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Together 2025 Update

More documents have been revealed showing a Johnstown Civic’s Group efforts to help recruit refugees into the city.

Crispin Havener shows us why one State Representative says it’s another contradiction.

The emails Rep. Frank Burns obtained through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services show that back in November, Vision Together 2025 was, in their CEO’s words, weeks away from accepting Refugees into Johnstown.

Rep. Frank burns says the documents he obtained from the state department of human services show that once again, vision together 2025, is contradicting itself.

“It shows that Mike Tedesco in November had said they were only a few weeks away from accepting the first families into our area.”

That was in an email from Vision’s CEO to the Department of Human Services’ Program advisor for their refugee unit, and the head of Indiana County’s Refugee Working Group. The emails show it was sent 4 days after a memo we obtained in a prior right to know request outlining the plans for bringing up to 100 refugee families from Afghanistan.

The new Burns documents from between October 2021 and February 2022 also outline conversations with Johnstown Capital Partners, a local real estate development group, about housing newcomers. It also includes former local U.S. Representative Mark Critz, who is now Executive Director of the State Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Council.

In it, information about the Greater Johnstown School District having 3 english as second language teachers on staff. And also with the federal citizenship and immigration services office about green cards

Since we first began reporting on the plan in January, Tedesco has insisted that they were only bringing in a few

“Vetted international immigrants. We’ve been getting word that businesses can’t fill their open positions due to a lack of employees being able to work for them.”

Since then, documents have revealed the plans were much larger and specifically targeted refugees the U.S. Was bringing in from Afghanistan. Vision also has received a $100,000 private grant to facilitate bringing in Ukrainian Refugees.

Monday Night, after Burns first released the documents, Tedesco told us that “Johnstown Capital Partners was not the only landlord they reached out to. He also said that where refugees choose to live is not a legislative decision and therefore Frank has no authority over where they choose to live.”

Tedesco also reiterated that he’d be happy to discuss things with Burns. Both sides saying that hasn’t happened.

“Everybody is welcome at Vision” They keep repeating that sentiment. Well, tell the public what time the board meetings are and let them be a part of the decision-making process.”

Vision Together 2025 did get a legal victory on Friday when the state’s office of open records sided with them and the economic development organization JARI, in a battle with John Debartola, a city critic who has also been seeking documents related to Vision’s refugee plan.

He sought to have the non-profits labeled as an agency under government control and subject to right to know laws because elected leaders are on their board and they’re doing government functions. The O.O.R. disagreed with that opinion.

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