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a.MKE: Becher Street On-Ramp to Reopen & Hunger Task Force Teams Up with Marquette University: Today's Top Stories

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Wisconsin lost 4,300 private sector jobs last month. The Department of Workforce Development reported that the state’s unemployment rate, declined to 6.8% from 6.9% in February. Andy Feldman runs the nonprofit “Badgerstat” website and said, “Wisconsin, like the U.S, is in a slow and steady economic recovery, but that doesn’t mean employers are rushing to hire.” In March, construction showed the deepest monthly job losses while manufacturing show an increase of 2,000 jobs.

The Department of Transportation announced that the Becher Street on-ramp to northbound I-43 and I-94 is to reopen by late Wednesday afternoon. State officials had to shut down the ramp back in March after a bridge inspection showed “serious deterioration” of two supporting pillars. Workers had to demolish the bridge, fill in the site and pave it over with asphalt, then assembled a new ramp within a month time frame. The cost ended up being about half the original estimate, at $415,000.

Yesterday kicked off MPS Children’s Week as part of the MPS Children’s Campaign. This week is all about highlighting how teachers and community members are working together to improve Milwaukee Public Schools. The weeklong series of activities will try to draw community attention to the positives of MPS. This week includes an open invitation to the public to visit MPS schools and to register for volunteer service. MPS Children’s Week runs through this Friday, the 27th.

The Milwaukee area group “The Kompost Kids” gave away free compost over the weekend at Sweet Water Organics. The group selected Saturday to gift the 25 yards of compost created by volunteers who gathered food leftovers from area businesses as an alternative to Milwaukee’s overwhelmed waste stream. Residents and volunteers have been hard at work flipping, testing and managing the compost pile, with hopes of giving it back to the community. Kompost Kids is all about transforming soil, lives and our communities.

State Transportation Officials will be conducting an environmental analysis and preliminary structural design on the Hoan Bridge later this week. The complete rebuilding of the Hoan and 794-Lake Interchange will start next year and continue until at least 2016. The project will include the installation of a new deck and some bridges in the Marquette Interchange that connect to the Lake Interchange will be removed and replaced with new structures. The public can view the latest details at an open house on April 25th at the Transportation Department’s Milwaukee Office.

Over the weekend, the Hunger Task Force teamed up with Marquette University for the 23rd Annual Hunger Clean-Up Day. The day is a student led effort that focuses on combating hunger and homelessness in Milwaukee. The annual event has grown to be Marquette’s largest day of service with over 1,500 volunteers. The Hunger Task Force warehouse and sort room were taken over by student volunteers and over$2.5 million Stamp Out Hunger donation bags, which will be delivered across the state in mid-may.