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Task force will research ways to protect Madison's honeybees

A task force will research the problem of Colony Collapse Disorder, which directly affects honeybees and other pollinators, in the Madison area, according to a release.

The Madison Common Council adopted a resolution earlier this month directing the Madison Food Policy Council to lead the task force, which will be composed mainly of city staff, officials said. The task force will provide recommendations to departments and the common council on local solutions to protect pollinators.

Madison?s Pollinator Protection Task Force will monitor the progress of the federal task force, use best practices to inform its work and review relevant recommendations from the federal government, according to the release.

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DOT: Lane closures will delay Beltline traffic

Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials said drivers should expect delays Thursday and Friday nights on the eastbound Beltline, according to a release.

One lane will be closed near Fish Hatchery Road from 9-11 a.m., officials said. The closure is to facilitate maintenance work.

A lane of the eastbound Beltline between Whitney Way and Verona Road will also be closed Thursday and Friday night. Delays and noise are expected.

Officials urge drivers to slow down and use caution in work zones.

Burglars mistaken for helpful movers

Two men who someone thought were loading a TV into a car to help their neighbors were really burglars who also took guns, jewelry and cash.

Madison police said a resident in the 2800 block of Warner Lane returned home Monday afternoon to find the front door kicked in and the house burglarized.

The thieves were driving a gold-colored 4-door sedan, possibly a Toyota Camry, according to police. Both men are described as black and in their mid-to-late 30s. One had a larger build, shoulder-length dreadlocks and was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and jeans. The other had short hair and was wearing a skull cap, dark hooded sweatshirt and jeans.

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

Police ask help to ID man in armed robbery surveillance photo

Police asked for the public?s help Wednesday identifying a man from a surveillance image of a convenience store robbery last month.

The 7-Eleven at 2703 W. Beltline Highway was robbed by an armed man Sept. 5 shortly after 5 a.m., police said in an earlier news release.

Madison police shared a photo of a man -- who appeared to be wearing white and black shorts, a dark T-shirt and a red hat -- standing in the doorway of the 7-Eleven with an arm raised pointing what looks like a handgun. His face was covered with a type of fabric or cloth.

A police dog was brought to the scene to track the robber but no one was found.
The man is described as black, 6 feet 2 inches tall, with a medium build.

Police asked anyone with information on the identity of the robber to contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014.

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Madison water customers could see rate increase, conservation incentives

Madison Water Utility is asking the Public Service Commission for a rate increase and changes to its rate structure to incentivize users to conserve water.

The utility wants to increase revenue by 30 percent by increasing rates, on an annualized basis, 7.5 percent per year for each of the four years since the last rate increase. The utility has not decided how the increase will be distributed among residential, multi-family, commercial, industrial and public authority customers.

General manager Tom Heikkinen said the increase is needed to replace aging water mains, improve water quality and make a payment in lieu of taxes to the city.

This is the first rate increase requested in four years, according to the utility.

If approved, Madison Water Utility will be the largest water utility in Wisconsin to offer a conservation rate for residential customers.

If approved, the new rates would go into effect in the spring of 2015 at the earliest.

15-year-olds flee burglary, police arrest 3

Three 15-year-old boys were arrested Monday after allegedly robbing a house on Madison?s south side, according to a release.

Madison police responded to the 700 block of Engelhart Drive around 1:35 p.m. for reports of a residential burglary, officials said.

Officers saw a vehicle in the area and three of the four occupants fled, according to the release.

Two of the boys who fled were found and arrested on various charges, police said.

Community court helps teens, community deal with minor offenses

Dane County officials are looking at a new way to deal with minor offenses to keep young people on the straight and narrow.

Monday the county announced a community restorative court on Madison?s south side. The goal of the court is to reduce long-term consequences so that a mistake at 18, 19 or 20 doesn?t prohibit offenders from getting a job and leading a productive life years down the road.

?A year ago you heard me stand and say, ?Less talk, more action.? And so today I?m excited to say this is exactly what we?re doing,? District 23 Supervisor Shelia Stubbs said. ?This is an action plan, this is an action process and Dane County is moving forward.?

The court will use a restorative justice model, which is designed to repair harm, reduce risk and rebuild community for young people ages 17-25, according to a release.