What's Up / Feb. 5 '07

    Ney sentenced to 2 1/2 years in bribery scandal

    Washington, D.C. (AP)

    Former Republican Rep. Bob Ney was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison during January for trading political favors for golf trips, campaign donations and other gifts in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Ney, the first congressman convicted in the federal bribery investigation involving lawmakers, their aides and Bush administration officials, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy and making false statements. The six-term lawmaker from Heath, Ohio, who once chaired the powerful House Administration Committee, accepted golf and gambling trips, tickets to sporting events, free meals and campaign donations arranged by Abramoff and his associates.

    Woman sentenced to 14 years in drug ring case

    Rapid City, South Dakota (AP)

    A woman accused in connection with a major cocaine ring on the Pine Ridge Reservation have been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison. Jean Merrival, 36, was sentenced during January in U.S. District Court in Rapid City. In October, she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. In October, Merrival testified in the trial of co-defendants Geraldine Blue Bird, Colin Spotted Elk, Marvella Richards, Flint Thomas Red Feather and Rusty Richards. They were convicted and face at least 10 years in prison when they are sentenced. Seventeen people were indicted in the investigation of the drug ring.

    Rehabbed eagle gives staffer a healthy bite at Wisconsin sanctuary

    Green Bay, Wisconsin (AP)

    A bald eagle that was found starving and ill last August demonstrated its restored condition by giving a wildlife sanctuary worker a healthy bite as it was being released into a birds of prey exhibit. The eagle was the star attraction for a January presentation at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary and wound up inflicting an injury to staff member Lori Bankson that required several stitches. “We take all safety precautions when handling wild animals,” sanctuary director Ty Baumann said. “However, at times we do expect to get bumps, bruises, scrapes and the occasional bite.” The bird was banded in 1995 in Upper Michigan when it was still in the nest. In August, it was found on the Menominee Reservation in northeastern Wisconsin, starving and suffering from West Nile virus and lead poisoning. Sanctuary personnel decided the eagle couldn’t be returned to the wild because it would not stand much chance of survival due to two missing toes and long-term effects of lead poisoning.

    Passamaquoddy racino proposal more than slots

    Maine (AP)

    The racino that the Passamaquoddy hope to develop in Maine would be more than simply a building to house slot machines alongside a commercial harness racetrack. Planners envision “a destination-type facility” that would include a hotel, conference center, restaurants, gift shops and a high-stakes beano parlor. “It’s not the run-of-the-mill slot parlor,” said Fred Moore, the tribe’s former representative to the Legislature and a leader in the racino effort. He figures the cost will be “in excess of $100 million, probably closer to $150 million.”

    Cancer Center

    opens facility in Gallup

    Gallup, New Mexico (AP)

    Northwest New Mexico has a new cancer center that will integrate traditional and Native healing practices. The New Mexico Cancer Center’s 18,000 square-foot facility began taking patients Jan. 22. The facility is the first radiation treatment center to serve Gallup and the nearby Navajo Nation. The center, which includes a log hogan to be used by Navajo patients, has been blessed by a medicine man and has two American Indians on staff.

    House Indian Affairs Committee proposed

    Washington, D.C. (AP)

    Rep. Denny Rehberg told representatives of Montana and Wyoming tribes during January that he is working to form an Indian Affairs committee in the House. Rehberg, R-Mont., introduced a bill that would create a committee to deal with Indian issues after meeting with members of the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council in Washington. Rehberg said the large number of American Indian issues pending in Congress should be heard before an independent committee that just deals with those matters. The House Resources Committee currently deals with Indian issues, while the Senate has a separate Indian Affairs Committee.

    Navajo Nation authorized first casino

    Window Rock, Arizona (AP)

    The Navajo Nation has its first local gaming enterprise. The council overrode a presidential veto Jan. 24 that would have kept the tribe’s Tse’ Daa’ Kaan Chapter in northwest New Mexico from establishing a gaming board. Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. had warned delegates that such boards could diminish the tribe’s ability to maximize its revenue-generating potential.

    Busby man pleads not guilty in shooting death

    Hardin, Montana (AP)

    A Busby, Montana, man accused of shooting and killing another man during December while under the influence of alcohol denied federal charges during January. Wayland Two Moons, 33, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Austin J. Jawort, 25, of Lockwood. The indictment says Two Moons had been drinking alcohol before shooting Jawort on Dec. 31 on the Crow Reservation. An autopsy showed that Jawort bled to death, Big Horn County Coroner Terry Bullis said.

    Plans approved for Oklahoma Indian center

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (AP)

    Plans for a $135 million American Indian museum incorporate the natural elements of earth, wind and fire and include stones from the states where tribes once lived before they were forced to walk to Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears. Members of the Native American Cultural and Education Authority approved plans during a board meeting January 24. The design includes grand halls full of interactive exhibits, sweeping promenades and courtyards honoring the 39 federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma. The first phase of construction is expected to be completed in 2009.

    UND group honors NCAA for effort to ban ‘Fighting Sioux’ mascot

    Fargo, North Dakota (AP)

    A University of North Dakota student group opposed to the school’s “Fighting Sioux” nickname has nominated the NCAA for a human rights award. Members of the student group BRIDGES nominated the NCAA for the award to recognize its efforts to eliminate American Indian logos and nicknames, said Frank Sage, the group’s president. UND is suing the NCAA over its decision to ban the school from using its nickname and logo in postseason play. The NCAA has listed UND among a number of schools with American Indian nicknames that it considers “hostile and abusive.”

    Recovery plan on Puget Sound chinook salmon

    Seattle, Washington (AP)

    The federal government has given its stamp of approval to a plan that will try to keep Puget Sound’s endangered chinook salmon from going extinct and return their population to healthy numbers. The plan was developed over five years by Shared Strategy for Puget Sound, a coalition of citizen groups and local, state, tribal and federal representatives.

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