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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Politics & Government
10:24 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Duggan: Car insurance, blight, buses among top issues in first State of the City

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is proposing a city-run insurance company to help bring down astronomical premiums.
dugganfordetroit.com

City buses that pick you up when they’re supposed to. Parks that are open to the public, where the grass is cut and the trash is picked up. And car insurance that doesn’t cost more than your car.

Sound like modest proposals? Maybe in most cities. But Detroit is not most cities. And those are some of the promises made by Mayor Mike Duggan, in his first State of the City address tonight.

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Politics & Government
6:33 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Wayne Co. plan calls for pay and benefit cuts, spinning off sewage plants

Wayne County Commission Chair Gary Woronchak
waynecounty.com

Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano is asking commissioners to approve a plan that calls for cutting pay and benefits for county employees, and spinning off its sewage treatment plants, among other things.

The county has a running deficit of at least $175 million. And it continues to spend more than it takes in.

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Environment & Science
7:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

What heavy ice coverage means for Great Lakes shipping and water levels

USCGC Morro Bay departs from Detroit to break ice down the Detroit River to Toledo.
Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Ice formed on the Great Lakes early this year, thanks to the arctic temperatures we’ve been experiencing.

And that should be good for lake levels, which have plummeted in recent years. Right?

Well, it turns out the answer to that question is a bit complicated.

Lake levels are affected by a number of factors, including temperature, precipitation, evaporation and ice cover.

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The Environment Report
7:00 am
Tue January 21, 2014

The teeny, tiny ingredient that could add up to a big problem for the Great Lakes

Credit 5 Gyres

Ever seen a commercial for a face scrub or body wash that promises to “polish” your skin with “micro-beads?”

Or maybe one of the hundreds of these products already sits in your shower.

Ever wonder what those little beads are?

Chances are pretty good they’re plastic. And once they circle your drain and go down your pipes, chances are also pretty good they’re not going to get filtered out by your city’s sewage treatment plant.

Millions of tiny beads that look a lot like fish food

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Arts & Culture
2:44 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Insane Clown Posse, Juggalos sue FBI over gang designation

Violent J (Joseph Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler) are the duo behind Insane Clown Posse
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

The rap duo Insane Clown Posse has filed a federal lawsuit against the FBI. The group says the government’s designation of its fan base as a “hybrid criminal gang” is unconstitutional.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed the suit on behalf of ICP and four of its fans, who call themselves Juggalos.

The ACLU says the gang designation has made Juggalos targets of harassment by law enforcement, and that the designation violates Juggalos’ First Amendment and due process rights.

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Environment & Science
9:00 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Why airports look like home to snowy owls

Credit Hundreds of snowy owls have descended on the Great Lakes and Northeast as part of this year's "irruption." / toddraden

Every year, some snowy owls make their way south from their Arctic homeland in search of food, and some of us here in the Great Lakes region have been lucky enough to spot these magnificent birds on tree branches, or poles, or … near airports.

Airports have wide open treeless spaces, and can look a lot like home to snowy owls. And for wildlife specialists who work at airports from the Great Lakes to the Northeast, this has been a busy winter.

Eight owls trapped in one week at DTW

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Law
3:24 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Bill would prohibit asset forfeiture without conviction

State Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor)

A state lawmaker wants to make it illegal to seize people's assets if they have not been convicted of a crime.

Right now in Michigan, law enforcement can seize your car, your house, or other things you own as part of an investigation, even if it results in no criminal charges.

The bill’s sponsor says that runs afoul of the basic things we learn in grade-school civics.

“Innocent until proven guilty, unreasonable search and seizure, due process, all of these core constitutional principles are evoked when you're talking about a process where the government is taking a citizen's assets and there is no finding of any guilt,” says State Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor).

According to a Michigan State Police report, asset seizures brought in $22.4 million for state and local law enforcement agencies in 2012.

A spokeswoman for the state police says the department is reviewing the legislation and has not yet taken a position on it.

Law
5:49 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Detroit bankruptcy judge: Pensions are fair game

Sylverster Davis, who retired from Detroit's water department after 27 years, is worried about his pension.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

  In a case being watched nationwide, a federal bankruptcy judge in Detroit today ruled that the city is eligible for Chapter Nine municipal bankruptcy protection.

Judge Steven Rhodes also surprised some when he ruled that the city’s pensions can be cut.

The word spread quickly among a group of protestors outside the federal courthouse in Detroit.

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Business
10:19 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Detroit billionaire on real estate buying binge

David Crumbie plays one of the giant chess games outside a Dan Gilbert-owned building downtown.
Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

While the city of Detroit seeks bankruptcy protection, a local billionaire businessman is on a real estate buying binge.

Since 2011, Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures chairman Dan Gilbert has bought more than 40 downtown buildings, and seems to be collecting more each week.

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Law
9:00 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Detroit’s neglected infrastructure desperate for improvement

Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Attorneys are back in a Detroit bankruptcy court this week, arguing over whether the city qualifies for what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The thinking goes like this: Cut the Motor City loose from some of its crushing debt and legacy costs – pegged at around $18 billion.

But even if that happens, the city will still have a huge task ahead of it: making a city infrastructure built for 2 million people work for a population that’s now under 700,000.

(As Rodney Dangerfield might say:) Take the buses. Please.

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Law
3:50 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Gay marriage case headed to trial

Beth and Lisa Bashert
Michigan Radio

Updated 5:35 p.m.

After federal judge Bernard Friedman ordered a trial on the constitutionality of Michigan's ban on gay marriage, attorney Jay Kaplan called the delay a disappointment. 

Kaplan is an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Project.  He says going to trial could work out better in the long run.

"He’s being cautious," Kaplan says of Friedman.  "Because if he renders a good decision, you don’t want to see that decision reversed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and having a factual record strengthens your opinion.”

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Politics & Government
2:30 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Federal workers to Congress: 'Stop this insanity'

Federal workers protest the government shutdown outside the federal building in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Employees with the Veterans Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the Defense department were out in front of the federal building in Detroit today to protest the government shutdown.

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Business
5:33 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Ford celebrates 100 years of moving assembly line

Engine installation at the Highland Park plant, 1913.
Ford Motor Company

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the moving assembly line.

Henry Ford brought the method for mass-producing cars to his Highland Park Assembly Plant. 140 workers installed parts on a chassis that was dragged across the floor by a winch. The results were immediate and remarkable. 

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Education
9:50 am
Wed October 2, 2013

What is 'nature deficit disorder,' and how is one school fixing it?

Children at the CA Frost Environmental Sciences Academy in Grand Rapids.
Credit Sarah Huelett

Think back to when you were a kid, and how much time you spent playing outside. Maybe you wandered the neighborhood until the streetlights came on. Or built tree forts. Or explored a nearby field, or creek, or woods.

Now, think about the kids on your block – or in your house – and how much time you see them exploring the neighborhood. Without their cell phones.

Some advocates of unstructured outdoor play say far too few kids are doing that these days. They have a name for it: “nature deficit disorder,” and point to a growing body of research that links too much indoor time with problems including obesity, attention deficit disorder, and depression.

State of Opportunity checked in on one Grand Rapids school where kids don't just play outside, they learn from and in the natural environment. Read the rest of the story or listen in at State of Opportunity.

Economy
9:39 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Immigrant advocates roll out 'Welcome Mat Detroit'

This week, foreign-born people living in southeast Michigan have a new resource for things like social services or finding work.

Welcome Mat Detroit is a clearinghouse of information for the estimated 356,000 immigrants living in southeast Michigan.

Steve Tobocman is with Global Detroit. He says whether you're a refugee or a corporate executive, it can be tough to navigate life in a new country.

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Education
11:57 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Expanded pre-school program kicks off

Today was the first day of pre-school at Golightly Education Center in Detroit, as it was for many four-year-olds across the state.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Today is the first day of pre-school for many four-year-olds in Michigan. And thousands of them are getting a chance they might not otherwise have had, thanks to an expansion of a state program.

Susan Broman is a deputy superintendent at the Michigan Department of Education, and she oversees the Great Start Readiness Program. Broman says pre-school has a great return on investment.

"I mean, the reality is we know that high-quality pre-school is a proven strategy to significantly improve kindergarten readiness, grade-school reading and math proficiency," she said.

She says lawmakers agreed this year to hike funding for the program by $65 million because it works.

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Law
5:48 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Iraq war vet sues state over vanity plate

An Iraq war veteran is suing the Michigan Secretary of State for denying his request for a vanity plate that reads "Infidel."

Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Matwyuk says U.S. troops were often referred to as "infidels" by insurgents in Iraq. Matwyuk and his fellow soldiers re-claimed the word. Some of them sewed patches with the word onto their uniforms, or even tattooed it on their bodies.

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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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Law
6:30 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Chief Judge Rosen warns of 'devastating' cuts

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gerald E. Rosen
Detroit Legal News

The chief judge of the federal court in Detroit says budget cuts are slowing down the processing of some cases, and put public safety at risk.

Judge Gerald Rosen co-authored a letter signed by 87 judges that was sent to Congressional leaders and Vice President Joe Biden. It says a second year under the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration would devastate the courts.

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Economy
9:19 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit: 'Reset and come out stronger'

The Detroit skyline is best viewed from its southern neighbor across the Detroit River.
rabbit.hole Flickr

  The Detroit River is the mile-wide boundary that separates the United States and Canada. And the city park on the Windsor, Ontario, side of the river offers a better view of the Detroit skyline than anywhere else.

Yes, in a quirk of geography, Detroit actually sits north of its Canadian neighbor. Natives like Stephen Santarossa, who's from Windsor, love this bit of trivia, and relish the puzzled look on visitors' faces as they try to draw that mental map.

"Do you realize that you are now looking north?" he says.

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