Tourism was the primary topic of discussion at this week's meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners. Executive director for the tourism oversight committee Kelly Bland brought forward several items for approval from the Osage County tourism board.
A lengthy discussion began regarding the purchase of an app for the VisitTheOsage.com website, the app is produced by Visit Widget and is used by state tourism for their travelok.com website. Bland emphasized the ease of using the app, and that travel companies and organizers can create itineraries and pull information directly off of the VisitTheOsage. Com website. Itineraries can also be created by the tourism board, and the app will provide listings of events occurring around Osage County. The start-up cost To utilize the app was $2,250 and a monthly charge of $299 a month. Even with the hefty price tag, the Commissioners agreed that it would be worth a try if it would bring more tourism to Osage County, and approve the app for a one year contract.
The Commissioners also approved funding for the 49th annual Kihekah Steh Pow wow, the Alpha Tho Tau Plein Air Tulsa event, and approved for Bland to attend the Wichita Women’s Fair, the Arkansas Home and Outdoor Living Show, and the 2019 American Bus Association Tradeshow.
Additionally the Commissioners approved and authorized the Barnsdall school bond. due to the 6 million dollar price tag, the debt had to be approved by the county.
The next meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners will be held on Monday at 10am at the Osage County Courthouse in Pawhuska.
The Commissioners decided to join the class action lawsuit against the federal government and Treasurer Sally Hulse discussed properties acquired at the resale at this week's meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners.
As a continuation of last week's meeting the Osage County Commissioners discussed and took action to approve and sign a class action opt-in notice form to recover payment-in-lieu-of-taxes for fiscal years 2015, 2016, and 2017 in the case United States Court of federal claims Kane County, Utah v. The United States. Commissioner Darren McKinney was apprehensive last week on whether joining the class action lawsuit would have ramifications. However, following discussion with the District Attorney's office as well as Osage County Treasurer Sally Hulse The Commissioners decided to join the class action lawsuit.
Osage County Treasurer Sally Hulse discuss the 43 properties which the county acquired the most recent resale, 6 of which have already received bids. Many of the properties on the new County roll will need cleanup and maintenance, and Hulse discussed with the Commissioners the possibility of purchasing a lawn mower. Currently the county is not equipped to provide simple lawn maintenance, and bids out for the service. The purchase of a lawnmower would reduce the need to go out for bids to maintain county owned properties and lots. The Commissioners decided to go out for bids on a lawn mower for the county, and will discuss the issue in the near future.
The next meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners will be held next Monday at the Osage County Courthouse in Pawhuska, at 10 am.
Monday was the first meeting of the new fiscal year for the Osage County Board of County Commissioners. During which, the Commissioners signed new contracts, approved Professional Service agreements, and lease agreements. the Commissioners also discussed the possibility of opting in a class action lawsuit against the federal government, and discussed the implications of voters passing of State Question 788.
Following the signing of several new and existing contracts for the fiscal year, the Commissioners discussed the possibility of opting in to a class action lawsuit against the federal government. The lawsuit is Kane County, Utah V. United States, and comes following a Supreme Court decision that the federal government is required to fulfill obligations regarding payments owed to counties across the country after withholding funds due to budgetary reasons. However, District #3 Commissioner Darren McKinney felt the matter should be tabled until next week in order to do more research. McKinney was concerned that action against the federal government rarely comes without ramifications.
Finally, Heather Barkley from the Osage County Health Department discuss during citizens input that the local Health departments will have no control, or authority, of issuing or approving medicinal marijuana licenses. The license issuing authority will remain at the state level. The Commissioners also stated, since the County is the recipient of federal funds, drug testing will be performed on all County employees, and if an employee fails a drug test they will be terminated, zero tolerance.
The Osage County Board of County Commissioners meets each Monday at 10am at the Osage County Courthouse in Pawhuska.
Thursday morning the Oklahoma chapter of the Nature Conservatory was presented with a $5,000 Grant from Enbridge Energy. The Nature Conservatory will use the grant funds to provide support for the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve located in Osage County.
The Tallgrass Prairie is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Oklahoma is the largest protected remnant of the Tallgrass prairie ecosystem left on Earth. the Prairie provides necessary habitat for wildlife such as migrating monarch butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. The Prairie is also home to the greater prairie chicken, and other grassland birds, as well as migrating Raptors, rare insects, such as the American burying beetle, and numerous other species. With the funds the Nature Conservatory will be able to combat non-native invasive species which threaten native plant life that is vital for pollinators.
It is the core value of Embridge Energy to meet society’s need for secure energy supply—while, at the same time, reducing emissions and protecting the environment.
Thursday Enbridge Energy Regional Director Kevin Ruffatto, Osage County Tourism Board President Christy Redeagle, Enbridge Energy Community Engagement Advisor Brent Rush, Enbridge Energy Environment Advisor Stephanie Taylor, and State Director for The Nature Conservancy Oklahoma Mike Fuhr were present at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve to accept the grant.
Friday the Osage County Board of County Commissioners met for a special meeting. during the Friday meeting the Commissioners approved and signed transfer of funds within Osage County as needed to finalize and end the fiscal year. The Commissioners also signed an agreement with Miller Ems for the Barnsdall event EMS coverage area for fiscal year 2018 and 2019 at the rate of $18,000 a month.
Miller EMS District supervisor Nathaniel Keylon was present at the Friday meeting and discussed the services current objective of going from a BLS or basic life support service to an ALS or advanced life support service at the Barnsdall location. Currently, Miller EMS has ALS support four days a week, as they continue to look for trained and certified paramedics to serve in the new coverage area. Keylon said they will continue to improve and train there EMS certified medics to provide the best possible care until the Barnsdall location has a full-time paramedic.
The next meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners will be at 10am at the Osage County Courthouse in Pawhuska.
With a little help from Hollywood and some funding from a popular TV show the Osage County Sheriff's department has been able to close three famous cold cases. Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden was approached regarding several cold cases by the television network Oxygen for the TV show Cold Justice, and with the funding from Oxygen and diligent work of Osage County investigators the Osage County Sheriff's department has been able to close three cold cases specifically, the drowning death of Blayne Davis in 2011, the murder of Donna Wilson in 2011, and the murder of Joannie Goodwin of Pawhuska from 1996.
Do to the diligent efforts of investigators J. Hunter and S. Talbert they were able to determine that the drowning death of Blayne Davis showed no evidence of foul play, and the death has been ruled an accident.
Donna Wilson was murdered in Lakeshore Heights in 2001 by strangulation, her body was then burned with accelerates in an attempt to conceal the crime. Cold Justice paid for a advanced DNA testing but they were unable to recover any additional DNA evidence. However, enough new evidence was presented to District Attorney Rex Duncan to file second degree murder charges, and the Osage County Sheriff's Department intends to make an arrest. The investigators on this case where J. Hunter and W. Gee.
Lastly, the case of Joannie Goodwin of Pawhuska. Goodwin was murdered in 1996 the investigation had been long cold when Sheriff Eddie Virden was asked to reopen the case in 2006. Virden was the lead investigator on the case with the Osage County Sheriff's Department at the time, and managed to make good progress and believe he had sufficient amount of evidence to make an arrest, however the District Attorney at the time disagreed. With the assistance of Cold Justice and investigators J. Hunter and K. Burke, New evidence was gathered, new witness statements were recorded, and District Attorney Rex Duncan filed first-degree murder charges against Cherri Dawn Miller.
Miller was arrested at 3:45pm on June 28th in Colorado County, Texas. Miller will remain in custody until extradited to the Osage County Jail.
The information in this story was disseminated by the Osage County Sheriff's Department on Thursday June 28th, and those in custody are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
In a nearly landslide victory Mike Fisher, candidate for District Attorney, defeated the incumbent District Attorney Rex Duncan in the Primary Election on Tuesday. Fisher took 64.58% of the total vote in the Primary election and more than 2,000 more votes than Duncan. Fisher attributed the success to his supporters.
Now that the Primary Election is over Fisher is looking ahead to the November General Election when he will face his Independent Opponent Bob Buchanan of Pawnee. Fisher discussed his next steps.
The General Election will be held November 6, 2018
Osage County voters decided it was time for change during the primary election Tuesday evening. and the district attorney race the incumbent Rex Duncan has lost by a significant margin to his opponent Mike Fisher, who took 64% of the vote. Ken Luttrell took the seat from the incumbent Steve Vaughn in the State Representative for District 37 race, Latrell came away with 55% of the vote.
In the County Assessor race Ed Quintin Jr. defeated his opponent Natasha Yancey with 57.7% of the vote, Quinton will face his Democratic opponent in the November election.
As a result of the Tuesday election there will be several runoffs in Osage County, in the State Senate District 10 election Bill Coleman came away with 39% of the vote followed by Gary Lanham with 32% and Amber Roberts with 28%, however the runoff will be between Bill Coleman and Amber Roberts, as Roberts lead Lanham in votes in Kay County. In the State Representative for District 36 race the runoff will come between Louise Redcorn and the incumbent Shawn Roberts. Redcorn took 34% of the votes in Osage County while Roberts took 31.4%.
Additionally, like much of the state, voters were in favor of State Question 788, legalizing medicinal marijuana, 57% of Osage County voters were in favor of the question.
Tourism, feral Hogs, an inmate's medical service were all topics covered at this week's meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners. the Osage County Board welcomed executive director of the tourism oversight committee Kelly Bland, Monday morning, as she discussed the successful events of the previous months as well as membership for the American bus Association and their annual meeting.
Bland boasted the success of the Tallgrass Music Festival in Skiatook, congratulated the Cattlemen's Association on a successful convention, and highlighted the Ben Johnson Memorial Steer Roping Competition. Discussing membership and membership dues for the American bus association annual meeting and marketplace conference, the board was presented an amount of $2,370. The fee comes as a package deal which will give the county access to the annual conference in Louisville Kentucky, as well as dues for 2018 and 2019. The commissioners agreed that it may be worth the price tag to bring more tourism to the county. The American Bus Association schedules bus tours and coordinates with tour companies across United States.
George Upchurch with wildlife services provided a report regarding the feral hog problem and beaver issues across the county. Upchurch stated that 21 Hogs had been taken out of the county in the previous quarter but continue to be an issue. Upchurch also highlighted that trapping has become an issue as ranchers continue to drive the Hogs off of their property. Upchurch also stated that Beaver continue to be an issue, however they have been able to clear many away from bridge-ways and water reservoirs.
lastly the Commissioners discussed adding a 1 month contract for the Osage County Jail to provide inmates with medical service. Sheriff Eddie Virden explained that the department was still reviewing several options for medical service and needed an additional month.
The next meeting Of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners will be held on Friday as a special meeting to close out the fiscal year.
The Pawhuska Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Janet Neufeld has submitted her resignation. The resignation will need to be approved at the next meeting of the Pawhuska School Board on Monday June 18. Dr. Janet Neufeld took the position of Superintendent in July of 2016 and she has not released a state regarding the reason behind the resignation. Additionally, during the Pawhuska School Board Meeting the Board members will approve or disapprove the resignation of Jill Barnes, Julie Laughlin, Michael Vassar, and Sandra Jones. Following the resignations the board will decide whether to use OSSBA for a Superintendent search.
However it is not all resignations at the board meeting. The board will decide whether or not to hire a Principal for Indian Camp Elementary, Junior High/High School counselor, Junior High/High School science teacher, and a High School assistant cheer coach. These along with other items will be decided at the Pawhuska School Board Meeting on Monday June 18, at 5:30pm.