Tulsa: March 2009 Archives

If you have an elderly relative in the Tulsa area who'd like to continue living at home, but you need assistance in order to make that possible, I have a recommendation for you.

Mike Littrell, a good friend of mine who has been working as a home caregiver for the elderly for the last several years, is available to provide help for your loved one. It's not often that he's available -- his last two caregiver jobs have lasted 24 months and 18 months respectively.

Mike started in this line of work after caring for his mother during the last several years of her life. Since then he's been providing the same sort of care for other families. I've known Mike for almost 30 years, and I know him to be reliable and a man of his word.

Mike prefers to work the overnight shift but is available to help any time, day or night. You can reach him at 918-834-1870. His references are available upon request, and he encourages you to give them a call.

I hadn't planned to post again today, but I've received several e-mails from people who tuned into the Chris Medlock show on 1170 KFAQ this afternoon and were surprised to hear the Laura Ingraham show two hours early instead of Chris.

Chris was laid off this morning. The new schedule has Laura Ingraham from 2 to 5, an hour-long call-in show from 5 to 6, hosted by Elvis Polo, followed by Mark Levin from 6 to 8.

Although I'm told that Chris's ratings have been good -- the best for his timeslot since Tony Snow was on mid-afternoons several years ago -- parent company Journal Communications is suffering. In June 2007, the stock neared $14 a share; it was at $5 as recently as last September; yesterday it closed at 39 cents. (It ticked up today, back to 50 cents.) According to the transcript of the company's 2008 4Q earnings teleconference, Journal had a net loss of $223 million for that period. Journal Communications' flagship is the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper:

At the daily newspaper, total revenue of $50 million was down almost 13%. The major revenue category of advertising was down 18.6%, while circulation revenue was essentially flat and our other revenue category was up nearly 12%.

Other revenue includes using the presses in off-hours to do commercial printing. Read the report for specifics.

I'm not in a position to criticize the move as a business decision, but I'm disappointed to lose a knowledgeable voice on local issues from the airwaves, and I'm disappointed with the way the layoff was handled. If it were my station, I'd have given Chris a chance to say "so long for now" to his listeners.

I would not have tossed his webpage, his blog, and his podcasts straight down the "memory hole" -- deleted from the website without any acknowledgment of what had happened. (I wasn't surprised, however, because that was done when Michael DelGiorno left in 2007 and again when Gwen Freeman left in 2008.) Something I appreciate about the the Urban Tulsa Weekly, Tulsa World, and some of the TV stations is that they see their archives as more than just ephemera; it's a part of the contemporaneous record of Tulsa's history, so they don't purge articles by former staffers. Chris's commentary and that of the newsmakers who spoke on his show ought to be a part of that record as well. (Ditto for KFAQ's other hosts, both past and present.)

I wish Chris all the best and hope that he'll continue to be a part of Tulsa's civic dialogue. I hope, too, that KFAQ continues to engage local issues in some form, but it will be harder to do without Chris Medlock's contributions.

MORE: Steven Roemerman is not happy with the cancellation of Chris's show or with the way it was handled, and he wrote KFAQ management to complain. He received a response from Brian Gann, Operations Manager for Journal's Tulsa stations, which read in part:

The economy has forced many businesses to make choices. With our move at KFAQ, we've had to make a difficult choice to stop working with someone we really care about by canceling the Chris Medlock Show. It was not an easy decision. We do hope to be able to call on Chris' expertise in the future.

Some notes from around the Tulsa blogosphere:

Tulsa City Councilor John Eagleton has updated his website. On his City Council News page, he's posting city government documents. Recent entries include an update on the Public Works contracts put on hold because of Federal bribery indictments and a spreadsheet from the Tulsa Police Department with two years of crime statistics. On his blog, he has links to articles and editorials of interest, on such topics as the economy, law, and national defense.

I'm happy to see MeeCiteeWurkor back online. His latest entry is about plans to unionize the City of Tulsa's Information Technology department.

Steven Roemerman was on KTUL last night commenting on his earlier story about Taco Bueno outsourcing its drive-thru order-taking.

The story reveals that old media is still struggling with new-media terminology: "Roemerman even wrote a local blog about his experience." Actually, Roemerman is a local blogger who has a local blog and who wrote an entry on that local blog about his experience.

Irritated Tulsan is celebrating the first anniversary of his blog, and this week he's been blogging like it's 1979. An entry about Forgotten Tulsa Stories from the 1970s remembers the Tulsa Babes women's pro football team. Today, Mr. M (with the munching mouth) is visiting downtown.

The Babes mention had me struggling to recall the name of the Glenn Dobbs-coached semi-pro team that played Skelly Stadium in 1979. It was the Tulsa Mustangs. The Football entry in the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture says that the Mustangs played five games of a 15-game season, then folded. This webpage says the team played in 1979, which sounds about right to me.

Continuing on in stream-of-consciousness fashion about short-lived pro sports teams of the 1970s, here's a 1978 People story about Bobby Delvecchio, a 21-year-old from the Bronx who was the bull-riding star of the Tulsa Twisters major league rodeo team.

Going further back to the '60s, Yogi, the Crusty Gas Guy, has an interesting post on Brutalism right here in Tulsa (not brutality, but the architectural style of the '60s and '70s that seeks to be brutally honest and unadorned about its materials). Yogi points to the Civic Center Plaza as an example of the style, which spawns some good discussion in the comments, including a defense from fans of modern architecture, including Shane Hood. I like SandyCarlson's comment: "True to its material seems like a weird idea. Like asking the cake you baked to be obvious about its flour. Why?"

DoubleShot Coffee Company is celebrating an anniversary, too. It's five years old, and they'll be throwing a birthday party on Saturday, March 14, from 7 p.m. to "whenever."

A few weeks ago I received a note from Eseta Sherman. Eseta is originally from New Zealand, now lives in Alaska, but spent the 1980-81 school year at Tulsa's Memorial High School as an AFS exchange student. She remembers Tulsa, her teachers, her classmates and fellow AFSers, and her church fondly, and she gave me permission to share her memories with you:

I was an AFS student from New Zealand, lucky to have lived in Tulas, Oklahoma, from 1980-81. I attended Tulsa Memorial High School and lived with two generous families, the Cornetts and the Harpers. I was googling for two great teachers from my past, art instructor Dennis Rutledge and US history teacher Frank Markham - and I stumbled on your batesline!

I really enjoy reading your blog - especially when the cold here in King Salmon, Alaska, can deter any thoughts of wandering outside.

Thank you for the wonderful collection of news. I miss Tulsa. I saw my first pop concert there - Elton John. I also went to my first live football game and sang something about "Boomer Sooners." Good memories.

In my reply I asked her if she knew Jenny Sunnex, another New Zealand AFS student who attended Catoosa High School that same year and lived with the family of our church's pastor:

I bet you I knew Jenny. Did she have longish blonde hair? There was a Jenny from New Zealand that hung out with a Garth Mahood from Ireland. I can't remember the name of his high school, but I think his host father was a pastor. The Tulsa Memorial chargers played against their basketball.

I remember Catoosa High; I can't remember if the AFS chapter had a meeting there, but we did travel around to different high schools to promote AFS. I think I might have attended a prom at Catoosa. I think it was either Catoosa or Claremore. I went to my own with a friend named Mike. And then I went to his - I wore a matching tux. I think I surprised him - not to mention my poor host family. But we had a blast.

Our AFS group also appeared on a morning show and sang a song, while an AFS student from Japan played the guitar. His name was Yohei Eto and wrote a take off on "Oklahoma." I can't remember if he sang "Yokahama" to the tune of "Oklahoma" on air, but this kid had a great talent.

My year in Tulsa was an incredible year of growth for me. This city has a special place in my heart because of the kindness and the generosity of so many people towards me and my fellow AFSers. We traveled through other parts of the United States, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, California, I even fished for bass at about four in the morning in a humongous lake called Texoma! Ate the best doughnuts on that trip.

The first family I stayed with in Tulsa attended Asbury Methodist church, which had an active youth group. But later, when I had moved to another family, I felt a need to be baptized (even though I had been christened as a baby and confirmed at about twelve, I think) so a high school friend's father, who happened to be a pastor, agreed to baptize me in another friend's swimming pool. My Korean friend, Doug Kim, and his parents, who owned the pool, plus my second host family, Bob and Linda Harper, and Billy Cuthberts and his dad were all part of my baptism. This is another reason why Tulsa means a lot to me....

I owe Dennis Rutledge and Frank Markham a lot. They were wonderful human beings and inspirational teachers. Dennis Rutledge was an enthusiastic art teacher and compassionate friend, and Frank Markham was one of the few teachers I had in school that made history really fun. (He literally wore many hats in the course of my time in US History. He even made us sit though slide shows of his family vacations if we failed to do a homework reading - and it actually worked. We made sure we read our assigned readings the next time. One could only handle so many slide shows of the Grand Canyon or whatever climbing expedition he and his family went on!)

Many thanks to Eseta for getting in touch. If you remember her from her stay in Tulsa and would like to get in touch with her, you can reach her at sherman@bristolbay.com.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from March 2009.

Tulsa: February 2009 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: April 2009 is the next archive.

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