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2013 | livAbility.

com/muSkogee
®

muSkogee, oklAhomA

Spoiled for choice
Arts scene offers music, theater and much more

Serving thoSe who Served
Muskogee appreciates its armed services veterans

looking Ahead
Love of heritage guides vision for downtown Muskogee
SponSored by the greAter muSkogee AreA chAmber of commerce

Muskogee is …

Economic Development Information P.O. Box 2819 Muskogee, OK 74402 (918) 682-7887 www.muskogeedevelopment.org

The regional retail hub One of the top 10 most affordable cities Oklahoma’s capital for motorcycle tourism

Retail Development Information 310 W. Broadway Muskogee, OK 74401 (918) 682-2401 www.muskogeechamber.org

Chamber of Commerce Information 310 W. Broadway Muskogee, OK 74401 (918) 682-2401 www.muskogeechamber.org

Home of a castle, a submarine and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame Home to the International Port of Muskogee One of the state’s largest manufacturing cities

Tourism Information: 310 W. Broadway Muskogee, OK 74401 (918) 682-2401 www.muskogeechamber.org

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muSkogee, oklAhomA
editoriAl project mAnAger mitch Kline content director lisa battles proofreAding mAnAger Raven Petty content coordinAtor Jessica WalKeR StAff writer Kevin litWin contributing writerS Peggy aRnold, baRbaRa biehleR, Joe moRRis Senior grAphic deSignerS stacey allis, lauRa gallagheR, KRis sexton, JaKe shoRes, viKKi Williams grAphic deSignerS eRica lamPley, KaRa leiby, Kacey PassmoRe Senior photogrApherS Jeff adKins, bRian mccoRd StAff photogrApherS todd bennett, michael conti color imAging techniciAn alison hunteR integrAted mediA mAnAger Will Zanetis Ad production mAnAger Katie middendoRf Ad trAffic ASSiStAntS KRystin lemmon, PatRicia moisan chAirmAn gReg thuRman preSident/publiSher bob schWaRtZman executive vice preSident Ray langen Senior v.p./SAleS todd PotteR Senior v.p./operAtionS casey hesteR Senior v.p./client development Jeff heefneR Senior v.p./buSineSS development scott temPleton Senior v.p./AgribuSineSS publiShing Kim holmbeRg v.p./buSineSS development clay PeRRy v.p./externAl communicAtionS teRee caRutheRs v.p./viSuAl content maRK foResteR v.p./content operAtionS natasha loRens v.p./trAvel publiShing susan chaPPell v.p./SAleS Rhonda gRaham, heRb haRPeR, JaReK sWeKosKy controller chRis dudley Senior AccountAnt lisa oWens AccountS pAyAble coordinAtor maRia mcfaRland AccountS receivAble coordinAtor diana guZman SAleS Support coordinAtor alex maRKs SAleS Support project mAnAger saRa quint SyStem AdminiStrAtor daniel cantRell web creAtive director allison davis web content mAnAger John hood web deSigner ii RichaRd stevens web development leAd yamel hall web developer i nels noseWoRthy photogrAphy director JeffRey s. otto creAtive ServiceS director chRistina caRden creAtive technology AnAlySt becca aRy Audience development director deanna nelson new mediA ASSiStAnt alyssa dicicco diStribution director gaRy smith executive SecretAry KRisty duncan humAn reSourceS mAnAger Peggy blaKe receptioniSt linda bishoP

Images Muskogee, Oklahoma is published annually by Journal communications inc. and is distributed through the greater muskogee area chamber of commerce and its member businesses. for advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal communications inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by email at info@jnlcom.com. for more informAtion, contAct: greater muskogee area chamber of commerce 310 W. broadway • muskogee, oK 74401 Phone: (918) 682-2401 • fax: (918) 682-2403 www.muskogeechamber.org viSit Images muskogee, oklahoma online At livAbility.com/muSkogee ©copyright 2012 Journal communications inc., 725 cool springs blvd., suite 400, franklin, tn 37067, (615) 771-0080. all rights reserved. no portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. member the association of magazine media member custom content council

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2012-13 edition | volume 8
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muSkogee, oklAhomA
co nte nt s F e atu r e s
12 looking AheAd
love of heritage guides vision for downtown muskogee

18 Spoiled for choice
arts scene offers music, theater and much more

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Serving thoSe who Served
muskogee appreciates its armed services veterans

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2012-13 edition | volume 8
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muSkogee, oklAhomA

42
d e pa r tm e nt s
8 Almanac 30 biz briefs 32 chamber report 33 economic profile 34 See the city 39 health & wellness 40 Arts & culture 42 local flavor 45 Sports & recreation 46 education 48 community profile

on the cover the Chickasaw Warrior statue stands in the quad at bacone college in muskogee. Photo by michael conti

All or part of this magazine is printed on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste.

please recycle this magazine

Banquet/Meeting Rooms Saddle Club Bar & Grill Indoor Pool & Hot Tub Breakfast Included Jacuzzi Suites
3031 Military Blvd. • Muskogee, OK 74402 (918) 687-9000 • (918) 683-0212 fax

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For reservations, call: (800) HAMPTON
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2013 | LIVABILITY.COM/MUSKOGEE
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MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA

SPOILED FOR CHOICE
Arts scene offers music, theater and much more

SERVING THOSE WHO SERVED
Muskogee appreciates its armed services veterans

Looking Ahead
Love of heritage guides vision for downtown Muskogee
SPONSORED BY THE GREATER MUSKOGEE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

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Facts
Get the most up-to-date info on cost of living, top employers, schools, population demographics and more.

viDeo
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living here
Learn the basics about local neighborhoods, schools and health-care providers.

almanac

Welcome to Muskogee
An introduction to the AreA’s peopLe, pLAces And events

a summer oasis
When the summer temperatures soar, muskogee residents flock to the River country family Water Park to cool off. River country is open daily between memorial day and labor day each year, and it offers several water-oriented activities including crawdad corner, an interactive water playground for younger children; frog Pond, which is the primary leisure pool; and Whoop’n holler hollow, which features two water slides that empty into frog Pond. River country also provides a complete concessions menu that includes everything from burgers and corn dogs to funnel cakes and super pretzels. find more information at www.cityofmuskogee.com.

the spirit’s historic home
first baptist church is a mixture of a spiritual congregation and a building that has become a historic fixture in muskogee. the church’s building was constructed in 1903 and includes a distinct Romanesque Revival style with two asymmetrical, crenulated towers and a steep gabled roof. the building’s age and unique features helped first baptist land a spot on the national Register of historic Places in 1984. While the church’s building is aged, the congregation is taking a new approach to its ministry by offering programs designed to engage members including a summer camp for children, a motorcycle club and an annual car show. learn more at www.fbcmuskogee.org.

carrying a city
davis field airport has operated continuously since 1942 to serve both civilian and military aircraft. davis field encompasses 1,622 acres and contains a 7,200-foot lighted runway that can accommodate numerous types of aircraft ranging from light passenger airplanes to heavy-duty, mass-transport jets. davis field was originally built to serve as a ground air support base for the government, but it was released to muskogee in 1967. since that time, davis field has become a hub of commercial activity for muskogee as the airport is located just five miles south of the city, and the majority of the airport’s traffic consists of corporate jets and medium to light duty aircraft. learn more at www.cityofmuskogee.com.

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honoring the veterans
muskogee’s War memorial Park and military museum is home to the uss batfish, an american submarine that launched in 1943, which was the height of combat in World War ii. the batfish helped protect american troops by successfully tracking and sinking several enemy ships including at least three enemy submarines. the actions of the batfish crew earned several awards including nine battle stars, one navy cross, four silver stars, 10 bronze stars and one Presidential unit citation. in addition to the batfish submarine itself, the park contains several general items honoring veterans of all wars such as battle flags, photographs and crews’ personal effects, to name a few. for more information, visit www.ussbatfish.com.

lighting up christmas
the christmas season offers a special treat for muskogee residents and visitors with the annual garden of lights display. this event takes place at the honor heights Park, a 122-acre park that muskogee purchased in 1909. each christmas season, honor heights is decorated with an array of christmas lights to transform the park into a winter wonderland called the garden of lights. spectators are invited to drive through the park free of admission to enjoy the brilliant display, which regularly includes more than one million lights. the garden of lights display is usually available for viewing between dusk and 10 p.m. from thanksgiving through new years eve get more information at www.cityofmuskogee.com.

Rooting for the underdog
the bare bones film festival is an annual endeavor, held each april, that supports the efforts of independent motion picture makers around the country by showcasing their creative works and providing a central place for actors, writers, producers, directors and financiers to network. bare bones screens films with budgets of less than $1 million and includes a number of genres including narratives and documentaries, short stories and student films, music videos, animations and live screenplay readings. in addition to the motion picture-oriented activities, the festival also features live music, numerous car shows, and several receptions and after-parties. see more at www.barebonesfilmfestivals.org.

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Fast Facts Roasting the competition
every year muskogee spices things up with its annual chili and barbeque cook-off. muskogee celebrated the cook-off’s 28th year in april 2012 thanks to the muskogee exchange club, which sponsors the event. in addition to the competition-grade chilies and barbeques, the cook-off delivers fun with pony and camel rides, inflatables, live entertainment and a dedicated kids’ zone. the cook-off has grown to include competitions for numerous chili and barbeque categories including pork ribs, hot link and brisket, to name a few. it now draws a regular attendance of about 15,000 spectators, which gives area businesses a welcome economic boost. visit www.exchangeclubmuskogee.org for more information. n the earliest record of a girl scout cookie sale is by Muskogee’s Mistletoe troop, which sold cookies as a service project in 1917. n Muskogee is home to the oklahoma school for the blind. n the thunderbird speedway is one of the largest dirt tracks in the state. n history buffs can enjoy a day at the Fort gibson historical site, which is a registered national historic Landmark.

muskogee at a glance
populAtion (2010 eStimAte) muskogee: 39,223 muskogee county: 70,990 locAtion muskogee is in northeastern oklahoma, about 50 miles southeast of tulsa and 50 miles west of the oklahoma-arkansas state line. beginningS muskogee traces its origins back to 1872 when the missouri-Kansas & texas Railroad became the first rail line to cross indian territory. the town was named for the muscogee creek tribe that long inhabited the area. for more informAtion greater muskogee area chamber of commerce and tourism 310 W. broadway P.o. box 797 muskogee, oK 74402 Phone: (918) 682-2401 toll-free: (866) 381-6543 fax: (918) 682-2403 www.muskogeechamber.org
Mu sko gee Tpk .
F rt Gibs Fort Gi on Gibson
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What’s online
Take a virtual tour of Muskogee, courtesy of our award-winning photographers, at livability.com/muskogee.

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Ahead
downtown muSkogee: love of heritAge guideS viSion

Looking

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stoRy by peggy Arnold PhotogRaPhy by michAel conti

hile Muskogee’s appeal to new businesses and residents continues to grow, community leaders remain focused on preserving what attracted them to the city in the first place. Historic preservation reigns in the mindset of Muskogee community planners. “Our mission is to energize and revitalize the downtown area, but at the same time, we are very dedicated to preserving our heritage and passing that pride on to our children,” says Jonita Mullins, executive director of Downtown Muskogee Inc. Nine buildings in downtown are listed on the National Historic Register. Muskogee is also a Main Street community and has been named one of the Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

promoting preservation by example Aware of the city’s long-term goals of historic preservation and downtown development, attorney Bob Locke purchased and renovated five downtown buildings nearly a decade ago in hopes of luring additional businesses to the downtown area and inspiring others to do the same. Today, those five buildings house professional offices, a restaurant and the chamber of commerce. “I saw an opportunity to help the downtown area by making an investment in building renovation. It has been good for me, and I hope it has been good for Muskogee,” Locke says. While downtown Muskogee offers multiple options for businesses, there are also a variety of entertainment and shopping opportunities. Festival

the Manhattan building in downtown Muskogee received a $7.4 million renovation and now offers apartments.

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A couple walks through downtown muskogee.

enthusiasts will not want to miss Heritage Days, an annual celebration of Muskogee’s American Indian origins and today’s cultural diversity that includes music, food and reenactments. The outhouse races are also an annual crowd pleaser. the manhattan building Take a building that is eight stories tall and a century old, pump $7.4 million into it, and what do you get? You get a win-win result that converts a historic, but abandoned, downtown building into beautifully restored apartments for seniors. While updating and modernizing the building, developers took great care
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to preserve the historically significant aspects of the space, breathing new life and usefulness into a piece of Muskogee’s heritage. Community planners continue to explore similar uses of other historic downtown buildings for conversion into loft-style urban apartments for young professionals. Airport development efforts take wing While downtown development is an important component of the city’s economic development efforts, expansion of Muskogee’s industrial and manufacturing base is also key to the community’s healthy growth. Davis Field Airport rambles more than 1,600 acres,

roger kimball, an employee at davis field Airport in muskogee, works on a 1941 t-6 aircraft.

providing ample space for the establishment of industrial facilities. The airport is owned by the city of Muskogee and is primarily utilized by private aviation-based companies. Approximately 60 aircrafts are housed at Davis Field and are owned by corporations, health-care providers and private flight enthusiasts; and there is abundant room for expansion. The next major goal for Davis Field Airport is the establishment of a flight training school, a vision shared by airport manager Garry Lynn and Brien Thorstenberg, Director of Business & Economic Development for the Muskogee City-County Port Authority. Although there is no commercial passenger service

available at Davis Field Airport, the available land and infrastructure can certainly support it in the future. For now, airline passengers take a short drive of approximately 50 miles to Tulsa International Airport. bacone college: growth honors legacy What began as a two-year college in 1880 has matured into a fully accredited four-year institution of higher learning with multiple locations. Today, Bacone College offers cross-listed courses with tribal colleges Pawnee Nation College in Pawnee, Okla., and Comanche Nation College in Lawton, Okla., to boast an annual enrollment in excess of 1,300 students. Open to all students, Bacone maintains its mission
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of providing faith-based educational opportunities for Native Americans. The campus recently expanded to incorporate a former strip shopping center, clearing the way for a new campus gateway and renovated spaces for the Merritt Betts Library, and a 96,000-square-foot student center. The student center also houses a bookstore, workout area, offices and an indoor event area, complete with artificial turf. “By obtaining and converting this former retail space, it has allowed us to free up other areas on campus to expand our offerings for student housing and services,” says Robert Duncan III, an adjunct instructor at the college.

the Surety building in muskogee was renovated in 2005 to offer apartments.

historic muskogee: by the numbers

years bacone college, which was established in 1880 and is oklahoma’s oldest continuing higher education institution, has served students in muskogee

9 130+

number of buildings listed on the national historic Register in downtown muskogee

bacone college was established in 1880 and now serves more than 1,300 students.

staff Photos

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the muskogee civic center

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SpoiLed

choice
muSkogee’S ArtS Scene offerS muSic, theAter And much more
stoRy by joe morriS PhotogRaPhy by michAel conti

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ne could be forgiven for thinking that Okies from Muskogee only listen to music in their downtime. Sure, there’s no shortage of musical talent, and the places to showcase it here – but that’s just one of many, many entertainment options that residents enjoy. Here are a few of Muskogee’s hot spots that pack in visitors and locals alike: oklahoma music hall of fame & museum Housed in the beautifully renovated Frisco Freight Depot, OMHOF showcases the pioneers and innovative styles that Oklahoma offers, as well as an ever-growing collection of items that showcase the
right: childen involved in a summer camp explore the oklahoma Music hall of Fame & Museum.

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clockwise from left to right: Faces of those inducted into the oklahoma Music hall of Fame grace the walls of the facility; entertainer and music educator Micheal rappe performs for a group of children at the oklahoma Music hall of Fame & Museum; Muskogee residents gather downtown at the civic center for a jazz performance; A fiberglass guitar located on n. Main street is part of the Muskogee rhythm guitar project, which was created to beautify the downtown area.

state’s rich musical history. For the kids, there’s a red caboose that doubles as an interactive educational facility. Symphony in the park Honor Heights Park is the place to be every summer, when the Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department presents the annual Symphony in the Park. Take a picnic dinner and be sure to stick around for the fireworks. muskogee little theatre Since 1972, theatergoers here have laughed, cried and everything in between thanks to the Muskogee Little Theatre. The season begins in July, and offers a mix of comedy, drama and musical fare during a run that’s anywhere from three to seven shows year round.
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the roxy theater The Roxy opened in 1948 as a movie theater. Today its charm is still on full display with art deco glass and tile, fully restored original seats and neon. Performances include theater-style live productions, musicals and family style movies, as well as a growing roster of concerts and other events. muskogee farmers’ market On Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, nature’s bounty is on full display at Okie Square by the Muskogee Civic Center. The farmers’ market features fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, plants, crafts and much more, including monthly special events. muskogee civic center This downtown venue has been at the heart of Muskogee’s cultural life since 1966, and recently

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Muskogee County Council of Youth Services
MCCOYS improves the lives of families through quality prevention and intervention services.

Muskogee County Council of Youth Services addresses societal problems which directly affect the lives and well being of the youth and families in the communities that we serve and to provide counseling, prevention, treatment services and to network with local agencies in order to empower youth and families to develop adequate coping mechanisms to solve current or future problems through the following programs: Community At Risk Services • Drug Court • First Offender Program Juvenile Drug Court • Muskogee Area Alternative Site Outpatient Behavioral Health Services • Host Homes Outreach Program • Substance Abuse Services • Girls Group Home Muskogee County Regional Juvenile Detention Center

Helping F amilies Succeed
(918) 682-2841 www.mccys.org

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underwent a massive renovation and restoration that included upgrading all mechanical and electrical systems. The civic center offers six conference rooms of varying sizes, and has a seating capacity of 3,710 on the 8,500-square-foot arena floor. okie Square In the heart of downtown by the civic center, Okie Square hosts the Muskogee Farmers’ Market, Bluegrass on the Square and many other cultural and civic events throughout the year. muskogee rhythms If you’ve done a double take after seeing a huge fiberglass guitar (or two) around town, you’re not alone. The Muskogee Rhythms Guitar Project, spearheaded by the Muskogee Area Arts Council, was designed to showcase arts and culture in the area. The project, which received recognition as an Official Oklahoma Centennial Project, has been immortalized in Muskogee Rhythms, a book by Dr. David Jones that showcases the installations and raises funds for downtown beautification.

dusk til dawn blues festival R&B’s the thing at this annual event, which was started by D.C. and Selby Minner after they relocated to Oklahoma in 1988. The first festival drew around 700 people and a handful of bands, and that’s now grown to a two-day outdoor event in Rentiesville with 30 bands from around the region, country and globe. bars and honky tonks When it comes to nightlife, Muskogee has you covered. For live music, head to Max’s Garage where the bands usually begin gearing up at 9:30 on Friday and Saturday nights. In addition, 64-Y Club features live music from a variety of bands, such as Music Solution, and also hosts jam nights. Prefer to grace the stage yourself? Check out Legends Saddle Club and Frog Wild Saloon, both of which are known for their karaoke nights and require no cover charge. Muskogee also provides great places to dance including The Wild Cowboy, a nightclub that features a 1,000-square-foot dance floor.

left: the roxy theater, which opened in 1948, now offers theatrical productions, musical events, movies and more. right: travis dix and tawny easterling rehearse their roles in The Music Man at the Muskogee Little theatre.

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served
muSkogee AppreciAteS itS Armed ServiceS veterAnS

serving those Who

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stoRy by kevin litwin PhotogRaPhy by michAel conti

eggie Hardy is an armed services veteran from Chicago who moved to Muskogee several years ago to work at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center. Hardy says he wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. “I play racquetball at a Muskogee church and it’s nice to occasionally relax on Fort Gibson Lake, but working at the VA hospital is what I enjoy most,” he says. “The care at the hospital is exceptional. I get my physicals there, too. I often ask fellow veterans about how they are treated at the hospital, and have never heard anyone say anything negative. They receive quality care and attention at Montgomery.” Muskogee has a long history of being an attractive place for veterans to live and work, and continues that tradition to this day. The city has an appreciation for history and a strong cultural presence, plus there is a multitude of diverse restaurants, recreational opportunities and continuing education options.
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Greg Sorenson, chief of voluntary services at Montgomery VA Medical Center, says the community embraces its veteran population. “The Veterans Affairs Regional Office is actually one of Muskogee’s largest employer, and combined with the hospital is the city’s largest employer,” Sorenson says. “The veteran-friendly environment in Muskogee also extends to nearby Fort Gibson National Cemetery, which is a well-visited tourism attraction whose focus is also the military.” friendly neighbors Sorenson is a native of Fargo, N.D., who came to this city with his family in 1998. He says there are several reasons why he has enjoyed his 15 years in Muskogee. “It’s a good place to raise a family, with churchgoing citizens and friendly neighbors,” he says. “There is a small-town environment, yet we are close enough to Tulsa to also enjoy big-city amenities.”

staff Photo

previous page: the “spirit of the American doughboy” statue at Jack c. Montgomery vA Medical center in Muskogee from left to right: the uss batfish submarine & War Memorial; Motorcyclists enjoy the 50-mile sunset tour outside of Muskogee; kids play in honor heights park’s splash pad, which is open to the public from May through september.

He adds that there are several annual events aimed toward the veterans’ population. “They include a Ride for the Vets Bike Rally where all registration money goes toward veteran causes, and a 2013 Valentine’s Day Concert that will star country music star Aaron Tippin,” Sorenson says. “It’s a good life being a veteran in Muskogee.” retiring in muskogee Rick Dennis is an Air Force vet who today is park manager at the Muskogee War Memorial Park & Museum, home of the USS Batfish submarine. The memorial is an 8-acre park with a military museum. “Our main attraction is the USS Batfish that sank 14 enemy vessels in World War II, including three submarines in 72 hours,” Dennis says. “Besides the memorial, a lot of everyday life in Muskogee is connected to the armed services. There is a Civil War battlefield in Honey Springs, and Honor Heights Park

is named in honor of veterans. There is also plenty for veterans to do, and a lot of armed services personnel are retiring in Muskogee.” Dennis says veterans have access to fishing on five lakes that surround Muskogee, and hunting is a popular activity during all four seasons. Muskogee has a marina for launching boats, and Greenleaf State Park is ideal for camping thanks to an assortment of rentable cabins. “Veterans here receive the respect they deserve,” Dennis says. “Muskogee is proud of those who served and are serving today.”

What’s online
Learn more about what life is like in Muskogee online at livability.com/muskogee. For a complete list of attractions, activities and restaurants in the area, click on “Things to Do.”

staff Photo

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business

Biz Briefs
scorecard
buSineSS At A glAnce

A sAMpLing oF businesses – LArge And sMALL – thAt heLps deFine Muskogee’s strong And WeLL-bALAnced econoMic cLiMAte

$764 million
Annual retail Sales

$19,274
retail Sales per capita

$81 million
Annual hotel and food Sales

3,191
total number of firms
source: u.s. Census QuickFacts

gino’S itAliAn riStorAnte & pizzeriA-muSkogee Biz: Restaurant Buzz: Offering authentic Italian food, Gino’s Italian Ristorante & Pizzeria-Muskogee features menu items such as fettucini alfredo, chicken sorrentina, lasagna, spaghetti and more. Lunch specials are available Monday through Friday, and the restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. www.italianrestaurantmuskogee.com 30
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wheeler metAlS Biz: Metal distributor Buzz: Established in 1968, Wheeler Metals provides a variety of products including metal buildings, expanded metal, fence supplies, rebar, race car accessories and more. The company’s Muskogee location houses approximately 40 acres of new and used steel, continuously accruing more in order to meet each customer’s needs. Wheeler Metals also offers delivery services Monday through Friday. www.wheelermetals.com economy phArmAcy Biz: Prescription drug provider Buzz: Catering to its customers’ busy lifestyles, Economy Pharmacy works to fill prescriptions quickly. The locally owned and operated pharmacy also provides online prescription refills and delivers prescriptions. Customers who opt to pick up their prescriptions can enjoy complimentary fudge while they wait and can peruse the pharmacy’s gift shop stocked with candles, jewelry and other items. www.economypharmacy.com cAgle’S flowerS & giftS Biz: Florist and gift shop Buzz: Cagle’s Flowers & Gifts offers fresh flowers, plants, silk arrangements and more, and provides gift items such as fruit baskets, greeting cards and candles. The shop also creates floral arrangements for weddings, funerals and other events. Cagle’s Flowers & Gifts is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. www.caglesflowers.com citizenS Security bAnk Biz: Bank Buzz: Citizens Security Bank opened in 1906 in Okmulgee and now operates 13 locations, two of which are in Muskogee. The bank offers personal and commercial checking accounts, home loans, auto loans and more. Savings accounts such as IRAs are also available. Account holders can access their financial information electronically through mobile and online banking, as well as e-statements. www.citizenssecurity.com

Supporting our community isn’t just a project. It’s a promise.
This is where the 1,000 men and women who make our tissue live work and play. Over the years, we have given more than $1,000,000 to our local schools, volunteer firefighters, museums, parks and many non-profits. We are one of the Lake Area United Way’s largest contributors and have a long history of supporting the local March of Dimes.

We are proud to call Muskogee home.

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business

chamber report
chAMber hAs neW president
918-684-6302 info@muskogeeparks.org www.muskogeeparks.com

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he greater muskogee area chamber of commerce now has treasure mcKenzie serving as its president and ceo, following the retirement in 2012 of sue harris, who held those offices for the past 10 years. mcKenzie has been a staff member with the muskogee chamber for 12 years. “i was the tourism director for the past six years, and tourism will still be my main focus with the chamber even as president,” mcKenzie says. “alisha tanksley, who has been here six years, is now vice president with her main focus being chamber operations.”

nurture synergy
mcKenzie says that when key decisions in the community are being made, businesses want the chamber at the table. “People ask for our input because we have so much experience in a variety of businessrelated matters,” she says. “the chamber team has worked hard to establish and nurture synergy between various entities such as economic development, city council, county officials and education leaders. many communities have organizations pulling against one another due to personal agendas, but there is no dissension in muskogee when positive things need to get done.”

poWerFul organization
mcKenzie says the chamber provides a unified voice for local businesses, and she believes it is the community’s most powerful business organization. “We have a strong staff and i can confidently say that the chamber is known throughout muskogee for being one of the most professional organizations and one of the most powerful,” she says. “We work hard to be relevant in this community. i think it has a lot to do with the experience and enthusiasm of our staff.”

uniFied Voice
the chamber has 670 members and has good relationships with larger chambers in nearby cities. “the muskogee chamber wants to continue the success we’ve had over the last 10 years while sue harris was in the leadership role,” mcKenzie says. “the main goal of this chamber will always be acting as the unified voice for business, and we will continue to be problem solvers for our members. We are the biggest cheerleaders for member businesses.” – Kevin Litwin

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michael conti

economic profile
buSineSS climAte
muskogee is the third-largest manufacturing community in oklahoma. items produced here include machinery, rubber items, food products and consumer goods. the city is also an important transportation, trade and industrial center in the arkansas River valley.

trAnSportAtion
AirportS davis Field Airport 1200 sabre st. muskogee, oK 74403 (918) 683-0699 Will rogers Airport 7100 terminal dr. oklahoma city, oK 73159 (405) 680-3200 www.flyokc.com tulsa international Airport 7777 e. apache st. tulsa, oK 74115 (918) 838-5000 www.tulsaairports.com buS Service union-greyhound 401 W. broadway, ste. 308 muskogee, oK 74401 (918) 682-1371 www.greyhound.com public trAnSportAtion Muskogee county transit Authority 4401 e. hayes st. muskogee, oK 74403 (918) 682-1721 river port of Muskogee 4901 harold scoggins drive muskogee, oK 74403 (918) 682-7886 www.muskogeeport.com

mAjor employerS
georgia-pacific 1350 employees Muskogee regional Medical center 985 employees Muskogee public school district 850 employees Jack c. Montgomery vA Medical center 839 employees u.s. veterans Administration 750 employees dal-tile 575 employees city of Muskogee 460 employees Wal-Mart 450 employees og&e electric services 270 employees Acme engineering 251 employees trucks For you 250 employees green country behavioral health 250 employees

oi 230 employees county of Muskogee 250 employees Whitlock packaging 200 employees

tAx Structure

0.65%
county sales and use tax

4.0%
city sales tax

4.5%
state sales tax

9.15%
total sales tax

income

$18,773
per capita income

$46,341
Average Annual household expenditure

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see the city

“The Great American Cowboy” sculpture in Muskogee. Photo by Michael Conti

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A mural located on 250 W. Broadway St. depicts early 20th century Muskogee. Photo by Michael Conti

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see the city

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River Country Family Water Park in Muskogee Photo by Jeff Adkins

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advertisers
A-Avanti Self Storage www.a-avanti.com America’s Lender www.americaslenderonline.com Arrowhead Mall www.arrowheadmallmuskogee.com Bacone College www.bacone.edu Bethany D. Bowline Cherokee Nation Entertainment LLC www.cherokeestarrewards.com City of Muskogee www.cityofmuskogee.com Connors State College www.connorsstate.edu Creek Nation Casino Muskogee www.creeknationcasino.net Cross Telephone Company www.crosstel.net Dal-Tile www.daltilecareers.com Downtown Muskogee Inc. www.downtownmuskogee.org Eastern Workforce Investment Board www.easternwib.com Economy Pharmacy www.economypharmacy.com Georgia-Pacific www.georgiapacific.com Grace Episcopal Church www.gracemuskogee.org Greater Muskogee Chamber of Commerce www.muskogeechamber.org Hampton Inn www.muskogee.hamptoninn.com Herringshaw www.herringshaw.com Indian Capital Technology Center www.ictctech.com Muskogee Parks & Recreation www.muskogeeparks.com Muskogee Regional Medical Center www.muskogeehealth.com Muskogee Youth Services www.mccys.org Port of Muskogee www.muskogeeport.com Quality Inn & Suites Reach Higher Program – Northeastern State University www.finishatnsu.com Servicemaster Elite Cleaning & Restoration www.smeliteclean.com Sooner Realty Properties www.soonerrealtyproperties.com Sprocket Wireless www.sprocketwireless.com Saint Francis Hospice www.saintfrancis.com Suddenlink www.suddenlink.com

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health & Wellness

left: Muskogee community hospital right: three rivers health center covers more than 100,000 square feet.

healthy outlook
residents hAve Access to AdvAnced MedicAL FAciLities
uskogee receives a clean bill of health when it comes to medical care options available to residents. here are some examples:

m

Jack c. montgomery Va medical center
this hospital serves the more than 44,000 armed services veterans in the area. it offers a variety of services along with surgery and psychiatric care. specialty services at Jack c. montgomery va medical center include behavioral health, cardiology, dental, hospice, oncology, optometry, orthopedics, pulmonary, prosthetics and urology.

hospitals unite
muskogee Regional medical center (mRmc) and muskogee community hospital (mch) joined to become a unified health system in July, 2012. they are part of the capella healthcare family of hospitals. mRmc is a 275-bed full-service hospital serving a multi-county region. as one of the first hospitals established in oklahoma, muskogee Regional has grown to become one of the state’s largest and most comprehensive facilities. mRmc houses a nationally accredited cancer program which features the novalis tx, a revolutionary radiation therapy that reduces treatment times and spares healthy tissue. mRmc is the only facility in eastern oklahoma to have the novalis tx. additionally, the health system’s emergency service’s department is certified as a level iii trauma center and Primary stroke center. mch, licensed for 45 beds, opened in 2009 as the first hospital in the nation to earn leed-gold for energy efficiency and design. the health system is proud of its focus on patient safety and satisfaction by creating conveniences such as mammography hours until 7:00 pm monday thru friday and free shuttle on the mRmc campus that takes patients to and from their cars. the health system will be announcing a new name in early november, 2012.

three riVers health center
three Rivers operates under the seal of the cherokee nation and is the largest medical clinic in the cherokee nation system. the facility averages 70,000 outpatient visits annually. the scope of services include pediatrics, dental, optometry, mammography and more, and there are translators on staff for the cherokee language. three Rivers also has clinics for diabetic and dermatology care, and plans to add genetics services.

health and Wellness consortium
muskogee has a city of muskogee foundation in place to provide grants for community projects including improved health and wellness. as a result, a health and Wellness consortium oversees funds that go to programs that advocate efforts such as eliminating generational poverty along with teen pregnancy prevention. – Kevin Litwin
L i vA b i L i t y. c o M / M u s ko g e e

Photos by michael conti

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arts & culture

creative community
Muskogee residents, visitors enJoy cuLturAL AttrActions
uskogee’s varied and thriving art scene includes historic attractions, live performances, fun festivals and, most importantly, plenty of support from local groups and organizations.

m

history comes to liFe
one of the most visited cultural attractions is the oklahoma music hall of fame & museum, which has been honoring musical innovators and icons from the sooner state since 1997. entertainers who have already secured spots in the hall include carrie underwood, toby Keith and Ronnie dunn. another popular historic site is five civilized tribes museum, which focuses on preserving the art, history and culture of the cherokee, chickasaw, choctaw, muscogee (creek) and seminole tribes. one of the museum’s highlights is the world’s largest collection of original works by Jerome tiger, a creek-seminole painter. meanwhile, other museums and historic sites in muskogee include ataloa lodge, three Rivers museum, and the uss batfish War memorial Park and museum.

pleasing to the eye
for art fans, the muskogee art guild has been around since 1936 and sponsors workshops, art shows, art camps and events throughout the year. membership is open to anyone over age 16, with annual dues costing $25. another interesting site is the Roxy theater, established in 1946

Azaleas at honor heights park, where the Azalea Festival occurs

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“Changing lives … creating opportunities for a world-class workforce” Your One-Stop Shop for: • Business Solutions • Employment
staff Photos

• Training and Education Options • Veterans Services
and host to films and concerts in the downtown district. the Roxy was renovated in recent years but still manages to maintain its old-hollywood feel. offering live entertainment, the muskogee little theatre began in 1972 as a nonprofit community theater. today, the establishment produces three to seven plays annually, and provides weekend workshops, summer camps and more. once it ends. the project has been in place in muskogee for more than 20 years.

• Solutions for Individuals with Disabilities • WorkKeys Certification

artsy organizations, establishments
the local art scene is also promoted through the muskogee area arts council, which works to preserve and develop arts programs, activities and education. the council has been supporting local artists and artrelated efforts since 1998. and for an ideal spot to host a variety of cultural events, the 8,500-square-foot muskogee civic center hosts trade shows, concerts, sporting events, circuses and other traveling acts.

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in Full bloom
as for cultural events, an azalea festival takes place in april each year to celebrate the spring flowers that grow abundantly in muskogee. the festival includes driving and walking tours through honor heights Park, where more than 30,000 of the plants bloom. the azalea festival is promoted through the azalea festival banner Project, during which local artists paint banners that are displayed during the festival and are auctioned off

What’s online
Read more about Muskogee’s arts and culture scene at livability.com/muskogee. Click “Things To Do,” then Attractions.”
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local flavor

mouthwatering meals, tasty treats
Muskogee restAurAnts FeAture A Wide rAnge oF FLAvorFuL Foods
ungry diners can always find delicious meals and sweet treats in muskogee. a wide variety of food choices are available that can please everyone’s tastes.

h

international Food, steak and Fine dining
the bite market and cafe offers breakfast and lunch in the heart of downtown muskogee. the menu choices include flat bread plates with hummus, roasted artichoke dip and Kalamata olive tapenade. the bite also offers soups, quiche and gourmet sandwiches - cherry pecan chicken salad, ham and swiss

with apricot mustard, chicken with roasted red pepper and pesto. a muskogee institution since 1958, hamlin’s el toro serves up many mexican favorites like enchiladas, tostadas, burritos, fajitas and flautas. but the most requested item at hamlin’s is the “world famous white sauce” dip. not in the mood for mexican food? hamlin’s also offers burgers, chicken-fried steak, shrimp dinners and more. be sure to save room for fried ice cream or homemade hot fried pie. for decades okie’s steakhouse has been the place for great

steaks, seafood and chicken. all of okie’s steaks are hand-cut daily from usda prime angus beef, and soups, sauces, salad dressings and bread are all homemade. located in an early 19th-century drug store and soda fountain, miss addie’s opened in 1992 as an elegant tea room serving homemade lunch specialties. now miss addie’s also includes a pub and serves an upscale dinner menu.

Fresh-made sWeets
sweet-n-sassy cafe & bakery is the place to go for freshly

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Photos by michael conti

from left to right: Janet brown, owner and baker at sweet-n-sassy cafe & bakery, brings out a plate of desserts to customers; cupcakes at sweet-n-sassy cafe & bakery

baked specialty cakes, like the chocolate bourbon praline or sensational strawberry, and other delicious baked treats. stop by the café and enjoy one of their daily lunch specials. Known for some of the tastiest donuts in muskogee, chandler Road donuts offers a wide selection of donuts made fresh every day. be sure to take home a dozen or more of your favorites.

home-style cooking
charlie’s chicken has long been a popular place to enjoy great fried chicken. order one of their

famous chicken chunk meals with freshly made sides and rolls. charlie’s also features homemade carrot cake and home-style fruit cobblers for dessert. Paul’s diner specializes in comfort food; just like grandma used to make. stop by for breakfast for one of their famous “trashcan scramblers,” order the “5-way spaghetti” for lunch, or have the chicken-fried steak for dinner. Paul’s also serves a different daily special monday through saturday. barbecue fans will definitely want to stop by my Place bar-b-q. it’s one of the oldest family-owned

restaurants in the state, and since 1927 has been a staple of the fast casual dinning scene. my Place offers sliced and chopped beef, pork loin, chicken fried steak, hot links customers can order sandwiches or dinner plates with sides like fried okra, mac & cheese, beans and coleslaw. – Barbara Biehler

What’s online
Read more about Muskogee’s food scene at livability.com/muskogee. Click “Things To Do,” then “Food.”

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sports & Recreation

Welcome distractions
Muskogee oFFers MAny recreAtion options
t’s easy to find recreation opportunities in muskogee, with activities ranging from backpacking to baseball to boating. here are some examples:

i

loVe-hatbox sports complex & riVer country Family Water parzk
the 60-acre love-hatbox sports complex contains 10 baseball fields, eight softball fields, three indoor batting cages, two full-size football fields, 13 soccer fields, a skate park, and paved walking and biking trails. between memorial day and labor day, River country family Water Park opens its pools, slides, playgrounds, volleyball court and inner tube river to the public.

winter, the heated fishing docks and prospects of seeing a bald eagle are the park’s chief attractions. meanwhile, lake eufaula state Park offers Rv and tent camping, swimming, nature trails and an 18-hole golf course, complete with putting green and pro shop.

at the three golf courses in muskogee – cobblestone creek, eagle crest and muskogee golf & country club. if tennis is your racket, check out the courts at honor heights Park, Rotary Park and spaulding Park.

Fishing
muskogee is surrounded by five lakes that offer activities including boating, swimming, hiking, camping and fishing. anglers can enjoy destinations such as lake eufaula, tenkiller lake and fort gibson lake, where sportsmen will find black bass, white bass, crappie, catfish and panfish.

casinos
feeling lucky? head to one of two area casinos. the cherokee casino fort gibson, which is located just three miles from muskogee has expanded and upgraded, making it a 27,500-square-foot facility featuring 500 electronic games. creek nation casino, in muskogee, has more than 400 electronic games blackjack, poker tables and a bingo area. – Kevin Litwin

golF and tennis
try to hit ‘em long and straight

muskogee sWim & Fitness center
With its competition-size pool and gym facilities, the muskogee swim & fitness center offers classes such as high-intensity body sculpting, yoga, aerobics and aquatic resistance training. membership options range from an $8 day pass to special corporate deals for businesses.

the muskogee golf & country club

three Forks harbor
a new river center with a multipurpose events center and plaza is the crowning glory of three forks harbor. full-service river businesses like arrowhead boat sales and marina make three forks a boating haven, while pier events like the Kids fishing Rodeo and cardboard boat Regatta teach a new generation to love the water.

state parks
visitors to greenleaf state Park have the options of tent and Rv camping, or staying in one of greenleaf’s tranquil cabins. in the

michael conti

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education

solid Foundations
Muskogee schooLs heLp prepAre students For the Future
ducation is a top priority in muskogee. the city offers students a wide variety of educational options to prepare them to be productive citizens with great career prospects.

e

colleges
connors state college is one of the fastest growing two-year public colleges in the country, offering several academic programs of study including agriculture, business and computer information systems. Poised to fill the growing need for health-care workers in the region, connors state’s nursing program features the third-largest nursing program in oklahoma. “muskogee is unique in that there are a lot of opportunities for health-care education with plenty of clinical spots between the

various health-care providers,” says connors state President tim faltyn. “We have a 100 percent pass rate on our accreditation exams and placement of our students in the workforce for six years running.” once students have acquired their two-year nursing degree from connors, they can obtain their four-year degree from northeastern state university. nsu, the fourth-largest public university in oklahoma, shares nursing facilities with connors’ West campus in muskogee. the university also offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in many other academic disciplines. bacone college is one of oklahoma’s oldest institutions of higher learning. it is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with the american baptist church.

bacone offers 29 associate and bachelor degrees. indian capital technology center is a technical school seeking to help students and adults transition into the workforce. ictc provides a large selection of weekend, evening and online courses including several nursing assistant and nursing transition programs that may be eligible to transfer to connors state’s two-year nursing program.

public and specialized schools
touting “one team, one vision, one community” as its motto, muskogee Public school system seeks to educate students to become successful members of their communities. for over 100 years, muskogee Public schools has offered students a tradition

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Photos by michael conti

of scholastic excellence from early childhood all the way through high school. two of muskogee’s Public schools, benjamin franklin science academy and sadler arts academy, offer target students a specialized curricula in specific academic disciplines. benjamin franklin science academy works to empower the next generation of leaders through science and the scientific process. students there can take part in garden and greenhouse activities, recycling programs, science labs and camps, and much more. sadler arts academy, a magnet school for kindergarten through eighth grade, allows students to learn through creative instruction. While the academy is responsible for teaching the same curriculum

required by oklahoma public schools, sadler arts learning content areas, such as math, language and science, are taught uniquely through the arts. muskogee’s other public school system, hilldale Public schools, also features elementary, middle and high schools established to meet the educational and personal enrichment needs of local students. oklahoma school for the blind seeks to provide appropriate individualized education and vocational services to the state’s blind and visually impaired students. Parents, professional educators and their communities work as a team to optimize a student’s potential, allowing them to become active, productive members of society. – Barbara Biehler

left: connors state college nursing students practice their skills using training dummies at the campus the college shares with northeasern state university. right: dr. tim Faltyn, president of connors state college

Ad Index
48 A-AvAnti Self StorAge 44 AmericA’S lender 16 ArrowheAd mAll 28 BAcone college 44 BethAny d. Bowline c4 cherokee nAtion entertAinment llc 4 city of muSkogee 4 connorS StAte college 2 creek nAtion cASino muSkogee 10 croSS telephone compAny 16 dAl-tile 2 downtown muSkogee inc. 41 eAStern workforce inveStment BoArd c3 economy phArmAcy 31 georgiA-pAcific 44 grAce epiScopAl church c2 greAter muSkogee chAmBer of commerce 6 hAmpton inn 44 herringShAw 33 indiAn cApitAl technology center 32 muSkogee pArkS & recreAtion 38 muSkogee regionAl medicAl center

Ad Index (cont.)
22 muSkogee youth ServiceS 1 port of muSkogee 6 QuAlity inn & SuiteS 47 reAch higher progrAm c/o northeAStern StAte univerSity 44 ServicemASter elite cleAning And reStorAtion 44 Sooner reAlty propertieS 10 Sprocket wireleSS 38 SAint frAnciS hoSpice 22 Suddenlink

community profile
SnApShot
surrounded by rivers, lakes, gardens and woodlands, muskogee offers residents and visitors a host of reasons to get outside and play. indoor attractions in the area include arts centers, museums, historical sites and more.

coSt of living

maRITal sTaTus

$34,732
Median household income

51%
Married

$79,000
Median home price

49%
single eThNICITY

climAte
oklahoma has a continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. dry, sunny weather generally prevails throughout the state.

$629
Median rent for a two-bedroom Apartment

54%
White

houSehold informAtion
age

21%
black

93°
July high temperature

36
Median resident Age

5%
hispanic

25°
January Low temperature

44”
Annual rain Fall (vs. national Average Annual rain Fall of 37”)

29%
19 and under

20%
other

44%
20-54

trAnSportAtion

time zone
central

27%
55 and over

14 minutes
Median travel time to Work

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