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.

Pages

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:23 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Vilsack and Stabenow urge investment in "bio-economy," Farm Bill

wikimedia commons

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Ford headquarters in Dearborn Monday.

He was there, along with Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and members of the United Soybean Board, to visit a Ford research lab and make a broader push for more “bio-based” products.

Vilsack says there’s “unlimited capacity and opportunity” in the bio-based economy.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:08 pm
Sun August 5, 2012

An interesting primary shapes up in Michigan's weirdest (-looking) Congressional district

Gary Peters, left, and Hansen Clarke.

One of the more interesting primary races coming up this week is in Metro Detroit’s 14th Congressional district.

The race in that newly-redrawn district pits two incumbent Congressmen, Gary Peters and Hansen Clarke, against each other.

The 14th district used to cover most of Detroit’s west side and a few surrounding suburbs.

Now, it zig-zags across a big chunk of southeast Michigan—75 miles long, but only a half-mile wide in some parts.

Read more
Politics & Government
9:08 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Happiness, relief for unions as emergency manager law heads to the ballot

A Detroit Free Press article about the emergency manager referendum decorated the front door of AFSCME Council 25 in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Public employee union leaders are ecstatic that a referendum challenging the state’s emergency manager law will be on the November ballot.

They’ve fiercely opposed the law in large part because emergency managers have the power to alter or throw out collectively-bargained contracts.

Read more
Politics & Government
8:44 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Detroit Congressman wants to make "ban the box" federal law

Hansen Clarke

Detroit Congressman Hansen Clarke has introduced a bill that supporters say would make it easier for ex-felons to get jobs.

The bill would prohibit employers from asking about a job applicants’ criminal record until they’ve made that person a conditional job offer.

So-called “ban the box” ordinances are already on the books in Detroit, other cities and a few states.

Read more
Politics & Government
7:59 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Targeted Detroit neighborhoods, schools get major boost

A house about to be demolished in the Morningside neighborhood.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan, the city of Detroit and the Detroit Public Schools have launched an intensive effort to stabilize some city neighborhoods.

The targeted interventions focus on three major areas around a total of nine schools across the city.

The effort officially kicked off Thursday afternoon outside Clark Preparatory Academy in Detroit’s Morningside neighborhood, on the city’s east side. Other targeted areas include the communities around Bagley and Bates schools in northwest Detroit, and several schools including the Roberto Clemente Academy in southwest Detroit.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:26 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Detroit Council members: Belle Isle deal threatens city "jewel"

Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Three Detroit City Council members led a rally opposing what they call a “state takeover” of Belle Isle Wednesday, saying plans to lease the park to the state amount to stealing a Detroit “jewel.”

State and city officials are in talks to lease the island park to the state, which would integrate it into the state parks system. The plan’s advocates say the state would make much-needed improvements to Belle Isle, while freeing up Detroit dollars for other uses.

Read more
Education
1:22 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Biden: Republicans no longer believe in public education

Vice President Joe Biden says Republicans have stopped believing in the concept of public education.

Biden made those comments as he rallied thousands of educators at the American Federation of Teachers’ annual convention in Detroit Sunday.

AFT union leaders strongly back President Obama. And Biden took repeated shots at Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Biden says Romney and fellow his Republicans now “have a totally different perspective” from most Americans about education—and pretty much everything else.

Read more
Education
7:12 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

American Federation of Teachers takes to the streets on behalf of Detroit's teachers

Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

The American Federation of Teachers is in Detroit for the group’s annual convention.

And they’re taking it to the streets—and to Detroit Public Schools’ officials—on behalf of the district’s teachers.

Earlier this month, Detroit Public Schools’ emergency manager Roy Roberts imposed new contract terms on the district’s teachers.

Those terms include a pay cut, larger class sizes, and less prep time for teachers.

Read more
Politics & Government
5:53 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Former Wayne Co. official pleads guilty to bribery, will cooperate with feds

One of Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano’s top deputies has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes.

Tahir Kazmi was Ficano’s former Chief Information Technology Officer. He admitted in court that he took bribes in the form of cash, plane tickets and other perks from a Wayne County contractor. In exchange, Kazmi gave the company preferential treatment on county jobs.

He also admitted to obstructing justice during the FBI investigation into his crimes.

In return for his guilty plea, Kazmi has agreed to cooperate with the ongoing federal investigation into Wayne County corruption.

Kazmi is one of several former Wayne County employees who face federal indictments for alleged corrupt activities. But he’s the first to plead guilty, and to offer to cooperate with authorities.

Business
5:26 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

More new faces for Detroit's downtown business district

First National Building
wikimedia commons

500 new employees moved into downtown Detroit’s First National Building Wednesday. City officials and business leaders say it’s yet another sign of Detroit’s resurgent business district. 

They held a pep rally of sorts to welcome the new employees downtown. They’re from the title insurance and property valuation company Title Source, which has plans to move another 1000 employees downtown  from the suburbs soon.

Read more
Politics & Government
10:06 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Rhetoric heats up over Belle Isle; growing rift between Detroit and Lansing?

Dave Bing and Rick Snyder at a groundbreaking in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Signs of a widening rift between Detroit and state officials cropped up Tuesday, as rhetoric heated up over what’s going to happen to Detroit’s Belle Isle.

According to news reports, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said he’s rejected the state’s proposed offer to lease Belle Isle for 99 years.

A provision in Detroit’s consent agreement with Lansing provides for creating park funding for Belle Isle, while ensuring continued City ownership by designating  Belle Isle as part of a cooperative state relationship with Milliken State Park” on Detroit’s riverfront.

Read more
Politics & Government
10:16 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

One of Detroit's defining moments, 45 years later

Detroit in July, 1967.
via Walter P. Reuther Library Wayne State University

Forty-five years ago this week, Detroit erupted into five days of racial violence that left 43 people dead, more than 450 injured, and thousands of buildings burned and looted.

Many people are still trying to get a handle on what that event really signified—and what to call it.

Dan Krichbaum clearly remembers the scene from 1967 as he drove from Ann Arbor to southwest Detroit, where he headed a small Methodist congregation.

Read more
Transportation
9:49 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Detroit area leaders hail federal transit grant as 'model for joint cooperation'

Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Bus riders in and around Detroit will enjoy some updated buses, thanks to a federal grant.

Leaders officially announced a $30 million grant for regional transit systems Monday. It was the third-largest amount dispensed to any metro area nationally from the U.S. Transportation Department’s State of Good Repair grant fund.

Read more
Politics & Government
7:46 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

In wake of cuts, many Detroit police officers wonder about department's future

Detroit Police headquarters.
wikimedia commons

Rumors are running rampant in the Detroit Police Department after the city imposed a pay cut and changes to work rules on most officers.

That’s according to officers who spoke privately about what those changes will do to the city’s long-troubled police force.

Just before Mayor Dave Bing imposed the new contract terms, including a 10 percent pay cut, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. praised his officers for their dedication.

“They could do other things," Godbee said. "Nobody has checked it in, nobody has hung up their badge and gun at the door.”

Read more
Politics & Government
7:56 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Detroit kicks off demolition blitz

Demolition begins in southwest Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit has launched an effort to take down more than 150 vacant homes in one city neighborhood.

The effort kicked off at one intersection in southwest Detroit, where multiple apartment buildings stood vacant and scrapped.

The demolition campaign is part of Mayor Dave Bing’s plans to demolish 1500 abandoned buildings citywide by fall.

It’s also tied to Bing’s Detroit Works project, which is an effort to direct resources into stemming blight in some of the city’s more stable neighborhoods.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:59 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Bing imposes new contract terms on most Detroit city workers

Dave Bing

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has imposed new contract terms on nearly all city workers.

The move comes a day after the Detroit City Council rejected those terms. But the city’s consent agreement with the state lets city officials impose them anyway.

Bing said it was a tough decision, but a necessary one.

“It’s not easy," he told reporters Wednesday morning. "I know it’s going to be difficult for a lot of people. But I’ve got to worry about 700,000 people in the city of Detroit, not just the workers.”

Read more
Politics & Government
1:21 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Detroit City Council rejects proposed union contract terms, 5-4

Detroit City Council
Detroit City Council Facebook

The Detroit City Council has rejected a proposal to impose new contract terms on most city employees.

Mayor Dave Bing asked for the changes, which include a 10-percent pay cut and major work rule changes.

City officials say Detroit’s consent agreement with the state allows them to impose the terms even without the council's approval.

Pages