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Madison Water Utility to start flushing water mains this week

Madison Water Utility crews will be flushing water mains this week, according to a release.

Every year during the warm weather months, MWU crews complete maintenance work on the city?s water mains using a technique known as unidirectional flushing, officials said. The aggressive flushing technique moves water at a high velocity through water mains and fire hydrants to clear out sediment from naturally-occurring minerals.

Clean pipes are important for a clean, healthy water supply, and that?s why MWU works to maintain the pipes with this flushing process, according to the release.

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Police: Shotgun blasts hit 4 vehicles, signs

Four vehicles and a stop sign were hit with shotgun blasts during what police are calling a crime spree on the city?s north side early Thursday.

Concerned residents called police, and an officer put his car near the intersection of Marcy Road and Troy Drive when he heard gunshots to the west at 2:30 a.m. He said a car sped away from the area and was pursued and stopped.

The officer said the driver was drunk and claimed he and the other man in the car had been setting off fireworks. A shotgun and ammunition were found in the car, according to police.

Adam J. Schwartz, 21, of Madison, was arrested for criminal damage to property, endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and operating while intoxicated. Kyle J. Martin, 20, of Madison, was arrested on suspicion of endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon and criminal damage to property.

Madison property values show first increase in recent years

Increasing Madison property values for both commercial and residential properties are a sign of an economic recovery, according to city officials.

The city announced Friday a 3.2 percent increase for the average residential property and 4 percent increase for commercial properties. The overall increase is 3.5 percent.

Property assessments are being mailed to property owners on Friday.

City officials said properties appreciated in value $345 million during 2013 compared to a $31 million drop during 2012. In 2008-2009, property values depreciated more than $1.1 billion.

New construction in 2013 was 75 percent higher than in 2012, spreading the tax burden across more properties.

Also, the tax burden continues to shift from residential to commercial properties. It has increased from 31 percent to 35 percent since 2007.

Robber takes cigarettes, money from gas station, officials say

Madison police are looking for information about a robbery on Madison's north side early Sunday morning where the robber implied he had a gun.

The robber entered a PDQ gas station in the 1400 block of Northport Drive around 5:45 a.m. and asked for three packs of cigarettes, police said. The employee got the cigarettes and the robber implied he had a gun.

He demanded cash before fleeing on foot with a small amount of cash and the cigarettes, according to a police report.

The robber is described as a black man, 45-50 years old, weighing about 140 pounds and was last seen wearing a light gray sweatshirt and dark pants. Police said the robber also has a distinct walk.

Officials ask anyone with information on the robbery to call Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014.

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Madison ranked greenest city in nation

With Earth Day just around the corner, a website has ranked Madison the greenest city in the nation.

VIEW GALLERY OF TOP 25 GREEN CITIES

The website Nerd Wallet looked at the 95 largest cities in America and measured air quality, alternative modes of travel and natural attributes like lakes, biking and hiking trails and local parks.

Jessi Claringbole, community relations manager at Madison Environmental Group, a consulting firm that urges companies to build and think green, said she?s not surprised Madison made the list, but there?s even more the city can be doing.

?If we could expand the metro offerings, have it to be more available to outlying neighborhoods, and they maybe connect with other communities. Maybe starting in Dane County and then kind of expanding from there,? Claringbole said.

Officers focus on 3 areas to enforce speed, red-light-turn laws

Officers focus on 3 areas to enforce speed, red-light-turn laws

Police said officers are focusing on three areas of Madison this week to reduce traffic violations.

The Madison Police Department's traffic enforcement safety team will enforce speed limits on the eastbound Beltline Highway on Madison's west side and on the north side on Wright Street, according to a statement released Tuesday.

Officers will also be enforcing restrictions on East Washington Avenue in areas where right turns at red lights are restricted.

The special enforcement team regularly conducts targeted patrols to promote compliance with traffic laws.

Stolen pickup linked to robbery, images released

The Dane County Sheriff's Office has released images from a gas station robbery and confirmed a stolen truck was connected to the robbery.

Deputies said a gloved, masked and armed man robbed a gas station in the town of Burke Tuesday morning. Around 3:50 a.m., deputies responded to reports of an armed robbery at the TA Travel Center on Highway 51, according to a release.

Two employees were approached by a gloved and masked man who had a handgun and demanded money, officials said. The man fled with an undisclosed amount of money to a pickup truck waiting outside with a second man in the driver seat.

Just before 8 a.m. a resident of the town of Windsor reported their truck stolen, according to the release. Detectives believe the robbers stole the truck from the town of Windsor before robbing the gas station. They since confirmed that suspicion.

The stolen vehicle was recovered and returned to its owner.