Hmong community members stress need for state funding, support during governor's visit in WausauSubmitted: 03/13/2019
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Hmong community members stress need for state funding, support during governor's visit in Wausau
WAUSAU - You never know how long it will take to get a response from the governor when you write him a letter.

Wausau's Hmong American Center's Executive Director thought it would take about a year after he invited Governor Evers to a roundtable discussion following the governor's win in November.  Just a few months later, Evers showed up.

Members of the Hmong community shared what some of the biggest challenges they face include during a discussion at the Hmong American Center on Wednesday.

There was an emphasis on funding for mental health treatment, economic development, and transitioning from rental units to homeownership.

Yee Leng Xiong says these issues have been talked about for years, but nothing ever changed on a state level.

"There was never a good time for us to really do things, to hold discussions like this and this is kind of like at the perfect time to be talking to the governor," Xiong said.

Evers agreed, noting the budget talks are a good time to bring these points up.

"Most of that money, frankly, is not earmarked necessarily, so hearing their needs and issues that are important to them, we can actually make sure that they are able to access some of this money in a way that is helpful," Evers said.

An attendee also gave Evers a binder full of statistics specific to solving problems in the Hmong community. He said he gave former Governor Walker the same data, but never heard back.

"Sometimes we're not getting these services addressed so, you know, this is one of the reasons why we wanted this discussion so they hear our concerns," Xiong said.

Evers spent about an hour talking with the group and fielding a number of questions.

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RHINELANDER - A man died near the entrance of Nicolet College in Rhinelander on Thursday afternoon.

Neither the campus nor the public were in danger, according to the Oneida Co. Sheriff's Office. Due to the circumstances of the man's death, Newswatch 12 is not releasing more information, but there appears to be nothing suspicious about the death.

Police got a report at 3:55 p.m. about a man lying face down near the entry drive to Nicolet College. Emergency responders took him to St. Mary's Hospital, but he died.

The Oneida Co. Sheriff's Office, Rhinelander Fire Department, Pelican First Responders, and Oneida Co. Medical Examiner's Office were involved in the response.

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MINOCQUA - Mixed in with a sea of cakes, brownies, and muffins, Sue Loeffler thought her cookies stood out.

"Yeah, yeah, it was a real production," Loeffler said of her work.

Loeffler spent the better part of Wednesday making 91 cookies for a bake sale, which started Thursday, knowing her role was an important one in drawing a crowd.

"Us Methodist women are really good bakers, so we have this reputation in town for good food," Loeffler said.

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ASHLAND - A man wanted on a federal warrant died in a police shooting in Ashland.

The Ashland Police Department posted on Facebook that the shooting happened in the 800 Block of 4th Avenue West.

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RHINELANDER - People living in Rhinelander may notice discolored water at different points throughout the month of June.  The city plans to flush its hydrants over a four-to-six-week stretch.

The routine flushing helps clear out iron deposits in water lines and make sure hydrants are working properly.

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RHINELANDER - A semi-trailer arrived in Rhinelander this week carrying a lot of bees. While some people don't like to be around bees, they provide a lot of benefits.

The owner of a local honey farm wants to show the great things bees bring for everyone.

Concerns about the declining bee population have been around for many years.

"There's a few different elements to the decline and I think most of it is going to stem from stress [on the bee population]," said Hansen's Honey Farm Owner Chris Hansen.

The biggest cause of stress is mites.

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ARBOR VITAE - Do you know where your food comes from? Kindergarteners at Arbor Vitae-Woodruff elementary do. They have been growing their own fruits and vegetables all year. On Thursday, their work culminated in a final celebration as part of the first-ever Wisconsin School Garden Day. 

Each kindergartner was partnered with a fifth grader to help them with planting and weeding.

Organizer Adriane Morabito said it is important for young people to know where their food comes from.

"It teaches them important skills like empathy, compassionate, and kindness," said Morabito. "It also helps them eat healthy."

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RHINELANDER - Grow North is a corporation working toward a stronger economy in the Northwoods. Their annual meeting Thursday focused on housing.

Executive Director of Regional and Economic Development at Nicolet College Sandy Bishop said housing is the number one issue for local business-owners.

"Part of what we're learning about is the need for housing across the region and then also looking at what kinds of incentives and resources are available that can be tapped into," said Bishop.

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