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Ramp to westbound Beltline from Hwy 14 reopens

The northbound ramp of Highway 14 to the westbound Beltline has reopened after it closed in mid-August.

Traffic heading to the westbound Beltline from Highway 14 was rerouted east to the Rimrock Road interchange during the closure.

The closure lasted about 10 days longer than the original 25-day timeline to accommodate construction.

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.”

Madison reaches top of 100 best places to live list

Madison has reached the top of Livability?s 2015 list of the Top 100 Places to Live.
The website announced the rankings on its website on Monday.

Madison ranked fifth on the list last year.

Mayor Paul Soglin told Liveability.com that he wasn?t satisfied with the No. 5 ranking and convened a task force to determine how to improve the ranking and make Madison a more livable place.

"I think the way we respect this award is to not simply accept a first place ranking, but to set a goal of everyone in our community being happy and believing that they live in the best place in the country," Soglin said.

Livability makes the rankings based on the local economy, health, housing, civic engagement, education, amenities, diversity and infrastructure. Madison has appeared in previous Livability rankings for top college town, foodie city and top music destination.

Police: Home Depot thefts connected to heroin

A man and his girlfriend stole thousands of dollars worth of power tools to support their heroin habit, according to a release from Madison police.

Employees at the Home Depot on Verona Road told police they recognized the couple on Saturday as the same two who stole more than $1,000 worth of power tools from the store earlier in the week.

Police arrived at the store and arrested Jacob W. Heavlin, 37, and Brittany N. Singletary, 28, both of Rockford. Officers said they found a handgun, cash, drug paraphernalia and more than $1,400 worth of new power tools in the couple?s SUV. The tools had been stolen earlier in the afternoon from a Home Depot in Janesville, police said.

Police said the couple was attempting to steal $2,000 worth of merchandise from the Verona Road store.

The couple was arrested on suspicion of retail theft.

Crime map

Police officers, firefighters host blood drive in memory of 9/11

Firefighters and police officers in the Madison area are giving back to the community in memory of their fallen colleagues on Sept. 11 with a public blood drive.

City of Madison firefighters and police officers will be commemorating the day with a blood drive at the Madison Police Training Center at 5702 Femrite Drive on the east side, officials said.

The Never Forget blood drive will be held Thursday from 7 a.m. to noon.

Firefighters and police officers will participate in some friendly competition to benefit the American Red Cross by tracking the number of people each team can get to donate, organizers said.

Anyone who cannot make it to the Never Forget blood drive can still support the cause by going to either of the fixed donation sites between Sept. 11-18. The American Red Cross east and west donor centers are at 2109 Zeier Road and 4860 Sheboygan Ave.

Baraboo man wanted on Juneau County homicide charge arrested in Madison

A man wanted in Juneau County on a homicide charge was arrested in Madison Saturday, Madison police said.

Acting on a tip, Madison police went to the 2700 block of West Beltline Highway just before noon, but as police arrived they learned the suspect, Kirk P. Knight, 35, of Baraboo, had just fled from a car.

A police dog sniffed inside the vehicle and led officers on a track from Todd Drive to McDivitt Road, then to Ashford Lane where Knight was found between two businesses, officials said.

When police told Knight to walk toward them he was on the phone and reportedly said, ?The police caught me. I?m going to jail,? according to the release.

Knight was wanted on a first-degree reckless homicide by the delivery or manufacture of heroin warrant out of Juneau County and a manufacture and delivery of heroin warrant out of Sauk County. He will also likely face charges in Dane County following the foot pursuit, officials said.

Dozens of doomed dogs get new life in Madison

Families waited in anticipation as 70 dogs made the trip from Texas to Madison to be adopted, but the dogs were not the only ones who made a long trip.

"We drove 900 miles from Virginia to adopt dogs from Texas, in Wisconsin. It took us two days to get here," Sandra Lowman said.

Despite the distance, Lowman and her husband John, traveled the distance to help save dogs that would have otherwise had a different outcome. Adoption manager for pet rescue group Tracy's Dogs, Robbie Cowly, said the dogs that were brought to Wisconsin Friday would have been killed.

"Every dog that you see come into Pet Smart tonight once had a pending euthanasia date in Texas," Cowly said. "We wait until they hit death row and then we pull them out of the shelters."

Tracy's Dogs, a nonprofit organization in Texas, travels to different states to find otherwise unadoptable dogs a home.