President Larry Rice shared the positive impacts on students the RSU staff and faculty are working toward, amidst stifling budget cuts. He began by thanking those in the audience for their support toward RSU Foundation's recent scholarship fundraiser, Saddle Up for Scholarships. While official calculations are not yet complete, proceeds are anticipated to be over $100,000.
"I never thought I would be asking for a flat budget to higher education," he stated, urging those in attendance to also ask the same of those who represent them in the state legislature. RSU has been asked to prepare budgets for a 10 - 20 percent cut, in addition to the shortfalls that have already taken place.
Following highlights of positive programs, including the addition of their Masters in Business Administration program, President Rice then turned the presentation to newly named Athletic Director, Chris Ratcliff to share impacts of their NCAA Division II athletics.
Mr. Ratcliff began by telling the value of education and those that invested in his life. He was motivated to pursue a degree following the potential of a promising job, being sought after for his coaching talent. However, he lacked the required degree.
He acknowledged the success the 246 student-athletes, making up 14 athletic teams, have achieved not only within their sport but also in the classroom. "The student athletes have a higher academic success rate and graduation rate than the student body as a whole. They have also completed over 5000 hours of community service."
The audience expressed interest in expansion of athletic programs such as lacrosse. Ratcliff explained that during a budget crisis, athletics were often the first to be cut. He expressed confidence in their programs, with the exception of the being in a current situation to begin new programs. He added student athletes provide additional enrollment and non-scholarship revenue up to $2.7 million.
As the session closed, Ratcliff encouraged the audience with his personal mantra, a quote by Maya Angelou, "People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel."
Originally Published in Tulsa World by Randy Krehbiel - 4/18/2017
Link to the original article here.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford likes to describe his constituent meetings as community conversations.
For some of Lankford’s colleagues, these meetings have been more like community arguments.
But Lankford was able to maintain a steady tone through a meeting Tuesday afternoon with about 50 people in Claremore and a succession of five groups of similar size Tuesday evening in a downtown Broken Arrow restaurant.
The unusual format, which Lankford says allows him to interact with more people and answer more questions, also might have contributed to fairly low-key discussions.
While some questions were very direct, no one directly confronted Lankford. He worked his way through each group by pulling names from a red bucket.
A few of the dissenting red cards seen at other Congress members’ town halls elsewhere popped up, but not many.
“I’m trying to bring the volume down,” Lankford said in response to a question about the anger in American politics.
“We’re in this weird cycle of tit for tat, and it just gets louder and louder.”
On another occasion, he blamed social media for some of that and said, “I’m very aware our president is not a good example of how to do social media.”
In Claremore, Lankford surprised a questioner by saying he believes that President Donald Trump should release his income tax returns.
“He promised he would,” Lankford said. “He should keep his promise.”
Health care and health insurance did not dominate the questions but were the largest share, and they tended to get the longest answers.
Most dealt with GOP efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act, but they also covered pharmaceutical costs, family planning, mental health and women’s health.
“What President Obama put out in 2008, 2009, 2010 was a good idea in general concept,” Lankford said.
But “in implementation, it didn’t work.”
Lankford said a health-care reform bill that provides fewer benefits for the people who need them most will not make it through the Republican-led Senate.
“The bill the House put out originally would have included twice as many people with half as much help,” Lankford told one group in Broken Arrow. “That would not get through the Senate.”
Lankford said any health-care reform measure will have to include guarantee issue (meaning health insurance coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions), children remaining on their parents’ insurance until age 26, and a ban on lifetime caps.
Lankford said he expects a health-care reform bill to reach Trump by the end of June.
In just about every session, Lankford took questions about women’s health, abortion and defunding Planned Parenthood.
In each case, Lankford said he favors transferring federal dollars now going to Planned Parenthood to federally qualified health clinics.
Originally Published in Claremore Daily Progress - 4/8/2017 by Shawn Hein
Devery Youngblood uttered some startling statistics to underline his point.
The founding CEO of newly-formed Oklahoma Tomorrow, an advocacy group that promotes an increase in college graduates in the state, was the guest speaker for Claremore Collective Think Tank during Thursday's luncheon inside More Claremore.
Addressing a group of community business leaders, Youngblood quoted the 16 percent cut to higher education funding, or $153 million, in Oklahoma in 2016.
“We're perfectly designed to get the results we're getting,” said Youngblood, referring to Oklahoma ranking near the bottom nationally in education funding.
The ever-growing gap in education funding has helped lead to the formation of Oklahoma Tomorrow, based out of Oklahoma City. The independent non-profit is funded by the private sector. The organization's goal is to support the creation of more college graduates to strengthen the economy and communities in the state.
Youngblood noted the state currently has more than 18,000 “economy-defining” jobs that will go unfilled because of a lack of college graduates. Those industries include engineering, nursing, IT, financial analysts and various managerial jobs.
Youngblood recalled another alarming number after recently meeting with an executive at Tinker Air Force Base, currently the largest single employer in the state.
“They told me right now they could hire every single engineering graduate in the state that will graduate this year and still have openings at Tinker,” said Youngblood, noting the shortage in engineering graduates.
Youngblood said the lack of graduates in such highly technical occupations has a domino effect on Oklahoma.
“Therefore those jobs go wanting and our economy does not move forward in the way it absolutely could,” Youngblood said. “…We are not graduating enough college graduates to drive the economy of today, much less the economy of the future.”
Youngblood said it is up to the private sector to intervene and take a more active role in improving the future of higher education in Oklahoma.
Prior to forming Oklahoma Tomorrow, Youngblood worked nine years for the Chickasaw Nation on economic and community issues. He was twice appointed to the Oklahoma City Community College Board of Regents and spent time as district director and senior advisor to U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook.
Oklahoma Tomorrow, which officially formed in January, includes a 16-person board of directors, each involved in private business.
Those interested in learning more about the organization should visit the website OklahomaTomorrow.org.
The Government Relations Crew welcomed Bryan Frazier to Claremore on Thursday, March 23rd at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum. Bryan was joined by his wife, Leslie, alongside nearly 70 from our community. Joining Claremore Public Schools from Bixby, Frazier remarked that he chose Claremore just as much as we chose him.
Current superintendent, Mike McClaren, will be retiring on June 30th after serving Claremore Public Schools for the past 17 years.
Originally published in the Claremore Daily Progress on 3/29/2016 by Diana Dickinson
Eight of the nine candidates vying for a seat on the Claremore City Council were fielded questions by moderator John Ray and citizens during a city council candidate forum on Tuesday, March 21.
The forum was held at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum at 6:30 p.m., where approximately 100 people attended.
City council candidates who gave a brief introduction and answered citizens’ questions were: Will DeMier - Ward 4; Ken Hays - Ward 3; Mickey Keely - Ward 2; Bryan McDonald - Ward 4; Justin Michael - Ward 2; Don Purkey - Ward 2; Frank Church - Ward 4; and Shelly Taylor - Ward 3. Candidate Pam Ziriax - Ward 3 was not scheduled for the forum due to a scheduling conflict.
An open mic question and answer session was held after the introductions, where candidates were given 90 seconds to respond.
Candidates were asked what they would do to improve the city.
Business-owner, Keely, said one thing he would do to improve the city after being in Claremore for nine years is to provide better representation. “I've seen there is possibly a lack of representation in our city government. Whenever I attended city council meetings, I have seen citizens bring up topics, concerns, oppositions and the city council seems to vote which ever way they want to vote anyway.“
Michael, a business owner said, “One thing I will do to improve my community? How could I be a proper servant to our fellow citizens if I walk into the position as city councilor with blinders on for my judgment? I have immersed myself into the city and inner workings and I will be a steward of Claremore.”
Inspired by the turnout at the forum, Purkey said, “One of the things we have been looking at for some time and getting ready to undertake is the sanitation transfer station, where we are located geographically and what it is costing us to maintain our present situation. We will be working with the county commissioners on this.”
Hays, a former city council member said, “I see the next five years as a lot of opportunities for development in Claremore, especially the Highway 20 bypass, as well as the road extension over to Southaven. I think we need to be thinking about — and looking at — the annexation of more property, possibly out to the Verdigris River.“
Taylor said she would like to see Claremore continue to grow. “We have wonderful things to offer here from the university (Rogers State University) to different businesses here. We could pull in so much more growth and development into our town. More growth and eventually you can keep more tax dollars here in the community.”
Church added he would like to see improvements to benefit the entire community. “Businesses need residents and customers equally as much as residents need businesses for goods and services. All of us need the police and fire department and other emergency services and facilities. If any improvements are made for one group and the others have been given no consideration, then the entire system is a problem,” Church said.
DeMier, “Why did I want to do it (run for councilman)? Easy. I wanted to participate in the growth and betterment of Claremore. Can I say one thing that I want to do? Absolutely not, that is an agenda. You cannot have nine city councilmen with agendas. It's crazy. We've seen it before. What I want to do is keep Claremore progressing in the right way.”
As a former Claremore firefighter, McDonald, said, “I learned how to look at situations, gather information, make some hard decisions…set our plan and set that plan into motion. I'm not afraid to make the tough call that a councilman sometimes is called upon to make in order for a city to run smoothly and efficiently, and I look forward to doing that.”
The open mic session allowed citizens to ask direct questions to a candidate of their choice.
Asked why he considers himself the best candidate for city council, Keely said, “I think I would be a good candidate because I get to speak to new people every day. I get to hear some of the problems and issues going on. I would vote for the wills of the people, of the town. I would like to see a little less regulation so businesses can open. Businesses can grow and expand to live more comfortably in the city.”
Michael was asked what opportunities and challenges in economic development he expects to see in the city. “Unlike some of my opponents, I will say that there are many opportunities. I don't believe we have enough restrictions to keep people from building inside of Claremore. You can’t allow any type of business to put any type of building anywhere.”
For being on the council for many years, Purkey was asked what his plans were to stay relevant with today's changing demographics in Claremore and younger late night crowds. He said, “I try to keep up with the public and listen to people. We do a lot of things on the side that some people do not know about.”
Church was asked how he would strategically address the train issue. “We missed the boat on a sweetheart of a deal that we should have taken a few years ago for $10 million and we would have had an elevated train track. It would have been done. I propose we make four crossings to get us east/west and north/south. “ He said that could be done at Archer, Blue Starr, State Highway 66 and Hwy 20 in front of the police station.
DeMier was asked how he would help support RSU. He said, “We have more students than the University of Tulsa. We need to act like a college town, we need to have benefits for RSU students…We've got a crown jewel in RSU. We need to do more things for the college students.”
Hays added to that by saying, “As far as being a college town, this has been a college town for 60 to 70 years. I see that being a very important aspect to our city and development.”
Taylor was asked if she had any conflict with the City of Claremore to which she replied, “A bogus check that was written — it was not an actual written check — it was an electronic check the city issued earlier than the payment arrangement date it was supposed to. It did result in me going to court for 10 months when it went to the trial, to the preliminary trial, the judge threw it out of court.”
Allegations made against a city official, who was not present during the forum, could not be verified by the Progress by press time Tuesday.
Originally Published in the Claremore Daily Progress - 3/5/2017
Claremore Collective recently joined forces with the Tulsa Young Professionals Organization (TYPROS) on Feb. 28 to represent the needs of young professionals at the state Capitol. Approximately 85 people were in attendance from the region, about 15 from Claremore. “We are grateful to join a seasoned organization such as TYPROS for this inaugural trip to the Capitol,” said Jeri Koehler, government relations crew leader. “We set a goal to have 10 young professionals take Tuesday off and join us. We’re thankful to have exceeded that goal. It’s important we lean in on issues important to attracting and retaining young professional talent in Claremore, today’s trip to Oklahoma City provided that opportunity.”
Originally Published by the Tulsa Regional Chamber - 3/6/2017
TYPros, Claremore Collective partner for YP Day at the Capitol
More than members of Tulsa's Young Professionals (TYPros) visited the State Capitol Tuesday for YP Day at the Capitol, the organization's annual legislative advocacy trip. This year, TYPros partnered with the recently formed Claremore Collective, a regional young professionals organization. The group traveled to Oklahoma City to speak directly with legislators about a set list of priority issues, including increasing education funding, criminal justice reform, expanding voter access, diversifying the economy and supporting diversity and inclusion measures.
“YP Day at the Capitol is one of the most important engagement opportunities for our members throughout the year,” said 2017 TYPros Chair Stephanie Cameron. “It provides a chance for them to learn about our state's legislative processes and to connect with our elected officials. The goal of the event is to help our members feel empowered to influence the future of our state.”
Claremore Collective hosted Daniel Hintz with the Velocity Group to share his DNA of Place model at the March Think Tank sponsored by RCB Bank.
He began his visit to Claremore with a two hour tour of downtown.
He shared his initial impression of retailers with "solid bones and level of maturity" in their setup, displays and product layout. Some of these include: District on Main, Rhaposody Boutique, The Burlap Closet and The Haberdashery.
Placemaking and the Economic Development Model
Hintz urged that placemaking and economic development have taken on a new model. Formerly economic development focused on jobs, that were site specific based on goods; whereas, the newer model is based on talent, ideas and your entire community. This model is based on a larger global scale that is third party dependent.
The new model was initially sparked following WWII when Americans returned from Europe experiencing new ideas and cultures. This paired with the explosion of the internet in the early 1990s caused a disruption in economic development, with a global market.
How do you turn ideas into opportunities?
"Place matters. Your entire place has to be powerful to attract the talent here. Place is a profound and positive economic development tool."
Where will they move? How might we attract them as customers to Claremore?
This is why place is vitally important.
3 Basic Realms of Place
Places that are everywhere that compete via scale.
Places that are nowhere that compete with price.
Places that are somewhere that compete by experience and context.
DNA of Place - Four Approaches
Theater of Cool
The context drives your experience and sense of place.
"You have to jump in and be a part of this. You cannot do this outside of the conversation, and be a passive observer of placemaking. People are telling your story whether you know it or not. Define your story. Own your story. Get your story out there. When other people take it up, AMPLIFY IT! Turn them into champions. The best thing you can do is turn negative people into your biggest champions."
Want to jump in? Tell us what you want to see in downtown here.
By Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton For the Tulsa World
Claremore does not want to go gray just yet.
In an effort to attract and keep younger professionals in the Rogers County community, the Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority launched the Claremore Collective in January 2016 as a workforce development initiative. In its first year alone, more than 600 people attended the organization’s events.
“We’re pulling people in, engaging them and bringing them out of the woodwork,” executive director Meggie Froman-Knight said. “Especially from a young professionals perspective, if there are cool things near where you work, you want to live near there and spend your free time there, too.”
A partner organization to the Tulsa Young Professionals, the group is primarily aimed at Claremore residents in their 20s, 30s and early 40s. Although the membership numbers tend to skew slightly older than their Tulsa counterpart, Froman-Knight is quick to point out that participation is not restricted to area millennials and Generation X’ers.
“Our programming is targeted at young professionals,” she said. “However, unless you want to serve on the leadership team, there’s no age cap. If you’re young at heart, you’re welcome to come out and get involved.”
The organization is made up of five crews: Arts and Entertainment, Attraction, Development, Government Relations and Next Gen Leadership. Members can participate in one or more groups by volunteering for initiatives and attending monthly meetings, including mixers and lunch time “think tank” sessions that allow attendees to pitch what they want the future of Claremore to look like, such as the addition of a dog park.
Since its official rollout, the organization has already seen one of its short term goals come to fruition: the expansion of mountain bike trails around Claremore Lake. With an assist from the Claremore Collective, the trails added 4.5 miles in 2016, thus drawing additional bicycle traffic from across the region.
The group has also been active in the community’s efforts to bring more businesses to its downtown district, which has experienced $10 million in private investments over the last year. In November, the Claremore Collective facilitated a group tour of the recently expanded downtown area in Bentonville, Arkansas, to provide inspiration moving forward.
In the coming months, the organization will be working with developers and stakeholders, including Rogers State University, the Will Rogers Museum and the Claremore Expo to build up the West Bend District as an entertainment destination.
“We want to help enhance the community with things you might not expect to see in a smaller town,” Froman-Knight said.
A popular Claremore destination for locals and tourists is the Will Rogers Memorial Museum. The museum houses a collection of archives, films, personal belongings and memorabilia of America’s most beloved humorist and cowboy philosopher. It sits on a hill overlooking the city of Claremore.
The Make Your Mark! campaign revealed a strong desire for revitalization of Claremore’s historic downtown district. Ranking in the top five priorities of the campaign, the interest became the mid-range initiative of Claremore Collective’s strategic plan-- The Collective Voice.