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
6:38 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

In his farewell speech Bing says, 'I will remain involved in Detroit's transformation'

Dave Bing

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says he’s pleased with how his administration has “moved the needle forward on Detroit’s future.”

Bing talked about his accomplishments and challenges as mayor in a farewell speech to the Detroit Economic Club Wednesday.

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Politics & Government
7:23 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Rand Paul says Detroit needs 'freedom from government' to flourish

Rand Paul

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says Detroit needs “freedom from government” to flourish again economically—and told the Detroit Economic Club Friday he has a plan to make that happen.

Paul is proposing legislation that would create “economic freedom zones” in high-unemployment areas like Detroit.

He says those areas would work like “enterprise zones on steroids,” mostly by lowering taxes.

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Economy
9:02 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Protesters target Walmart in suburban Detroit

Protesters, including SEIU President Mary Kay Henry (center), protest at the Sterling Heights Walmart Friday.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Protesters called for higher wages and better working conditions for Walmart employees at stores around the country Friday, including one store in suburban Detroit.

Store managers and security met the protesters as they marched to the entrance to the Sterling Heights Walmart.

They were blocked from going in—but did hand over petitions protesting Walmart’s treatment of its workers. Police also arrived, but the protesters left peacefully.

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Education
12:35 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Study: Michigan is national leader when it comes to for-profit charter schools

Nearly 80% of Michigan’s charter schools are managed by private, for-profit companies, according to a new report from the National Education Policy Center.

The report shows that when it comes to privately-managed public charter schools—those run by Education Management Organizations (EMOs)—Michigan is a stark anomaly.

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Health
11:36 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Report finds there's still 'Trouble in Toyland'

Safety is gradually improving, but toy-shoppers should still be watchful this holiday season.

That’s the main message from this year’s annual ‘Trouble in Toyland’ toy safety report from the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM).

The group says the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, passed in 2008, has improved toy safety.

But it warns that some toys can and do fall through the regulatory cracks. The group found toys that exceed federal standards for lead, cadmium, phthalates, and other toxins that can impair child development.

And PIRGIM suggests some of those laws could be tightened up, too.

Spokesman Eric Mosher points to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pencil case. It contains much more of the toxic element cadmium—about 600 parts per million--than federal law allows.

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Politics & Government
7:17 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Michigan, feds to collaborate on fungal meningitis outbreak investigations

Attorney General Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is joining forces with federal authorities to investigate last year’s fungal meningitis outbreak.

Michigan was hardest-hit by the nationwide outbreak that’s linked to tainted steroids from a now-defunct Massachusetts compounding pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center.

More than 750 people in 20 states have contracted fungal meningitis from steroid injections that were meant to relieve pain. In Michigan, 22 people have died, and more than 260 people were sickened by the disease.

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Education
5:53 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Enrollment plummets in state-run Education Achievement Authority schools

Michigan’s attempt at a state-run “turnaround district” for the lowest-performing schools is bleeding students.

The Educational Achievement Authority is one of Governor Snyder’s signature policy initiatives. It launched in the last school year, with 15 former Detroit Public Schools.

State data now show the EAA lost more than 2,000 students since last school year. That’s nearly a 25% decline.

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Politics & Government
9:50 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Report questions assumptions behind Detroit bankruptcy

 A new report says declining revenues and bad Wall Street deals—not out-of-control spending or generous pension benefits--contributed the most to Detroit’s bankruptcy.

The report from the left-leaning think tank Demos also accuses Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr of attacking the problem in “inappropriate” ways that are “not rooted in fact.”

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Politics & Government
12:15 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Michigan Congressman calls for extending federal unemployment benefits

Sander Levin

Detroit-area Congressman Sander Levin says the federal government must extend federal unemployment benefits.

Levin,  the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, and other Democrats introduced bills Wednesday that would renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for another year.

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Offbeat
12:12 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Are diverse, friendly neighborhoods possible? MSU research suggests the answer is "No"

Credit wikipedia

New research from Michigan State University suggests the less diverse a  neighborhood is, the more likely it will be neighborly.

Researchers looked at the relationship between neighborhood segregation, and the strength of social networks in a community.

They found that the more segregated a community, the more likely it is to be tight-knit.

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Education
10:58 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Detroit Public Schools leave federal oversight, gain 'incremental independence'

Jack Martin

After five years, the Detroit Public Schools has been removed from “high-risk status.”

The Michigan Department of Education gave Detroit federal high-risk status in 2008, after a federal audit revealed some serious financial discrepancies amounting to about $53 million.

But the state says the district has put enough safeguards in place now to relax its monitoring.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Fri November 15, 2013

In 'a big surprise' to Detroit leaders, state to pay little for city's restructuring consultants

Detroit’s elected leaders are shocked that the state has put a strict limit on how much it will pay for the city’s many restructuring consultants.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed last year, the state agreed to reimburse Detroit for half the cost of those outside contractors.

But Detroit’s finance director told the City Council Wednesday those reimbursements would be capped at $5 million.

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Law
7:00 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Detroit bankruptcy judge rejects bid to keep loan terms secret

The judge in Detroit’s bankruptcy case has denied a bid to keep some details of a controversial loan agreement secret.

Judge Steven Rhodes ruled Thursday that the city must disclose all the terms of a proposed loan from the British financial giant Barclays. That loan deal is as complex as it is controversial.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Duggan looks for smooth transition in Detroit

Mike Duggan
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s next mayor says he’s making plans to hit the ground running—but it’s unclear what powers he’ll have to implement them.

Mike Duggan named former Detroit State Representative Lisa Howze and former Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon to co-chair his transition team Wednesday.

They’re looking for volunteers with expertise in various parts of city government to fill out the team.

Duggan says this team will come up with an operational plan—but whether he can implement it is another matter.

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Arts & Culture
7:00 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Fire strikes Detroit's famous Heidelberg Project, again

At The Heidelberg Project
user: doug_coombe Instagram

Update:

The Heidelberg Project's Executive Director Jenenne Whitfield told the Detroit Free Press that security cameras and extra lighting will be added to the project.

Fire has destroyed another home that’s part of the Heidelberg Project, a world-famous Detroit public art installation.

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Education
11:55 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Detroit schools issue 'child safety ID cards' to some students

A child is fingerprinted for an ID card at Detroit's Chrysler Elementary School.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools will start issuing “child safety ID cards” in some elementary schools.

The ID card will contain a child’s picture, fingerprint, and other identifying information. Participation is voluntary.

District officials say the cards could help find and identify missing children more quickly.

The district will give one card to parents, and keep the information on file. They say the district will only share the card’s information with law enforcement in the event of an emergency.

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Law
7:22 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Closing arguments set to begin in Detroit bankruptcy trial

Closing arguments start Friday in Detroit’s bankruptcy eligibility trial.

Witness testimony wrapped up this week, with former State Treasurer Andy Dillon and one of Governor Snyder’s top aides, Rich Baird, both taking the stand.

Dillon testified that he was “skeptical” after seeing Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s June proposal to city creditors, which included steep cuts to unsecured creditors, including pensions.

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Law
7:20 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Protesters call for answers, justice in Renisha McBride's death

Renisha McBride
Credit Family photo

Questions persist - and outrage is growing - over the death of a young unarmed Detroit woman in a suburban community.

Renisha McBride was shot to death on the porch of a Dearborn Heights home last weekend.

The circumstances surrounding her death remain murky. The man who killed her reportedly told police he thought McBride was breaking into his home, and he shot her accidentally.

The man has not been arrested or even identified.

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Politics & Government
8:47 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Voter turnout tops expectations in Detroit

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

With emergency manager Kevyn Orr running Detroit, the city’s elected officials have very few real powers. So Detroiters could be forgiven for asking: Why bother to vote at all?

But for some Detroiters, there was no question about exercising the right to vote.

And turnout for this election was higher than expected, at upwards of 25%.

Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey had projected that less than 25% of voters would participate.

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Politics & Government
2:06 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Mike Duggan is Detroit's next mayor

Mike Duggan greets a supporter
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Get used to saying "Mayor Duggan," because former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan is the new mayor-elect of Detroit.

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