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
11:30 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Duggan wins Detroit retirees' endorsement

Mike Duggan won the endorsement of Detroit retirees
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A group representing more than 12,000 city retirees has endorsed Mike Duggan for Detroit mayor.

The Detroit Retired City Employee Organization is throwing its weight behind Duggan because, according to member John Eddings, “The city needs to get it right this time.”

“And looking at the candidates, there’s only one person who has the demonstrated ability to take care of the problems that we have,” Eddings said. “And that person is Mike Duggan.”

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Politics & Government
11:15 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Some Detroit retirees might lose health care, move to insurance exchanges

Kevyn Orr
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit could end health care coverage for retired employees younger than 65.

Retiree health care costs make up about $6 billion of Detroit’s roughly $11 billion in unsecured debt.

City officials told Detroit pension trustees Wednesday that emergency manager Kevyn Orr is considering the plan. The idea isn’t new, though—Orr floated it as early as June, in his proposal to Detroit’s creditors before the city filed for bankruptcy.

Orr’s plan calls for the younger retirees to shifted onto the new insurance exchanges coming online with the Affordable Care Act.

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Politics & Government
6:39 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Bond market cool to Michigan after Detroit bankruptcy

It looks like Michigan municipalities are finding the bond market a tough go after Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing.

Michigan cities and school districts sold just $71.5 million worth of municipal bonds in August.

That’s the lowest amount of monthly bond issues for the state since 2003. And it’s a sign that Detroit’s bankruptcy is hurting municipalities’ ability to borrow money.

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Politics & Government
3:09 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

Detroit's Syrians show support for President Obama, US military strike

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

As Congress prepares to debate a plan of action in Syria—and President Obama tries to build support for a US military strike--Metro Detroit’s Syrian community is showing their support for American intervention.

Dozens of Syrian-Americans protested President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in suburban Detroit Friday.

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Education
2:48 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

New attendance policy in Detroit Public Schools

The Detroit Public Schools is tightening up its district-wide attendance policy this school year.

The policy is centered around what the district calls a “3-6-9 approach

Superintendent of academics Karen Ridgeway says the idea is pretty simple.

“There’s a reason for absences. Our whole initiative around 3-6-9 is to find out what that reason is, and to deal with that reason.”

Ridgeway says interventions begin when a child has a third unexcused absence from school.

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Law
5:48 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Civil rights groups "wave the red flag" about stop-and-frisk in Detroit

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A coalition of civil rights groups is concerned about the Detroit Police adopting some controversial tactics.

The department is training officers to perform “stop and frisk” procedures during routine traffic stops.

Police officials call it “proactive policing.” But civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union worry it could cross a constitutional line.

A federal judge recently found a New York City version of that program used racial profiling, and ruled it unconstitutional.

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Politics & Government
6:28 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Detroit's historic--but troubled--Brewster-Douglass homes meet the wrecking ball

The first Brewster-Douglass low-rises coming down
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

 Detroit’s historic Brewster Douglass housing projects are coming down.

Bulldozers started with some of the low-rise complexes that dot the 18.5 acre site Wednesday. The gutted high-rises that have almost become part of the downtown Detroit skyline are slated to come down within a few months.

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Politics & Government
8:14 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Detroit primary finally certified; now for the recount

State elections workers re-canvassing ballots in Detroit.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Michigan board of state canvassers has declared Mike Duggan the winner of Detroit’s mayoral primary.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers had Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon winning the race. But they declined to certify the election, passing it up to the state.

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Politics & Government
3:06 pm
Mon September 2, 2013

Despite major setbacks, 'The Dream Continues' at Detroit Labor Day parade

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

 Machinists, teachers, police were among the many unionized workers to hit the streets of downtown Detroit Monday morning.

The city’s annual Labor Day parade draws thousands of union members from across southeast Michigan each year.

It’s typically a time for union workers to flex some muscle. But this year’s parade was as much about re-grouping after a year of setbacks.

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Law
6:34 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Birmingham settles ACLU lawsuit with new First Amendment policy

The city of Birmingham has settled a federal lawsuit by adopting a new free speech policy.

The Michigan ACLU sued the city after animal rights protesters were arrested last year.

Protesters with the Southwest Michigan Animal Rights Team (SMART) were holding signs and passing out literature outside a Birmingham fur store in December 2012.

Police told the protesters they had to “keep moving” in order to be there. When one protester questioned the officers, she was arrested and charged with loitering.

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Politics & Government
6:24 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

State Appeals Court rules Detroit election can be certified next week

State workers re-tabulating votes from the Detroit mayoral primary. The Michigan Court of Appeals has allowed the state board of canvassers to move forward and certify the election next week.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Court of Appeals has reversed an order that would have prevented state officials from certifying Detroit’s mayoral primary.

The state stepped in after the Wayne County Board of Canvassers passed on certifying the election because of a dispute over how write-in votes were marked and counted.

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Politics & Government
5:17 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Schuette charges 7 Detroit building inspectors with bribery

Bill Schuette

 7 Detroit building inspectors face charges of accepting bribes, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Thursday.

Schuette said the inspectors, who altogether face 17 felony and misdemeanor counts, violated the public trust.

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Politics & Government
10:37 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Duggan vs. Napoleon heats up; each promises to champion Detroit neighborhoods

Benny Napoleon

 After a post-primary lull, the Detroit mayor’s race is heating up again—with each candidate positioning himself as the champion of the city’s neighborhoods.

While the State Board of Canvassers sorts out who actually won the primary, Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon jumped back into the spotlight this week.

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Politics & Government
4:47 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

State elections department will review some ballots for Detroit mayor

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State elections officials will re-tabulate some of the votes cast in Detroit’s mayoral primary.

But they won’t throw out thousands of write-in votes because of how election workers marked them.

That’s good news for candidate Mike Duggan, who according to unofficial results was the top vote-getter in the August 6th primary.

But Duggan ran as a write-in candidate. And different election workers marked those votes differently—some with numbers, others with hash marks.

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Education
11:08 am
Tue August 27, 2013

University of Detroit-Mercy faculty protest as contract negotiations drag on

UDM WWI Clock memorial
commons.wikimedia.org

Faculty at the University of Detroit Mercy say the university is “going backward” in ongoing contract negotiations.

Some U of D professors protested at an event attended by the school’s President Monday.

The two sides have been bargaining since late last year. Just last month, the university gave notice that it may invoke a clause to “terminate or modify” the current faculty contract in late September.

Faculty union President and Associate Professor of Physics Prasad Venugopal said faculty members are “very concerned” about that possibility.

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Politics & Government
8:42 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Anti-foreclosure funds will raze thousands of homes in Detroit, 4 other Michigan cities

An abandoned home about the meet the bulldozer in Detroit
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Thousands of vacant homes will come down in five Michigan cities, thanks to a diversion of federal money.

The first blighted homes demolished in the $100 million effort came down in the Marygrove neighborhood on Detroit’s west side Monday.

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Politics & Government
7:09 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

$8 million gift nets Detroit new police, EMS vehicles

One of the new Detroit Police cruisers
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit has a substantial number of brand-new police and EMS vehicles—and they come as a donation from the city’s business community.

Some of Detroit’s most prominent business people ponied up $8 million worth of new vehicles to the city through the Downtown Detroit Partnership.

One of the biggest donors—automotive retailer and racing magnate Roger Penske.

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Politics & Government
5:15 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Detroit city clerk: Move to disqualify votes "smacks democracy right in the face"

Janice Winfrey
Credit City of Detroit

The Detroit city clerk is dropping responsibility for Detroit’s mayoral primary debacle squarely in Wayne County’s lap.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers declined to certify the election results Tuesday.

Discrepancies between how some poll workers tallied votes on precinct worksheets put almost 20,000 votes for write-in candidate Mike Duggan in jeopardy.

Based on unofficial results, Duggan won the primary handily over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. But discounting those votes would have made Napoleon the winner.

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Politics & Government
12:54 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Objections flood in as deadline passes to oppose Detroit bankruptcy

The Detroit Institute of Arts was one group that did not file an objection to Detroit's bankruptcy filing.
user aMichiganMom Flickr

Tuesday saw a flood of court filings from Detroit's creditors.

Midnight was the deadline for creditors to file objections to Detroit's request for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy protection.

About 100 unions, pensioners, and individuals filed objections with the court.

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Politics & Government
8:17 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

With Pontiac financial emergency "resolved," a very different city emerges

Former Pontiac emergency manager Lou Schimmel, left, and Mayor Leon Jukowski.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

For the first time in nearly five years, the city of Pontiac is not under emergency management.

Emergency manager Lou Schimmel resigned Monday, saying the city’s financial emergency is “resolved.”

Schimmel was Pontiac's third emergency manager, serving since September 2011.

Pontiac is a radically different city than it was five years ago. The city’s general fund budget is about half what it used to be.

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