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Coming Up Short?

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

At a Thursday news conference in Wausau, Gov. Doyle announced the state would be using $1 million to help all of Wisconsin's Hmong refugees make the transition to life in the Badger State.

But even if all that money were used in Marathon County alone, officials here say it wouldn't be enough to cover their costs.

"There's additional moneys that are needed for the English as a second language and many other services that they'll need," said Mary Lontkowski, job center, Wausau.

In all, Lontkowski says the job center will need just over $1 million to help the refugees become self-sufficient, and the number of refugees coming to central Wisconsin only make up a fraction of all those who will eventually be in the state.

But Gov. Doyle says the state will find a way to accomodate all of them.

"Let's understand something, people are coming whether there's all the money in the world that we want or not," said Doyle. "They're coming and we're gonna do the job, and we're gonna do it right."

The state is also receiving a significant amount of funding from the federal government and from private sources, but some groups still worry that despite all the assistance there still won't be enough to help all the refugees.


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