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WATCH: Cold-weather zoo visits worth bundling up

There's no hibernating for Henry Vilas Zoo; the zoo is open 365 days a year and even in the middle of a Wisconsin winter, there are many reasons to take a stroll through the exhibits.

WATCH Leah Linscheid's report on winter-loving zoo critters.

WATCH: Madison natives discuss current state of civil rights

As the nation celebrates Black History Month and honor those who fought for civil rights, the current fight for racial justice is also on many people's minds.

WATCH as News 3 Reporter Velena Jones sat down with lifelong residents of the Madison community to get their take on how we have improved in Madison and where the community needs to go next.

Madison police, firefighters face off in hockey match

Madison police officers and firefighters are suiting up for a charity hockey game called the "Battle of the Badges."

The first responder teams will face off Friday at 5pm at the Coliseum. Tickets are $10 and cover both the police-versus-fire game and The Capitols game at 7:05 p.m.

Visit madisonfirehockey.com for more information. 

Madison's winter clothes drive happening this month

Madison Parks is partnering with Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin, Inc. on an outdoor winter clothes drive Jan. 5-16.

Winter coats, snowpants, boots, hats, scarves, and gloves may be dropped off during operating hours at the following locations:

  • Tenney Park Shelter, 402 N. Thornton Ave.
  • Vilas Park Shelter, 1400 Vilas Park Dr.
  • Elver Park Shelter, 1250 McKenna Blvd.
  • Odana Hills Golf Course, 4635 Odana Road

Operating Hours:

Shelter hours are weekdays 3-9 p.m. and weekends 11 a.m.-9 p.m.Odana Hills hours are weekends 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Click here for more information.

Habitat for Humanity asking for volunteers

Habitat for Humanity is seeking families to build homes in Madison, Sun Prairie, Fitchburg, and Stoughton.

Over the last year, Habitat for Humanity of Dane County has purchased 29 family unit lots in Sun Prairie, 24 lots in Fitchburg and eight lots in Madison.

For individuals and families interested in building with Habitat for Humanity, informational meetings will be held:

Jan. 11, 1-2:30 p.m., Clarion Suites, 2110 Rimrock Road

Jan. 14, 6-7:30 p.m., Clarion Suites, 2110 Rimrock Road

If interested in partnering with Habitat, attendance at one of these meetings is mandatory.

To learn about the program requirements, visit habitatdane.org.

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.

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.