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Most municipalities set Halloween trick-or-treating hours

Most municipalities set Halloween trick-or-treating hours

When will the ghosts and goblins be out?

Find below a list of the trick or treating hours for communities in southern Wisconsin:

Oct. 31

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Rookie K-9 sniffs out escaped mental health patient

Rookie K-9 sniffs out escaped mental health patient

It was a rookie K-9 officer that helped police track down an escaped mental health patient in north Madison Wednesday night, police said Friday.

Wednesday at about 10 p.m., Madison officers were called to help Mendota Mental Health Institute staff find a patient who ran off while being escorted to a building on the MMHI campus.

Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said K-9 Frees and his partner Officer Nicholas Eull were part of the responding teams at the north Madison facility.

DeSpain said Eull used a sterile gauze pad to pick up the escapee's scent from the back of the vehicle in which the patient was transferred.

Dog-bite incident reported on north side

Public health officials are looking for information on a dog bite that happened on Madison?s north side Thursday, according to a release.

The incident happened around 9 a.m. at the Demetral Field parking lot while a man was petting the dog, officials said.

The dog is described as a brown and black pit bull mix, according to the release.

Officials ask anyone with information on the incident to call 255-2345 and ask for the animal services officer.

Task force will research ways to protect Madison's honeybees

A task force will research the problem of Colony Collapse Disorder, which directly affects honeybees and other pollinators, in the Madison area, according to a release.

The Madison Common Council adopted a resolution earlier this month directing the Madison Food Policy Council to lead the task force, which will be composed mainly of city staff, officials said. The task force will provide recommendations to departments and the common council on local solutions to protect pollinators.

Madison?s Pollinator Protection Task Force will monitor the progress of the federal task force, use best practices to inform its work and review relevant recommendations from the federal government, according to the release.

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Mendota Mental Health escapee back in custody

An escapee from the Mendota Mental Health facility was found about an hour after he escaped from the north side Wednesday night, officials said.

Emergency officials issued a public alert message around 10:40 p.m. asking residents to remain indoors and refrain from answering their doors for any suspicious persons on foot.

According to the alert, the person may have been dressed in an orange institutional jumpsuit.

Around 11:15 p.m., Dane County emergency officials canceled the emergency alert, after the escapee was found in a wooded area near the facility.

Police said the patient was being transported from Douglas County and ran away while being escorted into Goodland Hall.

Madison water customers could see rate increase, conservation incentives

Madison Water Utility is asking the Public Service Commission for a rate increase and changes to its rate structure to incentivize users to conserve water.

The utility wants to increase revenue by 30 percent by increasing rates, on an annualized basis, 7.5 percent per year for each of the four years since the last rate increase. The utility has not decided how the increase will be distributed among residential, multi-family, commercial, industrial and public authority customers.

General manager Tom Heikkinen said the increase is needed to replace aging water mains, improve water quality and make a payment in lieu of taxes to the city.

This is the first rate increase requested in four years, according to the utility.

If approved, Madison Water Utility will be the largest water utility in Wisconsin to offer a conservation rate for residential customers.

If approved, the new rates would go into effect in the spring of 2015 at the earliest.

Madison debuts online water tracking tool

A new online tool is helping Madison residents keep better track of their water usage.

Madison is the first city in the state to launch an online tool that allows residents to check their monthly, daily and even hourly water use. The tool lets you compare month-to-month usage and set up email notifications to warn you of higher-than-normal usage, among other services.

"What we're talking about for us is really the ultimate conservation tool when it comes to water conservation," says Amy Barrilleaux, spokesperson for the Madison Water Utility.

Prior to the online option, residents could only track their usage by checking their monthly water bill or constantly comparing the water meter before and after use.

"This is just night and day from having to go into the basement and look at your meter to see how much water you're using every day," Barrilleaux said.

The goal is to help conserve water and dollars for Madison's residents.