Tulsa: April 2009 Archives

This coming Saturday (May 2, 2009) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., old downtown Red Fork will be home to a "Down on Main Street" festival. Red Fork was a separate town once upon a time, annexed into the City of Tulsa circa 1927. It's now home to the first "Main Street" program within the City of Tulsa.

Oklahoma has had an active and successful Main Street program for many years, encouraging restoration of historic buildings and the commercial revitalization of dozens of small-town downtowns across the state.

The Main Street program is not just for small towns. Oklahoma City has four active Main Street programs: Stockyards City, Capitol Hill, Plaza District, and Eastside Capitol Gateway; Automobile Alley used to be on the list, too. When I asked City of Tulsa officials back in the late '90s about starting it up here, the responses were oddly reluctant, as if such a thing might get in the way of tearing buildings down.

At long last, two years ago, Red Fork became the first Main Street program in the city, with hopes of bringing Southwest Blvd -- old Route 66 -- back to life. The Down on Main Street festival is part of the program to promote the area and bring the community together. From the festival flier, here are the events planned:

  • Pie contest
  • Ollie's Restaurant's Blue Plate Special
  • Live music
  • Global Garden's Kids' Zone
  • Art show
  • Farmers market with a Westside charm

The festival will take place along Southwest Blvd. near 41st St.

The deadline to enter the pie contest is TODAY (April 27, 2009). You must have your entry form and a $5 fee to the Red Fork Main Street office, 3708 Southwest Blvd, by 5 p.m. Click here for a form and more details.

Here's hoping for good weather for Saturday's Down on Main Street festival.

The Oklahoma House voted Tuesday to prohibit state government funding for the destruction of embryos for the purpose of stem cell research in the state. (The legislation does nothing to hinder the many other forms of stem cell research -- marrow, cord blood, various forms of adult tissue -- which do not require the destruction of a human life.)

SB 315 passed by a wide bipartisan majority of 85-13. The version passed by the House now goes back to the Senate for final approval. If a business is involved in "nontherapeutic research that destroys a human embryo or subjects a human embryo to substantial risk of injury or death," that business does not qualify for any Oklahoma income tax credits or incentive payments. The bill prevents tax dollars from directly or indirectly funding the destruction of human life.

The 13 naysayers were Auffet, Brown, Cox, Hoskin, Kiesel, McAffrey, McDaniel (Jeannie), Nations, Renegar, Roan, Scott, Shelton, and Smithson. Christian, McPeak, and Morrissette were excused from the vote. Everyone else voted yes.

The Tulsa Metro Chamber and the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce have been lobbying Gov. Brad Henry to veto any such legislation when it reaches him. In response, pro-life legislators boycotted a legislative event hosted by the two chambers.

State Rep. Pam Peterson (R-Tulsa) said today, "The idea that Oklahoma should condone the destruction of innocent human life in the name of 'economic development' is indefensible. Our law clearly states that human life begins at conception. Now the chambers are advocating the destruction of a legally recognized life in exchange for research dollars, saying the state should determine the best use of a person's life for the state's purposes. That's a huge paradigm shift that runs contrary to the basic values of our nation."

I'm happy that pro-life legislators are voicing their objections to the Chambers' crass and callous stand on this issue.

But if you're a Chamber member, and you oppose the destruction of innocent human life for the sake of economic development, you need to take a stand, too. You need to e-mail Gov. Henry, tell him to sign the bill, and tell him that your Chamber of Commerce doesn't speak for you on this issue.

Then you need to make some calls and do some legwork to find out who authorized your Chamber to speak on this issue. Find out when the board voted on it, which board members voted which way, then make your displeasure known to the executive director (Mike Neal here in Tulsa) and the pro-killing members of the board.

Finally, the pro-life majority on the Tulsa City Council should refuse to continue to give millions in city tax dollars to an organization that advocates using tax dollars to kill people for profit. The Council has the power to end the City's exclusive deal with the Tulsa Metro Chamber for economic development and convention and tourism promotion. Put the contract up for bids in a full and open competition and use our City hotel tax dollars to hire a more competent outfit -- that needed to happen anyway.

Here is the full statement from Rep. Pam Peterson (R-Tulsa):

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City and Tulsa chambers of commerce support for embryonic stem cell research, which requires the killing of human embryos, will damage Oklahoma 's reputation as a state that values life, state Rep. Pam Peterson said today.

"The chambers' support of embryonic stem cell research as an 'economic growth' tool is a shocking violation of the public trust and basic moral values," said Peterson, R-Tulsa. "The chamber is effectively advocating the worst kind of discrimination based on age, size and place of residence."

In the past week, both chambers have urged Gov. Brad Henry to veto legislation that would make embryonic stem cell research illegal in Oklahoma . Both groups argue the ban will hinder economic development, be an embarrassment for the state and make it hard to attract "researchers."

"The idea that Oklahoma should condone the destruction of innocent human life in the name of 'economic development' is indefensible," Peterson said. "Our law clearly states that human life begins at conception. Now the chambers are advocating the destruction of a legally recognized life in exchange for research dollars, saying the state should determine the best use of a person's life for the state's purposes. That's a huge paradigm shift that runs contrary to the basic values of our nation."

The ban was supported by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in both the state House and Senate.

Even as they have worked to outlaw embryonic stem cell research, state lawmakers have also voted to provide millions for adult stem cell research. Unlike embryonic stem cell research, adult stem cell research does not require the destruction of human embryos.

Adult stem cell research also has a proven track record of results - there are more than 70 research treatments that use adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cell research has been plagued with failure.

"If the chambers were serious about economic development and growing Oklahoma 's biotech industries, they would only support research with a proven track record requiring no moral compromise - our adult stem cell plan," Peterson said. "It's clear that these organizations care more about catering favor from radical groups than improving our economy."

As a result of the chamber's call for vetoing the embryonic stem cell ban, Peterson and other pro-life lawmakers will not attend a legislative event tonight jointly hosted by the Oklahoma City and Tulsa chambers.

MORE: HB 1326, which has similar language, was passed by large majorities in both houses last week (82-6 in the House, 38-9 in the Senate) and is on the governor's desk. This morning, State Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-Owasso) called on pro-life business owners to express their support of this legislation:

State Senator Randy Brogdon called on the Pro-Life members of the Tulsa and Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce to join with him in support of HB 1326, which outlaws embryonic stem cell research.

"It's simple," said Brogdon. "HB 1326 says that we won't let Oklahoma businesses profit from the destruction of human life."

Brogdon, a co-author of HB 1326, continued, "And it's a travesty that the Oklahoma City and Tulsa Chamber leadership are more concerned about profit than the protection of human life."

"And I'm sure if the Pro-Life members of the Tulsa and Oklahoma City Chamber knew what HB 1326 entailed, they would not be happy knowing that their leadership was lobbying for Governor Henry to veto this bill," said Brogdon.

"That's why I am calling on the Pro-Life business owners of the Tulsa and Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce to join with me in support of this bill and call on their leadership to halt their lobbying against this Pro-Life legislation," said Brogdon.

Relocate-America.com has named Tulsa the best place to live in America for 2009.

Throughout the calendar year, we accept nominations for cities & towns throughout the country to be considered as a "top place to live". The nominating parties must include their own reasons why they feel their city should make the list. The nominations, along with key data regarding education, employment, economy, crime, parks, recreation and housing are reviewed, rated & judged by our editorial team. Special consideration is taken on the Top 10 Cities as they are listed in a ranked order of America's Top 10 Places to Live.

The top 10:

  1. Tulsa, OK
  2. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
  3. Pittsburgh, PA
  4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
  5. Huntsville, AL
  6. Houston, TX
  7. Albuquerque, NM
  8. Lexington, KY
  9. Little Rock, AR
  10. Oklahoma City, OK

Jenks also made the top 100 -- a specific ranking wasn't provided.

This honor is a good excuse to publish the following. My dad received an e-mail from a fellow Santa containing a Tulsa TV jingle from the 1980s:

There's a feeling in the air that you can't get anywhere except in Tulsa.
I'll taste a thousand yesterdays and I love the magic ways of Tulsa.
From the green countryside, we share the glowing pride
Each time we touch the sky.
From where the rivers flow, where all good feelings grow
With all good neighbors passing by.

Makes no difference where I go,
You're the best hometown I know.
Hello, Tulsa.
Hello, Tulsa! TV 2 loves you......

(Turns out the "Hello News" package, written by prolific jingle composer Frank Gari, has been used in 36 markets in the U.S, and in Australia, Canada, and Latin America, with local references built in for each. More about the Tulsa and Dallas deployments of the theme on Tulsa TV Memories. Gari is also responsible for two recruitment jingles: "Be All That You Can Be" and "Be A Pepper.")

918, the area code for Tulsa and most of Oklahoma's Green Country, will run out of phone numbers by the end of 2011, and Oklahoma will need a fourth area code. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates telephone utilities in the state, has information and a survey on the two alternatives for handling "number exhaust" in the 918.

The choices are to split the area code geographically into two regions, with one region keeping 918 and the other being assigned a new area code, or to overlay a new area code for the same area. In an overlay, all existing 918 numbers would keep the same area code, but newly assigned numbers would receive the new area code.

In a split, each area code would continue to have seven-digit local dialing. In an overlay, all calls would require dialing ten digits.

The typical pattern in a split is for the urban area to keep the old area code and the outlying rural areas to get the new code. One of the questions in the OCC survey is whether, in a split, metro Tulsa would get 918 or the new area code. The "inner circle" covers nearly all of Tulsa, Wagoner, Rogers, Okmulgee, and Creek Counties, the southeastern half of Osage County, the eastern half of Pawnee County, and Washington County south of, but not including, Bartlesville. It corresponds to the toll free dialing area around Tulsa. The proposed split leaves an awkward shape for the outer area -- not a tidy, contiguous outer ring.

To my mind, an overlay makes sense in a metro area like DFW or New York where people are already using ten digits for many of their local phone calls -- calling from Dallas to Arlington or Brooklyn to Manhattan -- or where the area code that needs splitting is already a small area and there are no clean breaks between exchanges. Those conditions don't obtain here in Oklahoma. It makes sense to do to the 918 what was done many years ago to 405 -- keep the existing code for the urbanized area and assign a new code to the outer area.

The Corporation Commission wants your opinion on 918 number exhaust. Read all the facts and make your voice heard.

UPDATE: Charles G. Hill has a lead on the likely candidates for Oklahoma's new area code.

According to the NANPA 2008 annual report (59-page PDF), 580 and 405 are forecast to hit "number exhaust" by the end of 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Beginning tomorrow, April 17, Coffee House on Cherry Street (15th & Rockford in Tulsa) will host an exhibition of the photography of Jason Sales. Sales is best known for his vivid images of rock performances. You can see more of his work on his Flickr photostream.

The opening reception will be held tomorrow night, Friday, April 17, at 8 p.m., at the Coffee House on Cherry Street. Nashville singer Tayla Lynn (she's Loretta Lynn's granddaughter) will be performing starting at 8:30 along with Tulsa songwriter and guitarist Jesse Aycock.

Of recent note in local blogs:

At Choice Remarks, Brandon Dutcher salutes State Rep. Jabar Shumate (D-Tulsa) for his efforts to expand school choice with a bill that will allow tribal governments to sponsor charter schools.

Tulsa Chigger has posted a 1934 Chicago Tribune cartoon lampooning the New Deal, headlined "Planned Economy or Planned Destruction." In the corner of the cartoon, a Trotsky-esque fellow writes a placard: "Spend! Spend! Spend under the guise of recovery -- bust the government -- blame the capitalists for the failure -- junk the constitution and declare a dictatorship." Chigger writes, "Strangely similar to our situation now, isn't it?"

Chris Medlock writes about State Sen. Randy Brogdon's upcoming announcement as a candidate for governor and the impact of a Scott Pruitt candidacy on the race.

Owasso blogger James Parsons wonders about the conservative credentials of another GOP gubernatorial possibility, former Congressman J. C. Watts, who has spent the last seven years as a corporate lobbyist.

Yogi gets quote of the week honors: "I love little 'creases' in time and space." Me, too. He's referring to unexpected places like an Italian mining community in southeastern Oklahoma named Krebs that boasts legendary Italian food. Yogi recounts a recent visit to Pete's Place -- it's been too long since my last meal there.

OKDad is working on a mystery: A statue of a farmer, erected for the American Bicentennial in 1976 and currently under restoration, turns out not to be a bronze after all, but "some sort of hardened concrete-plaster hybrid." "He was planned as a bronze. Molds of him were made in preparation for a bronze. Funds were apparently raised for him to be cast in bronze. The papers from July 4, 1976 (the day he was dedicated and unveiled) clearly state he is a statue of bronze stature. So, where's the bronze?" The mystery is still unsolved, but here's the latest development.

Rod Dreher has posted an 1999 article by Russell Hittinger about how a Benedictine monastery came to be established in Cherokee County. (Driving directions on the monastery website include prayers to St. Jude and St. Benedict in the event of high water. Irritated Tulsan might advise prayers if you decide to follow the restaurant recommendation on the same page -- I've eaten at said restaurant three times and never had a problem.)

Irritated Tulsan's Tulsa Tuesday post last week on The Lost Ogle: Tulsa's Worst Remodels, including a Pizza Hut turned adult novelty and lingerie shop, a Wal-Mart-to-church conversion and a KFC (complete with bucket on the sign) turned chiropractor's office. (I wonder if you can still get a chicken wing there -- either the food kind or the wrestling kind.)

Down the turnpike:

Steve Lackmeyer has posted a series of videos featuring urban planner Jeff Speck's comments on downtown Oklahoma City. The latest segment hits a harsh reality in Speck's comments: When you optimize a street for moving cars at high speeds, you inherently make it hazardous for pedestrians. Here are the three earlier entries in the series:

Jeff Speck Video No. 1 on urban parking
Jeff Speck Video No. 2 on giving people what they want
Jeff Speck Video No. 3 -- outlook for downtown

JenX67 has a gorgeous photo of nightfall in OKC's Plaza District.

Nick Roberts has an interesting chart showing Oklahoma City's population by decade since its founding. Noting the massive growth the city experienced in the 1920s and 1950s, he wonders whether, despite great rankings in a variety of categories, OKC will ever again be a place to which people flock.

Finally, congrats to Blair Humphreys and the MIT design team for their victory in the 2009 Urban Land Institute design competition. The design is for a transit-oriented development to replace big-box and strip-mall retail in Denver.

A couple of nice accolades:

Forbes named Tulsa the 5th most livable city in America, just ahead of Oklahoma City in 6th.

The top 10:

  1. Portland, Me.
  2. Bethesda, Md.
  3. Des Moines, Ia.
  4. Bridgeport/Stamford, Conn.
  5. Tulsa, Okla.
  6. Oklahoma City, Okla.
  7. Cambridge, Mass.
  8. Baltimore, Md.
  9. Worcester, Mass.
  10. Pittsburgh, Pa.

The criteria:

To form our list, we looked at quality of life measures in the nation's largest continental U.S. metropolitan statistical areas--geographic entities defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for use by federal agencies in collecting, tabulating and publishing federal statistics. We eliminated areas with populations smaller than 500,000 and assigned points to the remaining metro regions across five data sets: Five-year income growth per household and cost of living from Moody's Economy.com, crime data and leisure index from Sperling's Best Places, and annual unemployment statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Tulsa's best stats were in income growth (50th out of 379 metro areas) and unemployment (21st). We may have been helped by timing -- mid-2003 is when we began climbing back up after the bursting of the tech bubble. Our worst stat -- the only measure that had us below the median was crime: 4,462 per 100,000 population, ranking 250th.

40 miles to the north, Bartlesville made American Cowboy magazine's list of the top 20 places to live in the West. (Via proud Bartian Brandon Dutcher.)

About this Archive

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

Tulsa: March 2009 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: May 2009 is the next archive.

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