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a.MKE THE List: Drought Emergency Expanded to 72 Counties & Free Arts Program, Satellite Studio: Today’s Top Stories

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The Wisconsin Department of Justice wants to require more training of people applying for a state concealed carry permit. The concealed carry law took effect back in November, and since then, the agency has been operating under emergency rules. Now the DOJ has developed permanent rules. This could mean that applicants would have to take courses on several topics before using a firearm.

Governor Walker expanded the drought emergency to all 72 counties in the state - just last week it was in 42 counties. The statewide executive order includes waiver of fees and expedites permitting to allow farmers to divert water from certain streams and lakes without causing serious environmental damage. Walker is urging residents to use caution and comply with burn restrictions, especially since there’s been more than 300 wildfires since June 1st. More than 50 counties are facing fire dangers ranging from moderate to very high.

Artists Working in Education recently rolled out a new, free arts program called “Satellite Studio.” The Satellite Studio pairs two professional artists from different artistic disciplines to work and teach together at a local park every afternoon for a week. During that week, kids can drop in and take part in the different art projects, everything from dancing to mural painting. The youth are free to jump from project to project – there are no commitments or requirements. The Satellite Studio will travel to 12 different sites across Milwaukee this summer. The program runs for six weeks and operates in two parks each week.

Earlier this week, the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee approved a 20-unit apartment building for Milwaukee’s Jackson Street. This makes it the third apartment project planned for that neighborhood. The five-story building will feature 30-off street parking spaces and would use solar panels and geo-thermal heating to reduce the development’s environmental impact. Opponents say the building would be too tall for the street, which has two and three-story homes. But neighborhood residents that support the project say it would help reduce crime and bring more vitality to the area.

Community art organizations and individuals throughout the city are working on fundraisers and forms of relief for the artists and gallery owners who lost so much in Tuesday’s fire on Center Street in Riverwest. The Riverwest Public House and the Sky High Gallery are accepting items for the displaced artists through Sunday. After that, items will be sorted and distributed. People are encouraged to bring non-perishable foods, clothing, toiletries, shoes, loaner bikes, art supplies of any kind and anything else you think will help. There’s also a lot of discussion about benefit events, but none have been confirmed quite yet.

Northwestern Mutual’s annual meeting of financial representatives is expected to bring in roughly 11,000 agents, staff and family members to Milwaukee – that all starts tomorrow. The 132nd annual meeting is expected to have a significant impact on the local economy of about $8 million. Northwestern Mutual will be conducting events and seminars for its reps at venues across the city. The meeting runs through Wednesday.