POSTED ON DECEMBER 31, 2008:
Class of 2009 Edition
Newsome Community Farms
It's hard to believe that we're already a decade into the 21st century. 2008 flew by, leaving a lot of interesting developments in its wake. It was a year of transformation for good ol' T-Town, and the people at the forefront of its evolution have created even more room for our city's growth. And it is with this new cohort that we introduce the Hot 100 list for 2009, along with a few fun ones thrown in for good measure.
We have been fortunate to witness physical changes in our city, the fruits of promises purloined. In a way, places like the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park symbolize making peace with a disturbing past. Only by recognizing our mistakes can we move on in a constructive manner. Leaders and ordinary citizens alike have worked to bridge rifts between mainstream Tulsa and its minorities, whose diversity undeniably gives our city its color and vibrancy. As the years go by, our solidarity will become more pronounced and our efforts to make Tulsa a better place to live will be far more effective.
Some argue that the deterioration Tulsa has seen during the last few decades is inherently tragic. Cycles of growth and decay are natural for any organism; and without these disturbing voids, we wouldn't have room to implement the changes we want to see. This is the year for re-creation!
This year's Hot 100 list scratches the surface of innovative Tulsans who have made it their duty to revamp our fine city. Many groups and individuals have been part of the Hot 100 for some time now, and we have had to retire them to make room for the newbies. If you're wondering where "so-and-so" is, consider him or her part of the unspoken, though indispensable foundation that makes possible the potential leaps and bounds made in 2009.
Let us all be grateful for progress we've seen in the recent past, while opening our minds to other changes that we hadn't considered before. Initiatives to include citizens' input have been established so that we can execute new developments knowing we have explored all possible options. UTW's Hot 100 list is a testament to Tulsa's willingness to take into account distinct ideas and points of view. Love 'em or hate 'em, we hope you enjoy!
Mayor Kathy Taylor. She's proven herself as a conscientious leader. By taking into consideration her constituents' concerns for the city, Tulsa is primed for positive growth.
Keith Ballard, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools. We look forward to seeing what innovations and improvements he brings to the district.
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. Having finished another, well-received European tour and spanning coast to coast in the U.S., Tulsa's most prolific experimental jazz band continues to expand the minds of audiences while maintaining solid ties in T-Town.
Karen Keith, County Commissioner. In an election year where the name Bell rang synonymous with victory, this former TV anchor managed to snatch away an election from a Republican party that threw out its own incumbent. Kudos.
Matt Moffett and Mona Pittenger, founders of the Tulsa Girls Art School. While public schools continue to cut funding for arts education, the Tulsa GAS Project is a breath of fresh air. The program helps young ladies tap into and celebrate their artistic abilities.
David Cook, Tulsa's adopted son. We really are proud of him. We honestly thought that goofy looking Archie kid was going to win. Cook's new album is out, so turn to page 38 and check out the disc's review.
Rev. Steve Whitaker, minister and director of the John 3:16 Mission. As caretaker of downtown's homeless, Whitaker fought the powerful downtown business interests and residents who wanted to derail his plan to expand the Mission because they didn't want John 3:16 to threaten revitalization efforts. Whitaker told UTW in August: "... if this city's not proactive about treating its homeless population, then all of our dreams for an entertainment district are going to be spoiled..." Amen.
Stan Lybarger, Bank of Oklahoma president and Stadium Trust Chairman. He heads the group backing the ballpark and we just hope he keeps his hands clean.
Michael Sager, developer. He owns property scattered about downtown and, for the most part, his spaces are rented and being used. However, we are ready for him to wrap up those First Street Lofts.
Henry Aberson. First, the good news: Center 1 has brought a myriad of quality, local retail stores and delicious eateries to Brookside. The bad news? The stark, white development stands out amidst the historic shops that have characterized the area since the mid 20th century.
The Round Up Boys. We know the local music scene pretty darn well, and no band seems to have more love for this city and its people and history than the Round Up Boys.
Libby Auld. The savvy proprietor of Elote, 514 S. Boston, has brought fresh, healthy Mexican food to downtown Tulsa, using seasonal ingredients from local farms. Her restaurant has given the area a much-needed boost and paving the way for others to establish local businesses.
Eric Marshall. Opening a successful local brewery in Tulsa is a surefire way to land yourself on this list. That's right; we have a weak spot for locally owned businesses and beer.
Chet Cadieux, President/CEO of QuikTrip Corp. Throwing yourself a 50th birthday party and inviting the whole city out to the celebration, for free, is just a classy move no matter how you slice it. Here's to 50 more.
Michael Patton, executive director of The M.e.t. Patton is another enraged Tulsan, but his passion is the environment and his mission is to teach Tulsans how best to reduce, reuse, recycle and conserve in order to benefit their city and their planet.
City Councilors. Last year we put John Eagleton, chairman of the Council, on this list. This year, all nine members grace our list. Although they are all male, the councilors are a vocal bunch, which we love. Our only wish for the future is to get some women in there.
Chuck Lamson, Tulsa Drillers baseball. Last year we said if you would build us a ballpark downtown then we'd put you on our Hot 100 list. Seeing how we got our wish, now how about a winning season for the team? Please and thank you.
"Oklahoma: A Portrait of America" by Libby Bender, Carl Brune, Scott Raffe. This trio of artists collaborated on a treasure of a book that should adorn the coffee table of every Oklahoman's living room.
Pie Hole Pizzeria. With a locked door and lights turned off, the joint seemed like history to us. But, no. Back in business, Pie Hole is serving up tasty 'zas once again.
Shelby Navarro, ONE Architecture. We commend this green architect for his endeavor building the first LEED-certified homes, situated north of Cherry Street. He has a vision for the city and the tenacity to get it done.
Tulsa River Parks Authority. We applaud its nine-mile cleanup of the Arkansas riverbed and the recent widening projects. Now get out there and enjoy it, Tulsa!
Anna America, director of Up With Trees. Not only did she spend the year re-greening Tulsa after the ice storm, but America and her team purchased a new building in downtown. The latest goal is to plant 20,000 trees by 2010. Best of luck!
Casa Laredo. Gone and back again, this Tulsa favorite reopened downtown mere spitting distance from the BOK Center, opting to use space in one of downtown Tulsa's historic buildings. We hope people discover it.
Andrew Rice. One of the boldest politicians to campaign in Oklahoma, Rice opened the door for Oklahomans to regain their places in the energy and agriculture industries in an environmentally-friendly way. Mr. Rice, we hope you give it another go in the future.
Circle Cinema. Celebrating its 80th anniversary this past summer, this non-profit indie theater has two more screens under construction right now, complete with cushy stadium-style seating. Progress means more thoughtful, independent films and documentaries. Viva la Circle!
Michael Bates, blogger. Either way you prefer your politics, this guy knows his stuff. And agree or disagree, you can always appreciate his insight and knowledge of city issues.
Ron Palmer, TPD Police Chief. We were hoping you would make the list this year. Well, here you are, sir. Palmer's off to a good start as he settles into the chief seat once again.
T. Boone Pickens. Known for his political and philanthropic contributions, Pickens has become an honorary Tulsan, donating more than $400 million to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University. He has also been a major contributor to wind power as an alternative form of energy.
Sam Remy, owner of SpiritBank Event Center. This new entertainment mecca in South Tulsa hosts a number of events including Tulsa 66ers games, family shows, concerts, etc. It's about time South Tulsa had a venue in their neck of the woods.
Demalda, Chris and Rufus Newsome, Newsome Community Farms. The Newsome family, local farmers who grow and sell produce from their north Tulsa home, have made it their mission to help rid north Tulsa of hunger by selling fresh, organic produce at affordable prices and teaching residents about the importance of good nutrition and how to grow their own food.
Mana Tahaie, Director of Racial Justice, YWCA. Formerly Programs and Development Coordinator at Oklahomans for Equality, Tahaie has dedicated her career to eradicating hate and fighting social injustice. In her new position, one recently created just for her, Tahaie hopes to implement educational programming and organize events that will raise awareness about the inordinate amount of racism still rampant in this city.
John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park. Last November's groundbreaking of Tulsa's public memorial to the victims of the 1921 Race Riot was a huge advancement. After struggling with financing issues, finally the three-acre park in the Greenwood District is constructing a 30-foot monument called the "Tower of Reconciliation," a John Hope Franklin Memorial Museum and an area to be named B.C. Franklin Square.
Tom McKeon, CEO, Tulsa Community College. What every educational institution needs is a leader with a heart for learning. Thank God our local community college has one of those. What we really love about this guy, though, are his endeavors to make college affordable for all who want to attend.
Randal Suffolk, executive director of Philbrook Museum. We love the energy he's brought to the place, rearranging the museum and replacing many of the permanent pieces that had been hanging for a while with some lesser-seen works that had been decorating the basement.
Scott Smith, owner of the Blue Jackalope. We applaud his efforts to fill two gaps with one store. His small grocery shop sits in close proximity to both downtown and north Tulsa. The Blue Jackalope is a convenient spot for grabbing that last ingredient needed for dinner right after work or shopping for some local produce.
Tulsa Craft Mafia and Indie Emporium. These men and women are making it cool to buy handcrafted clothes, purses and accessories.
Gerald Buckley, owner and founder, Grocio.com. SpiritBank recently awarded Buckley $30,000 after he was named winner of the second annual Mayor's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. His site, once it's up and running, will compare prices at local grocery stores and provide printable coupons. We think his winnings will be money well spent, and we can't wait to use the site when it's up and running.
Tiffany Bjorlie, owner Lundeby's Eco Baby. Her success proves the city's need and want for merchandise that is ecologically-friendly with baby's health in mind.
Corey Williams, executive director, Sustainable Tulsa. Williams is leading the Mayor's Green Team in an effort to "Green the (918)," and we like that about her. She's leading workshops in Tulsa that explore ways in which locals can make our community more sustainable. The best part? The workshops really seem to focus, not only on problems, but on finding and implementing viable solutions.
Victor Wandres, Leasing Agent with Kanbar Properties. With a hand in opening Dwelling Spaces' second location in the Philcade Building and the Collaboratorium, Kanbar's recent interest in promoting local business seems directly influenced by this guy.
Steve McCall, Broadcaster/Media Relations Director for the Tulsa Oilers. This guy loves hockey and his passion for the team is contagious. We appreciate all his efforts toward bringing the community and its hockey team together.
Ken Busby, executive director and CEO, Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa. For years, Tulsans have been well aware of the positive impact Busby and the AHCT have had on our city. We're grateful for their in-school arts programs, proving that, despite public schools' efforts to cut costs by nixing arts programs in the schools, arts education is still important to someone.
"The American." Remember him? Towering more than 21 stories (and taller than the Statue of Liberty), the statue of an Indian and eagle is a project that has fallen to the wayside. In 2009, we would like an update.
Ben Sumner, Up Late with Ben Sumner. Three cheers to Tulsa's most successful local, late night talk show host for recognizing his passion and working his tail off to achieve his dreams. That kind of devotion and self-awareness are hard to come by these days.
Fiawna Forte, singer. This young rock-star-in-the-making caught our attention this year with her powerful voice, unique song writing and intimate stage presence. The future is indeed bright for Ms. Forte.
OSU Medical Center. We could not be more proud and excited for the hospital's rebirth. Its episode revolving around insufficient financial backing only illustrates Tulsa's need for a publicly-funded hospital.
John and Sara Cruncleton, co-owners of Nightingale Theater. This duo is responsible for some of the most innovative, edgy and really, really smart theatre in Tulsa. John's usually at the helm of whatever original work is being produced at the Nightingale, and his lovely wife Sara can always be counted on to lend her theatrical talent to the cast.
Adrienne Kallweit, founder of SeekingSitters. It's hard to find good help these days. Kallweit and her husband recognized the need for carefully evaluated childcare and developed their concept. It was so popular that parents nationwide can rest easily knowing their caregivers are safe and reliable.
Neil Tiemann and Andy Skib. This musical duo backs up Sir David Cook on his latest album and tour. Local guys helping local guys make it big deserve a spot on our list.
Teachers at Tulsa Public Schools. Creating a crop of future Hot 100 stars, Tulsa's teachers paint a bright future for this city. As the cliché goes, if you can read this, thank a teacher.
Chris Jarrett, PGA Head Golf Professional at LaFortune Park Golf Course. Jarrett worked at several of the nation's premier golf courses before stopping in Tulsa. Now, he approaches his third year at LaFortune and youth golf is thriving in Tulsa. The junior program grew by 300 percent last year.
Shane Fernandez, Chairman of Tulsa Young Professionals. Getting young people interested in professional development, leadership and becoming community builders. While so many young people wish to flee our fine city after college, this group works together to make Tulsa a better place.
Chad and Hunter Rodgers, Cain's Ballroom. These brothers bring one great show after another to the historic Cain's Ballroom. Each year the lineup gets better and better. We can only hope Cain's success draws more businesses and retailers to the Brady District.
Jeremy Charles, photographer. Sure, we're a little biased on this one. This young photographer's work has graced the cover and the pages of this and many other publications around the state. Keep an eye on this one; he's going places.
Live4This, collaborative artists. These guys-- Aaron Whisner, Darshan Phillips, Nic Trent and Rob Gungor, with manager Herb Claudfelter-- give new meaning to the term "teamwork." Really, we should tell motivational speakers about this foursome. Working together on the same piece of artwork, often depicting various elements of pop culture, their contemporary work hangs in many local galleries and boutiques. Look for their new studio space at 328 E. 1st St.
Natasha Ball, blogger. What's there to do in Tulsa? This blogger has the answers. Her Tulsa-centric blog keeps tabs on goings-ons around town while providing a few laughs here and there. Tune in for yourself at tashadoestulsa.blogspot.com.
Seneca Scott, House Representative for District 72. Finally, a fresh approach to rebuilding the district's underdeveloped communities. By implementing his ethos of sustainable development, Scott hopes to bring long-lasting positive change to one of the poorest areas in Tulsa.
Steve Lancaster, hypnotist and comedian. And he owns and operates Top Hat Magic at 41st and Yale. His work with local filmmakers providing costumes and props proves that his magical powers are used for good despite his access to mass media. Note to readers: Lancaster did not hypnotize us into including him on this list. Poof.
Heather Oakley, founder of Global Gardens. What started as an after school program to help kids reconnect with the Mother Earth has become a 501 (c)3 non-profit, integrated into the curriculum at Eugene Fields Elementary. Oakley works tirelessly toward empowering students, helping them to recognize their unique gifts through art, agriculture and engagement with peers.
Oklahoma's Indian Tribes. We'll never retire this one. You're the most important part of our state's culture and the reason we hold ourselves in such high regard.
OKC Thunder. Sure, it belongs to Oklahoma City, but the fact that we finally have an NBA team in the state is a start. Humility comes next.
OKEQ. Oklahomans for Equality have spearheaded the movement in Tulsa concerning equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens through a number of events. Through their efforts, Tulsa now has a space to celebrate individuality while promoting respect for all walks of life.
President-elect Barack Obama. Kudos to the O-man for selecting a maddening array of men and women from all points on the political spectrum. Let's hope that they can play nice in Washington.
Mathew's Warehouse. This is big deal in Tulsa's arts world. We are most looking forward to the opening of the new Visual Arts Center in downtown's Brady District and can't wait to see the positive impact we're sure it will have on our community.
Larry Shaeffer, concert promoter. This guy brought the Sex Pistols to the Cain's. Legend? We think so. As promoters go, Tulsa couldn't ask for a more dedicated guy. After 40 plus years in the business, he's still bringing acts like John Prine to the Brady and Trace Adkins to the BOK Center.
Keith Skrzypczak, founder, editor and publisher of Urban Tulsa Weekly. Tulsa's alternative mayor, Skrzypczak digs between the cracks of the city and fills them with the facts that only UTW can provide.
Metro Development Group. The Dailey sisters keep busy bringing new character to the Cherry Street neighborhood. Contemporary lofts are sprouting up on every block north of 15th Street.
Marlin Keranen, general manager of the Crowne Plaza Hotel and chair of the CVB's Downtown Marketing Committee. This guy has an optimistic view of Tulsa and the possibilities downtown holds.
Jake Crandall, Donnie Rich and Sam Bein, Flytrap Music Hall. The trio wants to bring all-ages entertainment to the downtown venue. Read more about Flytrap in next week's issue.
Jamie and David Fitzgerald, promoters for DCF Concerts. The duo brings top music acts to the Brady, Cain's and BOK Center.
Alice Rodgers, IDA Red Boutique. While her husband and brother-in-law run the mother ship, Alice Rodgers keeps things going at Ida Red Rock'n'Roll Boutique, Cain's Brookside store selling tickets to concerts, candy, pop, t-shirts and more.
Marc and Zac Mathews, owners of Cellar Dweller, The Marquee, Bull & Bear and soon the Crystal Pistol and a restaurant next to Cain's. Enough said?
Tell Their Story, Tulsa Based Non-Profit. Although we experience hardship on a local level, Mark Thompson, Mark Regouby and Jake Thompson remind us not to forget our neighbors, namely needy children. This group has dedicated its time to uplift struggling Haitians through hands-on sustainable development projects.
Adrienne Barger, founder of Community Cycling Project. Most people think of bicycles as recreation instead of transportation. Seeing the opportunities to commute effectively in Tulsa, Barger began the Community Cycling Project, which provides bicycles and other equipment to those who need some wheels.
Rose Bowl Event Center. This one's a given. We wish the venue the best of luck as it heads into what we hope will be a long, long run in Tulsa's event scene.
Next Monkey Horror Films. The trio of showbiz devotees, Darla Enlow, Dana Pike and Scott Gaffen, has worked hard to establish itself in the horror film industry while partnering with local businesses and bands to create one-of-a-kind, freaky films infused with an Okie feel.
Catherine deCamp, founder of Sage Culinary Studio. A great concept and addition to the Brookside community, Sage offers cooking classes for kids. It's never too late to teach the little ones healthy eating habits.
George Kaiser, The Kaiser Family Foundation. Because what the hell would Tulsa do without you?
Organum Records. This group of local musicians earns major points for its pride for Tulsa and its mission to boost the music scene in town. We love the eclectic and improvisational style that it shares with the community.
Blake Ewing, owner of Joe Momma's. Mini-golf fans may already be well acquainted with this name. Joe Momma's Pizza has been flourishing at the 61st and 169 location for a few years now. The newest jewel in this momma's crown is a downtown location prime for a midday power lunch or an after five hangout. Soon, the downtown location will be the go-to spot for late night munchies.
Mart Green, Oral Roberts University. It seems ORU might be back on track thanks to Green. Thank goodness. We thought we were going to have to say goodbye to Hobby Lobby.
Kirk of the Hills church. Its parishioners fought to keep their church and won. Power to the people!
Oklahoma's men and women serving/who served in the armed forces.
Pride of Broken Arrow Marching Band. The band won first place in the regional championship and placed sixth at Grand Nationals. The band just returned from a trip to the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.
Kent Morlan. He made the list last year, but truth is he still keeps the city in check. He's a Tulsan who truly practices what he preaches.
Dr. Lori McGinnis, Executive Direction of Tulsa Street School. Dr. McGinnis became the executive director five years ago and has worked vigorously toward strengthening the youth service agency that offers Tulsa teens an alternative education.
Oklahoma Coalition of Independents. There are a lot of Oklahomans unrepresented by the two major parties, and Oklahoma's ballot access laws make it extremely difficult for third parties to gain access. In 2009, let's continue the push for ballot reform.
Todd Graham, TU Football Coach. What a year for the team! Records were set left and right. In the end, another visit to the GMAC Bowl. Not bad at all.
Folks at SMG, venue management of the BOK Center. After so much hype about Tulsa's most conspicuous entertainment venue, its first season is well underway and we're fond of the venue so far.
Left Field Project. This gallery/store/studio/venue has big plans for the spring. Look forward to block party concerts the first Friday of every month starting in April. Also, the store will begin selling merchandise, including graphic tees, books and art, of course.
Price Tower Arts. Our neighbors to the north in Bartlesville are lucky to have such a hip art center in their own backyard. This year's "Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things" exhibit took real world, everyday, consumables and made them into art designed to raise the question, do we use too much?
Mportant Film. The company partnered with Tulsa Virtual Media Partners, LLC., to create Before They Die, a documentary about the survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot and their quest for justice.
Tulsa Creative Network. Organize a few creative people together and something special might just happen. That's the credo for this community group of artists and other creative types who just want to prosper in our fair city. Tulsa has some challenges ahead and it's going to take some creativity to find the right solutions.
Tom and Angie Green, co-founders, Diversafest. Is it just us, or does DFest seem to get better every year? We have Tom and Angie to thank for creating a climate of cool in Tulsa each summer for the past three years. We appreciate the economic impact the festival has on the city, the invaluable opportunities it provides local and national musicians and the one hell of a good time we had.
Jay Dee, local comedian. Readers recommended this funny guy for the list. Catch him at the Loony Bin Comedy Club in the coming weeks.
Costa Stasinopoulos, producer and vocalist/keyboardist for Dead Sea Choir. The guy is a tenacious animal when it comes to producing and writing songs for Tulsa's music scene.
John Catsimaditis, New York billionaire and possible SemGroup hero. Even though his last name sounds more like an infectious disease, this guy thinks he can do what it takes to get SemGroup back in action. He plans to keep the company in Tulsa and he wants to hire back its former employees. Expect to see reorganization plans in late January.
The Child Abuse Network. CAN centralizes the services needed by victims of child abuse, attempting to make the process of investigating and prosecuting offenses as simple and straightforward as possible, minimizing the additional trauma caused to the victims. CAN's model has proven effective and has been used as the basis for many other programs in the U.S. We appreciate the organization's efforts to protect and serve Tulsa County children, but we sure wish they weren't necessary.
Greater Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The Hispanic community has an undeniable impact on the local economy; the GTHCC has been the voice of the Hispanic business sector since 1998 and works to connect it with mainstream Tulsa.
YWCA of Tulsa. YWCA's mission has always been "eliminating racism, empowering women," and now, more than ever, the organization is taking that mission to heart and putting it into action, especially the former (see our notes on Mana Tahaie for more). The organization serves many of the underserved in our community, filling a void left by many other non-profits, and we know our city wouldn't be the same without it.
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