The Tribal Housing Authority has received a $172,200 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help eliminate drugs and drug-related crime in and around Indian housing communities. "We are giving the most funding to more tribes than ever before to help ease the burden of drug abuse and criminal activity associated with drugs in these areas,'' Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo wrote in a prepared statement. More than $22 million was given to 57 tribes and tribally designated housing entities across the nation. The grant money is to reimburse law enforcement agencies for assigning extra police officers and hiring private security guards to patrol housing developments. It is also intended to provide fencing, lighting and better locks to enhance security. Additionally, it will be used for drug prevention education, counseling and treatment programs.
A woman pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of theft from the Tribal Housing Commission. Cecilia Ann McCaskey, 29, a member of the Salish-Kootenai Tribe, was employed by the commission from February 1995 to October 1999. Her duties included making bank deposits. She admitted failing to deposit more than $33,000 of the commission's money and stealing $15,000. The rest was returned to the bank in the form of uncashed checks. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 4 in Coeur d'Alene.