Oklahoma frequently makes headlines in the national media—usually for our extreme weather, rants by right-wing politicians, or our capital city’s professional basketball team. This week, though, several national news orgs published long, interesting stories on some more unusual—or unlikely—aspects of the state.
1. Collectors on a Mission: When Americans Saw the World Through Evangelists’ Eyes
Collector’s Weekly (drawing some inspiration from a story in This Land) published a long, fascinating piece about Christian missionaries as anthropologists, traveling the world and collecting artifacts that would later be donated to museums and aid Americans’ understanding of other cultures. The story focused specifically on Tulsa and T.L. Osborn’s World Museum, which closed in 1981 and whose collections “was said to rival the holdings of some of the Smithsonian Institute museums.”
2. The Weather God of Oklahoma City
The New York Times Magazine waxed poetic about Oklahoma City’s best-known meteorologist, Gary England, chief meteorologist at Channel 9 since 1972, a cult figure to Oklahoma Citians. “In the eyes of most Oklahomans, England is less a meteorologist than a benevolent weather god who routinely saves everyone’s lives,” Sam Anderson wrote. In addition to exploring the history of Oklahoma’s weather and weather coverage, Anderson provides an insider’s view of May’s deadly tornadoes, as narrated by England, and an in-depth examination of England himself.
3. This ‘bike gang’ aims to serve community, spread Catholic faith, values
The Catholic News Service profiled a Christian bike gang, the Knights on Bikes, which serves Tulsa and Oklahoma with charitable missions—visiting nursing homes, raising money for the needy, serving their parishes—“while they enjoy camaraderie with their brothers in faith as motorcycle riders.” The group began a year and a half ago with five members and now boasts 28, and counting.
4. Tulsa’s Food Scarcity Takes Toll On Residents’ Health And City’s Pride
The Huffington Post traveled to north Tulsa to explore and understand the food crisis in the area. In north Tulsa’s food desert, low-income residents, many without reliable transportation, are forced to travel miles to access healthy, fresh food. There are two markets that are closer, but residents worry about the freshness of their meat and produce as well as the prices. But, as the article reveals, the problem isn’t just about geography; it’s also about history. “Talking to people in the community, it becomes clear that North Tulsa’s food scarcity and correlated health issues are directly linked to its loss of pride. And a loss of pride is reflected in the way something takes care of itself,” HuffPo reported.