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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Courtesy of Detroit Dog Rescue

Detroit officials announced a major overhaul of the city’s animal control operations Friday.

Animal Control will again become part of the city’s health department. It’s been under police department oversight since 2012.

And the city’s animal shelter will reverse its no-adoption policy, allowing the Michigan Humane Society to help transfer “dozens of dogs a month” to animal rescue and foster groups.

William Warby / flickr

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department will lay off about 100 more employees this month.

That’s prompted some workers to sound the alarm. They warn that DWSD is already understaffed, and say laying off more workers could compromise water safety.

“We’ve lost chemists, engineers, instrument technicians … a whole range of people,” says Michael Mulholland, President of AFSCME Local 207, which represents some workers at the wastewater plant. “We’re concerned that what they’re doing is running it on a business model that is inappropriate and irresponsible.”

Family photo

A federal judge should soon decide if a wrongful death lawsuit against Macomb County officials goes to trial.

32-year-old David Stojcevski died of prescription drug withdrawal during a 16-day stay in the Macomb County jail in June 2014.

His suffering and death – captured on video monitors at the jail and released publicly last month – has drawn widespread attention and condemnation.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has named Eric Jones as the city's interim fire commissioner.

Jones isn’t a firefighter himself. He came up through the ranks of the Detroit Police Department, rising to the rank of assistant chief.

Most recently, Jones led the city’s Buildings, Safety and Engineering Department.

Duggan says Jones has proven himself a capable administrator, and is the best person to fix the “basic process” problems still plaguing the fire department.

The FBI is investigating the death last year of a 32-year-old man in a Michigan jail.

In March 2014, David Stojcevski was sentenced to 30 days in the Macomb County jail.

He died there a little more than two weeks later — despite being under 24-hour video monitoring for most of that time.

That video footage captured nearly every minute of the physical and mental breakdown preceding his death.

For Dafinka Stojcevski, David's mother, the anger is still raw. She is seeking justice for her son.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Detroit City Council has approved a medical marijuana ordinance.

The law outlines licensing and inspection procedures for marijuana dispensaries in the city.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Friends, family and supporters of David Stojcevski protested outside the Macomb County jail in Mt. Clemens Saturday.

Stojcevski died of prescription drug withdrawal after spending 16 days in the jail in 2014. He was serving 30 days for a driving offense because he could not afford to pay $772 in fines.

“Justice for my son!” said Dafinka Stojecviski, David’s mother. “Shame on them for what they [did] to my son. Shame on Macomb County jail!”

Stojcevski was under 24-hour video surveillance in the jail’s mental health unit.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of federal prisoners are set to be released within the next month, but fewer than 100 of them are expected to wind up in Michigan.

The historic prisoner release comes as the U.S. Department of Justice reconfigures sentencing guidelines for drug crimes.

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan’s President made his first appearance at the Detroit Economic Club Tuesday.

Mark Schlissel addressed the promise of “big data,” the importance of increasing student diversity, and his efforts to tamp down the school’s sometimes “exuberant party culture.”

Schlissel said university data shows that much—though not all—of that party culture stems from Greek life on campus.

City of Detroit

As Lansing gears up to debate a radical reorganization of Detroit schools, Mayor Mike Duggan is pushing for a larger role in the city’s future education system.

Duggan outlined his vision for a complete education overhaul earlier this year.

It shares the same basic structure as Gov. Snyder’s proposal for Detroit schools, but differs on a few key points.

Both call for a bankruptcy-style restructuring — without the actual bankruptcy filing — that would split the Detroit Public Schools into “old” and “new” districts.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

For the first time in five years, Detroit and its bus drivers have agreed to a new labor contract.

The four-year deal includes an immediate 4% base wage hike, gradually growing to 13.5% over the course of the contract.

It also introduces “fare box sharing.” If the Detroit Department of Transportation gains riders and grows revenues, 30% of that increase will go to drivers, up to a certain amount.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Round two of what’s become known as the “world’s largest municipal property auction” starts this week.

That would be Wayne County’s annual tax foreclosure auction.

More than 26,000 properties remain after the auction’s first round last month, when just over 2,000 properties sold.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Macomb County officials say they’re being unfairly criticized for a jail inmate’s death.

County Executive Mark Hackel vigorously defended Sheriff Anthony Wickersham and jail staff on Thursday.

His comments came after the release last week of a harrowing video that showed David Stojcevski’s slow death in the Macomb County jail.

wikipedia

Governor Snyder says the state is “working hard” and doing its best to resolve Flint’s water issues. 

Recent tests have raised alarms about high lead levels in city water — and in some Flint children’s blood. 

Snyder wouldn't offer specifics about possible action, but he will soon.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder says plans to overhaul Detroit’s education system should get moving in Lansing soon.

It’s not clear exactly what will be in those bills.

But in the past, Snyder has floated a bankruptcy-style plan for the debt-ridden Detroit Public Schools.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A group of Syrian refugee families had a special time in a school gymnasium this past weekend.

About a dozen families came out to the Beverly Hills Academy in suburban Detroit to celebrate Eid al-Ahda.

That’s one of the Muslim world’s biggest holidays. It commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God, and also coincides with the end of the Hajj, the annual holy pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Detroit City Council is expected to vote on a medical pot shop ordinance in the coming weeks.

It would create zoning, licensing, and inspection guidelines for marijuana dispensaries.

The ordinance has been introduced, and is going through the Council's committee process.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit bus service is improving — but still has a long way to go.

That’s the message Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan carried to a group of 27 new city bus drivers Friday.

Family photo

A horrific video showing a naked man slowly dying in a Macomb County jail cell is sparking local and national outrage.

The death of David Stojcevski brings into sharp focus the overlap between some issues that have drawn intense scrutiny recently: deaths of people in police custody, people being jailed for minor offenses because they can’t afford to pay fines, and the opioid addiction crisis.

Wikipedia

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has a plan to curb sulfur dioxide pollution in Wayne County, and it has plenty of critics.

In 2013, an area of Wayne County that includes part of Detroit and some downriver communities failed to meet new federal ambient air quality standards for sulfur dioxide.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Gunshot-sensing technology is the launching pad for a new community-building effort in one northeast Detroit neighborhood.

“Operation ShotSpotter” takes advantage of the sensors that Detroit Police are testing in some city neighborhoods right now.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Detroit woman has reached a settlement with the city of Dearborn, after her HIV-positive status became an issue during a traffic stop.

Shalandra Jones told Dearborn police officer David Lacey she had HIV after he found her medication during a vehicle search in 2012.

Lacey chastised her for not revealing that immediately.

People moving from Syria into Turkey.
European Commission DG ECHO

The Syrian refugee crisis has forced President Obama to consider admitting many more refugees to the U.S. Recently, Secretary of State John Kerry pledged that the United States will take 100,000 refugees a year by 2017, increasing from 70,000 this year.

Detroit Public Schools

The Detroit Public Schools is in even bigger financial trouble than previously thought, according to a state report filed this week.

In its June 2015 quarterly report on school district deficits, the Michigan Department of Education pegged DPS’s annual budget deficit at $166,359,414.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and UAW President Dennis Williams
UAW

After several days of marathon bargaining, UAW and Fiat-Chrysler leaders announced a tentative new contract for workers Tuesday night.

They weren’t willing to make many details public, however.

UAW President Dennis Williams said that’s because union members deserve to see the new deal first.

Fiat Chrysler

Fiat-Chrysler and the UAW are still at the bargaining table Tuesday, as the two sides look to hash out a new collective bargaining agreement for auto workers.

Talks ran through the night as the UAW’s 2011 contract with all three Detroit automakers expired at midnight.

Wikipedia

A settlement between the Detroit Medical Center and more than 20,000 nurses is almost a done deal.

Detroit federal judge Gerald Rosen gave the agreement preliminary approval Monday. If given final approval, it will end a nine-year-old antitrust case against all of southeast Michigan’s major hospitals.

The Tricycle Collective / via Facebook

 An online fundraising campaign is underway to help 20 Detroit families keep their homes.

The Tricycle Collective assists families facing property tax foreclosure in Detroit.

More than 25,000 Detroit properties are set to go on the auction block at this year’s Wayne County tax foreclosure auction.

An estimated 8,000 are occupied residential homes.

Wikipedia

Plans to expand a hazardous waste facility have sparked worries from residents in a Detroit neighborhood.

The US Ecology facility site has been processing and temporarily storing hazardous waste on Detroit’s east side for decades.

That includes toxic chemicals and other byproducts from nearby industrial facilities.

Wikipedia

The Detroit City Council could consider an ordinance to regulate medical pot dispensaries this month.

Council member James Tate says Detroit is experiencing an “oversaturation” of dispensaries, and that city leaders need to do something.

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