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Madison property values show first increase in recent years

Increasing Madison property values for both commercial and residential properties are a sign of an economic recovery, according to city officials.

The city announced Friday a 3.2 percent increase for the average residential property and 4 percent increase for commercial properties. The overall increase is 3.5 percent.

Property assessments are being mailed to property owners on Friday.

City officials said properties appreciated in value $345 million during 2013 compared to a $31 million drop during 2012. In 2008-2009, property values depreciated more than $1.1 billion.

New construction in 2013 was 75 percent higher than in 2012, spreading the tax burden across more properties.

Also, the tax burden continues to shift from residential to commercial properties. It has increased from 31 percent to 35 percent since 2007.

Edgewood bats too much for Madison West

After starting the baseball season 0-3, the Edgewood Crusaders were tired of losing. That was never more obvious than Monday at Warner Park when they beat Madison West 11-0.�

The Crusaders came out swinging. A four run first inning was sparked by an Aaron Mack triple. In all, Edgewod tallied four hits in the first.�

In the second, they continued the onslaught. Four more hits and four more runs, highlighted by a Bobby Dunn lead-off double, opened up an 8-0 Edgewood lead.�

The Crusaders added three more to win 11-0 and improve to 1-3 on the season.�

Zoo to host fun, free Earth Day event

The Henry Vilas Zoo will be celebrating Earth Day on Saturday with fun, free, family-friendly events geared toward educating everyone about the importance of biodiversity, according to a release.

Children will have the opportunity to learn about biodiversity with a free MG&E Earth Day Fun Book, organizers said. The book includes information on the saolas, a species similar to an antelope. The saolas was only recently discovered, and are critically endangered due to poaching.

Children will also be able to protect biodiversity in their own backyard by picking up a free tree seedling to plant at home, courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

?The Henry Vilas Zoo is a leader in environmental education and conservation,? Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said in the release. ?We hope visitors will join the zoo this Saturday and learn how they can help in their own way through free, family-friendly Earth Day events.?

Madison ranked greenest city in nation

With Earth Day just around the corner, a website has ranked Madison the greenest city in the nation.

VIEW GALLERY OF TOP 25 GREEN CITIES

The website Nerd Wallet looked at the 95 largest cities in America and measured air quality, alternative modes of travel and natural attributes like lakes, biking and hiking trails and local parks.

Jessi Claringbole, community relations manager at Madison Environmental Group, a consulting firm that urges companies to build and think green, said she?s not surprised Madison made the list, but there?s even more the city can be doing.

?If we could expand the metro offerings, have it to be more available to outlying neighborhoods, and they maybe connect with other communities. Maybe starting in Dane County and then kind of expanding from there,? Claringbole said.

Officers focus on 3 areas to enforce speed, red-light-turn laws

Officers focus on 3 areas to enforce speed, red-light-turn laws

Police said officers are focusing on three areas of Madison this week to reduce traffic violations.

The Madison Police Department's traffic enforcement safety team will enforce speed limits on the eastbound Beltline Highway on Madison's west side and on the north side on Wright Street, according to a statement released Tuesday.

Officers will also be enforcing restrictions on East Washington Avenue in areas where right turns at red lights are restricted.

The special enforcement team regularly conducts targeted patrols to promote compliance with traffic laws.

Madison woman returns to Boston Marathon for 15th time

A Madison woman will make her 15th trip to the Boston Marathon this year, but she said this time it will be different.

Mary Tierney first qualified for the famous race in 2000 when she was 47 years old. She has qualified and completed the marathon every year since. The only exception was in 2012 when runners received a bye for heat conditions.

Last year Tierney was ready to make it her final run, but she never made it through the finish line.

In 2013 Tierney made plans to run with her younger sister. The pair took a picture a day before the race and planned to take another one after the race, but they never got the chance.

"We didn?t get it because she finished just before, maybe 20 minutes before the bomb went off, and I was running in," Tierney said.

When the two bombs went off at the finish line, Tierney and other runners came to a stop less than a mile away.

Madison libraries, streets division to host composting classes

Madison Public Library will be hosting a series of home composting classes led by the city of Madison Streets Division at four locations, according to a release.

The classes, being taught by Madison?s Recycling Coordinator George Dreckmann, cover home composting basics, an introduction to compostable materials, where to put your compost bin and how to tend to your compost, according to the release. Plans for building a compost bin will be available, and information about leaf management will be presented.

All classes are free of charge: