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A message from the MPD's Traffic Enforcement Safety Team

With the school year right around the corner, the Madison Police Department would like to remind Madison residents to slow down and obey school zone speed limits.

Watch for crossing guards and please follow their directions. Yield to pedestrians who are crossing the street and be aware of children present in the area.

Obey posted parking restrictions and park your vehicle accordingly.

The MPD considers School Zone safety a top priority and will be enforcing School Zone violations throughout the school year, to help keep children safe.

They also want to remind the public of Wisconsin State Statute 346.46 (2m) when approaching a crossing guard.

To read more about MPD rules and regulations, click here for more information.

Electricity powers new free Green Cab downtown

Electricity powers new free Green Cab downtown

Green Cab unveiled a new golf cart/car hybrid cab over the weekend that is run entirely on electricity.

The cab holds five passengers, can drive on streets with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less, and is free.

Green Cab employees said the cab lives up to the company's name.

"It's obviously the greenest taxi cab in the town because it's electric so people support that idea, as well as something that they can access around State Street and the Capitol quite easily," Green Cab Manager Phil Anderson said.

Anderson said the company will likely purchase more electric cars, and that the service will stay free.

The cab will be out Thursdays through Saturdays depending on the weather.

Toxic algae spotted on Lake Mendota

Toxic algae spotted on Lake Mendota

Toxic algae were spotted on Lake Mendota near the University of Wisconsin campus and in Lake Waubesa, according to a release from UW officials.

Officials said cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae blooms, were spotted Tuesday in the area of Memorial Union and Hoofers.

The public is urged to avoid contact with the algae and not swim at night when the blooms can?t be seen.

The algae blooms occur when there is little wind and hot temperatures combined with lake nutrients.

Symptoms of a reaction to algae blooms include eye, throat, nose or skin irritation, and vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms can happen between several hours and a few days after being exposed.

Mosquito season off to an annoying start

Mosquito season off to an annoying start

Mosquito season is off to an annoying start in northern Wisconsin, where the problem has been so bad that one canoeing company has been turning away customers rather than sending them out on a bug-infested river.

Fortunately, though, the rest of the summer might not be so bad. A Madison entomologist said early indications suggest this season may end up being no worse than usual, and that standard precautions might be enough to keep the pesky critters away.

Some hardware stores up north have been having trouble keeping bug repellent on the shelves, and some residents said they can't remember a summer with such abundant swarms.

PJ Liesch, who studies insects at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was in northern Wisconsin over Memorial Day weekend. That Friday and Saturday were pleasantly mosquito-free, but hordes of the blood-sucking pests appeared as if out of nowhere that Sunday, he said.

City asks residents to help save the ash trees

City asks residents to help save the ash trees

At the end of March, the city's Parks Division launched an Adopt-A-Park-Tree Program intended to help save trees endangered by one of Madison's newest residents -- the emerald ash borer. The small, invasive green-colored beetles were first discovered in Madison last November. Originating from Asia, the insect's larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees and have already killed millions of trees in other parts of Wisconsin and across the country.

"It is an invasive insect and 30 percent of the trees in our streetscape and the parks are ash," said Laura Whitmore, spokeswoman for the city of Madison Parks Division.

MWU: Madison's water meets, exceeds federal, state standards

MWU: Madison's water meets, exceeds federal, state standards

Madison Water Utility officials said water quality and safety tests performed in 2013 show that Madison's water met or exceeded federal and state standards.

MWU officials released their annual Water Quality Report Monday as part of Safe Drinking Water Week, a national effort to draw attention to people who ensure cities' water is safe to drink.

"This report provides an opportunity for our customers to learn more about the water they use every day," MWU water quality manager Joe Grande said in a release.

Grande said MWU crews go above and beyond federal and state requirements when it comes to testing.

"We're doing a lot of tests, not just to meet the regulations, but to better understand our water," he said. "We take water quality seriously. We're thinking about our customers when we are planning our testing programs, and we're trying to provide the highest quality water possible."

Warm weather prompts reminders about seasonal fire hazards

Warm weather prompts reminders about seasonal fire hazards

Warm weather in the 60s arrived this week, and with it, an advisory from fire officials on outdoor fire hazards that accompany the season. 

The Madison Fire Department said ordinances do not permit burning yard waste. A fire within outdoor fireplaces or pits -- with spark arresters in use and fire extinguisher or water source nearby -- are permitted as long as it is attended by a responsible adult. 

The fire department also offered reminders on other seasonal fire hazards: