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Homeless shelters step up services this week

Homeless shelters step up services this week

Shelters offering the homeless food and warmth this winter are stepping up their efforts during the particularly chilly week.

Dane County's organizations all coordinate their care under the Homeless Services Consortium, a de facto network that ensures no one falls through the cracks. During this week, shelters are working together to provide a seamless stream of services.

For example, Bethel Lutheran in downtown Madison will extend their hours from the typical 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., the time when overnight shelters open their doors. That's to ensure people without a home have a place to stay at any hour day or night this week.

"Our first priority and concern is to make sure people are outside as little as they have to be," said Conner Wild, coordinator at Bethel Homeless Support Services.

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Alder seeks to increase punishment for causing problems at CCB

When a private security company was hired in mid-December to patrol the City-County Building, the hope was that a series of late-night break-ins and disturbances would be curbed.

Within weeks of the start of those patrols, another break-in was discovered by a building maintenance worker, who called police on Dec. 30.

When Madison police responded they found 75-year-old Kenneth Horenkamp inside the Municipal Court and Council Chamber on the second floor of the CCB.

MPD: Man shows knife, makes threatening comments during disturbance

A Madison man faces disorderly conduct charges after allegedly threatening someone in front of a downtown bar early Sunday morning, Madison police said.

Stanley W. Robinson, 27, was at the entrance of Wando?s Bar at 602 University Ave. just before 1:30 a.m. when he displayed a knife and started making threatening statements, officials said.

Staff and other bystanders heard the disturbance and called police, according to the release.

Robinson faces tentative charges of disorderly conduct while armed and carrying a concealed weapon.

City officials: Expect slower morning commute despite extra crews

City officials: Expect slower morning commute despite extra crews

Monday morning's commute may be slower than normal as snow continues to fall throughout the Madison area and city crews are out plowing.

The Streets Division had crews out all Saturday night on salt routes, with two trucks sanding residential streets at hills, curve and intersections, according to a release.

Thirty-two drivers will come in at noon on Sunday and work through the afternoon and evening, officials said. Crews will be applying salt on salt routes as long as temperatures allow.

"Temperatures are forecast to drop, so we will be switching to sand at some time this evening," the Sunday release said.

Most main streets should be in good winter driving conditions, but there will be a lot of blowing snow in open areas, officials said.

"We are going to be paying close attention to areas that are prone to blowing and drifting snow, but drivers should use caution," the release said.

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Soglin says city should consider removing buses from State Street

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin wants the city to consider moving bus traffic off of State Street.

He says that's one idea he's hoping is studied if the City Council passes a downtown study resolution at its meeting next Tuesday.

The study would look at the mix of entertainment and retail business in the downtown, making the area a historic district and potentially moving bus traffic off the street.

"I have always opposed moving buses off State Street, but when we look at the demands of the street, it is something I'm open to," Soglin said Friday.

Right now only buses, deliveries and emergency vehicles are allowed on the pedestrian mall.

Soglin says in the last few years, space considerations for bikes, mopeds and sidewalk cafes have the area cramped.

Annual chili cookoff seeks chefs

On Feb. 7 from 6-8 p.m., the Essen Haus, 514 E. Wilson St., will host its second annual Mad City Chili Cookoff.

As many as 20 cooks may enter for the chance to win cash prizes. Organizers said smell, taste, heat balance, texture/mouthfeel and appearance are among this year's judging criteria.

Up to $200 will be awarded to both the judge's top pick and to the people's choice award.

A chili recipe and $20 are needed to enter the competition.

If you would like to enter the contest, email chili.essenhaus@gmail.com.

Entry fee to the event is $10 for adults and free for children ages 10 and under.

Click here for complete details.

Shortage of chefs creates problems for Madison restaurants

As Madison's reputation as a food destination grows, so does its apparent lack of chefs.

Patrick DePula runs Salvatore's Tomato Pies on East Johnson Street but has run into trouble finding qualified cooks.

"One of the biggest headaches involved with opening this restaurant was staffing the kitchen," he said. "Construction projects and finding front-of-house staffing was relatively easy compared to staffing the kitchen."

The pizza joint has been unable to open on Sundays because of a lack of staff, and lunchtime hours have been cut as DePula continues to search for chefs. He said Salvatore's isn't the only restaurant feeling that cook crunch.

"Every other restaurant that you would talk to constantly has openings for cooks right now, and many people are running short," DePula said, naming Sujeo, Graze and L'Etoile as just a few spots searching as well.

Other organizations are taking notice of the problem.