Politics

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 […]


Enel wants quick decision

Enel wants quick decision

In new filings in U.S. District Court, Osage Wind says that the Bureau of Indian Affairs inspector who reported the wind company was digging turbine pits and crushing rock in mid-December was incorrect. The company also says that the BIA, which the government contents has never received “timely information about turbine placement” at the wind […]


4-day school back on agenda

4-day school back on agenda

A group promoting Pawhuska Schools going to a four-day week will hold a second public hearing on the issue this Thursday at 5:15 p.m. at the Dave Landrum Community Center. At a similar meeting last month, the notion was met with some skepticism and many questions went unanswered, but organizers promised more specifics at this […]


Pennies for potholes

Barnsdall voters will decide in April whether they are willing to put a little dough into their crumbling city streets, facing the question of paying an extra penny in sales tax or the potential expense of repairing a broken axle. On Friday, the City Council, with one absent, voted unanimously to put a proposed one-cent […]


Enel seeks dismissal

Enel seeks dismissal

Osage Wind, the company erecting industrial turbines on the prairie west of Pawhuska, asked a federal judge last week to throw out the lawsuit brought against it by the United States. Two weeks earlier, the United States had asked for a summary judgment against Osage Wind and its parents, Enel Kansas and Enel Green Power, […]


Oil deadlock end in sight

Oil deadlock end in sight

There may be light at the end of the tunnel for Osage County oil and gas producers waiting for new environmental assessment policies. Speaking before the Osage Minerals Council Wednesday afternoon, Bureau of Indian Affairs Osage Agency deputy superintendent Jeanine Hale said that she and the agency’s superintendent, Robin Phillips, are working to have the […]


Refinery proposed near Barnsdall

Citing the need for additional information, the Osage Minerals Council declined to take any action Wednesday afternoon on a request to publicly support plans for a potential refinery near Barnsdall. Brought forward by Florence Tranum, the proposed Bigheart Canal refinery north of Barnsdall on OK 123  would create about 30 permanent full-time jobs while processing […]


Feds seek summary judgment

Feds seek summary judgment

The United States, saying that it and the owners of the wind project being built on the prairie agree about the facts of the case, asked this week for a summary judgment against Osage Wind and its Italian corporate owners. In the motion, the U.S. Attorney’s office says that filings by Osage Wind and Enel […]


Gilkey charges dropped

Gilkey charges dropped

Scotty Gilkey, the former Pawhuska High School football coach whose lawyer described him as the victim of small-town vindictiveness, will face no more embezzlement charges connected to a fireworks stand. On Friday, despite the stated intentions of District Attorney Rex Duncan after a jury acquitted Gilkey of felony embezzlement from Pawhuska schools, the prosecution  dropped […]


DOC releasing convicts early

Oklahoma Watch Pushing to reduce prison overcrowding, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has quietly changed its policies to give early releases to greater numbers of violent and sex offenders, according to agency documents obtained by Oklahoma Watch. The department is doing so by relaxing policies that determine which types of inmates can receive early-release credits, […]


US: Remove them

US: Remove them

With evident annoyance, the United States dropped its request for a preliminary injunction to halt construction of the Osage Wind project east of Pawhuska, saying that since excavation for the turbine bases had “been completed in hurry-up fashion” there would be nothing for the court to address. The government then fired an even stronger volley […]