U.S. smacked down in federal suit against Osage Wind development

U.S. smacked down in federal suit against Osage Wind development

U.S. District Court Judge James Payne has ruled against the United States, which sought to force Italian utility giant Enel to pay for minerals — rock — that is used to build its wind development in Osage County. The ruling does not bode well for a similar case by the United States aimed at stopping […]

Grand jury finds wrong where judges didn’t: Pawnee judge indicted

District Attorney Rex Duncan’s arguments that Pawnee County Associate District Court Judge Patrick Pickerill violated the law when he created a drug court failed at every level up to and including the Oklahoma Supreme Court. But on Friday, the Multi-County Grand Jury bucked all of those decisions and indicted the judge on nine felony counts […]

Chief: Keep OCC paws off trust

A flurry of long-distance politicking was unleashed late last week by rumors that some oil and gas producers want the Oklahoma Corporation Commission take over oil and gas regulation in Osage County. Such a step would require an act of Congress, since the rights of Osage shareholders to the mineral estate are governed by the […]

Tribe closes 2 Head Starts

Citing low Osage enrollment, the Osage Nation says it will not open the Head Start centers it operates in Barnsdall or McCord this coming school year. The Head Start in Barnsdall had an enrollment of 17 students, four of whom were Osage. McCord served 18 students and no Osages. The closures were announced by letter […]

IHS to be operated by Nation by Oct. 1

After more than a decade of plotting and planning, changes are about to hit the Pawhuska Indian Health Services Clinic. As part of its seventh special session, the Fourth Osage Nation Congress unanimously approved a self-governance compact with Indian Health Services to operate the clinic come Oct. 1. By compacting the clinic, the tribe will […]

Osages approve language immersion

Come August, a few more area children are going to be exposed to a second language. As the last vote of the seventh special session Friday, the Fourth Osage Congress approved an additional $195,896 appropriation to the tribe’s Division of Education and Early Childhood Services to fund an Osage immersion language nest in Pawhuska for […]

Judge rules OMC has to abide by Ethics Act

Despite a push to maintain separation, a trial court judge says the Osage Minerals Council is not exempt from a tribal disclosure law. On Monday, Osage Nation Associate Trial Court Judge Lee Stout denied a summary judgment motion from five members of the Osage Minerals Council and ruled that they are subject to the tribe’s […]

Minerals Council divided over relations with Chiefs

At their Friday meeting, the Osage Minerals Council decided to address what one member called the “elephant in the room” – relations between the Minerals Council and the Office of the Chief. Councilwoman Kathryn Red Corn raised the issue at the outset of the meeting. “We have no communication with Chief Standing Bear and Assistant […]

County OKs road pact

County OKs road pact

Osage County is embroiled in a legal battle between its Board of Adjustment and the proposed Mustang Run wind project, but county commissioners on Monday voted unanimously to approve a road maintenance plan with the wind company for a six-mile portion of Foraker Road. “It’s the same agreement you had with the other wind farm,” […]

Come October, Osages intend to operate IHS

Facing a loaded and potentially expensive agenda, the fourth Osage Nation Congress reconvened Monday for the start of its seventh special session. Of the 19 pieces of legislation filed for the special session, 15 are funding bills, including four that would allocate almost $16 million in revenue from fiscal year 2016 for the tribe’s entitlement […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Council fights ethics laws

Six members of the Osage Minerals Council are seeking a judicial ruling that their body is so removed from the Osage Nation that they cannot be forced to abide by the tribe’s ethics laws. The six – Cynthia Boone, Galen Crum, Everett Waller, Katahryn Redcorn, Joseph Cheshewalla and Stephanie Erwin – are the target of […]

Council vows to fight oil rules

The Osage Minerals Council is pushing back against oil patch policy changes set to take effect this summer. At its Wednesday meeting, the Minerals Council adopted a resolution requesting a stay of the implementation of the pending changes to the section of the Code of Federal Regulations that oversees the drilling regulations in Osage County.  […]