National Congress of American Indians Names Geoffrey Blackwell as General Counsel and Chief of Staff

National Congress of American Indians Names Geoffrey Blackwell as General Counsel and Chief of Staff

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has announced the appointment of Geoffrey Blackwell as the organization’s new general counsel and chief of staff. Blackwell, who is of Chickasaw, Choctaw, Omaha, and Muscogee Creek descent, will be responsible for leading NCAI’s legal strategies and ensuring the efficient operation of the organization.

Blackwell brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having previously served as the chief strategy officer and general counsel for AMERIND for eight years. Prior to that, he was the founding chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Native Affairs and Policy, where he played a key role in bringing modern communication technologies to tribal communities across the nation.

His efforts in advocating for broadband policy on behalf of tribal nations earned him recognition in 2020 as a co-recipient of Public Knowledge’s IP3 Internet Protocol Award. Within NCAI, Blackwell will also serve as co-chair of both the Economic, Finance, and Community Development Committee and the Technology and Telecommunications Subcommittee.

Raised in Oklahoma and New Mexico, Blackwell comes from a family deeply involved in tribal leadership and federal service dedicated to Indian Country. He holds degrees from Dartmouth College and the University of Virginia School of Law.

NCAI Executive Director Larry Wright, Jr. expressed his excitement about Blackwell’s appointment, highlighting his extensive expertise in federal Indian law and policy and his dedication to serving Tribal Nations. With Blackwell leading the legal efforts and serving as chief of staff, NCAI is confident in its continued advocacy for Tribal Nations.

This appointment marks an important milestone for NCAI as it strengthens its leadership team and charts a course for the future. With Blackwell at the helm, NCAI is well-positioned to advance the rights and interests of Native American tribes across the country.

Exploring the Tranquil Beauty of Adamson, Oklahoma in Pittsburg County

Exploring the Tranquil Beauty of Adamson, Oklahoma in Pittsburg County

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Adamson, Pittsburg County

Nestled in the picturesque region of Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, the peaceful town of Adamson charms visitors with its serene beauty. With a population of just over 2,500, this close-knit community offers a tranquil getaway for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. From its natural landscapes to its rich history, Adamson has something to offer for everyone.

Situated in the southeastern part of Oklahoma, Pittsburg County is known for its stunning scenery and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities. Adamson is surrounded by rolling hills, lush green forests, and crystal-clear lakes, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers. Visitors can embark on hiking or biking trails, go fishing in the nearby lakes, or simply relax and soak in the peaceful ambiance of the countryside.

One of the standout features of Pittsburg County is its close proximity to the Ouachita National Forest. Spanning across both Oklahoma and Arkansas, this expansive forest offers a wealth of outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, and wildlife spotting. The Choctaw Nation Museum, located in nearby Tuskahoma, provides a fascinating insight into the history and culture of the region’s Native American heritage.

With its rich history and unique attractions, Adamson is a haven for history buffs and those seeking a glimpse into the past. The Pittsburg County Genealogical and Historical Society Museum, located in nearby McAlester, offers a comprehensive collection of artifacts and exhibits that depict the town’s history and the region’s coal mining heritage. Visitors can delve into the fascinating stories of the people who shaped the town and gain a deeper understanding of its roots.

Adamson is also conveniently located near the town of McAlester, the county seat of Pittsburg County. McAlester offers a range of amenities and attractions, including shopping centers, restaurants, and historical landmarks. Visitors can explore the city’s downtown area, which is known for its charming architecture and vibrant arts scene. The Krebs Heritage Museum, located in Krebs just outside of McAlester, showcases the rich Italian heritage of the area, offering a unique cultural experience.

For those who enjoy a day on the greens, the McAlester Country Club provides a beautiful golfing experience with breathtaking views. Golf enthusiasts can tee off on the well-maintained fairways and enjoy a challenging round of golf amidst the picturesque surroundings.

Whether you are looking for a peaceful retreat amidst nature’s beauty or a chance to uncover the history of the region, Adamson in Pittsburg County offers a well-rounded experience. From its stunning landscapes to its rich heritage, the town and its surrounding areas provide a delightful escape from the ordinary. With its close proximity to the Ouachita National Forest and the vibrant town of McAlester, Adamson is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

A Glimpse into Jonah: A Charming Town in Garfield County, Oklahoma

A Glimpse into Jonah: A Charming Town in Garfield County, Oklahoma

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Jonah, Garfield County

Nestled in the heart of Garfield County, Oklahoma lies the serene and picturesque town of Jonah. With a population of just under 500 residents, this small town offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Located in the central region of the United States, Jonah is surrounded by rolling plains, vast farmland, and the stunning landscapes that Oklahoma is known for.

Garfield County, the region that Jonah calls home, is a thriving area in north-central Oklahoma. Adjacent to the county seat of Enid, Garfield County is filled with vibrant communities, bustling downtown areas, and friendly residents. Home to several museums and historical sites, the county is a treasure trove of heritage for those interested in Oklahoma’s rich history.

Jonah itself is a quiet and close-knit community, with its roots firmly grounded in agriculture. The town’s name pays homage to the biblical figure Jonah, perhaps reflecting the town’s resilience and connection to nature. The locals pride themselves on their strong work ethic, and farming remains a prominent part of the town’s economy.

One of the highlights of Jonah is its stunning natural beauty. Residents and visitors alike can bask in the splendor of the surrounding landscapes. The nearby Red Rock Canyon State Park offers breathtaking views of towering red cliffs, hiking trails, and opportunities for rock climbing. Nature enthusiasts will also appreciate the variety of wildlife, such as deer and wild turkeys, that call this area home.

For a taste of history, visitors can explore the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center, located in nearby Enid. This museum showcases the rich history and culture of the region, portraying the struggles and triumphs of Oklahoma’s past. From exhibits on Native American tribes to displays featuring the oil and gas industry, there is something for everyone to appreciate and learn from.

Jonah’s location in Garfield County also offers easy access to other notable cities and attractions in Oklahoma. Enid, which is just a short drive away, boasts an array of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. The city is also home to the Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse & Adventure Quest, a hands-on science museum that is perfect for families.

Venturing further afield, visitors can explore the vibrant capital city of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City. From the famous Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, which honors the victims of the tragic bombing in 1995, to the Bricktown Entertainment District, there is no shortage of things to see and do in this bustling metropolis.

Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply in search of a peaceful retreat, Jonah and Garfield County have something for everyone. From the tranquility of its breathtaking landscapes to the welcoming nature of its residents, this charming town is a hidden gem in the heartland of America. So, when planning your next getaway, consider venturing off the beaten path and discovering the wonders that Jonah has to offer.

Investment Will Support Continued Growth of Market Leader

Investment Will Support Continued Growth of Market Leader

Gryphon Investors has announced its acquisition of AirX Climate Solutions (ACS), a leading designer, manufacturer, distributor, and servicer in the specialty heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) markets. The investment from Gryphon will support ACS’ growth initiatives, including expanding its geographic footprint, enhancing aftermarket and service offerings, and pursuing strategic acquisitions.

ACS, founded in 1997 and based in Oklahoma City, OK, is a full-service HVAC solutions provider. They offer design, installation, maintenance, and repair services for HVAC systems in various industries such as telecommunications, data centers, energy storage, education, and commercial markets. With a workforce of over 600 employees, ACS is known for its high-quality products and exceptional customer service.

Gryphon’s Co-Heads of the Industrial Growth Group, Scott Hearn and Leigh Abramson, expressed their excitement to partner with ACS and its management team. They believe that ACS’s excellent reputation and position in the market make it an ideal platform for further growth. Gryphon plans to utilize its extensive experience in the HVAC sector to help ACS evolve and expand.

ACS CEO Rick Aldridge is also enthusiastic about the partnership with Gryphon. He is confident that Gryphon’s HVAC knowledge and network of executive advisors will contribute to ACS’s future growth. Aldridge emphasized that ACS remains fully committed to providing the highest levels of quality and service to its customers.

Mark Fuller, Managing Director in Gryphon’s Industrial Growth Group, highlighted ACS’s strong brands and dedication to innovative customer solutions. He emphasized the company’s proven track record and expressed Gryphon’s enthusiasm for supporting ACS in accelerating organic growth and pursuing additional acquisitions.

As part of the transaction, Gryphon representatives will join ACS’s Board of Directors alongside Rick Aldridge. This investment marks Gryphon’s fourth in the HVAC value chain and follows their successful exit from Heritage Distribution Holdings earlier this year.

Jefferies and William Blair acted as financial advisors to Gryphon, while Baird and Nomura served as financial advisors to ACS. Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as Gryphon’s legal advisor.

About AirX Climate Solutions:
ACS specializes in highly engineered cooling and ventilation solutions for mission-critical applications in various industries. With brands like Custom Air Products & Services (CAPS), Marvair, Specific Systems, Eubank, Industrial Climate Engineering (ICE), and Dynaline, ACS has been the preferred choice for organizations in need of high-quality HVAC systems. Their manufacturing facilities are located in Houston, TX, Cordele, GA, and Tulsa, OK.
For more information about AirX Climate Solutions, please visit their website.

About Gryphon Investors:
Gryphon Investors is a leading middle-market private equity firm focused on growing and advancing companies in the Business Services, Consumer, Healthcare, Industrial Growth, and Software sectors. With approximately $9 billion of assets under management, Gryphon prioritizes building strong partnerships with founders, owners, and executives to create lasting value. They integrate their well-proven Operations Resources Group to support their investments.
For more information about Gryphon Investors, please visit their website.

Oklahoma Woman Pleads Guilty to Defrauding $8M from OSU Medical Center

Oklahoma Woman Pleads Guilty to Defrauding $8M from OSU Medical Center

An Oklahoma woman in Broken Arrow has pleaded guilty in federal court to defrauding over $8 million from the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Medical Center. Leslie Ann Ameen, 62, allegedly committed large-scale wire fraud while working as a telecommunications specialist at the medical center. The U.S. Department of Justice stated that Ameen resold tablets, laptops, and phones that she purchased with funding from the medical center.

Ameen now faces the possibility of up to 20 years in federal prison for her fraudulent activities. U.S. Attorney Clinton Johnson expressed his concern about the impact Ameen’s actions could have on the medical needs of the community and the educational mission of the state-funded institution. He emphasized that the U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with law enforcement partners, will continue to hold fraudsters and embezzlers accountable for their criminal conduct.

The case highlights the importance of maintaining financial integrity and preventing fraud within institutions that play a crucial role in providing healthcare and education services to the community. Such cases serve as a reminder for organizations to implement strict financial controls and regularly monitor and audit financial transactions to detect and prevent fraudulent activities.

The consequences of fraud can extend beyond financial losses. Fraudulent practices can negatively affect the reputation and trustworthiness of institutions, potentially leading to long-term consequences for both the organization and the community it serves.

It is crucial for individuals who suspect or have information about fraudulent activities to report such incidents to the appropriate authorities, such as the police. Timely reporting can help law enforcement agencies investigate and prosecute fraudsters, ensuring the safety and integrity of public institutions and the broader community.

West Texas A&M University Hosts AT&T Leader for Sigman Series

West Texas A&M University Hosts AT&T Leader for Sigman Series

Jennifer Van Buskirk, executive vice president and general manager of mid-markets for AT&T, will be speaking at West Texas A&M University’s Stan Sigman Leadership and Innovation Series on October 12. The event, which will take place at Legacy Hall in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center on the university’s Canyon campus, is free and open to the public. Van Buskirk is known as one of the most powerful women in the telecommunications industry and her insights on leadership and innovation are sure to resonate with both the Texas Panhandle and campus communities. The Stan Sigman Series was made possible through gifts from former colleagues of Stan Sigman, a late alumnus and supporter of WT. In addition to her public speech, Van Buskirk will also hold a private session with College of Business faculty and students and record an episode of the Sigman Leadership and Innovation podcast.

West Texas A&M University’s Distinguished Lecture Series

West Texas A&M University’s Distinguished Lecture Series will feature five nationally known speakers this fall. The series is free and open to the public. The schedule includes poet Aaron A. Abeyta, who will be giving a reading; Microsoft executive Sandra Lopez, who will speak on career empowerment and leadership; dyslexia expert Dr. Jack M. Fletcher, who will discuss the science of dyslexia; poet Chad Abushanab, who will read his work; and Dan Flores, A.B. Hammond Professor Emeritus of Western History at the University of Montana, who will deliver a lecture on Western Studies. The events will take place in various locations on the university’s campus and are sponsored by different organizations and departments within the university. This series provides an opportunity for the community to hear from and engage with respected speakers in various fields.

Outstanding Western Book Award

Historian and University of Oklahoma professor Dr. Anne F. Hyde has been awarded the 2023 Outstanding Western Book from the Center for the Study of the American West at West Texas A&M University. Her book, “Born of Lakes and Plains: Mixed-Descent Peoples and the Making of the American West,” explores the history of intermarriage between whites and Indigenous populations in the American West. Hyde will be accepting her award at an event in January. The book has been recognized with several other awards and is praised for its in-depth examination of the complexities surrounding mixed-descent families in the American West.

New Professorships Established at WT

West Texas A&M University has established two new professorships in the Department of Agriculture. Dr. Lance Kieth will serve as the Couch Family Professor of Extension Education, named after John and Lennis Couch and their daughters. Michael Semler will serve as the Dr. Bob and Cleo Robinson Professor of Livestock Judging, named after a legendary extension agent and longtime professor. These professorships were created to continue the tradition of service to students in the agricultural field. Gifts of $125,000 or more made the establishment of these professorships possible.

Oklahoma State’s Offensive Struggles Raise Concerns for Head Coach Mike Gundy

Oklahoma State’s Offensive Struggles Raise Concerns for Head Coach Mike Gundy

Before his coaching career, Mike Gundy played with and handed the football to some of the best players in Oklahoma State history. As the head coach, Gundy witnessed the success of standout quarterbacks like Brandon Weeden and Mason Rudolph, who consistently delivered over 300 passing yards per game. Gundy also oversaw impressive offensive lines throughout his tenure.

During the season opener against Iowa State, Gundy experienced a different story. The game resulted in a 34-27 loss, and Gundy saw his punter take the field eight times, with rushing attempts failing to gain more than 3 yards. Quarterback Alan Bowman completed just 48% of his passes, while the defense allowed 348 passing yards and 5.9 yards per play.

The struggles of the Oklahoma State offense are evident through their high number of punts. In just four games, they have punted 27 times and are on track for a season total of 81 punts. A comparison to past seasons highlights the severity of the situation. The 2011 conference champion Cowboys punted only 44 times in a 12-game regular season. Even the national champion Georgia Bulldogs punted just 36 times in 15 games last season.

Gundy’s decision to stick with Bowman as the starting quarterback may be the best option for the team, but the unreliable offensive line prevents him from performing at his full potential. Bowman’s passing accuracy could improve with better protection, but the crumbling line forces him to scramble, which is not his strongest suit and puts him at risk of injury.

Unfortunately, it is increasingly possible that Oklahoma State may not secure another victory this season. This would be a significant disappointment following their impressive 12-2 record in 2021. The departures of key players via the transfer portal have weakened the roster, making it challenging for the team to maintain its streak of consecutive winning seasons.

While it is unlikely that the Cowboys will end the season with a 2-10 record, their upcoming games against West Virginia, Cincinnati, and Houston pose significant challenges. It is safe to say that Oklahoma State’s streak of winning seasons is in jeopardy, and a lower win total should be expected.

Overall, Gundy and his team face significant offensive struggles, and it remains to be seen how they will adapt and perform for the remainder of the season.

College Football Schedule for Saturday, September 25th

College Football Schedule for Saturday, September 25th

Here is a schedule of the college football games happening on Saturday, September 25th:

9 a.m.

  • Florida St. at Clemson on ABC
  • Army at Syracuse on ACCN
  • Rutgers at Michigan on BTN
  • Tulsa at N. Illinois on CBSSN
  • Auburn at Texas A&M on ESPN
  • Virginia Tech at Marshall on ESPN2
  • W. Kentucky at Troy on ESPNU
  • Oklahoma at Cincinnati on FOX
  • SMU at TCU on FS1
  • Kentucky at Vanderbilt on SECN

12:30 p.m.

  • Colorado at Oregon on ABC
  • Boston College at Louisville on ACCN
  • FAU at Illinois OR Louisiana Tech at Nebraska on BTN
  • Mississippi at Alabama on CBS
  • Duke at UConn on CBSSN
  • BYU at Kansas on ESPN
  • Miami at Temple on ESPN2
  • UCLA at Utah on FOX
  • Maryland at Michigan St. on NBC
  • Rice at South Florida on ESPNU

1 p.m.

  • Oklahoma St. at Iowa St. on FS1
  • UTSA at Tennessee on SECN

3:30 p.m.

  • Georgia Tech at Wake Forest on CW

4 p.m.

  • Appalachian St. at Wyoming on CBSSN
  • Arkansas at LSU on ESPN
  • Oregon St. at Washington St. on FOX
  • Arizona at Stanford on PAC12
  • Texas at Baylor on ABC

4:30 p.m.

  • Akron at Indiana OR Minnesota at Northwestern on BTN
  • Iowa at Penn St. on CBS
  • UAB at Georgia on ESPN2
  • Memphis at Missouri on ESPNU
  • Ohio St. at Notre Dame on NBC
  • Mississippi St. at South Carolina on SECN

5 p.m.

  • North Carolina at Pittsburgh on ACCN
  • UCF at Kansas St. on FS1

7:30 p.m.

  • Kent St. at Fresno St. on CBSSN
  • California at Washington on ESPN
  • USC at Arizona St. on FOX

That’s the schedule for Saturday’s college football games. Enjoy watching!

Discover the Beauty and Charm of Davidson, Oklahoma, Located in Tillman County

Discover the Beauty and Charm of Davidson, Oklahoma, Located in Tillman County

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Davidson, Tillman County

Nestled in the heart of Tillman County in the state of Oklahoma, you will find the small and quaint town of Davidson. With a population of just over 300 residents, Davidson offers a peaceful and close-knit community atmosphere that is perfect for those seeking a slower pace of life. Known for its rich history, scenic beauty, and friendly locals, Davidson is a hidden gem in the Southwestern region of the United States.

Davidson is located in the southwestern part of Oklahoma, near the border with Texas. It is situated approximately 115 miles southwest of Oklahoma City and 170 miles northwest of Dallas, Texas. The town is easily accessible by car via U.S. Highway 183, making it a convenient destination for both residents and visitors.

One of the notable attractions in Davidson is the Tillman County Historical Museum. This museum showcases the history and culture of the area, with exhibits that highlight the early settlers, Native American artifacts, and local agriculture. It provides a glimpse into the past and allows visitors to understand the rich heritage of the region.

For nature lovers, Davidson is surrounded by stunning landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities. The town is a short drive away from Lake Frederick, a 1,500-acre reservoir that offers fishing, boating, and camping. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful day by the water, casting a line or exploring the scenic trails that surround the lake.

Another nearby destination is the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, located just 30 miles south of Davidson. This protected area spans over 59,000 acres and is home to a diverse range of wildlife and plant species. Visitors can hike, bike, or drive through the refuge, taking in the breathtaking views and enjoying the opportunity to spot bison, elk, deer, and various bird species.

In addition to its natural beauty, Davidson also hosts several events throughout the year that bring the community together. The annual Davidson Roundup, a rodeo and celebration, is a highlight for locals and visitors alike. It includes exciting rodeo events, live music performances, and delicious food vendors, creating a fun-filled experience for all ages.

For history enthusiasts, a visit to Davidson Cemetery is a must. This historic graveyard dates back to the late 1800s and is the final resting place for many early settlers and prominent community members. Walking through the cemetery is a somber yet fascinating experience, offering a glimpse into the town’s past and the lives of its residents.

Whether you are seeking a quiet retreat or an opportunity to connect with nature, Davidson, Oklahoma has something for everyone. Its small-town charm, rich history, and stunning surroundings make it a hidden gem worth exploring. So, if you find yourself in the southwestern corner of Oklahoma, be sure to visit Davidson and discover all that this enchanting town has to offer.

Ethel Cook: Leading the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma

Ethel Cook: Leading the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma

Ethel Cook was a remarkable leader who brought people together through her work as a corporate trainer and as the chief of the Ottawa Tribe. She led the northeast Oklahoma tribe for 12 years until her death at the age of 72.

Cook grew up in Miami, Oklahoma, where Ottawa families were relocated in 1867. Her great-grandfather had served as chief of the tribe during that time. Cook began her career in telecommunications and eventually worked her way up to become a trainer.

After retiring, Cook and her husband returned to Miami in 2003 to take care of their aging parents. She became more involved in leadership roles within the tribe, including serving on the gaming commission. She was elected as chief in 2011 and was reelected four times.

During her time in office, Cook worked to expand the tribe’s economic base beyond gaming. She oversaw the opening of gas stations and a restaurant on Route 66 in Miami, contributing to the tribe’s economic growth. Cook was dedicated to improving the lives of tribal members and the surrounding community.

Cook strongly believed in collaboration and referred to it as a “united front.” She took an active role in supporting local schools, charities, and community groups. Cook was recognized for her achievements with various awards, including a surprise honor from the local chamber in 2021.

She also emphasized the importance of working closely with other tribes in the county. Cook believed in making sure the Ottawa Tribe was at the forefront of community efforts. She played a key role in joint tribal projects, including the development of criminal justice systems following the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt ruling.

Even while battling acute myeloid leukemia and receiving hospice care, Cook continued to work on tribal issues and projects. She had a vision for the tribe’s future, including expanding into manufacturing. The tribe recently broke ground on a new hotel and RV park.

Cook’s legacy lives on through the work she accomplished and the projects she initiated. She is survived by her husband, daughter, and grandchildren. A graveside service will be held to honor her contributions and leadership.