Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols, left sitting, watches Principal Chief Bill John Baker, right sitting, on Aug. 8 sign a lease on a Cherokee Nation-owned property that will be the new site of a splash pad for the city in 2014. They were joined by, left to right in back, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Northeastern State President Steve Turner, Miss Cherokee Christy Kingfisher, Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd and CN Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Donelson. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

CN, Tahlequah officials partner for splash pad

BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter
08/22/2013 08:51 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation signed a 25-year lease on Aug. 8 with the city of Tahlequah to build a splash pad that will be free for all community members – Cherokee and non-Cherokee.

According to a CN press release, the agreement made with the city allows officials to build the water playground on .72 acres of tribally owned land located downtown.

“The city will lease the space for $1 a year,” the release states.

The splash pad, which has yet to be named, will be located at the corner of Downing and Water streets. Mayor Jason Nichols said during the signing that the plan is to have the site constructed by March or early April in 2014.

“But with the help of the Cherokee Nation we’re going to spend another $183,000…that will put this facility in place that will improve the quality of life for Cherokee children and non-Cherokee children,” Nichols said.

The splash pad will offer picnic tables, dumping water buckets, a foam pad, water shooters, two water wheels as well as other water-related toys.

Principal Chief Bill John Baker said that this is the best use of this property.

“We truly believe that for the next 25 years, this is the highest and best use of that property for the Cherokee Nation,” Baker said. “It will help our youth, the tourism. It helps tie our parks together when we try to attract people to see the courthouse, to see the Supreme Court, to see the jail…this is just one more plus why people might want to come to Tahlequah.”

Baker added that the partnership between the city and the CN will improve the lives of Cherokee and non-Cherokees alike.

“…we will continue to develop these kinds of infrastructure improvements for our citizens,” he said.

The splash pad is a part of $150 million worth of new infrastructure that’s been planned for or been built in the city during the past several years.

Northeastern State University is building a new multipurpose event center, and the CN is planning a new $50 million hospital. The city’s sports complex and new swimming pool are future projects, the CN release states.

jami-custer@cherokee.org


918-453-5560

ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏬᏪᎳᏅ ᎯᏍᎩᏦᏁ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎤᏓᏙᎵᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎦᎶᏂ ᏧᏁᎵᏁ ᎾᎿ ᎦᏚᎲ ᏓᎵᏆ ᎤᏃᏢᏗ ᎠᎹ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗ ᎤᏂᏱᏍᏛᏗ ᎠᏎᏊ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᏁᎳ-- ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ.

ᏚᎾᏙᎵᏤᎸᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏗᏂᎴᏴᏗᏍᎩ ᏫᏚᏂᏲᏒᎢ, ᎾᎿ ᏚᎾᏓᏁᏤᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎦᏚᎲ ᎠᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᏂᏁᏥᏙᎯ ᎤᏃᏢᏗ ᎠᎼᎯ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ .72 ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᎤᎾᏤᎵ ᎦᏙᎯ ᏗᎦᏚᎲ ᎤᏂᎲᎢ.

“ᎾᎿ ᎦᏚᎲ ᏛᎾᏙᎵᏏ ᎤᏠᏅᏛ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏃᏍᏗ ᏑᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ,” ᎪᏪᎸᎢ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏧᏂᏲᏒᎢ.

ᎠᎹ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗ ᎠᏱᏍᏓᎥᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ Ꮭ Ꮟ ᏱᏚᏙᎠ, ᎤᏃᎸᏗᏃ ᎤᏅᏏᏴ Downing ᎠᎴ ᎠᎹ ᏕᎦᏅᏅᎢ. ᎦᏚᎲ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ Jason Nichols ᎤᏛᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏃᏪᎵᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏃᎮᏢ ᎤᏃᏢᏗ ᎯᎠ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗᎢ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏅᏱ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎬᏱᏊ ᎧᏬᏂ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ.

“ᎠᏎᏃ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏙᏓᏛᏔᏂ ᏏᏊ ᏐᎢ 183,000… ᎾᏍᎩ ᏛᏙᏢᏂ ᎯᎠ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᏓᏤᏞᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᏓᎾᏛᏍᎬ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎢᏧᎳ,” ᎤᏛᏅ Nichols.

ᎾᎿ ᎠᎹ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗ ᎠᏱᏍᏓᎥᎢ ᏃᎴᏍᏊ ᏕᎦᏍᎩᎴᏍᏗ ᏗᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗᎢ, ᏏᏙᏂ ᎠᎹ ᏗᏟᏍᏙᏗ, ᎠᏟᏲᎷᎲᏍᎩ pad, ᎠᎹ ᏗᏟᏍᏙᏗ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗ, ᏔᎵ ᎠᎹ wheels ᎤᎪᏕᏍᏗ ᎠᎹᏱ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗ ᎤᏂᎲᏍᏗ.

ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ Bill John Baker ᎤᏛᏅ ᎯᎠ ᏬᏌᏂᏴ ᏓᏛᏔᏂ ᎦᏙᎯ.

“ᏙᎯᏳ ᎣᎪᎯᏳ ᎾᎿ ᏐᎢᎯᏍᎩᏦᏁ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴ ᎠᎴ ᏬᏌᏂᏴ ᏓᏛᏔᏂ ᎯᎠ ᎦᏙ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ,” ᎤᏛᏅ Baker. “ᏓᏳᏂᏍᏕᎸᎯ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ, ᎠᏂᎦᏖᏃᎵᏙᎯ. ᎢᎩᏍᏕᎵᎭ ᎾᎿ ᏴᏫ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᎢᏧᎳ ᏃᎴ ᎢᏗᏁᎶᏗᏍᎪ ᏴᏫ ᎤᏂᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᎤᏪᏘ ᏧᎾᏓᏰᎵᏓᏍᏗᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴ ᏧᎾᏓᏱᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ, ᎤᏪᏘ ᏧᎾᏓᏍᏚᏗᎢ…. ᎯᎠ ᏥᏛᏙᏢᏂ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏳᎾᏚᎵ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗᎢ ᏓᎵᏆ.”

Baker ᎤᏁᏉᎥ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᏗᎵᎪᎯ ᏥᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎦᏚᎲ ᎠᎴ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏓᏤᏞᏍᏗ ᎢᏕᎲ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎤᏠᏯ ᎢᏧᎳ.

“……. ᏂᎦᏯᎢᏎᏍᏗ ᏓᏙᏢᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᎯᎠ ᎢᏧᏍᏗᏓᏂ ᏓᏤᏢᎯ ᎢᏳᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎸᏍᏗ ᎠᏁᎯ,” ᎤᏛᏅ.

ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᎹ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗ ᎠᏱᏍᏓᎥ ᎢᎦᏓ 150 ᏳᏆᏗᏅᏓ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᎢᏤ ᏧᏃᏢᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏃᎮᏓ ᏧᏄᎪᏔᏅᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏃᏢᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎦᏚᎲ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᎬᏩᎴᏅᏓ.

ᎤᏴᏢᎢ ᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎾᏁᏍᎬ ᎢᏤ ᏧᏓᎴᏅ ᎢᎬᏙᏗ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ ᎠᏰᏟ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ CN ᎠᎾᏛᏅᎢᏍᏗᎭ ᎢᏤ ᎤᎾᏁᏍᎬᏗ ᏧᏂᏢᎩ 50 ᏳᏆᏗᏅᏓ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎦᏚᎲ ᎤᎾᏁᏦᏗ ᎤᏃᏢᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏤ ᎤᎾᏓᏬᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏩᎫᏗᏗᏒ ᏳᎾᏛᏗ, ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏚᏂᏲᏏ ᏄᏂᏪᏒᎢ.

About the Author
Reporter

Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007.

She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. 

Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. 

She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. 

“My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.
jami-murphy@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
Reporter Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007. She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. “My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.

News

BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter
07/06/2015 07:03 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Former Principal Chief and former candidate Chad Smith filed an appeal with the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court on July 6 on the validity of the June 27 general election’s outcome. Smith is requesting that the Supreme Court rule the principal chief’s election invalid, declare Principal Chief Bill John Baker disqualified for violation of campaign finance laws, declare no mathematical certainty exists to establish the majority of votes for Baker because the Election Commission improperly accepted early walk-in and in-person ballots that should have been rejected, find the commission’s denial of 261 absentee ballots a violation of election law and order a new principal chief election or run-off of the remaining top two candidates. According to the appeal Smith alleges that the Election Commission failed to establish the identity of those attempting to vote. “The Commission is required by statute to establish the identity of those attempting to vote. The Commission failed to comply with 26 CNCA subsections 12 (C)(1) for early walk-in voting and in-person voting in the Tahlequah and other precincts. This violation of the early walk-in and in-person voting procedure results in an improper acceptance ballots that should have been rejected,” the appeal states. It also alleges that the EC refused to disclose where 261 absentee ballots were mailed to and states that the commission is bound by law that allows tribal citizen a list of voters. “The Commission must provide the list by any method available for a nominal fee, as well as making it available at their office for inspection by a Cherokee citizen free of charge,” the appeal states. Smith also alleges that Baker violated campaign finance laws by use of personal funds including “failure to report campaign expenditures made with personal funds,” “illegal expenditures to Consumer Logic” and a “violation if Baker paid Consumer Logic through a third party.” Smith also filed a motion in Cherokee Nation District Court on July 6 for the production of documents against the EC and Principal Chief Bill John Baker. Smith requests a list of precinct workers by title, address and precinct worked, the voter sign in books for early walk-in voting and Tahlequah precincts as well as all invoices, scope of work, cancelled payment check or instrument showing date to or from Consumer Logic Inc. from the EC. He also requested the same cancelled payment information from Baker as well as other financial documents including invoices showing payments from personal funds from Baker referred to from the Cherokee Nation District Court in CV 2014-569, Smith v. Election Commission. “’While Principal Chief Baker has taken steps to support his re-election campaign for Principal Chief, all activities have been paid for from his own personal funds,’” the motion states. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/7/9414_SC-15-10_1-Appeal_7-6-15.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a>the Appeal Challenging the Validity of Election Outcome. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/7/9414_SC-15-10_2-Motion_7-6-15.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a>the Motion for Production of Documents.
BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter
07/03/2015 12:48 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to certified recount results, Wanda Hatfield and Betsy Swimmer are still the top two vote-getters who will face each other in the July 25 runoff for the At-Large Tribal Council seat. Following the June 27 general election, Election Commission officials posted results showing Hatfield leading with 25.94 percent of the ballots cast at 1,057 votes. Swimmer was second with 18.9 percent or 770 votes. Following the July 2 recount, Hatfield continued to lead with 1,057 votes, but Swimmer lost seven votes to finish with 763. The Cherokee Phoenix attempted to learn what happened to the seven votes, but as of press time EC officials were unavailable for comment. Swimmer said she was confident the EC had valid numbers. “So I’m pleased that it came out like it did,” she said. “I’m pressing forward and I plan to win the election.” Hatfield said the top three finishers remained the same with the recount and congratulated Swimmer on being in the runoff. “It has been a great experience and the next three weeks will be extremely busy reaching out to the At-Large Cherokee citizens,” she added. Candidate Shane Jett, who requested the recount, received 717 votes in the general election, but saw his vote count lowered to 713 in the recount. Jett said with the 2015 election being his first venture into Cherokee politics it was a learning experience, especially the importance of voters ensuring they cast their ballots correctly. “They (EC) had to throw away over 350 absentee ballots because they either did not sign them, notarize them or fill them out properly. So those votes were never counted,” he said. “It’s important that people slow down and make sure their vote counts. I hope everyone gets out and votes for their candidate of choice because their (Cherokee) Nation is worth it.” The EC performed the recount with CN Supreme Court justices present before certifying the results. Runoff absentee ballots will be mailed on July 13-14 and the runoff election will take place on July 25. All successful candidates are to be sworn into office on Aug. 14, according to the CN election timeline.
BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter
07/02/2015 11:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to the certified results from a July 2 recount, William “Bill” Pearson has beaten Keith Austin by six votes to win the Dist. 14 Tribal Council seat. Original certified results from the June 27 general election showed Pearson receiving 534 votes for 50.5 percent of the ballots cast, while Austin garnered 533 votes for 49.95 percent. Austin filed for a recount, which the tribe’s Election Commission performed. After that recount, Pearson had 525 votes for 50.2 percent compared to Austin’s 519 votes at 49.7 percent. The votes tabulated during the recount consisted of precinct, absentee, early absentee and precinct challenged. The recount had 23 votes less compared to the original count. EC officials said that occurred because of human error when inputting votes. “The challenged ballots from the districts were processed on Sunday (June 28) beginning at ”1 p.m. through 12:11 a.m. on Monday and resulted in 349 out of approximately 700 challenged ballots being accepted,” an EC statement reads. “The 349 ballots were then fed through a voting machine that was pre-defined for absentees, to get the vote count for the various races and candidates. The card from the machine was then placed in the computer to print out the challenged vote results. And unbeknownst to the operator it recorded the ballots as absentee votes then the operator took the printout of challenged ballots and manually entered them for the appropriate race and candidate, resulting in the 349 votes being entered twice.” The EC statement also reads that once this was discovered, those votes entered into the machine under absentee were removed. The challenged votes that were correctly placed in districts remained in those districts. “Resulting in the 349 being correctly counted,” the release stated. The Cherokee Phoenix contacted Pearson but he was unavailable for comment at the time of publication. In an email statement, Austin did not state whether he would appeal the recount results to the Supreme Court but that he appreciated the EC’s hard work. “They have the impossible job of determining a certifiable winner in a race that could not be closer,” Austin wrote. “Obviously, we want to work with the Election Commission and the Supreme Court to help determine that the election results are accurate. Cherokees took the time to vote because they have faith in our Nation. We owe it to them to ensure their intentions are honored and their votes count.” The EC certified the recount on July 2 in the presence of Supreme Court justices. Candidates have until July 6 to appeal election results with the Supreme Court. Provided there are any appeals, the Supreme Court would hear those cases July 7-9. Candidates elected to office during the general and runoff elections are expected to be sworn in Aug. 14, according to the tribe’s election timeline. The runoff election is set for July 25. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/7/9410_ExplanationofRecalculationofVoteCount.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a>the Explanation of Recalculation of Vote Count document.
BY CN COMMUNICATIONS
Cherokee Nation
07/01/2015 06:22 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — At-Large Tribal Council candidate Shane Jett submitted a formal recount request Wednesday to the Cherokee Nation Election Commission after certified General Election results showed Jett finished third to candidates Wanda Hatfield and Betsy Swimmer. After Election Commission officials tabulated challenge ballots Sunday, results had Jett with 717 votes to Hatfield’s 1,057 votes and Swimmer’s 770 votes. Hatfield and Swimmer are scheduled for a run-off election Saturday, July 25, since no candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, pending the outcome of the requested recount. Election Commission officials are now waiting on a formal order from the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court to begin preparation for the recount. Officials must have the recount completed by Friday, July 3. A recount for the District 14 race was ordered by the Supreme Court on Tuesday after candidate Keith Austin submitted a formal request late Monday. District 14 candidates Keith Austin and William Pearson were separated by one vote in the certified election results.
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/01/2015 02:14 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Oklahoma Fire fastpitch softball team will face girls from all across the country when they travel July 13-18 to Gulf Shores, Alabama, to compete in the USSSA National World Series. The team is comprised of 14 girls, 12 of which are Cherokee, from the Tahlequah area. They reserved their spot for the series on June 21 by capturing the Oklahoma State 12u Rec/All-Stars Championship in Bixby. The team is also fundraising for the trip. It created a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $15,000. To visit the page, go to <a href=" http://www.gofundme.com/okfire" target="_blank">http://www.gofundme.com/okfire</a>. The team is also holding an Indian taco sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 3 at the Oklahoma American Legion Post 135 In Tahlequah. Tickets can be purchased in advance from parents, players and team partner O’Reilly Auto Parts.
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/01/2015 12:00 PM
TULSA, Okla. – Jonathan Powell, director of marketing and business development for Cherokee Nation Industries, was recently named to the Federal Communications Commission’s Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council. “It is an honor to receive this nomination and to have the opportunity to serve as a voice for rural and tribal communities while influencing advancements in our nation’s communications systems,” said Powell. “My focus is providing the best services to all citizens, continuing to bridge interoperability gaps and ensuring rural and tribal land is a consideration when making recommendations to the FCC.” A CN citizen and Pryor native, Powell has more than 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern State University in finance and a master’s degree in business administration from Oklahoma City University. Powell will join the fifth charter of the CSRIC, which provides guidance, expertise and recommendations to the FCC to ensure optimal security and reliability of the nation’s communications systems. The council addresses the availability of communications during natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other events that result in exceptional strain on the communications infrastructure, as well as the rapid restoration of communications services in the event of widespread or major disruptions. “Mr. Powell is a valuable asset at CNI, leading teams in the areas of market strategy and research, partnership development, sales planning and business development,” said Chris Moody, CNI president. “As a leader within a tribally owned business, he provides a unique and valuable insight to the CSRIC that will be crucial for the future of communications in tribal entities and Indian Country.” Members of the CSRIC are appointed by the chairman of the FCC and selected from public safety agencies, consumer or community organizations or other nonprofit entities and the private sector to balance various expertise and viewpoints.