City of Tulsa

Last week on our program, we spoke with two members of the Tulsa City Council about the Vision program, which was recently approved by the Tulsa City Council in unanimous vote and is likewise supported by Mayor Bartlett.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we get to know Laura Fry, who began her tenure as Curator of Art at the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa back in December. Fry previously worked at the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Washington, where she was the inaugural Haub Curator of Western American Art. Prior to that post, she served at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming -- first as an education and curatorial assistant, then as a Frederic Remington research assistant.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we are talking about the Vision program, which was recently approved by the Tulsa City Council in unanimous vote, and which is now slated to appear on the April 5th ballot. Our guests are City Councilors Karen Gilbert (of District 5) and G.T. Bynum (of District 9), who both describe the Vision program in detail why also explaining why they think it's vitally important for voters to approve this program.

On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, we learn about the Blue Zones Project.

Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

On this edition of ST, we speak with two outstanding local citizens who were among the ten women recently given the Women of the Year - Pinnacle Award from the YWCA Tulsa collaboration with the Mayor'’s Commission on the Status of Women. Earlier this week, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett presented these awards in person, and in doing so recognized how each of this year's recipients has worked to eliminate racism and/or empower women.

Last fall, about 40 local non-profit arts organizations joined Phil Lakin, CEO of the Tulsa Community Foundation, in launching Arts Alliance Tulsa (or AAT), a United Arts Fund that aims to provide funding for -- and audience-development support for -- the City of Tulsa's various cultural assets. (United Arts Funds, as noted at the AAT website, "seek to raise money to provide ongoing operating support to local arts institutions. Over the past 65 years, more than 100 communities across the country -- both large and small -- have established UAFs.

On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, we learn about a non-profit called WellOK, which was formed in 2014, and which bills itself as "the Northeastern Oklahoma Business Coalition on Health." It's a coalition of 17 locally based organizations, including businesses large and small that purchase healthcare as well as government and philanthropic organizations.

On this edition of ST, an interesting exit interview with John W. Silva; the CEO of Morton Comprehensive Health Services here in Tulsa will leave this post next month to assume a similar job in his native Massachusetts. Silva has been at the helm of Morton since 2010. Under his leadership, it has expanded from its North Tulsa headquarters to additional locations in Bartlesville and west Tulsa and has moreover become Oklahoma's only community health center-based teaching facility.

The recent decision by the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority to sell more than 12 acres of Helmerich Park (at 71st and Riverside in Tulsa) to a private developer is creating controversy and organized opposition. The location has been touted as a future retail site for the outdoor recreational business, REI, on land that (under the Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan) does call for some development.

Interested in the idea of living in downtown Tulsa? Curious about all the apartment buildings and office spaces that seem to getting refurbished or constructed downtown these days? Wondering about what might be in store for a certain vacant property or unsightly parking lot within the City of Tulsa's Inner Dispersal Loop? If you've answered in the affirmative to any or all of these queries, you might want to check out the 3rd Annual Dwell in the IDL Tour, which will be presented by the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture this coming Sunday, the 4th, from noon to 5pm.

The proposals for the City of Tulsa's Vision sales-tax extension are all now in, and those proposals are many and varied. Some are, indeed, visionary; others seem fanciful. Some are familiar; others seem quite novel. All of the proposals -- there were more than 130 in total -- address perceived needs of one kind or another in our community, and taken together, they tally more than $2 billion in spending. Now comes the difficult task of narrowing down the numerous needs, goals, and desires in these proposals to a coherent set of projects that will be put before voters in April of next year.

In several ways, obviously, Tulsa -- especially downtown Tulsa -- looks and feels much different than it did ten or fifteen years ago. Or even five years ago. Developments, improvements, enhancements, and refurbishments are occuring on many fronts. But what about the mass transit system that serves this community? On today's ST, another discussion in our series of interviews with organizations aiming to acquire funding through the Vision 2025 sales tax extension.

Today's ST offers another discussion in our series of interviews with organizations aiming to acquire funding through the Vision 2025 sales tax extension for the City of Tulsa. Our guests, both members of TYPros, are two of the principals behind the much-talked-about proposal to create a Boston Avenue Multisport (or "BAM") Facility, which would exist between Boston and Cincinnati Avenues, and between 10th and 12th Streets, in downtown Tulsa: Terrell Hoagland is the Director of Sustainability for Jones Design Studio and Kenton Grant is the owner of Kenton Grant Consulting.

On this edition of ST, we offer another installment in our ongoing series of interviews with organizations vying to be included in the Vision 2025 sales tax extension for the City of Tulsa. This extension is expected to go before voters in the spring of 2016, and over the past couple of months, many area organizations (from Gilcrease Museum to the Tulsa Zoo; from Tulsa Transit to Langston University) have been presenting proposals in this regard to the Tulsa City Council. We at StudioTulsa are speaking with certain of those groups whose ideas seem especially interesting and/or feasible.

Iron Gate, a nonprofit soup kitchen and food pantry at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Tulsa, began operations nearly forty years ago. It's still based at Trinity, but it's a separate facility -- make that a separate and vitally important facility -- that has drastically outgrown its workspace. Iron Gate, actually located in the crowded basement of Trinity, has an on-site dining area meant to seat 127 people, yet the facility serves food to 500 or 600 hungry Tulsans every day of the year.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and City Councilors are seeking public input regarding how best to use a proposed renewal of the Vision 2025 sales tax for economic development here in our community. Several ideas have recently been put forth -- from funding for the Tulsa Zoo to enhancements to the Pearl District, from the purchase of the downtown Tulsa Club Building to refurbishment of the Gilcrease Museum and its buildings and grounds (to name but a few) -- and on this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn another such proposal.

Our guest on this edition of ST is the locally based filmmaker Sterlin Harjo, who tells us about his latest feature, "Mekko." Most of this movie was shot in Tulsa, and it profiles a Native American ex-con (the film's title character) as he tries to rebuild his life after 19 years behind bars. Mekko has no home, no immediate family, and little cash -- so he soon ends up on the streets, where he's eventually taken in by Tulsa's homeless Native community.

The folks who bring you StudioTulsa have been on summer holiday for the first half of August.

Here's a guide to the programs that we aired on ST on July 31st as well as August 3rd through the 7th, along with audio links (in case you'd like to hear any of these programs as a free, on-demand mp3 stream).

Friday, July 31st -- We spoke with Terrie Correll, CEO of the Tulsa Zoo; you can hear that conversation here:

We also featured a commentary during our 7-31-15 show by Janet Pearson; it concerned Oklahoma travel and tourism and can be heard here:

On this installment of ST, we speak with James Pepper Henry, who began his tenure as the executive director of the Gilcrease Museum about four months ago. As was recently reported by KWGS, Pepper Henry has requested $75 million out of  a proposed Vision 2025 sales-tax renewal.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn about a newly created feature-length documentary film, "Boomtown: An American Journey," which depicts the history of the City of Tulsa. Our guests are Russ Kirkpatrick, the producer and executive producer of this film, and Michelle Place, the executive director of The Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, which originally commissioned it.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the "summer slide." This phrase is what educational researchers use to refer to the approximately two months of grade-level learning that school kids lose without summertime academic enrichment. Our guests are Kathy Taylor, the CEO of ImpactTulsa and a former Mayor of Tulsa, and Anthony Grant, a recent Teach for America alum who is based in Tulsa (and who will soon be the Vice-Principal at Anderson Elementary School); both are working to combat "summer slide" amid Tulsa-area schoolchildren.

On today's StudioTulsa, we learn about a new documentary film called "Misfits," which was screened last week at a special event at the Circle Cinema. This film, which was directed by the Danish filmmaker Jannik Splidsboel, and which debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, is (per its listing at the IMDB website) about "three American teenagers from conservative Tulsa [who] are struggling with isolation and instability....

Our guest today on ST is Bill Leighty, executive director of the Smart Growth Tulsa Coalition, which was founded in 2014 as an organization "committed to creating healthy communities that work for everyone with strong schools, shops, and local businesses, improved mobility options, and jobs that pay well." A longtime Tulsa-based realtor and businessman who's been consistently active in community and professional development, and who has served on the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission as well as the city's Transpor

After some 18 months and a previous series of public meetings, the Tulsa City Council's Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force now has a draft proposal for funding a series of low-water dams on the Arkansas River. The $298 million proposal calls for three new low-water dam sites as well as a rebuild of the existing Zink Low-Water Dam, a maintenance and operations fund to ensure upkeep of all these facilities, and money for levee rehabilitation. (The levees in Tulsa County have been deemed among the most at-risk in the U.S.) Our guest on ST is the chairman of this Task Force, G.T.

On this edition of ST, we present a discussion with Steve Grantham, the executive director of Up With Trees. Started in 1976, this local nonprofit, as noted at its website, "has been faithful to its mission to beautify greater Tulsa by planting trees and creating urban forestry awareness through education.... In the last four decades, [Up With Trees has] planted over 30,000 trees at more than 500 sites throughout Tulsa. We plant along streets and trails, in parks, schools, fire stations, neighborhoods, and many other public properties....

On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, guest host John Schumann speaks with James Walker, who's been the executive director of Youth Services of Tulsa (or YST) for 14 years now. A nonprofit United Way agency dating back to 1969, YST is, per its website, "committed to fostering a community atmosphere that values youth as resources. We provide innovative services and activities designed to increase self-discovery and instill positive core values and decision-making skills that will keep youth safe and allow them to lead healthy and productive lives.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Christine Madrid French, a Florida-based architectural historian, historic preservation advocate, and author. (You can read about her many and various projects and publications as an architect with a passion for the past at French's website.) French will deliver a presentation called "Saving the Modern Century" tonight, Thursday the 21st, at 5:30pm at the Phlibrook Museum of Art.

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.

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