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No injuries reported in chemical spill at Oscar Mayer

No injuries reported in chemical spill at Oscar Mayer

No one was injured in a chemical spill at Oscar Mayer on Madison's north side Wednesday afternoon, according to a release from the Madison Fire Department.

The Madison Fire Department Hazardous Incident Team was dispatched to Oscar Mayer Foods at 910 Mayer Avenue just before 3 p.m. for reports of a chemical reaction, officials said.

An employee reported accidentally mixing lactic acid and sodium nitrate, according to the release. The employee moved the 35 gallon barrel of the mixture outside of the factory and called 911.

After researching the materials, crews determined the materials react when mixed together, producing heat and acid fumes, officials said.

HIT team members neutralized the reaction using soda ash while wearing protective clothing and air packs, according to the release. Firefighters also monitored the air quality during the incident.

Nearly 50 restaurants offer fare for summer's 'Restaurant Week'

Nearly 50 area eateries will take part in a semi-annual area food event next week. 

Madison Magazine's summer season Restaurant Week runs July 20-25. Forty-seven restaurants from Madison, Middleton, Verona and Fitchburg will offer special menus during the week. Each menu features three courses for a fixed price that shows off the eatery's culinary specialty and offers diners the opportunity to sample new or favorite cuisines from local establishments. 

Executive Chef Charles Lazzareschi at Dayton Street Grille in downtown Madison previewed some of the restaurant's planned menu. Dayton Street Grille is offering House Cured Salmon Spring Rolls as one of three appetizer options on the dinner menu. 

Committee focuses on 3 possible public market locations

Committee focuses on 3 possible public market locations

Monday night the city's Local Food Committee decided to focus on three possible locations for a public market.

Locations being considered include one on the north side at Northport Drive and North Sherman Avenue, on the east side at East Washington Avenue and First Street, and on the south side at the former site of Thorstad Chevrolet on Park Street.

The public market would be an indoor, year round facility that supports local food businesses.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin likes the final locations enough to consider more than one.

"They all have their own individual advantages, which is why they made the short list, but there's one thing I think we have to remember that I think is kind of exciting -- there is no rule that says you can't have more than one public market," Soglin said.

He said they would pick one of these sites first, but could develop another later.

North Shopko to close; 66 workers to be let go

North Shopko to close; 66 workers to be let go

Dozens of workers will lose their jobs in late July when a retail store on Madison's north side closes, according to a release Thursday.

The state Department of Workforce Development said 66 employees will be affected by the closure of the Shopko at 2602 Shopko Drive.

Displacements will begin on July 27 and likely continue through Aug. 30, DWD said.

In a notice about the closure, DWD said it will work with the business and employees with assistance as the Shopko closes and employees are let go. 

The north side Shopko is owned by Shopko Stores Operating Co., which was founded in 1962 and is headquartered in Green Bay, with more than 300 stores in 21 states, according to the company website.

Dobra's closure points to changes in Madison's tea, State St. business culture

Dobra's closure points to changes in Madison's tea, State St. business culture

On Dobra Tea’s last day in business, owner Adam Ernst invited the community to come visit the State Street shop to drink tea and shatter teapots from around the world.

The gesture offered him an opportunity to share some of the philosophies surrounding tea culture and to gain a sense of closure as the tea shop closed its doors Feb. 9 after five years in downtown Madison.

“Tea in general encourages us to embrace the imperfection in life, the impermanence in life, and thus smashing teaware is a kind of symbol to communicate to people,” Ernst said. “We need that sort of catalytic breaking, smashing and severing of all contacts in order to see and reunite them. Simply as a symbol of impermanence it seemed very effective.”

As a teenager, Ernst, a Madison native, discovered a passion for tea far from Wisconsin during a visit to the East Coast.

Supporters: Despite spills, manure digesters make positive impact

Supporters: Despite spills, manure digesters make positive impact

In November, a pipe ruptured on Dane County's community manure digester, which converts cow waste into power. About 360,000 gallons of manure flowed through a dry ravine, according to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spokesman Bob Manwell. The spill entered a creek and reached the village of Waunakee, located more than two miles away, bringing with it an odor.

"As far as environmental damages, there was no immediate fish kill, which is a good sign," Manwell said. About 90 percent of the spill was cleaned up within a week, he said, but some of the spill, located in areas unreachable by equipment, remains.

"We're not saying there were no damages," Manwell said. "This is going to take some time, and we'll continue to monitor to see what impacts there may be."

$24M pavilions to replace Alliant Energy Center's barns

$24M pavilions to replace Alliant Energy Center's barns

Dane County will replace the Alliant Energy Center’s barns with multi-use pavilions in a $24 million project set to begin early next year.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said Tuesday that the county will award a Middleton construction company a nearly $20.7 million contract to build the pavilions. 

The project is pending funding approval from the Wisconsin State Building Commission and the Dane County Board of Supervisors.

Middleton-based Miron Construction will build the pavilions that will create 290,000 square feet of multi-use space on the footprint of the Alliant Energy Center’s existing barns, according to a news release from Parisi’s office.

Demolition of the barns is expected to begin next year, with the project’s estimated completion in time for the 2014 World Dairy Expo.