Politics

Voters want to pay an extra %1 in sales tax

A proposal to raise the sales tax in Barnsdall by 1 cent for street repairs passed by huge margin Tuesday evening, while Brock Moore ousted incumbent mayor J.D. Cole to take over that post by 25 votes, according to unofficial returns. The sales tax measure, which passed 202-29,  brings Barnsdall’s tax rate in line with […]


Osage Nation may have to tap reserves

Citing financial concerns, the Osage Nation Congress may be tapping into its permanent fund to keep two of its entitlement programs sufficiently funded for the rest of the year. On Tuesday, the Congress’ Appropriations Committee voted 4-1 to recommend accessing $2 million from the tribe’s permanent fund to finance bills that would allocate more money […]


Tribe hires new AG

So much for retirement. On Feb. 28, Holli Wells officially stepped down as a special district judge for Cherokee County. On Wednesday, she was introduced as the Osage Nation’s second attorney general, pending confirmation by the tribe’s legislature during its spring session. “My intention was to take some time off, get some rest and do […]


Tribe looking at declining revenue, more

Defending Osage sovereignty and a looming potential government reorganization in light of a budget crunch were the headlining topics of the 2015 edition of the Osage State of the Nation address. Rather than deliver it earlier in March at Sovereignty Day, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear offered up the remarks Monday as his executive message […]


Osage Congress tackling drug banishments, village status

As of Monday, the spring 2015 Hun-Kah session is underway for the fourth Osage Nation Congress. “The legislative priorities for this session are to work together and follow our processes that we need to go through to move our legislation through and get to the end,” Speaker Maria Whitehorn said. “We need to keep it […]


Duncan complaints tossed

Duncan complaints tossed

After a short hearing in which District Attorney Rex Duncan accused Pawnee County Associate District Court Judge Patrick Pickerill of creating “fraudulent, counterfeit documents,” a specially assigned Creek County Judge denied Duncan’s every request in the case, then chided him for repeatedly saying he represents “the People.” Duncan has been dogging Pickerill in court since […]


Warrant: Search based on execs’ hunch

Warrant: Search based on execs' hunch

  Bartlesville police obtained a search warrant based on the suspicions of three Jane Phillips Medical Center administrators that a former hospital executive was behind a series of prank letters that reflect poorly on the hospital and the three current executives. The target of the search, Mark Aldridge, a former chief financial officer at Pawhuska […]


Minerals says no to BIA MOU

Minerals says no to BIA MOU

Citing the federal government’s actions during the negotiated rulemaking process and frustrations with the constant delays over new assessment rules, the Osage Minerals Council voted Wednesday afternoon against signing a memorandum of understanding Wednesday with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The proposed MOU would have guaranteed the Minerals Council representation in the final negotiation stages […]


4-day school week nixed

4-day school week nixed

An unusually divided Pawhuska school board voted 3-2 Monday against moving to a four-day school week despite surveys that showed an overwhelming majority of teachers supported the change. The main sticking point for those opposed: They worried that the quality of education would further erode for at-risk, low-performing students who could not be compelled to […]


Judge case to be argued

Judge case to be argued

The ongoing skirmish between the district attorney and judges over the establishment of a drug court in Pawnee County played out in Bristow on Monday, when Creek County District Court Judge Joe Sam Vassar granted a one-week continuance and set the matter for oral arguments this coming Monday. Duncan has accused Pawnee County Associate District […]


Oil producers ream BIA ‘vindictiveness’

Oil producers ream BIA 'vindictiveness'

The Osage Producers Association sounded a loud alarm Monday, saying that Osage County’s oil-based economy is starting to belly up and placing the blame squarely on the Bureau of Indian Affairs for “choking out drilling” by forcing those who produce a handful of barrels of oil a day to abide by the same regulations that […]


Minerals council bows up against oil rules

The Third Osage Minerals Council is pushing back against potential changes to the federal policies overseeing drilling in the Osage Minerals Estate. At Wednesday’s meeting, the council adopted a resolution calling for an indefinite moratorium on the approval and implementation of changes to the Code of Federal Regulations as recommended by a negotiated rulemaking committee. […]


One vote means no runoff in election

By the narrowest of margins – one vote – Patricia Wilson won a seat on the Pawhuska School Board last week without having to face the No. 2 vote getter, incumbent Tom Boone, in a runoff election. On Tuesday night, the Osage County Election Board believed that Wilson and Boone would be in an April […]


Judge target of search

An an extraordinarily rare move, an investigator for the District Attorney’s Office executed a search warrant against a Pawnee County judge, removing the judge’s work computer and other items. The warrant against Judge Patrick Pickerill was served on Jan. 28 and was signed by Clancy Smith, the presiding judge over the state Court of Criminal […]


Hospital health questioned

The board of directors of Pawhuska Hospital is trying to force Jane Phillips Medical Center into living up to its management obligations after an auditor found significant problems in the administration of Pawhuska Hospital. In a summary report dated Jan. 8, Certified Public Accountant Floyd Langley found an array of “risks”  facing Pawhuska Hospital that […]


4-day week may be in future

The majority of people who responded to a survey supported switching from a five-day to a four-day school week, according to results reported to the Pawhuska School Board on Monday, More than 58 percent – 428 of the 557 people who responded to the survey – said that they wanted to go to a four-day […]


DA in tiff with judge

DA in tiff with judge

Rex Duncan, the District Attorney for Osage and Pawnee counties, has sparked a kerfuffle on the Pawnee side of his jurisdiction by accusing a judge of issuing “sham” orders to create a drug court and to hire a bailiff, suggesting that the judge might have committed a felony. The target of Duncan’s ire is Patrick […]


Oil crisis wrecking county

As low prices at the pump continue, royalty figures from the Osage mineral estate continue to plummet. Speaking before the Osage Minerals Council Wednesday morning, auditor Jim Swan confirmed the continued slide. The average highest posted price for December was $55.53 per barrel – a drop of almost $20 from November’s average highest posted price […]


Wind hearing set

Wind hearing set

After two months of legal volleys on paper, U.S. District Court Judge James H. Payne is beckoning lawyers for the Osage Wind project and the federal government into his courtroom. On Monday, Payne set a scheduling conference in the blistering case on Feb. 26 at the federal courthouse in Tulsa, which will set out the […]


Minerals councilors face ethics question

Osage Nation Attorney General Jeff Jones is asking a judge to decided whether tribal laws apply to the Osage Minerals Council, a group that has long averred it is autonomous and doesn’t need to bow to the new constitution. last week, Jones filed an ethics complaint against seven of the eight members of the Minerals […]


DA mulls charging officer

The District Attorney’s Office is reviewing paperwork to decide whether to charge a Cleveland police officer and recent candidate for Osage County assessor with domestic abuse. Hominy police were summoned by a child to the home of Raymond Leach’s estranged wife on Jan. 20, when he allegedly grabbed her by the arms and pushed her […]


US: Enel is disingenuous

US: Enel is disingenuous

The legal battle that pits the United States against an Italian-owned wind development reached a new pitch on Friday, when the federal government accused Enel subsidiary Osage Wind LLC  of “chicanery” and purposely ignoring federal regulations because it knew the Osage Minerals Council was unfriendly to the project. Osage Wind’s persistent insistence that neither the […]


4-day school week debated

4-day school week debated

The debate over Pawhuska going to a four-day school week continued Thursday evening, when another crowd turned up for a public meeting at the community center. People were divided on the issue, with teachers, mainly, promoting the advantages of the four-day week as a way to attract quality teachers, reduce absenteeism and disciplinary problems, even […]


Osage Congress accepts Transcanada donation

The Osage Congress slogged through 11 pieces of legislation in a 48-hour window during a special session last week. The session, held Wednesday and Thursday, was called at the request of Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear and primarily dealt with budget issues and appropriations. “I would only call you into session if I believed I didn’t […]