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The Bishop Paiute Tribe is getting off to a busy start in 2012 with a number of projects aimed at improving the community and the offerings at its largest commercial enterprise.
The tribe is currently working on a renovation process at the Paiute Palace Casino to update decor, provide more room at the TuKaNovie restaurant and create what it calls a more comfortable gaming experience.
â€śImprovements and upgrades to the exterior and the interior of the property are currently in full swing,â€ť Tribal Marketing Director Tim McGlynn said in a press release. â€śThe plan calls for a new look both inside and out, as well as expansion of the restaurant and the creation of a lounge area. The carpet is being replaced in all public areas and the restrooms are being remodeled.â€ť
McGlynn said the casino will not be getting rid of any games as a result of the work, and will remain open seven days a week.
â€śWe are working closely with the construction crew so we can work around them,â€ť McGlynn said. â€śIf they have work to do, we make sure we are back up to full capacity during our busy times.â€ť
Casino General Manager Bill Macdonald said he expects the entire project to be completed in the first quarter of the New Year.
â€śWe are excited to offer our loyal customers and visitors to the Eastern Sierra corridor an improved product and first-class entertainment facility,â€ť Macdonald said.
He added that the new lounge area at the casino will feature a stage, and the tribe hopes to attract local musicians to perform, as well as some larger, â€śLas Vegasâ€ť style acts.
The casino is planning a grand re-opening celebration when all renovations are complete some time in the spring.
The tribe is also in the process of obtaining a beer and wine license that will give the casino the ability to serve alcohol to visitors.
The Bishop City Council and the Inyo County Board of Supervisors both had meetings earlier this week to receive comments from the community and local law enforcement on the license, and neither meeting drew negative comments.
McGlynn said the tribe is still working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and state officials on the license, and if all goes well, the tribe hopes to have the process completed by spring.
Macdonald said he expects the casino to hire approximately 35 new employees once the beer and wine license is approved and the casino begins serving alcohol.
â€śWe expect traffic to increase at the restaurant, and we will be hiring bartenders, bar backs, more security and cocktail waitresses,â€ť he said.
Before the process for applying for a beer and wine license began, the Bishop Paiute Tribe took a vote. As a whole, the tribe agreed to proceed, and apply for the license in November 2011.
The tribe also recently donated $11,000 to the Bishop Police Department for improvements to the PDâ€™s Live-Scan fingerprint system, which was completed earlier this month.
The project, which began in early 2011, was funded by the Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Special Distribution Fund.
The PD applied to the local Bishop Paiute Tribe and Paiute Palace Casino for the grant and was awarded the funds for the project in May of 2011.
â€śThe project was originally scheduled for completion in August of 2011 however issues within the California Department of Justice and the budget of the State of California resulted in delays outside the local level,â€ť Bishop Police Chief Chris Carter said.
The Live-Scan fingerprint equipment is used for a variety of services to benefit the department and the general public, including the identification of criminal suspects, registration and tracking of offenders, licensing and pre-employment background checks. In 2011, the PD provided Live-Scan services to more than 600 members of the general public and Live-Scan was used to process approximately 300 offenders.
The upgrade project includes improvements to the existing technology as well as now providing the ability to collect DNA in those cases where it is mandated or appropriate.
â€śThe Bishop Police Department will soon be expanding the hours of operation for our Live-Scan service to the general public in order to better serve the community,â€ť Carter said. â€śThe Department would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the Bishop Paiute Tribe, the Paiute Palace Casino and the members of the Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Committee for their work and assistance in this project.â€ť