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a.MKE The List: Local Food & Farmer Open House & Free St. Patty's Day Rides : Today’s Top Stories

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Miller Lite is teaming up with the Milwaukee County Transit System to give free bus service for those celebrating St. Patty’s Day.  Miller Lite Free Rides will be offered on most bus routes starting at 6 p.m. and it will go until the regular service ends. All of this is a reminder for Milwaukee-area residents to ring in holidays safely and not drink and drive.

President Obama signed a bill that now clears the way for construction of a new four-lane bridge over the St. Croix River connecting Minnesota to Wisconsin. Construction of the bridge is expected to start in 2014 and it will take roughly three years. The estimated cost is between $571 million and $666 million. Also part of the project, the Stillwater Lift Bridge that connects Minnesota and Wisconsin will now be converted into a pedestrian and bike bridge.

Yesterday the “Milwaukee 7” held an executive food forum to promote the economic development collaboration of the region’s food and beverage industry. An advisory council, known as FaB Milwaukee, came together to talk about the region’s diverse industry in leadership, skilled workers, production and ways to expand companies in the food network. The council’s mission is to make the Milwaukee region an easy choice to innovate, start, expand or locate your food and beverage operation.

An estimated 22,800 people would leave or be turned away from the state’s health programs for the poor, under a new proposal that was approved by the Joint Finance Committee. The number of people expected to lose or drop their coverage was about 1/3 the number that would have it lost under the original proposal put forward by Governor Walker’s Administration. The committee made the cuts earlier this week to help bridge a budget gap in the state Medicaid program and it proposal now goes to President Obama to be signed.

Recently the second in the three-part “Building a Better Milwaukee Series” attracted nearly 300 people to talk about the abundant communities in our city. The series is a collaboration between the Cardinal Stritch University Leadership Center and Marquette University’s College of Professional Studies. Panelists ranged from the Journey House, to the Walnut Way Conservation Corp to LISC Milwaukee. The goal of the series is to bring together leaders throughout the community to talk about the power of families and neighborhoods.

The Urban Ecology Center is hosting its annual local food and farmer open house tomorrow. It’s a chance for Milwaukee residents to meet local farmers who grow food sustainably and to learn how to buy directly from them. The event will also talk about community-supported agriculture and how you can become more involved with local farmers and producers. The event is from 11 to 4 at the Riverside location.