SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - June 16, 2009) - The Barona Band of Mission Indians and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, and other representatives from the Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Committee, recently announced local recipients of more than $3 million in grants from Tribal money paid into the State Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund.

"These grants will greatly help the neighborhoods in San Diego's East County and I would like to thank Barona, Sycuan and the entire committee for working together to fund so many worthwhile projects that will benefit our community and our fellow San Diegans," said County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and chair of the Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Committee.

The committee assessed grant applications from throughout the county and selected several local communities and public safety projects to fund. Representatives from the groups receiving grants were present at the meeting.

"The Barona Band of Mission Indians is proud to share a substantial portion of this year's funds with emergency services agencies that protect and serve us in what are often very dangerous conditions," said Edwin "Thorpe" Romero, Tribal Chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. "And, with so many government budget cuts in these critical needs areas, we really wanted to allocate the grants where they are needed the most right now."

After assessing the needs of local communities and the recommendations of the Indian Gaming Local Benefit Committee, the following projects were selected:

County:     Water Tender for County of San Diego "Fleet" -- $140,000
County:     Water Tender for Intermountain Fire Station     -- $140,000
County:     Regional Fire and Public Utilities Training Center --
County:     Interface Fire Engine for Campo -- $212,500
County:     Department of Public Works Street Sweeper -- $225,000
County:     District Attorney Tribal Liaison Program -- $116,518
County:     County Sheriff PERT Program -- $109,860
County:     County HHS - Adult Protective Services -- $340,356
County:     County HHS - Spirit of the Family -- $160,000
El Cajon:   Police Department Video Monitoring and Recording System --
El Cajon:   Street Resurfacing -- $95,000
San Diego:  Helicopter Fuel Servicing Vehicle Procurement/Acquisition --

"Sycuan is proud to once again assist in approving these critical grants for public safety and other critical services," said Sycuan Tribal Chairman Daniel Tucker. "I would like to thank Chairman Romero and Supervisor Jacob, as well as the other members of the committee, for focusing the grants on projects or services that might otherwise suffer from state and local budget cuts."

The members of the Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Committee include San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis, Sheriff Bill Kolender and County Chief Financial Officer Don Steuer. Tribal representatives on the committee include Edwin "Thorpe" Romero, Tribal Chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians; Sheilla Alvarez of the Barona Band of Mission Indians; and Adam Day of the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

The Special Distribution Fund was created after California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 1A, an amendment to the California constitution which authorized the State to enter into compacts with Indian Tribes for limited forms of gaming, in March of 2000. The compacts require tribes, which were engaged in gaming in 1999, to pay into the Special Distribution Fund. During the compact negotiations, Barona and Sycuan worked together to ensure that a portion of the money the Tribes pay into the fund would be used to directly benefit San Diego County.

Contact Information: CONTACT: Barona Sheilla Alvarez 619-402-0182 Sycuan Adam Day 619-994-4855