TGB Hold Listening Session to Hear New Post Community Concerns
Updated: Oct 3, 2019
By Joe Morey
The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board (TGB) held a Community Listening Session in the community of New Post on Saturday, Sep. 21 to meet with community members and hear their concerns and questions. Several areas of concern were addressed at the meeting.
LCO Sec. Treasurer Michelle Beaudin told the members in attendance that the tribe has been working closely with Blue Stone Strategy Group, a strategic planning company that is Native-owned and works only with tribes.
“They are helping us with our businesses to turn them around and make them profitable,” Beaudin said. “They are also helping us with our government structure and our finance department so that the tribe operates more efficiently.”
LCO Vice Chairwoman Lorraine Gouge said working with Blue Stone is very important. She said the financial department of the tribe was not in a good spot (regarding internal operating procedures) and Blue Stone is here to help the TGB fix that.
“We are seeing light at the end of the tunnel,” Gouge said. “We want all of our entities to be strong again.”
Gouge also said the TGB is going to take more time for the membership and more Listening Sessions will be planned. “We need to hear from you so that we know what your concerns are and where you want us to go.”
TGB member Tweed Shuman said he’s been concerned since being elected with the financial state of the tribe. “We’ve got plans we are now implementing that will make our retail operations successful. We’re hiring a retail manager to oversee all of our retail operations. We’ve invested a lot of money into these plans and Michelle (Beaudin) will share all of this with you through her financial report at our upcoming General Membership meeting.”
Shuman reported on the revenue streams of the tribe stating a majority of Enbridge funds that have been collected over the past two years is in the bank earning interest. He added there is a new Capital Improvement Account where excess funds from the casino and LCO Financial Services is being deposited and it’s growing.
Chairman Louis Taylor said there wasn’t any money two years ago when he, Shuman, and Don Carley were elected. They had to borrow to make payroll in their first week in office. He said now, after two years, there is $7 million in the bank and it’s growing.
“We want to keep it that way,” Taylor said. “This is money for necessities of the tribe. Ten years ago we used to bring over $7 million a year in revenue to the tribe from the casino, but because of the new bond, we only get $3.5 million. These new revenue streams have helped a lot. We won’t have to worry in the winter’s anymore and we won’t have to worry about our kids and their future.”
Taylor said the TGB is discussing options on what they can do for New Post. One idea is for LCO Housing, under a future grant, to renovate the New Post Community Center and allowing the people of New Post to have the keys and administer the building for whatever they choose, such as youth or elder center, or a community room.
“We need to let you do something with this building instead of it being locked up all the time,” Taylor said. Another idea for the building Taylor mentioned was to have a 10-computer work station with full internet access located within the community center.
“We need to work on getting internet into New Post and then get it into the community center so that everyone can use it,” Taylor added.
Glenda Barber informed the members in attendance that the entire playground removed from the LCO Ojibwe School was going to be relocated into the New Post community next to the basketball courts. She said this is an investment in our young people.
Beaudin said Blue Stone is currently doing an analysis on the potential for a future gas and convenience center located in or near New Post.
TGB members discussed other future plans for New Post, including mowing the ball field to use as a helicopter emergency landing area and having a cell phone tower placed here. It was also discussed having TGB provide funds to the boys and girls club to provide transportation to New Post every night of the week rather than only a couple nights.
"Little Guy" Gary Clause stated maybe the TGB should invest in another bus to make transportation to New Post more accessible.
Little Guy also noted a positive for the whole community is the new Wellness Court taking off. He said the whole TGB is behind this court because there weren’t many options for our people before this court.
“Community members are doing positive things. They are staying sober and reaching back to help others. This is a good thing and we need to encourage them to stay on this path. We are moving in the right direction,” Little Guy stated.
Glenda Barber said the TGB is looking into more homeless shelters for our people. “We have homeless people sleeping outside and it’s getting cold. We are looking at rehab of the two trailers at the Hideout for this purpose. We are also looking at moving the Oakwood Haven women’s shelter to the old Halfway House and making the current Oakwood Haven into a men’s shelter.”
Barber added, “We always felt left out in New Post. We are way out here but we have a lot of people in the village. We want to be able to stay in touch with you. We want to do what’s best for the tribe and we’re looking at more than just today but the future generations to come.”
TGB from L-R) Chairman Louis Taylor, Tweed Shuman, Vice Chair Lorraine Gouge, Gary "Little Guy" Clause, Glenda Barber and Sec-Treasurer Michelle Beaudin.