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a.MKE The List: New Hampshire Republican Primary & Proposal of Possible Beer Gardens in Milw. County Parks: Today’s Top Stories

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Frontrunner Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary last night, adding yet another win to his books after his first-place finish in last weeks Iowa Caucuses.  Ron Paul finished second, Jon Huntsman in third, Newt Gingrich in fourth and Rick Santorum trailing behind him. After two victories, Romney is the first Republican to take the first two contests in competitive races since 1976.

Despite neighbors objections, an apartment building for homeless families and families at risk of becoming homeless was recommended for approval by the Milwaukee Plan Commission. The development would have 35 units and it would be built at the northwest corner of East Center Street and North Buffum. Housing officials say the development is needed because of the high number of families in Milwaukee facing homelessness.

Today the Wisconsin Department of Tourism starts airing new television commercials for its winter campaign, with humorous messages created by Hollywood Writer and Director David Zucker. Zucker is best known for the “Airplaine” and “The Naked Gun Series”. Tourism officials say that recent research shows that quote “having fun” is the top motivator for leisure travel and hopes the new ad will attract more visitors to Wisconsin.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans on closing 259 offices nationwide, which is a move that got approval for cutting costs but is raising concern about the possible effect on food safety. Agriculture officials say the goal was to save $150 million a year, and about $60 million will be saved from the closing of labs, offices and other facilities, both at the headquarters in Washington and operations in 46 states.

Good news for Wisconsin business growth - the number of new businesses created in Wisconsin during 2010 actually increased by 2.3% in 2011. The State Department of Financial Institutions reported that over 33,000 new businesses were formed throughout 2011.

The Milwaukee County Parks Department is looking into adding beer gardens to a few parks, specifically those near water. The idea is to create a picnic atmosphere, bring people together near the water, reminiscent of days gone by. Right now the department is looking into a pilot program with a vendor. The list of parks isn’t set in stone yet, but proposal bids to operate beer gardens are due by January 20th.