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a.MKE: Construction Started on W. Capitol Drive & World Book Night: Today's Top Stories

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Last night thousands of volunteers across the nation and world handed out free paperback books as part of “World Book Night.” The event is designed to get books in the hands of people who might not otherwise seek them out or have access to them. Here in Milwaukee, local bookstores and libraries took part as distribution centers for the volunteers’ books, including Boswell, UWM Golda Meir Library, Mequon’s Next Chapter Bookshop and Oconomowoc’s Books. Milwaukee is ranked the 4th highest giver-per-capita city for World Book Night.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has processed a total of 100,000 carry permits within the last six months. Wisconsin’s new law allowing concealed carry took effect back in November and since then, nearly 111,000 have applied and the state has accommodated most. Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen praised the DOJ employees and said “This is good news for second amendment advocates and our ability to deliver on another public service.”

Events are in the works for the city-owned parking lot on West Wisconsin Avenue and North Fourth Street. The first event will broadcast a Brewers game on May 25th, which is being organized by the Pabst Theater Foundation, and the second is scheduled for June, and it will be tied to an Indycar race at the Milwaukee Mile. Both are part of the ongoing effort to bring more activity to West Wisconsin Avenue, and if they’re successful, they could lead to more events on the city parking lot. The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee has already approved each event.

Roughly 800 teens from all over the state will get together in Wisconsin Dells later this week for the “Teen State Summit”. The topic of conversation will be the dangers of texting while driving. Oak Creek High School students, the Wisconsin State Patrol, the Wisconsin Family Career and Community Leaders of America, and AT&T Wisconsin organized this first-ever event. The students hope to reinforce the message that text messages should wait until after driving.

Construction started on West Capitol Drive from 60th Street to 84th Street yesterday morning. The re-construction project will include the removal of the existing pavement, construction of new concrete pavement, new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and driveways. Traffic will continue to operate on the South Side of Capitol Drive in two lanes of through traffic – one in each direction. Milwaukee County Transit Bus routes and its schedule will remain unchanged during the construction. The project is expected to be finish by Thanksgiving. 

Grand Avenue Mall will soon use its space for “Pop-Up Stores”. Pop-Up stores are a retail concept – so former individual retail spaces will become shared in a collaborative space, and will feature vendors, artists and designers who will lease space collectively. The program was developed by the Shops of Grand Avenue and Mike – Innovation in Milwaukee. The goal of Pop-Up is to generate retail growth both in the mall and beyond in downtown Milwaukee. Right now there are ten vacant spaces available on the second floors of the New Arcade building. Anyone interested in the space can check it out during an open house this Thursday at 6.