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Detroit Water Shutoffs To Continue Through Winter

Cold weather will slow water service shutoffs in Detroit, but not halt a nearly yearlong push to collect on accounts 60 days or $150 or more past due. Crews have disconnected service to 31,300 customers since Jan. 1 due to unpaid bills and will continue that this winter — stopping only during long bouts of below freezing temperatures when the ground is too hard to dig to water connections, Detroit Water and Sewerage spokeswoman Curtrise Garner told The Associated Press.

Outside of spates of extreme cold, the water department will be “doing business as usual,” she said. Shut-off numbers skyrocketed from about 1,200 from January through March to over 3,000 in April. The issue brought local, national and even international protesters to Detroit. A several-week respite allowed people behind on their bills to enter into payment plans. Shutoffs dropped from a high of 7,200 in June to 1,600 in August. They have since picked back up with 5,100 in September and 4,200 last month.

The United Nations sent two human rights officials to Detroit in October to speak with residents and Mayor Mike Duggan. Including businesses, schools and commercial buildings, the department has about 323,900 Detroit accounts. As of March 6, nearly 165,000 were overdue for a total of $175 million. Residential customers accounted for $92 million of that amount.

Garner said the water department needs the once-uncollected money for sewer repairs, new vehicles and other capital improvements. Past collection efforts were spotty with thousands of bills going out, but little followup was done to get people to pay.

Through all of 2013, just over $2.5 million was collected from people who were shut off. About $3.7 million was collected from shut-off residents over the first nine months of 2014, while another $451,000 came in during October. Service also has been restored to more than 17,400 customers and 33,000 customers have been enrolled in payment plans. Most of the houses where water has not been restored are vacant, she added.

Shots fired in Fairlane Town Center parking lot in Dearborn

Police are investigating after shots were fired Saturday evening in the parking lot of Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn. Witnesses told Dearborn police there was an accident between a red sports car and a burgundy Chevy Equinox in the parking lot at Fairlane Mall, outside of P.F. Chang’s restaurant. A passenger in the Equinox got out of the vehicle and confronted a person in the red car. Police said words were exchanged and the red car sped off.

The passenger in the Equinox was armed with a gun and fired shots at the red car, according to police. The car then hit a black Impala. After hitting the Impala, the red car fled the scene, police said. The man that fired the shots got back into the Equinox and left the scene. Dearborn police are looking for the shooter and trying to determine if anyone in the red car was shot or hurt.

Lions Lose to the Cardinals, 14-6

The Detroit Lions entered the game with the No. 1 defense in the NFL. Another pretty good defense shut the Lions offense down on Sunday. Detroit (7-3) failed to score a touchdown in a game for the first time since 2009 in a 14-6 loss to the streaking Arizona Cardinals (9-1).

Detroit’s defense played the Cardinals’ tough, except on Arizona’s first two possessions. The Cardinals scored on both, Drew Stanton throwing a pair of touchdown passes to Michael Floyd. Detroit got inside Arizona’s 20-yard line once, and that was after one of Stanton’s two interceptions. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Detroit.

Stanton, starting after Carson Palmer was lost for the season with a knee injury, threw TD passes of 42 and 12 yards. After that, Arizona’s offense stalled and Stanton threw two interceptions. But the Lions couldn’t convert either turnover into a touchdown. Arizona, with the NFL’s best record, won its sixth in a row and has its best record through 10 games since 1948. The Cardinals also have a three-game lead over Seattle and San Francisco in the NFC West. Arizona held an opponent without a TD for the first time this season.

Stanton, 3-1 as a starter this season, finished 21 of 32 for 306 yards. Stafford was 18 of 30 for 183 yards with one interception. Calvin Johnson, usually defended by Patrick Peterson, had five catches for 59 yards for the Lions, only one for 4 yards in the first half. After the game, Johnson was treated for an elbow injury. The Lions were without Reggie Bush and tight end Brandon Pettigrew, and lost right tackle LaAdrian Waddle to an ankle injury in the second half. Detroit did gain 98 yards on the ground. Neither team scored in the second half in a matchup of two of the game’s best defenses. Detroit’s only real threat came late in the first half.

Fans React To Lifetime’s Controversial Aaliyah Biopic on Twitter

After cast changes, backlash from fans and family drama, Lifetime’s controversial, “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B” biopic premiered over the weekend with lackluster results.

Lifetime aired the film Saturday night after months of major changes. Disney starlet Zendaya was initially casted to play the raven haired singer, but bowed out of the film for respect of Aaliyah’s family. The singer’s family also refused to give the network rights to Aaliyah’s music, causing more problems for the biopic. From the film’s rough transitions, unrecognizable actors casted as Timbaland and Missy Elliott to melodramatic scenes with Aaliyah and her parents, the film proved to be flat and a disappointment to the singer’s fans. They didn’t hold back as they questioned everything about the film and Wendy Williams’ production credits.

Fans created the hashtag #LifetimeBeLike and #LifeimeDisrespectsAaliyah in retaliation over the film.

Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Digital Producer of The Morning Heat and Sports Editor of Radio One Detroit

Keep up with the Morning Heat on Instagram and Twitter at @hiphopdetroit

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