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      Ojibwa Two Casino now needs government approval

      With the recent approval from the U.S. Interior Department, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is beginning the next phase of a possible move of the Ojibwa Two Casino in Marquette County to Negaunee Township.

      The new location is the former residence of the Marquette County Airport, and this 80-acre piece of land may be the future home of a brand new casino.

      Although the application has been approved, it must now go to the state of Michigan for government approval.

      "Now that might take up to a year. The governor has one year from the time the federal approval is received to make a decision for the state of Michigan," said Negaunee Township Supervisor William Carlson.

      K.B.I.C. said this all happed rather quickly, but they are planning on speaking with the governor some time next year, and if approved, a decision will then be made as to when construction can begin.

      K.B.I.C. says they don't know what will happen with the current casino, but it will stay up and running until the move is approved.

      "Once we start gaming operations in the new casino, we'll start closing down the operations at the current casino in Chocolay," said K.B.I.C. President Warren Swartz.

      K.B.I.C. says this is an opportunity to get into the gaming market in the Marquette area, and this move will provide jobs for people locally.

      "We should be within this next year, at least, be able to come up with a final decision and start the construction, I would hope, towards the end of the year of 2012," Carlson said.

      A decision has not been made in regards to sewage system upgrades, and they are still working on other infrastructure improvements.

      "We'd like to have, first off, a casino, then possibly a hotel and motel conference and possibly some other things, too," Swartz said.