Saving Tulsa money

At least, that’s the explanation I’d come up with [warning: autostart video], were I asked:

Residents who live at North Yale and East Marshall Street told FOX23 the city’s latest paint striping is leaving them laughing and also scratching their heads.

Residents in this part of north Tulsa pointed to road kill being painted over when the city reapplied the double yellow lines to the middle of the four lane road.

FOX23 spoke with one family who said they saw the city painting on the street and wondered if they would stop to remove the road kill. They quickly found out, the crews did not. They say they instead found animal carcasses with fresh yellow stripes through them.

The city ‘fessed up, but said it’s hard to stop the paint vehicle once it’s started, and that they’ll be out next week to clean up the mess.

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The man from Zima Junction

Apparently not everyone was ready for this:

Perhaps it’s not the usual resting place for a Russian poet, but that’s the way it is:

Acclaimed Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, whose work focused on war atrocities and denounced anti-Semitism and tyrannical dictators, has died. He was 84.

Ginny Hensley, a spokeswoman for Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa, confirmed Yevtushenko’s death. Roger Blais, the provost at the University of Tulsa, where Yevtushenko was a longtime faculty member, said he was told Yevtushenko died Saturday morning.

“He died a few minutes ago surrounded by relatives and close friends,” his widow, Maria Novikova, was quoted as saying by the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. She said he died peacefully in his sleep of heart failure.

Yevtushenko gained notoriety in the former Soviet Union while in his 20s, with poetry denouncing Josef Stalin. He gained international acclaim as a young revolutionary with Babi Yar, the unflinching 1961 poem that told of the slaughter of nearly 34,000 Jews by the Nazis and denounced the anti-Semitism that had spread throughout the Soviet Union.

If you’ve never read Babi Yar, here’s your chance.

Yevtushenko was invited to the University of Tulsa in 1992; he would teach there for the next quarter-century. His widow teaches Russian at Edison School in midtown Tulsa. Zima, his birthplace — Zima Junction was the title of a 1955 poem — is where the Trans-Siberian Railway meets the river Oka.

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The phrase that pays

The original Vision 2025 sales-tax scheme in Tulsa County has come to an end, and with the horror of losing that 0.6 percent staring them in the face, the powers that be have assembled a wish list for a renewal of the scheme. One of the bigger items on that list is a pair of low-water dams on the Arkansas River to supplement the existing Zink Dam. And those dams are on the list, apparently, because it is assumed the suckers will vote for them even if they’re not actually going to be built:

According to emails obtained by FOX23 News and videos of city council committee meetings being held throughout the month of February, city officials were aware the south Tulsa-Jenks dam was falling through and began to set up “contingencies” where voters would approve the two low-water dams, but the money raised from the sales tax, at least on the City of Tulsa side, would go to improving the Zink Dam, setting up a maintenance endowment for the Zink Dam, and then distributing what was left of the two dam plan’s funding to various projects throughout the City of Tulsa, some in council districts nowhere near the Arkansas River.

Cynical in the extreme, even by Tulsa standards.

The vote comes Tuesday, 5 April. In the meantime, expect to see these sprout up:

No More Dam Taxes

(Via BatesLine.)

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Couple of the year

From the Why Are They Together? files, this item from up the turnpike:

An Oklahoma man says he nearly lost his penis when he woke to find his girlfriend trying to bite it off.

A night of drinking and arguing led to the painful arousal when the victim said he found Amber Ellis “biting his (penis) off” as he slept on the couch Thursday, KJRH reported.

One may surmise that he was at a disadvantage during their, um, disagreement:

He told Tulsa police he fought the 31-year-old off but in the process she hit him in the head with a laptop computer.

Their earlier argument was over his accusing her of being too needy, he said.

Well, at least it wasn’t over whether she swallows or not.

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You’re hearing this

The Tulsa Sound, says Wikipedia, is “a musical style that originated in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a mix of rockabilly, country, rock ‘n’ roll, and blues sounds of the late 1950s and early 1960s.”

What's This I Hear cover artThere are occasional references to the Tulsa Sound in state publications, but this is the first compilation of recordings I’ve seen pop up. The prospectus:

From this vantage point, some 60 years later, and with so much water under the bridge, it’s hard to imagine just how much of a shockwave the emergence of Elvis Presley shot through the youth of America. This was no less true for the collection of young wannabe musicians who called Tulsa, Oklahoma, their home in the period of time the “Tupelo Tornado” twisted his way across the USA, leaving a trail of devastation and inspiration in his wake.

The “Tulsa Sound” would become one of the most influential strands of American Rock music in the 1970s, and beyond, and on this collection we take a detailed look at the early years of the artists that would go on to put Tulsa on the musical atlas. Featuring highlights from Tulsa pioneers like Clyde Stacy and David Gates, who would find fame as the lead-singer and chief songwriter for the massively popular Bread, this release also includes, for the first time, all 8 of the songs that the great JJ Cale recorded in his formative years in his hometown, before heading out to LA with other Tulsa friends, in search of glory.

Cale was recording as “Johnny Cale” in those days; by the time he’d signed to Liberty in the middle 1960s, he’d become JJ. (Birth name: John Weldon Cale.)

What’s This I Hear?, named for a pre-Bread song by David Gates, is due out from England’s Cherry Red label in February.

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Suck will be embraced

Michael Bates has made his official disendorsement for Mayor of Tulsa:

Both the Taylor and Bartlett campaigns have spent piles of money pushing their preferred memes — positive memes about their own candidates and negative memes about the opposition. Because I wish they could both lose on Tuesday, I’ve spent my limited blogging time during this campaign trying to debunk the nonsense from each side. No, Kathy Taylor did not bring us to the brink of bankruptcy, and Dewey Bartlett Jr didn’t rescue us from bankruptcy. Dewey has been as big a spender as Kathy. You can’t push all the blame for the trash mess onto Bartlett Jr; Taylor deserves a big share of the blame, too. Neither candidate is visionary or competent or bold. Both backed the Great Plains Airlines bailout. Both have had problems working respectfully with those who disagree with them, particularly their fellow elected officials.

Tulsa voters have made a mess. Maybe if their noses are rubbed in it they won’t do it again.

I hear it’s really nice in Bixby these days.

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Now there’s a defense

Terry Simonson, on the local crime rate, in Urban Tulsa Weekly:

[A]t the end of the day, when you take out the drug killings, gang killings, alcohol-related killings and home invasion killings, for a city of almost 400,000 people, our homicide rate is one of the lowest in the nation.

Marion Barry called, and he wants his assessment back:

Outside of the killings, DC has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

(Via Michael Bates’ Facebook page.)

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Commemorating evil

Tulsa, says Michael Bates, is planning to rename Brady Street and the associated Brady District to something else starting with a B — why not “Bates”? — because of Tate Brady’s involvement with, among other things, the Ku Klux Klan. Certainly no one wants to honor those dumb Klux, but Bates says that the measure doesn’t go far enough to clean up the city map:

Rather than handle these renamings piecemeal, with the potential of a new renaming (and a four-hour long public hearing) at every week’s City Council meeting, the City Council should appoint a diverse commission of historically minded citizens to research the histories of all names under the control of the City of Tulsa and its boards and commissions.

This commission — perhaps to be called the Commission for the Sanitation of Politically Incorrect Names (C-SPIN) — would report back with a comprehensive recommendation to rename certain streets, an estimate of the cost to rename, and a revenue proposal (sales tax or general obligation bond issue) for funding the recommended renamings, including city expenses like street signage and grants to affected businesses and residents to cover signage, business cards, letterhead, and other street renaming expenses.

The commission would have to consider whether a person’s misdeeds rises to the level of deserving the removal of his or her name from a public place. They might wish to set criteria that would be applied consistently to decide thumbs up or down.

A commission like this would strike fear into the hearts of Oklahoma City historians, who have for years been sitting on stories like that one time Harvey Everest kicked a cat, or that Delos Walker actually sat on the school board, and we all know about school boards, don’t we?

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And here’s MacGyver with the seven-day

You might think that TV weather guys are utterly helpless in the absence of those fancy computer displays.

Not necessarily:

Imagine if he’d had some duct tape.

(Via TV Spy.)

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Don’t even fly over

Tulsa, says Self magazine, is the single most unhealthy city for women in the entire country, and at first I thought it might be the disproportionate number of douchebags roaming Brookside, but no: “Poor habits, high disease risk and life expectancy is falling,” they say. (OKC finished tenth, not that I’m inclined to brag.)

Methodology, so to speak:

We polled a panel of experts to find out which factors most affect a woman’s ability to live her healthiest. The panel considered 58 criteria, including rates of disease such as cancer and depression; factors that affect access to health care, such as the percentage of women covered by insurance; environmental and community measures, such as air quality and crime rates; and the prevalence of habits such as exercise, good diet and smoking. Bert Sperling of Portland, Oregon, founder of, helped us gather the most recent and authoritative data for 100 of the nation’s largest metropolitan statistical areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Numbers are age-adjusted where applicable and women-specific where available. We used the panel’s input to weigh each criterion, and Sperling helped us crunch the numbers.

One of their data sources is the NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, which I suspect just might skew their definition of “health care,” but hey, nobody asked me. All such lists, no matter what the criteria or the cultural/political angle, are inevitably slanted toward the direction the “researchers” want them to be: “We want to say X, so we need numbers that add up to Y.”

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Tea for one

Jennifer ZeppelinThe Lost Ogle has a nice little story about KTUL (Tulsa) meteorologist Jennifer Zeppelin, who is filling in at KOCO (Oklahoma City) in the wake of Rick Mitchell’s departure for DFW, until such time as a permanent Enigmatic Weather God can be persuaded to take the slot. (Patrick, who wrote the piece, did actually say “weather deities,” and in this town, as much as in any other and perhaps more than most, the phrase makes sense.)

Of course, to yours truly the real surprise is that someone is actually named Jennifer Zeppelin, and that I was not aware of her existence, despite the fact that she’s been in the biz since 1988. And that’s her real name, too. (She married a guy named Jim Berscheidt, and I suspect there was never any question of her continuing to use her maiden name.) Once again, I am indebted to TLO.

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When a guy’s trying hard to steal signs in your yard

That’s amore politics as usual:

[P]olice Sunday morning arrested a man accused of taking “Dean Martin for County Clerk” signs off of private property. Lee Belmonte, 58, of Bixby, was arrested just before 8 a.m. and booked into the Tulsa Jail on a complaint of knowingly concealing stolen property. He was released Sunday afternoon after posting $1,500 bond.

Pat Key, Martin’s opponent in Tuesday’s Republican Party runoff for Tulsa County clerk, described Belmonte as a volunteer on her campaign. “I did not authorize or instruct him to take down signs,” Key said Sunday.

How did they catch the guy?

Frustrated by weeks of seeing Dean Martin signs disappear — and nearly catching someone in the act last week — Jared Martin [Dean’s son] said he got to thinking.

“I was like, you know what, I am just going to get a tracking device,” Jared Martin said. “So I bought this dog-tag tracking device. It was about $100.”

That was Friday. Martin said he used duct tape to attach it to a sign and placed it in a yard he knew had signs taken from it before.


(Via Mike McCarville.)

Update: The Martin campaign sent me a notification to the effect that they were requesting a recount, having lost by a mere 179 votes.

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Well, malsomething, anyway

Deadpan (I think) news story from KOTV:

Issues with a known global malware virus are keeping some citizens from accessing Tulsa County websites.

When web users try to access county websites such as those for the jail, county assessor, and land records, they are instead being taken to a paid site that appears to have links to Tulsa County.

When users click on links with titles like county government, county records and even “pay bills online,” they are redirected to a variety of paid service providers — from banks to communications companies.

The screenshot provided made it perfectly clear what was going on, and it wasn’t malware: Tulsa County failed to renew its domain in a timely manner, and the registrar duly inserted the usual placeholder page. Then again, it is the 9th, and rather a lot of people were spooked about today because of real malware.

(Spotted by a programmer I know well.)

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Pleasantville in color

One of about half a dozen things Chelsea in Tulsa finds unappealing about her home town:

If a nuclear holocaust occurred and archaeologists one hundred years from now were looking for the most pristine example of an all-American suburb, Tulsa between 111th and 71st street would be the perfect subject. The brick and stucco houses, retention ponds, and Bradford Pear trees … the Applebee’s, Arby’s, and Outbacks … the Walmarts, Targets, and oh, the QuikTrips! It’s like a perfect replica of the kind of neighborhoods the creators of The Sims wanted you to create. South Tulsa is my home turf and I haven’t turned into a weird downtown snob or anything, but honestly, a couple Mom n’ Pop establishments in the area wouldn’t hurt a thing.

Forget it. Mom and Pop moved out to Owasso first chance they got.

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Box, sweet box

A Tulsa-area couple is building their new home out of, among other things, old cargo containers:

Their two-story, 2,650-square-foot house will be constructed from almost entirely recycled materials, including five shipping containers — two on bottom and three on top, built upon a 40-by-40-foot slab facing southwest.

They are, of course, blogging the construction. Last week, the second container arrived on site:

The shipping list from its last voyage is still attached to the door. It hauled furniture, 22 chocolate brown sofas, 16 love-seats, 9 chairs, and 6 ottomans, to be exact. That’s more furniture than we will probably have in all five of our containers!

They’re hoping to have the housewarming, or at least the first-story-warming, in December.

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Muskogee on the Hudson

Okay, that’s not happening. However, I do remember this aside from a 2009 thread:

I’m thinking eventually it will all be on the Tulsa grid anyway; several years ago on Route 66, just outside of Bristow, I caught a sign for South 545th West Avenue.

Tulsa, schmulsa. What if it were on the New York City grid? calculates the correct Manhattan address, or at least the correct cross streets, for any spot on the globe.

I had no problem locating the palatial estate at Surlywood on 6,915th Avenue, though I wondered how they’d count the east-west streets, since they don’t exist in Manhattan anywhere south of Houston Street. To take care of this little problem, they simply declared South 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and so on, so there are no missing spots in the grid. You’ll find me on South 16,071st Street.

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Drink different

The city of Tulsa is contemplating, presumably for cost reasons, adopting the use of chloramine as a secondary disinfectant for the water system: it’s effective against microbial contamination, but unpleasant side effects might be waiting in the wings, and Michael Bates, generally the least-alarmist person in the state, says that “there may be reason to worry.”

One of the nastier by-products of chloramine use is n-nitrosodimethylamine, usually abbreviated to NDMA, which can play hell with one’s liver. The CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has published some suitably scary information, with the admission that “the levels of NDMA in air, water, or food that result in health effects in people are unknown.” The EPA has no official standard for NDMA in water supplies, though they recommend lakes and streams be kept to below 0.00069 ppb, a distinctly tiny amount, because fish don’t function well in it.

Since Oklahoma City uses chloramine, I checked the current water-quality report [pdf], which states that current chloramine levels run about 10-12 percent below EPA’s Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level. Wikipedia reports that a California study found minimal, if nonzero, concentrations of NDMA in water systems using chloramine.

My thinking: Caution is indeed advisable. On the other hand, frying bacon can produce NDMA, and nobody’s giving that up. If there’s any good news here, it’s that NDMA has no particular tendency to accumulate in one’s body.

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What’s the matter with Tulsa?

About preserving the status quo in America’s Most Dutiful City.

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Dewey believe this?

The Man of the West, on Dewey Bartlett Jr.’s promise to end the ongoing fractiousness in Tulsa city government:

That may sound innocent enough in other cities, but in Tulsa, that sort of thing has a very definite meaning. It means that you have every intention of treating any and every politician or person who will not kowtow to a group some of us refer to as “Midtown Elitists” as errant stepchildren. It means that you will be a tool of the Midtown Elitists.

That’s what he ran on, and Tulsa, apparently not knowing what it means for a local Republican to promise to stop the bickering, elected his sorry ***.

District 7 Councilman John Eagleton, it appears, has basically given up on Bartlett, and is now circulating a petition to have the Attorney General investigate Bartlett’s actions. (Michael Bates has background.) This is one of those times when I’m grateful for our uninteresting — though lately not as uninteresting as usual — Oklahoma City politics.

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We want to be like Mick

You can tell things are getting bad in Tulsa when a Tulsa World columnist actually calls for Oklahoma City to be running things:

What we need to outsource is City Hall.

How much do you think Oklahoma City would charge us to take over governing Tulsa?

I don’t know. How much did Heracles get for beheading the Hydra? It’s a comparable task, and it’s probably easier than rerouting the Arkansas River through 2nd and Cincinnati. And I’m pretty sure OKC Mayor Mick Cornett isn’t champing at the bit to take over.

Actually, Tulsa is contemplating some charter changes, one of which might be the adoption of a council/manager form of government similar to Oklahoma City’s, which is occasionally slow and cumbersome but once in a while manages to do the Right Thing. With Tulsa’s existing strong-mayor system, you have to hope that you elected someone up to the task, which too often you didn’t, which explains why America’s Most Beautiful City (Time, 1950s) has basically turned into the White Detroit.

The ultimate solution may be to dissolve the government entirely and let Jenks annex the city. At least they seem to know how to run things.

It’s either that or turn it over to Charlie Sheen.

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