Michigan Radio: Sarah Hulett

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.

3:03am

Wed December 18, 2013
Around the Nation

A 'Tale Of Two Cities' As Detroit Looks To 2014

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:13 am

Detroit's Midtown neighborhood is reviving in the midst of the larger city's decline.
Carlos Osorio AP

The streets outside Avalon Bakery in Detroit's Midtown are a snowy, slushy, mostly unplowed mess, and all these customers want to do is pay for their loaf of Motown Multigrain or Poletown Rye.

But Detroiters are a gracious, if weary, bunch. So when they see yet another reporter sticking a microphone in their faces, asking what they think of all this media attention, they answer politely.

And even if they're not always crazy about the way their city is portrayed, no one argues with the fact that Detroit had a newsworthy year.

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5:14am

Tue November 12, 2013
Business

Detroit Billionaire Goes On Real Estate Buying Binge

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 8:47 am

Despite the bankruptcy, parts of downtown Detroit are going gangbusters, and that's in large part because of one guy. Online mortgage mogul Dan Gilbert has bought up 40 buildings and counting. He's filling those buildings — some of which used to be vacant — with new businesses. But some residents are wary of his expanding reach in the city.

3:01am

Tue August 13, 2013
Parallels

Windsor, Ontario, To Detroit: 'Reset And Come Out Stronger'

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 7:59 am

The Detroit skyline seen from Windsor, Ontario. The two cities are connected by more than just a bridge.
Carlos Osorio AP

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.

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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5:24am

Wed August 7, 2013
Around the Nation

Detroit Voters Narrow Mayoral Field For November Election

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 6:10 am

Less than four weeks after Detroit filed for the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy in history, city residents went to the polls Tuesday to narrow down the field of 16 mayoral contenders for the November election. There are also more than 50 hopefuls seeking nine city council seats.

4:57am

Sat July 20, 2013
News

Detroit Businesses See Opportunity In Bankruptcy

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 4:48 pm

The Detroit skyline gleams from Grand River Ave., a major thoroughfare into some of the city's blighted neighborhoods.
Carlos Osorio AP

Few Detroiters think the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history is great news.

But plenty see it as an opportunity. Many Detroit business owners hope the bankruptcy will mean more stability and certainty, in a city that has had little of either in recent years.

Sandy Baruah, head of the Detroit Regional Chamber, says the bankruptcy filing did not come as a surprise to him, nor should it surprise anybody else.

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6:05am

Sat March 2, 2013
U.S.

Can Detroit Be Saved?

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

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

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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4:45pm

Fri December 21, 2012
Around the Nation

An Urban Tree Farm Grows In Detroit

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

Mike Score, president of Hantz Farms, shows off a small-scare version of what Hantz Woodlands will look like.
Sarah Hulett for NPR

An entrepreneur says he's got a plan to curb urban blight in parts of Detroit. He's buying up acre after acre of abandoned lots and planting thousands of trees. But where backers of the plan see a visionary proposal, critics see a land grab.

Entrepreneur and Detroiter John Hantz, owner of Hantz Farms and the tree-planting effort called Hantz Woodlands, wants to plant at least 15,000 trees on about 140 acres. Hantz promises to clear out all the trash and keep the grass cut, things the city cannot afford to do now.

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5:56pm

Tue September 11, 2012
NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century

Racial, Regional Divide Still Haunt Detroit's Progress

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 10:20 pm

Part of the wall that was built in 1940 has since been painted over with a mural.
Detroit1701.org Collection maintained at the Univ. of Michigan by Ren Farley and Judy Mullin

For many years — perhaps even decades — Detroit has been the poster child for economic malaise. Adjusting for inflation, per capita income in metro Detroit dropped more than 20 percent between 1999 and 2010.

Some analysts say regional cooperation might have helped keep Detroit above water when the car industry sank, but that entrenched divisions that pit the city against its suburbs, and blacks against whites, have hindered that.

A Deeply Entrenched Regional Divide

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2:47pm

Wed December 14, 2011
Economy

Michigan Town Grapples With Shrinking Public Sector

Inkster, Mich., resident Darrel Osborne says he's noticed the reduced police presence in the city.
Sarah Hulett for NPR

Tammi Warren has lived on the same winding street in the Detroit suburb of Inkster, Mich., all her life. But as she drives down the block in her Ford pickup, Warren points to several houses on her street that stand vacant, casualties of the housing market collapse.

Vacant houses mean less tax revenue for the city, and less revenue makes it harder for Inkster to provide basic city services.

"[The] city of Inkster has eliminated 38 positions," says City Treasurer Mark Stuhldreher. "It's about 25 percent, roughly, of the workforce."

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