Opening day draws a crowd

Just because what goes up, must come down...doesn’t mean what opens, has to close.

The Four Winds Casino opened its doors to the public on Thursday. From here on out, the facility will be never close.

“Opening day is very exciting,” said Matt Harkness, the Casino General Manager. “People want to be part of that excitement--have that fun feeling of a grand opening. Something special that people remember the rest of their lives.”

You might be surprised how much some people were looking forward to the opening.

“My husband and I have been out here ever since they started moving the dirt,” said Marsha Noel of Constantine.
“About once a month, or every two months, we’d come out and see the progress. No question about it, I was definitely going to be here on opening day.”

Bud Baar came from Logansport to try his luck. He said he “likes to go to Las Vegas, and it’s (the Four Winds) a little like Vegas, and it’s not as far as Las Vegas.”

The Four Winds has something that Vegas doesn’t…
A former Miss New Buffalo working in the lobby. Nika Corwin said she originally applied for a job as a waitress, but ended up taking a position as Spokes model.

“What I do is greet people and if there’s any promotions or special events, I’m the one who promotes them,” she said. “If there’s a winner, I’ll come on screen and interview you.”

Meantime, there’s an entire “class” of people that need not be present to win.

The New Buffalo Area Schools stand to receive an estimated one million dollars a year in casino payments, as part of a local revenue sharing agreement.

“We currently have a budget around ten million dollars, and a million is another ten percent,” said School Superintendent Dr. Michael Lindley.

Lindley said he would like to investigate the possibility of setting up a program similar to the Kalamazoo Promise, where every student who graduates from New Buffalo, would be guaranteed a college education.

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