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Mayoral candidates to debate on WISC-TV

Mayoral candidates Paul Soglin and Scott Resnick will appear together in a debate on WISC-TV on March 24.

The debate is one of numerous debates the candidates will appear in leading up to the spring election on April 7. This is the only debate that will be televised.

The debate will be hosted in the WISC-TV studios at 7 p.m. Eric Franke will moderate.

"This will be another good opportunity for voters to evaluate the judgment both candidates have used in tackling tough issues and who has what it takes to move the city forward," Soglin said.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to talk directly to the voters and present them with a clear choice on how to move Madison forward and create a more prosperous and more equitable city,” Resnick said.

"NCIS" will be preempted and will air after the "Late Late Show with James Corden" at 12:38 a.m. "Up To The Minute" will be joined in progress.

2-year-old handed down from balcony during fire

A 2-year-old was handed down from a balcony during a fire on Madison's west side Wednesday morning.

Madison firefighters got the child to safety after they were called to 5718 Balsam Road at about 9 a.m. for a report of a fire. One other person was taken to a hospital from the scene.

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Firefighters said the fire started in a ground floor unit, and they encountered heavy smoke and flames when they arrived. Smoke filled the apartment above the apartment on fire.

"The fire was rolling fairly good inside the apartment, so roughly 1,200 degrees at the ceiling level and probably about 3,000 degrees where we entered the building,"  Lt. Cory Reno of the Madison Fire Department said.

Cone zones return: Beltline east lane closures begin next week

The orange cone zones will return to the Beltline soon as weather permits construction to pick up again this month.

On Wednesday night, preliminary work will start on a major construction project between Whitney Way and Seminole Highway on the Beltline.

Verona Road Construction Project Manager Chris Frederick said by next Monday night, lane closures could begin.

"Motorists should expect to see nightly lane closures in the area," Frederick said. "We will have a little bit of daytime work going on in the area but we're not anticipating that to cause an inconvenience to the public."

Later this year, eastbound lanes of the Beltline will be rebuilt, and all traffic will share lanes on the westbound side of the road.

It will take two years to complete construction on both east- and westbound lanes, Frederick said.

Resnick attacks Soglin's gang violence record

As quickly as questions during Monday’s Madison mayoral forum turned to the city's growing gang violence, Alderman Scott Resnick was taking issue with Mayor Paul Soglin's gang record.

"We're not doing enough," Resnick said. "If your programs were successful, we'd be seeing success."

Resnick said if the anti-gang programs Soglin touted--such as more at-risk youth contact, job creation and prisoner re-entry programs--were working, Madison would not be seeing the current amount of violence.

"And we do this through community effort. This is going to be a problem the city of Madison is going to continue to face if we're not working together," Resnick said.

To the alderman, a key to immediately answering gang related issues is to start a taskforce to address problems before and as they happen.

Madison officer says gang violence 'happening in our front yards'

A local leader said there's a need for alternatives to keep Madison area teens out of gangs.

Michael Johnson, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, has seen the gang violence that the Madison area has experienced in recent months. He also sees the need for the community to provide teens with an alternative to gangs.

"We have some challenges here in Madison," Johnson said.

He believes that programs like the Boys and Girls Club provide the support teens need and a positive activity where they can focus their energy. What he would like to see is for more opportunities to exist in the community to provide teens with positive after-school activities and support.

"In the city of Louisville, Kentucky, the mayor there said they are going to provide 2,500 paid internships for kids," Johnson said. "Why can’t we do that here in Madison, Wisconsin?"

Police seek connections between shootings, Saturday violence

Madison police are investigating two reports of shots fired and whether they’re connected to a shooting at West Towne Mall and another shooting that left a man injured Saturday night on the west side.

Officers were called to the 6800 block of Chelsea Street at 10:11 p.m. Saturday on a report of residents hearing gunshots. There were no reports of injuries or property damage.

Police were called to the 7200 block of Longmeadow Drive at 4:04 p.m. Sunday after someone found shell casings in the area. Residents told police that they heard possible gunshots at 2:40 a.m.

Playhouse designed with needs of people with Down syndrome

A facility aimed at achievement for kids and adults with Down syndrome may soon come to the Madison area.

Gigi's Playhouse has locations across the country, and it offers something for everyone -- from expecting parents to toddlers and adults with Down syndrome. The playhouse includes therapy programs and educational classes, all designed with the needs of people with the condition.

It's something organizers say isn't available in Madison--yet.

"Kids with Down syndrome do need more," says Patrick Ryan, one of the organizers for the Madison location. "They need additional support, additional specific educational programs geared toward their learning styles -- and I don't think there's really somewhere in the Madison community where we can find that under one roof."