New in the Neighborhood. It's nice to see native Tulsans moving their businesses or families back to the area. While it might not be the personal family of Renzi Stone, he has decided to expand his professional family, Saxum Public Relations to the Tulsa area. In the second quarter of this year, the company plans to open a Tulsa office with Christopher Payne serving as the office's general manager. "As a Tulsa native, I am excited to announce that we will be opening an office in my hometown," said Saxum President and CEO Renzi Stone. "We already have an existing client base in the area, and we see tremendous potential for growth." Saxum offers a variety of public relations services to its clients, including strategic counsel, corporate communications, crisis communications, media relations, social media and training workshops.
Federal Appointment. The city of Muskogee received some good news recently from First Lady Michelle Obama last month. They have been designated as a Preserve America community. This federal program chooses communities that uphold and celebrate their heritage, use historic assets for economic development and community revitalization. Currently, there are 814 communities throughout the entire country and the two territories that have been selected as part of the program. In the letter to Mayor John Tyler Hammons, Mrs. Obama said, Mrs. Obama writes, "Your community holds a treasured place in the American story, and it is through your vision and dedication that our history will be upheld and our future will be renewed."
Climbing the Ladder. There's some big moves happening within our local organizations and businesses. Recently, Blended Love, which focuses on supporting children of divorce with teachers and school staff, announced its new executive director, Sasha Townsend. Townsend was selected the 2010 Mrs. Oklahoma and will provide consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives
In addition, Selser Schaefer Architects bumped up their ranks with Andrew McCready moving to an associate position. McCready has worked for the company for the past six years and was recently partially responsible for Tulsa Community College's new creative center. He's also a graduate of Oklahoma State University.
Off Tap. The second line of six packs by Marshalls Brewery has hit liquor store fridges. The Old Pavilion Pilsner is now making its rounds in six packs across Oklahoma. The beer is described as "crisp and clean with a distinct and pleasurable hop flavor and aroma." The brewery is still not done releasing its line yet, though.
Core Beers, Sundown Wheat and Atlas IPA are still on the list to be released as six packs, but they're running it on a staggered schedule, so keep your eyes peeled.
Ten regional winners will vie for the title of state champion at the Poetry Out Loud finals competition on March 6 at 1pm, at Oklahoma City University's Kerr-McGee Auditorium.
The state winner will receive a $200 scholarship and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D. C., to compete in the national finals where $50,000 in school prizes and student scholarships will be awarded.
Poetry Out Loud is a national arts and humanities education program for high school students designed to engage young people with poetry through memorization and recitation. The Oklahoma Humanities Council (OHC) sponsors the program in our state in cooperation with the Oklahoma Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.
"Poetry Out Loud is not only about memorization; it's about truly understanding poetry and conveying a poem's meaning to an audience," said Dr. Jennifer Kidney, OHC Director of Literature Programs. "Students study poetic traditions and poets' lives, explore the online anthology of more than 400 poems (www.poetryoutloud.org), and discover poems they love. The variety of poetry to be recited at the state final will provide for an entertaining and enlightening event."
Students reciting poems for the state finals competition will include: Amber Ransom of Ada High School; Blake Smith of Arnett High School; Emily Essary of Bethel High School; Catherine Horton of Lawton High School; Sarah Anderson of Nathan Hale High School (Tulsa); Morgan Winkelmann, Union Intermediate High School (Broken Arrow); Kirstin Shields of Pittsburg High School; Tiffany Howerton of Putnam City West High School; Johnathan McClintick of Southmoore High School; and Elizabeth Armstrong of Stillwater High School.
Presented by the Oklahoma Humanities Council, the state finals competition is open to the public and will be co-hosted by OCU's Center for Interpersonal Studies and Fine Arts Institute. For information about the Poetry Out Loud program, contact Kidney at (405) 235-0280 or HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over and Out
After two silver medals in international competition this past year, a Tulsa area Taekwondo master finally brings home the gold. Master Bong Kang fought three bouts in one day with opponents from California, Senegal and Germany to claim the top award in the heavyweight senior division in Las Vegas, including another smashing knockout.
This year's U.S. Open drew competitors from 66 nations including 21 national teams and many martial artists who competed in the Olympics.
"It means a lot for the Kang organization to stay on top of the mountain. It is definitely a big feat. I owe it to God and my friendships and my father and family," said an exhausted Bong Kang.
Another twist to the story is that Bong's student, won the silver medal in the bantam weight category. Jerry Smith, 42, of Broken Arrow has been training with Bong for 17 years. After years of speed drills, running bleachers and hundreds of thousands of kicks in practice and competition, both men have brought world attention to Tulsa and Broken Arrow.
"We're good brothers," Bong said. "Jerry is my right hand man."
The Kang family is famous in Taekwondo circles in Tulsa, the state of Oklahoma, nationally and internationally. Bong's father, Grand Master Dong Won Kang, was inducted into the Taekwondo International Hall of Fame last year.
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