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
9:51 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

State must release names of candidates considered for Detroit emergency manager job

State officials must turn over the names of all candidates considered for Detroit’s emergency manager job.

A Wayne County Circuit judge court ordered that information be made public Tuesday.

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Politics & Government
9:14 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Detroit Council hopes to send message by rejecting loan proposal

The Detroit City Council has rejected a $350 million loan deal secured by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

Orr announced the deal with the British financial giant Barclays earlier this month.

The plan was to use most of the money—about $230 million—to pay off two banks who profited from a bad interest rate swaps deal Detroit made on some pension debt years ago.

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Politics & Government
5:10 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Hantz Farms finally gets green light for massive Detroit farm

Mike Score is the president of Hantz Farms, which plans to plant 15,000 hardwoods on the east side of Detroit.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

One of the country’s largest-ever urban farming projects got the green light from Detroit and state officials Friday.

Both Governor Snyder and Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr signed off on a development agreement that lets Hantz Farms acquire about 140 acres of land on Detroit’s east side.

Hantz Farms is the brainchild of John Hantz, CEO of the Hantz Group, primarily a financial services company.

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Politics & Government
5:48 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Detroit group: City needs to spread development efforts to neighborhoods

A blighted home in Detroit.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A group of grassroots Detroit activists says the city needs to broaden its vision of re-development beyond downtown.

The group Michigan United has proposed a plan it calls “restoring our communities.”

It proposes a city ordinance with concrete measures to control blight and revitalize Detroit’s suffering residential neighborhoods.

Measures include:

·        Requiring banks to post a $10,000 bond for each foreclosure. Groups leaders say this has worked well and raised revenue in other cities.

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Education
11:27 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

New state consultant to work with struggling Pontiac Schools

The former emergency manager of two Michigan school districts is moving onto help Pontiac schools.

Donald Weatherspoon was the emergency manager of the Highland Park and Muskegon Heights schools.

Now, he’s a consent agreement consultant for the Pontiac schools. The Pontiac school board chose to enter a consent agreement after a state review found the district was in "fiscal stress."

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Politics & Government
11:15 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Detroit CFO resigns over controversial comments

Kevyn Orr
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s chief financial officer, Jim Bonsall, has resigned.

Bonsall had only been on the job since mid-July. He was brought in by Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr, after lobbying for the job through Governor Snyder’s office.

But Bonsall’s management style alienated some. And he came under investigation after a recently-demoted city employee reported racially-charged comments he made at a meeting.

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Politics & Government
8:32 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Detroit City Council rejects Belle Isle lease, offers its own proposal

Belle Isle beach in July
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit City Council has rejected a proposal to lease Belle Isle to the state. But the Council is also putting forth its own, alternative lease deal.

Governor Snyder and emergency manager Kevyn Orr already signed a 30-year lease deal last month.

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Politics & Government
10:32 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Detroit will borrow $350 million to pay off debts, boost services

Kevyn Orr
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit will borrow $350 million to help it through bankruptcy and restructuring.

Emergency manager Kevyn Orr announced the deal with the British financial giant Barclays Friday.

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Politics & Government
10:28 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Detroit CFO suspended over "hostile and abusive" comments

Detroit’s new chief financial officer has been suspended.

The city’s former finance director, Cheryl Johnson, has accused Jim Bonsall of creating a hostile work environment, particularly for black women.

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Law
8:45 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Kwame Kilpatrick learns his fate today

 After years of legal, political and tabloid drama, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick finally learns his fate Thursday.

Kilpatrick faces up to life in prison after being convicted of two dozen federal corruption charges, including racketeering, bribery and extortion in March.

Federal prosecutors call the scale of Kilpatrick’s corruption “astonishing” and “devastating,” and argue he should get at least 28 years in prison for his crimes.

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Politics & Government
4:28 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Kevyn Orr talks privatization, pensions, DIA art at forum

Kevyn Orr
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Kevyn Orr talks frequently with Governor Snyder, considers himself a “technocrat,” and says everything  — including the Detroit Institute of Arts — is “on the table” in Detroit’s bankruptcy.

Orr addressed questions about the bankruptcy, city pensions, and the city’s progression through Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy at a Detroit Economic Club forum Thursday.

Some of the highlights:

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Politics & Government
5:58 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Napoleon earns law enforcement approval in Detroit mayor's race

Benny Napoleon

Law enforcement officials are choosing sides in the Detroit mayor’s race.

And perhaps not surprisingly, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon has earned their support.

Some major Detroit Police and Wayne County Sheriffs union officials endorsed Napoleon Tuesday, as did Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy.

Worthy says that when it comes to tackling Detroit’s crime problem, Napoleon “gets it,” unlike current leaders.

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Politics & Government
3:54 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

State and Detroit officials strike tentative deal to lease Belle Isle

Beach-goers at Belle Isle in July.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan has signed a deal to lease Detroit’s Belle Isle.

Governor Snyder and emergency manager Kevyn Orr have both approved the plan.

The state won’t pay anything for the 30-year deal, which has two 15-year renewal options.

But the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will run Belle Isle as a state park, saving Detroit an estimated $4 million a year in maintenance costs.

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Offbeat
9:00 am
Tue October 1, 2013

A tale of two households, and the complicated reality of living in Detroit

Jen Janke and kids.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s no secret that Detroit is much smaller than it used to be.

The city’s population peaked at a little under two million people in the 1950s. It’s declined steeply since then, to about 700,000.

People are still leaving the city. But the rate is slowing, as some people discover new reasons to move in.

Here’s a story about two Detroit households moving in opposite directions — and the different forces tugging on the city’s population.

“We really felt led to live here”

At Jen Janke’s house, conversations can get a little sidetracked.

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Politics & Government
8:51 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Feds promise to "unlock" millions in Detroit grant money, complement private efforts

The White House is doing what it can to help Detroit—but don’t look for much financial aid to flow from Washington.

Some top administration officials told state and local leaders in Detroit Friday that the White House will “unlock” millions in federal funds for the city.

That’s largely money the city had already been granted, but couldn’t use because it didn’t meet certain federal guidelines.

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Politics & Government
8:06 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

White House officials head to Detroit meeting, with aid package in the works

Some top White House officials are headed to Detroit for a big meeting Friday.

And they're expected to announce $300 million in aid for the city.

It’s the first such meeting between federal and local leaders in Detroit since the city filed for bankruptcy in July.

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Politics & Government
8:15 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Snyder touts business-friendly efforts at Michigan Automotive Summit

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder says Michigan has become a more business-friendly place since he took office—and that’s good news for the automotive industry.

The Governor addressed industry leaders at the Michigan Automotive Summit in Detroit Wednesday.

Snyder says that in the emerging global economy, there will be a “go-to place” to on each continent to make things. And he thinks Michigan is poised to be that place in North America—but the state needs to embrace, not reject, its manufacturing past.

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Politics & Government
4:57 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

GM criticized for seeking Detroit tax abatement

General Motors wants tax incentives to help offset an investment in its Detroit assembly plant.

But some Detroiters say the bankrupt city shouldn’t be handing out subsidies to profitable carmakers.

A small group of protesters circled in front of GM headquarters in downtown Detroit Monday, demanding that the corporation “pay its taxes.”

The Reverend Charles Williams II, who led the protest, said it's not right for GM to look for tax abatements while the city is in federal bankruptcy court, and pensioners face possible cuts.

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Economy
8:07 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Black business leaders want "a seat at the table" in Detroit re-development

The Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce says minority-owned businesses are "locked out" of Detroit development deals.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

 There are a number of multi-million dollar development projects happening in and around downtown Detroit these days.

But according to the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, black-owned businesses feel left out of the boom.

Black and other minority-owned businesses have effectively been locked out of the process of re-developing Detroit, says Chamber CEO Ken Harris.

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Environment & Science
7:35 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Biggest-ever gift to Detroit Zoo is a big deal for penguins

The Detroit Zoo announced the largest single private gift in its history Wednesday—and it’s all about penguins.

The $10 million gift from the Polk Family Fund will go toward building the Polk Family Penguin Conservation Center.

Zoo officials say the Center has been in the “planning and design” phase for two years now.

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