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Madison's winter clothes drive happening this month

Madison Parks is partnering with Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin, Inc. on an outdoor winter clothes drive Jan. 5-16.

Winter coats, snowpants, boots, hats, scarves, and gloves may be dropped off during operating hours at the following locations:

  • Tenney Park Shelter, 402 N. Thornton Ave.
  • Vilas Park Shelter, 1400 Vilas Park Dr.
  • Elver Park Shelter, 1250 McKenna Blvd.
  • Odana Hills Golf Course, 4635 Odana Road

Operating Hours:

Shelter hours are weekdays 3-9 p.m. and weekends 11 a.m.-9 p.m.Odana Hills hours are weekends 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Click here for more information.

Habitat for Humanity asking for volunteers

Habitat for Humanity is seeking families to build homes in Madison, Sun Prairie, Fitchburg, and Stoughton.

Over the last year, Habitat for Humanity of Dane County has purchased 29 family unit lots in Sun Prairie, 24 lots in Fitchburg and eight lots in Madison.

For individuals and families interested in building with Habitat for Humanity, informational meetings will be held:

Jan. 11, 1-2:30 p.m., Clarion Suites, 2110 Rimrock Road

Jan. 14, 6-7:30 p.m., Clarion Suites, 2110 Rimrock Road

If interested in partnering with Habitat, attendance at one of these meetings is mandatory.

To learn about the program requirements, visit habitatdane.org.

Annual chili cookoff seeks chefs

On Feb. 7 from 6-8 p.m., the Essen Haus, 514 E. Wilson St., will host its second annual Mad City Chili Cookoff.

As many as 20 cooks may enter for the chance to win cash prizes. Organizers said smell, taste, heat balance, texture/mouthfeel and appearance are among this year's judging criteria.

Up to $200 will be awarded to both the judge's top pick and to the people's choice award.

A chili recipe and $20 are needed to enter the competition.

If you would like to enter the contest, email chili.essenhaus@gmail.com.

Entry fee to the event is $10 for adults and free for children ages 10 and under.

Click here for complete details.

Open house meeting to discuss Verona Road project

A public meeting to discussed the years-long Verona Road construction project is scheduled later this month. 

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation said that on Dec. 18, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., an open house will be held to discuss design and construction activities for the Verona Road, Highway 18/151 project.

The meeting will take place at the City of Fitchburg Fire Station No. 2, 5415 King James Way.

Maps and exhibits showing the proposed improvements will be on display. Wisconsin Department of Transportation representatives will be available to discuss the project on an individual basis. The reconstruction includes the roadway from the Beltline to County Road PD, Mckee Road, and the Beltline between Whitney Way and Seminole Highway.

Most municipalities set Halloween trick-or-treating hours

Most municipalities set Halloween trick-or-treating hours

When will the ghosts and goblins be out?

Find below a list of the trick or treating hours for communities in southern Wisconsin:

Oct. 31

2014 Halloween event at zoo features costume contest

2014 Halloween event at zoo features costume contest

A free costume contest is just one event at a Halloween celebration at Henry Vilas Zoo next weekend.

Halloween at the Zoo is a free event to the public with a suggested donation of $2, and features free trick-or-treating and an activity tent, according to a release.

There will be five categories for the costume contest and the top three contestants will win prizes. The contest will be from 11 a.m. to noon in the center of the zoo. To enter the costume contest, participants will need to go to the costume contest stage across from the seals and fill out an entry form.

Organizers said the contest will end promptly at noon, but they will accept as many entries as they can. Participants will be judged on creativity, originality and authenticity.

The winners will be announced at 12:30 p.m. at the costume contest stage.

Costume contest prizes:

Walnut Grove dog park to open

Starting Monday, Walnut Grove Park, 202 N. Westfield Road, joins seven other parks in the city of Madison as locations for a fenced dog exercise area.

Everyone and their dogs are invited to join Mayor Paul Soglin, Madison Parks Superintendent Eric Knepp and the west side neighbors and dog owners for a special unveiling.

There will be an official 'ball toss' opening at 1:30 p.m. on Monday at the park.

"Madison Parks in committed to providing safe places for dogs and their owners to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. The city of Madison is proud to be ranked number 6 in the nation for off-leash dog parks by the Trust for Public Lands," said Knepp.

Click here to find out the dog park rules.

The cost of the Annual Permit is $30 and the daily permit is $5.