Float, float, float your truck, gently down the — hully crap, this is like eight feet deep:
Um, guys, it’s not the early 1990s anymore. They don’t actually have to mow the riverbed the way they used to.
(Fillyjonk showed me this.)
Float, float, float your truck, gently down the — hully crap, this is like eight feet deep:
Um, guys, it’s not the early 1990s anymore. They don’t actually have to mow the riverbed the way they used to.
(Fillyjonk showed me this.)
Now and then, we all, for certain values of “all,” like to take a peek. Then there are those who go way overboard:
A workman accused of hiding cameras in two homes to spy on young girls was charged Friday with more than 20 felonies, including aggravated possession of obscene material involving minors, manufacturing child pornography and using video equipment in a clandestine manner.
Is it just me, or does that last charge — “using video equipment in a clandestine manner” — sound rather vague?
Ryan Aaron Alden, 39, of The Village, placed hidden cameras in the ceiling vents of two homes, one in Nichols Hills and one in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County prosecutors allege. He reportedly placed the cameras in the homes while performing electrical work.
The cameras were hidden for months, Nichols Hills police reported.
“He got the idea of hiding the cameras and where to put them from watching pornography,” police reported in a court affidavit. “He informed me that the residents were always very trusting and that is why he ‘preyed’ on them.”
Alden also is accused of taking clandestine photos of girls in numerous public places, including gyms, schools, stores, mall changing rooms and a high school football game.
The upskirt-gatherer is, I suggest, the lowest form of perv: it’s not that his offense is especially heinous, but it goes several steps below banal.
Alden was being held in the Oklahoma County jail Friday on $251,000 bail. He also was sued Friday by the mother of the Nichols Hills victim.
What are the chances this guy has ever had a normal romantic relationship?
Butch Freeman, the County Treasurer again — he was re-elected this past week — can be counted on to send out a notice to us lowly escrow-payers telling us just how the county is spending the proceeds from our property-tax bills. As is the usual practice around here, I’m passing the details on to you (last year’s numbers in [brackets]):
This year’s millage is 113.44, up a pittance from last year’s 113.35. (Record millage: 117.58, 2011.) The assessed value, per the Assessor, is off a few bucks from last year, has increased by a whopping 1.3 percent over the last four years, and still hasn’t broken a hundred grand despite the notions of sites like Zillow, whose Zestimate starts at $114,000. Then again, I’ve been here long enough to fall under the state’s cap law: they can’t jack up the assessed value more than five percentage points in any single year, unless the property changes hands, and as of 2019, the valuation freezes solid, an example of Senior Discounts I can, um, appreciate.
Her birth certificate says “Alberta Nicole Swanegan Owens,” but no matter. She’s been Nikki Nice for years, a name she built for herself working for Russell Perry’s urban-formatted radio stations, and a name she’ll undoubtedly continue to use as Ward 7’s representative on City Council.
And apparently she’s going to have to look for another radio job, since Perry let her go the day after the election: “We’ve taken a different direction,” he said, saying it had nothing to do with her winning the Council seat.
Nice will be sworn in on the 19th, and she’ll draw her Council salary starting from then. It’s not enough to live on, though: Council members are paid $12,000 a year. (The Mayor gets twice that.)
Addendum: I was pointed to this video from her watch party Tuesday night:
It wasn’t even close: she got over 70 percent of the vote.
One year, Daughter and I were cruising around town looking at houses, and after one too many mansions, she asked: “What sort of millionaires buy these places?”
This little starter home sold for $715,000 last month to Terrance Ferguson, age 20 and almost a half, shooting guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is paid $2,118,840 a year, and is under contract for the next three years, with a team option for the fourth.
At the top of this week’s City Building Permit list:
This does not include $1,770,000 for 13220 N Western, which is presumably the Costco gasoline station.
Oh, I’m sorry. It was gone yesterday:
Another mid-century landmark, the former Founders Bank, is being destroyed this week as new development continues to encroach on 1960s architecture that once dominated the skyline along Northwest Expressway and May Avenue.
The football-shaped Founders National Bank building at 5613 N. May, built in 1964, is anchored by two 50-foot exterior arches. It was last home to Bank of America.
Preservation Oklahoma placed the bank on its endangered places list earlier this year. The committee that assembled the list noted the former Founders Bank is one of Oklahoma City’s best examples of mid-century modern architecture, and it’s the only known local design of the architect and former Bruce Goff student, Bob Bowlby. The building’s arches, a landmark on North May Avenue and Northwest Expressway, removed the need for any interior walls inside the bank.
A building permit for demolition was filed at City Hall Monday morning at the same time Midwest Wrecking began tearing down the structure.
Clearly they didn’t want anyone noticing until it was too late.
Amazon.com announced plans to open its first fulfillment center in Oklahoma, creating more than 1,500 full-time jobs by the end of 2019. The more than 600,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will be located in Oklahoma City.
“We’re excited to open our first fulfillment center in Oklahoma and in a city with an outstanding workforce and a commitment to providing great opportunities for employment,” said Mark Stewart, Amazon’s Vice President of North America Customer Fulfillment. “Amazon is committed to creating a positive economic impact in Oklahoma City and enhancing the customer experience throughout the region.”
Oklahoma City building permits, The Oklahoman, 7 July:
Seefried Industrial Properties, 9201 S Portland Ave., office-warehouse, (Amazon), erect, $150,000,000.
A sensible place for Amazon, a mile and a half southeast of Will Rogers World Airport and a quarter-mile west of Interstate 44, just inside Cleveland County. The Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust has already approved $1.7 million worth of tax incentives for Amazon, in exchange for job creation and capital investment at the facility. There eventually will be about 1500 jobs for actual humans at the plant, and God knows how many robots.
Saturday’s Oklahoman generally contains a list of Oklahoma City building permits, and this one was on top yesterday: Positive Tomorrows, 901 N Villa Ave., school, erect, $8,000,000.
This is not what you’d call an up-and-coming neighborhood:
Then again, this is exactly where they need to be:
As Oklahoma’s only elementary school specifically for homeless children, we give kids stability and a quality education while their parents get the support they need to create a better life. For over 25 years, we have filled our scrapbooks with countless success stories, but the need continues. Together we can break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.
The new school doubles the available space, though there’s no possible way they can accommodate more than a tiny fraction of the estimated 4,000 homeless kids in the area.
Prompted by Chuck Pergiel, I tried this out myself:
Copernix tells you about the most interesting places around using info from Wikipedia.
This is their idea of near-northwest OKC, and while some of it is fairly inarguable, “Uptown Oklahoma City,” which lies largely along NW 23rd Street east of Classen (and of “The” Classen), is nowhere near where Copernix (and presumably Wikipedia) says it is.
The northwestern-most point of this map is roughly at NW 60th and May.
It started something like this:
— Robert Moose (@RobertMoose) May 25, 2018
There has been a shooting at #LouiesLakeside at #LakeHefner. The shooter has been taken into custody by @OKCPD. We are working with first responders to protect customers and employees at all locations and investigate more details.
— Hal Smith Restaurants (@HalSmithRG) May 25, 2018
Zach Nash of the city’s public-information office passed this around:
There is no longer an active threat following a shooting this evening near Lake Hefner. Avoid the area of Britton Road and the Lake Hefner Parkway.
A family reunification center has been opened at the Lighthouse Center, 3333 W Hefner Road.
The media will be briefed as soon as possible at a news conference to be held on the east side of the freeway near Britton Road.
The only confirmed fatality is the suspect. He was apparently shot to death by an armed citizen. Three citizens were injured, two of whom were shot. A large number of witnesses are detained.
Um, thank you, good guy with a gun. (Who, says a local news guy, had a concealed-carry permit.)
Update: CNN’s take on the story.
Updae again: They’re saying the two victims — there may be a third — were females, which somehow makes this look just a tad less random.
Further update: An Oklahoman reporter tweeted this Friday:
Alexander Tilghman, who shot three people inside an Oklahoma City restaurant last night, was licensed to work as an armed security guard by the State of Oklahoma, despite an online presence that shows he believed he was facing demonic and satanic attacks. https://t.co/97q7hdsT26
— Justin Wingerter (@JustinWingerter) May 25, 2018
Sounds like some legislators in this state.
The Gayly interviewed Tilghman back in January. Guy was a total nutbag.
Why, look, it’s coming around again:
Six Flags Entertainment Corp. has struck an agreement to acquire lease rights to Oklahoma City’s Frontier City and White Water Bay, the Texas company said Tuesday.
Frontier City and White Water Bay, as well as the three other out-of-state parks acquired by Six Flags, are operated by Premier Parks LLC of Oklahoma City. The deal returns the two local parks to Six Flags, which controlled them more than a decade ago.
In 1989, two amusement industry executives started Premier Parks in Oklahoma City with the acquisition of Frontier City, followed by White Water Bay in 1991. The success of those parks ignited Premier Parks’ growth and led to the acquisition of Six Flags Theme Parks in 1998.
Child devours parent.
In 2007, Florida-based CNL Income Properties Inc. bought the two Oklahoma City parks and five others from former owners Six Flags Inc. for $312 million.
Six Flags itself went up for sale in 2005; at the time, the largest single shareholder was Red Zone LLC, owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.
Regrets (I’ve Had A Few) Dept.: I have never actually been to White Water Bay. Officially, this is because I am a mediocre swimmer at best. Back in the early 1990s, I admitted to someone that I thought swimsuits were silly.
She gave me a “You didn’t know?” look. WWB, she said, had one late-night session each summer in which swimsuits were deemed, um, unnecessary. I never did find out for sure.
I’ve never met Caleb or Jessica Hill, and I have no reason to think they’re at all related to me. But by some weird bit of cosmic timing, I got to see their names twice in the paper this weekend, under the same heading: Land Sales.
Whitney Fisher and Randell C. Fisher from Caleb and Jessica Hill, 3308 Oak Hollow Road, $740,000.
Quail Creek Golf and Country Club is sort of a horseshoe shape, open at the east end; this house sits on half an acre close to the middle of that open end. It was built in 1966, and this is still considered one of the better northside neighborhoods; the Hills arrived in 2012 for just about half the price they got for the sale. Nice return if you can get it.
But maybe they don’t need the space as much as they did. Here’s the second listing:
Caleb Hill and Jessica Hill from Traci D. and Jeff D. Turley, 6116 NE 105, $465,000.
Never been out to Oakdale Valley, where this home is located; I know from Oakdale School, a highly regarded PreK-8 school in its own little district, but there’s not a whole lot out there nearby. Then again, 73151, at the far northeast of the OKC ZIP code map — cross Hefner Road, three blocks to the north, and your mail goes to Edmond — might be the wealthiest ZIP in the entire range. This house sits on a smaller lot (0.31 acre, barely bigger than mine), and is smaller than where Caleb and Jessica used to live. Let’s see what Trulia had to say about it while it was on the market:
Entering through the double doors into the spacious entryway and dining area you will feel right at home. The living area is charming with a cathedral ceiling, floor to ceiling stone fireplace and windows that light up the room. You will enjoy cooking in the kitchen with a gas cooktop, ample counter space, and lighted custom cabinets. Wind down after a long day in the master suite, Jacuzzi tub or a steamy shower. Each of the 3 large additional bedrooms have bathroom access and are on the other side of the house. The upstairs bonus room is the place to be for fun and entertainment. The view on the patio is just beautiful. Exquisite landscaping designed by Oakleys. Oakdale Valley is a fantastic neighborhood that offers a gated entrance, community pool, clubhouse with exercise facility, greenbelts, fishing, rolling hills and acres of trees.
And, five will get you ten, a Homeowners’ Association. (Addendum: I got my ten.) I have to wonder if “gated entrance” was a major factor in the buying decision.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial is a place like no other; no one who has seen it — around 300,000 visitors a year — has been unchanged by it.
If for some reason you’ve always wanted to live by me, this home will put you on the next block:
Built in 1947, this house has three bedrooms, two baths, and about 1881 square feet of living space. They’re asking $189,900.
Big Blue, of course, is the city’s standard trash bin, picked up once a week. Until recently, there existed a Little Blue, a curbside box for recyclables. This never really caught on, and so a green bin, slightly smaller than the blue one, is being distributed to city homes, and which will be picked up every other week starting in the summer. I got my Green Monster today; since it will be some time in July before they start picking up recyclables, I think I’m going to see how many pizza boxes (cardboard, y’know) it takes to fill the bin.
The horror story at okc.gov: https://www.okc.gov/departments/utilities/recycling.
The boy reports he was sitting on the patio last night smoking his cancer sticks and minding his business. He looked up and there stood a large red fox staring at him, about 10 feet away. The boy jumped and the fox did too, both thinking “What is he doing here?”
Okay, maybe not in your back yard, but almost certainly nearby:
You might not think this so very strange, the ‘burbs are populated by wildlife — coyotes, coons, opossums, deer, chipmunks, and such. The neighbors reported a fox a few times last fall. What is unusual is that my backyard is surrounded by a 6’ tall privacy fence. The boy said he wondered how the beast got in, only to get his question answered. He watched the fox turn and with a quick burst of speed the fox jumped the fence easily.
Chipmunks may not seem like much of a threat, unless you’re maintaining a bird feeder. Deer, however, have treated friends’ gardens like their own personal salad bars.
From this weekend’s Oklahoman real-estate section:
This cul-de-sac ends the 12900 block (I think) of Endor Court in the nearly thirty-year-old Rivendell Addition on the city’s south side.
A map of the area shows very clearly that one does not simply drive into Rivendell:
A long-standing city policy in action: as long as you keep the east-west streets consistent with the city grid, so the fire department can find you, we don’t much care what you call the north-south (or whatever) streets.
Future expansion might reach as far as 134th.
NextDoor dropped this little zinger into my threads:
I need hardly point out that I live a lot closer to 33rd Street than to that snazzy Gaillardia-area manse.
And these two houses are a good twelve miles apart, a half-hour drive if traffic is unfavorable, which it usually is.
Not geared toward the tourists, anyway:
When two city planners hate each other: pic.twitter.com/LSb7k8KoaW
— Short Stack🏳️🌈🌹 (@the_sidecarist) March 8, 2018
I wasn’t here when the townships of Oklahoma City and South Oklahoma were merged, way back in 1890, but the ironclad grid we have today wasn’t quite so griddy back then:
One of the most compelling shots is from Day Three — the 24th of April, 1889, two days after the Land Run — showing rows of tents (there were no permanent structures yet) seemingly knocked out of position along the sides of the rudimentary street. This was a legal matter: two different townsite companies were platting the place, and their survey lines didn’t quite match. For decades thereafter, north-south streets downtown had a noticeable “jog” at Clarke Street, later Grand Avenue, now Sheridan Avenue.
Which says something, since the nearest section-line road is Reno, two blocks south. Six miles north of it, at Wilshire Boulevard, there are jogs even today. Six miles south is the Cleveland County line.
(Via Dustin Akers, who used to live in these parts.)
“It’s been pretty steady,” said an official at the precinct when I arrived to cast my ballot for Mayor of Oklahoma City. The place was empty at the time, so it must have been steadily slow. Ballot #169 went into the box at almost precisely 5 pm. I’ve seen worse, but not much worse.
(For those keeping score: we use paper ballots, optically scanned. I don’t think anyone in this town would prefer that fancy computerized stuff.)
NW 50th from Pennsylvania to May, one of the more wretched stretches of pavement in this town, will be scraped off and resurfaced in 2007.
Which it was. But it didn’t last:
Sixteen critical street resurfacing projects are the first projects to be funded by the MAPS for streets sales tax extension approved by voters in September.
In a nod to politics, the initial list contains two projects in each of the city’s eight city council wards.
And sure enough, right here in Ward 2: “NW 50 from N May Avenue to N Pennsylvania Avenue.” It’s not quite as bad as it was a decade ago, but it’s legitimately terrible. (The other one, 36th from Western to Penn, is also pretty dire.)
A 500-year rain, by definition, has a 0.2 percent chance of occurring in any given year; it does not mean that occurrences are 500 years apart. How much water would that take? From the Sunday Oklahoman:
For Oklahoma City, the following rainfall amounts would be considered 500-year rainfall events, according to Gary McManus, state climatologist, who referenced a report prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey:
- 2.6 inches of rain in 15 minutes.
- 3.7 inches of rain in 30 minutes.
- 5.2 inches of rain in one hour.
- 6.8 inches of rain in two hours.
- 7.6 inches of rain in three hours.
- 8.4 inches of rain in six hours.
- 9.6 inches of rain in 12 hours.
- 12.5 inches of rain in 24 hours.
- 14.8 inches of rain in three days.
- 15.5 inches of rain in seven days.
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the first three of these, and maybe more, during the 40+ years I’ve lived here. Example:
11.26 inches recorded on 6-14-2010 at a station 6.1 miles north of downtown Oklahoma City.
That’s almost certainly the OKC North Mesonet station. The “official” total for that day was 7.62 inches at Will Rogers World Airport, where the National Weather Service takes readings.
I think we can kiss that record goodbye. One of the Mesonet stations in town has already made it up to 8, the others aren’t far behind, and it’s still raining. The office ranges from 0.5 to 4.5 inches of water inside. Jesus Christ could walk through the parking lot, but He’s just about the only one.
On the upside, this served as a test for my new $10,000 roof, installed a few days before.
Every year about this time, Butch Freeman, the County Treasurer, dispatches the property-tax bill, and this year it varies hardly a whit from last year or the year before. As is the custom in these parts, a breakdown of where everything is spent accompanies the bill (last year’s numbers in [brackets]):
Somewhere this got rounded up by a penny. This year’s millage is 113.35, down a pittance from last year’s 113.43. (Record millage: 117.58, 2011.) The actual value of the palatial estate at Surlywood, per the Assessor, is within a Benjamin or two of a hundred grand.
When I got home yesterday, a 4×6 card was stuck in the doorway, bearing the official OKC seal and the following notice in LARGE PRINT:
READ OTHER SIDE
Well, yeah, since there wasn’t much of anything else on that side.
What was going down:
A field representative from the Oklahoma City Utilities Department changed out the water meter at this address today. The meter was changed out as part of the City’s standard preventative maintenance program.
Hmmm. I’ve been here for a few days short of 14 years. How long does a water meter typically last, anyway? An Australian government site says “about ten years.” So maybe this one was due.
Braum’s Inc., operator of about 300 ice cream and dairy plus neighborhood markets in this part of the world, came up with the notion of scraping off a semi-historic building along the old Classen Circle and replacing it with #301. I thought this was a bad idea:
I think potential customers will pass it by, mainly because access is difficult: if you miss it the first time, you’re going to have to loop for more than half a mile, or you’re going to end up on Interstate 44. I can’t imagine a local firm not knowing these issues, so I suspect this is someone at Braum’s HQ who is shocked — shocked! — that there is drinking going on in those establishments.
Braum’s has now withdrawn its proposal for the new store. Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid reports:
Braums has withdrawn its application. Thanks to all those who resisted and fought for what is unique and special in OKC. This is what brings us together as a community and makes our city great. Thanks also to Braums for making the socially responsible decision. Almost no one thought it probable that the protesters would win (including myself); let’s all remember that as we look to other ways to improve our lives and city. Thanks to Pete Brzycki and okctalk.com for originally discovering [the] plan through open records request and giving us a chance. Next step is to find a buyer for the properties (one has publicly offered) and restore the properties. Now my kids and I can eat frozen yogurt at Braums again!
Brzycki has long been an astute observer of the scene, even during the period when he didn’t live here.
There is, I decided, not a whole lot of emotional gratification in the absentee ballot; mostly, it reminds me that I am old and infirm. And frankly, passing in front of a mirror tells me that every stinking day.
So I betook myself to the actual polling place and hiked (well, with the walker) about 50 feet uphill. A guy in a Cox truck stared at me in disbelief. “Where’d you park?”
I pointed to my car, six spaces away.
“You want me to move your car up here?” “Up here” was along the side of the building, adjacent to the one officially marked handicap space.
“I’ll be all right,” I said.
He nodded — this is not something anyone wants to argue about — and grabbed the door for me.
And at about 5:03 pm, I started on the three pages of ballot. I’d pretty much made up my mind beforehand, so I really didn’t need to read all that legal verbiage. And the machine responded with 1024, 1025 and 1026; assuming everyone filled out all three pages — there’s no reason to assume otherwise, since there’s one poll worker dedicated to the task of handing you all three of them — I was the 324th voter.
Incidentally, the person in front of me was a long-legged young woman in a short leg cast; as I was leaving, a gentleman about my age arrived in a wheelchair. Had I had any doubts about what I was doing, I would have felt vindicated right about then.
They’re asking for a whole lot of money, as usual:
I expect all the bond issues to pass, since nobody will notice how they’re paid: through a small levy as part of the property tax. Over the years, the city has made an effort to keep that levy at or below 16 mills; it is currently 14.81 mills.
The MAPS 3 sales tax ends 31 December 2017; this new penny would kick in the next day. So the only “new” tax is that quarter-cent, which is intended to pay for more firefighters and police officers. This is over and above the 0.75 cent currently levied for public safety. Should both sales-tax measures pass, the combined state and city sales tax will rise to 8.625 percent.
Still, kudos to whoever it was at ODOT who came up with this warning sign:
About a decade ago, I met architect Brian Fitzsimmons. (At his house in SoSA, if you care.) The man definitely goes his own way. And I’m always curious when he plans a restaurant.
Work is set to start soon on Frida, a new restaurant and bar to be constructed on a vacant lot at the south edge of the Paseo Arts District.
The proprietor is Shaun Fiaccone of Humankind Hospitality Service which also operates Picasso Cafe and The Other Room in the Paseo.
The design by Brian Fitzsimmons features modern Spanish Revival architecture to complement the surrounding structures and includes 4,386 square of enclosed space along with a 698 square foot outdoor courtyard sheltered by a trellis and 989 square feet of outdoor patio.
Fitzsimmons Architects has designed some of Oklahoma City’s more stunning restaurants, such as Hatch, Broadway 10 and both Sidecar locations.
Haven’t been to Sidecar, but I know Broadway 10 and Hatch well enough.
Now about that name…
The name Frida is an homage to Frida Kahlo the Mexican painter.
I should have thought of that. But instead, I went Swedish:
Anni-Frid Synni, Princess Reuss of Plauen, was either the first or the last A in ABBA. Not sure it matters which. (She’s now seventy-one, which seems impossible.)