WisconsinWeekly: Hate groups up, rape kit testing sees results, MKE hospital accused of unneeded surgeries, WI awaits redistricting decision

Hate groups proliferate, WI rape kits reveal suspects, MKE hospital accused of unneeded surgeries, and court decisions could change political landscape in WI and beyond

Of note: This week we draw your attention to the tracking of hate by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which identified a big increase in hate groups in the past three years, and Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism stories that documented such groups operating in Wisconsin. Also: Long-delayed DNA testing of rape kits is yielding suspects, the Appleton Post-Crescent finds. A whistleblower says in a lawsuit that the Medical College of Wisconsin hired and retained a surgeon accused of performing unnecessary surgeries in part because of the revenue he generated, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report. And National Public Radio lays out the three pending lawsuits that could change Wisconsin’s and the nation’s political landscape.

WisconsinWeekly is produced by Andy and Dee J. Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Andy is the executive director and Dee is the managing editor.

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U.S. hate groups proliferate in Trump’s first year, watchdog says

Reuters  — Feb. 21, 2018

The Southern Poverty Law Center found the number of hate groups expanded last year under President Donald Trump. There were 954 hate groups in 2017, a 20 percent increase since 2014. Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, attributed the “emboldening of the radical right” to Trump’s actions, who’s “tweeted out hate materials and made light of the threats to our society posed by hate group.” Earlier from WCIJ: Across Wisconsin, recent rises in hate, bias incidents spark concern and Controversial Proud Boys embrace ‘Western values,’ reject feminism and political correctness

Wisconsin rape kits testing yields new suspects in 11 cases

The Post-Crescent — Feb. 8, 2018

Wisconsin’s four-year effort to address more than 6,000 rape kits scattered across the state is beginning to yield results. DNA from at least 20 cases has been matched with national offender databases. Of the 20 cases with offender DNA matches, testing has identified a suspect or person of interest who was not previously known to investigators in 11 cases. State authorities first discovered Wisconsin’s backlog of evidence from old sexual assault cases in 2014.

First charges from Wisconsin rape kits testing involve Fox Valley case

The Post-Crescent — Feb. 20, 2018

The first prosecution resulting from Wisconsin’s four-year effort to address thousands of shelved rape kits involves a Fox Valley case. Aaron Heiden, 29, faces two felony counts of sexual assault stemming from a Menasha woman’s allegations that a man named “Alex” assaulted her in 2008. The kit was collected in 2008 but never sent to the State Crime Laboratory until a grant-funded project gained steam in 2017.

Medical College of Wisconsin knew doctor was accused of performing unnecessary surgery

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — Feb. 16, 2018

The Medical College of Wisconsin allowed cardiothoracic surgeon Christopher Stone to treat patients for three years, despite having learned days before Stone began work that he had allegedly performed unnecessary surgery at another hospital. Dean Joseph Kerschner wrote in an email that he and other colleagues “discussed the importance of ‘doing the right thing,’ but … need to understand the financial implications of this.”

Where Redistricting Fights Stand Across The Country

NPR — Feb. 15, 2018

By June, the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to decide three major redistricting cases — involving Wisconsin, Maryland and Texas — that will lay some of the foundation for what the maps will look like, not just this year, but after the 2020 census that could affect control of Congress for the next decade.

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