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a.MKE The List: McCain set to endorse Romney & EPA Justice Grant Given to Milwaukee-area Group: Today’s Top Stories

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Mortgage foreclosure filings in Southeastern Wisconsin dropped roughly 14% in 2011, which is the biggest dip seen in four years. The slowdown in filings is actually good news for Wisconsin’s residential real estate market which is still battling a sea of foreclosed homes.

Good news for Wisconsin’s budget, Governor Walker’s Administration is scaling back by more than $300 million for the two-year Medicaid shortfall. Health Department Officials are saying that the shortfall through June of 2013 will be roughly $230 million in state and federal money, which is actually down from the nearly $550 million that was projected back in September.

Congratulations to a Milwaukee group winning an EPA justice grant. The Environmental Protection Agency is awarding a $25,000 grant to the Social Development Commission for its efforts to reduce the risk of lead exposure to children in Milwaukee. Partners include the City of Milwaukee Health Department and the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, who we’ve featured as part of our Make a Difference Campaign.

With the Iowa Caucuses over, it’s now time for endorsements. Reports are saying that 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee John McCain plans on endorsing Mitt Romney. Some political analysts say the endorsement is “the return of a political favor” since Romney endorsed McCain after he dropped out of the 2008 race, also New Hampshire voters are very fond of McCain, so his endorsement gives Romney an extra campaign boost.

The Department of Natural Resources is expanding over-the-counter service at DNR centers across the state to five days a week. When that’s complete near the end of winter, service hours will increase by 40%. Also new, the DNR contracted with 250 Wisconsin businesses to help out with boat, ATV and snowmobile registrations. So the public no longer has to go to a DNR service center for basic registrations.

The Next Door Foundation is seeing positive results through its early childhood program. The foundation is in Metcalfe Park, a neighborhood with a high poverty rate where one third of the homes have been foreclosed. The educational program called “Educare” is giving kids a head start and seeing 88% of kids testing proficient in literacy and language in kindergarten.

Also happening this morning, Host of the Wisconsin Foodie Televeision Show, Kyle Cherek, will join me in studio to talk about 88Nine's upcoming event, SoundBites in addition to local chefs throughout the city. Stay tune...that's coming you way around 7:40 a.(m.k.e.).