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Saturday, November 29, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 28.0° F  Fog/Mist

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To serve and protect: Madison's exceptional police dogs help keep the city safe

The Wells Fargo Bank near East Towne Mall was robbed in February. When Madison police officers arrived at the bank, the thief had already fled the scene on foot. Witnesses described him as bearded and white. The profile matched that of a man who had robbed a number of banks previously. >More
 Eldonna Hazen emphasizes tolerance as a pioneering minister at First Congregational Church

On a frosty winter morning, Eldonna Hazen was preparing to do something she had postponed for years: lead Sunday morning worship service. "I felt a call to the ministry my sophomore year in college. But I thought that, as a gay woman, it was not possible for me," says Hazen, who was recently installed as the senior minister at First Congregational Church. She is the congregation's first woman minister and its first openly gay one. >More
 BadgerCare uncertainty continues

Come Jan. 1 some 92,000 low-income Wisconsin residents stand to lose their BadgerCare Plus health insurance or, if they continue to qualify for the program, start paying a premium. >More
 Michael Johnson transforms the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County

As the CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, Michael Johnson feels he's paying back to an organization he says probably saved his life when he was a kid growing up in the projects in Chicago. >More
 The fearless Chris Taylor: Madison's state rep has quickly made a big impression

Chris Taylor had never planned on running for office. She loved her job as public policy director with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. And she had a new baby and a four-year-old at home. Getting into electoral politics was the last thing on her mind. Then Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans in the state Legislature "dropped the bomb," stripping collective bargaining rights for most state workers and public school teachers. >More
 Just like family: Big Brothers Big Sisters is turning lives around in Dane County

Dora Zúniga grew up poor in south Texas. "My parents had a third-grade education and spoke little English," says Zúniga, the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County. "The poverty rate in that community was 60%, and the unemployment rate was 30%." >More
 Wisconsin elections director Kevin Kennedy is at the center of state's political storm

When Kevin Kennedy celebrated his 60th birthday a few months ago, his staff at the Government Accountability Board presented him with framed copies of two political cartoons. They ran in the Wisconsin State Journal while recall petitions were being verified last spring. In one panel, a young protester offers to give the GAB a hand with the checking. In the other, a group of older people with tea party signs makes the same offer. >More
 Citizens Climate Lobby unites against climate change

Remember July? High temperatures hovered around 100 in Wisconsin, and it didn't rain for weeks. Much of the rest of the Midwest experienced the same conditions. Crops failed. Livestock producers started culling their herds. Our home air conditioners, just used occasionally in a "normal" summer, ran nonstop. Or, wait. Is this the new normal? >More
 Peril in the crosswalk! It's open season on pedestrians in Madison

The Wisconsin law is very specific: "Drivers must yield to pedestrians when crossing a sidewalk or entering an alley or driveway." But on a recent Thursday afternoon at the intersection of Monroe and Harrison streets, pedestrians attempted to cross Monroe 30 times in a half-hour, and 37 motorists did not slow down or stop for them. Nine of the people on foot held one of those little red flags or waved at oncoming cars, and 17 vehicles, including one Madison Metro bus, did not yield for them either. >More
 Create a farm in your own yard

I built a small, raised garden bed on the terrace in front of my near-west-side house last spring. I was pretty proud of the few tomatoes, peppers, green beans and herbs I raised, but I'm a total amateur compared with the growing population of serious backyard farmers in Madison. >More
 The burden of student debt

At the height of the Occupy protests last fall, young people held signs announcing how much they owed in student loans. While the pundits were asking each other what, exactly, the protesters wanted, a big part of the answer was on those signs: Students are leaving colleges and universities with a staggering financial burden and bleak job prospects. >More
 How I beat the recession and found a job

Is the job market in Wisconsin getting better or worse? If you believe the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, which crowed in July about an additional 39,300 private-sector jobs added since Gov. Scott Walker took office in January, you might conclude things are getting better. But, if you look at figures from the Federal Department of Labor Statistics, you'll find a steady increase in unemployment in Wisconsin since the beginning of the year -- from 7.4% in January to 7.9% in August. >More
 Atwood-area businesses seek to band together

If you've lived in Madison for more than 20 years or so, you may remember when the east-side neighborhood surrounding Winnebago Street and Atwood Avenue had a pretty seedy reputation. The neighborhood cinema, a 1928 Italian Renaissance-style movie palace equipped with a Kilgen theater organ, had become a disreputable porn house. Like much of the surrounding neighborhood, it had fallen into disrepair. Many Madisonians considered the area a crime magnet. >More
 Hail to outgoing Madison Fire Chief Debra Amesqua

Five years into Debra Amesqua's tenure as Madison fire chief, Joe Conway, president of the local firefighters' union, publicly called for former Mayor Sue Bauman to seek her resignation "to prevent further damage to the department." His statement in May 2001 was part of the steady stream of scathing criticism that started as soon as Amesqua's selection was announced. >More
 Transsexual Rhiannon Tibbetts struggles to find herself

Rhiannon Tibbetts is wearing a pale pink sweater, a small gold cross around her neck and a touch of eye makeup. She's soft-spoken, very tall and slim, with shoulder-length wavy blond hair. Her hands flutter a bit as she speaks about battling the discrimination that's a fact of daily life for people like her: transsexuals. >More
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