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Police: Woman sexually assaulted at south side park

A 32-year-old Madison woman was sexually assaulted by a stranger on Thursday evening while she was in Paunack Park, according to Madison police.

The incident occurred at the park, located near the 1500 block of Waunona Way on the city's south side, just after 7 p.m.

The woman said the man took a large amount of cash from her.

Officers said they were unable to establish a crime scene. A detective is following up on the report, police said.

The woman was taken to an area hospital for an examination after the attack.

The man is described as white, about 6 feet 2 inches tall, with a muscular build, a shaved head and clean shaven, police said. They said he was�wearing glasses, a blue tank-top shirt, blue jean shorts and brown sandals.

Authorities said that anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014.

Madison police respond to rise in gun violence

Since March 1, the Madison Police Department said officers have responded to at least 80 calls of "shots fired" all across the city.

Madison police said an incident last Friday night is when the problem came to a head. A man opened fire at Penn Park on Madison's south side following a fight. At the time of the incident, there were upwards of 100 children in the park but no one was hurt, police said.

Chief Noble Wray said Friday's incident is just one example of a growing culture. He said gun violence is happening more often, it's getting bolder and is more blatant.

"It cannot be tolerated," Wray said. "It's taken place in public spaces and public places, and is intimidating people in our neighborhoods, and we cannot tolerate this."

"This is more than a problem for law enforcement. This is problem of building neighborhoods and building community," Mayor Paul Soglin said.

2 arrested in Town of Madison drug bust

An unresponsive person found on Monday afternoon led to two drug-related arrests at a Town of Madison home, police said.

Police said the person was found at about 4 p.m. on Monday along Rimrock Road. The person was on the ground and was having trouble breathing, police said.

Narcan was given to the person who then regained consciousness, police said.

A search warrant was signed by a judge about 11:30 p.m. and police executed it just before midnight at an apartment at 2501 Pheasant Ridge Trail.

Police said they found about 11 grams of heroin, packaging equipment and numerous items of drug paraphernalia.

Serine O. Jefferson (pictured right), 32, faces charges of possession of heroin with intent to deliver, delivery of heroin and maintaining a drug dwelling.�

Chester S. Schwarts, 31, faces charges of possession of heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia and obstructing an officer.

Madison school officials debut new achievement gap plan

Officials with the Madison Metropolitan School District are revealing new recommendations on how to close the achievement gap in city schools.

Superintendent Dan Nerad said the new plan, which includes a focus on improving literacy, the expansion of AVID/TOPS programs to middle schools, a mentor academy to help students find role models in the community and other measures, will cost less.

The original plan cost about $105 million over five years. The revised plan's price tag is $55.6 million over the same time period, administrators said. The lower cost is attributed to several initiatives being pushed back, such as extending the school day.

"If we're going to make a difference, we're going to need to invest," Nerad said. "On the other hand, as we started working through the final plan, we realized that we also need to balance this with the needs of the community going forward, and it needs to be a sustainable plan."

Humane Society cares for surrendered horses

Officials with the Dane County Humane Society are asking for help after receiving several horses from two different surrender situations.�

The Humane Society currently owns 16 horses that have care, medical or behavior needs, they said.

Some of these horses are available for adoption now, and some will be in the future, spokeswoman Gayle Viney said.

On April 29, a man that had been evicted from his living situation and was homeless surrendered eight horses to the Humane Society. Of the eight, six are currently available for adoption.

"DCHS also currently owns eight horses from the Mary Loeffelholz case," Viney said.

These animals are still being assessed and are not available to be adopted at this time, Viney said.

The remaining horses were surrendered by an Oregon farm owner after Animal Services officials determined the horses were in poor health.

La Follette beats Middleton in girls' softball

Nicole Newman has become a dominant pitcher for the Madison La Follette High School softball team. She showed how dominant in a game on Tuesday against Middleton.

Newman threw 14 strikeouts in a two hit shutout, as La Follette beat Middleton. 5-0.

She also helped her team with some offense, getting a triple in the game. Arianna Sweeney also helped the cause with a base hit in the bottom of the third.

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There was a play at the plate, but Spencer Cook made it in safely to give the Lancers a 4-0 lead at the time.

The win helps La Follette go to 11-3 on the year.

Girl Scouts celebrate 100 years

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts this year, the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin -- Badgerland Council met on Willow Island Saturday to learn about the group's history.

About 3,500 scouts and alumni celebrated building confidence and power. Scouts said the organization helps them learn that they can accomplish whatever they set out to do.

"The attitude that you really can do anything. It's not the attitude of maybe this is going to happen; it's the attitude that this is going to happen and find a way," said Mikki Sylvester, a girl scout.

This attitude has stemmed through generations of girl scouts for the past 100 years. They say the centennial celebration reinforced the power they fostered in that little green vest.

"It's important be part of movement that is 79 million strong. It's important to be relevant in today's word," said Marci Henderson, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin -- Badgerland Council.