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.  […]

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 […]