, the first day applications became available.

The new Obama administration policy is the so-called the DREAM Relief Program—or, more formally, the “Deferred Action Enforcement Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities.”

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Education
11:02 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Judge: Schools can go to EAA, but Detroit school board regains academic control

A Wayne County judge ruled Tuesday that the Education Achievement Authority can launch as scheduled.

That statewide district for the lowest-achieving schools is set to open with 15 former Detroit Public schools next month. The elected Detroit school board had voted to reverse that decision.

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Politics & Government
9:32 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Detroit Financial Advisory Board hears police officers' pleas, gets "eviction notice"

Detroit’s Financial Advisory Board is charged with ensuring the city’s financial viability--and has sweeping powers to do that under the city’s consent agreement with Lansing.

But at a board meeting Monday, some Detroit police officers pleaded with the board to consider the human cost of their actions.

Like most city employees, most police officers are about to get hit with a 10% pay cut.

They also face other cutbacks and major changes—including working twelve-hour shifts—as the department, and the city, try to re-align in the face of major budget cuts.

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Education
12:11 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

With school just weeks away, uncertainty lingers over Detroit teachers

Roy Roberts
via Detroit Public Schools

With Detroit Public Schools students set to head back to class in less than a month, serious questions linger regarding the district’s teachers.

The district’s emergency manager, Roy Roberts, imposed new contract terms on teachers last month.

That infuriated teachers and their union leaders, who said the district never even collectively bargained with them.

But those new terms are now null and void, argues Keith Johnson, President of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. He says now that the law has been suspended, Roberts’ “authority” is suspended, too.

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Politics & Government
7:02 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Reports of confusion, frustration over voter ID law after Tuesday primary

Some Michigan voters were wrongly turned away from the polls last Tuesday after refusing to affirm their US citizenship.

But some other voters—and an elections watchdog group—say they also encountered problems with misguided enforcement of the state’s voter ID law.

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Education
11:22 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Michigan Attorney General sues to block Detroit school board from resuming power

School districts with emergency managers have been plunged into uncertainty, now that the state’s emergency manager law has been suspended.

In Detroit, the Michigan Attorney General is suing to make sure the elected school board doesn’t take power back there.

Detroit’s elected school board went from having very little power, to no power whatsoever when the state broadened the powers of emergency managers under Public Act 4.

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Politics & Government
1:42 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Schuette files election fraud charges against former McCotter staffers

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
Bill Schuette for Michigan Attorney General

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed criminal charges against former staffers of former Congressman Thaddeus McCotter.

The five-term Congressman resigned from office after fake signatures were found on his re-election petitions.

Schuette charged four McCotter staffers with conspiring to commit election fraud.

The charges range from felony conspiracy, to misdemeanor counts of falsely certifying petitions.

Schuette says the four used a variety of tricks to inflate the number of petition signatures needed to get McCotter on the ballot.

“They copied petitions, submitted petitions falsely signed by circulators, and did cut and paste jobs that would make an elementary art teacher cringe," he said.

Schuette says it’s clear McCotter was “asleep at the switch” while his staffers “acted above the law.”

There’s no evidence McCotter was aware of their schemes.

But Schuette says that if such evidence emerges, he won’t hesitate to “pull the trigger and file new charges.”

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Politics & Government
10:34 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Massive changes in store for Detroit's water system

Photo courtesty of Birmingham Public Schools

Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department will slash its workforce in a drastic overhaul set to take place over at least five years.

The move comes as city and department officials move to stem soaring water rates as they deal with rising maintenance and operation costs.

City and department officials say they’ll move to contract out most of the department’s non-core functions.

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Politics & Government
2:17 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Peters tops Clarke in race for new "Greater Detroit" Congressional district

Incumbents Gary Peters, left, and Hansen Clarke faced off in the race for the 14th.

Unless something very unusual happens, the winner of Tuesday night’s 14th district Democratic primary will easily win the November election.

And it appears that winner will be current Oakland County Congressman Gary Peters.

Peters topped a field of four Democrats, including another incumbent Congressman, to win the primary in the newly-redrawn 14th district.

That district zig-zags 75 miles across southeast Michigan, taking in much of Detroit and parts of Oakland County.

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Politics & Government
5:24 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Detroit City Council rejects public safety millage proposal

The Detroit City Council has rejected an effort to put a public safety millage on the November ballot.

The Detroit Police Department pushed hard for the five-year millage. It would have raised $56 million over five years to put 500 more “boots on the ground,” in Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee’s words.

But the Council rejected the effort by a 7-2 vote.

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