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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Whole New Buffalo World

  Whole New Buffalo World
     As chatter continues that a casino could be coming to Oakland County, please note what has happened on the other side of the state.
    Tucked down in the southwest corner of the state and pretty much out of the mainstream of media attention, the tiny town of New Buffalo is experiencing a renaissance complete with new construction in the old downtown and new condos popping up along Lake Michigan.  Heads up Pontiac.
     And they can thank the original inhabitants of the area for this rebirth.
     The year old tribal casino is raking in the cash.
     But gambling critics contend when you bring in the slots, you bring in the crime.
     "A lot of people say that, but we haven't seen that," reports county Sheriff Paul Baily who has forged an unusual relationship with his tribal counterparts.
      It's called cross-deputization and it's working.
      The sheriff has sworn in five tribal officers who work the reservation but can also cross over into the township to fight crime there, too.  And in an out of the ordinary agreement, the local sheriff's deputies are allowed on the tribal grounds to return the favor.
       "We even share an office on the reservation and they pay for it," smiles Baily.
        How'd he pull that off when other tribes are dead set against the local cops setting foot on their land?
       "I've lived here all my life.  I know the tribal leaders," he simply explains.
        So together they keep the crime down, the slots keep rollin' while the money keeps rollin' in at a million dollars a day.
        Now you know why they call it New Buffalo, and why the sheriff has that big smile.
        Hence if they can do it over there, maybe it could happen over here but there are a ton of hurdles to overcome first.


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