Archive for April, 2011

ST. JOSEPH, Mich — Cean Burgeson always knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. It just took him a long time to finally get there. As a boy living in suburban Detroit, he liked to write stories and draw pictures, always using his creative talents whenever possible. His teachers encouraged him to continue writing throughout high school, college, and graduate school, but his interests took him elsewhere.

He roamed the country working in television, radio, marketing, communications, public relations, casinos, and the entertainment industry, with stops in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, northern Michigan, and northern California. Now, with his feet firmly planted in southwestern Michigan, Burgeson is ready to settle down and use his vast background and experience to help local businesses with their writing and communications needs.

“It was fun moving around and having the unique opportunity to work all over the country in a number of different positions,” said Burgeson. “But now it is time to settle down in one place permanently with my family and follow my passion for writing and marketing communications.”

Burg Communications provides marketing consultancy, public relations, and writing services for businesses of all sizes across the country. Cean Burgeson’s current client list includes casino clients in California and an insurance firm in Phoenix, Ariz. He is also a published freelance writer with works appearing in a number of print publications, as well as a writer of articles for the web on a variety of topics, including marketing, social media, legal issues, insurance, home construction, childrens topics, fashion, and health. Versatile in writing for several different audiences, he is a ghost writer and SEO article marketing author with works appearing on websites originating out of the U.S., U.K., Australia, and East Africa.

Advertisements

Carrying a concealed weapon (also known as CCW) is a term used to describe carrying a concealed pistol or similar weapon in public. Forty-eight states have laws which allow citizens to carry a concealed weapon. The process may have varying degrees of difficulty, depending on your state of residence. These permits go by many names, such as Concealed Handgun License (CHL), Concealed Pistol License (CPL), or Concealed or Carry Permit (CCP). If you are lucky enough to live in a state that allows private citizens to carry a concealed weapon, the process involves a number of steps.

Step 1
Purchase a gun. This is not absolutely required, but will make the process of getting a concealed carry permit much easier. When you take the required handgun safety course, the instructor will often have a limited number of handguns available for you to use. You will be much more competent and have a greater chance of passing if you use your own gun, however.

Step 2
Practice shooting your gun. Make sure you enjoy shooting before you go through all of the trouble to obtain a concealed pistol license. Practice will also help you when it comes time to take a handgun safety course.

Step 3
Enroll in a certified handgun safety course. You can find a course that will satisfy the local requirements for obtaining your concealed carry license at the local shooting range. Don’t expect to pass automatically just by showing up, though. You will be required to demonstrate your ability to shoot safely on the range and must also pass a rigorous written exam.

Step 4
Get a concealed carry permit application packet. In most states, these can be obtained at the county administration office or local sheriff’s department.

Step 5
Check to make sure you qualify. Most states require that you are:
1) 21 years of age
2) A citizen of the United States
3) A resident of the state (This is not required in some states. Check local laws.)
4) Have successfully completed a pistol safety course
5) Have no record of mental illness or a felony conviction
6) Have no record of misdemeanors involving alcohol (a complete list of misdemeanors will be listed with your packet or on the state website)

This is not a complete list. The requirements will vary by state or local jurisdiction. Some states have very simple requirements which allow any law abiding citizen to obtain a permit, while others are very stringent and may only offer a few permits per year per county.

Step 6
Get fingerprinted. Fingerprinting is generally done by you local sheriff’s department. The application packet or your county clerk will be able to give you instructions for getting fingerprinted.

Step 7
Complete and turn in your application. You will need to fill out the application and turn it in at the county clerk’s office or similar local jurisdiction with one or two passport quality photographs and a copy of your handgun safety course completion certificate. Some clerk’s offices may be able to take a photograph for a nominal fee.

Once your application is submitted, it will be reviewed by a local gun board and your permit will be issued or denied generally within 45 days. The amount of time for approval may vary by state. If you are denied, most states also have an appeal process. Details on this should be included in your application packet.

HARTFORD, Mich. — Michiana gamblers will have a new place to play this summer. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, owners of Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., announced Tuesday at a media event that its newest casino, Four Winds Hartford, is scheduled to open in August of 2011. The casino is being constructed on Red Arrow Highway in Hartford, approximately two and a half miles west of the City, between exits 41 and 46 on I-94.

According to Four Winds General Manager Matt Harkness, Four Winds Hartford will be a 52,000 square foot facility, and will maintain the same look and feel as their New Buffalo property. The new casino will feature 500 slot machines and nine table games, including blackjack and roulette, as well as a 100 seat restaurant and bar. The existing Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo is larger, at 135,000 square feet, 3,000 slots, approximately 70 table games, four restaurants, and a 165 room hotel. Members of their player loyalty program, the W Club, will be able to accure points and redeem comps and offers at both properties.
Advertisement

“We are thrilled to bring this first class entertainment facility to the community along with the hundreds of new jobs. We also expect the casino to support the development of ancillary businesses in the area,”  said Pokagon’s Tribal Chairman Matt Wesaw.

Approximately 300 permanent new jobs will be created at Four Winds Hartford, with Tribal members filling about one third of those positions. A job fair for the general public will be held in the coming months. Applicants can apply for these jobs at www.fourwindscasino.com/employment.

The Digital Video Recorder is perhaps the greatest invention of the last 20 years — at least in my opinion. There are probably a few folks who are the beneficiaries of artificial hearts or breakthrough cancer medicines who will disagree with me. With my magical DVR, no longer do I have to wait through obnoxious commercials for products I will never purchase in order to see an episode of “Hell’s Kitchen.” (Who are these people buying the “Sham Wow” anyway?)  Now, I have the power to fast forward to the good parts of “The Bachelor” and “Celebrity Apprentice” (if there are any, that is).

As a busy father of three, watching a television program when it actually airs is often not even a remote possibility. I am required to administer baths, prepare gargantuan amounts of hot dog and macaroni and cheese meals, or break up fights over whose turn it is to use the Xbox to kill digital Al-Qaida soldiers. Thank goodness for the ability to hit “pause” while I separate my wrestling children off of one another, so I can return later to see if the gang on “Swamp People” were  able to capture the monster alligator that has alluded them all season.

Another wonder of the DVR is the ability to save several episodes of a program and watch them all at the same time. Hollywood producers who try to create cliff hanger episodes are foiled by my remote control as I move deftly from one week’s episode of “Justified” to the next on my hard drive. Racy shows with adult themes and potty words can also be reserved for later at night when mommy and daddy have tucked the kiddos into bed. The DVR is the answer to a busy parent’s prayers.

Cache Creek Casino Resort in Brooks, California is situated about halfway between Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. Widely regarded as the biggest and best casino in Northern California, Cache Creek has operated a gaming operation since 1985, when they started as a small bingo hall. Today, the 415,000 square foot facility boasts more than 2,300 slots, 150 table games, a poker room, nine unique restaurants, a 200 room four diamond hotel, day spa, gas station, and an 18-hole championship golf course.

On the spacious patio at Cache Creek Casino Resort’s Yocha-De-He Golf Club sits a massive stone column with a majestic stone eagle perched on its top, adorned with 18 varieties of birds found throughout the surrounding Capay Valley. “When I created this, I was thinking about a really good game – 18 birdies for 18 holes,” jokes sculptor Doug Hyde, the Native American artist who created a group of statues to decorate the area surrounding the course’s new club house.

Made of limestone, which absorbs rather than reflects light, the large sculpture he described tells a story which sprung from Hyde’s imagination as he worked to create the piece on a ranch just down the road from Cache Creek. “As the day passes, each of these birds will stand out when the sun moves past them,” said Hyde.

It’s this attention to detail which makes the works of art come alive.

The experiences Hyde had while creating his art outside amongst the rolling hills of the valley contributed to the finished works as well. For instance, a rabbit that came almost daily to watch Hyde work was incorporated into the sculptures. Hyde playfully nicknamed the animal “Mulligan.”

“Every morning Mulligan would stand on the hill and watch me work,” said Hyde. “I had the opportunity to see a lot of other animals from the area up close too like deer, coyotes, eagles, wild turkey, and a bobcat – but luckily not the bears,” he joked.

In addition to the eagle, Hyde cut from pink Portuguese marble the figure of a deer being pursued by a pair of Native American hunters. The deer’s tracks are placed into the concrete in the clubhouse’s courtyard leading the stalkers to their prey. A playful bear cub and his mother watch the hunters and the dear nearby.

“The bears are placed right at the entrance,” said Hyde. Like the other sculptures, this one also tells a story. “The mother is turning over a log and looking for grubs,” he said, “and the baby is collecting pine cones, playing like a little kid.” A wasp’s nest on a stick sits across the cub’s lap. “He’s about to be in for a surprise,” said Hyde, who enjoys infusing a bit of humor into his art.

Other details are also evident in his highly stylized work, such as intricate leaves and foliage surrounding the animals, all cut carefully out of the stone in soft angles. In addition to an eye for detail, Hyde’s work displays a dedication to historical accuracy in his depiction of Native American people, in this case the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. “In this piece you’ll see that the hunter gestures with his whole hand toward the deer,” said Hyde, “because Native American people don’t point with their finger. It’s bad manners.”

Hyde, who was born in Hermiston, Oregon of Native American descent, is influenced heavily by his heritage and takes pride in reflecting it through his work. “The Native American people are now trying to tell their own story. Sculpture is a really good way to do this because you can write the stories out and people might not read it — but with sculpture they can actually see it.”

The inspiration for the grouping of sculptures Hyde created came from the history of the very valley where the Wintun people lived for thousands of years. To prepare himself, he walked the area with Tribal Chairman Marshall McKay and learned the Tribe’s history in the valley. “All of these kinds of things I thought about to get my ideas for the final pieces,” said Hyde.

Using this type of detailed historical background information, one sculpture features an authentic woven fish trap held by a woman in period dress. A child next to the woman holds a fish that was caught in the trap. Viewing the two figures evokes a feeling of traveling back in time to see the origins of the Tribe and their heritage in the region.

After months of hard work, each completed piece has been lovingly placed amongst the landscape surrounding Yocha Dehe’s clubhouse. When speaking to the artist, it’s easy to see that he’s very proud of how all of the finished pieces came together. His labors and his vision have come to full fruition. “To me, it’s a culmination of 40 years of sculpture to do a grouping like this,” said Hyde.

Even the most die hard Blackjack players need a change of pace once in a while. One game that is simple to play and can provide hours of fun for table games afficianados or even beginners is Baccarat. Baccarat is a game of mystery to a lot of gamblers, despite the fact that it can be found in many casinos local to the South Bend area.

There’s a mystique or an aura about Baccarat. Thought of by many Blackjack players as a game played by tuxedoed rich guys on the French Riviera in James Bond movies, in reality it’s an easy game to learn. Baccarat a popular game with those who play it because the decisions are already made for the player. All you need to do in order to play is just sit down, place your bet, get a feel for the table, and use your instincts.

The table

Each player has three betting areas associated with his/her position at the table. They are: “Banker”, “Player” or “Tie.” An electronic board keeps track of which hands win on our Mini-Baccarat tables, similar to a Roulette board, so players can see trends and determine their bets. Some gamblers choose to track the results of each hand by writing them on a pad.

Many casinos have both Mini-Baccarat and full-sized Baccarat tables. One difference between Mini-Bac and Baccarat is that in Baccarat they allow the players to handle the cards. In Mini-Bac the dealer handles the cards. Handling of the cards by players is also sometimes referred to as “sweating the cards.”

There are seven positions each with two betting spots on a Mini-Baccarat table for a total of 14 possible players. The larger tables accommodate 12 players. The game is popular, especially among Asians, because it’s a community game. The game is played in groups, adding a social aspect, since the tables can accommodate such a large number of players. It spurs a social interaction along along with the gambling. That’s why if you’ve ever walked by a busy Baccarat table on the casino floor, it can look like a crowded and sometimes chaotic game.

Scoring

The object is to bet either the Player or Banker hoping that the cards accumulate a point total closest to 9 on two or three cards. Aces count as 1, cards 2 through 9 count at face value, 10s and face cards count as 0. If you’re dealt a 9 and a 7, for example, the combined total is counted as 6 rather than 16. If you receive a 3 and an 8, the total is not 11, but is instead counted as 1.

It’s not possible to have a combination of cards with a combined total greater than 9. The perfect hand is one that equals 9 exactly in the first two cards. 8 is the second-best hand and, along with the 9, these two hands make up the two “natural” hands.

Betting and Payouts

Payouts are very straightforward. If you bet on a winning hand, you’ll be paid at 1 to 1. If that winner is the Banker hand, a five percent commission is deducted. If the winning hand belongs to the Player, no commission is paid. If you bet on a tie, the payoff is a whopping 8 to 1. Commissions are paid after each hand on Mini-Baccarat tables, and on the large Baccarat tables, commissions are tracked and settled at the end of the shoe.

You don’t have to visit the High Limit room to play or have a ton of cash to get on a table, either. Table limits often range from $10  on Mini-Bac to aournd a $50 minimum  on Big-Bac, and have up to $1,000 and $5,000 table maximums depending on when and where you play. If you are a Blackjack player interested in learning a fun and exciting table game that promotes group interaction and is simple to play, Baccarat is definitely a game you’ll want to check out next time you visit a South Bend area casino. Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Blue Chip in Michigan City, and Gun Lake Casino (located halfway between Grand Rapids, Michigan and Kalamazoo) all provide forms of Baccarat for your gaming pleasure.