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Count Day: DPS offers incentive for students

It’s the day school districts depend on for funding: Count Day. Student attendance will determine just how much state funding each district/school will receive in the coming school year.

In order to get students in class, it’s not unusual for schools or districts to offer an incentive.

This year, Detroit Public Schools is offering two free tickets to Monster Jam to every student who attends school Wednesday. The tickets are for Monster Jam at Ford Field, February 28.

Duggan’s State of the City focuses on public safety, blight, opportunities

Mayor Mike Duggan delivered Detroit’s first State of the City address following the city’s exit from bankruptcy.

Duggan spoke Tuesday night at the Redford Theatre in northwest Detroit, covering a swath of issues from public safety to blight removal.

He expects the city to end 2015 with the first balanced budget since 2002. Detroit emerged in December from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Public safety was a big topic during the speech. Detroit’s murder numbers have gone down, with about 300 last year, Duggan said that “nobody in this room is ready to celebrate.”

“We have to change the culture in this city,” he said, adding that the murder number is still too high.

He also said that officers will be getting body cameras and announced a new Detroit Police Department 9th Precinct to open on Connor Avenue.

Duggan would like to have public safety connected to cameras around the city for real-time policing.

“I don’t know if it will work but we have our best team on it,” he said.

Improvements to the EMS service were also mentioned as Duggan said the average response time has dropped from 18 minutes to 11 minutes. He added the goal is to reach the national average of eight minutes.

Duggan spoke of his aggressive blight removal campaign that includes demolishing thousands of vacant houses and finding owners for others that can be rehabilitated.

He said under previous leadership the most houses torn down a week was about 48. Under his leadership, more than 200 per week have been demolished.

He also announced lower property tax assessments for many residential properties in Detroit.

Gas station clerk killed; mystery unsolved as reward rises

A gas station clerk gunned down and found by a customer last November remains unsolved.

Crime Stoppers has increased the reward to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest in the murder of Mohamed Zokari, shot to death Nov. 4.

Zokari, 26, was found shot multiple times in the head and back while working at a Clark gas station at 7 Mile and Schoenherr on Detroit’s east side.

The married father whose wife was pregnant with a second child was hoping to become an accountant.

Customers and friends at the gas station knew him as Mo – a nice guy who was willing to go the extra mile.

“I remember Mo as silly, cool, laid back good guy,” said one customer.

Another customer said it may have been a robbery.

“He let you stand in there, get warm waiting on the bus,” said resident Carrie Fason, who lives nearby. “Someone was probably trying to rob him. Everybody loved him.”

Detroit police do not believe robbery was a motive. No money was taken and there may have been two different shell casings.

“Please come forward, you will be rewarded by God almighty,” said Omer Abdi Nur, a community leader.

If you have information about the homicide, call Detroit police at (313) 596-5300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

‘Detroit Helping Detroit’ looks to assist those in need

A garage full of clothing, a truck full of bread are waiting to help someone in need.

“Detroit Helping Detroit is a grassroots, we are the middle man between people who would like to donate to people they know need it the most,” said Robin Chichester.

Chichester helped start Detroit Helping Detroit less than a year ago after he saw a growing need for things some may take for granted like a hot meal or a winter coat.

“Anything we can do to help Detroit, that’s why we’re here,” he said. “Detroit helping Detroit.”

On Mondays and Tuesdays, Chichester says he collects food donations and then prepares everything in his home.

“Sometimes we create a cold meal they can put in their backpacks or bags for later,” he said. “But also our concern is to provide a nice, hot, tasty meal and that’s what they Appreciate the most.”

Chichester doesn’t want the organization’s name to confuse anyone about who they help.

“Detroit Helping Detroit is an ideology of saying let’s help each other let’s also take care of our neighbors first before we consider helping overseas or other states or other parts of the country,” he said.

If you would like to help out by donating or simply need a helping hand, Chichester says you can call their hotline or find them on social media

“Some of them are saying I really need help with an electric bill or I’m in need of a refrigerator,” he said. “Whatever thesituation is, we don’t ask questions.we just try to provide what they need.”

For more information. go to Facebook.com/detroithepingdetroit or call the Detroit Helping Detroit Hotline 313-784-2842.

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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