News

Producers have ’til Aug. 10

Producers have 'til Aug. 10

Osage County’s oil and gas producers may well heave a cautious sigh of relief as the deadline to comply with new oil and gas regulations moves back to at least August 10. The Osage Producers Association had asked a federal court for a preliminary injunction to prevent the rules from going into effect on the […]


Working on wind farm No. 2

Working on wind farm No. 2

After months of limbo as three wind lawsuits await action in two courts, the Mustang Run Wind Project is moving ahead, laying the groundwork to start building the 67-turbine array adjacent to the existing Osage Wind project. On Monday, Tradewind Energy asked the Osage County Board of Commissioners to approve a plan to use and […]


Lost in a kindly Osage County

Josephine Winningham never intended on coming to Osage County in the wee hours of July 1. She was headed to a doctor’s appointment in St. Louis, which is where she lives, but somehow managed to end up 436 miles off target, at the intersection of highways 18 and 20 near Fairfax, where she wrecked her […]


Assault case declined again

The Payne County District Attorney, specially assigned to the case of a Cleveland police officer Hominy police wanted charged with domestic assault, has declined to press charges. DA Laura Thomas said that evidence was lacking in the case, and that police should have interviewed officer Raymond Leach, who also co-chairs the Osage County Republican Party, […]


High Court rejects DA case

Without comment, eight of the nine justices of the Oklahoma Supreme Court threw out an application by District Attorney Rex Duncan in which he sought to have a Pawnee County judge’s order creating a drug court vacated. The high court also tossed Duncan’s similar challenge to another order by Pawnee County Associate District Judge Patrick […]


Oilmen: Feds are killing us

Oilmen: Feds are killing us

Five miles west of Pawhuska, a blue water tower rises incongruously from the prairie. Beside it is a gate just wide enough for a large pickup truck to pass, its posts topped with the tri-cone drill bits emblematic of the oil and gas industry. Mark Helmer exits his truck, opens the gate and drives through […]


Casino: Remodel or new building

Osage Casinos’ Pawhuska property is getting new digs, but the new facility’s specifics are raising some questions about the tribe’s Competitive Bidding Act. Speaking before the Osage Congress’ Commerce and Economic Development committee Wednesday, Osage Casinos CEO Byron BigHorse confirmed that the casino is relocating into seven new modular buildings once water, sewer and electricity […]


Beetle credits: Pricey for sure

Osage County has a new way to deal with its beetle problem – invest in the beetle bank. On May 14 Osage and 10 other northeast Oklahoma counties collectively spent $706,860 on “credits” to make up for potential impacts to the habitat of the endangered American burying beetle. These credits will be used for county […]


BIA, producers continuing in tiff

BIA, producers continuing in tiff

Last Thursday’s BIA-hosted public information session bore more than a passing resemblance to the climactic scene of “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” in which rugged individualist Max faces off against the unbelievably strong giant known as Blaster. Just replace Max with a group of frustrated oil producers and Blaster with the cumbersome machinery of federal government, […]


Fire, food, fun and dancing.

Fire, food, fun and dancing.

“Like a well-oiled machine” doesn’t begin to describe the efficiency with which Osage cooks prepare and deliver a hot meal for hundreds of people, indeed they’ve worked out an assembly line that would give Henry Ford a run for his money. Cadres of women prepare many pounds of vegetables and haul out two-gallon bags of […]


Oil producers sue BIA

Oil producers sue BIA

The Osage Producers Association is going for broke in a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The trade organization contends that new oil and gas regulations issued by the BIA are not only “arbitrary and capricious” but unconstitutional. OPA is also seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the rules from going into […]


Avant man given life in sex case

Tony Arthur Robinette did not look surprised as deputy sheriffs handcuffed and led him from the courtroom after his conviction last Thursday on two counts of child sexual abuse. The jury recommended that the maximum allowable penalty be imposed for the charges – life imprisonment. The Avant man was convicted for two instances in 2013 […]


Triumph over all barriers

Triumph over all barriers

Haley Mouser is Pawhuska’s first state champion high jumper, and she got there by jumping four inches higher than she is tall and overcoming a weak left leg born of a club foot. The Pawhuska High School senior has now jumped a personal best 5 feet 8 inches at two successive meets – including the […]


Casinos over budget $30M

An interim report from the Office of Fiscal and Performance Review has some members of Congress questioning some of the procedures used in two Osage Casino expansion projects. Speaking Tuesday afternoon before the Osage Nation Congress’ Commerce and Economic Development Committee, Kelly Corbin outlined OFPR’s initial findings on Osage Casinos’ expansions in Skiatook and Ponca […]


Shoemake: He was a force

Shoemake: He was a force

When Shockley Shoemake found out he had terminal brain cancer three weeks ago, he had no regrets. “I’ve done everything I need to do, and I’m not afraid of death,” he said. He had, in fact, lived a life so full that it is hard to capture. He was a child of the Depression, who […]


In Summer, hungry must go to other counties

With students across Osage County out on summer vacation, many families are trying to figure out how to stretch their grocery budgets a little further without access to school meals. As part of its national school nutrition program, The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a summer meal program that allows schools and other organizations in […]


Kidnapping, rape trial gets under way

Kidnapping, rape trial gets under way

The first day in the trial of Carl Leon Mathis, the Osage County man charged with five felonies including kidnapping and rape, ended Tuesday with the prosecution’s opening statement. Mathis also faces charges of forcible sodomy and assault and battery. Mathis’ accuser is Shannon Eastman, with whom Mathis had a relationship from 1990 to around […]


Police: Man commits suicide while driving on Javine Hill

A Skiatook man committed suicide while driving Sunday evening on Javine Hill Road, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. John Michael Ross Huddleston, 40. shot himself while heading north on Javine Hill at 5:15 p.m.. according to the Osage County Sheriff’s Office. Trooper Romulus Gregory reported that Huddleston’s 2002 Dodge pickup then left the road, […]


DA recuses in GOP cop case

In the wake of a complaint to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office, District Attorney Rex Duncan has recused himself from a case involving a Cleveland police officer accused – but never charged – of assaulting his estranged wife in Hominy. Raymond Leach, who has previously worked for the Pawhuska and Hominy police as well as […]


Notary must pay over $10k

The former assistant fire chief of Cleveland, Justin P. Nienhuis, accepted a plea deal Tuesday in a case of false notarization. He was charged with 29 counts of falsely performing notarial act after notarizing a number of documents without fulfilling all requirements that the state sets for notaries public. He received a two-year deferred sentence […]


Drug Court battle, Round 3

District Attorney Rex Duncan is continuing to throw up barriers to the establishment of a drug court in Pawnee County by challenging a second order creating such a court and declining to participate in a meeting to organize it. Duncan is challenging three separate administrative orders creating the drug court mandated by Gov. Mary Fallin […]


Jury scam scare turns out to be benign

The Osage County Courthouse was in a state of mild panic last week , when a juror got a phone call that at first blush appeared to be part of a scam that suggested someone had hacked into a statewide system for jury selection. The incident had District Court Judge M. John Kane swinging from […]


Perjury case tossed, hard

The District Attorney’s Office, which pressed a perjury charge against a Cleveland man who subsequently won election to that city’s city council, saw the charge dismissed after a preliminary hearing on Wednesday. At issue: A case that the candidate’s lawyer, Bransford Shoemake of Pawhuska, said was baffling from the moment the defendant, Keith Buntin, walked […]


Farewell Father Daigle

Father Chris Daigle, the priest who has led Catholic churches in Pawhuska,  Barnsdall and Shidler for a decade, is leaving – much to the distress of many of his parishioners. Daigle isn’t going far – he will become the parish priest for Fairfax, Hominy, and Cleveland. He is to be replaced, effective July 1, by […]