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Madison water customers could see rate increase, conservation incentives

Madison Water Utility is asking the Public Service Commission for a rate increase and changes to its rate structure to incentivize users to conserve water.

The utility wants to increase revenue by 30 percent by increasing rates, on an annualized basis, 7.5 percent per year for each of the four years since the last rate increase. The utility has not decided how the increase will be distributed among residential, multi-family, commercial, industrial and public authority customers.

General manager Tom Heikkinen said the increase is needed to replace aging water mains, improve water quality and make a payment in lieu of taxes to the city.

This is the first rate increase requested in four years, according to the utility.

If approved, Madison Water Utility will be the largest water utility in Wisconsin to offer a conservation rate for residential customers.

If approved, the new rates would go into effect in the spring of 2015 at the earliest.

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Madison debuts online water tracking tool

A new online tool is helping Madison residents keep better track of their water usage.

Madison is the first city in the state to launch an online tool that allows residents to check their monthly, daily and even hourly water use. The tool lets you compare month-to-month usage and set up email notifications to warn you of higher-than-normal usage, among other services.

"What we're talking about for us is really the ultimate conservation tool when it comes to water conservation," says Amy Barrilleaux, spokesperson for the Madison Water Utility.

Prior to the online option, residents could only track their usage by checking their monthly water bill or constantly comparing the water meter before and after use.

"This is just night and day from having to go into the basement and look at your meter to see how much water you're using every day," Barrilleaux said.

The goal is to help conserve water and dollars for Madison's residents.

Dodgeville man urinates on squad car, runs from officers

A Dodgeville man was arrested Saturday night for allegedly urinating on a marked Madison Police Department squad car, according to a release.

MPD officers working the Central District Safety Initiative observed Chase Royal Martin, 21, urinating on the squad car in the 600 block of State Street just before midnight, officials said.

Several people told Martin police were approaching him, but he did not stop his behavior, according to the release.

Martin resisted arrest and fled officers on foot, police said. Officers found him hiding behind a building on Gilman Street, but he physically resisted officers again.

Martin was eventually taken into custody after a brief struggle on tentative charges of disorderly conduct, resisting police, damage to property and depositing human waste prohibited.

2014 Halloween event at zoo features costume contest

2014 Halloween event at zoo features costume contest

A free costume contest is just one event at a Halloween celebration at Henry Vilas Zoo next weekend.

Halloween at the Zoo is a free event to the public with a suggested donation of $2, and features free trick-or-treating and an activity tent, according to a release.

There will be five categories for the costume contest and the top three contestants will win prizes. The contest will be from 11 a.m. to noon in the center of the zoo. To enter the costume contest, participants will need to go to the costume contest stage across from the seals and fill out an entry form.

Organizers said the contest will end promptly at noon, but they will accept as many entries as they can. Participants will be judged on creativity, originality and authenticity.

The winners will be announced at 12:30 p.m. at the costume contest stage.

Costume contest prizes:

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Officials seek dog that bit woman at hospital

On Friday at 2:10 p.m., a woman was bitten by a dog near the Meriter Hospital parking ramp, police say.

The owner of the dog yelled to the victim to help catch the dog. When she tried to catch it, the dog bit her on the hands.

According to police, the dog is described as a small, white dog with a tight, curly coat, possibly a bichon or miniature poodle.

The dog owner is described as a black woman in her 30s.

Anyone having information regarding this incident is asked to contact Madison's Public Health Department.

If the animal is not found, the woman may be required to complete a series of painful and costly injections to prevent rabies, police say.

Detroit Lions say UW band donation will come next week

A Detroit Lions spokesperson said the University of Wisconsin-Madison band will see the significant donation promised to them by one of their players by next week.

Last year, the franchise said center Dominic Raiola would contribute to the program as part of an apology for yelling obscenities at band members.

UW band director Mike Leckrone said Thursday he had not seen a cent of that donation.

?I guess I did expect it for a while, but as the days went by the expectations grew less,? Leckrone said. ?As far as I?m concerned, it?s a done deal. I think from the very beginning our approach has been this was an incident that happened, and we?re moving on and we have since moved on.?

Leckrone?s Badger band is preparing to play at Lambeau Field this weekend.� That's where Raiola insulted the band last year.

Madison fire officials lay out Ebola response plan

Officials with the Madison Fire Department said Thursday they are working to ensure they have a safe and effective Ebola virus response plan in place.

Madison Fire Chief Steve Davis said in a blog post Thursday the department is actively working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dane County Emergency Management, local hospitals and the 911 Center.

?We recognize the significance of our role in safely transporting possibly infected patients to local hospitals while protecting our community from the spread of the Ebola virus,? Davis said in the release.

The Ebola response process starts with the 911 Center, according to the post. If a 911 caller complains of any symptoms similar to those of an Ebola virus infection, the 911 dispatcher will ask follow-up questions regarding travel locations and contact with any persons who have traveled. The questions are based on the most current CDC recommendations for location and time of travel.