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a.MKE: Opening Weekend at Miller Park & Milwaukee VA Hospitals Taking Part in "Million Veteran Program": Today's Top Stories

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State officials added up the final tab from the Capitol clean up efforts after last year’s massive demonstrations, and the total comes to just under $200,000. Costs included cleaning walls, reseeding grass and hiring a consultant. But the main cost of the Capitol demonstrations involved the more than $9 million paid out to have law enforcement officers around Wisconsin come to the statehouse to provide security.  Historic preservation officials say that cost was quite reasonable considering there were hundreds of thousands of people coming in and out of the Capitol during that time.

Today starts opening weekend for the Milwaukee Brewers and preparations have been well underway this entire week. Miller Park is gearing up for about 130,000 people to make their way to the stadium over the weekend. Even the chefs have been hard at work with plans to introduce 15 new food products…the staples like brats and sausages will never go away, but they’re looking to offer a few more favorites. And since opening day is on Good Friday, fish will also be served. Today’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals starts at 3:10, parking lots open at noon.

The Milwaukee County Parks System is looking to hire 250 lifeguards for the summer season. Even though experience is preferred, the Parks Aquatics Department is willing to train the right individuals ages 16 and above. Trained lifeguards will be needed at a variety of Milwaukee County Park’s swimming locations. The final lifeguard training class will start on Tuesday, April 17th.

The Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development committee recommended approval for the Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s 20-story hotel proposed for Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley and for a 36-unit apartment building planned for the East Side. Moving forward, if it secures financing, the Potawatomi Community plans to begin hotel construction in late spring, and then it would open in spring of 2014. As for the five-story apartment building on Milwaukee’s East Side, it would be built on the northwest corner of North Jackson and East Pleasant Streets. Both projects are to undergo full council review on April 11th.

The Milwaukee VA Hospital is asking veterans to help build the world’s largest medical database. It’s called the “Million Veteran Program” and the goal is to collect blood samples and medical histories from a million vets nationwide. VA officials say their top priority with the database is privacy. All the blood samples and medical histories will remain anonymous, and access to them will be restricted to government and academic researchers. The VA intends to enroll veterans for the next five to seven years, hoping the database helps lead to major medical breakthroughs. 

Tomorrow marks the 5th Annual “Green Living Festival”. The day is packed with ways to save your green while helping people and the planet. So this includes fair trade and green exhibitions, demos and green talks, live animals and local artists, kids activities, and a recycled fashion show. The festival is hosted by the nonprofit “Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful” – which works to use a unique combination of community improvement programs and environmental education programs to accomplish its goals of a beautiful city. The event kicks off at 10 and runs til 5 at the Mitchell Park Domes.