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Grand Forks May Vote on Casino Issue

6 January 2006

GRAND FORKS, North Dakota – As reported by the Grand Forks Herald: "Many Grand Forks City Council members agree that the city's support for a proposed Indian casino ought to go to a vote of the people.

"Such a vote is not expected any time soon, but the council members seemed to think that it was likely to happen because the issue has attracted so many different and strong opinions.

"Council President Hal Gershman compared the casino to the Alerus Center, which took three separate popular votes to pass, while council member Doug Christensen compared the casino to the water park, which went down in defeat.

"…The council already has passed a resolution encouraging the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa to explore the idea of a casino further, but withheld wholehearted support until there is more information. The tribe has said repeatedly that it needs the city to support the project before it can get permission from the state and federal government.

"That effort has been complicated by Jerry Hjelden, a resident organizing a petition opposing the casino. As of Thursday, he had 692 signatures and expected more.

"…Council member Eliot Glassheim, who reckons he's the only one on the council strongly opposed to the casino, said he's not afraid of a public vote but would rather vote now than wait for the polls…"

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