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Madison debuts online water tracking tool

A new online tool is helping Madison residents keep better track of their water usage.

Madison is the first city in the state to launch an online tool that allows residents to check their monthly, daily and even hourly water use. The tool lets you compare month-to-month usage and set up email notifications to warn you of higher-than-normal usage, among other services.

"What we're talking about for us is really the ultimate conservation tool when it comes to water conservation," says Amy Barrilleaux, spokesperson for the Madison Water Utility.

Prior to the online option, residents could only track their usage by checking their monthly water bill or constantly comparing the water meter before and after use.

"This is just night and day from having to go into the basement and look at your meter to see how much water you're using every day," Barrilleaux said.

The goal is to help conserve water and dollars for Madison's residents.

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2014 Halloween event at zoo features costume contest

2014 Halloween event at zoo features costume contest

A free costume contest is just one event at a Halloween celebration at Henry Vilas Zoo next weekend.

Halloween at the Zoo is a free event to the public with a suggested donation of $2, and features free trick-or-treating and an activity tent, according to a release.

There will be five categories for the costume contest and the top three contestants will win prizes. The contest will be from 11 a.m. to noon in the center of the zoo. To enter the costume contest, participants will need to go to the costume contest stage across from the seals and fill out an entry form.

Organizers said the contest will end promptly at noon, but they will accept as many entries as they can. Participants will be judged on creativity, originality and authenticity.

The winners will be announced at 12:30 p.m. at the costume contest stage.

Costume contest prizes:

Madison fire officials lay out Ebola response plan

Officials with the Madison Fire Department said Thursday they are working to ensure they have a safe and effective Ebola virus response plan in place.

Madison Fire Chief Steve Davis said in a blog post Thursday the department is actively working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dane County Emergency Management, local hospitals and the 911 Center.

?We recognize the significance of our role in safely transporting possibly infected patients to local hospitals while protecting our community from the spread of the Ebola virus,? Davis said in the release.

The Ebola response process starts with the 911 Center, according to the post. If a 911 caller complains of any symptoms similar to those of an Ebola virus infection, the 911 dispatcher will ask follow-up questions regarding travel locations and contact with any persons who have traveled. The questions are based on the most current CDC recommendations for location and time of travel.

Burglars get away with handguns

Burglars who were trying to get away with a heavy gun case still managed to get away with two handguns during a home burglary.

Madison police said a resident in the 4300 block of Milford Road came home shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday to find his home had been burglarized.

Electronics, including a large screen TV, and a gun case containing several long guns were found outside the house.

Police said it appeared the burglars were scared off. The resident said it would take more than one person to move the gun case.

The burglars got in through a window with an air conditioner in it, police said.

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Lane shift scheduled for Segoe Road Thursday

A crew will be shifting the northbound lanes of North Segoe Road Thursday for a construction project, according to a release.

Starting at 7 a.m., the crew will be placing backfill material for a housing project at 618 N. Segoe Rd, officials said.

Northbound traffic will be shifted to the southbound left travel lane on Segoe Road between Frey Street and Sheboygan Avenue until 7 p.m., according to the release.

Two-way traffic on North Segoe Road and pedestrian traffic will be maintained during the project, officials said. Traffic from North Segoe Road to eastbound Frey Street will be detoured to Sawyer Terrace.

Officials encourage motorists and bicyclists to use alternate route to avoid delays.

Most area districts get increase in aid; Middleton gets 7th largest cut

Most area school districts will receive a small increase in general state aid, but the Middleton-Cross Plains School District will get the seventh biggest cut in the state, according to a release.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released the Oct. 15 certified amount each school district will receive from the $4.476 billion available under current law for general state aid.

General state aid for school districts increased by $94.4 million from last year, but the actual amount of aid that the state?s 424 public school districts will receive is $85.5 million more than last school year, according to the release. That is due to statutory reductions to general state aid for private voucher schools in Milwaukee and independent charter schools supported by state tax dollars.

Wallet stolen from woman visiting gravesite

Police are looking for the person who took a wallet from the car of a woman who was taking flowers to her parents' memorial site.

The 70-year-old woman told police she was planting flowers at her parents? gravesite at Forest Hill Cemetery on Speedway Road on a day in September when she returned to her car and found her bright red leather bi-fold wallet was missing.

Police said her credit card was used at a BP gas station at 318 S. Park St. a short time later.

Images of the vehicle used by the person who used the stolen credit card were obtained from the gas station and released by police. Police believe the vehicle is a Lincoln Town Car.

Anyone with information is asked to call Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014.