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MPD says it warned gas station owner about selling synthetic pot

Dane County drug task force search warrants show nearly 38.5 pounds, or 18,000 grams, of synthetic marijuana were seized from two East Washington Avenue gas stations.

In total, MPD said during a Tuesday news conference the 3,000 packets of dozens of types of synthetic pot were seized from Farooq Shahzad’s Capitol Petro and CP Mart Mobil gas stations last week.

“We attempted to purchase six of his products at the north and east side and were successful at these two,” Madison Police Officer Dave Dexheimer said. “That said, however, at four other locations the clerk always said go to these two stores.”

Shahzad owns 13 Madison area stores.

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Tenney Lock hours will be extended for upcoming events

The Tenney Lock hours will be extended Saturday for Shake the Lake and for the Fourth of July holiday, according to a release.

The Tenney Lock allows access between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona on the Yahara River and will be open later Saturday and from July 3-6, officials said.

For safety precautions, a slow-no-wake rule will be enforced on Lake Monona for Shake the Lake, officials said. The slow-no-wake rule will be enforced from 8 p.m. until midnight or until the last boat in line is through the lock on Saturday.

A no-entry area will be enforced around the staging site for Shake the Lake at the west end of Lake Monona, officials said. The area will be marked with buoys.

The Tenney Lack will be opened from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 2, 3 and 4, according to the release. The lock will also be open until 10 p.m. on July 5 and until 7 p.m. on July 6.

Police: Robbers ask man for cigarette, steal backpack

A near east Madison man told police just before he was robbed last week that two men had asked him for a cigarette.

Madison police said a 33-year-old reported he was was mugged while walking in the area of Atwood Avenue on June 10 at about 11:30 p.m.

The man told police two men first asked him for a cigarette. He claimed he told them he didn't have any and kept going. The men followed, and soon pushed him down, grabbing his backpack.

He told police it contained his cellphone, wallet and other personal items.

He did not immediately report the crime. The 33-year-old was unable to provide good descriptions of the robbers.

Drug investigation prompted by neighbors ends in arrest

A monthslong drug investigation prompted by concerns from members of the Jenifer Street community ended Tuesday with the arrest of a Madison man, police said.

Police executed a search warrant at a residence in the 900 block of Jenifer Street and recovered more than 32 grams of heroin and more than 14 grams of cocaine, according to a release.

Kendall G. Ragland, 36, was arrested during a high-risk traffic stop on South Carroll Street as the primary suspect in the drug investigation, police said.

The investigation was started earlier this year when residents started seeing suspicious activity at the home, according to the release.

Ragland faces tentative charges of possession with intent to deliver heroin, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, maintaining a drug dwelling, possession of drug paraphernalia and bail jumping.

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Toxic algae closes 3 Madison beaches

Toxic blue-green algae prompted Madison and Dane County Public Health officials to close James Madison, Tenny and Warner beaches, all along Lake Mendota, Monday.

"While we see this algae in the lake every year, it's unusually abundant this year," Center for Limnology Director Steve Carpenter said. "So we are seeing an unusual, a somewhat unusual event this year."

Health officials said the algae has to be considered contaminated because it's likely phosphate pollution coming from farm manure and soil runoff.

"Now with this bloom under way, the main thing is for people to be careful about their health," Carpenter said. "Don't let your pets drink the stuff, if you happen to come in contact with the lake wash your hands."

Carpenter said compounding the problem is what is being called an invasive species killing most of the tiny algae-eating water fleas. So there's virtually nothing on the water to naturally bring the algae under control.

Weed harvesters work to clear heavy growth in Dane County lakes

Five days a week, a steady parade of 10 weed harvesters make their way across the lakes surrounding Madison. They began their work in May, and given the heavy growth of weeds they are seeing, the harvesting will continue until the first week of October.

“We’ve been here for the last three weeks, and we’ve been harvesting between 30 and 40 loads a day,” Kevin Connors, director of the Dane County Land and Water Resource Department, said. “The purpose of providing the weed harvesting program in this area is to provide navigational access out to deeper parts of Lake Monona."

When the weed harvesting began they discovered the growth to be heavier than in recent years.

“This year the vegetation seems to be a little bit heavier in the spring than it was last year at the same time,” Connors said.

Rather than a sign of a problem, it is actually a positive indication of the health of the lake.

Police break up rare meth lab in Madison

Madison police say the discovery of a sophisticated methamphetamine lab is a rarity for the area.

Police said Thursday they found the lab last week in a neighborhood dense with homes. Authorities say it's the largest meth lab found in Madison in more than a decade.

Authorities searched and dismantled the lab last Friday. Lt. Jason Freedman said the lab posed a serious safety risk.

"This was a sophisticated lab," Freedman said.

Police arrested the man they believe ran the lab. He's in custody on a probation hold and has not been formally charged.

Authorities learned about the lab after a neighbor told police about suspicious odors coming from the home.

Neighbors said the suspect told everyone, including police, he was looking for gold.