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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.

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.

City wants to expand car-sharing options

City wants to expand car-sharing options

The city of Madison is exploring options for expanding car-sharing options for residents.

City Parking Utility Interim Parking Operations Manager Bill Putnam told News 3 there is one car-sharing company operating in Madison and another on the University of Wisconsin campus, but neither operation rents spaces from the city.

A public meeting scheduled for Jan. 28 will include presentations from car-sharing companies.

Putnam said they are early in the process of coming up with ideas to bring more companies to Madison and support the concept of car-sharing in the city.

One outcome is the city could request proposals from companies to rent spaces in city lots and garages.

A release from the city states that car-sharing reduces the need for car ownership and can replace as many as nine to 13 individually-owned vehicles, leading the less congestion, demand for parking and emissions.

Enjoy family fun at the Downtown Madison Family Halloween party

On Wednesday, Oct. 29, the city of Madison will be hosting a Halloween party for families to enjoy.

The party goes from 3-6 p.m. at the corner of State St. and the Capitol Square.

There are many free and low cost activities for families and kids 12 and under to get involved with. Some include magic shows, hayrides, crafts, spooky stories, art projects, festive Halloween photos, kids' musical theater, trick or treat at participating businesses and more!

You can pick up a full list of activities and trick or treating locations on Oct. 29 at the Downtown Visitor Center, 452 State St.

Don't forget to show off your spooky costumes at the party as well!

Downtown Halloween fun continues through that week with additional programs at the Wisconsin Historical Museum and Madison Children's Museum. Visit the downtown Madison website for links and information.

Most municipalities set Halloween trick-or-treating hours

Most municipalities set Halloween trick-or-treating hours

When will the ghosts and goblins be out?

Find below a list of the trick or treating hours for communities in southern Wisconsin:

Oct. 31

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:

Annual fire trucks parade this Sunday

The annual Dane County Fire Chiefs Association Fire Truck Parade will take place Sunday, Oct. 5.

This popular event is held each year to mark the beginning of Fire Prevention Week in Dane County. The parade includes more than 30 fire trucks from many of the fire departments serving communities in Dane County.

The parade begins at 1 p.m. at the end of State St. near the Library Mall. The trucks, adorned with plenty of chrome and flashing red lights, will travel up State St. to the Capitol Square.

Once at the square, the fire trucks will be on display until 3 p.m. for children of all ages to see up close. Firefighters will be available to answer questions about fire safety. This year, the fire trucks on the square will be joined by the newly-rebuilt Fire Safety House, which has been visiting area schools as part of Fire Prevention Month activities.