To put it bluntly, I am happy to put an end to this horrible year. No one knew the
turn, the entire United States, the world was going to take in mid-March. It feels
as though we are through the worst of it with a light at the end of the tunnel, but
that remains to be seen.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones this year. I,
personally, have lost several people important to me, as I’m sure others have. As
for the COVID-19 virus, we will continue to do the best we can to get through it.
The 2021 LRBOI Elections have been announced and good luck to all who are
running. Please watch for further information from the Election Board.
The 2021 LRBOI Budget is set for the year. This year was especially difficult
because of the closing of the Little River Casino Resort and the Little River Trading
Post C-Store. The operation closed two times which was a very difficult process
for the entire staff. I wan to give a special thanks to General Manager, Andrew
Gentile and Assistant General Manager, Connie Waitner along with their entire
staff for the extra efforts they’ve had to endure over the year.
I also need to give very special thanks to our LRBOI Government Departments and
staff who remained working throughout this year, and especially our front-line staff of the
Clinic/Pharmacy; our Public Safety Department; Commodities; Elder’s
Meal Program, and Family Services/Member Services Departments. Also, we
should give thanks to the whole Judicial Branch for the work they’ve continued to
do throughout the year in spite of the pandemic.
I’m sure I may have missed some of these departments or miss recognizing some,
but we have the Utility Department; Natural Resources Department; Accounting
Department; Enrollment Department; Tax Department; Ogema’s Office;
Legislative Department; Unified Legal Department; Public Information
Department; Education Department, Next Generation Learning Center; Economic
Development; Housing Department; IT Department, and Human Resources
Department, all who have done a remarkable job during this very rough year. You
should be very proud of the whole staff mentioned above.
I will end with some good news. The United States Bureau of Indian Affairs has
approved our Record of Decision and two-part determination for the Little River
Band of Ottawa Indians Muskegon Casino Property. In short, We got our land in
trust! This is huge news; not the end, but the biggest hurdle we’ve had to date.
This is what some thought couldn’t happen, but it has. Assistant Secretary of
Indian Affairs, Tara Sweeney, made the call to me personally to give me the
exciting news. When this goes through it will provide for the current and future
generations to come with jobs and revenue to fund the many needs of our Tribe.
This most likely over double our yearly revenue and increase the services we can
provide for our membership. Please be careful not to listen to those people who
say it won’t provide jobs for our members; that is simply not true. One of the
main reasons we got approval was for that very reason. Your patience and
support has been overwhelming and so appreciated. Now to the State to get
approvals to build our casino!
Please have a safe and peaceful Christmas/ New Year holiday! Until next time …