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a.MKE: Downtown development, ACLU lawsuit and Milwaukee College Prep expands 2.4.14

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The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's law banning same sex marriage from 2006. 17 states now allow same sex marriage, but under Wisconsin's evasion law couples who leave and get married can be fined and sent to prison. Same-sex marriage supporters say Wisconsin's domestic partnership law that allows limited benefits doesn't go far enough.

Milwaukee County Parks agreed Monday to extend a lease on the Starbucks at Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee for 10 years. The coffee chain will pay a minimum $100,000 for renovations in 2014, including new flooring, upgrades to restrooms, new furniture and cabinets. They will move to a temporary location while the building is being renovated.

New development in downtown Milwaukee is set to begin this spring. A 1-acre site on East Michigan Street will be the home to the new 17-story "833 East" office building. The office will replace a portion of the U.S. Bank garage near Milwaukee's lakefront. 

Milwaukee College Prep, a high-performing charter school network, will purchase the north side YMCA and the school inside. YMCA's Young Leaders Academy at 13th and North Ave, has not been performing well, and teachers and 450 K-8 students at the academy will continue through June 30th. Milwaukee College Prep will take over the school July 1 with a goal of enrolling 500 students, with preference given to returning pupils.