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City of Madison officials look to ban e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes are not currently part of the Madison?s smoking ban but the city council is looking to change that. However, with little information to prove the potential effects of the vapors advocates say banning them would be premature.

"To ban them in public is silly because you are forcing people to go where smoking happens, which for a lot of people could cause a relapse," e-cigarette user Steven Fischer said.

It's been three months since Steven Fischer stopped smoking cigarettes, which was a 12-year battle he said he might have never won if it had not been for e-cigarettes

Madison city council is looking at including electronic cigarettes in the city's smoking ban, which prohibits smoking in most indoor places as well as parks and beaches. But supporters of the products believe restricting them may do more harm than good.

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23 new Madison restaurants you'll love

Each year brings with it a swath of new eateries, and with new eateries comes excitement. We love what?s fresh and untested but also untainted. Sure, some are more hyped than others (we?re looking at you, Sujeo, Cento, Rare and the Edgewater), but even the low-key taco joints and quaint caf�s offer intrigue?maybe this is the place we?ve been waiting for. Whether it?s a go-to date night spot, an equal parts convenient and tasty takeout joint on the way home from work or the perfect neighborhood bar, the following twenty-three places offer something in the way of excitement, many for more reasons than one, and we couldn?t be happier to welcome them to town.

$ <$10
$$ $10?$15
$$$ $15?$25
$$$$ $25+
(price indicates cost of a dinner entr�e)

Water utility board to consider monthly base charge increase of $2.62

Representatives with Madison Water Utility will be holding a meeting to get input on a proposed rate increase from the public, according to a release.

MWU submitted a rate application last month with the Public Service Commission, asking for a 30 percent revenue increase, officials said.

Base charges would increase for most customers by $2.62 a month, officials said. Usage charges would transition to a conservation rate, which means they would vary depending on the time of year and the amount used.

Customers currently pay $2.81 per 1,000 gallons of water used, but under the conservation rate plan customers would pay $2.96 per 1,000 gallons used during the off-peak season from October to May regardless of how much water is used.

Madison church on its way to hand out 1,000 turkeys

The cold and brisk conditions didn't stop dozens of people from lining up to get food for Thanksgiving dinner at the Bread of Life Food Pantry at St. Paul Lutheran Church Wednesday.

Inside the Madison north side church, food pantry manager Sue Gould and volunteers hurried to prepare for their turkey distribution day. They planned on giving out 300 turkeys in addition to other food items.

"They're awesome. They're the same people who help me each and every week, wouldn't trade them for anything," Gould said of her volunteers.

People like Neoma Norris waited over an hour for the turkey.

"It's a blessing to have everything you want for Thanksgiving," Norris said when asked what she thought of the event.

The line of people waiting to get their turkeys and other Thanksgiving staples moved steadily. Everyone started by getting a turkey, then had the option of another meat, fish, produce and frozen foods.

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City offers property tax payers installment option

Officials with the city of Madison announced Tuesday that property owners will have the option of paying their taxes over four installments starting in December.

Madison joins most of the larger communities in the state, like Kenosha, Racine, La Crosse and most of Milwaukee County?s municipalities that offer taxpayers more than two installments, according to the release.

There will be no effect for the majority of property owners who pay all of their taxes in December, so that they can itemize the deduction on their federal income tax, officials said. All payments on current taxes will be made to the city treasurer, so taxpayers will not have to pay the city for one installment and the county for the other.

Water main breaks spike in 2014

Cold weather and aging infrastructure are being blamed for a spike in the number of water main breaks in Madison in 2014.

Numbers released Monday show 339 water main breaks so far in 2014. There were 306 breaks in 2013 and the average since 1980 is 216 breaks per year.

More than 250 of the breaks this year happened in just the first three months.

Madison Water Utility officials said that as the ground freezes and thaws, soil expands and contracts, putting pressure on water pipes. Older pipes, particularly those made in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, tend to break more often.

About 38 percent of Madison?s water main infrastructure dates to those post-World War II boom years.

The utility said it spent $7.5 million on main replacement in 2013 and expects that figure to be $12.5 million a year by 2020.

Madison alternate-side parking begins Saturday

Residents should take note that alternate-side parking starts on �Saturday in the city of Madison.

Many residents know the drill, but some are also questioning why they need to move their car from even- or odd-numbered sides of the street with no snow on the ground.

Starting at 1 a.m. Saturday, the rules go into effect, and residents are required to park on the odd-numbered side of the street because the date is an odd number -- Nov. 15. On Nov. 16, residents are required to park on the even side.

"The challenge, I think, is you always have to remember what day it is tomorrow when you park your car," said George Dreckmann from the Madison Streets Department.

Snow or not, the rules are in effect each year from Nov. 15 through March 15. Drivers who don't follow the rules can face a $20 fine -- or a $60 fine if it's during a snow emergency.