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Gambling on gaming; lingering election lies; venomous school board elections; spearfishing season begins; telecommuting and climate change

Of note: Today we highlight our story about efforts by the Ho-Chunk Nation and other Wisconsin tribes to diversify their economies beyond gaming, which plays an outsized role in funding tribal government services. Economic pain from COVID-19’s temporary shutdown of casinos in early 2020 still lingers for the Ho-Chunk Nation, forcing layoffs and cuts to services, Mario Koran reports. Although the Ho-Chunk have found little success with past diversification efforts since gaming revenue began transforming tribal life in the 1980s, some officials see promise for the future.

This story is part of a collaborative series, At the Crossroads, from the Institute for Nonprofit News, Indian Country Today, Wisconsin Watch and eight other news partners, examining the state of the economy in Indian Country. 

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A blackjack table is seen at Ho-Chunk Gaming Black River Falls in Black River Falls, Wis., on Feb. 9, 2022. Economic pain from temporary pandemic shutdowns in 2020 still linger across Ho-Chunk Nation, manifested in layoffs and cuts to crucial services. That’s forcing tribal leaders to confront their economy’s outsized reliance on casinos. (Photo by Ilana Bar-av for Wisconsin Watch)

‘We’ve got to get gaming out of our blood’: Pandemic shock pushes Wisconsin tribes to diversify economy

Wisconsin Watch — April 5, 2022 

Wisconsin’s 11 federally recognized tribes — along with tribal nations across North America — have long weighed how to diversify their economies, and the pandemic illustrated the risk of failing to do so.

Read more from Wisconsin Watch: Behind the story: How we reported on challenges and opportunities for Wisconsin’s tribal economies


A small but raucous group of conservative voters want to turn the Wisconsin Republican Party into a single-issue party. Here’s how we got here. Brandon Raygo / Cap Times

Trump’s election lies persist online, splitting Wisconsin Republicans

Cap Times — April 7, 2022

It’s been nearly 18 months since President Joe Biden won Wisconsin, wresting the state’s 10 Electoral College votes from the grasp of then-President Donald Trump, who won the state in 2016. But Trump’s election lies live on in online spaces that are free from content moderation and threats of removal for spreading disinformation.

Also read from POLITICO: How election conspiracy theories turned local politics ‘toxic’ in one Wisconsin city


What increasingly partisan and venomous Wisconsin school board races reveal about American elections

ProPublica — April 1, 2022

As traditionally nonpartisan school board campaigns become polarized battlegrounds, voters in next week’s Wisconsin races may set the tone for how contentious races across the country will become this year.


William Poupart and his father, Duane Poupart, who are Lac du Flambeau tribal citizens, head out on a Carrol Lake in Vilas County to spearfish. Frank Vaisvilas / USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

As tribal spearfishing season begins in northern Wisconsin, officials say they have ‘zero tolerance’ for harassment

Green Bay Press-Gazette — April 4, 2022 

Tribal and state officials are warning against harassment of spearfishers as the Indigenous harvest season starts in northern Wisconsin. Tribal officials said incidents of harassment of spearfishers occur every season, yet many go unreported.

More from the Press-Gazette: Tribal spearfishers continue practice for food sovereignty, culture despite claims of harassment in northern Wisconsin


Silver lining, but no silver bullet: Telecommuting could put a dent in carbon emissions

Wisconsin State Journal — April 3, 2022

While more people are returning to the office, a 2021 survey by the Greater Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization found 64% of workers said they expected to continue teleworking at least one day a week. And that could have a big impact on carbon emissions

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