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FedEx sued over cigarette taxes
North East News
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 03 April 2014
FedEx sued over cigarette taxes
By Dan Freedman, Hearst Newspapers
March 30, 2014


FedEx has cheated New York state out of more than $10 million in taxes by shipping more than 400,000 cartons of untaxed cigarettes to New York residents between 2006 and 2012, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alleged in lawsuit filed Sunday.

The suit, joined by New York City's corporation counsel Zachary Carter, seeks $70 million to compensate for lost revenues and damages.

FedEx shipped 80 million cigarettes to New Yorkers even though it reached an agreement with New York state officials in 2006 to halt such shipments, the complaint alleged.

"Not only has FedEx cheated the state out of millions in tax dollars, but many of these cigarettes may have ended up in the hands of teenagers, who are particularly vulnerable to low-priced cigarettes," Schneiderman said in a statement. "Illness and death caused by cigarette smoking is the number-one preventable public health epidemic of our day. If we can make cheap cigarettes less widely available, we can go great lengths toward discouraging young people from smoking and limit this public health disaster."
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Abenaki Artifacts to Return to Original Burial Ground
St. Francis/Sokoki Abenaki
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 03 April 2014
Abenaki Artifacts to Return to Original Burial Ground
Posted by Alicia Freese
Mar 28, 2014


Seven stone relics unearthed in the 1980s from an ancient Missisquoi Abenaki burial ground in Swanton will be returned to tribal members, the Preservation Trust of Vermont announced Friday.  

The relics surfaced in early March when the people who used to own the land put them up for auction. Upon discovering that they were listed on Duane Merrill & Company's auction website, members of the Abenaki community — as well as state employees in the Division of Historic Preservation — scrambled to stop the sale scheduled for March 30.

Seven Days covered the story in this week's paper , but the artifacts' fate remained in limbo at the time it was published. Ethan Merrill, who co-owns the Williston-based auction company, had agreed to take the items off the auction block — in deference to the Abenakis' beliefs — and he said he was working to broker a compromise between the consignors, John and Anita Boucher, and tribal representatives. Another plan, in which a private benefactor would purchase the artifacts and donate them to UVM's Fleming Museum, fell through last week. 
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Maine House attempts to revive tribal gaming bills that were rejected in the Senate
North East News
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 28 March 2014
Maine House attempts to revive tribal gaming bills that were rejected in the Senate
By Christopher Cousins
3.20.14


AUGUSTA, Maine — The House of Representatives on Thursday attempted to revive Native American gaming bills that were soundly rejected Wednesday night in the Senate.

In a series of votes Thursday morning, the House voted unanimously to “insist” on passage of two bills that would allow the construction of a casino on tribal lands in Aroostook County and the operation of high-stakes beano games by tribal organization. The House tabled a third bill that would clear the way for installation of slot machines at an existing Passamaquoddy Tribe facility in Washington County.

On Wednesday night, the Senate rejected all three bills, raising the ire of two Passamaquoddy tribal chiefs who said the expansion of gaming in Maine over the past several years has unfairly left Native American tribes out.

“We’re just trying to get jobs on our reservations, just like everyone else in this state,” R. Clayton Cleaves, chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe’s Pleasant Point community, told the Bangor Daily News on Wednesday.

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Mashpee Wampanoag leaders praise newly issued federal land opinion
North East News
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 28 March 2014
Mashpee Wampanoag leaders praise newly issued federal land opinion
Charles Winokoor
Mar. 18, 2014


TAUNTON — The chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is lauding a legal opinion issued last week from the U.S. Dept. of Interior interpreting the statutory phrase “under federal jurisdiction.”

The legal opinion potentially boosts the Mashpee's claim that they qualify for the federal land designation they need to build a tribal casino.

“We fully support the legal opinion issued by the Interior Department to guide the land acquisition process for Indian tribes,” Cromwell, in a prepared statement, said in response.

The Mashpee tribe needs DOI approval for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to officially place land, both in Mashpee and Taunton, “into trust” as an Indian reservation — before the tribe can embark on plans for a $500 million resort-casino in and around East Taunton’s Liberty & Union Industrial Park.

The opinion by the DOI’s Office of the Solicitor was in response to a 2009 Supreme Court ruling restricting “Secretarial authority” to take land into trust, as part of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934.
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New entry in derby to win approval for Sullivan casino
North East News
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 28 March 2014
New entry in derby to win approval for Sullivan casino
By Steve Israel
Times Herald-Record
03/18/14

BRIDGEVILLE — Add another project to the short list of Catskill casino contenders that should meet one of the state's key criteria: to be able to open within two years of selection.

The Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohicans and its partner Trading Cove New York, which for years have been trying to build an Indian casino, will now go the much less complex state route to gain approval for a commercial, non-Indian casino off Route 17 Exit 107. This means the 330 acre site overlooking the Neversink River would, if approved by the state, be taxable land.

The tribe and Trading Cove have essentially completed the involved federal environmental impact statement for the project. The massive document - which generated critical comments on the federal level from the National Resources Defense Council - will now be used for the Town of Thompson review, which gets underway at the town's March 26 planning board meeting, said Thompson Planning Board attorney Paula Kay.

She was one of the officials who on Monday met with the casino project's local representative, Monticello lawyer Jacob Billig, to discuss the project.
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Thomas brothers punished by Mashantuckets
North East News
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 28 March 2014
Thomas brothers punished by Mashantuckets
By Brian Hallenbeck
03/17/2014


Tribe ‘banishes’ two who stole from them

Mashantucket — In voting last week to “banish” Michael and Steven Thomas, the former Mashantucket Pequot

leaders convicted of corruption, the tribe’s elders council followed tribal by-laws that call for such punishment.

But the practical effect of the votes remained unclear Monday to some tribal members, none of whom would speak

on the record.

Michael Thomas, the former tribal chairman, is currently serving an 18-month sentence in federal prison. His younger

brother, Steven, a former tribal treasurer, will be allowed to continue living on the reservation and working at the

tribe’s Foxwoods Resort Casino, according to a notice of the action taken against him.

One tribal member called the terms of Steven Thomas’ banishment “ludicrous” and unlike any ever previously

imposed by the elders council. A tribal spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
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Gaming board picks first winner: Plainville
North East News
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 01 March 2014
Gaming board picks first winner: Plainville
By George Brennan
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February 28, 2014

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has awarded the state's first and only slots license to the Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville, just minutes from the Rhode Island border.

The license, which will go to Penn National Gaming, is within 25 miles of the casino proposed by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in East Taunton. But, as outlined in the compact with Gov. Deval Patrick, the tribe will not get any financial breaks for competing with Plainridge. The slots parlor will be in Region B, while the tribe is trying to build in Region C. If the facilities were in the same region, the tribe could pay a lower percentage of its gaming revenue to the state.

The vote for Plainridge was 3-2 with commission Chairman Stephen Crosby and commissioner James McHugh, the two dissenting votes, favoring a Leominster site.

The license award comes two years and three months after the state legalized casinos and nearly two years after the commission began the process of regulating and licensing gambling in the Bay State.
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Cape Wind secures $600 million loan
North East News
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 01 March 2014
Cape Wind secures $600 million loan
By Patrick Cassidy
February 27, 2014


Cape Wind has added a $600 million loan from a Danish credit agency to a growing list of financial support for the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm.

The announcement Wednesday during a speech by Cape Wind president Jim Gordon at the GreenPower USA Offshore Wind Conference in Boston edges the company closer to the half-way mark in funding the project, which is expected to cost more than $2.6 billion. Gordon told the crowd that EKF, Denmark's official export credit agency, had informed Cape Wind of the loan's approval pending the "finalization of due diligence and completion of loan documentation."

"The significance of this is that EFK is probably the most experienced offshore-wind investor in the world and we're extremely pleased that they would make this commitment to Cape Wind," Gordon said during a break in the conference.

Momentum for financing the project continues and EKF's participation sends a signal around the world and across the United States that Cape Wind is a sound investment worthy of consideration by other financing entities, he said.

The Danish involvement in the project shouldn't surprise anyone given Europe's dominance of the offshore wind industry, he said.

"They have a lot of experience," he said.
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Vermont Indian Commission Minutes - 2.12.14
Commission Meeting Minutes
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 28 February 2014

Vermont Indian Commission Minutes - 2.12.14
Posted 2.28.14

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Four dead in attack at Native American tribal office in California
National News
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 21 February 2014

Four dead in attack at Native American tribal office in California
Eric M. Johnson and Dan Whitcomb, Reuters
Friday, February 21, 2014

 Four people were killed and two others critically wounded when a woman opened fire at a Native American tribal office near the Oregon border in Northern California on Thursday, police said.

A 44-year-old former tribal leader identified as Sherie Lash, also known as Sherie Rhoades, was arrested at the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Office on charges of murder and attempted murder, a spokeswoman for the Alturas police department said.

The attack took place during an eviction hearing involving Lash, police told Reuters.

Four people were shot and killed after the attacker pulled a gun and began "systematically shooting individuals" in the office, Alturas Police Chief Ken Barnes said. Two others were shot, and one of them possibly wounded with a knife, as they tried to escape.

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