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a.MKE: Bay View Public Safety Meeting & Ways to Work Launch Local Loan Offices: Today's Top Stories

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State Senator Van Wanggaard announced yesterday that he would not sue to try to overturn his loss in the June 5th recall election. He had until yesterday to file. This means control of the Senate will soon be handed over to Democrats. Democrat John Lehman won the election by more than 800 votes, but Wanggaard asked for a recount. Lehman maintained his lead in the recount, and Wanggaard spent the last week deciding whether to sue to try to reverse the results. But with his latest announcement, state election officials can now swear Lehman in and Democrats will hold a 17-16 majority in the Senate.

Tonight is the first of two public hearings scheduled to discuss the Great  Lakes Water levels. The U.S. and Canadian board that helps coordinate management of the Great Lakes will be in Door County tonight then in Milwaukee tomorrow. The hearing is meant to examine whether changes should be made in the amount of water released from Lake Superior to compensate for fluctuations on Lakes Michigan and Huron. Those two lakes are the only Great Lakes that do not have some type of structure to manipulate their water levels. Tomorrow’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at UWM’s Great Lakes Water Institute.

Despite some funding uncertainties, Focus on Energy has resumed its program to provide incentives for renewable energy systems. The organization is providing about $2 million for biomass, solar and wind energy projects. Program Director, Bill Haas, said “The new programs will allow focus on energy to deliver cost-effective energy savings and better serve utility ratepayers of Wisconsin, while further adding to an already successful mix of programs available to residents and businesses in the state.”

Today Ways to Work will launch its local loan offices to serve families throughout Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties. The Ways to Work program provides affordable transportation loans to working families who struggle to access higher paying jobs or maintain jobs that are hard to reach by public transportation. The majority of loans are made for the purchase of affordable and reliable used vehicles. The program will also help clients increase their financial literacy, raise their credit rating and improve their family’s quality of life.

Tonight Alderman Tony Zielinkski will co-host a public safety meeting with the Bay View Neighborhood Association. Zielinski said “This is one of the safest and best neighborhoods in the city of Milwaukee, however we are aware of the concerns residents have regarding recent criminal activities.” Concerns will be addressed during tonight’s meeting at 6:30 at the Bay View High School Auditorium. Representatives of the Milwaukee Police Department will also be on hand to answer questions.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is looking for three small to midsize businesses to go on a trade mission to the Middle East this September. The State Commerce Agency and the Council of Great Lakes Governors actually plan to lead the trade mission to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar later this fall. Companies that want to get involved should be interested in exporting products and services to these rapidly growing markets.

Today the Common Council’s Public Works Committee will consider a bike-sharing program. Aldermen Robert Bauman, Nik Kovac, Michael Murphy and Tony Zielinski are promoting the bike-sharing plan. Basically the plan would direct city departments to work with business and community organizations to not only set up a bike-sharing program, but also provide bike-sharing installations in the city. Alderman Bauman said, “I think we are ready for a bike-sharing program that will be an asset to our citizens and the city as a whole.”