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Fire could close state office building 8 weeks or more

Fire could close state office building 8 weeks or more

The GEF-1 state office building will be closed for an extended period of time after a fire on the building?s fourth floor caused damage Friday morning, according to a Department of Administration release.

When crews responded to the GEF-1 building on East Washington Avenue around 2 a.m. Friday they found melted ceiling tiles and a small area of flames, officials said.

The building has been closed since the fire, but officials said it will continue to be closed for eight weeks or longer.

According to the release, crews continue to inspect the structural and mechanical systems and focus on clean-up and making any needed repairs.

Officials said they will have a better estimate of damages and the amount of time the building will be closed after engineers finalize their evaluations on the damage done to floors, ceilings and other structures and systems in the building.

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."

Contractors will close West Gilman St. Friday

Contractors will close West Gilman St. Friday

West Gilman Street will be closed to through traffic Friday for contractors to pour concrete for the HUB Development, according to a release from the city of Madison.

The 400 block of West Gilman Street between University Avenue and State Street will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., officials said.

Two-way traffic from North Broom Street to residences and businesses on the east end of West Gilman Street will be permitted, according to the release. Pedestrian traffic will be maintained on West Gilman Street to all residences and businesses at all times during the closure.

Officials encourage motorists and bicyclists to use alternate routes to avoid delays during the closure.

City to hold State Street, Library Mall preconstruction meeting

City to hold State Street, Library Mall preconstruction meeting

Residents and students are invited to a preconstruction meeting about the reconstruction of the 700 and 800 blocks of State Street and Library Mall May 19, according to a release.

The reconstruction will create a public space at the intersection of State Street and East Campus Mall, officials said.

The meeting will start at 10 a.m. with a short presentation of the final design and planned construction staging, according to the release. Construction is anticipated to last through the summer and into the fall.

State Street and Library mall will stay open to pedestrian traffic through the project, officials said. Access to buildings will be maintained, but short-term closures are possible to complete utility construction and paving.

Staff from city of Madison engineering, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the design team and the project?s contractor will be available after the presentation to answer questions, according to the release.

Group wants to petition against Judge Doyle Square development

Group wants to petition against Judge Doyle Square development

A group is making a new push to stop the development of Judge Doyle Square.

Citizens Against Subsidized Hotels said it wants to start a petition to keep the city of Madison from subsidizing the development.

Members said they want the city to start putting issues like this up for a vote if Madison gives loans for more than $10 million or land giveaways.

The said it is risky, unfair and wasteful spending.

"It's unfair for many reasons, one is that we already have plenty of hotels in town that are operating in town with subsidy and then their city is subsidizing a competitor against them," Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said. "I think there's a real key issue here underlying what they are saying. And it's really an insult to the people of the city with their long legacy of participation and activism. It's an insult to the common council, which is so hard."

Construction to move food carts off State St. nearly 6 months

Construction to move food carts off State St. nearly 6 months

On the first official day of food cart season, the university said a nearly six-month construction project will relocate about 20 food cart vendors between May 19 and Oct. 31.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison said Tuesday that the new locations are still being finalized, but many will be in the East Campus Mall area near the University Club and several on North Lake Street between State Street and Langdon on the Memorial Library side.

Construction is scheduled to begin after the semester ends and is planned to conclude before the beginning of the fall semester, according to the university.

The newly constructed State Street Mall is expected to include new paving, lighting, seating areas and a raised pedestrian crosswalk at North Park Street.

The UW said Madison has had food carts since 1977. In 1990, there were 20 food carts downtown. Now the vendors are spread out in numerous locations.