Sarah Hulett

Senior Editor

Sarah Hulett became Michigan Radio's Senior Editor 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.

Public domain

More than 360 Michigan inmates have been dealt a setback.

The prisoners were all sentenced to automatic life without parole as teenagers. The U.S. Supreme Court says that's unconstitutional.

So local prosecutors were set to re-sentence those Michigan inmates. 

Attorneys for those prisoners objected. They worried local prosecutors would routinely seek life without parole during re-sentencing, and argued the Supreme Court decision should prevent that.

But Judge John Corbett O'Meara disagreed.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Rates could be going up next year for people who buy health insurance on Michigan's public exchange.

More than a dozen companies have submitted requests for rate changes to the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (you can see the requests here). The companies that sell to the largest share of the individual market are Blue Care Network with a 14.8% requested increase, Blue Cross Blue Shield at 18.7%, and Priority Health at 13.9%.

The average increase is 17.2%.

user eyspahn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Money for the Detroit Zoo is one of the issues voters in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties will decide tomorrow.

Voters OK'd the initial tax in 2008.

Since then the zoo has overhauled a lot of its facilities and expanded its offerings – and attendance is way up.

That levy expires at the end of next year, and the zoo hopes voters will continue to agree to the 0.1 mill property tax for another decade.

An owner of a $200,000 house would pay about $10 a year.

Kym Worthy (file photo).
waynecounty.com

Michigan’s largest county has formed a special unit focused on solving and prosecuting crimes against LGBT people.

 

The unit in Wayne County will focus first on prosecuting a dozen current cases – including six murders -- and re-opening three unsolved “cold cases” in Detroit.

 

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says crimes against LGBT people often go unreported, and can be more difficult than other cases to solve. 

 

U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop
U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop/C-SPAN

The U.S. Department of Justice will make $40 million available to victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak.

That's according to U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester.

“Every victim deserves an advocate," Bishop said in a press release. "It’s been nearly four long years for these victims and their families, and now we’re finally getting some positive news,”

The meningitis outbreak was tied to tainted steroid injections administered at clinics in several states. Hundreds of people were sickened, and 76 died – including 19 in Michigan.

Flint resident Michael Poole says he has enough water in his basement, "I could probably put it in a big ol' barrel and take a shower for days."
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Michael Poole doesn’t buy the line that filtered tap water is safe for him and his neighbors to drink.

“There may be a day when I might be able to trust” the water, he says. “But until then, I’m getting this right here.”

State Rep. Andy Schor's second-grade son was suspended for bringing a Swiss Army knife to school.
ppdiaporama / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Legislation in the state Senate would relax Michigan's "zero tolerance" approach to discipline in public schools.

State Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, introduced the bills. He says he has personal experience with the current policies.

"The pencil sharpener was broken in my son's classroom when he was in second grade, so he took my Swiss Army knife, which he shouldn't have done, but he brought it in to sharpen his pencil and another student said, you know, 'Ms. So-and-so, Ryan's got a knife,’ and he got suspended for it," Schor said.

nearly one in every five DPS students  qualifies for some special education services
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Yet another Detroit Public Schools administrator is accused of stealing from the district.

This time the alleged scam steered at least $1,275,000 to a former grants manager for tutoring services that were never delivered.

Carolyn StarkeyDarden worked for the district from 1968 to 2005. She went on to set up a series of companies that got tutoring contracts with the district.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announces charges in his team's investigation into the Flint water crisis on April 20, 2016.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An official in the state Attorney General's office says warrants were issued this morning in 67th District Court against Flint Utilities Administrator Mike Glasgow, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality District Engineer Mike Prysby, and former Supervisor of the MDEQ’s Lansing District Office Stephen Busch.

The charges stem from their involvement in the Flint water crisis.

Attorney General Schuette launched the investigation three months ago.

In addition to the charges against the three individuals, Schuette said more people will be charged.

Patrick McKay / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments today on President Obama's executive actions on immigration.

The case could affect thousands of immigrants in Michigan. And some immigrant rights activists made the trip to Washington to make sure their voices are heard.

"Sometimes we just stand on the sidelines,” said Jacqueline Lopez, a student at Grand Rapids Community College, as she was about to board a DC-bound bus. “And this is just a way to be out there and stand with our community."

The Flint River and the Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says there’s still work to be done to ensure clean drinking water in Flint.

In a letter to state and city officials today, the agency laid out “two significant issues that need immediate attention” as it relates to complying with an emergency order the EPA issued on Jan. 21.

Lindsey Scullen/Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor, Karen Weaver, says she doesn’t want to waste any time getting rid of the city’s old lead service lines.

It’s those lines – which bring water from the main to Flint houses – that have caused so much trouble in the city. Flint did not treat the water from the Flint River properly. That meant it ate away at those pipes and contaminated the water in many homes with lead.

State AG Bill Schuette wants to make sure no one can vote straight-ticket this November.
Theresa Thompson / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Two presidential hopefuls are in Michigan today.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is making his first visit to Michigan.

He’s holding rallies at Eastern Michigan University, and at a union hall in Dearborn. Sanders is expected to talk about his plan to make college tuition-free, raising the minimum wage, and strengthening the middle class.

Meanwhile, Ohio Gov. John Kasich starts his two-day run through Michigan in Allendale, on the campus of Grand Valley State University.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan has had to swing into high gear in the wake of the Flint water crisis.

“We traditionally did about 1.6 million pounds out of the food bank, in January of 2015,” said president Bill Kerr. “This year we did over 3 million pounds.”

Kerr says water accounted for the increase, with about 1.4 million pounds of water distributed at 140 sites last month.

Now, Kerr says the food bank is tweaking its operations again.

EPA Region 5 director Susan Hedman (file photo).
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman will resign as of February 1.

Hedman headed up the EPA regional department that oversees the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. She was appointed to lead the EPA’s Region 5 office in 2010, where she oversaw EPA operations in six states. Before that, she was an environmental attorney with the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

screen shot / House TV

In his sixth State of the State address tonight, Governor Rick Snyder outlined a plan to deal with the short-term damage wrought by the Flint water crisis.

 

Snyder was contrite in the speech, during which he laid out the many failings of state and local government in the decision to pump water from the Flint River.

 

“I’m sorry, and I will fix it,” Snyder said. “Government failed you.”

 

Among other things, Snyder’s plan includes $28 million for:

 

cohdra / morgueFile

More than a hundred thousand people are still without electricity, after high winds yesterday downed power lines across the state.

And some of them may remain in the dark for a few days.

Altogether more than 140,000 customers lost power.

Consumers Energy customers got hit hardest. More than 120,000 of them lost power. Outages were concentrated in the Grand Rapids and Cadillac areas. As of 4:45 p.m. Thursday, there were 99,409 customers till without electricity.

Henrico Prins / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A charter high school in west Michigan now has two airplanes for students to use to learn to fly.

A contribution from the Delta Air Lines Foundation allowed the school to buy a Cessna 172.

“My first flight was actually in the new plane. 

WNEM TV

Clean-water activists hope new information about high lead levels in kids could revive a lawsuit against the city of Flint.

The attorney for a Flint group says she'll amend the complaint to force the city back to Detroit's water system.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The water in Flint is likely poisoning kids.

That’s what pediatricians in the city say, after looking at lead levels in young children before and after the city switched the source of its drinking water from the Detroit water system to the Flint River.


Mark McCulloch / Washtenaw County

People who live in Europe know what to do when they’re driving along and come to a roundabout.

They've been a fixture in road design there for many years.

Michigan drivers are starting to get more familiar with roundabouts. And now, there’s a new kind to get used to: the urban roundabout.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

To get an idea of how bad the roads in Hamtramck, Michigan are, you could just drive around

Or you could go talk to Jon Sucher.

A lot of times if you hear about a bad pothole on the news, I’ll know about it first because if it’s around here, people come to me,” says Sucher, the owner of Sucher Tire on East Davison, right across the street from Hamtramck.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Rosalynn Bliss will be Grand Rapids' new mayor.

Bliss soundly defeated her opponents in today's primary, winning 66% of the vote and negating the need for a run-off election in November.

Detroit's mayor wants to let neighborhoods put some of their vacant land to use.

"For recreation purposes, for gardening, for off-street parking, or whatever else their community wants, on the condition that the block club approves the use," says Mike Duggan.

Duggan says his plan would build off the city's successful side lot sale.

Sean Davis / Flickr http://tinyurl.com/ndp3cbj

Detroit's police chief will keep his job for at least another two years.

James Craig was hired by Kevyn Orr, the state-appointed emergency manager who took the city through bankruptcy.

Mayor Mike Duggan says it turned out to be a good choice, and he wants Craig to stick around.

Allan / Flickr

If you like a quieter holiday on the Fourth of July, there are 12 state parks hosting fireworks-free celebrations this year.

The state Department of Natural Resources organized the events after a veteran pointed out that Independence Day can be difficult for some former service members.

Gov. Rick Snyder

The publicly financed bridge between Detroit and Windsor will be called the Gordie Howe International Crossing.

Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement in Windsor today.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools is revamping some of its offerings in the hopes it will make its schools more competitive.

Todd Losie is the principal at FLICS, a K-through-8 school that sits right next to Renaissance High School.

Both schools will go for International Baccalaureate certification.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

An Indian manufacturing company is buying Southwestern High School in Detroit, and expanding its operations in the city.

Sakthi Automotive makes lightweight metal car parts. The company already has operations on either side of the high school. It’s getting $3.5 million in incentives from the Michigan Strategic Fund, and Detroit will spend $900,000 in federal money to tear down a portion of the building.

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