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California Tribal Casino Approved

5 March 2002

COARSEGOLD, California – As reported by the Fresno Bee: "Dixie Jackson by midsummer hopes to see bulldozers ripping out brush and leveling land for a new casino expected to attract thousands to her native Madera County foothills.

"Jackson is tribal chairwoman for the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians. She said that the tribe's 1,200 members expect their 296,000-square-foot casino and hotel to bring jobs and education to their ancestral hills.

"…The National Indian Gaming Commission's environmental approval of the project has reached Jackson's desk. The commission found no significant impact on the environment and has cleared the way for her tribe's $150 million casino resort.

"…The casino resort will include a 200-room hotel, 52,000-square-foot gaming area, a bar-entertainment lounge, three restaurants, a 1,000-seat special events room and administrative areas. Parking for 1,800 automobiles, six buses and 39 recreational vehicles is part of the project.

"…The tribe must complete the casino within one year after the groundbreaking or lose the state license for the 1,600 slot machines.

"…The casino will compete with other Valley casinos, including Table Mountain with 2,000 gaming machines just across the San Joaquin River near Friant Dam in Fresno County.

"…The casino has faced numerous setbacks. Internal tribal disagreements have erupted. A suggested site near Yosemite High School and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Oakhurst was dropped after community members protested.

"Madera County doesn't need to approve the project. But tribal representatives told county supervisors that they want to be good neighbors and would provide a fully equipped fire station and five new sheriff's deputies…"

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