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Extreme cold taking a toll on water meters, service laterals and water mains

Madison Water Utility responded to the highest number of frozen meter calls for any month in at least the last decade, according to a City of Madison report. 

According to Officials thirty-eight customers reported that their water meters freeze and crack or burst, and ninety-two water main breaks had been repaired in January.

Crews report that the current frost line appears to be 5 ft below ground, but as temperatures continue to plunge during the overnight hours, frost lines are expected to move deeper.

As a precaution, the city is conducting routine hydrant temperature checks to make sure the water in Madison’s mains and hydrants is well within the normal wintertime range. The city’s mains are generally buried about 6 feet below ground.
The city reminds people to …

Madison alderman wants to curb pit bull population

A Madison alderman wants to require all pit bulls over the age of 5 months to be spayed or neutered.

Alderman John Strasser said the local overpopulation of pit bulls is putting stress on the Dane County Humane Society and the city's animal services officers.

"We?re not doing any kind of restriction on ownership. It?s simply on the breeding and to keep the breeding levels down. We?re requiring all non-show dogs be spayed or neutered,? Strasser said.

Patrick Comfert works with Animal Services for Public Health Madison and Dane County. He said for the last six to seven years they?ve seen a steady climb in pit bull overpopulation problems, and more than 50 percent that end up in shelters don?t make it out.

?We?re seeing a large number of dogs show up as stray or abandoned,? Comfert said. ?A lot of our neglect cases come from pit bulls.?

Deputies: Masked robber leaves empty-handed

A man wearing a ski mask tried to rob an auto parts store Tuesday but left empty handed, according to the Dane County Sheriff?s Office.

Deputies were called to O?Reilly Auto Parts at 1830 S. Stoughton Rd. in the town of Blooming Grove at 10:27 p.m. for a report of an attempted robbery.

Investigators said the man entered the store, displayed a handgun and ordered two employees to go to a back room. The man fled on foot to a nearby getaway vehicle.

It doesn?t appear anything was taken, according to deputies.

Anyone with information on the suspect or the getaway vehicle is asked to call the Dane County tip line at 608-284-6900.

Woman with open bottle of liquor in car arrested for OWI

A woman with an open bottle of liquor in her vehicle was cited for her third drunken-driving offense after a minor hit-and-run crash Tuesday, police said.

Jennifer L. Anderson, 33, of Madison, allegedly rear-ended an SUV on South Stoughton Road near Cottage Grove Road around 12:50 p.m., according to a release.

The driver of the SUV followed Anderson?s vehicle until police were able to pull her over in the 5200 block of Milwaukee Street, officials said. An open bottle of liquor was found in her car.

Anderson was cited for third-offense OWI and inattentive driving.

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911 dispatch debate: Safe or slow?

There?s some math that goes into dispatching emergency crews after someone dials 911 and reaches a Dane County dispatcher.

John Dejung, 911 dispatch center director, said any caller is asked a minimum of seven questions so dispatch knows what to tell first responders.

Dejung said it takes an average of two to two and a half minutes from the time someone picks up an emergency call to the time crews are told to respond to a situation.

?The fact is we do need to take the time to ask the right questions to make sure the responders are safe and the callers are safe and we have an effective response going on,? Dejung said.

Dane County?s 911 Dispatch Center is one of seven dispatch centers in the world with triple accreditation from the International Academies Of Emergency Dispatch. Dejung said that means operators are trained to ask certain questions in a certain order to make sure the response goes smoothly.

Robber demands money in note at east side bank

A robber got away with an undisclosed amount of money from an east side bank Monday afternoon, according to a release.

The robber entered the U.S. Bank at 4602 East Towne Blvd. around 4:15 p.m. and handed the teller a note, police said. The note indicated the robber had a gun and demanded cash.

The robber left the area in a maroon four-door vehicle similar to a Chevy Malibu or Impala, according to the release.

He is described as a white male in his 30s or 40s, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall with dark hair, a beard and a mustache. He was wearing a brown stocking hat, sunglasses, black scarf, tan work jacket and blue jeans.

Officials ask anyone with information about the robbery to contact the Madison Police Department.

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Drunken driver crashes vehicle into snow bank, attempts to walk home

Police tracked down a drunken driver after she tried walking home from the car she crashed into a snow bank early Monday morning, according to a release.

A passerby reported a car stuck in a snow bank off Cottage Grove Road near the onramp to South Stoughton Road around 1:30 a.m., officials said. The car was empty, but officers found a woman?s purse on the seat.

Police found footprints leading away from the car and with the temperature right around 9 degrees below zero they started canvassing the area, according to the release.

Officers found Barbara L. Matthews, 49, of Madison, who was stumbling and very cold. Matthews told officers she was walking home from a bar and that she had not been driving, police said.

The purse in the abandoned car belonged to Matthews, who was arrested on charges of her fourth operating while intoxicated charge.

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