Our Western Heritage

Our Western Heritage
Front Street, Dodge City, circa 1879

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dodge City Casino: Third applicant - Epic Gaming, Las Vegas

Update 07 January 2008: Kansas Lottery Commission voted unanimously to deny Ford County Commission's request for extension which would have enabled Epic Gaming's application to be accepted.

Casino developer asks county for extension, Dodge City Daily Globe, Dec. 29

"A developer who missed the deadline to file an application with the Kansas Gaming Commission to build a casino in Ford County is now requesting an extension. The Las Vegas-based company Epic Gaming asked the Ford County Board of Commission on Friday to petition the Gaming Commission for an extension, and the commissioners agreed.

"They had the application physically on the premises, but the Lottery Commission didn't feel like they could receive it because it was shortly after 5 o'clock," said Dave Snapp, a Dodge City attorney representing Epic Gaming. "Of course, we think it's in the best interest of the public that you look at all qualified proposals...."

Surprised that the Ford County Commission could have an unannounced meeting for this approval? Always thought that would take an emergency? Means none of the applicants can be turned down by Ford County/Dodge City Commissions, that's for sure.

And now, really, no Event Center can be built until location of the casino is known -- or we build the smaller version down south by race track. Glad that CFAB is thinking about a more affordable Events Center, something under $10 million or so. Then we won't need the sales tax anymore.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Second Dodge City casino application: Dodge City Resort and Gaming Co

Lottery receives second Dodge City casino application, Hutchinson News, Dec. 27, 2007

"Dodge City Resort and Gaming Co., based in Wichita, was the second applicant to beat Wednesday's deadline for submitting a Ford County gambling proposal to the Kansas Lottery. It will compete with Butler National Service Corp., of Olathe, for a contract to build and manage the casino for the Lottery.

"The new applicant's president is Steve Joseph, a Wichita attorney who also is representing prospective developers of a Sumner County casino. He said he had caught "green felt fever" and believes Dodge City can develop into a tourism destination like Branson, Mo.

"To me, the best place to do this is Dodge City," Joseph said during a telephone interview. "It's a brand name."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Boot Hill Gaming Inc changing to Boot Hill Gaming Development LLC ?

Just noted a new corporation listed by State of Kansas, formed in August:

Current Mailing Address: 2408 6th Ave., DODGE CITY, KS 67801
Agent: Jeff Thorpe
Formed August 19, 2007
On-line at: http://www.accesskansas.org/srv-corporations/getRecord.do?number=6195473

or about the same week that CFAB Chair Greg Starks left Boot Hill Gaming Inc. -- wonder who is on the board of Boot Hill Gaming Development, LLC?

The State of Kansas doesn't show that on-line, just that Mr. Thorpe is resident agent for the limited liability company. This company's name hasn't been brought up in the meetings about the casino proposal, by the way. It, no doubt, will be.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dodge City Resort and Gaming Co -- Where does Dodge City Events Center go now ?

[Given the very public position taken by Ford County Commission and Dodge City Commission members that the Events Center 'should' go by the Casino -- not agreed to by many others, but -- guess nothing can be built until the State of Kansas decide which Casino applicant gets their approval.]

Coalition to submit casino application
By Jon Ruhlen - The Hutchinson News, Dec. 19, 2007

DODGE CITY - The deadline for casino applications in Ford County is fast approaching, but at least one company has announced that it will throw its hat in the ring.

A coalition of Kansas businessmen known as the Dodge City Resort and Gaming Co., headed by Wichita attorney Steve Joseph, has its staffers working overtime through the holidays to prepare a 1,500-page document for submission to the Kansas Lottery Commission.

The deadline for applications is Dec. 26. So far, the only company that has submitted an application to build and operate the casino has been the Olathe-based Butler National Corp., which submitted an application in September.

Joseph said the Dodge City Resort proposal, much like the Butler proposal, will be centered around a Wild West theme. It will likely include a 100-room hotel and ample space for commercial and retail partnerships.

Joseph said the proposal will also be aimed at drawing Western-themed attractions to the region - especially rodeos.

"We don't see why Dodge City shouldn't be the rodeo capital of the world," Joseph said. "Talk about a ready-made brand. It's the West - Dodge City."

Joseph said the company has an option on 280 acres of land on the northeast corner of Dodge City. The property, owned by retired local banker John Harding, is bordered by 112 Road on the west and 113 Road on the east. It extends north from U.S. 50 for one-half mile."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

CFAB Meeting, Dec. 20, 5:30 p.m., Dodge City Hall Commission Room

Community Facilities Advisory Board Agenda, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 5:30 p.m.

City Hall Commission Chambers

[Note: No groups have been invited to submitted requests for the 15% of the CFAB tax allowed for Western tourism venues (per the Wichita Judge), but Boot Hill is on agenda -- when was an invitation to apply sent out ? Was one ? Why not ?

Also note the mini- events center -- ie., expo center -- being discussed without public meetings and without any action being taken on the Events Center per the Judge's orders]


Financial Report. Presented by Nannette Pogue, City Clerk

Dodge City Raceway Park: World of Outlaws contract. Presented by Ken Strobel, City Manager

Boot Hill Grant Request. Presented by Lance Nichols, Acting Chair


Legends Park Improvements. Presented by Paul Lewis, Director of Parks and Recreation

Expo Committee Update. Presented by Ed Elam, Ford County Administrator

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Update: meeting date not announced, Long Branch Gaming Co. casino application

UPDATE: "Dodge City Resort and Gaming Company, the arm of Wichita-based Long Branch Gaming looking to develop in Ford County, may not seek the city and county endorsement before they submit their proposal to the Kansas Gaming Commission." per Dodge City Daily Globe, Dec. 16.

Per the Dodge City Daily Globe, Dec. 8, 2007:
A representative from Long Branch Gaming Company said Thursday afternoon that his company has a proposal ready to present to the two commissions, in an effort to receive an endorsement.

Steve Joseph, Long Branch's representative, said members of the company had met with Ford County Chairman Kim Goodnight, Dodge City Mayor Kent Smoll and City Manager Ken Strobel over the past two weeks, laying out the company's intentions.

This is a Wichita, KS company; Steve Joseph is active in Wichita community events, and businesses.

Of interest, statements that seem to be concerned about this being a 'last minute' presentation -- given the few days notice, and no public comment, for the first applicant, Butler National Services Inc., based in Olathe, KS, and the approval of an unfinished and unread agreement between the city and Butler -- there should be no issue about the weeks involved in this presentation being brought to the Dodge City Commission and Ford County Commission. The first applicant got approved in record speed, for sure.

The state of Kansas will decide the final winner in the casino race. That should be the only issue, now with two legitimate applicants in the gate.

Again, per the Daily Globe:
City commissioners said they would have to handle the new proposal delicately. If the commissions refused the endorsement, it could look as though they were playing favoritism for a local developer. Conversely, if the commissions gave an automatic guarantee, they could be construed as not caring who builds in the area.

Remember that the Mayor and the County Commission Chair were both on the private Boot Hill Gaming Inc. board -- which did not apply. Although the Ford County Chair approved the related Butler National Service (ie.) Gaming Inc. applicant -- the Mayor was not at the meeting -- and both had resigned from the Boot Hill Gaming Inc. board -- it was actually a Dodge City Commission decision legally, due to land suddenly being in the city limits.

And, of course, the Butler National proposal plans on buying land, quickly annexed into Dodge City at the same meeting, from Joe Bogner, Boot Hill Gaming Board member.

(Note that neither applicant is 'local' although Butler used a local spokesman, Jeff Thorpe, at earlier meetings. His business relationship to Butler was not stated.)

[Related: Question: Was Dodge City Commission vote on Friday legal?]

Signed: Uncle George

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dodge City Police Docket book: Coverage grows except in Dodge City

Thanks again to the Hutchinson (KS) News for their coverage of the missing Dodge City Police Docket. Due to that article and an editorial, coverage around the country has grown -- from Kansas City, Hays and Lawrence to Phoenix and Topeka, in many other Kansas papers, and the High Plains Journal -- and on many blogs, including Tom Goodrich's Wild West Magazine blog.

Guess that proves, at least to me, that the Dodge City brand name is still of value -- these papers normally can't get Dodge City and Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson all in the same AP article.

Oddly, still no local paper coverage -- yet.

Original article by Jon Ruhlen:
Dodge City aims to regain artifact: Historic docket book turns up in Arizona , Hutchinson News

Some of the Associated Press Coverage:

Dodge City seeks to regain artifact
-- Lawrence Journal World
Dodge City seeks to regain old police docket
-- Topeka Capital-Journal
A piece of Dodge City’s storied past has gotten away -- Kansas City Star
Old West ledger turns up at auction -- Arizona Daily Star

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stolen history and help from Hutchinson News

Thanks to the Hutchison News for coverage of the missing City of Dodge City Police Docket book, found ready to be auctioned in Arizona. The Hutch News article and editorial [Property of Dodge: Historic logbook belongs to the people] have helped move legal action to get back our historical 'gold' and protect it.

Western Tourism is based on having real artifacts and objects. Protecting those items for the future is a responsibility for all of us involved in the history of our unique region.

Sadly, local coverage of our attempt to get back Dodge City's historical document has been missing.

Again, thanks goes to Jon Ruhlen for his professional work . Dodge City aims to regain artifact: Historic docket book turns up in Arizona

Signed, Uncle George

PS: note that many emails were sent over weeks in an attempt to get full cooperation from Mr. Brian Lebel and his auction house to get back the Docket. The private attempts failed prior to the news article and a full press attack. The City Manager was copied on all of these. Some worry that the docket 'went away' due to the news article, but that article was done after all other attempts had failed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Of interest: Butler folds on Edwardsville casino application

Thursday, November 1, 2007

"Butler folds on Edwardsville casino application

On Thursday, the Olathe-based company (Bulletin Board: BUKS) asked the city's planning commission to pull its zoning application for a development that could include a casino, according to a city release.

"The request related to a 140-acre site on Riverview Avenue, southwest of Interstates 70 and 435. Butler said Oct. 10 that its proposal for the site could include a casino, hotel, indoor ski slope and other amenities, but that the indoor ski slope was its only interest at that time. ..."

Kansas City Business Journal

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

CFAB, Thursday, Nov. 1 meeting -- Race Track, 2nd Events Center, Budgets for Tourism Venues

Community Facilities Advisory Board Agenda
November 1, 2007
5:30 p.m.
City Hall Commission Chambers



1. Approval of minutes of September 20, 2007 meeting


1. Race Track Subcommittee - Proposed Promoter Agreement, report by Ken Strobel, City Manager
2. Race Track Subcommittee - Proposed Capital Improvements for Race Track, report by Ken Strobel, City Manager
3. Southwest Sports Agreement Amendment, report by Ken Strobel, City Manager
4. Capital Improvements for Athletic Fields, report by Paul Lewis, Park & Recreation Director
5. Organizational Funding, report by Nannette Pogue, Director of Finance
6. 2008 Budget Approval, report by Ken Strobel, City Manager and Nannette Pogue, Director of Finance
1. Expo Center Sub Committee Update, Ed Elam, Chair
2. Tourism Master Plan Update, Ken Strobel, City Manager
3. Casino Development Update, Ken Strobel, City Manager
4. Dodge Theater Option Update, Ken Strobel, City Manager

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Future use of public tax funds; Why Not Museum!

Next steps being discussed for sales tax money through CFAB committee, et al., include having a second event center to replace and expand the 4-H type facility as we currently have next to Wright Park, Dodge City, KS -- to be built east of the race track (with Great Western Trail, Rath Trail and Custer Trail head end area protected; other projects no doubt are being thought about by all involved.

Also on the table, supported by a group of good people and groups, is building a world-class small archive and museum exhibit building -- an actual county museum. An archive, of course, that has a very protected, secured and controlled environment. It has to be different than just a display area. It has to be new. The city-owned corner that T.M. Deal Lumber was on -- from Spruce to Vine along 3rd Street, a half block from Boot Hill Museum -- would be one great location.

The exhibit area, by being a controlled and planned area, could benefit from national and state traveling exhibits, keeping costs lower. It would not compete with the very defined area of coverage at Boot Hill Museum. It would allow some of the costs and museum professional burdens of protecting the large collection at Boot Hill that is not on exhibit to be shared -- and their archive to be protected in a current best practice.

It would add coverage with selected areas -- Santa Fe Depot, Fred Harvey, the Mexican Village, Racing, WWI troop movements, Dust Bowl, WWII Army Air Base, Great Arkansas Flood, the beef industry -- perhaps 5 - 6 nice exhibit areas that could add and rotate in these and related very popular history subject areas.

It would benefit from the possible and discussed combination with the wonderful archive and library at the Kansas Heritage Center. The space there limits additional collections. Staff combination would lower the cost to already existing staff position in both Boot Hill Museum and the Kansas Heritage Center. The massive volunteer time of groups and persons already being invested could more easy continue and expand, with professionals at hand.

It would allow the proper storage and protection of boxes of documents now stored, with some in banks. Some of these are among the most unique Old West original documents and research that exist. More outstanding items would more easily be donated to a facility with this level of care being guaranteed to the donors.

Without taking more space, those of us involved in this discussion can assure you that this combination of these archives -- without changes of ownership for the non-profit groups -- into one proper space, along with a few very well done exhibits and national level traveling exhibits -- would become and remain a necessary visit from any serious student or tourist of the American West.

Signed: Uncle George

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dodge City Casino: (Sic et non; Yes and No)

1) Boot Hill Gaming Inc. is the applicant. (Sic et non; Yes and No)

They seemed to be the applicant until the applicant, Butler National Services Gaming Inc. applied. Now, they aren't in the application at all.

2) Jeff Thorpe speaks for Boot Hill Gaming Inc. (Sic et non; Yes and No)

Mr. Thorpe seemed to speak for Boot Hill Gaming Inc. when he spoke to the Kansas Legislative committee on the casino bill, but now seems to be speaking for Butler National Services Gaming Inc., although never stated in what financial relationship.

3) Boot Hill Museum Inc. will benefit directly from casino. (Sic et non; Yes and No)

Boot Hill Museum Inc., which at the time owned Boot Hill Gaming Inc. which at the time had the Ford Commission Chair and the Dodge City Mayor and the Chair of the CFAB Committee on its board -- a major point in getting the casino bill to re-include Ford County, all the community involved and money to Boot Hill Museum -- but now with a whole different applicant, many board members leaving Boot Hill Gaming Inc. and Boot Hill Museum now just in one of the 22-counties that is to received money from an unnamed to-be-Incorporated non-profit, hard to say.

4) Greg Starks not on CFAB due to conflicts of interest. (Sic et non; Yes and No)

Mr. Starks seems to be both on and off of the committee. Again, what it means and is it legal has not been questioned by any of the City Commission, etc.

Confused ? We know we are. If it didn't deal with $30 million in tax money (that's public money, folks), it would just be amusing. Since it does directly affect your Events Center (ie., Butler didn't want horses near their casino, so no horses ... duh, is this the Old West or what ?)

Stay tuned. [Sic et Non, an early scholastic text whose title translates from Latin as "Yes and No," was written by Peter Abelard. It juxtaposes apparently contradictory quotations from the Church Fathers on many of the traditional topics of Christian theology, circa 1200.]

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Question: Was Dodge City Commission vote on Friday legal ?

Questions have been forwarded about the sudden meeting and vote of support for the Butler National Services Gaming casino proposal by the Dodge City Commission -- we don't know if it was legal -- guess the City Manager/City Attorney thought so -- but....

1) The meeting wasn't announced but a few days ahead of time;

2) The vote was made on an unfinished and unread (Sowers: "I haven't read it") 4-page motion without a number;

3) The annexation of the land involved wasn't yet legal due to the fact that it had not been published, a requirement of Kansas law, so the land wasn't in Dodge City yet, but was still in Ford County.

We don't know. Seems odd, for sure. Leave it up to lawyers later, I guess.

But 1, 2, and 3, are facts. As long as the City of Dodge City is fair to all (or any) other applicants, it shouldn't be an issue -- if Dodge City Commission is unfair -- lawyers will love it.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Butler National Services Gaming: Part Two: Donate Land

One other question that didn't get ask by the Dodge City commission of Butler National Service (aka, Butler Gaming) -- given that Why Not Dodge tax funds will be used to prepare the land up to fifty feet from the possible casino -- ie., $4-5 million or more to put in roads, water, utilities, et al. -- often the quid pro quo is that the private land is donated to the cities involved.

Why didn't Mr. Sowers or Mr. Lee or Mr. Lembright ask about that ? (Mayor Smoll and Mr. Sherer were not at the meeting, by the way -- seems odd that the meeting couldn't be scheduled with all the commission present, but did avoid the questions about Smoll being on the Boot Hill Gaming board until recently and Sherer being on Boot Hill Museum board, etc.)

Donating the 33 acres (out of 400 Butler said they purchased) to the City of Dodge City for the Event Center would be a great way to 'pay' Butler Casino's share of this millions of dollars for improvements, won't it.

Since the Events Center is to be built years before the casino, I guess that buying that 33 acres from Butler would be much better for their cash flow, so no doubt not an idea that Butler Gaming wanted to talk about. However, the lack of any questions of meaning after the presentation -- is the casino going to be built with 'green' design elements, for example -- or with reduced water usage -- those also went unasked.

And no questions were asked at all about this new unnamed foundation Mr. Thorpe talked about that promises to help 22 counties, etc., and Boot Hill Museum, too. Seems like foundations make fees for managing money. That is a good question, also -- who will make money from this or will it be done volunteer with no fees?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Casino presentation -- need each citizen of SW Ks to come 10 times each year: half Latino

The over 1,000,000 visits a year to the casino required in the presentation by Butler National Services (ie, Butler National Gaming), means that over half of the visitors will be, of course, Latino. The ethic food area of the casino, it would seem, would be Mexican food. And of course, the 600 part-time and full-time workers -- goes without saying, that most will be speaking Spanish.

But, with no non-Anglo members of the city at the meeting today, this wasn't asked about -- nor was Boot Hill Museum promised anything directly in the presentation -- just a promise that a new, unnamed foundation would take money and distribute it to 22 counties -- no names, no officers, no nothing else official or yet on paper. Even the resolution voted on didn't have a number -- must have been some emergency to have such a fast meeting, huh.

That 90 percent or more of the profit made at the casino will go out of the county was not asked about, either.

There was talk of "high-roller" special rooms -- where people that didn't want to be seen, might gamble -- stars ?

Hey, this is going to be funny. More tomorrow after I stop laughing. By the way, Boot Hill Gaming, although the name was used, doesn't seem to be making the presentation anymore ? Can't be sure what's up with that corporation now.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Joint City/County Meeting, September 21, 2007 5:00 p.m.

City/County endorsement of Boot Hill Gaming/Butler National Casino Management Application Proposal

Gee, guess no else needs to apply, huh. Wonder if the previous business connections between the city commissioner (Smoll), the county commissioner (Goodnight - on Boot Hill Board, too) and Boot Hill Gaming Inc. might be an issue -- no wait -- they aren't (currently) on that Boot Hill Gaming Board [and it seems that Jeff Thorpe speaks for Butler National Gaming, an out of town business].

That other applicants might have a better offer for the city/county must not be important to the commissioners. If I were another applicant, I would bring a lawyer right away. Should be fun going. Can Smoll and Goodnight even vote on the issue -- but wait, that involves ethics, never mind. And what are we annexing ? Joe Bogner's land [Yes] ? [Update: at Thursday meeting, no word at all about funding from casino to Boot Hill Museum, at least not stated directly?]

Joint City/County Meeting
City Commission Chambers
Friday, September 21, 2007 5:00 p.m.

City Approval of Annexation Ordinance No. 3438


1. City/County endorsement of Boot Hill Gaming/Butler National Casino Management Application Proposal

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

CFAB Meeting, Thursday, Sept. 20, City Hall, 7 pm

Update, post meeting:

Boot Hill Gaming was not there [seems the Dodge City Globe reporter didn't hear Thorpe], but rather Jeff Thorpe, for Butler National Gaming -- not sure if he works for them or just has financial interest -- it wasn't made clear how he is Butler spokesman ? Butler wants to build casino maybe sometime next to events center -- that buys land from Butler [there's some capital] -- and then city pays for utilities up to 50 feet from casino -- that will save Butler millions. Also Butler doesn't want horses around so events center won't have horses. Butler should donate land for events center in return for all that savings, but that wasn't brought up.

Boot Hill Museum indicated that they will need $150,000 or so for next year, as they did this year. No action taken. They only have "100-ish" members, and did not talk about membership drives or fund raising, etc., normal for museums that need money.

Butler wants city/county commissions to back them before any other applicants make presentations, cut them off at the pass as it were.

Butler states they will have only 100 hotel rooms (much less than experts recommend), and a number of restaurants, one a buffet, one a (oh-boy) "upscale steak house." And retails stores. Bye-bye downtown Dodge. Bye-bye local restaurants. But then the Supreme Court of Kansas refuses to review that casino case yesterday -- adds months and months to anyone building anything to do with casinos.

CFAB member Ann Torrey even asked -- "what happens if we build the Events center next to a casino that doesn't get built?" Yep, that's a thought, Ann -- and an Events center that now will not have room for horses. So we'll need another events center after the first one and in addition to the civic center -- And that's a lot of money, folks.

Of concern is that Butler has a small profit for the 3-months ending Jan. 31, 2007 http://www.secinfo.com/dFf8.uc.htm --
$190,412 -- how they will be able to build $50 million casino is confusing.

And, yes, it is casino bud joe's land that is to be annexed by city, even before they know which applicant will build casino.


Of interest, given that this is CFAB (sans Greg Starks ?), that Boot Hill and Boot Hill Gaming are both making presentations. Citizens may want to come hear about their $30 million events center in this mix.

Community Facilities Advisory Board Agenda
September 20, 2007
City Hall Commission Chambers


Financial Report-Nannette Pogue, City Clerk

Status of Boot Hill Museum - Lara Brehm

Tourism Master Plan update - Heberling Assoc. Inc. - Ken Strobel, City Manager/City Attorney

Negotiation with Mike Burkhart update - Dodge Theater and adjacent buildings

Boot Hill Gaming - Jeff Thorpe

Friday, September 7, 2007

CFAB: Dodge City Raceway Park promoter steps down

Dodge City Raceway Park promoter steps down

"...I was happy to see the successes we had," he said. "I enjoyed working with people down at the track. But I just wasn't the right fit to be a city employee."

City manager and legal counsel Ken Strobel was unavailable for comment Thursday.


And CFAB wonders why we worry about them deciding about spending $30 million on an Events Center -- same CFAB chair Greg Starks -- can we say asphalt track -- that made all the earlier decisions. Gee, wonder how much more the track will cost this year ?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Community Facilities Advisory Board (CFAB) Membership

The Community Facilities Advisory Board was created to develop, plan, coordinate, initiate, oversee and provide advice and recommendations concerning the location, acquisition, construction, completion and operations of the ‘Why Not Dodge’ Projects. The Committee consists of one County Commissioner, one City Commissioner, four at-large members, and the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation or his/her designee

Dodge City, KS - Official Website - CFAB

Friday, August 24, 2007

Greg Starks resigns CFAB -- or, not ?

Greg Starks, rather late, resigns from the CFAB Committee -- or not -- says in the Dodge City Daily Globe "Starks steps down as CFAB head" that he is taking a "temporary leave of absence from the board ?"

I don't remember the "temporary not on the committee" part of the city rules ? Seems you are either on a committee or not. Either the committee has the number of voting members required or not, and the agreement between the city and the county on the Why Not Dodge projects certainly has the number of required members on CFAB in it.

Any one know about rules on this ?

Given the previous major impact of Mr. Starks and Boot Hill Gaming on the possible location of the Events Center (and our $30 million dollars in tax money)-- especially without full disclosure on his legal involvement on the Boot Hill Gaming board -- having a full committee should be the rule. Not just "don't look behind the curtain" style of committee membership.

Let your commission members know that a full CFAB is critical as we start to actually make decisions on how to spend a very large amount of tax money.

Jim Sherer
e-mail address: jim.sherer@yahoo.com
E. Kent Smoll
email address: ksmoll70@hotmail.com
Jim Lembright
email address: jlembright@cox.net
Rick Sowers
email address: rsowers@starrtech.net
Terry Lee
e-mail address: commissionerterrylee@yahoo.com

Friday, August 17, 2007

Update: correction re Kent Smoll & conflict

A few boards and blogs (not this one) have suggested that Mr. Smoll's client list includes Joe Bogner and Jim Coffin. This is not true. Mr. Smoll is not involved in business with either. It is only fair that this be pointed out.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Updated: Boot Hill Museum -- always a bridemaid, never the bride

Update: Jeff Thorpe states Butler Gaming applicant (nee, Boot Hill Gaming, Inc.) will include Boot Hill Museum Inc. and an unnamed, being organized, non-profit related to tourism for percentage of profit of the casino. Next update: When applications are made.

Boot Hill Museum cutting Boot Hill Gaming Inc. [See above update] Boot Hill Museum Inc., Boot Hill Gaming Inc. subsidiary looking at split

Several people who served on Boot Hill Gaming's board, including Ford County Commission Chairman Kim Goodnight, Dodge City Mayor Kent Smoll and former City Manager Jeff Pederson, have stepped down to avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest.

Community Facilities Advisory Board Chairman Greg Starks resigned from the Boot Hill Gaming board last month after the CFAB expressed interest in building the special events center alongside the casino.

[Update: Jeff Thorpe has promised that Boot Hill Gaming Inc./Butler Gaming Inc. will apply for casino management, based on guaranteed money to Boot Hill Museum Inc.

Still an issue: that your $30 million in tax money will be sent to the casino -- mini-Civic Center --

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Greg Starks resigns Boot Hill Gaming Inc. -- wrong board for him to leave

At least Mr. Starks has publically quit Boot Hill Gaming Inc. board (per Dodge City Daily Globe) -- but clearly, he should have been made to leave CFAB Board and Chair position. Now that he is done with pushing the much smaller, for the casino's profit, Events Center, he has cleared his plate for the moment.
Starks said Tuesday he felt uncomfortable with his dual roles on the CFAB and the Boot Hill Gaming board, and he wanted to separate himself from that because sales tax money cannot be used for the casino project. "I didn't want anything to be suspect," he said.

But there were some local laws that were overlooked a long, long time. And it is a little late for concerns about "suspect" decisions made by CFAB/Starks/Boot Hill Gaming Inc. -- ie. location of your tax built mini-events center. [Key points in bold.]

Dodge City Municipal Code

(e) Conflict of Interest - No elected or
appointive city official or employee, whether paid or unpaid, shall engage in any business or transaction or shall have a financial or other personal interest, direct or indirect, which is incompatible with the proper
discharge of his or her duties in the public interest or
would tend to impair his or her independence of judgment
or action in the performance of his or her official
duties. Personal as distinguished from financial interest
includes an interest arising from blood or marriage
relationships or close business or political association.
Specific conflicts of interest are enumerated below
for the guidance of officials and employees:

(1) Incompatible Employment - No elected or
appointive city official or employee shall engage in or
accept private employment or render services for private interests when such employment or service is incompatible with the proper discharge of his or her official duties or would tend to impair his or her independence of judgment or action in the performance of his or her official duties.

(2) Disclosure of Confidential Information -
No elected or appointive city official or employee, shall,
without proper legal authorization, disclose confidential
information concerning the property, government or affairs
of the city. Nor shall he or she use such information to
advance the financial or other private interest of
, herself or others.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

And the lucky winner is -- Budweiser Joe

As we reported earlier, Casino Budweiser Joe Bogner -- as reported in the Dodge City Daily Globe -- is one lucky guy on that land sale -- why not with all those connections. Hey, he didn't even vote for his own sell/purchase -- something Mr. Starks just doesn't get.

Speaking of just not getting things, seems that some Dodge City Commissioners think you got to make money to have a conflict of interest. As we posted earlier -- no, you do not have to make money -- the potential is enough for conflict under the Kansas Attorney General rulings. (See: Kansas: definition of substantial interest

Which one of the tourism venues cut out of CFAB money by Greg Starks should officially ask the City Manager/City Attorney/ etc. to rule on CFAB Chair/Boot Hill Gaming Inc. Board Member Starks -- whether he can legally vote for anything connected with any potential benefits to the casino, ie., the location of the Events Center.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Contest: Is this first time the Daily Globe noted G. Starks being on Boot Hill Gaming board ?

From Aug. 10, 2007, Dodge City Daily Globe:

"During the Community Facilities Advisory Board's July meeting, Chairman Greg Starks (an active member of Boot Hill Gaming) and other members showed interest in developing the special events center alongside a state-run casino, which Ford County voters approved June 26.

"Dodge City Commissioner Rick Sowers said aside from the possibility of cross-marketing the events center with the casino, the city could also save money on infrastructure costs if the two are close to each other.

"Sowers said he was optimistic about the future development of the events center with Global as well as possibly working with a casino developer.

"My hope is we can all move forward as a community," Sowers said. "I hope we can finally put all this bitterness and mistrust behind us."

Future undecided: Hotly debated special events center the final piece of the ‘Why Not Dodge?’ puzzle, By Mark Vierthaler

Contest -- is this the first time that the Daily Globe pointed out Mr. Stark's membership in the casino applicant Boot Hill Gaming Inc. ?

How do the groups that will not use a casino meeting room feel about "moving forward"?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

New Dodge City manager -- What's going on ... ?

According to the Dodge City Daily Globe today -- Ken Strobel is now both city manager and city attorney. To bad that Dodge City can't get a trained manager -- but then, also wonder what city commissioners, or their clients, Ken has represented ? Any ?

Really weird all around. And no public hearings at all -- Public -- just keep paying those taxes -- city commission doesn't need your thoughts on change in professional operations of the city -- and I bet that the City Manager is never in trouble legally with the City Attorney -- any takers ? And, of course, what this may mean for casino applicants (outside of Boot Hill Gaming Inc.) getting fair treatment by city is open question -- especially with the Dodge City Mayor and the Ford County Commission chair having both recently resigned from that board ?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Makes your heart warm when good things happen to good people

Can't name names yet, but it seems that good things have happened, almost out of the blue, to good people, re: land sales for Event/Casino Center.

Stay tuned as we found out what lucky fellow has sold land to the Dodge City/Boot Hill Gaming Inc./CFAB/Ford County Commission -- hard to know which name should come first each time, isn't it ?

Only millions of dollars involved of public money. Hey, nice to see a fellow get a break, huh?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Boot Hill Gaming controls CFAB -- "agreement in concept" ?

"Boot Hill Gaming currently has an agreement in concept for the option for purchase of lands for a hotel and casino. The 390-acre tract of land is located at the west end of the U.S. 50 bypass.

The Community Facilities Advisory Board has already agreed that an ideal location for the special events center would be next to the casino. The board hopes to work with the casino's management company in the future to make that possible, according to CFAB Chairman Greg Starks."

Dodge City Globe Article

And Boot Hill Gaming Board member Starks -- by the way. Seems that Starks forgets that They is We and We is We We. And that ideal location certainly means that historic Dodge City will not be near the citizens events center.

Move Ford County Courthouse ?

[Ford County Commission] Heard a presentation by HMN Architects, Inc., the firm in charge of designing the new law enforcement center. The original site plan will be tweaked to move the jail east of its originally planned location, which will allow space for expansion of the jail to the east. In addition, there is the possibility of placing a courthouse to the west, if the county feels moving the courthouse is necessary. -- per the Dodge City Globe Ford County Courthouse Move?

What ? Guess they want the city to move -- your choice -- west or east.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Kansas: Definition of a substantial interest RE: Conflict of interest questions

February 21, 2002
Opinion No. 2002-01

K.S.A. 75-4301a provides the definition of a substantial interest. It states in pertinent part:

“(a) 'Substantial interest' means any of the following:

. . .

“(4) If an individual or an individual's spouse holds the position of officer, director, associate, partner or proprietor of any business, other than an organization exempt from federal taxation of corporations under section 501(c)(3), (4), (6), (7), (8), (10) or (19) of chapter 26 of the United States code, the individual has a substantial interest in that business, irrespective of the amount of compensation received by the individual or individual's spouse.”

[Blogger Note: Seems that Mr. Starks, by being a director of Boot Hill Gaming Inc., does hold a "substantial interest" -- whether the decisions involving $30 million dollars of tax money is affected by his interest in the private casino group that is wanting a certain placement of the Events Center to benefit the casino is THE question .......]

Let's keep an eye on Global's promises --

[With all the promises over the years -- let's start keeping an eye on the ball, as it were -- Bold added to important facts stated by Global ... ]

Global Entertainment Corporation Announces New Event Center Development Project for Dodge City, Kansas

May 30, 2007 - Global Entertainment Corporation (AMEX: GEE), announced that on May 10, 2007, an agreement was signed for the development of a multi-purpose events center to be located in Dodge City, Kansas. The development project was approved by the Dodge City and Ford County Commissions. International Coliseums Company (ICC), a Global subsidiary that has completed multiple projects of this nature, will lead the design phase and have oversight responsibility for the construction phase that is expected to begin in December 2007.

Dodge City, situated in the center of America’s Heartland, has a population of approximately 34,000 and boasts with pride its Western heritage. Dodge City and the surrounding area have experienced growth unequaled by any other Eastern [sic Western] Kansas city, which makes the feasibility and long-term success of this project achievable. The area is well known for historical and rodeo events which the new center will easily accommodate with additional events to include concerts, trade shows, family shows, agricultural events and other civic functions. The closest major city is Wichita, roughly 150 miles east of Dodge City.

The new $33.7 million multi-purpose events center is well suited to enhance nearby attractions and allow room for future development. The center will have approximately 4,300 seats, with designated VIP seating and luxury suites as well.

Steven J. Bielewicz, president of Global Properties, said, "It has been a pleasure presenting our plans to the city and county commissions for a multi-purpose events center that will serve Dodge City and the surrounding communities, and provide a new option for a wide range of entertainment and civic events. ICC will now move forward to refine our design to meet the specific requirements of Dodge City. Our Encore division will be engaged in a multi-year agreement to manage the center, which will include staffing and catering. Under Encore, our licensing and advertising division, GEMS, will handle sales and marketing services. Our GetTix subsidiary will provide exclusive ticketing services for all events held at the events center."
Global Entertainment link

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ford County to raise property taxes if sales tax voted out ?

From The Hutchinson News

Dodge sales tax fight plays out in court, By Jon Ruhlen

The latest chapter in the saga of the "Why Not Dodge?" half-cent sales tax and the beleaguered attempts to build a special events center played out in Ford County District Court on Wednesday.

Jack Dalton, a retired attorney, recently filed a motion requesting that Senior Judge Ronald Innes prohibit Ford County from holding an election that could result in the repeal the county's share of the sales tax, which is supposed to fund the event center.

Innes, who ordered local governments to make construction of the events center a priority a year ago, will now decide the election issue.

Opponents of the events center gathered enough signatures on a petition earlier in the year to prompt the Ford County Commission to schedule a special election for Tuesday.

In light of the pending motion, the commission has postponed the election until the judge issues a ruling.

Dalton and Dodge City legal counsel Ken Strobel argued that a repeal of the Ford County share of the sales tax would violate the contract clause in the U.S. Constitution, which protects individuals' rights to enter into agreements.

In his motion, Dalton argued that allowing the vote would create chaos and confusion for local governments.

"An instrument of democracy (the right to vote) should not be used as a tool for anarchy," Dalton wrote.

Ford County legal counsel Glen Kerbs argued that the repeal itself would not constitute a violation of the contract clause because the county could cover its share pledged for the project through other sources of funding, such as property taxes. [NOTE: this quote, directly from the Hutch News, has been questioned -- see comments attached to this post for that information]

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Casino location ? City buys 285 acres

Dodge City Globe, July 4, 2007
"285 acres purchased by city west of 14th and north of the by-pass" ? Is this correct? Just was clearing out older papers -- darn, didn't read the paper that day.

Any thoughts ? Article link added: Water rights and ground

CFAB Chair a conflict of interests?

Several private communications with us and careful study of definitions indicates that Mr. Starks' dual positions as chair of the CFAB and board member with Boot Hill Gaming, Inc. may not constitute actual "conflict of interest". However, there is little doubt that it is an ethical indiscretion on Mr. Starks part. We strongly suggest that anyone who shares this opinion privately encourage Mr. Starks to resign
one position or the other in order to save himself and both entities the appearance (if not he fact) of impropriety.

It goes without saying that since Mr. Starks is also a real estate broker, and since both the special events center and casino will require real estate acquisition as a building site, he should additionally refuse himself from any deliberation concerning the location of the new structures as he may have a vested financial interest in the outcome.

Finally, it is significant that the architectural firm hired by the city to
investigate a master plan for these two structures, in context with the rest of our community and in order to provide the most benefit to us, has only this week (for theumpty-umpth time) told the city again that it would be absolute folly to build either structure somewhere other than near the city core.

By our recollection, we now have only about 6 professional studies we have paid for which say the same thing about location of these structures. Several of which suggest that it would be financial suicide for the city to build elsewhere.

We wonder if those who advocate building somewhere on the "fence line" believe they are more erudite and experienced than 6 separate groups of professional planners. What do you think?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

One answer to the conflict of interest of Mr. Starks

"Those with a conflict of interest are expected to recuse themselves from (i.e., abstain from) decisions where such a conflict exists. The imperative for recusal varies depending upon the circumstance and profession, either as common sense ethics, codified ethics, or by statute. For example, if the governing board of a government agency is considering hiring a consulting firm for some task, and one firm being considered has, as a partner, a close relative of one of the board's members, then that board member should not vote on which firm is to be selected. In fact, to minimize any conflict, the board member should not participate in any way in the decision, including discussions."

IE: Mr. Starks should not vote on any decisions affecting the location of the Events Center, which, by his own statement, will affect the location of the casino, which he is an active private board member of one applicant, and intends to benefit financially. Actually, he should be removed by the City Commission/County Commission from the CFAB board, but hey, neither the of the other board members quit their public positions -- they quit their Boot Hill Gaming Inc. Board positions -- at least they read the cards right about That conflict ... 1) wonder if they'll be back on BHG Inc Board; 2) Boot Hill Museum Inc. owns Boot Hill Gaming Inc. (FC Chair on board of Boot Hill) 3) Mayor still has large clients on board of Boot Hill Gaming Inc.

Gee, what a confused mess this is -- let's just hope that the interest of the public is actually being considered by all involved. Not clear to me what the law is on this type of mess, but with millions of dollars involved -- both tax dollars and future private gain -- it is not a small mess. (Would the State of Kansas be smart in not selecting Boot Hill Gaming Inc. due to the potential court issues that other applicants could bring?) I will say that Mr. Thorpe has remained clearer in his goals -- private involvement with public influence but not voting nor on public committees. He wouldn't fall under this question, I would think.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

When "they" means "us" and why churches are cut out of meeting center : two centers, actually

How confusing is it when the chair of the "Why Not Dodge?" CFAB committee is also on the private Boot Hill Gaming Inc. Board -- a for-profit private applicant for the casino management in Dodge City -- or not Dodge City depending on location. (At least the county commission chair and the mayor of Dodge City resigned from the private Boot Hill Gaming Inc.)

Every time CFAB chair Greg Starks said "they" as in "they [Boot Hill Gaming Inc.] said they wanted the events center near the casino" -- he meant "we want the gambling casino near the tax-funded events center" -- but never cleared that up until the end when he was asked if he was still on the Boot Hill Gaming Inc. Board -- "yes" was his answer. "We'll put the events center where we want it and the casino will follow," Greg Starks. No doubt! But which "we" was he speaking for -- Boot Hill Gaming Inc. or the CFAB public position he holds?

Even in large cities, this seems to be a conflict, but -- hey, Dodge never had rules anyway, from the start -- what with the "soiled-doves" & the illegal booze, and the gambling of our Old West history -- a little conflict of interest over a few $ million dollars is nothing in 2007. At least, it didn't matter to anyone on the CFAB Committee or to the City Attorney. Does it make you wonder what else is going down? (At least two other groups are moving to apply for the management of the casino, by the way. Both Kansas based; both experienced at gambling management.)

And the potential agro expo hall being built on the last of the Western Trail -- "we don't need no historic sites," I guess. (Oh, you didn't vote on that -- guess what -- it doesn't seem to matter to CFAB what you voted on -- sales tax money is free money -- right? Endless free money.) So we'll have two centers to support. (What if the county pulls out?)

And about the meetings concerning that agro expo hall -- as Rick Sowers, City of Dodge City Commissioner said, "Am I out of the loop. Did we authorize a meeting?" No, the county did.

Oh yes, and sales tax (circa $350,000) money being used for Ross Blvd. street extension by Legends Park -- hey, its free money, right ?

So, get ready Dodge City -- no meeting rooms will be built in the city owned facility is my bet -- 2 to 1 odds I'll give you -- and if a church or a state group doesn't like meeting at a casino -- hey, go to Garden City.

But it is nice to at least hear Greg Starks being honest about something -- "Yes, I'm still on the Boot Hill Gaming Inc. Board." (Seems odd that the City Attorney is having discussion with one applicant already?)

About all that was done at the CFAB meeting about a location -- it is clear that the "Why Not Dodge?" Events Center will probably not be in Dodge -- at least that question is answered; "No!" -- is what CFAB has said (so far). "Here comes the judge; here comes the judge." We'll await the next development. But it was clear that the city sales tax will pay for the utilities expandsion needed for the events center -- bonus for the casino! (And Dodge City will get cut out of the money from the casino IF it is not in the city limits, as the state law seems to read.)

Oh, and the promised historic venue consultant, or the promised Dodge Theater review -- nothing has been done about those issues at all. Reminder: the consultant was directly connected and included in the motion for "emergency" money to keep Boot Hill Museum open longer. And Ford County still doesn't have an actual county museum, the only county of size in Kansas without one.

[Kansas Attorney General on what a conflict of interest is: "official has an interest not shared in common with the other members of the public. A conflict of interest has also been expressed as contradictory desires tugging the official in opposite directions.(6) A "personal interest" is one type of a conflict of interest.

Because the term "personal interest" is not statutorily defined, we turn to common law and find guidance concerning conflicts of interest within a 1972 Kansas case:

"We, of course, recognize the common law principle that a public officer owes an undivided duty to the public whom he serves and is not permitted to place himself in a position that will subject him to conflicting duties or cause him to act other than for the best interests of the public. If he acquires any interest adverse to those of the public, without a full disclosure it is a betrayal of his trust and a breach of confidence." December 31, 2001 ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINION NO. 2001-56}

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Monday, July 9, 2007

CFAB Meeting Wednesday, 4 p.m., City Commission Chamber, City Hall, Dodge City, July 11, 2007 -- Special Meeting to discuss location and funding of Western Tourism Venues [corrected date and time]

Questions to be raised include future status of c. $400,000 for Western tourism venues, Dodge Theater building review, and when the museum consultant agreed to by all venues and included in Boot Hill Museum funding motion, will start.

Additional discussions planned include the issues involved in cross-ownership/membership of Boot Hill Gaming and CFAB, and whether the intend of the 1997 vote was to have the Events Center help downtown Dodge and whether it was voted to have meeting rooms useable by any public group -- clearly something that would not happen if the only meeting rooms were in a casino hotel.

More information to follow on time and place of CFAB meeting.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Moving Right Along now....

Well, interested readers, much has changed since the last post to this blog! First of all, the CFAB
voted to investigate purchase and restoration of the Dodge Theater from Mike Burkhart with the possibility of using it as a "home away from home" for the famous western singing group "Riders in the Sky". They also voted to pursue a contract up to $80K to bring Dr. Michael Husband here and develop a master tourism plan. These two gestures were, at the time, felt to be a step in the right direction for Dodge City tourism and for downtown revitalization - two subjects which have classically received only lip service from the CFAB and commissions for many years.

A few months later, the CFAB recommended to the joint commissions that Global Entertainment (International Colliseums) be awarded the contract for the Special Event Center. The Commissions approved the recommendation and voted to award the contract. Shortly thereafter, the Ford County Commission put forward a ballot initiative for a 1/2 percent
sales tax increase to pay for a new county jail. This, they intended to follow with a second ballot initiative to repeal the 1/2 percent sales tax voted in back in 1997 to finance the county's share of the "Why Not Dodge" projects including the special events center. Local retired attorney Jack Dalton has, to date, filed an injunction halting that question temporarily.

Then Boot Hill Gaming, Inc. stopped all the presses as they guided a bill through the Kansas Legislature which would allow casino gambling in Dodge City upon approval of the voters of Dodge City and Ford county. A local election followed on June 26, 2007 on that question with the result that the electorate approved a single lottery gaming facility for Ford County and Dodge City.

Boot Hill Gaming, in their election campaign, claimed the casino would:

  • Increase Tourism
  • Lower Property Taxes
  • Compliment Existing Local Businesses
  • Bring 670 new full-time (FTE) jobs to the area
  • Bring $18 million in annual pay and benefits to the area
  • Bring $3.25 million in annual revenue for local county and municipal projects

The slogan on their poster said "Preserving Our Past, Building the Future".

As of this writing, the special events center which we were in such a hurry to vote on is now on hold as are the promises of the CFAB concerning the Dodge Theater and the master tourism plan. Additionally, the city attorney informs us that there will be no organizational funding for tourism non-profits this year as there always has been in the past.

It appears that the gambling initiative has already had huge impact on the community by bringing everything to a grinding halt. What we will now attempt to do with this blog is to track the promises made by the CFAB, the City and County Commissions, and Boot Hill Gaming, Inc.

These people have made some pretty broad and sweeping promises to the community and it behooves someone to provide oversight.

Come back at any time to check on how things are progressing....

Your comments are also welcome via email as long as they are polite and reasonable. We have a "delete" key specially reserved for partisan rants, spam and ignorant raving.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Questions Answered...

Some folks already have questions which we are happy to answer as follows:

1) Isn't it true that Riders in the Sky coming to Dodge City is just a possibility - that we are only hoping we can attract them? There is a big difference between wanting them to use the Dodge Theater as a home base and having them actually do so!

Glad you asked. The group toured the Dodge Theater on January 12th. They were already excited about the possibility even before they got here. Too Slim (their bass player) sat in a theater seat and commented, "This feels like home"! In fact, they have committed and will start planning their shows in Dodge City as soon as (and if!) the Heritage Development Group is brought under contract. It is, for all intents and purposes, a "done deal".

2) I thought the Special Events Center was supposed to be a "quality of life" addition for the town. That it is expected to lose money. Tourism isn't a quality of life issue. Wasn't this all decided long ago? Why are we going through all of this mess again?

An interesting question. If, as you say, this was "decided long ago", then it must have been done in some smoke filled back room somewhere in violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act. This is not to say it isn't true, just that if it is, we should all be storming certain governing groups with pitchforks for cutting us out of the decision process in violation of the law. Let's take a look at this...

We (and every community that has experienced a tourism upswing) strongly disagree about the idea that tourism isn't a quality of life issue. Tourism brings money. Money brings prosperity. Prosperity improves your quality of life. Hence, any facility we build which promises to pay for itself and attract new money into the community IS a quality of life issue.
We want to ask you why you would be satisfied with a Special Event Center that gobbles up your tax money when, if we are careful about it, we can have one that actually brings economic prosperity to the community? Why does anyone think that we can only have one or the other, but not both?

3) Who are you? Who are the people involved with this blog?

We are a group of concerned citizens who are doing our level best to keep our leaders informed - to keep them from making poor decisions solely because they are uninformed.

Thank you for your questions and please keep them coming!! We are anxious to make sure that all Dodge City and Ford County residents have good, solid information on this multimillion dollar project in our community. People with good information make good decisions for the future!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Chance to Make a Difference!!

Well, by now many of you know that we have a terrific opportunity to capitalize upon our western heritage and inject new life into our economy. Two proposals have been made to the Community Facilities Advisory Board (CFAB) for our new special events center. For the near future, you can expect to read a lot more about the proposals, but we encourage everyone to actively participate in the selection process by providing your ideas (positive ones, please - no counterproductive griping!) to the members of the CFAB and our City and County Commissioners.

Here's how we see the comparison at the moment and we stress that all of this is subject to change as both proposals will be modified over time.

At present we feel that the Heritage Development Group (HDG) presents the best plan for taking advantage of our western heritage, economic viability, event center usage, national & international marketing, and bringing "new" money into town rather than recirculating local money.

There. We've said it. Unless the Global Entertainment Corporation (GEC) extensively modifies it's proposal to include the items above, we will strongly support the HDG proposal.

One of the "cappers" for the HDG's proposal for us is its concept of integrating with existing tourism attractions in Dodge City, including the Boot Hill Museum. Everyone should be aware that their first act (if we approve their proposal) will be to bring the great group "Riders in the Sky" to Dodge City on a near permanent basis. When this group was in Dodge City on January 12th, they visited the Dodge Theater and were blown away by the opportunity that building promises. Their idea is to make Dodge City a sort of home base for "Riders in the Sky". HDG plans to renovate and reopen the Dodge Theater as a home for the group where they are already putting together a live recording from Dodge City as well as a venue for their regular radio shows (National Public Radio series) "Riders Radio Theater".

This is exactly the way Branson, MO got their start. What kind of fools would we have to be to turn down this offer!