Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Door Always Open

Seems Ho-Chunk keeps the door open for more casinos in selected counties in Wisconsin. Funny how close the Menominee Casino in Keshena is a mere mile or so from Shawano County.

From the Shawano Leader.
"Ho-Chunk gives thousands to Shawano County
By Leader staff writer

Shawano County is one of 11 Wisconsin counties receiving money from the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Shawano County last Thursday received $82,500 — and will potentially get that same sum for up to 25 years, under the agreement with the tribe.

The Ho-Chunk Nation’s gaming compact with Wisconsin requires that the Nation make annual payments to the state, with the amount partially based on the earnings from its gambling facilities.

An amendment to that compact, however, allows the Nation to give $1,000 per acre to each Wisconsin county that has tribal trust land.

“The Ho-Chunk Nation always strives to support local communities throughout Wisconsin,” said Ho-Chunk vice president Dan Brown. “During these tough economic times, we hope these payments will help spur economic development, ignite success for many local businesses, and improve neighborhoods.”

The Ho-Chunk Nation potentially will give nearly $2.2 million annually to the 11 counties for at least the next 25 years, which would result in over $55 million to Wisconsin counties.

Three-fourths of the money is going to two counties — Vernon and Jackson — which have by far the most land in tribal trust. Together, those counties received nearly $1.5 million.

Each of the 11 counties have individualized plans on how they will use the additional funds, some projects include: maintenance of roads, highways, parks and bridges, law enforcement patrol, improving electronic communications, funding for human services programs, funding economic development centers, and economic growth.

The money was wired to the counties last Thursday. The Shawano County Board accepted the contribution at its meeting a week ago.

County administrative coordinator Frank Pascarella said the money would be used for capital improvements at Wilson Lake-Voelz Park, which is located two miles west of Wittenberg on Nightingale Road.

Pascarella said the funds will help pay for a new shelter, bathrooms and other improvements at the park, which is near the tracts of land owned by the Ho-Chunk Nation.

“We want to use those funds in an area of visibility, rather than a general purpose,” Pascarella said.

Other counties receiving money are: Adams, Clark, Crawford, Dane, Jackson, Juneau, Monroe, Sauk, Vernon and Wood Counties.

Dan Brown says many community leaders have expressed their excitement about the unexpected funds.

“We’re excited to see how the payments will help improve our local communities,” said Anne Thundercloud, Ho-Chunk public relations officer. “Since the payments will continue for the next 25 years, we expect that everyone in these 11 counties and surrounding communities will benefit in the long run.”"

Coincidence? Yes, No ?

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