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NEWS STORIES

Economic Development Summit aims to create new opportunities for Native American tribal membersSubmitted: 02/19/2014
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.

Related Weblinks:
Economic Development Summit Videos

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EAGLE RIVER - The first-ever ATV & UTV Side by Side World Championship Derby finished up Sunday afternoon. 

Races started on Saturday and continued through the weekend. 

Spectators, racers and event staff all say they were pleased with how the event turned out.

"There's always going to be some nit-nat things that need to be changed, but I can tell you for the first event with everything we had going, it really went well," said Russell Davis, the Derbytrack's VP of Sales and Marketing. "And we're going to have some meetings afterward and obviously change some things, but we've got a lot of compliments, mostly positive, and we're excited to build on next year."

Event organizers estimate about 150 racers of all ages and from all over came to the challenge. Winners got cash prizes. The derby also had night events such as a mud run and a freestyle show.

Next year organizers hope they bring in more people.




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GREEN BAY - Children across Wisconsin will be back in school soon.

People driving are asked to watch out for kids boarding or exiting school buses.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says there were nearly 800 citations given to drivers last year for failing to stop for a school bus.

The Lamers Bus Line Company says drivers should give themselves extra time when school is in session.

He thinks that will help keep drivers from feeling rushed, which could contribute to an accident.

(Copyright 2015 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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ST. GERMAIN - More than 11,000 people suffer from Multiple Sclerosis in Wisconsin alone.

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WAUSAU - A garage fire in Wausau early this morning will likely cost about $7,200 in damage, according to Wausau Fire Battalion Chief Allan Antolik.

Antolik said it was a 12 by 20 ft detached garage on Pleasant Street.

The Wausau Fire Department responded to the call at 1:30 a.m.

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No one was hurt. 

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"Once you start doing this you can't stop," said professional UTV and ATV driver Zac Zakowski. "It's like a drug."

Zakowski started racing seriously when he was about 17 years old. The fun hobby quickly turned into a pro sport, a career and a lifestyle. He has been traveling to many different races since then, competing at the professional level.

"You kinda miss out on that stuff and you miss it but at the same time when you're doing this stuff, you don't," Zakowski said.

The sport is hard on the body and the wallet. Two years ago, Zakowski said while driving his ATV he hit a tree and tore his ACL in his knee. He was out for two seasons.

One thing almost all ATV drivers, pro or amateur, can agree on is the sport is truly a family affiar.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my family," Zakowski said. "I mean you can walk the pits and probably almost everybody would say they do it because their family supports it and they do it as a family."

"The lifestyle is tiring because you load up the rig and the trailer to travel thousands of miles to race for an hour or two hours depending on the race," said Zakowski's mother, Linda. "Then you load back up to go home. But once you get to that site on the track you're excited and you just can't wait for things to get going."

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EAGLE RIVER - The AMSOIL Eagle River Derbytrack's first-ever ATV & UTV World Championship Derby is in full gear.

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The warm weather is a welcome change to racers like Jay Mittelstaedt, who are used to racing at the annual snowmobile derby in the winter.

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Racers want spectators to see a good show.

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The event continues until the championships on Sunday afternoon. 

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