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Three gubernatorial candidates would consider expanding gambling
Thursday, October 14 2010
 
Written by Tom Scheck,
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Minnesota Public Radio News
Minnesota’s three gubernatorial candidates would consider expanding gambling to help the state recover from the economic downturn, a prospect that has brightened the hopes of those lobbying to put slot machines in the state’s horse tracks.
Although Native American tribes say they’ll fight any attempts to expand gambling that would present competition to Indian casinos, two of the candidates – Democrat Mark Dayton and the Independence Party’s Tom Horner – both say they’d like to expand gambling to help solve the state’s $5.8 billion budget deficit.
Horner is proposing a racino measure which would allow the state’s two horse tracks to install slot machines. He wants to use the $250 million in projected new revenues to build a new Vikings stadium and to fix the state’s budget.
“We have a $6 billion shortfall. Legislators understand how deep that hole is and how hard it will be to climb out of it,” Horner said. “I think gambling is going to be an option that will get a closer look than it has in past years.”
Dayton would like to establish a new casino at the Mall of America or at the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport. He also said a state-run casino in the Twin Cities metropolitan area would be good for the state because it would provide competition to Mystic Lake, which is run by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribe.
“I think for there to be a government-protected monopoly on that in the metro area is not in the best interest of the people in Minnesota,” Dayton said. “We need the revenues. Competition is good for retailers as my family has learned. They’re good for politicians and I think it’s good for casino operators as well.”
Republican Tom Emmer’s support of gambling is less certain. Emmer, who co-sponsored a racino bill during his time in the Legislature, said he doesn’t support an expansion of gambling to help fix the state’s budget problem. But he isn’t taking the option off of the table as a general boost to the state’s economy.
“If there’s an opportunity in the marketplace that’s going to create jobs and that’s what it’s about, absolutely, we should support that concept,” Emmer said. “But again, there are people out there right now, there are politicians who refuse to do the job that needs to be done in terms of redesigning government and getting rid of the bloat and the excess.”
Racino lobbyist Dick Day said he’s pleased to see the three gubernatorial candidates indicating support for gambling. He also expects lawmakers could be more inclined to support the concept once they’re faced with the prospect of cutting key government programs to fix the budget deficit.
“We got a little wave going that is pretty good and people know we need money,” Day said. “If we can’t get it done when there’s a $5.8 billion deficit, it’s going to be tough to do it.”
But the backing of a governor doesn’t always guarantee success. In 2005, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Republicans in the MinnesotasHouse spent heavy political capital on a bid to authorize slot machines at the state’s horse track.
But a wide variety of groups heavily opposed the effort. The religious right opposed it on moral grounds. The Native American tribes, who donate heavily to the Democratic Farmer Labor Party and DFL candidates, opposed it to maintain the status quo.
“The tribes aren’t going to roll over on this,” said John McCarthy, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association.
McCarthy said his members will fight any attempts to expand gambling. He argues expanding gambling would harm the jobs and economic development created by the 18 Native American casinos in the state. He also contends state-run casinos in other states didn’t fulfill on the promised revenues.
“We’re going to use every coalition that we can to try and prevent this from happening which is part of the way the system works,” McCarthy said. “Just because someone wants to do this doesn’t mean it’s going to get done.”
McCarthy said he’s disappointed that Dayton, a Democrat, has called for the expansion of gambling. But he said the tribes have not made a decision on whether they’ll back a candidate in the governor’s race.

Minnesota  Public Radio News can be heard on MPR’s statewide radio network or online.
Frankin Library Events
Saturday, December 19 2009
 
Written by Circle Staff,
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Events for Teens at the Franklin Library, 1314 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. For more info call 952-847-2925.

Dec. 1-Feb. 23: Game On! Gaming Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. For teens in grade 6 and up. Play PS2 or Wii games at the library! Grab a friend, bring your favorite board or card game, or play ours!

Dec. 2-Feb. 24: Game On! Gaming Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m. For teens in grade 6 and up. Play PS2 or Wii games at the library! Grab a friend, bring your favorite board or card game, or play ours!

Dec. 2-Feb. 24: Teen Center Reading Club. Wednesdays, (except Jan. 13), 5-6 p.m. For teens in grade 6 and up. Come get cozy! Stretch out on the couches, chairs, or floor and settle in to read aloud or just listen — books, short stories, current events, it’s up to you. No need to read anything ahead of time.

Dec. 3-Feb. 25: Design Club. Thursdays, (except Dec. 24 & 31) from 4-6 p.m. For teens in grade 6 and up. Get creative! Design and take home T-shirts, posters, jewelry, magnets and other creations. Check out the posters at Franklin Library to see what project is coming up!

Dec. 8-Jan. 5: Tronix Team. Tuesdays from 6-7:45 p.m. For teens in grade 6 and up. Learn basic circuitry as you modify a regular lunch box into a fully functional boom box with MP3 player. Learning never sounded so good!

Dec. 10, Jan. 7, 21, Feb. 4, 18: Group Games. Thursdays 6-7 p.m. For teens in grade 6 and up. No consoles needed! Learn social games designed for large groups of all ages: Charades, Wink, Mafia, Whiz Bam, Thumper, Taboo and others. Sure to make you laugh!

Misuse of Sweatlodge results in 3 deaths in Arizona
Sunday, December 06 2009
 
Written by Associated Press,
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Story.jpgJames Arthur Ray, motivational speaker, author and self-help guru offers clients the promise of both spiritual and financial wealth if they sign on to his programs. But the five-day “Spiritual Warrior" course that 50 participants paid more than $9,000 each at attend, ended in 3 deaths and twenty one people being taken to the hospital.

Ray had rented the Angel Valley Retreat Center near Sedona, Arizona. The culmination was the sweat lodge ceremony that ended in tragedy. Ray led more than 50 people, both men and women,  into a makeshift “sweat lodge” on Oct. 8. After about two hours, Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y., and James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee were pulled out of the sweat lodge unconscious, and nineteen other people were taken to hospitals.

City supports Shakopee's Land-into-Trust request
Sunday, November 01 2009
 
Written by Associated Press,
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Before Prior Lake City Council members voted to support the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s latest trust-land request in September, Mayor Jack Haugen gave an impassioned speech about the benefits of tribal contributions vs. the potential loss in tax revenue.

Addressing the tribe’s request to place 78 acres of land in Prior Lake into trust status, Haugen challenged Scott County commissioners who opposed the request to consider the benefits of $21.5 million in tribal contributions to area infrastructure and programs over the last four years. “How does that compare to $4,000 in lost tax revenue? Is this truly a tax issue, or is it something else?” Haugen said.

AIFEP announces formation of the Tiwahe Foundation
Sunday, November 01 2009
 
Written by Circle Staff,
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The American Indian Family Empowerment Program (AIFEP), a donor-designated fund has achieved its goal of creating a new foundation called the Tiwahe Foundation. “Tiwahe” means “family” in the Dakota language.

The goal of the Tiwahe Foundation is to build upon AIFEP’s 16-year history of grant making to Minnesota’s American Indian community. After 13 years of operating as a donor-designated program, AIFEP received its IRS classification as a public charity in July.

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