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Toxic algae spotted on Lake Mendota

Toxic algae spotted on Lake Mendota

Toxic algae were spotted on Lake Mendota near the University of Wisconsin campus and in Lake Waubesa, according to a release from UW officials.

Officials said cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae blooms, were spotted Tuesday in the area of Memorial Union and Hoofers.

The public is urged to avoid contact with the algae and not swim at night when the blooms can?t be seen.

The algae blooms occur when there is little wind and hot temperatures combined with lake nutrients.

Symptoms of a reaction to algae blooms include eye, throat, nose or skin irritation, and vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms can happen between several hours and a few days after being exposed.

Middleton City Hall host informational meeting

Downtown property owners, business owners, and residents are invited to attend a public informational meeting on Thursday, June 5, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at Middleton City Hall.

The meeting will discuss the City’s plans for reconstructing Terrace Avenue.

Project manager, Tom Stetzer and field representative, Jon Solan of Strand Associates will join City staff to discuss specific aspects of the project .

“This meeting will be an excellent opportunity to learn about project phasing and timeline. Work is scheduled to begin in mid June and be completed by early November,” said Mark Opitz City Project Manager.  

The City and its engineering consultant Strand Associates are working with the contractor Raymond P. Cattell to schedule the work to minimize disruption to businesses and residents.  

American Family Insurance having success being green

American Family Insurance having success being green

American Family Insurance started a simple recycling program at its national headquarters in 1989. In the 25 years since, the company has developed it into one of the most aggressive programs in the country in diverting waste from landfills.

"We just feel like it is about doing the right thing, and we pledge to protect the dreams of our customers. And we do that in part by being supportive of the communities in which they live and we feel this is one way in which we can do that," said Maggie Becker, facilities program analyst for American Family Insurance.

With nearly 3,000 employees working at ther national headquarters, a significant amount of waste is generated. Currently, American Family Insurance is able to divert 78 percent of that waste from landfills. It has an expansive recycling program but also collects organic items, which are then sent to a composting facility in Oshkosh. Their goal is to reach a 90 percent rate of waste diverted from landfills.

Park Elementary recognized for conservation efforts

Park Elementary has been nominated by State Superintendent Tony Evers for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award.

Park is one of four schools and one school district nominated by Evers.

To earn recognition, schools must save energy and water, improve indoor environmental quality, promote health and well-being for students and staff, and offer robust environmental education curriculum and programs to boost student academic achievement and community engagement.

The nominees were tops in the state in demonstrating progress to reduce a school’s environmental impact and cost, improve the health and wellness of students and staff and provide effective environmental and sustainability education.

Mining documentary to be shown in Middleton

A documentary covering the frac sand mining from the viewpoint of anti-mining activists and the sand mining companies will be shown at the Willy West Co-Op Thursday.

According to a release, the hour-long documentary explores the issues surrounding frac sand mining in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The film will start at 7 p.m. in the community room, according to the release. Free refreshment will be provided.

The showing is sponsored by the City of Middleton Sustainability Committee and the Natural Step Monona, with support from Willy Street Co-op, Madison Gas and Electric and Richard and Judy Fritz.

MHS biology students help with DNR deer study

For the second year in a row, MHS Field Biology students from Dan Drangstveit and Jeff Erickson's classes took part in collecting field data as part of a five-year Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources buck mortality study.

In 2006, a panel of experts in big-game population modeling recommended that the DNR document buck recovery rate through a long-term mark-recapture study, thus making this study a top priority. As the name suggests, this means capturing and tagging bucks, monitoring their activity, and determining the causes of buck mortality, or death. 

Two study areas have been established; one primarily forested area in northwest Wisconsin, and one farmland area in east-central Wisconsin. The different study sites were chosen to monitor differences in buck mortality and harvest rates across areas with different habitat types, hunting pressure, types and relative densities of predators, and vehicle traffic.

Take precautions to prevent pipe freezes, utility says

Take precautions to prevent pipe freezes, utility says

The local water utility said the season's frigid temperatures mean residents should take precautions to prevent household pipes from freezing.  

Middleton's Water Utility asked that all city customers start monitoring their water temperature. The recent abnormally cold weather has driven the frost underground to unusual depths, making it is possible for water service pipes may freeze.

The water utility encouraged residents to take periodic temperature readings of water from the cold faucet closest to the meter.

Residents should let the cold water run gently over a household thermometer for approximately 30 seconds. If the cold water temperature is less than 34 degrees Fahrenheit, it is recommended that a pencil-sized stream of water is run from the faucet continually, 24 hours a day, until further notice.

If taking the preventative measure of letting water run continually: ... Read More