Politics

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.  […]


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 […]