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
12:05 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Detroit financial review team avoids court, pushes on toward deadline

The state team reviewing Detroit’s finances has avoided a scheduled court date—and possible contempt of court--by disbanding a controversial sub-committee.

An Ingham County Circuit Court Judge had ordered the team to appear in court Monday.

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Politics
11:51 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

"Occupy" group takes aim at Chase bank, foreclosures

A group of anti-foreclosure activists says Chase bank continues to wrongly foreclose on people’s homes.

And as part of the “Occupy our Homes” movement, they plan to fight for eight Metro Detroit homeowners they say are victims.

Chase bank and other mortgage lenders signed a consent agreement with the federal government in the wake of the national foreclosure crisis.

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Politics
9:05 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Judge strips power from Ambassador Bridge owners in construction dispute

A judge has stripped the company that owns the Ambassador Bridge of control over a key construction project, and transferred total control to the project’s joint partner, the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Judge Prentis Edwards had found Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) officials in contempt of court for delaying the Gateway Project.

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Politics
12:35 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Bing: State must offer Detroit "tangible support" to avoid cash crisis

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says the city is “at a critical and pivotal time like none in Detroit’s history."

But during his third annual State of the City address, Bing gave few details about how he’ll deal with the city’s most immediate threat: running out of cash.

Bing said both he and Governor Snyder “agree that an emergency manager is not the best option” for Detroit.

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Politics
11:54 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Bridge owners cite progress on construction project; hearing set for Thursday

The Detroit International Bridge Company says it’s moving forward on a long-disputed construction project.

Godfrey Dillard and other DIBC lawyers will try to convince Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Prentis Edwards they're making progress in a hearing Thursday.

Edwards found DIBC President Dan Stamper and Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun in contempt of court for ignoring his orders. He had ordered them to finish the Gateway Project, a disputed joint construction project with the Michigan Department of Transportation, according to initial plans.

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Politics
7:36 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Fight brewing over Detroit's troubled Human Services Department

A fight is brewing between the Detroit City Council, Mayor Dave Bing, and the state.

State officials say the Detroit Department of Human Services is so corrupt and incompetent it should no longer handle federal funds.

They want the Detroit City Council to agree to that. But the Council wants to hear more specifics—and a request from Mayor Dave Bing—before they act.

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Politics
9:22 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Petitions now in state hands,Public Act 4 opponents call for "supervised process"

Opponents of Michigan’s emergency manager law, Public Act 4, say they’re concerned about the integrity of petitions they just handed over to the Secretary of State.

If enough petition signatures are certified (approximately 161,000--organizers say they've collected more than 220,000), the law would be suspended until a voter referendum in November.

Because it’s a politically-charged matter of numbers, organizers say they want to make sure those petitions are supervised and handled properly.

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Politics
6:50 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Detroit Fire Department, already struggling, will have to "do more with less"

Detroit's Fire Commissioner says his department is at the end of its resources due to budget cuts.

Donald Austin spoke to a Detroit City Council committee meeting on Monday.

Even with the cuts, Detroit’s Police and Fire Departments take up well over half of the city's budget. And both departments regularly go over-budget, mostly because of overtime.

Austin says it’s proven almost impossible to cut overtime, when he has to fight so many fires in vacant buildings--which total 30-60% of all department runs, depending on the shift.

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Education
9:28 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Agreement lets Highland Park schools stay open through the school year

The Detroit school district has stepped in to help make sure the Highland Park public schools stay open for the rest of the school year.

But there are still plenty of questions about what happens after that.

The state had to advance Highland Park money last week, or the district would have gone broke.

And the state did—but with the provision that the money couldn’t go to the Highland Park school district, per se.

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Politics
5:35 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

FBI launches anti-public corruption task force in Detroit

The FBI is pulling together a multi-agency task force fight public corruption in the Detroit area.

The task force will include several federal agencies, federal prosecutors, the Michigan Attorney General, the Michigan State Police, and Detroit Police. 

It’s no secret that public corruption is a major problem in our community," said Detroit US Attorney Barbara McQuade.

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Politics
1:40 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Ficano: "I won't walk away" from Wayne County

(Robert Ficano/Wayne County)

Robert Ficano says he won’t let doubts about corruption in county government distract him from his job.

The Wayne County Executive delivered his tenth annual State of the County address Wednesday night.

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Crime
9:46 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Feds vow to crack down on Detroit crime

jalopnik.com

Detroit Police and federal law enforcement agencies say they’re strengthening their collaboration to fight violence.

And they’ve set their sights on Detroit’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

Law enforcement brass gathered at the crime wave’s ground zero—the city’s east side—to outline their joint plans Wednesday.

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Politics
12:16 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Emergency manager law opponents, armed with petitions, head to Lansing

Opponents of Michigan’s emergency manager law will descend on Lansing with petitions Wednesday.

The coalition fighting Public Act 4 says they’ve collected more than 218,000 signatures to put the measure up for voter referendum in November.

They need the state to certify about 161,000 of those signatures for that to happen—and for the law to be suspended until the vote.

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Politics
5:15 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Detroit state review team opens its doors--then closes them again

State Treasurer Andy Dillon
AP File Photo

The state review team looking into Detroit’s finances met in public for the first time Tuesday.

But the meeting was short—less than 20 minutes--and revealed almost nothing about the process behind the review.

The team, led by State Treasurer Andy Dillon, briefly reviewed Detroit’s bleak financial picture--without major changes, the city will run out of cash before the end of the fiscal year. There was also a brief public comment period.

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Crime
9:19 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

More children claimed by Detroit violence

jalopnik.com

Mayor Dave Bing is pleading with Detroiters to “stop the madness” after another violent weekend in the city.

Bing’s plea comes after a shooting on the city’s east side left a six-year-old boy critically injured.

Detroit Police have arrested a pair of 15-year-olds in the case. Chief Ralph Godbee says the two were on a carjacking spree when the shooting happened.

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Politics
8:06 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

New management promises better Detroit bus service, but riders are cynical

Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

There were some testy exchanges at a Detroit City Council hearing on bus service Monday, as Council members and citizens wanted to know when they can expect the city’s notoriously bad bus service to improve.

Department statistics show that city buses miss stops or otherwise fail to service their routes about one-third of the time. Transit advocates suggest that number is probably too low.

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Education
11:34 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Highland Park school board backs down from emergency manager fight

The Highland Park school board has cleared the way for Governor Snyder to quickly re-appoint an emergency manager.

The board chose not to appeal the state’s finding of a financial emergency in the district.

It was the second time a state review team made that finding. But the emergency manager Governor Snyder had already appointed, Jack Martin, had to step down to comply with a court ruling that voided the appointment process.

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Politics
11:07 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Commission hopes to offer alternatives to emergency managers

Opponents of Michigan’s emergency manager law say they’re ready to tackle the problems underlying the financial distress of many Michigan communities.

Members of the  Financial and Academic Reinvestment Commission (FARC) met in Highland Park Thursday night.

State Senator Bert Johnson, who helped launch FARC last month, says they have a plan to help communities fix fiscal problems without emergency managers.

Johnson says the point is to draw attention to what he calls the “real, human issues” underlying communities in financial crisis.

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Education
9:04 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Financial emergency declared in Highland Park schools--again

A state review team has again declared a state of financial emergency in the Highland Park school district.

But the district may not be able to keep its doors open long enough to see its former emergency manager reinstated.

Governor Snyder had already appointed an emergency manager, Jack Martin, for Highland Park schools.

But a court found that the financial review process violated the state’s Open Meetings Act, forcing the emergency manager to step down.

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Politics
8:43 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Detroit introduces new transportation director as cuts loom

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says a new CEO and new fleet of buses will help turn around the city’s struggling transportation department.

The Detroit Department of Transportation has been struggling for months to put enough buses on the streets.

In what the city calls a bid to both improve service and cut costs, they’ve brought in a private contractor to manage the bus system.

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