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Afghan resettlement challenges; Gableman report; Indigenous census; affordable housing solutions; altered legal reports

Of note: This week we highlight our profile of an Afghan evacuee family being resettled in separate states after a months-long stay at Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy — illustrating major challenges within resettlement agencies to help evacuees start their new lives. Zhen Wang of Wisconsin Watch profiles the Nabizada family, who a resettlement agency separated into two households now living in Maryland and Virginia — some 120 miles apart. The story follows family members as they seek housing, jobs and food while applying for permanent residency.

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Lamha Nabizada spent nearly six months at Fort McCoy, a 60,000-acre Army base in Monroe County, Wis., before she was relocated with part of her family to Rockville, Md. Here, she looks through the window of a hotel room on Feb. 22, 2022, during the family’s search for permanent housing. She is among 76,000 Afghans evacuated to the United States during the country’s largest resettlement operation since the Vietnam War. (Eman Mohammed for Wisconsin Watch)

‘I don’t know what will happen’: After months at Ft. McCoy Afghan family resettled in separate states

Wisconsin Watch — February 28, 2022

As she counted down the final hours of her stay at Fort McCoy in rural Monroe County, Lamha Nabizada searched for an interesting place to pose for a photo at this reporter’s request. The task wasn’t easy. “Everywhere is the same thing, same barrack — white, white barrack,” the 27-year-old told Wisconsin Watch. It was Feb. 6, the day before Nabizada and her brother Masroor would fly to Dulles Airport in Virginia, and then travel to Maryland — continuing a resettlement journey that began last August when the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul. They were among tens of thousands airlifted from the country with passports, legal documents and little else. Nearly six months later, the siblings were among the last to leave Fort McCoy, which housed as many as 12,600 Afghans at its peak.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman delivers an update about his review of Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election before the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections at the state Capitol in Madison on Tuesday. Gableman said his review will continue and shared “a second interim report.” (Ruthie Hauge/Cap Times)

Gableman calls for ‘hard look’ at decertifying 2020 election, which is not legally possible

Cap Times — March 1, 2022

Michael Gableman, the conservative former state Supreme Court justice leading a Republican-backed, taxpayer-funded review of Wisconsin’s presidential election, told an Assembly committee on Tuesday the Legislature should consider the legally impossible task of decertifying the state’s 2020 presidential election. Gableman, who has been leading the review for months, told lawmakers on the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections his work will continue, even though his contractual status with the Legislature remains in limbo.

Related: AP FACT CHECK: Wisconsin election probe ignores some facts

Oneida Nation High School sophomore Dustin Elm taps a maple tree to collect sap. A push by tribal and federal officials to encourage participation in the 2020 U.S. census resulted in what tribes are hailing as the most accurate picture to date of the size and diversity of people with Indigenous ancestry in Wisconsin. (Sarah Kloepping/Green Bay Press-Gazette)

‘They got closer’: Census changes help correct historic undercount of Wisconsin’s Indigenous population

Green Bay Press-Gazette — March 2, 2022

Coming from mixed ancestries, Brenda John always struggled with how to accurately identify herself when filling out census questions. “I’m Oneida, I’m also part non-Native,” she said. “I don’t have the option to say both without going into a generic mixed race bucket that can no longer be used for important things like grants for our community.” John, who lives on the Oneida Reservation in Wisconsin, said she understands the importance of the census to her tribe, because those figures are used in determining federal funding. A push by tribal and federal officials to encourage participation in the 2020 U.S. census resulted in what tribes are hailing as the most accurate picture to date of the size and diversity of people with Indigenous ancestry in Wisconsin.

Previously from the Press-Gazette: ‘Home is here’: Northeast Wisconsin’s surge in diversity forged by opportunity, grit and inclusion

John Fischer of Hang Em High Drywall works in a home being built by Tom McHugh Construction near Haas Road in Kaukauna, Wis. (Wm. Glasheen/Appleton Post-Crescent)

Wisconsin groups offer new ‘cookbook’ to spur affordable housing development. Here’s the recipe

Green Bay Press-Gazette — March 1, 2022

Wisconsin has a new recipe to increase affordable housing development thanks to a “cookbook” released in February. “Enabling Better Places: A User’s Guide to Neighborhood Affordability” is a 45-page report that outlines zoning and building code changes communities can consider to make it easier and cheaper to build housing that’s affordable for low-income families. The report has the support of government and industry associations representing Wisconsin’s builders, Realtors, commercial developers, retirees, municipalities and planners.

Previously from USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin: Here’s why it’s so hard to buy an affordable home in northeast Wisconsin

Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office ‘regularly’ alters reports, district attorney says in letter to defense attorneys

Appleton Post-Crescent — March 2, 2022

A series of events that began with a report of a burglary more than a year ago led the Waupaca County district attorney to tell defense attorneys that reports prepared by the county’s sheriff’s office are regularly altered. In a letter sent to 79 defense attorneys, Waupaca County District Attorney Veronica Isherwood describes recent testimony that says her office has evidence a captain at the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office, Julie Thobaben, changed a deputy’s report in a way that “resulted in the removal of exculpatory information.” 

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