POSTED ON APRIL 10, 2013:
More Dentist Pain. The name W. Scott Harrington continues to cause much angst in Tulsa, with former patients of the dentist and oral surgeon mostly still waiting for test results to find out if they have hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV.
Harrington broke his silence -- or, at least his attorney did -- to respond to the uproar after medical authorities went public with allegations of improper sterilization practices at his offices in midtown and Owasso. Health authorities urged roughly 7,000 patients to get testing to ensure they haven't contracted diseases from visits to Harrington's busy offices.
Harrington's attorney, James Secrest II, issued the following statement widely reported by various news outlets: "For almost 35 years, Dr. Harrington has provided Oklahomans with dedicated oral surgical care. His previous record with the dental board is impeccable. He is taking the recent allegations very seriously and is fully cooperating with the Oklahoma Dental Board. At this time, out of respect for his patients and the sensitivity of the issues, Dr. Harrington will make no further comment on this matter."
Harrington has an April 19 hearing set with the state dental board, and it remains unclear if he'll face any criminal charges. A patient of Harrington's filed a medical negligence lawsuit April 8.
The Tulsa City-County Health Department continues to offer free testing, and, as of April 5, about 1,900 people had been tested. The department operates a hotline for former Harrington patients at 918-595-4500.
New School Thinking. About 20 people attended an April 4 meeting to hear about plans to convert the Roosevelt Elementary building in the Owen Park neighborhood into a 200-student residential high school for artistically-inclined youth.
Tulsa Public Schools would sell the building for $2.8 million dollars to organizers of the Oklahoma School for the Visual and Performing Arts.
The money would not be paid right away, however. On the table is a letter of intent, which outlines how the arts school backers would pay the school district $100,000 initially for a five-year option to purchase the school, said Trish Williams, the district's chief financial officer, in an interview. If the group hasn't purchased the school by the third year of the deal, they would pay the district $150,000, Williams said.
The public meeting didn't focus on finances, but on the vision for the school.
"Kids will be admitted to our school by an audition process we'll do around the state," David Downing told the crowd.
Downing, co-chair of the school's board of directors, said he's been working on the project for about seven years. During that time, the school has struggled to find a home.
A 2011 bid by Downing's group of $252,000 for the property was rejected by the TPS board.
"This location has really truly always been our first option," Downing told the crowd.
The school still has a steep fundraising challenge, with the goal to raise between $20 to $25 million to pay for the building, renovations and construction of a residential facility for the students.
Downing said it might take four years before the first students enroll in the class. The project is also depending on state funding to fund yearly operations, such as the salaries for instructors.
Tulsa Athletics Soccer Team Announcement
Downing said the school has recently hired its first employee, however, and will be able to better raise funds with a specific location announced.
OKMozart Leadership Change.OK Mozart Director Shane Jewell has resigned to take over as executive director for the Oklahoma City Ballet.
The organization, which puts on the yearly music festival in Bartlesville, has named longtime employee Laura Cunningham as interim director.
An April 9 party to announce the festival's 2013 lineup, scheduled to take place after press time, was to be Jewell's farewell to the organization, which he guided for four years.
Soccer in Drillers Stadium. The vacant Driller Stadium at Expo Square will soon be put to use by a new Tulsa soccer franchise.
The Tulsa Athletics will take the field on May 18 and be members of the National Premeire Soccer League. Co-owner Sonny Dalesandro is a former professional soccer player, while Dr. Tommy Kern is his partner in the ownership group.
In a statement, the group outlined ambitions to one day play in the largest United States soccer league, Major League Soccer, noting that other clubs have made the jump.
The announcement is the second major soccer announcement in recent months, as an unrelated club, the Tulsa Revolution, announced in January plans to play indoors in the Tulsa Convention Center as part of the Professional Arena Soccer League.
Correction. A story in the April 4 issue of UTW about a new program to help felons find jobs misstated their level of education. More than 85 percent of the people enrolled in the program have either a high school diploma or a GED.
Ready to Run. Celebrity runners for the annual Tulsa Run have been announced, with Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard and Jenks Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Stacey Butterfield leading the charge.
The run takes place Oct. 26. The event also raises funds for local nonprofit organizations.
Early bird registration extends through June 1 with a rate of $35 for the 15K race and $25 for the 5K race. Details can be found at tulsarun.com.
Teen Volunteers Sought.The Tulsa City-County Library is seeking teen volunteers 13-15 years old to work several hours weekly this summer.
The work includes assisting librarians with the library's summer reading program for children.
Volunteers will receive a T-shirt and certificate of achievement, as well as a $10 Walmart gift card.
COURTESY OF TULSA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Applications are available at each library branch and online at teens.tulsalibrary.org/tccl/teen-team.
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