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a.MKE THE List: Red Flag Warning Issued for WI & U.S. Rep Paul Ryan Speaks in Milwaukee: Today’s Top Stories

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Weekly U.S. unemployment claims fell to a four-year low last week, hitting roughly 357,000. Unemployment applications have been steadily declining since last fall, showing a strengthening job market. Economists estimated that employers added over 200,000 last month. Analysts say, “We believe that the economy has entered a more self-sustaining phase of the recovery with stronger job creation.”

The City of Milwaukee is now moving forward with an energy efficiency program that helps lower the interest rate and upfront costs of energy upgrades. The Newport, which is an east side co-op, has become the pilot for an energy-saving upgrade that is installing new boilers, chillers and controls, and it will deliver $48,000 in annual energy savings. The program here in Milwaukee is one of a handful around the country that is helping jump-start interest in making energy saving retrofits happen.

With the unseasonably warm spring and with the combination of high winds, the National Weather Service issued a “Red Flag Warning” Sunday for nearly all of Wisconsin. Officials suspended all burning permits over the weekend and on Sunday, even Miller Park tailgaters were told not to fire up barbecues after the game because state officials were worried about a grass fire. The Red Flag Warning means that wind, temperature and humidity can support extreme fire behavior – even from a tossed match, hot coals, a cigarette being thrown, sparks, etc. The last time a red flag warning was issued was two years ago.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reporting that the metropolitan Milwaukee region is meeting a new national standard for ozone levels. According to the report, southeastern Wisconsin’s air quality has improved because of cleaner-burning vehicles, the use of reformulated gas, an emissions testing program and stricter smokestack controls. Officials from the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, “It’s a huge win for the Milwaukee area” and that “we remove that stigma in our economic development.

Several Wisconsin drivers’ licenses and voter ID’s have been sent back to the DMV the past few weeks because the postal carriers couldn’t verify that the intended receiver lives at the listed address or because part of the address was missing. Wisconsin Department of Transportation Officials say, “the requirement is, if it’s not sent to an address where that person resides, it gets sent back to us.” Common problems include people forgetting to put their apartment numbers on the address form or they don’t include a post office box. Officials say anyone who hasn’t received their driver’s license within 15 calendar days, should call the DMV.

U.S. Rep Paul Ryan gave a speech at the Milwaukee Athletic Club yesterday. Ryan talked about the nation’s debt and its future to the members of Wisconsin manufacturers and commerce. Ryan played a prominent role in drafting and promoting the Republican Party’s long-term budget proposal and is expected to play a key role in the fall campaign for the White House. Ryan recently endorsed Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, who’s closing in on the nomination.

Here's the article from Buffalo Rising regarding Milwaukee's Third Ward.