Your city and you.
Call it: The Nicest Place to Live in America; or, The Burger Flipping Capital of the World; or -- maybe this one's too easy --The Orange Barrel Capital of America.
Tulsa citizens used plenty of creativity when asked what phrase best describes their city.
The question came as part of a city-commissioned survey focused on satisfaction with local services and opinions on Tulsa life.
Results released Oct. 10 showed the most satisfaction with fire services, with 85 percent of people (filtering out those who said they didn't know) saying they are satisfied or very satisfied.
Last on the list? Only 21 percent of people with an opinion expressed satisfaction with maintenance of city streets.
After fire services came ambulance services (76 percent satisfied), water services (67 percent), quality of police (61 percent), and stormwater management (61 percent), ranked in order of satisfaction.
What Do You Like Most About Tulsa? Certain words popped up frequently in response to this survey question.
On the other end, the city's transit system (31 percent satisfied), value based on taxation (34 percent), ease of getting around town (36 percent), city communication with the public (40 percent), the city's efforts at planning growth (40 percent), code and ordinance enforcement (41 percent), maintenance of city building and facilities (42 percent), and the city's economic development efforts (46 percent) had the lowest satisfaction scores.
It's the first such survey since 2011. While the surveys differed substantially, it seems Tulsans are less satisfied with city services.
For example, 88 percent expressed satisfaction with trash service in that earlier survey -- so the latest trash satisfaction score of 65 percent has decreased substantially following a city overhaul of the service. Satisfaction with parks and recreation program saw a large decrease, from 68 percent satisfied in 2011 to now 51 percent satisfied.
When asked about the overall quality of city services, satisfaction decreased to 57 percent from 73 percent in the earlier survey.
However, citizens have responded favorably to newly implemented curbside recycling, with now 71 percent expressing satisfaction with recycling compared to only 60 percent in 2011.
According to a city statement, the survey data will help guide the city's funding priorities. Asked to rank services that should receive more emphasis, respondents listed street maintenance as their top priority, followed by quality of police services and improving traffic flow.
Don't expect the citizen-contributed "It Don't Get No Better Anywhere" to show up as a new official city slogan, nor "The Plainest City in America." But "The Place Where People Care" has a nice ring to it.
Things have changed for the better in the neighborhood around E. 61st Street and S. Peoria Avenue.
That's according to local residents who gathered for a city-sponsored community block party held Oct. 12 at Johnson Park.
Victor Cosby came out for a family outing. On a perfect fall day, he said he hadn't even seen so much as a fistfight since there's been heightened security in the area.
Long known as a hotspot for violence, the spotlight on the area grew intense after four women were shot and killed in January at the Fairmont Terrace apartments. The Tulsa City Council formed a task force to study ways to improve the safety and quality of life for the area -- and things have "definitely" improved in terms of safety, Cosby said.
"I've got little boys. I've got a daughter," said Cosby, a resident of the Fairmont complex. "I'm glad to see it."
Agnes Daniels brought her nine-year-old granddaughter to the park, where people enjoyed free hot dogs and music.
"I think Fairmont's been changing a whole lot for the good. They got security now," said Daniels, another Fairmont resident.
Volunteers at the event included several police officers, while medical staff talked to visitors about a planned new clinic for the area.
David Hays, a manager at a U-Haul business in the neighborhood and task force member, said he's noticed more of a police presence in the neighborhood. The block party was another part of the ongoing neighborhood improvement effort, said Councilor Jeannie Cue.
"It's mainly about getting the support of the neighborhood, being a part of their community," she said.
Shaila Gilyard pushed a stroller after a trip through the food line. Another Fairmont Terrace resident, she also said safety has improved.
Asked about the park event, "it's to get everybody out in the community to come together," she said. "We're moving in the right direction."
Stop the traffick.
A new 5K run/walk event spotlighting the perils of human trafficking has drawn some big names.
Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris will help emcee the Saturday, Oct. 19, event taking place that morning at RiverWalk Crossing in Jenks.
A local nonprofit, The Demand Project, has organized the run and a concert featuring Fiawna Forte, Sovereign Dame and Dante and the Hawks.
The Demand Project devotes "efforts, resources and energy toward the eradication of sexual exploitation," according to the organization's website. Human trafficking does not always involve smuggling or even force, as cases can involve adults coercing young teen girls into prostitution, for example.
Expected to speak at the event are Assistant U.S Attorney Matthew P. Cyran and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Director Darrell Weaver. The bureau oversees human trafficking investigations.
Sign-up information can be found at thedemandproject.org.
Betting on Buffett.
Construction of the new Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville resort was set to begin with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for after UTW's deadline on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Described by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation as the largest development in the history of the Arkansas River, the approximately $335 million project involves the construction of a 26-story new hotel, as well as new casino space. It will be built in the area of the existing River Spirit Casino near E. 81st Street and Riverside Drive.
La Semana wins award.
Oklahoma's oldest bilingual newspaper recently took home the gold.
La Semana del Sur, based in Tulsa and published since 2001, received the José Martí Gold Publishing Award for Outstanding Bilingual Weekly in the USA for newspapers with a circulation under 30,000. The award was presented by the National Association of Hispanic Publications.
The paper brings readers local, national and international news in a Spanish-English format. It was also honored with an award for an article written by contributor Victoria Lis Marino on Argentina's recent "sauce pan" political protests in which clanking pans signaled citizen dissatisfaction.
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