POSTED ON FEBRUARY 13, 2013:
Reporter and News Updates
Small School, Big Heart. Students and staff at Cascia Hall Preparatory School have raised more than $600 to keep a brother and sister -- who are not associated with the school -- from being evicted from their apartment.
Rachel Hurtado, a sophomore at Cascia, organized the effort. "Rachel's the one who put this together," said Roger Carter, the school's headmaster.
According to the Rev. John Sotak, the chaplain at Cascia Hall, Hurtado became aware of this brother and sister due to her involvement in the St. Zita Catholic Worker community, which is dedicated to helping the poor. "They knew of this brother and sister whose parents died during January. ... They did not have money to pay for their rent."
Carter said Cascia holds a missions collection every Wednesday. "Usually our mission collection goes to our missions in Peru," Sotak added.
However, on Feb. 6 the school decided to donate the money raised to keep the brother and sister in their home. They raised $627 dollar, according to Sotak.
Both Carter and Sotak praised Hurtado for making the school aware of the situation and organizing the action. Sotak noted that much of the school's service "has become student-driven, which is wonderful."
Sotak said he doesn't anticipate collections like this becoming commonplace, but he noted, "As needs arise, we will certainly do what we can to help."
Platt Fires up the Grill. The Culinary Institute at Platt College, 3801 S. Sheridan Rd., begins its 2013 Culinary Artistry Series on Feb. 23 with a class teaching parents and children how to make pizza.
The Culinary Artistry Series is a set of one-off classes, each focusing on a single topic.
While not all classes are appropriate for children -- April's class is all about wine! -- Platt College said in a release that they all offer individual time with chefs.
Classes are offered about once a month. They last two or three hours and cover topics such as sauces, plating, grilling, and preparing holiday meals.
Each class costs $50. A schedule and more information are available by calling Chef Jeff Howard at 918-828-0980.
Check It Out. Downtown library patrons can expect the library to be closed for renovations beginning sometime in the spring, with a temporary site expected to open at West 11th Street and South Denver Avenue.
But any inconvenience will hopefully pay off with new features at the Central Library. The public is invited to hear a presentation from architects on plans for a re-imagining of the building.
"A garden, new fixed-seating auditorium and group study rooms are just some of the highlights," according to an announcement about the public showcase.
Architects with Meyer, Scherer, & Rockcastle will showcase their plans Feb. 19 at 6pm at the Central Library.
Of the Neighborhood, By the Neighborhood. A quadruple homicide in January put a harsh spotlight on the neighborhood near East 61st Street and South Peoria Avenue.
But the attention of a new quality-of-life task force studying how to improve the neighborhood may be a first step in making things better.
The Tulsa City Council on Feb. 7 unanimously approved creating such a task force to be chaired by Councilor Jeannie Cue.
She said it's important to reach out to those who live in the area to participate.
"Whatever project we do in that area, we have to have citizens' involvement," Cue told the council. Some talk has been about creating a community center for the neighborhood, with Cue noting that she's been trying to find a source of funding for such a project.
Along with addressing concerns about safety, Cue also noted a lack of medical professionals to serve the community, which includes a large concentration of apartment buildings for low-income tenants.
Tips Appreciated. Public safety intelligence involves not just getting sources to open up about crime.
It also involves keep track of information and sharing it with the right people.
Councilor G.T. Bynum listed recommendations of the Public Safety Intelligence Working Group at a Feb. 7 council committee meeting.
On the list was purchasing a new records management system for the Tulsa Police Department.
"We're still utilizing a system that city engineers built in 1976," Bynum told the committee. "And because of that there's difficulty. One, it's outdated, two, you can't enter proactive information into it. There's not ability to share data ... with other law enforcement agencies."
The issue came up in the first meeting of the working group, which Bynum said was convened to "really look at how we can develop more anonymous tips coming into our tip line, and, two, how can we better process the tips that do come in."
The Crime Prevention Network, a local nonprofit, operates the Crime Stoppers tip line for Tulsa. Bynum said the group has been doing so without city funding, something the working group recommended should change.
"The City of Tulsa should enter into a new contract with the Crime Prevention Network," Bynum said. He didn't specify an amount as part of the group's recommendation, but said that the city "should guarantee some minimal level of funding."
Another recommendation from the group involved the city's Management Review Office doing an analysis on the costs and benefits of having Crime Stoppers call takers based in Tulsa. Currently, calls are answered in Texas to save money.
The group also recommended that police officers all be given business cards with information about the tip line to be handed out at crime scenes.
Another recommendation involved looking at creating some sort of local witness protection program.
"The DA, he's really just starting the early stages of looking at this," Bynum said.
Bynum said he will bring the recommendations to the Feb. 14 council meeting in hopes the council will pass a resolution in support of the group's findings.
Anonymous tips may be submitted to 918-596-COPS, or by text to 274637. The text message should begin with "TPD918." More information on submitting anonymous tips is available at okcpn.org/plan/crime-stoppers.
Certified to Give. Two women active in Tulsa's nonprofit community have been officially "Certified in Volunteer Administration."
Stephanie Huston, director of volunteer services with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and Jenny McElyea, volunteer coordinator with the Tulsa-area command of The Salvation Army, earned the distinction from the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration.
The certification required completion of a portfolio reviewed by a panel of professionals, as well as a two-hour exam related to resource management.
Huston and McElyea will receive pins recognizing their accomplishment during the Feb. 14 meeting of Volunteer Tulsa's Community Volunteer Council.
According to Brenda Michael-Haggard, Volunteer Tulsa's executive director, only 15 professionals in Oklahoma have so far earned this distinction.
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