Planned Ho-Chunk Nation casino in Beloit gets final approval

BELOIT, Wis. — The Bureau of Indian Affairs on Friday approved the Ho-Chunk Nation’s application for a casino in Beloit, more than two decades after the city residents voted in favor of the complex.

The plan places 33 acres into trust for the project, which is expected to produce 3,000 construction jobs and 1,300 permanent jobs. Officials say the tribe plans to handle design and construction for the project, including the necessary infrastructure.

The complex would include one of the largest casinos in the state as well as a 300-room hotel with more than 45,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, and a 40,000-square-foot indoor waterpark.

Beloit voters approved the project in a 1999 referendum. The tribe purchased the land in 2009 and has been working to win federal and state approval to build a casino there since 2012. Gov. Tony Evers signed off on the plan more than a year ago.

It will be the tribe’s fourth casino in Wisconsin, including one in Nekoosa, one in Baraboo and one in Black River Falls.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin said the new facility should provide a long-term source of revenue for essential housing, as well as education and health programs for tribal members.

Chicago Park District: Beloved piping plover Monty dies

CHICAGO — A beloved, endangered shorebird named Monty the Piping Plover died Friday, a Chicago Park District spokeswoman said.

“It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Monty, one of the Montrose Beach Piping Plovers,” said Irene Tostado of the park district.

Tamima Itani of the Chicago Piping Plovers — a collaboration among the Chicago Audubon Society, the Chicago Ornithological Society and the Illinois Ornithological Society — said Monty died Friday afternoon.

“He was observed gasping for air before dropping and passing away,” said Itani.

Monty was taken to Lincoln Park Zoo, where he will be tested. Results are expected in about a week, Itani told the Chicago Tribune.

“Monty and Rose captured our hearts in a way very few beings do,” Itani said. “Monty will be very sorely missed.”

Tweets began flooding social media Friday just after 6 p.m.

“We are saddened to share that today Monty passed away unexpectedly,” said a tweet from the official account for Chicago Piping Plover news and content.

“We are shocked and saddened to report that Monty the Piping Plover is no longer with us,” said another tweet, from the Chicago Ornithological Society. “We do not know as of yet what happened, but he is currently being evaluated by professionals.”

It wasn’t clear where Monty died, but he was known to hang out at Montrose Beach on the Lake Michigan lakefront.

The Associated Press

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