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Woman attacked in parking lot, officials say

A woman reported being attacked early Monday morning by an acquaintance in the 2800 block of East Washington Avenue, officials said.

The woman was in a parking lot after partying with several people around 2:30 a.m., according to the release.

The 47-year-old told police she was knocked unconscious after being kicked, punched and stomped on, officials said. She was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Investigators are attempting to identify a suspect.

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BBB warns about timeshare solicitation

The Better Business Bureau is encouraging Wisconsin residents who own timeshares to be careful about solicitations promising that they can help ease their financial burdens. As the economy has decreased the value of many time shares, maintenance fees have doubled and tripled, leading many people to consider abandoning their vacation investments.

A Call For Action volunteer received numerous calls from an organization claiming to be a nonprofit organization that could help her lower her maintenance costs.

When she arrived at a meeting they set up at a restaurant on Madison's east side, she was pitched on a different travel package, one that promised her more flexibility and more locations. Her cost would be roughly $5,000 plus the equity in her timeshare.

St. Mary's, Dean merger official

Two local healthcare groups finalized a deal that merges a hospital system with a physician group and health plan.

SSM Health Care and Dean Health Systems announced Tuesday that the merger became effective on Sept. 1 after all necessary regulatory approvals were received.

Shareholders from the two companies signed an agreement in April under which Dean and its subsidiaries would become part of SSM Health Care. Before becoming official, the deal required the approval of the Wisconsin Insurance Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and other regulatory agencies.

SSM Health Care president and CEO William P. Thompson said patients should not see any disruption in care on the Dean Clinic and Dean Health Plan side.

Family reports hearing gunshot, officials say

A father walking with his family reported hearing gunshots on Madison?s east side Monday night around 9:40 p.m., officials said.

The man told police a dark-colored Chevy Impala drove past them on Bartillon Drive with its lights off and stopped, according to a release. He said that is when they heard the weapon go off.

After the shot, he told police the car?s lights turned on and the vehicle sped away, according to the release.

There were no initial reports of injuries or property damage, police said.

Officials said the man does not believe anyone was shooting at his family.

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2 women punched in 'strange' attack

Two women were the victims of what police are calling a "strange" attack outside a Madison grocery store.

The women, both 24, were about to walk into Woodman?s at 3817 Milwaukee Street Saturday night when a man tossed a grocery bag containing a gallon of milk at them, according to police. The jug burst when it struck one of the women?s legs.

Police said the man then hit each victim once in the face, sending each of them to the pavement.

A witness said that after the attack the man was laughing as he fled west on Milwaukee Street.

The attacker is described as black, in his late 20s to early 30s, 6 feet tall with a thin but muscular build and very short hair. He was wearing a light-colored T-shirt and jeans.

Hot coals ignite garage fire on Madison?s east side

On one of the biggest grilling weekends of the summer, the Madison Fire Department said hot coals were to blame for a garage fire on North Baldwin Street Saturday night.

Assistant Chief Clay Christenson said his Station One crew was called out to 19 and 21 North Baldwin Street at 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Officials said a man living there woke up to see the fire, and then tried to put it out with a small fire extinguisher. When those efforts weren?t effective, he proceeded to remove a number of items from the garage before crews arrived.

"Even a detached garage, you think it's all isolated, but when they get really rolling too, you can never tell how separated it is from the building or something like that where you can get the heat to ignite the other buildings near it," Christenson said.

No one was hurt in the fire, but the estimated damage totaled $20,000.

Phone scammers swindle woman out of $1,000

Police said a 79-year old Madison woman was swindled out of more than $1,000 recently in a phone scam.

Police said a woman living on Camden Road received a call Monday at 8 a.m. claiming she had won $3 million and a car in a contest she had never entered.

First the victim sent a $150 check to an address in Georgia to cover a "foreign country tax," as her alleged winnings were coming from overseas.

Next she loaded $900 on Green Dot Money Pak cards and provided corresponding card account numbers to the "prize team." She was told the funds were needed for insurance and transfer fees, according to police.

Following the transactions, the victim was led to believe that her prize would arrive between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. When no prize patrol showed, she called police.

An officer looked at her records and found the phone number being used by the criminals: 1-876-887-5202.