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County gang prevention unit working to stop retaliation crimes

As Madison police still search for answers after three gang related weekend shootings, MPD's Dane County partners are working in tandem to prevent revenge crimes.

The supervisor of the three dedicated gang intervention team, or GRIT members, working under the county's Human Service's Neighborhood Intervention Program, said his team has been urgently working since the weekend shootings to stop a retaliation.

"Boots on the ground. Getting out there. Talking to kids. Working through issues they may have," Juvenile Justice Services Manager Andrea Johnson said. "We've helped do mediations in the past with law enforcement. We’ve gone to school and talked with kids. We’ve talked to them and their parents. Anything we can do to try and prevent future incidents."

Mayoral candidates to debate on WISC-TV

Mayoral candidates Paul Soglin and Scott Resnick will appear together in a debate on WISC-TV on March 24.

The debate is one of numerous debates the candidates will appear in leading up to the spring election on April 7. This is the only debate that will be televised.

The debate will be hosted in the WISC-TV studios at 7 p.m. Eric Franke will moderate.

"This will be another good opportunity for voters to evaluate the judgment both candidates have used in tackling tough issues and who has what it takes to move the city forward," Soglin said.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to talk directly to the voters and present them with a clear choice on how to move Madison forward and create a more prosperous and more equitable city,” Resnick said.

"NCIS" will be preempted and will air after the "Late Late Show with James Corden" at 12:38 a.m. "Up To The Minute" will be joined in progress.

Resnick attacks Soglin's gang violence record

As quickly as questions during Monday’s Madison mayoral forum turned to the city's growing gang violence, Alderman Scott Resnick was taking issue with Mayor Paul Soglin's gang record.

"We're not doing enough," Resnick said. "If your programs were successful, we'd be seeing success."

Resnick said if the anti-gang programs Soglin touted--such as more at-risk youth contact, job creation and prisoner re-entry programs--were working, Madison would not be seeing the current amount of violence.

"And we do this through community effort. This is going to be a problem the city of Madison is going to continue to face if we're not working together," Resnick said.

To the alderman, a key to immediately answering gang related issues is to start a taskforce to address problems before and as they happen.

Madison officer says gang violence 'happening in our front yards'

A local leader said there's a need for alternatives to keep Madison area teens out of gangs.

Michael Johnson, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, has seen the gang violence that the Madison area has experienced in recent months. He also sees the need for the community to provide teens with an alternative to gangs.

"We have some challenges here in Madison," Johnson said.

He believes that programs like the Boys and Girls Club provide the support teens need and a positive activity where they can focus their energy. What he would like to see is for more opportunities to exist in the community to provide teens with positive after-school activities and support.

"In the city of Louisville, Kentucky, the mayor there said they are going to provide 2,500 paid internships for kids," Johnson said. "Why can’t we do that here in Madison, Wisconsin?"

Zoo announces new polar bears

The Henry Vilas Zoo announced the addition of two polar bears to the new "Arctic Passage" exhibit set to open this summer.

Suka and Sakari are 2 1/2-year-old twins that will come from the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Once they arrive, the Henry Vilas Zoo will house two of only 60 polar bears in Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos in North America.

A release from the zoo states that the new exhibit is designed to meet or exceed "the most stringent standards in bear care."

The Arctic Passage exhibit is on schedule to open Memorial Day weekend.  About $270,000 is still needed to pay for the project.

Reward for stolen car leads to arrest

An 18-year-old Madison man was arrested after responding to a reward poster for a stolen car.

Madison police said a 44-year-old Madison woman had her car stolen when she left it running in a parking lot outside her residence last week. She put up reward posters around her apartment complex on North Thompson Drive offering $2,000.

A man called and offered to meet the woman near the Hy-Vee on East Washington Avenue Tuesday night. Police said he told the woman he could lead her to her stolen car and he had the key.

Police were there when the meeting happened and Lashaun D. Cole, 18, was arrested on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent and bail jumping.

Man charged with OWI after getting car stuck on Lake Mendota

Madison police said a Madison man got his car stuck out on the ice on Lake Mendota Tuesday afternoon, and he now faces his third charge of operating a vehicle while Intoxicated.

The incident happened about 300 feet offshore from the Warner Park boat launch around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.

According to police, officers contacted Jay Mottier, 50, after they found the car stuck in the ice when arrived.

Police found an open container of beer nearby and arrested Mottier on OWI charges, along with felony bail jumping.