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Homeless look for places to store belongings through winter

Homeless look for places to store belongings through winter

Vicky Lewandowski has spent the majority of her nights since September sleeping at the City-County Building where she also keeps her belongings, but in a blink of an eye all she owned was gone.

"Your survival kicks in. Today was like a normal day and then all of a sudden we lost everything that helps us battle the elements. The first thing I was thinking is, 'How am I going to stay warm? Am I going to try to find shelter? Am I going to have to recover blankets?'" Lewandowski said.

Wednesday morning county employees removed two truckloads of homeless belongings left in front of the building Lewandowski calls home.

An ordinance allows Madison employees to throw away any items less than $50 in value if left abandoned. Anything worth more than $50 would be turned in to the city, where it would be held for 30 days to be reclaimed.

City to keep adding flouride to water supply

City to keep adding flouride to water supply

The Madison Water Utility Board said this week that it would continue to add fluoride to the city's drinking water.

The utility board voted at its meeting Tuesday night to keep its fluoride policy. The city's been adding fluoride to water to improve dental health for 68 years since the policy was adopted in 1946.

Madison Water Utility currently aims for a target fluoride concentration of 0.7 parts per million, as recommended by county, national and international health agencies.

In a news release Wednesday, the city of Madison said it took public comments on the policy Tuesday for about two hours before the vote.

The policy will be reviewed again in 2024.

RELATED: Utility to review adding fluoride to Madison water

Mayor wants to move forward on Judge Doyle Square Project

Mayor wants to move forward on Judge Doyle Square Project

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin wants a green light on the public potion of the Judge Doyle Square Project so it can move forward while the private development is hashed out.

City officials wanted to have a comprehensive agreement, including a new hotel, finalized this month, but that timeline included more than $40 million in TIF money.

The public portion includes a renovation of the municipal building and the Government East Parking Ramp.

?You don?t nail it the way you want it the first time around, but when you make a decision that?s good for 40, 60, 100 years, taking some extra time to get it right is well worth it,? Soglin said.

The mayor wants flexibility to do the public work first and save space for the private development later, which he hopes will be a hotel serving Monona Terrace.

Taxi services for disabled residents focus of meeting

Taxi services for disabled residents focus of meeting

The city plans to hold a listening session this week about taxi transportation.

The City of Madison Commission on People with Disabilities asked residents of the disabled community to share their experiences Thursday relating to accessible taxi services.

The listening session begins at 5 p.m. at the Brittingham Apartments, 755 Braxton Place.

In a release Wednesday, the city said that about 10 years ago, Madison created an accessible taxi ordinance. Since then, demand for the service increased steadily with Union Cab providing 10,000 rides in 2013; a 125-percent increase from 2012. Due to the continuing rise in demand for improved accessible taxi services, the commission is investigating whether needs for the service are being met.

The commission asked residents to consider:

Common council stops Mansion Hill redevelopment

Common council stops Mansion Hill redevelopment

The Madison Common Council upheld a ruling by the City Landmarks Commission early Wednesday morning to halt a redevelopment project in the Mansion Hill Historic District.

Steve Brown Apartments wants to knock down the 10-story Highlander building and other structures to make room for three five-story buildings in the 100 block of Gilman Street.

The landmarks commission said it was out of scale and the council upheld their ruling after debating until 2 a.m. Wednesday morning during the Tuesday-night meeting.

A statement from Steve Brown CEO Margaret Watson said the company is saddened by the council's decision.

"Ultimately we believe that the city will discover that if it is serious about preserving its historic spaces, it will modernize the ordinances," Watson said. "We are concerned about the need to keep the district healthy and intent to examine these issues in depth."

Students compete in high school mock trial semifinals

Students compete in high school mock trial semifinals

Teams from 16 Wisconsin high schools will compete in the Wisconsin High School Mock Trial Semifinals at the Dane County Courthouse in Madison on Sunday, March 9, at 8 a.m.

The Mock Trial program provides high school students with an opportunity to act as attorneys and witnesses in a court case developed by State Bar members. In teams, students argue a criminal case before a panel of volunteer attorneys and judges in the regional competitions.

The two finalists will compete for the state title on Monday. The state winner will advance to the National Mock Trial Competition, which will also be held in Madison this May.

Students from the following schools will be participating in the semifinals:

County, city discuss possible day shelter for homeless

County, city discuss possible day shelter for homeless

Dane County could make a deal on a new permanent day shelter for the homeless in the next couple of weeks.

Officials said the push for finding a place for the homeless is because there are so many people still trying to get on their feet after the recession.

The ideal location would be in the immediate downtown area so the homeless can have quick access to services to help them get jobs and get back on their feet. But as the real estate market bounces back, properties that fit the county's needs and fit into the $600,000 budget have been scarce.

As a result, their focus has turned to properties some distance from the city center, like the MARC East building on Lien Road.

"Part of the answer is that the homeless are everywhere in Dane County and everywhere in the city of Madison. But there are many services that are centralized in the central part of Madison, and a building like MARC would require a substantial transportation plan," Hendrick said.