Photo Courtesy http://www.artsintheosage.org/
This week a very special art exhibit will open in Pawhuska, an exhibit which showcases some of the most talented artist from across the county. The American Plains Artist Exhibit will open Friday, March 24, at the Ole' #1 Firehouse in Pawhuska. One of the American Plains Artist, Burneta Venosdel sat down on KPGM's Talk of the Town this week to discuss the exhibit and how the American Plains Artist Organization got its start.
The exhibit will showcase works from 25 artist and showcase more than 50 pieces which will be available for purchase. Venosdel is a local artist from Tahlequah who began working in bronze in 2004, and has now showcased nation wide. You can view and purchase American Plains Artists works starting March 24 through May 8, at the Ole' #1 Firehouse in Pawhuska. Listen to the complete interview with Venosdel on Talk of the Town on Thursday and Saturday at 7:45, on KPGM AM 1500 FM 99.1.
Spring is nearly here, which means things are picking up at Woolaroc. Opening on Wednesday, March 15, are the Mountain Man Encampment and the Animal Barn, but for the first time Woolaroc will be the host of the Annual Southwestern Regional Rendezvous, or a Woolaroc CEO Bob Fraser calls it “the Mountain Man Encampment on steroids.”
This will be the 33rd Annual Southwestern Regional Rendezvous and guests of Woolaroc will enjoy seeing hundreds of traders and reenactors from across the county at the Mountain Man Camp as they sell their wares and participate in shooting, archery, and knife and tomahawk competitions. The Rendezvous will be open to the public March 18 and 19, and March 22-25 from10am to 4pm.
While you are at Woolaroc make sure to check out the new floor in the Museum and a new exhibit in Gallery 4. Woolaroc is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm.
After yet another incident of vandalism in Barnsdall, the Chamber of Commerce is set to begin investing in video surveillance. Vandals continue to destroy and disturb public property throughout the town, most recently the gazebo in the community park. Discussion regarding vandalism was one of the the many topics covered during the first March meeting of the Barnsdall Chamber of Commerce.
Additionally, the Chamber discussed the recent school bond which failed last week. The $5.8 million dollar school bond needed 60 percent to pass but failed by four votes.
The Chamber also began taking nominations for Big Heart Day parade marshals, recommendations can be made by any member of the Chamber or residents of Barnsdall, and parade marshal should be long serving members of the community and at least 65 years of age.
The Chamber also welcomed special guest Republican District #1 Commissioner Candidate Will Cubbage. Cubbage spoke to the chamber about his concerns with ambulance coverage throughout the county, and about staying an active approachable member of the community. The next meeting of the Barnsdall Chamber will take place March 28 at noon, when the Chamber will hear from Democratic Candidate for County Commissioner Jerry Howerton.
The new Pawhuska landmark The Pioneer Woman's Mercantile announced on their official Facebook Tuesday that they, “by customer request,” have decided to change their hours of operation. The Mercantile will now be open Monday through Thursday from 7am to 7pm, and 7am to 8pm on Friday and Saturday. The change was made so that more guest are able to enjoy dinner at “the Merc.”
The Mercantile continues to bring visitors to Pawhuska and has seen a steady stream of visitors each day. The Restaurant, Store, Deli, and Bakery frequently brings in more 6,000 guests daily, since it opened in October of 2016.
Photo Coutesy: Mercantile Facebook
The Osage County Board of County Commissioners held a Public Hearing Monday morning regarding the vacation of a county road described as CR 5251 near Hominy. The road is in the county's inventory however, does not see enough traffic to be maintained regularly. The petition to remove the road from the county's inventory was made by land owner JD Huff. Because the road is owned by the county and lead directly only Huff's property, he has been unable to put up gates to restrict access. Huff stated that he has had issues in the past with dumping. The public hearing was opened and closed without objection, therefore the commissioners moved to vacate CR 5251.
Following the public hearing the commissioners opened bids for road-oil, oil, lube, and antifreeze, along with state spec asphalt. All bids were accepted for tabulation. Lastly, during citizens input Commissioner Kevin Paslay wished to thank his fellow commissioners and elected officials for their hard work, training, and diligence as he continues to learn his position. The next meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners will be held Monday at 10am at the Osage County Courthouse in Pawhuska.
The Osage Nation Congressional Commerce, Gaming and Land Committee will be holding a second public hearing regarding the status and plans for the recently acquired Bluestem Ranch. Osage News reported that the hearing will be held Sunday March 12 at 2pm at the former Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center building at 1449 W. Main Street in Pawhuska. The event will also be recorded and live-streamed online by the Osage Nation Communications Department.
The agenda for the hearing includes a presentation by the Commerce committee members, which includes members of the Osage Nation Congress, Chairman William “Kugee” Supernaw, Maria Whitehorn, Joe Tillman, Ron Shaw, John Maker and Congressional Speaker Angela Pratt. Additionally, there will be a presentation by Bluestem Ranch board members. Following the presentations the committee will be hosting a Q&A to allow for public questions and concerns.
You can view the complete Osage News story on their website at www.osagenews.org
The Osage Nation would would like to extend an invitation for their annual Sovereignty Day Celebration this Saturday, March 11. Geneva HorseChief-Hamilton, from Osage Nation Communications, discussed the event with bartlesvilleradio.
The Osage Nation Sovereignty Powwow is open to the public and free for all to attend. Come experience traditional gourd dancing at 3pm followed by a free dinner at 5:30. The Grand Entry will follow dinner at 7pm, and will be led by Reuben DeRoin and Jennifer Brumley, the Head Man and Lady Dancer. Additionally Oliver Littlecook Sr will serve as Head Singer, and gourd dancing will be hosted by the Osage Gourd Group. The Master of Ceremonies for the event is Archie Mason and Timmy Lookout will serve as Arena Director. It all takes place this Saturday at the Osage County Fairground inside the Agricultural Building.
Tuesday evening the Pawhuska City Council met to come to a decision regarding Pawuska's lack of public restroom facilities. At the February meeting the council gave guidance and discretion to Terry Loftis in order to bring back the best options for creating a public restroom. Loftis had initiated the public restroom discussion at the February meeting and had developed several ideas for locations, size, and design. Loftis returned this week with blueprints with the three options the council had approved, the Downtown Pocket Park, the City Hall Park, and the Ranchers Plaza.
Loftis expressed concern with building the restroom near City Hall as it would cause additional pedestrian traffic across HWY 60, he had also discussed the option with Police Chief Scott Laird who had reservations about the restroom being so close to the Police Station, especially the rear entrance.
The City Council had reservations of Loftis' original plan to put the restroom in the Pocket Park, however agreed to visit the idea as an alternative, but the Council, Loftis, and many of the Downtown business owners preferred the Ranchers Plaza location.
Ranchers Plaza is owned by Blue Sky Bank, therefore in order for the City to build in that location they would need a lease. Blue Sky agreed to sign a 50 year lease with the City of Pawhuska to use the location as a public restroom site, with the option of an additional 50 years. Once the Council had decided on the location of the restrooms, they needed to approve a bid and a contract.
As Terry Loftis had created the blueprint, he also created a tentative bid for what cost of construction would be. He determined that the complete construction of the building, with siding, sidewalk, and finishing would cost between $60-65,000 however proposed a bid of $58,674 without siding and sidewalk. In order for the City Council to approve spending of more than $50,000 they would need to declare a state of emergency for the Purpose of Health and Safety. Ward 1 Council Member Roger Taylor had reservations of declaring a state of emergency in order to build a restroom, and felt that perhaps they should conduct bids through traditional means, Taylor's reservations were noted but the other members of the council felt the situation did constitute a Public Health and Safety emergency and approved Loftis' bid of construction for $58,674.
Council member Steve Holcombe expressed desire to donate funds to help offset the cost for the construction, as did an unnamed party who told Loftis they would be willing to donate $20,000 towards the project. City Attorney John Heskett stated that the City can earmark donations to the city, for the project. Loftis stated that construction of the facility should take five to six weeks.
This week at the meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners, Christi McNeil from the Osage County Housing Authority discussed grants and reappointment of Housing Authority Commissioners, Sheriff Eddie Virden presented the results of the Sheriff Departments exit audit, and the Commissioners added a new county road to their inventory.
Christi McNeil of the Osage County Housing Authority brought forward reappointment letters for the five Housing Authority Commissioners, only by chance were all five eligible for reappointment this year. Sheila Tolson will be reappointed for another two year term, her third. Denver Whinery will also be reappointed for a third two year term as Tenant Commissioner. Alan Brown will serve an additional one year term. Lafe Burnett, who has served for 25 years, agreed to an additional three year term, and Jacquelyn Harrison also agreed to serve an additional three year term.
Sheriff Eddie Virden presented the results of the Osage County Sheriff Department's exit audit. Virden stated they have conducted an extensive inventory to locate items that are on the Department's inventory are identified, relocated, or surplussed depending on each circumstance. Virden also stated the Department will also be conducting an inventory simplification and consolidation, to ensure items that are no longer necessary are surplussed.
Lastly, the Commissioners signed a resolution adopting a new road into the County's inventory. Identified on the map as North 30th West Avenue, West of Sperry, the road has been maintained by the County as a courtesy in the past, and will now be the responsibility of the County to maintain. The Osage County Board of County Commissioners will meet again next Monday at the Osage County Courthouse in Pawhuska.
This week at the meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners, the contracts for the Osage County Jail sewer project were signed, Brett Selvidge of Samaritan EMS provided a monthly and six month report, and Charles Hogan and BJ Fay from Oakridge Builders provided a status update for the new extension office at the Osage County Fairground.
Brett Selvidge from Samaritan EMS brought forward the January statistics, and for the first time in six months medical calls outnumbered trauma calls. Other statistics remain fairly consistent, most calls occur on Wednesday and are predominately from Barnsdall. Over the past six months Samaritan has taken 168 calls, or nearly a call a day, 66 percent of calls come from Barnsdall and the majority are trauma related. Charles Hogan and BJ Fay from Oakridge Builders provided a positive report at the meeting this week regarding the new OSU Extension Office at the Fairgrounds. Currently the builders have placed footing for the building and are on schedule and on budget, however weather is a constant concern.
Lastly the Commissioners signed the contracts for the concrete work and plumbing needed to fix the sewer issue at the Osage County Jail. Dave Scott concrete was contracted for $16,348.57, and Lee's Plumbing was contracted for $11,500; repairs should begin this week. The next meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners will be held next Monday at the Osage County Courthouse in Pawhuska.