Archive for August, 2011
Camp Fire USA is celebrating its 101st birthday on August 31, 2011 on the 34th floor of the downtown Petroleum Club, 100 N. Broadway Avenue, Oklahoma City. Part of the celebration is the recognition of the former Camp Fire USA member and introduction of two new programs for the youth in Oklahoma.
Keep the Fire Burning will be presented by the Heart of Oklahoma Council with the former Camp Fire USA member, Gov. Mary Fallin. The event will run from11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Governor Fallin is the guest speaker who will be speaking on the topic of leadership.
The two new programs in the Camp Fire USA are the Gotcha and the Camp Canoe. These will be joined with Special Care and Adoption WrapAround. Gotcha aims to help children to appreciate the outdoors as well as to encourage them to continue with their education even on holiday breaks.
Ballard said that Gotcha was made congruent to the year-round calendar of Oklahoma City Schools. The Camp Fire USA is offering two weeks in October, December and March for the students to experience the outdoors in a fun and creative way.
Former members and leaders of the Camp Fire USA as well as those who are interested in helping to develop care, confident youth and future leaders are invited to attend the celebration. Tickets are sold at $101, or corporate tables at $1,000.
Aside from the recognition of Fallin and the introduction of the new programs, families who have benefited from the services of the Camp Fire USA will be recognized and highlights of the past 100 years of the Camp Fire USA will be presented.
The Oklahoma City Fire Station No. 7 located in the Capitol Hill area was rededicated Thursday after a long-anticipated renovation. Now, the newly renovated fire station will have more advanced firefighting and energy-efficient technology to use within the city area.
The renovation was completed for only $200,000, a sizeable difference from the allotted budget of $1.9 million. The Fire Station is located east of Robinson Avenue on SW 23rd Street.
The rededication was held on Thursday with appearances by Fire Chief Keith Bryant, project members and other city officials. Bryant acknowledged the renowned role of the neighborhood in the history of Oklahoma City and he is happy to have an up-to-date fire station for the people of OKC. Bryant added that he was present when the fire station opened in 1984 and has spent a lot of time in the station. The new renovation and upgrade for the fire station is an exciting event for him personally, he said.
According to Fire Deputy Chief Cecil Clay, the Fire Station No. 7 offers new features that will help firefighter’s better serve the community. Among these features are individual dorms for efficient rest instead of the usual barracks-style arrangement. In addition, there will be alarms routed only to the dorms of the firefighter’s on-call.
Clay said that the new alarm-system will enable other firefighters to better rest and prepare for fires while waiting.
There will also be low-level nighttime lighting during an alarm so it cannot hurt or affect the nighttime vision of firefighters. Lightings come with LED lights, a special heating system and other energy-saving features. Also, new ladders and engines with a special climate-controlled bunker that will help equipment used in firefighting last longer.
Defying the myth that urban living doesn’t have community feel. It is just the opposite. OKC is a perfect example! People are surprised at how active the homeowner’s groups are in OKC’s older areas: Belle Isle, Lakehurst, Edgewater, Crown Heights, Edgemere Park, Heritage Hills. All true communities with close neighbors, who become friends. Offering the feel of earlier days where community was celebrated.
Consider this: Today, worldwide, more than half of us live in cities. By 2050, the United Nations projects nearly three-quarters of us will.
More and more, these bustling metropolises are becoming home.
Connie Curran remembers her years in the suburbs as “dull.” She told Doane she started thinking about moving to the city a month after she moved into the ‘burbs.
“I bought this house – it had a white picket fence,” Curran said. “My sister saw it and she said, ‘You’re on Wisteria Lane!’ It was a great house and it was very peaceful. It was very homogeneous – and it was very boring.”
“When I saw that view I thought, ‘Now this is city, and this is a neighborhood. I’m living life. This is life. This is the luxury of middle age.”
She defined the luxury of middle-age as the ability “to move to the city and to enjoy the richness and vastness of the things that are here. I hang around 24th Street and usually pick up some flowers, pick up some fruit.”
Curran says walking everywhere keeps her fit.
In fact, studies show many urbanites are actually healthier, and may even live longer.
And they’re environmentally friendlier, too, because they drive less, live in smaller spaces, and use less energy.
To offset her 3,200-square-foot space, Curran takes it a step further: It’s all run by solar power. A Lucite stairwell in her three-story modern home lets natural light penetrate, saving so much electricity that the utility company actually writes her a check every month.
While Curran moved to this vibrant city for culture, Harvard economist and author Edward Glaeser says many folks moving to cities are just “following the money,” because city workers earn 30% more than those in suburbs.
Just look at midtown Manhattan: “The economic output, the payroll of this area is higher than Oregon or Nevada, right?” Glaeser said. “This tiny sliver of land is an unbelievably productive part of America. And that productivity is ultimately the heart of a city’s appeal. It’s ultimately what’s drawing so many people to cities.”
Today, about 250 million Americans choose to live in or around urban areas. That means more than three-quarters of our population shares just about three percent of our land area.
Since 1990, the number of people living in cities has gone up by seven percent – a far cry from all those years of folks fleeing to the suburbs, to places like Long Island, where there was “room to build.”
“Today, the movement is in the other direction,” said Glaeser. “It’s back toward the old ports. It’s back towards the densities that were our historic starting point.”
In fact, the fastest-growing city in the United States is not New York or San Francisco, it’s Olive Branch, Miss.
In the late 1800s, the town was known as “Cow Pen,” said mayor Sam Rikard.
“Do you think changing the name of the town from Cow Pen to Olive Branch might’ve helped with the growth?” Doane asked.
“I think it’s probably helped tremendously,” Rikard said.
Olive Branch – just outside Memphis – has certainly blossomed, from 3,500 people in 1990 to a small city of nearly 34,000 today. Citing this 838% population boom, Bloomberg Businessweek recently gave it that ranking: America’s fastest-growing city.
“It’s almost like that ‘Field of Dreams’ – you build it and they’ll come, you know?” said Rikard. “And that’s almost reality here.”
It’s reality all across the South. Over the last ten years, most of the fastest-growing major cities were Southern cities – and that’s not a coincidence, according to Edward Glaeser.
“The variable that best predicts metropolitan growth over the 20th century is January temperature,” he said. “Warmth is just a very good predictor of which American cities have grown more quickly or less quickly.
“America in 1900 was built around this great transportation network of the Great Lakes and the railroads. And as it became cheaper to move goods over space, people got to move to the places that they wanted to move to.”
Randy and Shannen Taylor moved from a smaller town in Mississippi to Olive Branch back in 2002. They wanted better schools and more amenities, along with an affordable cost of living.
“Just the range of things that have popped up in Olive Branch – restaurants and theater and things like that,” said Shannen.
“Has it changed a lot in the last few years?” asked Doane.
“Absolutely,” she said. “There used to be just a two-lane road that ran through Olive Branch, and now it’s one of the busiest streets in the county.”
And that’s what gets to life-long resident Janice Turner, who said, “Occasionally I’ll ask myself, ‘Who are these people coming from?!’ And occasionally, ‘Didn’t they learn to drive?'” she laughed.
Turner says she can measure all this growth by the addition of traffic lights and chain stores: “It looks like an ocean of houses when I get to a high point in Olive Branch and look over the rooftops. And that’s sort of startling to see.”
“When we think of booming population growth, we might not think of Olive Branch, Miss.,” said Doane. “But should we?”
“Sure, we should,” said Glaeser. “We should be thinking about so much that’s exciting that’s happening in the middle of America, that’s happening in those areas that are able to combine metropolitan productivity with cost of living.”
Cities of all sizes – giving folks like Connie Curran a chance to redefine WHERE they live their American dream.
“I think it just is a way of re-vitalizing and re-energizing, and in a way counting your blessings, really,” said Curran.
“And a city can make you do that, feel that?” asked Doane.
“Hey, all the way! I think this city does that. City living helps feed your spirit, feed your soul.”
SOURCE: CBS News Sunday Morning