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In a late Tuesday statement, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said IC Bus, a major manufacturer in Tulsa, and its parent company, Navistar, are mounting a "false campaign" in accusing City Hall of threatening their facility with eviction.

Under the name "Save Tulsa Jobs," Navistar released a statement saying that "the City of Tulsa is threatening to evict IC Bus from its school bus manufacturing facility at the Tulsa International Airport, a move which would cost the city and the state of Oklahoma 1,600 jobs."

Instagram / @tulsazoo

Moving forward, Tulsa Zoo President and CEO Terrie Correll and other zoo professionals may be wise to be careful what they wish for.

"Every zookeeper's dream is to have the zoo to yourself," Correll said Tuesday during a virtual meeting of the City of Tulsa's Parks and Recreation Department, "and we've got it now."

Closed since mid-March due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the zoo has faced its share of difficulty , Correll said.

Tulsa City Hall

Furloughs affecting about 1,000 municipal employees, meant to help mitigate lost revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will begin in Tulsa this Friday.

Michelle Brooks, communications director for the City of Tulsa, said the average Tulsan won't see much in the way of reduction in services, and no reduction at all in emergency services. 

"This does not impact public safety: our police, fire, 911, our utilities services," Brooks said. "Citizens are not going to see an impact there."

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said Wednesday while the city will follow the state’s business reopening plan starting Friday, things are not going right back to normal.

Bynum said businesses that plan to reopen should get well-acquainted with state guidelines for their specific industries. Restaurant dining rooms, gyms and places of worship are among the establishments that can reopen Friday under certain restrictions.

Bynum said the guidelines are not merely helpful tips and will be enforced by the Tulsa Police Department.

Chris Polansky / KWGS

His hand seemingly forced by Governor Kevin Stitt's easing of restrictions on business closures implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum announced reluctantly on Friday that Tulsa's "Safer At Home" order will expire on Thursday, April 30th. 

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum proposed Wednesday evening an $828.5 million total city budget intended to keep city services at current levels through the next fiscal year.

That figure includes all city funds, as well as operations and capital funding from Improve Our Tulsa and Vision Tulsa. The total fiscal year 2021 budget is down $26.1 million from FY2020.

Nearly two dozen business, nonprofit and health leaders will help plan the reopening of Tulsa’s economy after the COVID-19 threat begins to decline.

The Mayor's Economic Recovery Advisory Committee in partnership with the Tulsa Regional Chamber will look at steps other cities and states are taking to come up with a phased approach for Tulsa.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Updated April 17, 2:10 p.m.

The City of Tulsa will furlough around 1,000 employees for half-days every Friday beginning May 3 through the end of 2020.

Mayor G.T. Bynum said high unemployment and low oil prices are expected to cause a dramatic drop in sales tax collections, the city's only source of operating funds.

Much like during last year's spring storms when the city decided to warn people to brace for a flood event on par with 1986, officials decided it would be best to prepare now for the worst-case scenario.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Oklahoma is expecting a budget shortfall this year, and now so is the City of Tulsa.

Finance Director James Wagner said the latest sales and use tax distribution from the state is slightly above budget estimates but covers the period before the city’s safer at home order to limit the spread of COVID-19 took effect.

On this edition of ST, we learn about Tulsa Remote, the talent-recruitment initiative of George Kaiser Family Foundation that's now in its second year -- and that has received, since it began, more than 10,000 applications from all over the globe (and all over the nation). Our guest is Tulsa native Aaron Bolzle, the executive director of this increasingly popular program.

With the 2020 presidential race now well underway, the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa is seeking out women in northeastern Oklahoma who could be president. The League will honor 10 such women from our community -- all of them dedicated to leadership and community service, with nominations presently being taken -- at its upcoming Madam President event (happening on May 5; more info at this link).

Our guest is Susan Neal, Executive Director of Gilcrease Museum, which recently announced that its current facility will be not just refurbished or remodeled but, indeed, entirely rebuilt. The museum announced over the weekend that its current building will be demolished, and that a new structure will be erected in its place. As Neal expalins, Gilcrease has been added to -- and/or expanded upon -- several times over the years. The oldest parts of the museum date back to 1913; the newest building in the Gilcrease complex dates from the 1980s.

It's easy to take safe drinking water for granted, but so very much of public health stems from having it (that is, having lots of it) on hand. Moreoever, the problems that've recently affected Flint, Michigan -- and other communities -- have brought the whole potable-water issue to the forefront for many Americans. Where does Tulsa's drinking water come from, and how does it get here? How safe is it, and how clean or "pure" is it? And how do we know these things? How is our water monitored? And how often?

Our guest is Michael Brose, the longtime Chief Empowerment Officer at Mental Health Association Oklahoma (or MHAOK). Brose joins us to discuss this important nonprofit's ongoing work to secure permanent housing for the homeless throughout our city and our state. Per the MHAOK website: "The Association's statewide work is dedicated to promoting mental health and the equity of access to mental health care through advocacy, education, research, service, and housing. Since 1955, we have worked toward this goal.

Our guest on ST is Randy Krehbiel, who's been a reporter for The Tulsa World since 1979 and now covers political and governmental affairs for that paper. He joins us to discuss his new book, "Tulsa, 1921: Reporting a Massacre." In this deeply-researched work, Krehbiel studies local newspaper accounts in order to understand the mindset and motivations of Tulsa's citizens (both black and white) at the time of this tragedy.

Gilcrease Museum

Our guest is Susan Neal, the executive director of Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa. It was recently announced that Gilcrease is now gathering applications from architectural firms seeking to execute the renovation, redesign, and expansion of the museum.

Mayfest -- the downtown Tulsa celebration that's been a spring highlight in our community since the 1970s -- is scheduled this year for May 17th, 18th,and 19th. And as we learn on today's ST, big changes are planned. Our guest is the executive director of Mayfest, Heather Pingry, who tells us that the festival is moving to the Tulsa Arts District (which is located a bit further north of its original location). Pingry adds that this move will also help to fill the gap left by the closure of the Blue Dome Arts Festival.

Our guest is James Wagner, the Chief of Performance Strategy and Innovation for the City of Tulsa. He leads a team in Mayor Bynum's office that aims to use data both effectively and intelligently in order to reach goals, remove barriers, find solutions, and foster community throughout Tulsa. Wagner joins us to discuss the results of a newly announced data-driven study that Tulsa has completed with the aid of the Gallup polling organization.

Photo by KWGS News

Our guest is State Senator Kevin Matthews, who recently held a press conference to announce that the name of the 1921 Race Riot Commission has been officially changed to the 1921 Race Massacre Commission. As Matthews, who chairs this Commission, noted at the conference: "The fact that it was called a riot was one of the reasons given for turning down insurance claims, and it has been offensive to many in the affected area for 97 years.

On this installment of ST, we learn about a remarkable and newly launched exhibit at Gilcrease, "Americans All!" This show, which is ongoing, is (per the Gilcrease website) the museum's "latest exhibition drawn from [its] permanent collection...[and it] showcases the many positive contributions immigrants have made, and continue to make, to American life and culture.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the City of Tulsa's just-announced plan to "build a resilient and welcoming city that embraces immigrants and fosters opportunity for all." Our guest is Christina da Silva, the City's Director of Community Development & Policy, who just last week unveiled (alongside Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum) the so-called New Tulsans Initiative.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to our April 2017 chat with David Grann, the bestselling author and staff writer at The New Yorker Magazine, about his book, "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI." As was noted of this book by a critic writing for Time: "Nearly 100 years ago, the Osage tribe of Oklahoma were thought to be the wealthiest people per capita in the world, thanks to their oil-rich reservation, kindly sold back to them by the federal government that had snatched it away.

Our guest is Tony Moore, Director of the Gathering Place, the greatly anticipated and privately funded public park that will open alongside the Arkansas River here in Tulsa on Saturday, September 8th. Moore brings us up to speed on what this massive and very special space -- the ground for which was broken back in 2014 -- will have to offer all of the people of Greater Tulsa. Per the Gathering Place website: "The next chapter is filled with excitement as we welcome our first guests....

On this edition of ST, we learn about the City of Tulsa's in-depth and multifaceted efforts to address issues of resilience, equity, and racial disparity across various demographic and geographic sections of our community. Our guest is DeVon Douglass, who was recently appointed by Mayor G.T. Bynum as Tulsa's Chief Resilience Officer. Before this appointment, Douglass served as the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Policy Analyst for the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

(Note: This show originally aired back in February.) "Bobby BlueJacket: The Tribe, The Joint, The Tulsa Underworld" is a well-researched book exploring little-known aspects of American crime, Native American identity, and smalltown politics in the 20th century. It's also an engrossing biography of a real and remarkable person: Bobby BlueJacket, born in 1930, who grew up in Tulsa amid teenage rumbles, mean streets, dangerous pool halls, and Midwest safecracker crews -- and who actually went from being a career thief to a prison journalist to a Eastern Shawnee Indian activist.

The long-awaited Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture (or OKPOP) is our topic on today's StudioTulsa. The design of the downtown Tulsa building that will house this museum has jus been announced. The structure will be on Main Street, across the street from the Cain's Ballroom, with construction to begin in the fall of this year.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we talk about the ongoing effort to make Route 66 a part of the U.S. National Park Serivce's National Historic Trail System. If this were to happen, Route 66 would become the 20th such trail in America, joining The Lewis and Clark Trail, The Oregon Trail, and others. This designation could mean a serious economic boost to our state, as Oklahoma has more Route 66 mileage than any other state through which the highway runs. We have two guests today.

Our guest on ST is Dr. Deborah Gist, the Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, who's worked in public education for nearly three decades at the school, district, and state levels (in Florida, Texas, Rhode Island, and elsewhere). Dr. Gist grew up in Tulsa -- and attended Tulsa Public Schools -- before earning degrees at the University of Oklahoma, the University of South Florida, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the University of Pennsylvania. In 2015, she returned to Tulsa to begin her current post as TPS Superintendent.

Our guest is Clark Wiens, the president and co-founder of the non-profit Circle Cinema (which is located near the corner of Lewis and Admiral). This much-loved Tulsa landmark -- at once historic, unique, and irreplacable; a cultural lifeline as well as a crucial part of the our city's artistic community -- will soon turn 90 years old. Therefore, as Clark tells us, this special venue will soon host -- from July 7th through the 15th -- the Circle Cinema Film Festival and 90th Birthday Celebration.

Our guest is Karen Dills, the executive director of RSVP of Tulsa. The acronym officially stands for "Retired Senior Volunteer Program" -- and as noted at the website for this long-running non-profit: "RSVP serves as a one-stop clearinghouse to connect volunteers, age 55 and over, with meaningful community service. There is an RSVP match for everyone who wants to remain active in their local community.

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