Wednesday, April 30, 2008

National day of prayer

Thursday is the national day of prayer. Its not a government thing, so there's no church and state deal going on.
Ive never really paid much attention to it. Just seemed too religious to me.
But, this year I have been asked to participate. Ill be saying one of the prayers.
So yall can come and throw tomatoes or whatever. :)
It's at Wilson Park at noon. Theyre is a free lunch afterwards. Porkburgers i believe?

I'd never had a pork burger before coming to Arkansas City. I've had several firsts since coming here, and Thursday will be another one.

There are several areas to be prayed over. One of those is media, and that's the one they chose me for.
But they don't mean just newspapers. They mean all forms of media - entertainment, movies, art and all that too.

Our travel guide also comes out tomorrow. Lots of okie-related material.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

So what's the problem?

The people from Oklahoma that I visited a week or so ago, were in Arkansas City yesterday.
This was Emily Reagan - the pr director for the central oklahoma tourism group - and a few other chamber directors. They are on a three-day media blitz to promote their area. They were on KACY radio yesterday, and went on to Wichita. They were headed for 2-3 other Kansas locations, and on to Missouri before returning.

What a great job that would be eh? Just drive around and hand out brochures and smile a lot.

They stopped by the paper for a few minutes.
Here is what was interesting.
Emily was surprised by how nice Arkansas City looked. She had read this blog, and that was about her only information about the city. She was expecting it to look run down, with lots of windows boarded up, and to just not be very nice.

She said the town was "really cute" and could be a tourist area easily with the brick streets and old buildings etc.,
She also noted that there is Interstate 35 not far away,, that with the casinos, gives us plenty of traffic.

So maybe we are not promoting the city as well as we could.
BUT the other thing i noticed was the different attitude.
She saw the good things here.

Many people who come to arkansas city for the first time, like it, they think it looks cool.
They know, and i know, of a lot of other towns that area lot worse.

So the question is. How do we change attitudes of the people who live here.
This is not something that city commission can do. It is not something the city administration can do. But... how do we do it ?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

oklahoma hospitality

Ya'll are gonna get tired of reading about Oklahoma pretty soon. If someone will start doing stuff here i'll shut up ok?

Anyways, the PR person for Frontier Country - central oklahoma - has a proposition for you to get some free tickets.
Go to their website and sign up for their newsletter. From those that sign up around here, she will pick some winners and send you free tickets. These will be tickets to things like the Oklahoma History Center, The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, The National Cowboy and Western Museum, and the Museum of Art.

The web site is

She will also be here Monday and will be on the radio - KACY - at 9 a.m. The "She" is Emily Reagan and a couple of her tourism type friends.

Our travel guide will be coming out next Tuesday, which will have lots of oklahoma and kansas travel news in it.

Local travel

We are putting our travel guide together.
This is a special section that I came up with a couple years ago. It involves day trips, or things you can easily do in a day from Arkansas City.
The first year we did a radius of 50 miles. Last year it was more about what was along roads that you could travel.
This year will be a bit of both, and a heavy amount of Oklahoma.

My wife and I really like to explore. The price of gas has slowed us a bit, but it is still a favorite activity. I tend to like to just go down a road and see what happens. My wife has every guide book known to mankind, and usually has somewhat of an itinerary in mind.

Often people think of towns or cities as a destination. But there are interesting things out in the country as well.

I would like to hear from any of you about your local travels. Where would you like to go for a day trip.
If anyone wants to write a short story about local travel, I will consider using it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More Oklahoma

I was in Oklahoma Thursday and Friday of this week gathering information for our upcoming travel guide.
The Travel Guide tells about day-trips from Arkansas City. Things you can easily do in a day.

I hate to keep harping on Oklahoma, but they do seem to have their act together a bit better than we do.

Day one was in - where else - Oklahoma City. It came about because of an earlier blog about going to Oklahoma City. The lady who runs the central Oklahoma tourism bureau say my blog and contacted me. She is bringing a group up here at some point for a media blitz, but since I didn't have much time for the travel guide, she invited me down.

She - Emily Reagan - had people from other chambers come and visit with me. People from places like Norman, Stroud, El Reno, Shawnee etc., and they all made their pitch and gave me more information than I'll ever need.
She showed me around downtown Oklahoma City and explained a lot of history and so forth. Then we went out Route 66 and saw some interesting things.

Day Two I came back the slow way, stopping in Guthrie and Perry.
Guthrie is a very neat little town. If anyone ever had a reason to have an inferiority complex they do, but instead of crying in their beer, they have greated a great little town. They were the original capital of Oklahoma, but had it stolen from them and moved to Oklahoma City.

They have four museums - all specialized.
Printing, four-string banjo, pharmacy and of course the regular historical one.

They have a trolley that will take you around town. Would be real easy to spend a day there.

Then it was on to Perry. Not as impressive as Guthrie, but still pretty nice. They have a square and some historical businesses. Some antique shops that looked nice. They also have the oldest cafe in the state. A little pricey, but the food was good and the atmosphere couldn't be beat.

Here are some observations:

There is a real spirit of cooperation. All of the chambers and tourism bureaus seem to work together.
There are people with vision. They see what can be, and do what they need to do to get there.

They take advantage of what they do have.

There seems to be good leadership with the visionaries out front.

Real friendly people.

Another thing that was interesting. There are people who are excited about the Heartland Flyer, the proposal to bring train service from Oklahoma City to Wichita, through Arkansas City.
The chamber director at Perry told me that there is a coalition in Oklahoma trying to work on this. They had invited Arkansas City to get involved, but Arkansas City did not want to get involved. Not sure whether she meant the chamber or the city government. She said it was about 5 years ago.
There is more involvement now by our city.

I hope to check more into that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Buildings, windows

Building owners met privately last night. No media was allowed - which means no public was allowed. But I will give them this, they did contact me and explained their position.
They felt they wanted the opportunity to speak with each other all at once without it getting all over the papers. They feel more free to talk openly that way.
If it results in positive steps, then it will be worth it.

City commissioners didn't go either. They were having their work session meeting, which was open to the public.

One building owner put up coverings yesterday, that are essentially tin. They look kind of nice actually.
However, city commissioners were not amused. They felt that the building owner did not act in good faith. Scott wanted to go ahead and pass some form of the ordinance. Doubt they will tonight, but, it could get interesting from this point.

The building owner was getting ready to do it anyway, but had said the order was canceled because of the proposed ordinance. So the commissioners were surprised to see it go up.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

what do you prefer

Here is a newspaper question. Id like to have some input.
You probably know the Winfield paper is our sister paper. We share stories with each other often.
Sometimes people in Arkansas City say there's more Winfield news in our paper than Ark City news. But people in Winfield say the same - that there's more Arkansas City news in their paper than there is news of Winfield.

It goes in cycles. Last week we had a bit more Winfield news than normal. So the complaints came in about that.

Now I wish I had five reporters. heck I wish I had two full time reporters. And we are missing half our staff right now as it is. For some time we have been without a photographer and a sports editor and a half time desk person. So we have limited resources - even more limited by missing people - and that is the reason there is not more news in the paper. I can think of at least five stories off the top of my head that need doing -- there just isn't time or resources. (We just got a new photographer and a new sports writer is on the way, so relief is in sight.)

Still, we manage to get some Arkansas City news in there.
But the choice comes up often ... Winfield stories or news of the world.
(The powers that be in Winfield don't tell me I have to use a certain story, or that I can't use a certain story. My boss here in Arkansas City doesn't either. They could, but haven't.)

There is usually more space than there is news available for Arkansas City. That means we use AP wire stories.

I would rather have Winfield stories than the latest from Afghanistan, for example. Winfield is still local. So I use Winfield stories instead of AP when I have the choice. That does not affect the number of Arkansas City stories at all. Sometimes the stuff from Winfield is even interesting.

I am sure that you don't read our paper for world news - or even national news probably. State news maybe?

So which do you prefer? Associated Press news from around the world, or something happening here in your own county?

Thursday, April 10, 2008


The meeting wednesday was long but interesting.
Hope you all read about it in the paper.
since then some people have contacted me and feel the proper procedure was not followed.
three commissioners showed up, which made it a quorum.
That makes it an open meeting, but does not make it a special commission meeting.
I knew about the meeting and I thought everyone else did too. I guess I should have done a small story about it.

Whats more interesting to me is that the building owner are going to meet early next week.
They are going to discuss the ordinance, and maybe some ideas that they can come back to the commission with.
THese meetings however, will NOT be public. I have been told that I cannot come. That means you cant go either.
Not exactly good PR.

Do want to point out, that it is business and building owners - NOT the city - that is making the meeting private. They say they will make the second one public.

The basic deal now is, the ordinance is on hold while the downtown building owners try to come up with a compromise notion.
The city has the ordinance as a threat if nothing happens.
Windows really are not the point i guess.

If it gets them going and some good things happen, it will be worth it.

Ill keep you posted.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

more oklahoma city

Did you wonder why i posted pictures of oklahoma city without any wordage?
Well I meant to write something.
Tuesday I went to Oklahoma City to see the regional finals of the Womens College Basketball tournament. Im a Tennessee fan, and so a fan of their womens basketball team. Since they were so close, i thought i'd drive down and watch the game.
They won, and are headed for the Final Four in Tampa this coming weekend. I wont be making that trip.

Anyways, I had a very nice time in Oklahoma City. There's a lot to like about that city, and I can see there's a lot to do there. I would imagine we will be making more trips.

The downtown area where the Ford Center - the big basketball arena - is, is beautiful. Its near bricktown, which has sort of a river walk. Its a canal or something that they have fixed up into a small river walk.

Someone with a lot of vision, and a good bit of money, had made some really great things happen. As I understand it, even 10 years ago, this area of oklahoma city was not nearly this nice.

I understand they are getting an NBA team, and theres talk of the ncaa womens final four coming to Oklahoma City maybe in 2012.

And the people were great.
There were a lot of Texas A&M fans of course, and a lot of OU fans, and Oklahoma State fans, there supporting the Big-12.
They were cheering for the home team, which was the Aggies of Texas A&M, but they were nice - respectful even - to us Tennessee fans.
It was how it is supposed to be. Cheer for your team, rag the other guys a little, but keep in mind that it is just a game and its all in fun.

Another interesting thing was, that there were very friendly people there. There were at least two or three people who approached me - in my orange Tennessee outfit - asking where I was from and all that. Just being nice hosts.

This one guy asked me if I was having a good time and if I was finding whatever I wanted to find. I said i was, and that I really liked the place.
He said, "we're pretty proud of what we have done down here," referring to the downtown area.

The city is also very easy to get around in. Good signage, roads are long and straight, ... definitely a user friendly road system. They have a nice trolley too.

Now I know its a matter of scale.
But ... there is no reason we cannot do that here.
The biggest thing we would have to change would be attitudes.

They had people of vision.
Where are our people of vision?

Where is our pride?

Where are the Oklahoma City job postings? :)

oklahoma city

Another trip to Oklahoma City
here are a few pictures ...