City of Tulsa

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.

(Photo: Craig Smith / Heard Museum)

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.

On this edition of ST, we cover some interesting and less-familiar Tulsa history by way of a new biography of Cy Avery. Our guest is the Missouri-based author Susan Croce Kelly, author of "Father of Route 66: The Story of Cy Avery," which is just out from OU Press. Kelly will be speaking about and signing copies of this book on Saturday the 27th at the Tulsa Historical Society; the event is free to the public and begins at 10:30am.

On this edition of our show, we welcome Gary Shaffer, CEO of the Tulsa City-County Library. The TCCL's Central Library, in the heart of downtown Tulsa, has recently entered its "public phase," with direct fund-raising appeals being made to the public to complete the mid-century-modern building's vast, thorough, and state-of-the-art renovation. Demolition of the building's interior is now complete; the actual construction of the new Central Library has begun.

File photo

On this edition of ST, we speak with Jeff Stava of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Stava is the project manager for A Gathering Place, the multimillion-dollar initiative of the Foundation that will -- after many months of planning and anticipation -- officially break ground in Tulsa near 31st Street and Riverside Drive tomorrow, Saturday the 20th, at noon, with the day's events actually beginning, come rain or shine, at 10am.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we present a delightful chat with Rosalind Cook, the locally based sculptor whose well-liked works can be seen throughout the Tulsa community (with more than 30 of her sculptures on public display). Cook's fine, sensitively rendered, and decidedly humane pieces celebrate the human as well as the divine, the earthbound or natural as well as the spiritual or devotional. And as the artist herself has noted, at her website: "I specialize in figurative bronze sculptures that are representational in style.


It’s a time of year when there are still a lot of waterline breaks in Tulsa. Now you can go on-line and check the status of active line breaks. The City’s Michelle Allen says the active break report is available on-line for people to view.

The report on the city of Tulsa website gives info like where the break is located, when it was reported, businesses and residences affected, and an approximate time on how long it will take to fix the break.

You can report a water line break by calling the 24-hour Water Emergency Line at 918-596-9488.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Steve Liggett, artistic director of the nonprofit Living Arts of Tulsa (located downtown at 307 East Brady). Liggett is also the curator of "Chandelier & Other Luminous Objects," which opened in early August and will remain on exhibit at the Living Arts gallery through September 25th -- and which Liggett tells us all about on today's program.