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Madison college students create algae-removal system

A system that clears up surface-level algae by slurping it away and depositing it into a dumpster will make its debut this summer in Madison lakes.

Engineering students at Madison Area Technical College designed and developed the system to address algae blooms that have caused beach closures in recent years. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that that the group of about 25 students were hired by the local nonprofit Clean Lakes Alliance and given a $5,000 budget.

The students plan to hold the algae-removal system's trial run late next month at Warner Park Beach on Lake Mendota's north shore.

If the method is successful, it will be expanded to other beaches in future years.

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Suspicious man asks 9-year-old to help with box, police say

A 9-year-old boy told police that a stranger stopped a car near him and asked him to help with a box Tuesday morning while the boy was walking to school, according to a release from Madison police.

Police said the boy was preparing to cross North Sherman Avenue at East Bluff when the stranger stopped his car, got out and opened the passenger side door.

The boy said he ran to school.

The man is described as white, in his 40s to early 50s, about 6 feet tall, weighing 150 pounds, with a thin build. He was wearing a faded reddish baseball cap, a white T-shirt and knee-length tan shorts. He was driving a newer-looking red four-door car.

Pair caught undressed in stranger's home, police say

A man fled when he and a woman were caught undressed in a stranger's basement Friday afternoon, according to police.

Madison police said the family of a 85-year-old Madison woman arrived at her home on School Road at 3:23 p.m. Friday to find a vehicle they didn't recognize in driveway.

When the School Road resident's 54-year-old daughter and 13-year-old great-grandson asked the woman about the vehicle, she said she didn't know why it was parked at her home.

The teen checked the basement to see if anyone was in the house. He found a man and woman who were naked, according to the report.

The 85-year-old headed down the stairs and spotted a man in his birthday suit, police said. He disappeared momentarily, then rushed up the stairs wearing clothes saying, "I'm about to leave right now."

First read of Madison Public Market plan met with praise

About 60 public market enthusiasts appeared to like the city’s $9 million-$15 million idea to turn the East Johnson city garage into an indoor public market that would include selling prepared foods, local produce and arts and crafts.

“A lot still needs to be worked out on these operational questions. Like how many days a week is the public market open,” Madison project manager Dan Kennelly said. “Things like hours of operation. And days of the week. And months of the year. How does this place really become the epicenter of the food system in southern Wisconsin.”

Public members viewing the draft business plan Tuesday at the Goodman Community Center gave their input by working in small groups to fill out worksheets.

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Work-release inmate missing from custody

A work-release Dane County inmate was declared missing from custody Tuesday evening, officials said.

The Dane County Sheriff's Office said 25-year-old Thomas D. Brooks, of Madison, was released from the Ferris Center on Rimrock Road at 5:52 a.m. to volunteer as part of his Huber sentence. He did not return as scheduled and is declared absent without leave, or AWOL.

Brooks is 5 feet 11 inches and weighs 145 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black undershirt, dark gray pants and black boots.

The sheriff's office said Brooks is serving a sentence for strangulation, battery, violation of a domestic no contact order and resisting or obstructing.

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14 cadets graduate Madison College as police profession faces 'tense times'

Many of the 14 law enforcement cadets walking across Madison College's stage Friday night know they are heading directly into an occupation that finds itself under unprecedented scrutiny.

"It’s kind of a tense time to come to law enforcement, for law enforcement officers that are currently in it," 128th Law Enforcement Academy class president Sam Vollrath said.

"They have been through a lot of social events. That was really a litmus test to their own character," academy director Brian Landers said. "And they’re here to graduate. And they’re here to announce to the whole world that they’re ready to go off and be law enforcement. The next generation of police officers in our community. And I’m incredibly proud of them."

From viewing national and local racial tensions, graduates from the college’s 128th academy say they have learned important lessons about the use of force and how to act on the job.