Tribal Councilor Harley Buzzard discusses a friendly amendment regarding changes to the Cherokee Nation’s Governmental Records Act during the Tribal Council’s June 16 meeting in Tahlequah, Okla. Buzzard requested the number of days for a GRA request response be lessened to 10 days rather than 20 days as stated in the legislation. JAMI MUPRHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Tribal Council amends FOIA, GRA

BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
06/18/2014 10:23 AM
BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After several turbulent months of protest from citizens and some Cherokee Nation legislators, Tribal Councilors amended the Freedom of Information and Governmental Records acts during their June 16 meeting.

Amendments included increased time limits for responses under both laws. For the FOIA, the time limit goes from 15 days to 20 days. The FOIA amendment also included an additional 10-day extension, but only after the requesting party is notified in writing. The GRA time limit was increased from six days to 10 days, following a friendly amendment from Tribal Councilor Harley Buzzard.

“And the amendment that I’d like to offer is to take away some of the days for the GRA act. We’re presently at 20. What I would propose to do is add four days to the existing act. Make it, I believe, 10 days,” he said. “It would be consistent with what we’re going to be doing with the FOIA, we added four (days). I would ask that we add four days to the present act which would make it 10 day turn around on documentation.”

The FOIA bill also creates an information officer position within the Attorney General’s Office to serve as a liaison for CN citizens seeking public records. The officer is to be independent of political influence and could only be terminated for cause and will be responsible for facilitating, gathering, tracking and responding to FOI requests, as well as providing monthly reports to the Tribal Council.

Both laws increase protection for CN citizens regarding personal information. Amendments included protecting a citizen’s Social Security number, date of birth, tribal citizenship number, email and other electronic identifiers specifically exempted under the FOIA.

“With technological advances, cases of identity theft have increased exponentially, and there are no indications of the trend changing course,” Tribal Councilor Tina Glory-Jordan said. “Along with other enhancements to this essential piece of legislation, this body wanted to ensure our citizens’ sensitive information on requested documents will remain private. Cherokee citizens can rest assured this body has taken every step needed to protect their identity and assets through this law.”

Tribal Councilor Cara Cowan Watts expressed concern regarding “privileged or confidential” items that would be exempt.

The act states that privileged and confidential information is “exempt from disclosure under the Cherokee Nation Freedom of Information and Rights of Privacy Act, as amended, or is confidential under Cherokee Nation law, that record shall, nevertheless, be produced or otherwise made available to the requesting Council member…”

“So that still denies a council person the ability to have that electronically. So for instance, myself, that lives an hour to hour and a half away, I would still have to drive to the AG’s office to review the information it would not be given to me,” Cowan Watts said.

Glory Jordan said they had made no changes in that area and asked Attorney General Todd Hembree to respond.

“This law makes no changes to the current language that is in our Governmental Records Act. The question that you asked is precisely subject matter to a Supreme Court appeal to which Ms. (Julia) Coates is a plaintiff. We have our interpretation. Ms. Coates has her interpretation. There are going to be five members of the justice that’s going to decide that issue,” Hembree said.

Cowan Watts asked Hembree if the language would affect current lawsuits, to which he replied no.

The FOIA also clarifies that proprietary bid documents will be exempt from public disclosure. The law states that a contract is not exempt from disclosure once executed, but bid or other financial documents of the vendors who bid on a project will be exempt.

The FOIA bill passed 10-6, with Tribal Councilors Cowan Watts, Lee Keener, Coates, Don Garvin, Dick Lay and Jack Baker voting no. Councilor Jodie Fishinghawk did not attend the meeting.

The GRA bill passed 14-2, with Cowan Watts and Keener opposing.

Coates requested six friendly amendments to the FOIA bill, but they were voted down. They included:

• Any person denied a document request pursuant to the act for either copies or inspection, and any person denied attendance of a “work group or subcommittee meeting of the Tribal Council may appeal that decision to the Administrative Appeals Board or the District Court within 10 days of the denial of the request or deadline for providing the request if no response occurs,” and

• Any person alleging a violation of Section 107 (Meetings of public bodies shall be open) may seek relieve from the Administrative Appeals Board within 10 days of the alleged violation.

Glory Jordan said her biggest problem with the motions regarding the appeals board is that it is not set up to hear those types of cases.

“That means that we got to go change that law,” she said. “And I don’t see how we vote on doing this tonight without changing that law to broaden their ability to hear this type of case because they were set up to hear basically wrongful termination-type cases.”

Councilors also confirmed CN citizens Robin McClain Smith to the Cherokee Nation Community Association Cooperation and Jennifer Goins to the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission.

The Concurrent Enrollment Scholarship Act was also amended to allow students to enroll in more college hours and receive more funding.

“The amended legislation now allows eligible high school students to receive scholarship money for up to nine hours of college course work, rather than just six,” Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick said. “The more hours our students enroll in shows their dedication to academics and their futures, and saves families money.”
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.

Council

BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
04/12/2016 05:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Tribal Councilors on April 12 sent back to the Rules Committee Legislative Act 04-14, which amends the Cherokee Nation’s election code, after several legislators voiced concerns regarding the definition of “term.” In March, the committee defined “term” as “consecutive full four (4) years in which the elective or appointed officer may perform the functions of office and enjoy its privileges, a term shall not include the remainder of any unexpired term or partial year.” Tribal Councilor Harley Buzzard said on April 12 that he could not support the act. “I feel like the Cherokee people had a constitutional convention and had decided what they wanted in the election code…I think we’re really messing with the Constitution of the Cherokee Nation if we go to changing some of the wording of that act. I could see if this passes as it’s stated, we’re going to have some problems with further elections that come down the road,” he said. Tribal Councilor Buel Anglen added that from what he’s read in the Constitutional Convention transcripts those involved did not want to add the word “full” when referring to one’s elected term. “There’s a lot of good stuff in this election law that we looked over for a long time, but at this time, putting that one (definition) in there is going to keep me from supporting this act,” Anglen said. Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor said she felt the committee discussions were geared toward making the election code clearly match the CN Constitution. “And so, I feel like our intent was to match the Constitution, which says in several areas a term is four years. If the Constitution can stand on its own, I’m not opposed to taking out “EE” (the section in the legislation defining term), but I just want to clarify that our intention was to firm it up and match the Constitution.” Tribal Councilor Dick Lay offered a friendly amendment to remove the section defining “term,” and Tribal Councilor Victoria Vazquez initially accepted it. She later revoked the friendly amendment and motioned to send the legislation back to Rules Committee. That motion passed with no opposition. Legislators also unanimously authorized the “approval of a loan agreement and limited waiver of sovereign immunity” as part of the Indian Health Service Joint Venture expansion in Tahlequah. According to the legislation, the CN will accept and execute a general obligation credit facility loan agreement “with a group of lenders to be arranged by BOKF, NA dba Bank of Oklahoma” and approved by the CN in a principal amount of $170 million to finance construction of the Cherokee Nation Tahlequah Outpatient Facility. The body also passed an act creating the Cherokee Nation Judgment Fund, which “governs all judgments, inclusive of attorney fees and interest, entered against the Cherokee Nation or any department, agency or subdivision thereof.” According to the act, “all monies accruing to the credit of the fund are hereby appropriated, and shall be budgeted and expended by the Treasurer for the payment of eligible claims.” Legislators also approved the three initial members of the Cherokee Immersion Charter School board: Rufus King, Melvina Shotpouch and Russell Feeling. According to CN Communications, all three are Cherokee speakers and will serve five-year terms. “Through the Cherokee Immersion Charter School, the Cherokee Nation is cultivating a new generation of Cherokee speakers,” Council Speaker Joe Byrd said. “The revitalization of our language is of the utmost importance, thus making this board extremely vital. We need governing school board members who not only speak our language, but understand the seriousness of the mission of our school.” The Tribal Council also: • Authorized interviews and research within the CN by the National Institute of Justice Regarding Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault regarding violence against Indian women; • Amended Title 21 of the CN code annotated relating to offenses against property; • Authorized the name change of Sallisaw Creek to National Cherokee Nation Park; • Allowed CN to lease tribal trust land to the Kenwood Rural Water District for a water treatment plant, tank, pump station and wells; and • Supported the deployment of the F-35 Lightning II Fighter Aircraft to the 138th Fighter Wing. Legislators also amended both the capital and operating budgets for fiscal year 2016.
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
03/15/2016 04:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At its March 14 meeting, the Tribal Council approved the renomination of Chuck Hoskin Jr. as the Cherokee Nation’s secretary of state. He has served as state secretary since 2013 and officially began his second term following his confirmation and oath of office. Hoskin, who served as a Tribal Councilor from 2007-13, thanked Principal Chief Bill John Baker and the legislators for the “confidence” they have in him. “I appreciate the confidence that each of you have, and I will do my best to continue in good service to the (Cherokee) Nation,” he said. “We've got great challenges ahead, and I’m glad to be on the part of the team that is taking that on, and I do appreciate working with you and all of your colleagues, Mr. Speaker (Joe Byrd).” Hoskin’s wife, January, held the Bible as Supreme Court Justice John Garrett swore him into his second term. Councilors also separated the Education and Culture Committee, creating a respective committee for each. Tribal Councilor Victoria Vazquez said one of the best ways to continue preserving the Cherokee culture is to give it its own committee. “It’s very important to highlight the culture and the opportunity that we have to carry forward the Cherokee legacy of culture, art and language. It’s my theory that it can best be done by having a separate Culture Committee instead of having it as part of education/culture,” she said. They also authorized the tribe to lease trust lands to Burgher Haggard LLC “for the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Mustang Program.” Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick voted against the resolution, but Tribal Councilor David Thornton said it is important to help the horses. “The thing I think of when I think of horses is the Trail of Tears and I think about our people coming across from North Carolina, Tennessee all that way. And people, there’s some of them that would have never made it if it hadn’t been for a horse,” he said. “I think this is a great time to bring these horses here to this land because in time of need. We needed them and now they need us.” According to legislation, the horses would have trust land set aside in Adair and Delaware counties for five years beginning Oct. 1. There is also an option for a renewal of five additional years at a price that is set forth by the BLM. Tribal Councilors also amended wording within the Employment Rights Act. According to legislative details, Title 40, subsection 103 was amended to include “if a business is owned by a trust, it must be held in trust with over 51 percent of Indian trustees and 51 percent and more of the beneficiaries of the trust must be Indians to maintain majority Indian control of the business.” Another ERA amendment included “if the business is a trust owned business, the business must certify Indian trustees and beneficiaries and TERO (Tribal Employment Rights Office) will then” determine if the business would be given Indian preference within the TERO section of the act. Legislators also passed a resolution supporting Oklahoma House Bill 2261, which changes the definition of who can sell “Indian art” under the American Indian Arts and Crafts Sales Act of 1974. The proposed measure, which passed the House 90-0, defines “American Indian tribe” as any Indian tribe federally recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and “American Indian” as a citizen or enrolled member of an American Indian tribe. Councilors also authorized the acceptance of five tracts of day school land in fee. The lands consist of the former Cave Springs School in Cherokee County, Mulberry Hollow School in Adair County, Oak Hill School (Piney) in Delaware County, Ballou School in Mayes County and Redbird Smith School in Sequoyah County. Councilors also authorized the BIA to update the tribe’s Inventory of Tribal Transportation Facilities to include the Rocky Mountain School Road extensions 1 and 2 in Adair County. They also increased the fiscal year 2016 operating budget by $878,981 to $657.6 million. In it the DOI-Self Governance received an increase of $56,200. The remaining $822,781 came from grants. In other business, legislators: • Revised the tribe’s 2016 Indian Housing Plan to provide rental assistance for Native American veterans who qualify, • Amended the Motor Vehicle Licensing and Tax Code to include items manufactured homes, commercial trailers, farm trailers and CN vehicles to the license plates section, • Authorized the CN to negotiate and/or advertise for bid to lease tribal units on fee or trust land for grazing and farming, and • Reconfirmed Jack L. Spears to the Environmental Protection Commission and Johnnie Earp to the Economic Development Trust Authority board of directors.
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
02/18/2016 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During its Feb. 16 meeting, Tribal Councilors unanimously declared support for the continual operation of dependent public schools located within Cherokee Nation jurisdiction. According to the resolution, there are 26 dependent public schools located within the jurisdiction. Those schools have 6,965 students enrolled, and 3,294, or 47 percent, of them are CN citizens. The resolution states the CN percentage of students enrolled at the schools is higher than the number of CN students enrolled at independent schools within the tribe’s jurisdiction and that the closure of dependent schools would have a “devastating” effect on CN citizens attending and the CN families living in surrounding communities. Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd said keeping the rural schools open is important for “the good of the students and community.” “The small, rural dependent school districts are the heartbeat of their community, and the Cherokee Nation has an obligation to help keep that heartbeat going,” Byrd said. “Whether it is financial support through car tag sales or vocal support through legislation, this Tribal Council stands united in backing our dependent school districts and helping them keep their doors open.” Tribal Councilors also passed an act affirming and codifying CN laws and statues. Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor said the act acknowledges that tribal officials have created a volume of five books titled “Cherokee Nation Code Annotated” that has the tribe’s laws and resolutions within them. “It took quite a while to do, but it’s just making it official that those are our laws and our resolutions, basically everything that we have,” she said. “If somebody wants to look up a law for some reason they can do it in one place now.” Taylor said the books can be found in the legislative offices and the Attorney General’s Office. The books can also be purchased at the CN Gift Shop for $455. Legislators also confirmed John Sparks, of Norman, to the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission; Shaun Shepherd, of Tahlequah, to the Cherokee Nation Businesses board of directors; and Fannie Robinson, of Kansas, Oklahoma, to the Cherokee Nation Tax Commission. Sparks and Robinson were approved unanimously while three legislators opposed Shepherd’s confirmation. Sparks said he is thankful for the opportunity to serve on the CNGC. “Thank you all for having me, and I just want you to know how flattered and honored I am to be asked to serve…to execute my duties in this role,” he said. While serving on the CNB board, Shepherd said he looks forward to the challenges it holds. “Mr. Speaker, council, I want to thank everybody in this administration for putting their trust in me for this position,” he said. “I look forward to the challenges, and look forward to serving the Cherokee Nation and its citizens.” Councilors also passed a resolution supporting the CN’s Promise Zone application. The Promise Zone is a White House initiative that consists of the federal government investing in and partnering with tribal communities to increase economic activity, create jobs, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime and improve educational opportunities. According to hud.gov, Promise Zones are “high poverty communities.” The initiative provides resources such as tax incentives, pending enactment of tax incentives by Congress and grants to these communities. Currently the only location in Oklahoma designated as a Promise Zone is the Choctaw Nation, which occurred in 2014. Councilors also unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the Bureau of Indian Affairs to revise and update the tribe’s Inventory of Tribal Transportation Facilities to include three new routes. The routes are in Ottawa County and consist of S610 Loop, EW-0190 Road and NS-4610 Road. In other news, councilors increased the fiscal year 2016 capital budget by $2.2 million to $121.6 million. The increase of $2,245,423 went to the Motor Vehicle Tax budget. Councilors also increased the FY 2016 operating budget by $1.9 million to $656.7 million. In it the General Fund increased by $84,578, the Motor Vehicle Tax increase by $1,156,896 and DOI-Self Governance received $124,108. The remaining $609,208 came from grants. The council also passed nine resolutions authorizing the donation of surplus office equipment to Nowata Cherokees in Nowata County, Redbird Stomp Grounds in Sequoyah County, Boys and Girls Club in Delaware County, 51 West Fire Department in Adair County, Brushy Cherokee Community Organization in Sequoyah County, Boys and Girls Club in Sequoyah County, Stokes Stomp Grounds in Sequoyah County and Belfonte Baptist Church in Sequoyah County. The next Tribal Council meeting is set for 6 p.m. on March 14.
BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
01/13/2016 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During its Jan. 11 meeting, the Tribal Council, via Legislative Act 17-15, increased the fiscal year 2016 operating budget by $1,773,125 making the total operating budget authority $654.7 million. The modification consisted of adding $1.8 million in grant and carryover funding, as well as a decrease of approximately $75,000 from several tribal funds. Although there was no discussion during the meeting, Tribal Councilor Dick Lay abstained during the act’s voting. All other legislators voted to approve. The act passed 16-0-1. In an email, Lay stated he abstained because of inefficiencies in the Cherokee Nation’s Rehabilitation Housing group and the fact the tribe’s administration is making changes to it. “They may move CN Rehab employees to the CN Housing Authority. The CN administration placed in the budget mod (modification) to move the funding from CN Rehab to the CN Housing Authority,” Lay said. “These items were in CN Rehab budgets, and now have been sent to the CN Housing authority. “The CN Rehab Housing is a CN government entity, under the authority of the CN government. These 79 CN Rehab housing jobs had full vesting and employment rights in the CN government,” he added. “The CN Housing Authority is not a CN government department. It is a State of Oklahoma agency. I’m being told its employees are considered at-will employees. The CN government essentially funds the state agency – the CN Housing Authority. Because it has not been explained, and I’m still not sure how the CN Rehab group will be improved, and more importantly, because I’m concerned for the 79 CN government Rehab Housing employees and their families, I voted abstain instead of yes.” Councilors also approved the donation of surplus office equipment to the Foyil Community Building. Also, Principal Chief Bill John Baker said in his State of the Nation address that CN officials met with Secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro to discuss a new program that will benefit Native American veterans who are homeless. “We were one of 26 tribes nationwide to be selected. It gives us an opportunity to get 20 veterans that are homeless into safe, sanitary, decent housing with our partnership with the VA (Veterans Affairs),” Baker said. “If you know them, help us locate them.” He also said the Attorney General’s Office and the tribe’s One Fire program has secured a $400,000 grant to “increase awareness and help prosecute more cases involving sexual assault against women.” Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden also honored three veterans during the meeting, giving them CN Medal of Patriotism awards. The veterans were Chester Benton Havenstrite, who served in the Army during the Cold War; Selbert Lee Taylor, who served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War; and Samuel Jordan, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War.
BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
12/15/2015 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Tribal Council on Dec. 14 approved a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Eastern Oklahoma Region for wildland and fire management. “Basically the (wildland and fire) resolution allows us to continue to receive funding from the BIA and we work with them in protecting our tribal lands,” Willard Mounce, CN Tribal Employment Rights Office administration officer, said. Mounce said as of Dec. 14 the tribe’s Wildland and Fire Management program did not have a firefighter over it, but that the position was expected to open. He said to be eligible for the position one has to pass an endurance test as and meet specific BIA requirements. Until the position is filled, he said the BIA would provide a firefighter during the increased fire season. The agreement is approved annually, Mounce said, and funds $65,000 to the tribe. Tribal Councilors also approved a bill allowing the CN to become a Native American Fish and Wildlife Society member. The NAFWS has been in existence since 1983. It assists tribes with establishing fish and wildlife programs, supporting funding for tribal fish and wildlife programs and educating and training Native fish and wildlife biologists, managers, technicians and conservation officers. However, to benefit from the group’s services, the CN must first be a member. “Be it resolved by the Cherokee Nation, that this Council hereby wishes to become a member of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society and to participate in the services provided by the organization and its staff; and be it further resolved; that this Resolution of Support be submitted to the NAFWS; and be it further resolved; that the Cherokee Nation supports the efforts of the NAFWS to secure funding to maintain the organization and the services that will be provided directly to tribal fish and wildlife programs,” the legislation states. Both resolutions passed unanimously. The Tribal Council also unanimously passed Janie Dibble’s nomination to the Comprehensive Care Agency or PACE board. Also, legislators approved the re-appointments Carrie Philpott and Farrell Prater to the Registration Committee, Amon Baker to the Sequoyah High School board of education and Nathan Barnard to the Appeals Board. Councilors also unanimously approved CN citizen Chris Carter to the Cherokee Nation Businesses board of directors. He resigned from the Cherokee Nation Tax Commission effective Dec. 14, upon confirmation to the CNB board. “I am very pleased with the opportunity to share insights from my many years as a businessman for the benefit of all the citizens of the Cherokee Nation,” Carter, a business owner from Vinita, said. During the State of the Nation, Principal Chief Bill John Baker recognized the Cherokee Renegades, a basketball team of Cherokee men who won the National Indian Association championship in 1981, and the new CN Tribal Youth Council. In other news, CNB CEO Shawn Slaton said fiscal year 2015 was a success bringing in $123 million in net income. He also reported that the Roland Casino hotel opened on Dec. 10 and that CNB employs more than 4,600 CN citizens and has more than 80 percent Native American in its employment. Also, Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation Director Gary Cooper reported that 6,600 families have received some kind of assistance this year from the HACN.
BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
11/17/2015 02:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Tribal Council approved the newest member of the Cherokee Nation Administrative Appeals Board on Nov. 16 at the legislative body’s monthly meeting after moving forward the nomination from the Rules Committee meeting earlier in the day. Tribal Councilors, minus an absent Jack Baker, unanimously approved Junior Dewayne Littlejohn during the Rules Committee meeting and full Tribal Council. Littlejohn will begin serving Dec. 15 for a term of four years. “Junior Dewayne Littlejohn is duly qualified and should be appointed as a Member of the Administrative Appeals Board,” the legislation reads. The AAB is a board comprised of three members who hear employee grievances, including wrongful termination cases. The board’s other two members are James Cosby and Nathan Barnard. The Tribal Council also approved two budget modifications. The first modification passed the Executive and Finance Committee on Oct. 29 and increased the tribe’s budget by $4.2 million to more than $651 million. It included $3.97 million related to carryover of a Department of Labor grant. The second passed the committee on Nov. 16 and increased the tribe’s total operating budget by more than $1.1 million to more than $653 million. It contained $760,000 related to an increase in the Tribe’s Employment Rights Office program from TERO fees to be collected. Also during the meeting, Health Services Director Connie Davis recognized Craig Edgmon, a home health nurse for the tribe’s Redbird Smith Health Center, who successfully resuscitated an unresponsive patient during a home visit. “And because of his heroic efforts this patient survived that event,” she said. “He went on the next week to teach a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) class where the following week one of his students passed on that and paid it forward and successfully resuscitated yet another patient out in the field. That shows what your efforts have done.” In other news, Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Shawn Slaton said that the Outpost 1 convenient store on the Tribal Complex is expected to be open around Feb. 1. Once opened the fuel system would be shut down for about three months until new fueling stations can be added. Slaton also said the Roland Casino hotel is expected to open near Dec. 1 and that CNB’s television show “OsiyoTV” would expand to the Oklahoma City area playing at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings on channel CW 34. In addition, he said that CNB Native American employment rate is at 81.6 percent with 73.5 percent of that strictly CN citizens. Deputy Principal Chief S. Joe Crittenden also recognized two CN citizens for their military service, Christopher Dale Mayfield for his service in Operation Desert Storm and Jerry Wane Daniels for his time in Vietnam.