Sarah Hulett

Assistant News Director

Sarah Hulett became Michigan Radio's assistant news director in August 2011. For five years she was the station's Detroit reporter, and contributed to several reporting projects that won state and national awards.

Sarah considers Detroit to be a perfect laboratory for great radio stories, because of its energy, its struggles, and its unique place in America's industrial and cultural landscape.

Before coming to Michigan Radio, Sarah spent five years as state Capitol correspondent for Michigan Public Radio. She's a graduate of Michigan State University.

Contact Sarah Hulett at sarah@michiganradio.org.

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Technology
2:31 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

U of M researchers find traffic lights can be hacked

Have you ever watched a movie where a snarky young computer hacker wreaks havoc with civic infrastructure, and wondered if it could happen in real life?

Well, a team of researchers researchers from the University of Michigan had that same question. So they looked into a scenario like this one, featured in the remake of The Italian Job:

"Was that really possible?” said Branden Ghena, who was on the research team. “Could you actually change the light colors? Is that a thing that can really happen, or are these systems as secure as we hoped they were?"

Turns out, the answer is yes – it really can happen.

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The Environment Report
8:50 am
Thu September 25, 2014

New rules for Detroit demolitions designed to protect public health

New rules require demolition contractors in Detroit to do things like cover loads of debris. And field liaisons check on sites to make sure they're following the rules.
Credit MCM Management Corp.

Detroit is in the middle of one of the most ambitious demolition campaigns the nation has ever seen, tearing down about 200 houses every week.

Many of the homes being razed are in neighborhoods where people still live. So Detroit officials sat down before the blitz to come up with some new regulations designed to keep people safe from dust, and from hazardous materials that could be in that dust – like lead, or asbestos.

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Education
10:55 am
Sun September 7, 2014

Students, alumni rally in support of gay teacher who says pregnancy got her fired

Fired Marian high school teacher Barb Webb, left, and her wife, Kristen Lasecki, at a rally in support of Webb this morning.
Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Dozens of students, alumni and supporters rallied in front of Marian High School in suburban Detroit this morning to protest the firing of chemistry teacher Barb Webb. Webb is gay, and says she was fired after informing administrators at the Catholic high school she was pregnant.

Webb taught chemistry at Marian for nine years. She also coached volleyball and soccer. She says administrators felt her “non-traditional” pregnancy ran afoul of a morality clause that allows personnel to be fired for “lifestyle or actions directly contradictory to the Catholic faith.” 

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Politics & Government
5:07 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Detroit mayor announces plan to help people pay water bills

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and DWSD Director Sue McCormick, right, say their 10-point plan will help water customers avoid shut-offs.
Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

After weeks of criticism and international attention, Detroit is revamping the way it handles delinquent water accounts.

That plan includes waiving late payment penalties and turn-on fees, and beefing up staff and hours at customer service centers.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says there will also be more straightforward payment plans and financial assistance for low-income residents.

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Transportation
12:00 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Long-awaited Detroit streetcar project breaks ground

M1 Rail rendering

After a series of fits and starts, Detroit's M1 Rail project breaks ground today.

A short stretch of Woodward Avenue will be shut down today as construction gets underway.

The streetcar line will run 3.3 miles from downtown to New Center, and will have 12 stops.

More than a dozen private donors, led by Roger Penske, kicked in $100 million of the project's $140 million price tag.

The project's backers say it will help along the resurgence that's already underway in that part of the city.

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Detroit bankruptcy
5:15 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Report: DIA collection worth as much as $4.6 billion

The Wedding Dance, by Peter Bruegel the Elder, is one of the most valuable works at the DIA.
Credit Detroit Institute of Arts

A New York art investment firm says, on paper, works at the Detroit Institute of Arts could be worth as much as $4.6 billion. But the report by ArtVest Partners says the artwork could go for a lot less, if it's liquidated as part of the city's bankruptcy.

An earlier appraisal of the DIA's collections by Christie's auction house looked only at works bought with city money, and said selling those would bring in no more than $866 million.

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Prisons
5:02 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Problems pile up for Jackson-area prison as state puts it under quarantine

150 inmates are sick with stomach flu at the Parnall Correctional Facility - the same prison where maggots were found in on the cafeteria food line last week.
Credit Matt / Flickr

Problems keep piling up at Parnall Correctional Facility near Jackson.

Last week, maggots were found on the serving line in the prison's cafeteria.

Over the weekend, inmates started getting sick with a stomach virus.

And the problems have gotten worse. Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan says the number of sick prisoners is now up to 150, and the prison's been put under quarantine.

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Families & Community
5:58 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Should we stay or should we go: A reporter’s notebook on living with crime in Detroit

For Sarah Hulett, the benefits of living in Detroit outweighed the risks. Then she had two daughters, and has had to rethink that.
Credit Brian Wybenga

All this week, Michigan Radio and the  Detroit Journalism Cooperative are looking at city services and quality of life issues in the city of Detroit. Michigan Radio's assistant news director, Sarah Hulett, is a Detroit resident and brings us this essay about living with crime. 

If you’re on the fence about staying in Detroit or moving out, there’s an absurd and irrational sort of calculus you do when it comes to crime.

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Law
5:57 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Government seeks dismissal of Juggalos suit

Juggalos say they've been unfairly targeted by law enforcement as a result of the FBI's "hybrid criminal gang" designation
Credit Cameron Blaylock / Flickr

The government is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that claims fans of the band Insane Clown Posse have been unfairly labeled a criminal gang.

The FBI in 2011 put out a report that cited crimes committed by the rap duo's fans, known as Juggalos.

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6:32 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Plant your soul: The poetry of a Detroit elementary school

Lead in text: 
All this year, producer Zak Rosen has been reporting on the first year of the James and Grace Lee Boggs School in Detroit. Whitney Walker is the office manager at school, which her daughter Zoe also attends. Whitney Walker is also a poet, and in this installment of the Boggs School series she offers a documentary poem about her transformative experience working at the school.
Whitney Walker has had a lot of jobs in her life. But she was never content until she landed at her current gig as the office manager at the James and
Transportation
10:51 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

No wheels in the Motor City? New website seeks to help

Credit Shawn Wilson / Wikimedia Commons

In spite of its nickname, the Motor City has well-known transportation problems.

A large proportion of Detroiters don't own cars, and buses are notoriously late and overcrowded.

Now, residents have a new option.

It's a website based on a platform used at colleges, called detroit.ridepost.com.

Debra Rowe heads the Detroit Green Skills Alliance, which works on sustainability issues.

She convinced the person who created the platform to donate it, and says it will be useful for all kinds of people.

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Breaking
5:14 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Michigan lawmakers commit $195 million to Detroit's bankruptcy reorganization

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers have committed to contributing $195 million to Detroit's bankruptcy settlement.

The state Senate gave final legislative approval to the bills to help protect retiree pensions and prevent the sale of city-owned artwork at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“Today we are all Detroiters and we are all Michiganians,” said U.S District Court Judge Gerald Rosen following the vote. Rosen has been overseeing talks between Detroit and its creditors, and is considered the architect of the "grand bargain."

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Detroit
1:41 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Jamie Dimon says $100 million investment in Detroit was not done for charity

Credit Shawn Wilson / Wikimedia Commons

For a lot of people, Jamie Dimon will forever be linked to the mortgage crisis that hit Detroit as hard as any city.

But there was no mention of that at yesterday's announcement, of course. Instead, there was a plated lunch - chicken and salad, with cupcakes - an uplifting video, and a standing ovation led by Michigan's governor, Rick Snyder.

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Crime
6:00 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Detroit police chief's advocacy for self-defense gets NRA's attention

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit's police chief has been getting a lot of attention for his advocacy of people using deadly force to defend themselves.

The stance has put James Craig at odds with many big-city police chiefs, and now it's landed him on the cover of the NRA magazine, America's First Freedom.

At a press conference today, Craig said he does not advocate violence, “but I am an advocate for when faced with a dangerous situation, one that presents an imminent threat to life, or great bodily harm, that one protects themselves."

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Housing
5:50 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Detroit Land Bank to expand auctions to more neighborhoods

Bids on 5500 Kensington start at $1,000. This house goes up on the auction block on Wednesday.
Credit buildingdetroit.org

A new experiment meant to fill some of Detroit's vacant city-owned homes appears to be paying off.

City officials plan to announce an expansion of the online auction today.

The Detroit Land Bank Authority started putting one house up for auction on a website each day last week. Bids started at $1,000, and all five drew high bids between $30,000 and $42,000.

So far, 6,000 people have signed up to bid.

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Environment & Science
7:28 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Nuclear regulators to discuss security issue at Fermi 2

DTE officials are meeting with federal regulators today. The security vulnerability was addressed immediately after it was discovered.
Credit Nuclear Regulatory Agency

Federal regulators are holding a private meeting with officials from DTE Energy today to discuss a security issue at the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant in southeast Michigan.

Details are scarce, due to security concerns.

But Viktoria Mytling with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says an issue was discovered during a security assessment that showed vulnerability.

“Specifically, this vulnerability would have allowed unauthorized or undetected access into the plant – to the protected area of the plant,” Mytling said.

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Environment & Science
6:03 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Governor to announce statewide recycling plan

Credit Penn State / Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder wants more households in Michigan to recycle their waste. He's announcing a plan today to make that possible.

The plan will focus on four key areas – including developing markets for recycled products, and helping communities make recycling more convenient for residents.

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Law
6:31 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Mich. Supreme Court suspends Wayne Co. Judge McCree

The Michigan Supreme Court says a Wayne County judge should be removed from office. It says Wade McCree faces a six-year suspension if voters reelect him in November, and ordered him to pay $11,645.17 in costs.

You might remember Wade McCree's name from a now-infamous quote he gave to a TV reporter about texting a shirtless picture of himself to a sheriff’s office worker.

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Investigative
11:07 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Detroit family inches toward answers in mystery of civil rights activist’s disappearance

Tamara Kamara, Robinson's youngest child, and widow, Cheryl Buswell-Robinson.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

In the spring of 1973, Ray Robinson left his wife and three young children in Bogue Chitto, Alabama to support the occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

He never came home.

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Politics & Government
2:41 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Broke Detroit is on a hiring blitz

The city of Detroit is looking to hire more than 350 people.
davelawrence8 Flickr

The most notoriously broke city in America is on a hiring spree.

The city of Detroit hosts a job fair today and tomorrow.

"There are more than 350 positions that are open at the city right now,” said Lisa Howze, chief of staff to Mayor Mike Duggan. “A great number of them are for police officers, bus drivers, mechanics, and various other departments have put out postings as well."

The city is looking to cut overtime costs and improve services as it works its way through bankruptcy.

More than 1,500 applicants pre-registered for the job fair.

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