An effort begun this week offers opportunity to Oklahoma City's homeless. The Curbside Chronicle is a monthly publication launched by students from the University of Oklahoma and Vanderbilt University. It includes stories about urban issues, local food, pop culture, etc. — written by the homeless and other freelance writers. Dan Straughan, who heads the Homeless Alliance, says the Chronicle is being sold by homeless vendors who pay 75 cents per copy and sell them for a suggested donation of $2. Vendors keep all the profits from their sales. The aim is to provide a source of income to homeless residents, give them a voice through the magazine, increase local awareness of homelessness, and improve relations between the city's homeless and non-homeless. Straughan says this is one of 43 street papers nationwide. Perhaps this one will succeed like the one in Nashville, which Straughan says has enabled one-third of that city's formerly homeless vendors to secure stable housing.
One man's trash ...
That old junk in your attic or barn may actually be an irreplaceable piece of Oklahoma history. This became evident when workers renovating a room at the Oklahoma Capitol recently discovered 11 of 20 original wall sconces from the Oklahoma Senate chamber in a long-forgotten attic space above the sixth floor. Media coverage of the discovery included photos of the original Senate chamber, which caused Norman resident Coy Green to realize he had one of the Senate chamber's original floor lambs stored in his barn. Green bought the lamp at a swap meet approximately 40 years ago for about $25. He's now donated it to the Senate. These discoveries will aid efforts to restore the original look of the Oklahoma Senate as well as historic preservation work. The discoveries also prove that one man's trash is often another man's treasure — or at least part of state history.
The state this week unloaded one of its many pieces of unused or underused property. The Office of Management and Enterprise Services announced that an old television studio in Tulsa was sold at auction for $130,000. The state originally placed a minimum bid of $148,500 on the building, but drew no bidders. After a second appraisal, the minimum bid was lowered to $99,000. The TV studio is among 135 buildings or pieces of land the state plans to unload over the next several years. Next on the list: a town lot in Buffalo owned by the Department of Human Services, and a 6-acre tract of land in Marietta owned by DHS. Proceeds from the sales will go to a revolving fund that'll be used to maintain state buildings. The state won't be making big money with this endeavor, but as we've said previously, allowing buildings to sit vacant and property to go unused for years serves no economic good.