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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.

Sun Prairie choir to perform in Madison theater

Choir members from Sun Prairie United Methodist Church will perform in Madison for a special holiday concert on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Orpheum.

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Bus service reduced for Christmas Eve, Day

Bus service reduced for Christmas Eve, Day

Madison Metro will have reduced service hours next week due to the holidays.

The city of Madison posted a reminder Thursday that the buses will follow regular weekday schedules on Wednesday, Christmas Eve, but service will end early with the last trips of the day between 5 and 6:30 p.m. 

Buses will follow the holiday schedule Christmas Day, Thursday. 

For online guides, visit www.cityofmadison.com/metro/schedules/Holidays/index.cfm

More information is also available through the Metro customer service center at 608-266-4466.

No refuse or recycling collection on Christmas, News Year's

No refuse or recycling collection on Christmas, News Year's

According to the city of Madison, there will be no refuse or recycling on Dec. 25 or Jan. 1 because of the Christmas and New Year's holidays. If your material is normally collected on Thursday, it will be collected on Friday, Dec. 26 and Friday, Jan. 2.

Residents should be sure to get material out to the curb by 7 a.m., as Street Division crews will be collecting in both the Thursday and Friday refuse districts on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.

Because of the double collection, large item collection will be reduced. Residents are asked to hold large items until after the holidays if possible.

The Streets Division's offices and drop-off sites will also be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. They will conduct regular refuse and recycling collection on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Their offices will also be open on those dates.

For additional information, visit the Streets Division's web page.

Tree lighting event to benefit hospital's nursing, newborn care programs

A hospital will host a remembrance tree lighting ceremony to benefit its nursing program and newborn care department. 

St. Mary’s Lights of Love Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Gardens of St. Mary's on Brooks Street. 

The program offers LED lights for purchase to honor a loved one. Red lights serve as a living tribute and white lights honor the memory of a lost loved one. A third color, blue, is added this year to honor or remember those who served in the military.

Proceeds from the Lights of Love program benefit St. Mary’s patients, their families and the hospital's nursing program. The funds raised help support items that are essential for tiny newborns such as Bilirubin Lights and the Hearing Screening device, as well as nursing scholarships for employees and volunteers.