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.


Politics & Government
10:58 am
Tue July 2, 2013

New Detroit Police Chief: 'I'm going to take care of the cops'

James Craig addresses officers at Detroit's 10th precinct.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

“We will get this done,” James Craig, Detroit’s new police chief, told officers at the 10th precinct during roll call Monday.

Craig, during his first day on the job, promised officers that he would start “treating police like adults.” And he vowed to make Detroit “one of the safest major cities in America.”

“You can’t have a safe city if you don’t take care of the cops,” Craig said.  “And I’m going to take care of the cops.”

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Politics & Government
10:39 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Snyder stumps for Medicaid expansion: 'This is common sense'

Beaumont CEO Gene Michalski, left, joined Governor Snyder in pushing for Medicaid expansion.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder is trying to ratchet up the pressure on state lawmakers to expand Medicaid coverage.

Shyder stumped for the “Healthy Michigan” initiative at two southeast Michigan hospitals Monday. At Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, the governor heard stories about the high cost of treating the uninsured.

Snyder called those stories evidence of a “dumb, broken” health care system, and says expanding Medicaid coverage would help alleviate the problem.

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Politics & Government
6:52 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Will Duggan launch a write-in campaign? We'll know on Friday

Will Mike Duggan launch a write-in campaign for Detroit mayor?

Some of his supporters want him to do just that.

Two courts decided that Duggan couldn’t run for mayor because of a technical residency requirement in the city charter.

Duggan decided not to appeal the issue to the Michigan Supreme Court. And when he announced that last week, Duggan said he wasn’t interested in running a write-in campaign, either.

But some of his supporters, like Peggy Noble, didn’t want to let Duggan’s mayoral campaign die.

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Politics & Government
6:23 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Orr puts Detroit unions on notice

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has reminded two of the city’s biggest unions that their contracts are expiring soon.

In letters sent this week, Orr emphasized that he’s not required to conduct collective bargaining sessions.

Under the state’s emergency manager law, he could impose new terms on the unions.

Mark Young is President of the Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, which along with AFSCME Council 25 is one of the affected unions.

He says the officers should get a new collective bargaining agreement.

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The Environment Report
11:30 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Citizen groups flex some muscle in fight against Detroit's petroleum coke piles

Protesters block a truck carrying pet coke from docks along the Detroit River.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

By now, you’ve probably heard of Detroit’s pet coke piles.

They’re a byproduct of refining Canadian tar sands oil at Detroit’s Marathon refinery, and the ashen piles are definitely an eyesore on the city’s riverfront. But how much of a danger does pet coke really pose?

So far, a definitive answer has proved elusive. But that hasn’t stopped a whole movement from springing up—and gaining some ground in the global fight against tar sands oil.

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Environment & Science
11:19 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Anti-pet coke activists blockade Detroit dock

Protesters block a truck carrying pet coke from a loading dock on the Detroit River.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

 A group of protesters blocked trucks carrying petroleum coke from accessing docks on the Detroit riverfront Monday, as part of several nationwide actions against Canadian tar sands oil.

As one activist put it while issuing an “eviction notice:” “Marathon, Koch Brothers, Matty Moroun…We expect you to leave now.”

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Politics & Government
6:50 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

There's some pushback against Kevyn Orr's plan for Detroit's water department

Credit Kate Boicourt / IAN

Detroit’s emergency manager has a plan for the city’s water department—but not everybody likes it.

Kevyn Orr proposes leasing the system to a “Metropolitan Area Water and Sewer Authority” as it part of a larger restructuring of city operations.

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Politics & Government
12:45 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Orr's restructuring plan released, historic meeting with Detroit's creditors is underway

Orr arriving this morning at the meeting.
Matt Helms Twitter

Update 12:45

The meeting has ended. We'll have updates later today on Orr's plan and reaction to it from other stakeholders.

The Detroit Free Press' Matt Helms tweeted a shot of Orr talking to the media after the meeting:

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Politics & Government
12:06 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager launches key talks with creditors

Kevyn Orr, Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager.
State of Michigan

Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr sits down with the city’s major creditors Friday.

The meeting sets up negotiations that could help Detroit avoid filing for bankruptcy—or lay the groundwork for it.

Orr will gather all the city’s big creditors—unions, retirees, and banks—to pitch his plan.

They’ll all be asked to take some major losses to help Detroit shed some of its crippling debt load, estimated at a least $15 billion.

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Politics & Government
5:55 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Duggan vows to appeal judge's ruling, get back on Detroit ballot

Mike Duggan with supporters Wednesday.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

  Mike Duggan says he’s confident he’ll be back as an official candidate for Detroit mayor.

Duggan is appealing a judge’s decision that disqualified him from the ballot Tuesday.

The issue: The Detroit city charter says anyone running for office must be a registered Detroit voter “for one year at the time of filing for office.”

According to a Wayne County judge’s ruling, that means the day you submit petitions to run—and in that case, Duggan doesn’t make the cut.

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Politics & Government
12:08 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Orr's message to Detroit: "I'm going to accomplish this job"

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr didn’t share much new information at his first public meeting Monday night—but he did set the stage for an upcoming meeting with the city’s creditors.

At his first public meeting—required by the emergency manager law that empowers him--Orr told a story we already know: Detroit hasn’t been paying contractors, making pension payments, and has only survived by borrowing billions.

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Arts & Culture
11:25 pm
Sun June 9, 2013

A weekend of Pride in the Motor City

Credit Motor City Pride / via facebook

Michigan’s gay and lesbian community put on their biggest yearly event in Detroit this past weekend.

It was the third year for Motor City Pride in downtown Detroit’s Hart Plaza.

The crowd at this year’s Pride was bigger than ever. It was also diverse, ranging from teens to families with young kids to some older folks.

The events were equally wide-ranging, with everything from drag shows to family picnics.

Jackie Stoll was there with the group Dignity Detroit, which represents Catholic members of the LGBT community.

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Politics & Government
6:57 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Levin: "Time to face the music" on sequester

Sander Levin

 The federal budget cuts known as the sequester are hitting home across Metro Detroit.

That’s the message Congressman Sander Levin took on the road in his district Friday.

Levin met with seniors, defense industry employees, and hospital staff in Macomb County. All have been affected to some degree by the sequester.

At St. John’s Macomb hospital, a 2% cut to Medicare payments has taken a $4.5 million bite out of the budget. About 70% of the hospital’s patients are covered by Medicare.

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Politics & Government
8:53 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Wayne County halts construction on new jail amidst massive cost overruns

Credit Wayne County / via Wayne County

Wayne County will stop building a $300 million jail complex while it tries to figure out how the project got so over-budget.

The new jail was supposed to save Wayne County money by consolidating several facilities into one new, high-tech one.

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7:09 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Wayne State University has a new President

M. Roy Wilson
Credit via

  The Wayne State University Board of Governors unanimously approved Dr. M. Roy Wilson as the school’s next President Wednesday.

Wilson is currently a deputy director at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. An ophthalmologist by training, he comes from a background in medical research that spans government and academia.

“I sense great things moving forward,” Wilson said about Wayne State, calling it a “public institution…with a noble vision.”

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Politics & Government
12:45 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

House bills aim to crack down on illegal scrapping

Credit via Wikipedia

  The Michigan State House held its first hearing Monday on bills to crack down on scrap metal theft.

The scrap metal theft reform package “provides stronger tools for our local law enforcement and prosecutors, as well as theft protections for residents, businesses and farmers,” says Detroit state representative Rashida Tlaib, a co-sponsor.

It works mostly by putting restrictions on the scrap yards who buy and process the metal.

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9:58 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Blacks more than 3 times as likely as whites to be arrested for pot possession

Marijuana plants.
user r0bz Flickr

Blacks are 3.3 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession in Michigan, according to a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The study shows Michigan’s racial discrepancy is close to the national average, despite the fact that blacks and whites use marijuana at roughly equal rates.

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3:39 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

"We have to teach ourselves:" students at Detroit's Catherine Ferguson Academy file federal lawsuit

A Catherine Ferguson Academy student and her child.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some students and staff at Detroit’s Catherine Ferguson Academy say their education is so lackluster, it violates their civil rights.

The Detroit Public Schools handed the school for pregnant and parenting girls over to a charter operator in 2011, after students and teachers fought to keep it from closing.

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Politics & Government
9:06 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Governor confirms financial emergency in Hamtramck

As expected, Governor Snyder has confirmed that Hamtramck faces a financial emergency.

Now, the question is what to do about it.

Hamtramck’s financial problems are nothing new. The city was in state receivership from 2000-2007. And in 2010, city officials asked to file for bankruptcy.

And they asked for this state review, too—which found the city is still running continuous deficits, and can’t make pension payments on time.

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4:10 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Trial begins today for officer who shot seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones

A protest in 2010 after Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot
multi.lectical Flickr

The trial of a Detroit police officer who fatally shot a seven-year-old girl began today.

Officer Joseph Weekley shot Aiyana Stanley-Jones during a botched raid for a murder suspect in 2010. 

Weekley is charged with involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors say he showed "gross negligence" in shooting the little girl. 

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