Don't call it a shelter. A nonprofit group that helps Tulsa's homeless population wants to buy a shuttered school building from Tulsa Public Schools.
The school district will host a public forum to discuss the possible sale on Thursday, July 11, at 6pm in the library of the former Chouteau school building.
The structure, at 575 N. 39th W. Ave., could become a part of John 3:16 Mission, Inc., which is offering the district $700,000 for the property. The organization currently offers food, shelter and clothing for Tulsa's homeless and at-risk population.
The property would be used to expand the organization's efforts.
"These surplus buildings have a lot of space in them. Our ambition for the site would be to have a residential center for women and for men," said Rev. Steve Whitaker, the chief executive officer and senior pastor for the faith-based group.
The group currently operates a downtown shelter, which would continue if the deal goes through. Whitaker emphasized the Chouteau site would not be such a shelter, but rather a facility for newly homeless to take part in a classroom program to help them improve their lives.
"It's not ideal to run a program for people who are temporarily or situationally homeless in the same place you're running a shelter, and that's what we're doing right now," Whitaker said. With renovations, around 80 people could stay at the Chouteau site, he said.
Property owners in the area have been notified by letter about the possible sale. The school board likely will vote on the proposal in July.
The school was one of several closed in 2011 as part of the district's Project Schoolhouse initiative to streamline operations.
Recognizing one of ours. Tulsa Business and Legal News will honor 21 women this Thursday night as it names its annual Women of Distinction honorees. Among them is our very own Julie Skrzypczak, associate publisher and director of operations at Urban Tulsa Weekly.
"This year, we are honoring 21 local women who have excelled in business, entrepreneurship, law, medicine, art, and community service," said Susan Kay Watkins, special events coordinator for TBLN. "The Women of Distinction are nominated by their peers, chosen by a panel of judges, and honored at a social event sponsored TBLN."
That event will be held Thursday, July 11 at 6pm at the Hyatt Regency Tulsa, 100 E. 2nd St.
Gov. Mary Fallin will be the keynote speaker.
Looking at zoning in southwest Tulsa. On the colored maps in a presentation of the West Highlands/Tulsa Hills area in far southwest Tulsa, shades of red are on both sides of US 75, a color corresponding to -- at least potentially -- more intense development, with the red extending west to South Union Avenue.
Yet much of this land remains undeveloped, at least for now. Changing this particular swath of zoning, known in city parlance as corridor zoning, might be a difficult proposition, city planner Steve Sherman told about 10 neighborhood residents.
He spoke at a July 8 meeting, one of several as city planners work with residents to develop a small-area plan for the neighborhood. Residents have been lobbying for the city to draw up something that would help them keep the rural feel that much of the neighborhood has currently. The area has many homes built on large lots, with large portions of it currently with agriculture zoning.
"The corridor zoning allows more things than 'Ag,' and to downzone it, it's going to be under a lot of scrutiny just because downzoning is very rare," Sherman said. As explained at previous meetings, the small-area plan itself, once approved, wouldn't change zoning anyway, but it could recommend changes.
Sherman pointed out that corridor zoning in Tulsa brings scrutiny to individual projects, as they must go before the planning commission and ultimately be approved by the city council before being built.
More meetings are scheduled after residents overwhelmingly rejected a draft proposal from city planners at a June 3 meeting.
Semi-finalists selected in entrepreneurship competition. Every business begins with an idea, and the Tulsa Community College StartUp Cup competition is about helping those budding entrepreneurs go from concept to the next level.
This year, 12 semi-finalists have been named in the competition. Bright Tot is based on sending families a monthly package of developmentally-appropriate, fun activities. Carolina Food Company, LLC, uses real fruit and wine to make fruit spreads.
High-tech is well represented in the group this year. CleanNG, LLC is about an invention known as the MagmaCel, a fuel storage system for natural gas. IcyBreeze, LLC is based on the creation of a device that keeps beverages cool while also working as an air conditioner. Level Load Industries has invented a device to assist forklift operators in knowing if forks are level. Smart Panel is designed to help people keep track of the amount of energy they're using in their home.
On the retail side, CNG Oklahoma, LLC is about providing a retail outlet for natural gas vehicles. One participant, idefi Group, LLC, is about a website for independent musicians to sell music merchandise. Two Guys Bow Ties is about the latest fashion trend, wooden bow ties. New Healthy Lifestyle, LLC, makes Body Barz, a food product without preservatives, additives of artificial sweeteners.
Reach Clothing, LLC combines retail with giving, as its business model includes giving an item to a child in need for every item purchased. SayAh, LLC is developing a tablet-based survey tool that can be used to gauge customer satisfaction.
The competition still has months to go, with a winner set to be announced Nov. 19. For more information, visit tcc.startupcup.com.
Mourning a theatrical loss. The Tulsa theater world lost a vital player this past weekend with the death of master puppeteer Andrew Agee.
Hooked from the beginning after receiving a Kermit the Frog puppet for Christmas one year, Agee accomplished things with puppets that most people can't even dream of. From the more mainstream fare of his performances of Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors to his choir of shrunken-head puppets that sang a whole production number in Moby Dick! The Musical to Agee's own Puppets Gone Wild shows (and man, did they ever go wild), Agee was accomplished at taking fur, foam, and feathers and bringing them to life.
This was evidenced not only in his shows, but in the fact that he received commissions from around the world, even creating some puppets for a French incarnation of the Jim Henson classic Fraggle Rock.
Agee worked at ITT Institute by day, but Andrew Agee Productions, LLC, was his passion. He is survived by his parents, Mark and Marcella, and two brothers, Ben and Luke. A memorial service will be held at Liberty World Outreach at 1424 E. 58th St. at 11:00am Thursday.
Moving forward in health care rates. The Tulsa Association of Health Underwriters (TAHU) holds monthly continuing education sessions. For July, on the 18th at the Tulsa Country Club, TAHU brings Dr. Cameron Maynard in as a guest speaker. Dr. Maynard is currently on a campaign to raise Oklahoma up from its low ranking in the nation's healthiest states. He will be speaking on the subject of living to 100 years of age at the lunch engagement. Registration and more information is available at oktahu.com.
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