On Tuesday, March 3rd, the citizens of Tulsa will vote on a $415 million bond for Tulsa Public Schools. This bond -- which would not raise taxes -- is focused on four areas: facilities and classrooms, books and classroom technology, transportation, and libraries. As we learn on today's show, the bond is part of TPS's 20-year capital improvement plan to transform and expand aging facilities while also making schools safer throughout the district.
From public transportation to park spaces, from educational opportunities to crime stats, from ethnic diversity to urban density, how does Tulsa measure up to other cities of its kind throughout the nation? In mid-January, the Tulsa City Council was presented with the annual Quality of Life Report for our city. This report -- per the City Council website, where you can read all of it -- is "an objective analysis of our community, compared to 20 peer cities.
On this edition of ST, we learn about the new Heller Theatre Company presentation of "Dead Man's Cell Phone," which opens at the Henthorne PAC here in Tulsa (at 4825 So. Quaker) on Friday the 23rd. (It runs through February 1st.) "Dead Man's Cell Phone" -- a celebrated and off-the-wall comedy by Sarah Ruhl, the forty-ish American playwright and MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship recipient -- was given the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play after it premiered in 2007.
On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with James Pepper Henry, director of the well-regarded Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, who's just been named at the new director of the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa. Pepper Henry will begin his tenure at Gilcrease in late March. He's a member of Oklahoma's Kaw Nation, and in a statement released on Monday the 5th, he referred to his upcoming arrival at Gilcrease as "a real homecoming.... I have lots of family and friends in Oklahoma. The museum's founder, Thomas Gilcrease, and I share Muscogee Creek heritage.
On this edition of ST, we welcome two members of the staff at the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum: Michelle Place is the Executive Director, and Ian D. Swart is the Archivist and Curator of Collections. Both are with us to talk about a recently created app from the Tulsa Historical Society, which is based on what's far and away the most-asked-about historical event at the THS: the Tulsa Race Riot.
On this edition of ST, we welcome Robert J. LaFortune, a former Mayor of Tulsa, and Ann Patton, a locally based writer, activist, and former journalist. Patton has a new book out, for which LaFortune wrote the Foreword; it's a collection of essays on and photos of the Arkansas River, and it's called "The Tulsa River." But to what degree is Tulsa truly a "river city"? And are the age-old questions about riverfront development in this community changing -- or else taking on new meaning -- given the eventual creation of A Gathering Place on Riverside Drive?
On this edition of ST, we speak with Valarie Carter, a classically trained chef, food writer, wine columnist, and catering/events coordinator. She's also the editor of "Edible Tulsa," which is a newly launched bimonthly print publication (accessible online at this link) that celebrates the local food culture of our community and its surrounding environs. The magazine's tag line -- "Eating. Drinking. Thinking.
Our guest on this installment of ST is Joe Worley of the Tulsa World, who was hired by that paper in 1987 and served as its Executive Editor from 1995 until yesterday. He'd actually been the paper's Executive Editor for some 19 days when the biggest story of his tenure at the World happened: the Oklahoma City bombing.
ImpactTulsa is a newly formed, entirely pro-education initiative that brings together locally based community leaders from the varied realms of education, business, civics, nonprofits, philanthropy, and the faith community -- all of which are united, as per the ImpactTulsa website, "to engage the community to provide a pathway where all students are guaranteed a high-quality education." Our guests today on ST are Kathy Taylor, the CEO of ImpactTulsa and a former mayor of this city, and Dr.
On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with urban planner and professional engineer Charles Marohn, who is also the president and founder of a nonprofit called Strong Towns. This organization works to help America's towns and cities to become financially resilient and economically strong -- and as is noted at the Strong Towns website: "Enduring prosperity cannot be artificially created from the outside but must be built from within, incrementally over time.