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Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke Clayton
April 16, 2024

OLDER SPORTSMEN HAVE MORE FUN

Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke ClaytonThere was a time back when I was in my twenties and thirties that I thought I would be hanging…
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April 13, 2024

Close-to-home fun

Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
As an outdoors writer for the past 39 years, I’ve become accustomed to “gallavanting” around the country fishing, hunting and collecting material for my articles. Lately though, I’ve been sticking pretty close to home. Kenneth Shephard with a good “eater…

Polk County News

Naskila Casino’s economic impact continues to grow

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Tribal Gaming in the United States ($Billions)Tribal Gaming in the United States ($Billions)

From Enterprise Staff

The total economic benefit of Naskila Casino continues to grow, with the facility injecting $212 million into the Polk County economy in 2022, according to a new report commissioned by the Texas Forest Country Partnership.

The study by the economic analysis firm TXP found that Naskila – the electronic bingo facility run by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas on its reservation near Livingston – is responsible for 825 permanent local jobs with a collective payroll of $22.5 million, including 400 jobs at the casino.

“This economic impact and these jobs would simply not exist without Naskila. Because 95% of Naskila’s customers come from outside of Polk County, and more than 80% come from outside the region, Naskila is an economic engine that benefits every stakeholder in the region,” the study says.

This is the third time that the Texas Forest Country Partnership has commissioned a study of Naskila’s impact. The amount of economic activity that Naskila generates has grown from $140 million in 2018 and $170 million in 2020 to $212 million today. During that same period, the number of jobs supported by Naskila has increased from 550 to 700 to 825.

“We are grateful that our guests, our employees and our neighbors in Deep East Texas have allowed the impact of Naskila Casino to continue to grow,” Ricky Sylestine, Chairman of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Tribal Council, said. “This facility helps sustain our tribe and our region.”

Beyond the benefits to those directly employed, revenues from Naskila provide funding on the reservation for scholarships, additional housing, as well as supporting a health clinic, day care center, and retail shops that serve the tribe and the surrounding community.

Naskila Casino is the second-largest employer in Polk County, the study found. The average salary and benefits package for Naskila employees is $50,000.

“The growth of Naskila’s success is very good for Polk County,” Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy said. “Naskila draws visitors into our region and provides stable income and benefits for its employees. We know that Naskila will continue to play an important role in our county’s future.”

After a long legal fight between the tribe and the State of Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court last year affirmed the tribe’s right to offer electronic bingo. The tribe continues to work with members of the U.S. Congress to support legislation that would put the tribe under the same regulatory framework – the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act – as hundreds of other tribes across the country, including the Kickapoo Tribe in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Cathy Bennett, chair of the Texas Forest Country Partnership, which is an economic development organization serving the 12-county region of Deep East Texas, said, “We have been honored to have the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas as a member of our organization and were thrilled once again to request an updated impact study to verify what was already apparent. Naskila’s economic impact is very important to our region, especially since we are basically rural.”

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has the oldest reservation in Texas, located on approximately 10,200 acres near Livingston. The tribe is a fully functioning sovereign government with a full array of health and human services, including law enforcement and emergency services. There are more than 1,400 members, about half of whom live on the reservation. The tribe is governed by an elected tribal council and advised by the principal chief and second chief.

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Legislation filed to require state gaming compact with Texas tribes

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From Enterprise Staff

State Rep. Mary Gonzalez of El Paso filed legislation this week proposing a state constitutional amendment requiring the governor to enter into gaming compacts with the three federally recognized tribes in the state.

The proposed amendment in Gonzalez’s bill – HJR 156 – would have to be approved by two-thirds of the Texas House and Senate and then approved by a majority of voters to take effect. It would allow the tribes to sue the state if the governor fails to negotiate in good faith.

Currently, the three federally recognized tribes – the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas in Polk County, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas near the Texas-Mexico border, and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo near El Paso – offer electronic bingo at gaming facilities on their reservations in compliance with federal regulations related to tribal gaming. The state gaming compact would ensure consistency in how the tribes are treated by the state with regard to Class III gaming activities.

“These indigenous communities are very important to the life and culture of our state and to the economic success of their regions,” Gonzalez said. “It’s important that we treat these communities with fairness and respect as they go about the work of providing for themselves. Amid all the speculation about more gaming coming to Texas, we must remember and respect the Texans who are already engaged in lawful gaming to sustain their communities.”

Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Council Chairman Ricky Sylestine added, “We are grateful for the leadership of Rep. Gonzalez. Her proposal would help ensure that we would be treated with the fairness and equality that we have long sought so that we can continue to provide for our tribal citizens and invest in the Deep East Texas economy.”

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Polk County SO employee arrested for theft

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From Enterprise Staff

An employee of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was arrested by the Texas Rangers and booked into the Polk County Jail early Friday morning according to a press release from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Jessica David, 38, was charged with theft by a public servant, a second-degree felony. Investigators believe David misappropriated inmate funds for personal use for approximately three years.

The investigation, which is ongoing, began in February of this year at the request of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

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Disturbance nets three arrests

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From Enterprise Staff

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a call for service in reference to a disorderly conduct involving a weapon at a residence off of Windham Trail in the Indian Springs subdivision on March 2.

Deputies responded, but a suspect later identified as David Erick Roberds, 33 of Livingston, ran into the woods prior to their arrival. Deputies and detectives flooded the area searching for Roberds and located two additional subjects – Christine Marie Ferris, 32, and Ramon Joseph Lalumandier, 25, both of Livingston. Both subjects fled on all-terrain vehicles but were later found at their residence in the area of Ole Long Pull Road.

During the investigation, narcotics detectives obtained sufficient probable cause for the application of a search warrant on the residence. The search warrant was obtained and a search of the residence revealed marijuana, a firearm, a large amount of methamphetamine and items used to distribute the illegal narcotics.

Roberds was later found in the area near his residence and was arrested and charged with evading arrest or detention with a previous conviction. Ferris and Lalumandier were also arrested and transported to the Polk County Jail.

Ferris was charged with manufacture and/or delivery of a controlled substance, resisting arrest, search, and/or seizure, fleeing a police officer, possession of marijuana and operating an off-highway vehicle on a public roadway.

Lalumandier was charged with manufacture and/or delivery of a controlled substance, fleeing a police officer, possession of marijuana, driving while license invalid without proof of insurance and expired registration.

 

 

 

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Breaking News: SO employee arrested for theft

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From Enterprise Staff

An employee of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was arrested by the Texas Rangers and booked into the Polk County Jail early Friday morning according to a press release from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Jessica David, 38, was charged with theft by a public servant, a second-degree felony. Investigators believe David misappropriated inmate funds for personal use for approximately three years.

The investigation, which is ongoing, began in February of this year at the request of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

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