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a.MKE: Arab World Fest on hiatus, Fisher House at VA Hospital, new greenhouse at Domes and Alterra in Madison 3.27.13

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Milwaukee's Arab World Fest has been cancelled because of conflicts with Ramadan holy observances, organizers have announced. The festival was also on hiatus for the 2011/2012 seasons, but officials say the festival will return in 2014.

A house that will provide free lodging for families of wounded veterans will begin construction on the grounds of Milwaukee's VA hospital this summer. The 16-unit, 10,000 square foot Fisher House will feature suites with private bedrooms and baths, plus laundry facilities, kitchens and common areas. There are 60 Fisher houses located at VA hospitals and military installations across the U.S. and served more than 19,000 families last year, saving them an estimated $30 million in lodging, food and transportation costs.

Workers began construction on a 65,000-square-foot complex that features seven greenhouses on the east side of the Domes. Built with $10 million in state funds, the new greenhouse will feature floors heated by radiant energy, cooling pads to regulate temperature and a computerized system that can react in real time to temperature plunges outside. Water will be recaptured from the roof, stored and sanitized before irrigating plants. Now, new plants have to be driven 9 mines in a heated truck from the old greenhouse site. Visitors to the Domes will also have access to the greenhouse.

Alterra Coffee Roasters will open its first cafe outside of the Milwaukee area next week. Alterra on the Square on Pinckney St in Madison will feature an indoor-outdoor room and will be the first Alterra to offer beer. They will work with One Barrel Brewing Co. of Madison to create its own signature brews.