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Gaming commission distributes $2.8 million

August 11, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Community Free Clinic, which is preparing to move to a new location, will get $165,000 from the Washington County Gaming Commission in the most recent round of funding, gaming commission Chairman Terry Reiber said Tuesday.

The commission this year is distributing a record $2.83 million to 101 organizations, Reiber said.

That is a 3.4 percent increase over the $2.74 million in gambling proceeds the gaming commission distributed last year.

By law, the gaming commission must give half of the money it collects to the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association. The rest goes to nonprofit organizations.

The gaming commission in May received 127 applications from charitable groups seeking a total of $3.35 million, Reiber said.

The gaming commission was created in 1995 to distribute money collected from the profits of tip jars. Tip jars are a form of gambling in which people purchase peel-off tickets from large jars in the hope of winning cash.

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Clubs and nonprofit groups that operate tip jars give 15 percent of their profits to the gaming commission, which distributes the money to the fire and rescue association and nonprofit organizations, as required by state law.

Liquor stores, taverns and restaurants that operate tip jars give 50 percent of their profits to the commission.

Reiber made public this year's distributions Tuesday afternoon in a conference room adjacent to the Gaming Office. About 12 representatives of groups that requested money were on hand for the announcement.

Three of those present were with the Regional Community Health Center, which is commonly known as the Community Free Clinic.

The Community Free Clinic will get $165,000, including $100,000 for operating costs, $50,000 for a capital project and $15,000 for prescription costs.

The gaming commission traditionally has provided money to the clinic, said Jullie Caniford, president of the clinic's board.

The money will help the clinic, which provides free medical care to those without health insurance, as it moves from its 18 W. Franklin St. location to 249 Mill St., said Robin Roberson, the clinic's interim executive director.

Earlier this year, the owner of the Franklin Street property leased by the clinic said he wanted to sell the property and the lease became month-to-month, she said.

The clinic will move from that 3,000-square-foot location to a 5,300-square-foot building. The larger space will enable the clinic to do more education and preventive work, Roberson said.

The clinic has been helped financially by an anonymous donation, she said. Not only is the donor anonymous, but the clinic has been asked not to reveal the amount of the donation or stipulations that came with it, Roberson said.

The clinic will open for business at the new site near Washington County Hospital on Oct. 4, the same month it will launch a capital campaign, she said.

The clinic handles more than 10,000 patient visits and dispenses more than $1 million worth of medicine each year, according to a news release that clinic officials distributed Tuesday.

About 93 percent of patients who are seen at the clinic are given prescription medicine at no charge, the clinic said.

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