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MMSD continues work to improve attendance

Many Madison Metropolitan School District students woke up early Tuesday easing back into their school routines.

Step by step students made their way back to class at Cesar Chavez Elementary School. Parents, including Anita Kulas, felt mixed emotions as they dropped their kids off.

"I'm feeling really kind of nervous but excited at the same time because my kids, they really want to go back to school, but it's that end of summer feeling right now," Kulas said as she walked her third-grader to the door.

On the other hand, feelings weren't very mixed for MMSD Superintendent Jen Cheatham. She said she feels great about her second year in the district and believes they're off to a good start, building on positive momentum from last year.

"What we're shooting for is to make sure every school provides a thriving school environment that really puts students on track to graduate, ready for college, career and community," Cheatham said about the district's focus.

Police split up parking ramp skirmish with pepper spray

Police split up parking ramp skirmish with pepper spray

Pepper spray was used to end a fight Saturday morning at a downtown parking ramp, according to a Madison police news release.

Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said there were several disputes taking place simultaneously inside the State Street Campus parking garage at 2:15 a.m. The skirmishes in the ramp on North Lake Street appeared to be connected to a large confrontation that took place on the 400 block of North Frances Street.

Officers saw the group involved in the fight flow into the ramp. The fighting parties ignored orders to leave from private security guards.  That's when a Madison officer used his OC spray to break up the disputers.

"The OC did prompt most to leave," DeSpain said.

In the area where the spray was used there were more than a dozen people who appeared to be fighting, police said.

Man knocked unconscious in street brawl, police say

Man knocked unconscious in street brawl, police say

A man was knocked unconscious downtown early Sunday after a brawl on State Street, officials said.

The Madison Police Department said witnesses reported six to 10 people were involved in the fight on the 100 block at about 2:13 a.m.

The 25-year-old man was kicked in the head, police said. When the brawl was over, one of the assailants punched the man several more times.

Witnesses told police the 25-year-old was also "curb stomped" before the attacker was pulled away by an accomplice. Both assailants fled as police arrived.

The 25-year-old was belligerent with hospital staff and uncooperative with officers, police said. He refused to provide any information. He was treated for head injuries including a broken nose.

The 25-year-old's blood alcohol level measured 0.414, according to the report. 

Credit union hosts shred event, food drive

A local credit union will be holding a shredding event and food drive Saturday morning, according to a release.

The Dane County Credit Union will be sponsoring the event where personal documents will be confidentially destroyed and recycled for a non-perishable food donation, organizers said.

The event will be held from 8-10 a.m. at the Dane County Credit Union at 709 Struck Street in Madison.

Food donations will go to area food pantries through the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, according to the release.

Organizers are asking participants to only bring personal papers and to be as generous as possible with the food donations.

Taste of Madison will feature new beverage options

The Taste of Madison will feature two new beverage options that will showcase locally made products this weekend, according to a release.

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The Wisconsin Brewing Company and Wollersheim Winery will be serving beverages at multiple booths around the Capitol Square, organizers said.

?Wollersheim Winery is honored to have our wines representing the local fruit of the vine at Taste of Madison,? Wollersheim Vice President Julie Coquard said in the release.

Wollersheim will be serving its Prairie Fume, White Riesling, Blushing Rose and Prairie Sunburst Red, according to the release.

Wisconsin Brewing Company will be serving its Golden Amber Lager and Ol? Reliable.

Many 6th-graders falling behind on required vaccination

Getting kids back to school is just one priority for parents. Another is making sure kids are caught up on their vaccinations.

Many schools report that the biggest gap in school immunizations is with the Tdap, a vaccine that boosts protection against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) and is required for entry into the sixth grade.

In July, the Madison Metropolitan School District sent 1,200 letters to parents of incoming sixth-graders who still needed their Tdap boosters. Other districts will be taking similar actions over the next couple of months.

"Whooping cough is particularly hard on kids. While it looks like a common cold in the beginning, severe coughing soon follows. Even with treatment, extreme coughing fits may last several weeks," said Immunization Specialist for Public Health-Madison and Dane County Diane McHugh, RN.

Police: Student's BAC more than 4 times legal limit

Police: Student's BAC more than 4 times legal limit

A University of Wisconsin-Madison student was found heavily intoxicated stumbling in a downtown parking ramp early Friday, police said.

The UW-Madison Police Department said officers made contact with a 25-year-old man who was alone, stumbling as he walked up a stairwell in the Lake Street Ramp at 301 N. Lake St. at 2:15 a.m.

Officers said the man's eyes were watery, glassy and bloodshot, he smelled of intoxicants and was having a hard time standing. His preliminary blood alcohol content was .338, more than four times the legal limit for driving.

UWPD police warned citizens that drinking too much isn't just dangerous behind the wheel. UWPD police Chief Susan Riseling said that over-consuming alcohol can put students at risk of becoming the victim of a crime and has health risks.

"We're not talking about just a couple drinks here," Riseling said. "We’re talking about deadly levels of alcohol being consumed."