At the Monday morning meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners Claud Rosendale introduced the new Executive Director of the Tourism Oversight Committee Kelly Bland. Bland was most recently in the Abilene, TX area before moving to Tulsa and finishing her degree from Oral Roberts University. Rosendale stated that she was by far the best qualified of the many candidates they had received, and Bland expressed excitement regarding working with the Commissioners, along with all the area Cities, and Chambers of Commerce.
Kim Vincent with Osage County Nutrition Program also once again addressed the Commissioners regarding their ever fluctuating budget. Vincent was informed of a specific method of filing the programs budget where the separate funds from the State and the County could be accounted for without impacting application of grants. As it stands the Nutrition Program receives $80,000 annually from the county annually to support the food service operations for elderly and needing residents.
The Commissioners also held an lengthy Executive Session regarding the part-time position with Osage County Emergency Management, however no action was taken and the agenda item will be addressed after the beginning of the year.
The Osage Nation has gone forward with the submission of the Air Space Corridor request for UAS or Unmanned Aerial Systems operations for the former Tulsa Air Park. The Air park, along with the surrounding land and ranch, was purchased by the Osage Nation when planning for the Tulsa Osage Casino was in development and has for the most part been sparsely utilized, but the Nation would like to see this change.
The Osage Nation approached Osage County regarding their gaining their support for the endeavor, however the County remains hesitant to back the Air Corridor request without seeing more information including a business plan. However, the project has already gained support for Tulsa County, the City of Tulsa, and the City of Hominy. Hominy was quick to support the Nation especially if the project includes the utilization of their airport for UAS operations.
The Nation has also gained support from Oklahoma State University regarding the project. Oklahoma State is the first four year university in the United States to offer a Graduate program with both Masters and Ph.D degrees in Unmanned Aerial Systems Engineering. OSU also ranks 6th in the nation for UAS research.
The Osage Nations submission of the Air Corridor request does not come without criticism. Questions arose regarding the privacy of Osage County residents, and the possibility of future land development along the air corridor. The questions could not be immediately answered.
An accident occurred in Osage County yesterday that left one person dead and another seriously injured.
A Dodge Dart was driving East on State Highway 11 when it crossed the center-line, hitting a 1995 GMC 2500 Truck head-on. The driver of the car, Susan K, Raynor, was pinned in the vehicle for about 2 hours before she could be freed, and died on the scene due to injuries. The truck driver was freed after 2 hours as well, and she was transported by Air Evac to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa in critical condition with internal trunk and leg injuries.
Registered voters in Pawhuska will have quite a few choices when they head to the polls to vote for two seats on the Pawhuska City Council next year. For the Ward 3 position Pawhuska Mayor and the incumbent Mark Buchanan Ward 3 Council Member filed for reelection. However, in addition to Buchanan, John Moreland and Chris Brown have filed for the Ward 3 seat. For the Ward 4 position the incumbent Travis Finely did not file for reelection, but John Brazee, Kyle Yount, and Jamie S Malone did. The Pawhuska City Council election will take place in a nonpartisan primary election on February 13, 2018.
For additional election related information contact the Osage County Election Board at (918)287-3036.
The filing period for School Board positions across Osage County closed Wednesday December 6 at 5pm, resulting in only two contested races. In Pawhuska for the 5 year position in Office #3 Danny Ferguson, Newton Cass, Patrick Luey, Scott D. Laird, and Jennifer Gray filed. In Hominy for the 5 year term of Office #3 Chrissie Fairweather and Jim Hopper. The contested races will be determined at the Annual School Election on February 13, 2018.
Additionally James Smith filed for the Osage Hills 3 year term, Linda Kelly filed for the Barnsdall 5 year term, Adrian Phillips filed for the 3year term in Avant, and John Strom filed for the 3 year term in Bowring.
Tuesday at a lengthy meeting of the Pawhuska City Council the recently reestablished Historic District Commission was appointed, and the Council also made a decision on whether to terminate the four dollar monthly utility charge currently directed towards the hospital.
After extensive discussion and comments from the audience and prospective members of the commission the City Council selected Hank Benson, Angie Bruce, Jess Worten, Bruce Carter, and Ellie Jewel. Benson was selected to serve a five year term, Bruce and Worten were selected to serve four year terms, and Carter and Jewel were selected to serve three year terms. The Historic District Commission will hold open meetings and will address issues which arise with the 86 building in the Pawhuska Historic District.
Following discussion between Cindy Tillman and the City Council, Roger Taylor made a motion to terminate the four dollar utility charge. The motion passed however discussion then turned to redirecting the four dollar charge towards the Pawhuska EMS, however no action was taken, and discussion will return during budget preparation.
The Pawhuska City Council meets the first Tuesday on each month at Pawhuska City Council.
The meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners was business as usual Monday morning, with the exception of the continued discussion regarding the proposal brought forward at last weeks meeting by the Osage Nation.
Last week Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn approached the County Commissioners regarding developing the former Tulsa Air Park and submitting an application to the Federal Aviation Administration. District Attorney Rex Duncan provided an update at the meeting this week informing the Commissioners that if they chose to join the Osage Nation on the Application they would be placed on a support list for the FAA. By joining the support list with the FAA the County could be approached by other prospective applicants for support, and once on the list the County cannot be removed. The Commissioners took no action following the discussion.
The Commissioners also opened and accepted all bid for tabulation for Food, Paper, Tires, Road and Bridge Items, Grader Blades, State Spec and Non-State Spec Rock. The Commissioners will meet again next Monday at the Osage County Courthouse in Pawhuska.