Politics

Powerless after the storm

Powerless after the storm

Judy Young is the first to admit that her back yard in Pawhuska is “a jungle.” “I guarantee you it’s grown up back there,” she said Monday, taking a break on a porch swing under a mulberry tree at her home on 10th Street. There’s a reason, she says: She has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, […]


Oilmen’s input with BIA is slight

Producers are still digesting the federal policy changes coming to the Osage oil patch, but with a bad taste in their mouths. On May 11, the Bureau of Indian Affairs released its revisions to 25 Code of Federal Regulations part 226, which spells out the policies for leasing Osage County land to use for oil […]


County inaction slows HUD funds

A few months ago, the Osage Nation asked the County Commissioners for a standard tax exemption that comes with Native American housing developments funded in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. On the advice of their lawyer, District Attorney Rex Duncan, the commissioners refused to grant the Osage request […]


Maybe its time for Bernie

Maybe its time for Bernie

He seems an unlikely candidate for a nation’s highest office. He’s not from a wealthy family like the Bushes. He didn’t attend an Ivy League school as have most of our recent Presidents. He’s not a toady of big money, (the Koch brothers and Wall Street hate him), and he doesn’t ooze the slimy slickness […]


Feds destroyed evidence

Feds destroyed evidence

A Veterans Affairs clinic in Tulsa destroyed video after a defense lawyer had repeatedly requested the tape, prompting the attorney to accuse the agency of bad faith and maltreatment of his client, a veteran of the Women Army Corps who oversaw training schools early on in the Vietnam War. “The Government clearly was on notice, […]


BIA issues new rules

After months of meetings and more than 500 public comments, the new rules for Osage County producers are now out in the public eye. On Monday, the Bureau of Indian Affairs released its revisions to 25 Code of Federal Regulations part 226, which spells out the policies for leasing Osage County land to use for […]


Courts in budget nightmare

Courts in budget nightmare

The wheels of justice often turn slowly, but in Osage County they might grind to a halt next month. The District Court, frankly, is teetering on the brink of being flat broke. “Unless the Legislature does something, we’re not going to make it through June,” District Court Judge M. John Kane said Monday. “I think […]


Tribal structure changes afoot

With the Osage Nation Congress adopting three bills Friday afternoon by razor-thin margins, an overhaul for several Osage Nation departments is on the horizon. Touting a projected savings of more than $250,000 to the tribe, three bills would reorganize several divisions currently under the Executive Branch’s purview, including Governmental Operations; Child, Family and Senior Community […]


DA takes case to Supremes

District Attorney Rex Duncan is continuing his quest to thwart two administrative orders that would create a drug court in Pawnee County and to hire a bailiff for a judge by taking the matter to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. In an appeal filed Monday, Duncan says that the two orders signed by Associate District Court […]


Tribe mulls gay marriage

Thanks in part to an Associated Press article, the Osage Nation may be changing its marriage laws. On Monday, Congresswoman Shannon Edwards introduced ONCA 15-54, which would alter the tribe’s marriage laws to include gay and lesbian couples. The tribe’s current statute, adopted in 2012, does not explicitly ban gay marriage, but defines the union […]


Osages dip into savings

The Osage Nation Congress may be cracking open its piggy bank to finance two direct service programs. On Wednesday, the Congress voted to adopt a recommendation from its Appropriations Committee to take $2 million out of the tribe’s $30 million permanent fund to help finance the tribe’s college scholarship program and its health benefit card.  […]


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 […]