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State’s report cards show MMSD meets expectations

State education officials say the majority of Wisconsin public schools and school districts meet or exceed expectations for student achievement.

The Madison Metropolitan School District was rated at 69.8, which is meeting expectations. That score is an improvement over last year’s score of 68.5.

While Madison remained in the bottom third of districts statewide, it moved up from 11th to eighth among districts located in cities.

“As a school district, we’ve been very focused on the school improvement process. That means tightening up the process by which we set measurable goals for them to choose a few powerful strategies for meeting those goals and then consistently monitoring them along the way so they can make adjustments,” MMSD Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said. “We believe this is how you raise student achievement to narrow achievement gaps.”

Henry Vilas Zoo announces 2 new residents coming to zoo

Henry Vilas Zoo announces 2 new residents coming to zoo

Madison?s Henry Vilas Zoo announced Wednesday that two new residents will be moving in as soon as their home in the zoo?s new Arctic Passage Exhibit is finished.

Zoo Director Ronda Schwetz said the new residents are two grizzly bears who are currently at the Bismark?s Dakota Zoo, in North Dakota.

The bears were born in the wild, and their mother and grandmother were nuisance bears, which mean they were too comfortable being around people. They broke into campsites, and the grandmother had to be relocated 11 times to keep her away from people.

Then the grandmother broke into and raided a pig farm and became too dangerous. Officials euthanized the mother and grandmother, leaving four cubs behind.

Madison will be helping the zoo in North Dakota out by taking two of the cubs. The bears don?t have names yet, but zoo officials hope the community will help them out with that.

A message from the MPD's Traffic Enforcement Safety Team

With the school year right around the corner, the Madison Police Department would like to remind Madison residents to slow down and obey school zone speed limits.

Watch for crossing guards and please follow their directions. Yield to pedestrians who are crossing the street and be aware of children present in the area.

Obey posted parking restrictions and park your vehicle accordingly.

The MPD considers School Zone safety a top priority and will be enforcing School Zone violations throughout the school year, to help keep children safe.

They also want to remind the public of Wisconsin State Statute 346.46 (2m) when approaching a crossing guard.

To read more about MPD rules and regulations, click here for more information.

Author to perform alien puppet show

Author to perform alien puppet show

A family friendly puppet show is scheduled to take place this week at several Madison libraries. 

Award-winning science journalist Jacob Berkowitz will perform the "Lost Alien Show" about Ambrosia, an extraterrestrial who needs help finding her way home, according to a city of Madison news release. 

The 30-minute interactive theatrical-style show with puppets will take place at: 

  • Sequoya Library, Tuesday, July 15, 2 p.m.
  • Hawthorne Library, Wednesday, July 16, 10:30 a.m.
  • Meadowridge Library, Wednesday, July 16, 2 p.m.
  • Lakeview Library, Thursday, July 17, 10:30 a.m.
  • Pinney Library, Thursday, July 17, 2 p.m.

The "Lost Alien Show" is based on Berkowitz's 2009 book "Out of This World: The Amazing Search for an Alien Earth." Berkowitz more recently released a book about the relationship between Earth and stardust called "The Stardust Revolution," which was published in 2012.

Habitat for Humanity Seeking Families for Homes to be built in Sun Prairie, Fitchburg, Madison

Earlier this year, Habitat for Humanity of Dane County purchased 29 family unit lots in Sun Prairie and will be building homes in both the Uplands and Vandenburg Heights neighborhoods over the next several years, according to a press release.   Habitat also recently purchased 24 lots in Fitchburg in the Renaissance in the Park neighborhood and three lots in Southwest Madison.

For individuals and families interested in building with Habitat for Humanity of Dane County starting in 2015, informational meetings will be held:

Elver Park fireworks show to briefly close McKenna Blvd.

Elver Park fireworks show to briefly close McKenna Blvd.

A free family-friendly fireworks event will take place on Madison's west side Thursday night. 

The city of Madison said it will host fireworks at Elver Park at 9:30 p.m., and residents are welcome to arrive as early as 7 p.m.

Organizers said parking will be free in the two lots at Elver Park, however cars will not be allowed to leave the parking lot until 30 minutes after the fireworks show ends for the safety of guests exiting the park on foot.

Some side streets in the area will have temporary parking restrictions Thursday. At about 9 p.m., McKenna Boulevard will be closed to vehicles from Raymond Road to Schroeder Road, the city said. The closure will last until about 30 minutes after the fireworks have ended.

Park visitors are welcome to bring a picnic, however the city said alcohol and grilling are not allowed in the park Thursday. Limited food will also be available at the old shelter, according to the city. 

Annual safety demo event returns to Capitol Square

Annual safety demo event returns to Capitol Square

An annual event hosted by area public safety groups returns to downtown Madison this weekend.

Each year, Safety Saturday provides an opportunity to demonstrate safe behaviors and teach people how to live, work and play safely, according to a city notice.

The event runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on the Capitol Square and includes interactive demonstrations for all ages, organizers said. 

Safety Saturday is a cooperative effort between the City of Madison Fire Department and more than 25 public and private organizations throughout Dane County, fire department spokeswoman Bernadette Galvez said.

The event educates people of all ages, teaching them how to make safe decisions, prevent injuries and use devices such as seat belts, bike helmets, AEDs, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.