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Monday - April 9, 2018 2:32 am

Cancelled Onalaska anti-Muslim event debate continues

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Suspicions on social media continue to linger after an anti-Muslim event scheduled for Friday night at the Onalaska Omni Center was cancelled at the 11th hour.

The official word from Onalaska Mayor Joe Chilsen was that the cancellation was over an insurance issue. The group, Understanding the Threat, lacked the right policy, Chilsen said.

“We require anybody using that facility, those halls, to have a million dollar umbrella policy in case anybody gets hurt,” Chilsen said Friday evening on WIZM.

Listen to Chilsen's interview on WIZM here (about 35 minutes in).

A lack of an appropriate policy was what sunk the event Friday, said Chilsen.

Meanwhile, a local group, La Crosse Interfaith Shoulder to Shoulder Network, is crediting its own work. having called Chilsen and others, urging them to cancel the event.

Supporters of the event are skeptical it had to be cancelled over proper insurance. Critics say the Understanding the Threat event should never have been booked at the OmniCenter in the first place.

That, however, was not an option, Chilsen told WIZM.

“If they come in and it’s a public facility, you can’t say, ‘Oh, we don’t book for those types of things.’” Chilsen said. “No, you can’t do that.”

Chilsen admitted that he was flooded with calls to cancel the event and met for hours with attorneys on whether it could be called off.

Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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