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.
Cold Cases Closed in Osage County
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.
Fisher Defeats Incumbent in DA Primary
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.
Pawhuska Superintendent Resigns
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.
Pawhuska Chamber Hosts Candidate Forum
The Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce hosted a successful Candidate Forum Tuesday evening at the Pawhuska Community Center. Candidates for House Disrict 36, J Paul Ganzel, Jordan Lauffer, and Jarod Lemmons discussed important topics such as economic development and improvement and education funding, Steve Vaughan the incumbent for Oklahoma House District 37 discussed his voting history and his desire to make sure Osage County voices are heard. Cadidates for Oklahoma Senate District 10, Bill Coleman and Gary Lanham discussed Government transparency, education, and healthcare for rural Oklahoma.
To close the evening forum Candidates for District Attorney Rex Duncan and Mike Fisher discussed their case history, and importantly the impact the passing of State Question 780 has had on the District. Both Duncan and Fisher were of the opinion that the question was too vague and misled voters into thinking it was something it wasn't. District Attorney Rex Duncan explained how the passing of 780 affected Osage County.
Duncan went on to describe the first case following the implementation of 780 in Osage County.
Mike Fisher agreed with Duncan that the results of 780 have been not been what intended by the public, and the affects on the court system has been significant, especially drug court.
The event concluded and provided an opportunity for the public in attendance to meet and greet the candidates.
The Osage County Board of County Commissioners accepted bids as well as approved the purchase of a new 40-foot flagpole for the Osage County Courthouse at the Monday meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners. the Commissioners accepted low bids for Road & Bridge items, and greater blades, and accepted all bids based on Project location and transportation for State Spec Rock and Non-State Spec Rock. the Commissioners also opened and accepted all bids for Road oil and States spec asphalt, all bids were accepted for tabulation.
Lastly, the Commissioners accepted a bid from Betsy Ross flag to replace the now broken 40-foot flagpole in front of the courthouse. Betsy Ross was the low bid at $2,253 Plus $1,980 for installation, the pool will also come with an appropriately-sized flag. The Commissioners however did increase the purchase order by $500 as an installation contingency.
All other items were accepted, and commissioner Darren McKinney announced that they had switch to their summer schedule. the next meeting of the Osage day at 10 a.m. at the Osage County Courthouse in Pawhuska.
Woman Injured in Osage County Accident
An Enid woman was injured Sunday afternoon in an accident about 2 and a half miles south of Shidler. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports 55 year-old Jimmie Miller was driving a Honda Shadow southbound on State Highway 18 when her vehicle failed to negotiate a curve to the right. She went of the roadway to the left and into a ditch. Shidler EMS took Miller to Alliance Health in Ponca City where she was admitted in stable condition with arm injuries.