Economic Development Summit aims to create new opportunities for Native American tribal members
Story By Lauren Stephenson
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - People may think casinos bring in more than enough money for Native American tribes but that's not always the case.
The Lac du Flambeau tribe realizes it needs more business diversity.
So the tribe founded the Lac du Flambeau Economic Development Summit in 2012.
More than 100 people from 9 tribes and 5 states are attending the 3-day summit this week.
The chairman of the Oneida Tribe traveled to the summit to learn how his tribe can improve business.
"Oneida has 17,000 Oneida tribal members. We have 55% of our youth still live in poverty in spite of a successful casino. We do need to diversify, we do need to provide more jobs to our tribal members," said Oneida Tribe Chairman Edward Delgado.
They hope to come away with new partnerships and promising opportunities.
"The biggest challenges that tribes face is very high unemployment, generally north of 50% unemployment, fairly high dropout rates. It's a cultural challenge. Tribes tend to be closed communities. And as a result, having economic development come to tribes is a challenge. So our approach has been, let's reach out and bring it here," explained Brent McFarland, Chief Operating Officer of the LDF Business Development Corporation.
The theme of this year's summit is "Developing Green Energy Solutions and Technology-based Business."
People could choose from 15 workshops ranging in topics from broadband internet development to opening a grocery store.
Organizers believe the summit benefits more than just the tribal members.
"This isn't just going to benefit tribal communities, we're trying to develop economic engines that can reach out and help all these other communities on the outside. You know, stimulate job growth," explained Economic Development Summit coordinator Damon Fleming.
The summit wraps up Thursday.
All the presentations will be uploaded to the tribe's YouTube channel below.
WABENO - People went out to Wabeno this weekend for its first ever Art and Music Fest. Musicians performed in the band shell while local artists spread out to show their products.
There were food and drinks as well as workshops for people to learn more about art.
"This year we've had about 20 musicians performing on three stages," said Friends of Wabeno Chairperson Mary Beck. "And we've had maybe ten artists doing demonstrations, showing people what they can do and what they can buy."
The rain Sunday didn't stop people from having a good time. Volunteers hope to make this an annual event.
ARBOR VITAE - The Arbor Vitae Fire Department hosted its 39th Fireman's Picnic and Summerfest this weekend.
Thousands of people came out to benefit the fire department while having a good time. The fire department held the crowd favorite lawnmower races again this year.
They also had a volleyball tournament and games for kids. The fire chief says all the proceeds help the department pay for equipment.
"When we purchased our new fire truck, the fire department funded a good portion of the money, the fundraiser money, to help keep the tax dollars down so the tax payers didn't have to foot the whole bill for the truck," said Arbor Vitae Fire Department Chief Mike Van Meter. "And we also use it to buy turnout gear throughout the year, new air packs. Anything we can do to keep it off the tax roll."
ST. GERMAIN - The last day of Pig in the Pines wrapped up Saturday. People were able to watch the rib eating contest in the afternoon.
Newswatch 12 got to help judge ribs from this year's four rib vendors. One of the big events happened on the main stage Saturday evening.
"We have entertainment all day long," said St. Germain Chamber President Bruce Weber. "We have the Wise Guys on our main stage. We have Laura Ernst on the aerial platform here. She also does juggling. On our major stage, we have One Ping Only, and we also have Molly Hatchet, our lead act tonight."
WISCONSIN - Anyone who loves hunting and fishing will need to apply for a license. The deadline for some hunting and fishing licenses is August 1 at 11:59 p.m.
Hunters, trappers and spearers can go on the DNR website to apply.
"This is the time of year where not a lot of people are thinking about hunting, but that August 1 date is that date for applying for a bobcat, fisher or otter tag, sharp-tail grouse, or sturgeon spearing or fall turkey," said DNR Warden Supervisor David Walz.
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