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New sign, lights to improve safety crossing McKee Road

New sign, lights to improve safety crossing McKee Road

Area leaders said new signs installed at the Badger State Trail and McKee Road crossing in Fitchburg are meant to reduce pedestrian-car crashes.

During a news conference Thursday morning at the intersection, Fitchburg Mayor Shawn Pfaff and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi unveiled the signs -- including lights -- that they said will make crossing the four-lane McKee Road safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Parisi's office said an incident where a cyclist crossing McKee was struck by a car and three other crashes at the roadway and trail underscored the need for new measures to protect pedestrians.

The signs allow people on foot or bike activate the lights signaling to motorists they're about to cross. The lights flash in a pattern similar to the ones used by emergency vehicles, Parisi's office said.

Funding from Dane County -- $20,000 -- and money from the city of Fitchburg were used to purchase the signs.

School to host night of free fitness

A local school will host a night of free fitness classes September 23.

Northside Elementary School in Middleton is opening its doors to host two fitness classes. The classes will be held in the school's multipurpose room.

The first class is 20-20-20. According to a release from the city it focuses on total body strength and flexibility. Participants will get 40 minutes of upper and lower body strengthening and 20 minutes of pilates-yoga work.

The second class is a holiday boot camp. The class is one of six sessions to help participants burn unwanted calories that come from holiday eating through aerobic and strengthening exercise.

The hour-long classes start at 5:45 p.m. Residents can register online at http://www.ci.middleton.wi.us.

Cancer survivor takes on extreme marathon for charity

Cancer survivor takes on extreme marathon for charity

A local runner is taking on an extreme footrace for the third time for a cause near to his heart.

Darren Fortney's put on a lot of miles since he began running in 2005 but nothing like he'll experience during the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile foot race in central California where runners often experience extreme heat.

Fortney, a Middleton native and cancer survivor, is training to run the race this year on July 15-17. It will be his third time on the Death Valley course.

Fortney is a part of the Gilda's Club Madison board and participates in the race to raise money for the organization. Gilda's Club provides support, education and social events as a supplement to medical care for people touched by cancer.

For more information on the fundraising effort, visit gildas.kintera.org/badwater.

Program uses poetry to help memory loss

A nationally recognized program in Middleton, the Memory Cafe, part of the Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, is using poetry to help those dealing with Alzheimers and dementia deal with memory loss.

Teacher saves toddler's life

Teacher saves toddler's life

Olivia Lauchner couldn't be happier to be back on a swing.

"By this morning, she's asking for ice cream and applesauce and the swing set and the swimming pool," Olivia's mom Annie Lauchner said. "And we knew she was back to her little sassy self."

The last couple days haven't been spent at home, but in the hospital. Olivia's dad, Jesse, was out of town on business when he got the call. He hopped on the first plane back to Madison, luckily returning to his two-year-old daughter in good health.

"Even when she's sick, we've never really encountered her slowing down, even a beat," Jesse said.

"She was responding and saying, you know, Mama and Dada, but still just completely out of it," Annie said.

After one night in the ICU hooked up to oxygen machines and a second night in general care, Olivia recovered from a choking scare while at daycare.

Cancer survivor will run 135 miles for support group

Middleton native Darren Fortney will participate in a 135-mile foot race to raise funds for Gilda's Club Madison.

The race is a non-stop trek from Badwater in the Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, Calif. The run takes place in July and temperatures can reach up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. The race begins at 280 feet below sea level and finishes at 8,360 feet above sea level. Fortney is running the race for the third time.

Fortney is a cancer survivor. The race course is unsupported. He will be relying on his crew of four individuals for support.

Gilda's Club was founded in memory of Saturday Night Live comedian Gilda Radner. It is a support and social group for people dealing with cancer as well as cancer survivors.

To make a donation for Fortney's run visit gildas.kintera.org/badwater.

Healthcare providers sponsor for allergy awareness

Dean and St.Mary's hopsital are sponsoring an event to raise awareness for food allergies in children. The free event will be held Saturday, May 18 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison.

The event is designed to be an opportunity for parents and children to learn about what it means to have a food allergy. It will feature story time with "The Bugabees" and award winning children's author and food safety advocate Amy Recob.

There will also be an expert panel of certified Dean allergists so parents will be able to ask safety questions as well as arts and crafts for kids.

Participants are invited to enter the Park Street ramp off Erin Street for free parking that day.