Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

"Our people are hurting": Challenges on Menominee Reservation explain tribe's push for Kenosha casinoSubmitted: 07/21/2014

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


KESHENA - Most things on the Menominee Indian Reservation seem to have a waiting list.

The tribal daycare center?

Waiting list.

"We could help more parents if we had the staffing ability," says Department of Early Childhood Services Director Penny Escalante. "Right now, we don't have that staffing ability, so we have 90 people on the waiting list."

The tribal clinic?

Too much waiting, not enough care.

"It would sure be nice to have more resources to work with," says Jerry Waukau, the Tribal Health Administrator.

"We just are one of the poorest of the poor," Laurie Boivin puts it bluntly.

She's the Menominee Tribal Chairwoman.

"We are the oldest indigenous tribe to what is now the state of Wisconsin," Boivin says proudly.

The tribe has been in what's now Wisconsin for around 12,000 years.

But the Menominee have struggled since Congress took action to "terminate", or end the special relationship with, the tribe in 1954.

They got federal recognition back 19 years later, but it has never been the same.

"We have people that we turn away every day that we simply don't have enough money to service," Boivin regrets.

Menominee County has the highest poverty in the state, the worst health, and nearly the worst unemployment.

The tribe's reservation makes up the entire county.

If the tribe simply had a way to make more money, members say, it could alleviate those problems and give members a more stable life.

"We need help. This type of money coming in will help in those ways and a myriad of other ways," says Gary Besaw.

Besaw's talking about the huge amount of revenue the tribe could get from a proposed off-reservation casino in Kenosha.

"With Kenosha, we see this as a godsend as far as employment, jobs, and the boost to the economy," says Besaw, the Menominee Kenosha Gaming Authority Chairman.

The decision of whether that casino will be allowed rests with one person - the Governor.

Governor Walker asked for, and got, an extension until February 19, 2015, to make that decision.

The Forest County Potawatomi strongly oppose the plan.

As part of their opposition, they fear it could hurt the success of their Milwaukee hotel and casino.

But the Menominee feel their concerns are just as pressing.

"We have 145-family waiting list, which doesn't move a whole lot," says Shane Dixon Sr., the Tribal Housing Acting Director.

That waiting list theme is true for housing, too.

"People need immediate housing, and we just don't have it. (We're forced to tell them), we're sorry, we can't help you at this minute," Dixon says.

More money could also help the Menominee improve their worst-in-the-state health ranking.

"We can't give you all of the stuff you want," Waukau says of the care his clinic can give. "We'll give you life-threatening stuff, we'll give you maybe some testing, but it's not everything."

The majority of money for tribal programs now comes from the tribe's small-to-medium-size casino on their reservation in Keshena.

"We don't generate enough income, because we're a rural casino, to meet the tribal needs," says Jim Reiter, the General Manager of the Menominee Casino Resort.

The Menominee are in a tough spot.

It's a tough spot leaders at places like the daycare center, tribal housing, and the clinic think Kenosha casino money could help solve.

"Yes, at the end of the day, it comes down to funding," Boivin says.

"We need the casino," Besaw adds.

"Our people are hurting here," Waukau says. "I think our job as leaders is to take away the hurt."

The Menominee people hope the Governor will side with them.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

TOMAHAWK - Patricia Tholl from Rodeo Saloon in Tomahawk put her cooking skills toward a good cause Saturday night.
 
"Today I made a bratwurst soup. It's a beef base, your regular onions and carrots and celery," said Tholl.

Tholl is the defending champion of the Empty Bowls soup competition. 

"The prize is a little ladle. It's a lot of fun, I was really happy to have this honor for a whole year," said Tholl.

+ Read More

STEVENS POINT - A former Portage County doctor could go to prison for sexually assaulting his patients.  Wilton Calderon pled guilty to three felonies Friday.

Calderon was a caregiver at the Plover Family Practice until leaving it in 2015.  He then moved to Connecticut.  

At least seven women accused Calderon of sexually assaulted them during appointments.  Some patients said Calderon placed his genitals in their hands and performed unwanted gynecological exams by penetrating them with his fingers.

+ Read More

Play Video

CONOVER - Crowds gathered in Conover Community Park today for a little winter fun. The Northwoods Blizzard Blast provided winter games for people of all ages. 

Dylan Kleffman spent his Saturday doing some of his favorite winter activities. 

"So far my favorite thing was the pony and the snowshoeing," said seven-year-old Kleffman.  

+ Read More

Play Video

PLOVER - A 19-year-old man robbed a Plover gas station at gun point Saturday at around 1:30 a.m.

According to the Plover Police Department, a white male wearing dark clothing showed a handgun and demanded cash at the Moto Mart Gas Station on Plover road.

The suspect, Cody Krueger then left on foot.

Police later went to a home on the southwest side of the Plover. Around 11:45 a.m. Stevens Point and Plover joint SWAT team got a search warrant, but Krueger was not inside the home.

Around 1:30 p.m., police were able to find Krueger in Stevens Point. He was taken to Portage County Jail waiting charges associated with armed robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Plover Police Department at 715-345-5255. 

+ Read More

Play Video

SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.

Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.

Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.

Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.

People who know Schneider say they can't believe this is happening.

"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.

"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.

But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.

"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.

Those accusations baffle Thomas.

"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.

Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.

"She does get some really, really, really desperate cases, and I imagine that they take a long time to heal," Thomas said.

Thomas added she got her own dog from It Matters To One a few years ago.

"I got my little Hankey, he came in in really bad shape, and she wouldn't let me have him until he was nursed back to health," Thomas said.

Since the dogs were removed, It Matters to One posted certificates of veterinary inspections on its
Facebook page for most of the 39 dogs. The Sheriff's Office has seen those and is including them in its investigation, which is ongoing and may not end soon.

"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.

Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.

The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.

Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.




+ Read More

Play Video

STEVENS POINT - An alarm system used only in extreme emergencies -- like an active shooter -- went off at a Stevens Point school Friday.  Thankfully, that report was a false alarm.

Stevens Point police were called to Ben Franklin Junior High School at 12:19 p.m.  Police responded within three minutes.  Some students were already leaving the building when officers got there.

Police made sure students outside got a safe distance away, then sent teams in to sweep the building.

+ Read More

MADISON - A suspended University of Wisconsin-Madison student accused of sexually assaulting and harassing nearly a dozen women has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges.

Twenty-year-old Alec Cook faces a total of 21 counts, including strangulation, sexual assault, stalking and false imprisonment involving 10 women dating back to March 2015. Five of the charges are misdemeanors. The rest are felonies.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here