City of Tulsa

On this edition of our program, we speak with Vanessa Finley, the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer at YWCA Tulsa. A Tulsa native, Booker T. Washington grad, and non-profit executive with 20+ years of experience, Finley has recently relocated to Tulsa from Kansas City; she began her tenure at YWCA Tulsa earlier this month.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Bill Leighty, a longtime realtor in our community who's also served on the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, the City's Transportation Advisory Board, and its Land Use Task Force. Moreover, Leighty is the executive director of the Smart Growth Tulsa Coalition, which he tells us all about on today's program.

This has been an anxious past few months for many in Tulsa's arts community. That community was very much caught off-guard by the decision of Mayor Bartlett's office to eliminate most of the City of Tulsa's arts funding. Alarming proposals to cut staff positions at the Tulsa PAC Trust, the Waterworks Community Arts Center, and both the Heller and Clark Theatres effectively galvanized supporters all over town, and these supporters quickly spurred the City Council to oppose the Mayor's proposals.

On this edition of our show, we're talking about buskers --- or, in other words, street performers. Whether it's by juggling, playing music, eating fire, doing magic tricks, enacting mime, or what-have-you, buskers take their creativity, theatricality, and pass-the-hat know-how directly to the streets, as it were --- and, as a socio-cultural phenomenon, they must be as old as cities themselves.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the Lobeck Taylor Family Advocacy Clinic at the TU College of Law, which is, per its web page, "an intensive, one-semester course that offers students the unique opportunity to gain hands-on lawyering experience and explore the ethical, strategic, and theoretical dimensions of legal practice.

On this installment on ST, we chat with Steve Gerkin, who is originally from Iowa, has lived in Tulsa for more than 35 years, retired from his general dentistry practice in 2010, and has written a number of interesting articles for This Land Press about little-known aspects of Tulsa-area history. Gerkin has gathered several of these articles into a book, "Hidden History of Tulsa," which has just been published.

On this edition of our show, we speak with Myka Miller, who is a musician, teacher, and self-described (per one online bio) "agent for social change through music." Miller is also the executive director of the Los Angeles-based Harmony Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to music education for young people in low-income communities. Since taking the helm of this nonprofit in 2007, Miller has seen its number of enrolled students expand from 250 to 2,000 in and around Greater Los Angeles.

On this installment of ST, we listen back to an interview we did about a year ago with Jonathan Rossetti, who directed, stars in, and co-scripted "Home, James," a newly released indie feature film that was made here in T-Town...and that's now (or was recently) playing --- thanks to a distribution deal with Devolver Digital Films --- in New York City, Los Angeles, Portland, and the aforesaid Tulsa; "Home, James" will be screened at the Circle Cinema (near the corner of Admiral and Lewis) through May 29th.

On this edition of ST, we speak with a big-thinking, fast-talking, highly motivated, and fairly progressive entrepreneur who's made and lost several fortunes: Bill Bartmann is best known as the founder and CEO of Commercial Financial Services (or CFS), a debt-collection company that actually treated its debtors with respect and fairness. CFS was based in Tulsa, operated from 1986 to 1999, and was for a time amazingly successful as a business --- but the fast-growing company fell apart amid charges of illegal stock trades and bogus debt sales.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Andrea Jobe, a local filmmaker whose latest offering is a 45-minute documentary about the history and development of Tulsa's Booker T. Washington High School. The school celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, and as Jobe tells us on today's program, her just-completed film profiles not just BTW but also the wider community of Tulsa.