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Cone zones return: Beltline east lane closures begin next week

The orange cone zones will return to the Beltline soon as weather permits construction to pick up again this month.

On Wednesday night, preliminary work will start on a major construction project between Whitney Way and Seminole Highway on the Beltline.

Verona Road Construction Project Manager Chris Frederick said by next Monday night, lane closures could begin.

"Motorists should expect to see nightly lane closures in the area," Frederick said. "We will have a little bit of daytime work going on in the area but we're not anticipating that to cause an inconvenience to the public."

Later this year, eastbound lanes of the Beltline will be rebuilt, and all traffic will share lanes on the westbound side of the road.

It will take two years to complete construction on both east- and westbound lanes, Frederick said.

Resnick attacks Soglin's gang violence record

As quickly as questions during Monday’s Madison mayoral forum turned to the city's growing gang violence, Alderman Scott Resnick was taking issue with Mayor Paul Soglin's gang record.

"We're not doing enough," Resnick said. "If your programs were successful, we'd be seeing success."

Resnick said if the anti-gang programs Soglin touted--such as more at-risk youth contact, job creation and prisoner re-entry programs--were working, Madison would not be seeing the current amount of violence.

"And we do this through community effort. This is going to be a problem the city of Madison is going to continue to face if we're not working together," Resnick said.

To the alderman, a key to immediately answering gang related issues is to start a taskforce to address problems before and as they happen.

Madison officer says gang violence 'happening in our front yards'

A local leader said there's a need for alternatives to keep Madison area teens out of gangs.

Michael Johnson, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, has seen the gang violence that the Madison area has experienced in recent months. He also sees the need for the community to provide teens with an alternative to gangs.

"We have some challenges here in Madison," Johnson said.

He believes that programs like the Boys and Girls Club provide the support teens need and a positive activity where they can focus their energy. What he would like to see is for more opportunities to exist in the community to provide teens with positive after-school activities and support.

"In the city of Louisville, Kentucky, the mayor there said they are going to provide 2,500 paid internships for kids," Johnson said. "Why can’t we do that here in Madison, Wisconsin?"

Bullets strike residence with mom, children inside

Bullets struck a parked car and a residence where a mother and her children were inside sleeping early Friday morning, according to a release from Madison police.

Officers were called to the 4700 block of Crescent Road at 1:23 a.m. after several callers reported hearing gunshots. Police said shell casings were found outside a duplex.

The 41-year-old woman told police she didn’t know why someone would shoot at her home. Her 16-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter were home at the time. No one was injured.

A police dog was brought to the scene, but no suspects were located.

Chief, coalition members debate policing in south Madison

Chief, coalition members debate policing in south Madison

Madison police Chief Mike Koval and members of the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition, which seeks to call attention to what they say are racial disparities in policing, debated at a public forum held Thursday at the Catholic Multicultural Center on Madison's south side.

The forum was the last in a series of community meetings held by Koval throughout the city.

In a crowded room, members of the YGB repeatedly accused Madison police of racial profiling.

“Most white people and most people that work in the system are conditioned to think less of us, and assume that we're inferior, which leads to an arrest ratio of 8-1,” said Brandi Grayson of YGB during the forum.

Eric Upchurch, also with YGB, said “your parents and your parents' parents had the belief that we were undeserving people, and innately they passed that down to you.”

Zoo announces new polar bears

The Henry Vilas Zoo announced the addition of two polar bears to the new "Arctic Passage" exhibit set to open this summer.

Suka and Sakari are 2 1/2-year-old twins that will come from the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Once they arrive, the Henry Vilas Zoo will house two of only 60 polar bears in Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos in North America.

A release from the zoo states that the new exhibit is designed to meet or exceed "the most stringent standards in bear care."

The Arctic Passage exhibit is on schedule to open Memorial Day weekend.  About $270,000 is still needed to pay for the project.

Worker dies after masonry collapse

One person was injured and later died when a concrete wall fell at a construction site on John Nolen Drive in Madison early Friday.

The accident occurred at about 7:38 a.m. in the 1100 block of John Nolen Drive and was reported as an entrapment. Firefighters said workers were working on a stairwell when it collapsed.

Workers had cleared the rubble and the man was unconscious when authorities arrived.

The man had no visible injuries, but he might have suffered internal injuries.

The worker was taken to UW Hospital. The Dane County Medical Examiner confirmed later that the man died.

The accident happened at the Watermark Lofts, which is scheduled to open this summer with apartments and retail space. It's being built at the site of a building that was destroyed by a large fire in 2012.

Madison police are investigating the cause of the collapse.