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Brat Fest adds zero waste initiative to 2015 event

The 2015 Brat Fest will not only feature the traditional brats, brews and bands, but the organizers are implementing a zero waste initiative this year, according to a release.

Brat Fest organizers said they plant on improving their current recycling program and will also be composting during the event, with the goal of reducing the amount of garbage in an effort to protect the environment.

“The zero-waste movement is all about creating waste management procedures with the ultimate goal that everything be recycled, reused or composted, with as little as possible remaining for disposal, the release said.

According to the release, Brat Fest organizers are proactively working with food vendors to choose compostable supplies so that more of the trash generated will be diverted from the landfill.

There will also be volunteers to help event-goers know which containers to put their waste into, organizers said.

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MPD plans new police station to accommodate growing city

Plans to build a new police station to alleviate Madison's West District have been talked about for years, but now construction plans are officially in the works.

With a growing Madison on the horizon, including the annexation of the town of Madison, and a west district already above average capacity, the Madison Police Department is preparing to expand along with its growing city.

"If you look at both this building, the west district and the south district, they are both bursting at the seams. We don't have enough room for the people that we have now and we just can't absorb that growth, so it needs to give somewhere and Midtown is the logical spot for it," Madison Police West District Capt. Vic Wahl said.

The West District covers more than 330 square miles and serves 84,000 people. The building that started out with 58 employees has now grown to more than 90 people.

Former Madison police chief: 'Stop the killing'

Echoing a recent blog entry, former Madison Police chief turned Episcopal Priest David Couper made a passionate recommendation for stopping police shootings.

"The issue of race is not going to go away. We’ve got so much work to do," Couper said. "There are some specific things I think citizens can do, working with police to improve things."

During his Edgewood College "New Police for a New Era" speech, Couper emphasized the decades-old community policing philosophy he used as chief, which he now believes should be a national standard.

In what he calls a "Prescription for Police to Change," Cooper said:

$300K grant to help MMSD open 4 full-service schools

The Madison Metropolitan School District received a three-year, $300,000 grant to support community planning and implementation for four full-service schools, according to a release.

Full-service schools integrate community services into schools sties and work to connect students and families with needed services to make schools hubs of support, officials said.

"Full-service schools take our support for children and families in Madison to a new level. Many of our families still struggle with access to community services, but by integrating coordinated services where our children and families are every day, we will be better able to support families and our students," Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said in the release. "We are thrilled that thanks to the Madison Community Foundation, we’ll be able to work together to make full service schools a reality in Madison."

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Baby orangutan born at Vilas zoo

Madison's zoo family just got a little bigger.

A healthy female Bornean orangutan was born two weeks ago at Henry vilas Zoo to first-time parents Kawan and Datu.

The baby was named Keju, which is Malay for "cheese," according to Dane County officials.

Keju is important to the national effort to maintain a population of the endangered species through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Orangutan Species Survival Plan. Orangutans are found only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and are the only great ape found in Asia. Bornean orangutans are endangered and Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered with less than 6,000 individuals left in Sumatra, Henry Vilas Zoo said.

"We are excited to have Keju as part of our zoo family," Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said in a news release. "No matter where she goes in life, her name is a reminder that she is a true Wisconsinite. We take great pride in the work we do to protect endangered species."

Water utility: Several businesses receive similar scam call

Madison Water Utility officials said several businesses have received scam calls that a business dependent on water never wants to hear.

"When you have a laundromat you need water. When you have a restaurant, you need water, a hotel you need water and to have that threat of it being cut off right away I think is a scary thing," said Amy Barrilleaux, Madison Water Utility public information officer.

Four businesses so far this week have been threatened over the phone by a man posing as a Madison Water Utility employee.

The man reportedly says the business will have its water turned off immediately if it doesn't pay a fee. One business owner said the man demanded a payment of $1,400.

So far, a laundromat, a hotel and a restaurant have received a similar phone call, but MWU utility officials said that is a call they would never make to their customers.

Crazylegs race to close downtown streets Saturday

Motorists planning to drive in the downtown Madison area Saturday morning will want to take note of a few road closures from the Crazylegs Classic race, city officials said Wednesday.

The Madison City Traffic Engineering department said traffic will not be able to cross Wisconsin Avenue or State Street from 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Major streets affected include Gorham Street, Johnson Street and Dayton Street. The city provided a map for through-traffic routes.

The city advised motorists to allow extra travel time if traveling downtown during during the closures.