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a.MKE The List: President Obama Prepares for State of the Union Address & Little Free Library Movement : Today’s Top Stories

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Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords plans on resigning this week from Congress, and will then focus on recovering from the assassination attempt a little more than a year ago. Giffords said, quote “I’m getting better. Every day my spirit is high”. Last January Giffords was shot in the head and wounded, as she was meeting voters outside a grocery store in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords stated, “I have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what’s best for Arizona, I will step down this week.”

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is dedicating $750,000 to support tenants in Milwaukee’s Water Council Building. In addition, the water council is planning on buying and renovating a seven-story former industrial building that sits on Pittsburgh Avenue. It will be leased to companies to develop water technology products and it will serve as a research center for businesses, helping Milwaukee advance in the water-related field.

So this artist and librarian that lives in Madison is just one of many who is tackling what’s called the “Little Free Library Movement”. Her name is Alicia Rheal and she’s encouraging reading and giving the public a sense of community. What she does is build little free libraries; basically tiny boxes that are designed to promote literacy and the love for reading through free book exchanges. The sign says “take a book, leave a book”, though neither are a requirement to do both. Wisconsin is considered the “hotbed” of little free libraries with more than one hundred.

President Obama will give the annual State of the Union address to Congress tonight. The address is an opportunity to state his case on a grand stage, before both houses of Congress and a prime-time television audience. Political analysts are saying that many of President Obama’s goals outlined in last year’s speech, remain unfilled…a few include reforming immigration laws and meeting monthly with congressional leaders of both parties.

The big question in Wisconsin right now is “Do we have a budget deficit?” claims came about last week as to whether the state still has a massive deficit, despite the huge cuts GOP Leaders made in spending. Governor Walker and his administration have been promoting the state’s balanced budget for months but have yet to submit the report to the Federal Government asking for clearance to cut tens of thousands of people from Medicaid and other state health programs.

The Healthy Wisconsin Partnership Program awarded the Lindsay Heights Health Alliance a two-year grant to develop the “Healthy Corner Store Initiative”. So over the next two years, the funding will help create awareness about healthy food options and get fresh foods into participating corner stores in the Lindsay Heights Neighborhood. Right now the group is still in the idea-gathering stage, but is looking forward to doing outreach and market fresh food better.