Mary Anderson didn’t have much time to stop for an interview. It was just after 1 p.m., and the Atlanta resident had been up since 6 a.m. in her quest to experience opening day at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel in Murphy. With the purple-and-white ribbon freshly severed at the door of the new casino, Anderson was on a mission — press through the crowd and get playing as quickly as possible.
The new Valley River Casino and Hotel built by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on the outskirts of Murphy will have far-reaching impacts on the far western corner of the state, forever changing the economic and cultural landscape of the region.
Sam Olbekson has never met a duality he couldn’t reconcile. As the lead architect for the $110 million Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel opening near Murphy next week, Olbekson’s design will make a lasting impression of the region on millions of visitors for decades to come.
Spirits were high last week as Lumpy Lambert made his morning lap around the floor of the new casino. The count down was on, with just a week to go until the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians would open its new $110 million casino on the edge of Murphy. And the machine was firing on all cylinders.
The day after Chief-Elect Patrick Lambert takes his oath of office, Principal Chief Michell Hicks will take over Lambert’s old job as executive director of the Tribal Gaming Commission.
There was nothing ambiguous about Patrick Lambert’s win in the race for Cherokee Principal Chief last week. His victory came in a landslide of 71 percent.
A bid to make the Cherokee police chief’s position an elected one isn’t dead, but Tribal Council has voted to complete a study examining the pros and cons of such a move before making a choice. Following a lengthy discussion at their July meeting and a two-and-a-half-hour work session later that month, the council voted to embark on a feasibility study examining the possible effects of the idea and needs in the police department.
Joe Martin had never worked for a newspaper or owned a handgun when he took the reins of the tribally owned Cherokee One Feather in 1995.
But when the first changed, so did the second. Then a 26-year-old whose only job experience since graduation from college was as a cage cashier at the casino, Martin found himself fast-tracked to a steep, steep learning curve.
With elections a week away and threat of a lawsuit still hanging, the Cherokee Tribal Council is considering a proposed budget that includes a pay raise of nearly 5 percent for its members.
If Patrick Lambert wins his bid for principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, he expects to be looking a monstrous political version of a honey-do list when Election Day is over.