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.

Pages

Politics & Government
6:11 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Feds indict two Detroit pension officials

Federal prosecutors say two people linked to Detroit's pension systems took part in a bribery and kickback scheme involving more than $200 million in investments for the funds.

The U.S. Attorney in Detroit says Paul Stewart, a former trustee for the city's police and fire retirement system, took thousands of dollars in cash, trips and entertainment from people looking for investments from the pension fund.

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Politics & Government
10:45 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Can Detroit Be Saved?

Michigan is taking over Detroit's finances and will appoint an emergency manager to deal with the city's massive debt.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 11:04 am

Detroit is broke. On Friday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced the state will take over the city's finances.

"It is time to say, we need to start moving upward with the city of Detroit," he said.

But the question on many people's minds is whether state intervention will be enough — and whether the more ominous and painful scenario of municipal bankruptcy can be avoided.

Adding Up The Debt

Just how far gone is Detroit? Eric Lupher, director of local affairs for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, sums it up like this:

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Education
5:00 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Civil rights complaint ignites debate over Native American mascots

Marshall High School changed its nickname to the Redhawks nearly a decade ago, but "Redskins" gear still way out-sells "Redhawks" T-shirts and sweatshirts.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

For years, the debate about using American Indian names and imagery for sports teams has centered on the question of whether they create a “hostile environment” for Native American students. Courts have been split on that question, and so has public opinion – even among American Indians.

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Business
7:24 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Interior Secretary, Levin to talk historic preservation in Detroit

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Senator Carl Levin and Michigan officials will host a meeting in Detroit tomorrow to talk about how tax breaks for historic preservation projects can help distressed cities.

In a statement, Secretary Salazar says the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program has been used for 70 projects in Detroit since 2000. He says he wants to talk about how that program can help revitalize the city.

The meeting will take place in the Odd Fellows Building, which was rehabbed in 2006 with the help of historic tax credits.

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Environment & Science
4:23 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Study looks to get to bottom of 'Windsor hum'

University of Windsor Professor Colin Novak stands in front of some of the equipment that will be used to pinpoint the source of the "Windsor hum."
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Researchers in Ontario will spend the coming months trying to get to the bottom of the noise and vibration known as the "Windsor Hum."

People in Windsor have complained about the low-frequency rumbling for the past two years.

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Education
10:35 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Internet rumors close Genesee Co., Lapeer schools

A Maya mask... made before the days of social media.
Wolfgang Sauber Wikipedia

Schools in Genesee and Lapeer counties will be closed tomorrow and Friday, amid threats circulated on social media.

From the Genesee Co. Intermediate School District Web site:

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Economy
7:08 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

STATESIDE: Ambitious Detroit agriculture project starts to take root

Hantz Farms president Mike Score at the demonstration project intended to show what Hantz Woodlands will do for Detroit's lower east side.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

There are parts of Detroit that have basically reverted to nature – the homes long gone, the grass tall, the pheasants outnumbering residents on some blocks.

One entrepreneur sees potential in all that empty, blighted space. But he’s not building new houses, or opening up a factory. Instead, he’s planning to plant thousands of trees.

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Business
10:36 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Land sale draws huge, negative reaction at public hearing in Detroit

Robert Anderson, Detroit's director of Planning and Development, addresses a public hearing. Hundreds of people showed up to weigh in on the Hantz Woodlands proposal.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

A proposal to sell more than 140 acres of abandoned lots in Detroit drew hundreds of people to a public hearing tonight.

The vast majority were there to speak out against the plan.

Financial services entrepreneur John Hantz wants to buy more than 1,500 blighted city-owned lots and plant hardwood trees on them. Under the proposal, Hantz would pay $300 dollars per lot.

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Education
3:19 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

U of M Provost to become Dartmouth president

Provost Philip Hanlon

University of Michigan Provost Philip Hanlon will be the new president of Dartmouth College. Hanlon has served as provost since 2010.

"(Hanlon) has steered the University through some of its most fiscally challenging years, all the while advancing our academic excellence and impact," U of M President Mary Sue Coleman said in a statement.

Hanlon started with the university in the mathematics department in 1986. He's a graduate of Dartmouth.

Economy
11:29 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Enough consumerism, calls for 'Giving Tuesday'

Greengobbler Morguefile

Philanthropic organizations want to capitalize on the spending campaigns of "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday"  - and also flip the idea of consumerism on its head.

The idea behind "Giving Tuesday" is to take time to donate to charity, after two of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Eileen Heisman is the CEO of National Philanthropic Trust - one of the groups promoting the campaign.

"This is the first year, but I think it's going to continue," said Heisman. "I'm almost positive it is, and so I think in the following years we'll see a much bigger push and more visibility for people taking this time of year to give back in a more formal way on this day."

Charities report nearly a quarter of their annual donations come between Thanksgiving and New Years.

Environment & Science
5:33 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Study links cancer risk, plastics work

National health and safety director for the Canadian Auto Workers union Sari Sairanen says some women are reluctant to raise health concerns in the workplace.
Center for Public Integrity

A new study links workplace exposure to plastics to a dramatically increased risk of breast cancer.

A team of researchers compared the work histories of women in the Windsor, Ontario area who had breast cancer against a group of women who did not.

They factored in things like smoking, exercise habits, and family history.

And they found that pre-menopausal women who worked in automotive plastics factories were nearly five times more likely to develop breast cancer.

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Politics & Government
4:27 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Detroit, state reach deal to get cash to city

Kate Davidson

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has reached a deal with the state Treasurer that will allow the city to tap the proceeds of a $137 million dollar bond sale, and avoid payless paydays.

Under the terms of the deal, Detroit has to meet certain benchmarks. They include hiring a firm to restructure the city's finances, and another firm to implement those recommendations. Outsourcing the city's payroll system and changing the way contracts are bid out are also part of the benchmarks.

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Education
5:56 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Detroit teachers' union sues over evaluations, layoffs

The Detroit Federation of Teachers is suing the city's public school system on behalf of more than 400 teachers the union says were laid off improperly.

Detroit Public Schools used a new evaluation system this year, following changes to Michigan's teacher tenure law that allow districts to call back laid-off teachers without using seniority as the first factor.

The union says the system the district came up with is not fair or transparent. And Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson says on top of that, the school system didn't even follow its own rules when it came time to decide who would be called back to work.

Johnson says the lawsuit seeks any remedy available under the law.

"That would include reinstatement, it could include punitive damages, because there are some teachers who have had their lives literally turned upside down."

The school district did not comment directly on the lawsuit. But in a statement, it says the evaluation system ensured the most highly effective teachers would be placed in every classroom.

Law
5:04 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Hamtramck inches closer to closing ugly chapter

Tisha Friday, left, with her mother LaRhonda Brown. Friday signs closing papers for a brand-new, mortgage-free home tomorrow. Brown became the first plaintiff to get a home through a long-running discrimination lawsuit, in 2003.
Sarah Hulett Michgian Radio

After she signs her name on closing documents a few dozen times tomorrow, Tisha Friday will get a set of keys to her brand new house in Hamtramck.

Friday is part of the plaintiffs class in what some say is the longest-running housing discrimination lawsuit in the country. And with every closing, Hamtramck inches a little closer to closing an ugly chapter in its history.

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Education
8:30 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Wayne State University to search for new president

Credit User: ellenm1 / flickr

The Wayne State University Board of Governors is expected to vote Monday to establish a search committee for a new president. The university needs to replace Allan Gilmour, who plans to retire when his two-year contract is up in June.

Gilmour is credited with making the school's admissions standards more rigorous, after criticism that it admitted students who couldn't succeed. But his successor will still have some work to do. According to the Web site college results dot org, fewer than a third of Wayne State students graduate within six years.

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Crime & Safety
5:03 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Detroit Police Department reshuffles top brass

Patricia Drury flickr

The top ranks of Detroit's police department are getting reshuffled.

Mayor Dave Bing announced the plan today. He says the appointment of two new assistant chiefs, along with some high-level reassignments and promotions, will make the department more efficient and responsive.

"We're all concerned about the safety of the people here in this city and we've made these recommendation new leadership, and we think we're going to see results immediately," Bing said.

The department is struggling to keep a lid on crime as it deals with a string of internal sex scandals.

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Election 2012
3:57 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Voters looking to dodge long lines at polls find hour-long waits in Detroit today

Willie Ann Brown holds ticket E-92. She'd been waiting almost three hours, and elections officials had just started calling the "E's."
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Some people hoping to avoid long lines tomorrow by voting absentee in person today found themselves waiting hours to cast ballots.

At least that was the story in Detroit, where Willie Ann Brown stood outside the Department of Elections still holding a number after nearly three hours of waiting to get a ballot.

"Actually I've been to two of the satellite locations, and they had, like four hour waits and I have to get to work, so I've been trying get to vote," said Brown. "I'm going to vote."

Michigan does not technically offer early voting, like some states do. But people can vote absentee if they provide a reason they won't be able to vote in-person on Election Day.

Calvin Trent took friends to vote at two locations in Detroit. He says the crowds looking to cast ballots early this election are much bigger than he's seen in previous elections.

"Well, the ballot is so long, and people think they're going to be in line forever tomorrow," said Trent. "So that's why people are trying to vote early."

Detroit voters face 18 proposals on the ballot, including questions from the city, the county and the state.

Election 2012
6:00 am
Mon November 5, 2012

The time is now to cram for monster ballot

If you're planning to vote in tomorrow's election and you haven't done your homework, it's time to cram. The ballot questions facing voters are so complicated, some voters might wish they could consult an economist or an attorney to make sense of them. Vince Keenan is with the voter education Web site publius.org. He says many voters also may not know what groups are behind each question, "the sort of back story as to who's behind what is the sort of information that any staffer in the halls of the Legislature would have readily at their disposal, but voters don't." Voters can look at their ballots ahead of time at the publius Web site.  There they can also view video clips that analyze ballot questions, along with a few hundred candidate videos from districts scattered across the state.

Politics & Government
2:24 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Disability rights group faults Detroit for accessibility problems at polling sites

A disability rights group says far too many polling locations in the city of Detroit have accessibility problems for disabled voters.

Chris Rodriguez is with Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service. He says the group visited 70 polling sites during the August primary, and found problems with almost all of them. Rodriguez says the problems at many sites were "egregious."

"When I say egregious I mean not just, you know, a sign might not be at the right height," Rodriguez said. "I'm talking about stairs... completely inaccessible locations to vote."

City officials dispute the group's claims. Rodriguez says in written correspondence, the city clerk has said it's found only seven polling sites were out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rodriguez says litigation could be the next step if the city fails to correct the problems.

Election 2012
5:00 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Threat to democracy, or safeguard against bankruptcy? Voters decide Proposal 1

Lou Schimmel grew up in Pontiac. Now he's its emergency financial manager.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Next week, voters will decide whether Michigan’s controversial emergency manager law is the right way for the state to make sure local governments avoid financial collapse.

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