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a.MKE The List: Lakefront Redevelopment Plans Move Forward & Obama's Re-election Bid Raises $45 Million: Today’s Top Stories

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Federal Officials recently approved $1.7 billion to expand and rebuild Milwaukee’s Zoo Interchange. This has been in the works for the past three years and the Zoo Interchange is the busiest in the state, carrying about 300,000 vehicles per day. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation thinks reconstruction will last from 2013 to 2018. Anyone who wants to challenge the federal approval has until September of 2012 to do so.

Four Wisconsin-based companies were named the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by the global think-tank, the Ethisphere Institute. Those companies include Johnson Controls, Rockwell Automation, Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation of Madison, and Manpower Group. The Ethisphere Institute said each 2012 honoree was chosen for promoting ethical business standards and practices and demonstrating how corporate citizenship is tied to the success of a company’s brand and bottom line.

The Wisconsin Humane Society is joining the Mega Match-a-thon National Shelter for its 24-hour pet adoption event, which starts Saturday March 31st through the following day. The humane society’s goal is to find homes for at least 150 animals during that 24-hour time period. Wisconsin’s Humane Society will be one of 55 animal rescue organizations receiving grant funding to participate. 

President Obama’s Campaign just announced that it raised $45 million for his re-election bid in February, bringing his total to about $300 million for this election cycle. Obama collected nearly twice as much as the $23 million per month average he raised during the final months of 2011. Now with Republicans locked in an extended primary campaign, Obama’s campaign tried to build a large 50-state operation that will help register new voters, bring back past supporters and boost turnout.

Plans to renovate the lakefront are moving forward. Last week, Milwaukee County Parks Director, Sue Black, led a panel discussion about Milwaukee’s lakefront redevelopment plans during the Business of Growing Milwaukee Event. Plans include tearing down lakefront freeway ramps, terracing O’Donnell Park for easier foot access to the lake, converting East Clybourn Street to a two-way boulevard and demolishing the Downtown Transit Center. Sue Black said, “Let’s take downtown and take it to the lake and vice versa.”

The leading engine manufacturer, Kohler, has donated more than 10,000 thousand small engines to hundreds of schools across the country. The engines were donated to help students gain hands on experience with small engines while also enhancing their knowledge and education on a variety of engine-related topics…this includes assembly, disassembly, components, engineering processes, and the general functions. Kohler’s Director of Marketing, Justin Blount said, “We’ve been touched by the level of response this donation has received from students, faculty, and administrators at all of the schools.”