Almost March Madness

One of my favorite sports seasons……

Welcome back.  With the end of the regular college basketball season fast approaching I took this week to catch several games starting with the Golden Hurricanes playing Cincinnati on Thursday night. It was a good win for Tulsa that night and as I got to the game early I had a chance to look over the ever growing campus that surrounds the Reynolds Center at the University of Tulsa. Friends it wasn’t that long ago that the property to the north and the west of the area was in bad shape but not now. New student housing has sprung up everywhere and construction is still going strong. Take a look around the next time you’re in town, it’s quite an exciting time for the University and the City of Tulsa.

That was Thursday. On Friday Oral Roberts’ Golden Eagles were playing their last home game of the season against Denver. Once again the fans weren’t disappointed. It was a close game from start to finish and I had the opportunity to sit next to Ted Hillary who is one of the regional advisors for referees of men’s basketball. Ted was in town to grade referees on their performance before selecting referees for the upcoming tournament. I watched this game from a completely different angle, through the eyes of a real pro. The game was played in the Mabee Center which still looks as beautiful as the day it was built.

After the game I took a midnight drive to Stillwater where the Oklahoma State Cowboys desperately needed a win on Saturday. As a “wanna be” student, I lived in this college town for several years in the mid-seventies and I can tell you it’s not the same old place it used to be, its better! New buildings have been built all across this campus as well and others are under construction. Even as a veteran of the college scene back in the day, I could still get lost out walking in the mornings on this new, expanded campus. I remember in the 1970s it was Bartlesville native Kenny Fox who was the king of the night spots in Stillwater.  I just did a story a few months back about Kenny having bars in all the big eight college towns but that was then. Now it’s Eskimo Joe’s and from the looks of things Kenny’s friend  and the owner Stan Clark is still going strong but there seems to be a new bar and restaurant on every corner. I also recently found out that Premium Beers which supplied Kenny with the brews for his bars just sold out. The history of this company, and its founder Denny Cresap, is quite the story. I’ll just be scratching the surface of this man’s interesting life but back in 1968 when he heard that the Budweiser distributorship in three counties including Washington County was for sale he and a personal friend Frederick Drummond, bought it for $26,000. Three years later Denny bought Frederick out and over the last forty plus years he ran the company as Premium Beers. In 2011 Denny sold out the beer business for a reported sum of over $180,000,000! What began as a one route, one employee business had turned into one of the country’s top Anheuser Busch distributorships. I recently had lunch with Denny over at Grand Lake where he has a home or should I say homes, and I’ll have more to tell you about this fellow in the near future.

Moving forward, many people have been asking me where they can purchase a copy of my book Footprints in the Dew in the Bartlesville area. Jude’s on Washington Boulevard and Yokam’s Custom Leather on Highway 60 are both selling it.

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road……………

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The Boy Scouts and St Valentine’s Day

Headed out to Tulsa and Stillwater for meetings and basketball at TU and OSU!!

Welcome back.  I’ve mentioned in one of my earlier columns that I have always regretted not being a Boy Scout in my youth. I’ve also mentioned my visits to the Philmont Boy Scout ranch in New Mexico on numerous occasions and how inspirational the ranch is to me. As you may have guessed with my love for this organization and the kids involved I could probably write about them every week if I had fresh material and this week I have! On February 25th the Friends of Scouting Annual Patron Dinner will be held at the Bartlesville Community Center at 6:30 PM. By attending this shindig you’ll be helping the 3600 kids and troop leaders who are involved in scouting right here in northeast Oklahoma. Always a very rewarding evening, this year looks especially interesting as Dr. Everett Piper of Oklahoma Wesleyan University is the keynote speaker. I’ve heard this fellow on several occasions and he is an excellent presenter no matter what the topic. It will be a great night for sure and helping the boy scouts along the way just makes for a feel good evening.

Another story I stumbled across this past week is a battle over authorship of the “Pledge of Allegiance” and it’s happening just a few miles north of Bartlesville. In a recently released book author Joyce Long claims that a fourteen year old boy from Cherryvale, KS named Frank Bellamy wrote the pledge in 1890. His words were published in an 1892 magazine article but he was not given credit. In 1923 an employee of the magazine Francis Bellamy, who was not related to Frank, claimed he wrote the pledge. Joyce is an English teacher in Cherryvale and she has done extensive research for the book.  She explains in factual detail why young boy from a small Kansas town should be given the credit for writing what has become an important part of American life. The book is titled “Be the Jury, Be the Judge, Who Wrote the Pledge of Allegiance” and it’s available on Amazon.com.

Moving on, this past Sunday was of course Valentine’s Day which I found out started back in 1382 when Geoffrey Chaucer memorialized the feast day in his writings about wine, women and song. Valentine’s Day or Saint Valentine’s Day as it was called hundreds of years ago, is celebrated not only here in the U.S. but around the world. Today people spend millions of dollars on cards, flowers, candy and other gifts and my friends I did my part as I am sure you did as well.

Another date that is fast approaching is April 15th which as most of you know is the date when the IRS wants all of us to settle up on last year’s taxes. I’m working on mine and I did a little research into the selection of the April 15th date. I found that it was February 3, 1913 when Congress passed the 16th Amendment which created the national income tax. The deadline wasn’t always the 15th  and the story of how the income tax system came into being makes an interesting break from trying to find all the receipts that we all through into a shoebox every year.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road……

 

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New book signings for Footprints in the Dew

I have just added a few dates to my calendar: I will have a table at the Grand National Gun and Knife Show on February 27th and 28th at the Tulsa Fairgrounds. On March 12th I will be part of an Oklahoma Authors event from 12-3PM at Best of Books in Edmond. The on March 18th I’ll be at the Caney Historical Society from 6-7:30 PM. Stay tuned for more events.

The John Kilpatrick Turnpike

More stories from my travels….

Welcome back. First up this week, with all my traveling to different book stores to promote Footprints in the Dew I’m happy to report that the bookstore business is getting better. On Thursday night while I was at Full Circle Books in Oklahoma City there was a steady stream of people browsing the thousands of book that the store keeps in stock. Sunday afternoon at Half Price Books in OKC it was the same story and the managers of both stores reported that sales are definitely up.

In between the two book signings I drove back to Tulsa where the big Boat and Travel Show was in full swing at the River Spirit Expo Center on the Tulsa Fairgrounds which is the big building. The R&K Gun Show was also going on in a smaller building to the east.

It was the 60th year for the Boat & Travel Show and with the good weather we had last weekend people came out in big numbers. Ten and a half acres full of millions of dollars’ worth of boats, RVs, hot tubs and just about anything else leisure related and I tell you it was quite amazing. I walked through the show and spoke with several of the dealers who all said sales were great!

Next door the R&K Gun Show also reported happy dealers and they had a line to get in the door on both days. I admit that I didn’t know much about the world of guns shows but after a little research I found that there are roughly 5000 gun shows held around the country every year and they are usually held at public facilities like the Tulsa fairgrounds. Although I thought the R&K show was large, apparently some shows have as many as 2,000 vendors. By comparison, there were around 500 at the Tulsa show. In addition to guns, I discovered that vendors at these shows also offer jewelry, carvings, vacation packages, books and an array of unusual things. Even if you’re not into guns there’s plenty of stuff that you might think you have to have. There’s a big one coming to Tulsa at the end of this month if you’re interested and if the river don’t rise I’ll be there for sure.

Cruising down the highways I often find a story in the most unusual places and wrapping it up this week is a good example. It’s not a person or a place but a highway called the John Kilpatrick Turnpike I’d like to tell you about.  It runs 25.3 miles from 1-35 north of Oklahoma City to 15th Street. If you don’t use it regularly, driving on the turnpike is a little tricky because there are no exit numbers assigned to any of the interchanges. The turnpike is used by 50,000 vehicles a day but it wasn’t always this busy. When it was first constructed many people thought the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority was nuts to build a highway out in the middle of nowhere. After completion, The Oklahoman did a story about how few people were using the road but friends a man who is widely considered a visionary predicted that things would change in north Oklahoma City and did they ever. Today hotels, malls, car dealerships and restaurants line the highway. By know I hope you are asking who was this man who had a highway named after him?

In the 70s, 80s and 90s Kilpatrick was a very successful businessman and a prominent member of the Turnpike Authority where he served on the Board for over thirty years and was also Chairman. He was a strong believer in highway improvements across the state and had a big impact on our present day infrastructure. Kilpatrick’s dedication to serving the community doesn’t stop with the Turnpike Authority and a more thorough story about his accomplishments will be coming up soon. Now the next time you drive to Oklahoma City on John’s leg of the turnpike, you’ll know just who he was.

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road….

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Footprints in the Dew: Damon “Chub” Anderson and the Unsolved Mullendore Murder

By JIMMIE TRAMEL World Scene Writer | Updated 3 days ago

On the night of Sept. 26, 1970, E.C. Mullendore III, heir to the Mullendore ranching empire, was beaten and fatally shot at his ranch house in Osage County.

Mullendore, 32, was killed by a large caliber bullet fired into his forehead.

Also shot that night was Damon “Chub” Anderson.

A badass ranch hand with a checkered past, Anderson was in the house when Mullendore was shot. Anderson, who survived being shot in the shoulder, told authorities he saw two men flee the house. He said he fired at the men with a pistol.

The men were never found. No one was charged. The case is nearly 46 years old — and 46 years cold?

As far as many — Oklahoma author Dale R. Lewis among them — are concerned, one of the most famous “unsolved” murders in state history is solved.

Anderson has long been the primary suspect. Lewis struck up a relationship with Anderson following a serendipitous courthouse meeting in the summer of 2006. Anderson died in November 2010. In between, they had hundreds of face-to-face conversations, many recorded by Lewis.

Lewis said he did not pressure Anderson to talk about the thing everybody wanted to know: Who killed E.C. Mullendore?

But details came over time, and they can be found in “Footprints in the Dew,” a book written by Lewis.

The Mullendore case spawned big headlines in Oklahoma and captured the nation’s attention. Jonathan Kwitny of the Wall Street Journal wrote a book about the case in 1974.

The biggest difference between the old book and the new book is “Footprints in the Dew” is a book about Anderson.

“Outlaws and people that break the law, they have to keep their mouths shut while they are doing it,” Lewis said.

But in the twilight of Anderson’s life, he wanted his story to be told.

To read more follow this link: http://bit.ly/NYkRc9

 

Earthquakes in Oklahoma

Another experience on the road….

Welcome back. I’ve been hanging my hat in Oklahoma City quite a lot lately and I’ll be telling you all about it in the coming weeks. When I am there, I usually stay northeast of Edmond, about four miles outside of town. A quiet place right on the city lake, it’s a perfect spot for me to catch what many people around here are going through and that is earthquakes. This past Thursday morning at roughly 9:15 an earthquake was reported by 74 people close to my location. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) it registered 3.1 on the Richter scale and the people I interviewed in the area said it just shook their plates a little bit. Even those closest to the center of the quake reported no damage.

I expect to be staying in this area quite a bit in the upcoming months so I have decided to join a new group of people who will be reporting on earthquakes across the state. This group will utilize a NewsOK mobile app to mark their location and report feeling an earthquake with either a PC or a mobile phone. Your location (which is kept anonymous) is mapped immediately. Those who have signed up will receive an alert about seismic activity in their area. Later you will also receive the official USGS report which will give the magnitude of the quake and mark its epicenter.

Getting involved, I did a little research on the word earthquake and learned that the real terminology is “seismic event’. There is also a lot of discussion as to whether these events are natural or manmade as many people here in Edmond believe.

Here’s a little info: a big seismic event, registering 5 or more is measured by seismometers and these events are monitored around the world. Smaller events like the ones happening in Edmond that are under 5 get read by the Richter magnitude scale. The shaking is measured on another scale known as the Mercalli scale. Underwater seismic events have caused tsunamis and can also cause landslides and volcanos on land. Certain parts of the world are more prone to earthquakes than others and in the United States Alaska holds the record for the most frequent and powerful events.

Reading up on the different types of land “faults” as they are called along with the magnitude of the events, it becomes obvious that each additional number that is registered on the scale adds thirtyfold to the amount of energy a quake releases and the potential damage it can cause. A lot of this is way beyond my education level so I won’t try to delve any deeper.

One thing I can tell you is that according to Wikipedia the energy released by an 8.6 magnitude seismic event is equal to ten thousand atomic bombs like the ones used in World War II. One of the largest recorded seismic events was a 9.5 quake which took place in Valdivia, Chile on May 22, 1960. In 1964 the U.S. had a 9.2 quake in Alaska at Prince William Sound. On December 26, 2004 a 9.0 event in Indonesia caused a tsunami that   killed over 230,000. These events also cause millions and even billions of dollars in damages. If one of those happened near me while here in Edmond, I don’t think you’d be reading about it in my column the following week.

With all that said, the Original Buffalo Dale is now a seismic event tracker and I will keep you up to date on this story  if anything “breaks “while I’m staying in the area. Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road.

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