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PAUL L. MCCORD JR. | K5GLH – OKLAHOMA CITY

paulmccord.net - PAUL L. MCCORD JR. | K5GLH – OKLAHOMA CITY

GetTV

This morning, I was playing around with the TV in an attempt to scan for distant TV stations during an opening caused by an inversion.  I found that Oklahoma City’s KOCB, channel 34 now has a sub channel 2 that carries a new station called getTV.  This station carries some old classic movies similar to Turner Classic Movies (TCM) but can be received right off the antenna.  This is very cool and has some pretty good programming.

This morning I watched a few shows on there and was very impressed with the quality.  It seems that we have more than 40 TV stations right here in Oklahoma City, if you now include the sub-channels.  It is great to be able to have all these choices right off the antenna so that we are not required to pay for TV service.  While I am a Dish Network customer, I am very pleased with the choices over the air that we have.

Oklahoma City FM Radio

Every time I turn on the radio here in Oklahoma City I am confused because there is another station on the air.  Being an amateur (HAM) radio operator, I tend to think that we are having a tropospheric episode bringing in distant station but my ears are not fooling me.  It appears that our local stations are experimenting with creating HD1, HD2 and HD3 stations that are rebroadcasting their stations on low power stations around the metro area.  One of the highest profile stations to do this recently was KRXO 107.7.  They have taken their high power classic rock station and turned it into a new sports station called The Franchise.  They have taken their classic rock station and moved it over to 107.7 HD2 and simulcasting it over on the analog 104.5 on a much lower signal.

It looks like they now have an HD3 station called Generation Now 96.5 playing hit music.  This is another low power station that does cover the metro pretty good considering its lower power.  They play the same type of music as KRAV-FM in Tulsa so it was only natural that I would think we had Tulsa booming in this morning.  Also I’ve noticed a couple new stations on 92.1 and 92.9.  The 92.1 seems to be simulcasting KRMP Heart and Soul on AM 1140.  The 92.9 station is simulcasting KEBC, the comedy station on 1560 AM.  In each of these cases, the stations are owned by the same company, Tyler Media.

I like the new additions and hope they last.  I am really liking the new 96.5 station.  I live out in the far eastern part of the metro and still able to receive all of these stations in the cars and in the house.  Since I live so far on the East side, I get many of the Tulsa stations as well so the FM band is completely filled.  I sure wish car manufacturers would start installing HD radios stock so that people will get use to the extra stations.  I also wish that portable and home stereos would come with them stock.  I’ve run across people that have no clue what HD radio is.   I will scroll across the band and document what is available as I have time.

The FM radio band is a constant, ever changing place so putting up a list of all stations becomes obsolete nearly as soon as you do it.  Also you have to deal with low power stations all around the metro giving you a false impression.  You may be hearing a powerful station on one side of town and be weak on the other side.  Once you get to the other side of town you hear a whole list of other stations that are weak on my side.  It is a good thing that I find this sort of thing interesting or I would get frustrated making these lists :).

Strange Behavior

About four years ago I went through South Oklahoma City and took many pictures of how that side of town was being over-run with graffiti and gang symbols. I Posted a blog about it on January 2, 2009 and since then, it has been commented on more than any other post.  Since it focused on Mexican gangs, Gran Bario Central (GBC) and Southside Locos, it quickly turned into a racial discussion.  Maybe I should not have mentioned the obvious in this story because they don’t like being singled out.  What I was trying to do was explain what the symbols meant but I guess I made it sound like I was attacking Mexicans.  For the record, anyone that really knows me, also knows that I am not against Mexicans and in fact have always admired their culture and happy they are here in my home town.  My mom was born in Southern New Mexico and so I’ve always had a soft spot for Mexican culture because my family is immersed in it.

That is not the point of this post.  The strange behavior that I’ve noticed is that many of those that complain about my “so called attacks” are actively searching the Internet for comments about their “joke” of a gang.  They are all a bunch of punks that have no purpose in life but to go around destroying other people’s property and then call people racist when they point it out.  My web site has some pretty interesting statistics that show what terms the people were searching for when they came across my four year old post.  Probably the most searched for terms are “Oklahoma City Gangs”, “GBC”, “Southside Locos” and “OKC gangs”.  This is the strange behavior that I am talking about.  Clearly these guys are so consumed with themselves that they sit around searching for anything about them.  I am not sure what they are expecting to find since society usually frowns on anything gang related. Once they find something about themselves, which is usually negative, they log in and post insults, threats, etc. toward each other and then toward me.

For the record, I put that post from 2009 in private status so that it cannot be seen.  It seems like over the last four years, someone will stumble on it and then read through the hundreds of comments and feel the need to respond to about 20 or so of them before moving on.  A week or so will go by and we go through this all over again.  They usually lash out at other gangs and say how they rule the area and the other gangs are cornbread, Doritos  or something along that line.  Then they focus on me and call me a racist.  Whatever…  I say, if they want to tell the world how important they are, then get their own blog.  They are really easy to do and then you have your own moderation authority.  These people are obviously pretty talented because some of the graffiti is pretty good.  After getting a dozen or so of these messages the other night, I decided to mark that post private so that it will not be a point of contention.  I hope that the decent Mexican citizens of this city will recognize that they are welcome here and that people do not hate them.  The complaint is not against Mexicans but rather against vandalism.  Just last night, I drove 20 miles to SW 29th Street just to get some dinner from one of those taco trucks at SW 29th and Kentucky. I did this because I love the food and the people are very friendly.  These are the people that deserve good things and should not be grouped together with those that are destroying other people’s property.   If you are one of those, then thank you for what you contribute to our city.  Your culture, friendliness and an environment that makes people feel welcome. If my previous post came across as though I was bashing on you, then I am sorry because that was not my intent.  I only hope that some of those that have been posting on the previous post will stumble on this one as well.  If you are a decent member of society, then your race is not an issue.  Also, this has nothing whatsoever to do with immigration.  I am not against immigration but rather against criminals that destroy other people’s property whether it be white, Chinese, or whatever.  A person’s origin is not the issue but rather the behavior.

Oklahoma City Population Milestone

We have been very fortunate over the last few years to have an economy that has been very strong despite the national economy struggling the way it has.  I’ve heard stories that one of the reasons that we have not been hit as hard as a lot of places in the United States is because in the 1980’s we were hit bad when the oil prices dropped.  There were a lot of people that were hurt at that point and moved away.  I read that since we were hit so bad in the 1980’s that our local businesses, banks, etc were a lot more conservative in their investing.  They did not take as many risks this time around putting us at as much risk as we were last time.  I have also read that our housing industry has had similar results due to the same conservative business practices. Whatever it has been, it has worked because our local economy is still doing very well.  Our population has been growing at a steady rate for nearly two decades.  It has not been too excessive too fast but steady.  In 2000 we reached a new threshold of  500,000 people reaching 506,129. The metro area also hit a major milestone that year surpassing 1,000,000 people topping out at 1,083,346 people.  In 2010 the city population reached 579,999 people according to the US Census numbers.  The metro area reached 1,252,987.

Each year the Census does a population estimate and I am not sure what the criteria is used but every July they tell what the estimate was for the previous year in non official census years.  In 2011 Oklahoma City reached a population of 591,967, an increase of 11,968 people over last year. The metro area population increased to 1,278,053, an increase of 25,066 over last year. If we were to continue at that growth level, the population should have reached a new milestone of 600,000 in 2012 with an actual population of 603,935 and a new metro area population of 1,303,119.  If we were to continue at that growth through 2020 you could see the population reaching 700,000 with a metro area population of 1.5 million.  These numbers can be shown as below…

2011…591,967  metro area 1,278,053 (Actually known)
2012…603,935  metro area 1,303,119 (Will be shown in July)
2013…615,903  metro area 1,328,185
2014…627,871  metro area 1,353,251
2015…639,839  metro area 1,378,317
2016…651,807  metro area 1,403,383
2017…663,775  metro area 1,428,449
2018…675,743  metro area 1,453,515
2019…687,711  metro area 1,478,581
2020…699,679  metro area 1, 503,647
2021…711,647  metro area 1,528,653

Of course these numbers could decrease over time but they could also increase.  I am seeing all sorts of stories in the New York Times, Forbes, etc about how our economy is doing so well and the cost of living is so much lower than the rest of the country.  As a citizen here, I am biased but I really like living here.  I am hopeful that the economy will continue to flourish and improve even more.  Unless the population has slowed over last year our population should have topped 600,000 this year and the metro should have topped 1.3 million. All signs that I’ve been reading about indicate that population growth has been increasing.  It is a great time to live in OKC and the future also looks to be even better.

2012 Weather In Review For OKC

2012 Oklahoma City Weather Review

 

I took this screenshot of the National Weather Service’s web site in Norman, Oklahoma.  We in Oklahoma are use to having bizarre weather because it is always changing and full of extremes and this year is no different.  As you can see this year we were in drought most of the year and continue to be that way to this day.  Also you can see Oklahoma City tied the hottest temperature ever recorded on August 3rd with 113 degrees.  We had 52 tornadoes in the month of April and a lot of hail storms in May.  This year ends being the warmest year ever recorded considering the over night low temperatures factored in with the highs.  This is hard to believe considering last year we had 63 days at or above 100 degrees.   This shows that we had the driest May through November ever recorded as well.  Those that have lived here in OKC the last two years can tell you that it has been so hot and so dry for so long that it is getting really really old.  Our lakes are drying out and we have been under a burn ban more than we have not been over the last two years. We’ve had forest fires, grass fires.

If all this news is not bad enough, we celebrated our 99th homicide a couple days ago not counting the suburbs.  As my coworker always says, if we get one more homicide, we’ll get a set of steak knives.  That will be the second highest number of homicides ever recorded with 1979 being the highest at 102.  We still have about 12 hours to break the record.  I have confidence in our local gangs.  You can do it!  I know it is crazy but despite our economy booming this year the homicides have been up 39 from last year.  We have been very fortunate to have such a good economy considering the rest of the country doing so bad.  We are very optimistic things will continue to improve.

National Weather Festival 2011

National Weather Festival 2011

On October 29, 2011 the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma had their annual National Weather Festival at the National Weather Center.  Wheew!  That is a mouth full!  Each year they open up the center to the public to allow people to see the technology that is used to forecast weather.  As you may know, the Norman center is also home to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL).  Since Oklahoma is a geographical Mecca for severe weather, it only makes sense that the government would place this center here.  In the picture above you can see the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) as seen from the hall way looking through the glass. National Weather Festival 2011

In this photo you can see the entrance to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL).  If my memory is correct, this was on the second floor.  There were hundreds of people there when I was there to see the tools used to forecast the weather.  With such a large gathering, it would only make sense that many of the local weather personalities would be there to see the people as well.

Rick Mitchell

In this photo you can see KOCO Channel 5’s Chief Meteorologist Rick Mitchell.

Damon Lane

This KOCO Channel 5 Meteorologist Damon Lane. Both he and Rick Mitchell were greeting people and taking pictures with them.  They were very nice and were open to discuss anything.

National Weather Festival 2011

In this photo you can see KFOR Channel 4 Meteorologist Troy Christenson posing with my wife Sunday and my brother Michael.  He too was very personable and friendly.

National Weather Festival 2011

This picture shows the outside of the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma.  If you are unsure where Norman is, it is a suburb and part of the Oklahoma City metro area about 20 miles South of downtown Oklahoma City.  It is actually on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.

National Weather Festival 2011

There was a very large collection of storm chasing teams posing with their vehicles in the front of the building.  Many of them were very impressive and this KWTV Channel 9 Storm Tracker SUV was one of them.  As an Amateur (Ham)  Radio operator myself, I wanted to point out the ham call sign WX5RAD on the rear of this SUV.  His call sign takes advantage of weather codes.  WX is the morse code sign for weather.  RAD is for radar.  The 5 is what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designates for this part of the United States.

National Weather Festival 2011

This black van is an official National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) vehicle that is used to chase severe storms as you can see from the various measuring devices on top.

As you can see, I am a big fan of severe weather and ham radio.  Growing up in this part of the country, chasing storms is almost a contact sport Smile.  All of the local television stations are in direct competition for the viewers eyes.  The coverage is solid so that is why there are not many people killed during severe weather.  Rarely does this weather catch people off guard.   In this part of the country, if you are caught off guard, then you are not paying attention at all.

I just wanted to try to catch up on some of the things that have been going on in my extended absence.  This event was one of the things that I did go to an took many photos but never took the time to post online until now.  I will try to post a few more things that have been going on in this absence.

Devon Energy Center at 850 Feet

Devon Energy Center - Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma City skyline has been changing for the last two years with the construction of this 850 foot Devon Energy Center.  The building it only 50 floors but is much taller than the number of floors would suggest.  I took this picture last night, November 19, 2011.  I have been hoping that the windows would be fully installed by the end of the year but obviously that is not going to happen.  I usually take a Christmas picture each year so that we can see the Christmas lights and crosses as shown below.

Sunrise in OKC

This picture was taken in December 2008.  The new Devon Energy Center would be shown on the right side of this picture if it were in there to see.  In the day time shot below, you can see the building at an earlier stage on the right hand side.

Devon at 49 floors

This picture was taken July 17, 2011 so you can see the change.  Obviously this bottom picture does not show the 50th floor or the crown on the top.  It does illustrate the change from before and after.  In the last couple of years, I have not taken as many pictures as I had been because our lifestyle has changed.    As you can see, this is only the second post in the month of November and it is the 20th of the month.  I love taking pictures but just do not have the time that it takes to be into it as much as I like.  Thanks for your patience on my slow posting.

Dealing with Urban Sprawl

I live in the city of Oklahoma City and so there is a problem that I hear about often. That problem is urban sprawl.  Oklahoma City covers 621 square miles not counting surrounding suburbs.  Much of this land is uninhabited rural area on the fringe areas.  The city of Oklahoma City deals with problems that many cities do not have and the is pockets of population surrounded by rural areas.  With each successive generation the population tends to move farther out from the center.  The core of most cities usually become slums and havens for drug dealers and prostitutes.  This is nothing unique to our city but where ours is different is that the city covers many miles of open land.  The normal growth outward has been changed to where people are building way out from the city and are jumping vast areas of land leaving open areas of no development surrounded by other development.  From East to West it is 39 miles across the city.

There is a movement going on trying to come up with ways to deal with sprawl because the city claims that it is costing millions of dollars to provide services to these citizens on the fringe areas.  One of the City Councilmen is planning to hold a town hall meeting to address this issue with the citizens.  I think he is interested in trying to find a solution that will be beneficial to the city and the citizens.  I have read many comments on the issue on OKCTalk.com.  People are suggesting possible solutions to the issue but many of their solutions scare me.  Among them are the de-annexation of land from the city so that the city no longer has to provide services to them.  I think this is the easy solution that may cause more problems than it fixes. 

One problem that it creates is that it dumps the responsibility on the county when they are not equipped to deal with.  There are already people living in these areas and the city currently provides services to them.  One problem with this solution is that the citizens of Oklahoma City are also citizens of the county and so the services will be paid for by county taxes.  The city citizens also must pay for county taxes.  Since the county does not have the infrastructure that the city has, they will likely charge more for these services than the city will.  The end result is that city tax payers will pay more in taxes than if the city had provided them.

Another problem with de-annexation is that the land will likely be absorbed by suburbs that will result in more sprawl.  Since suburbs have to rely on their own tax base, more land and more development are crucial to their survival.  Since they do not have the tax base that the city of Oklahoma City has, they are going to be tempted to encourage even more development in the fringe areas.  In either case, sprawl has not been truly addressed.  I am no expert in this area but I would like to submit an idea to help slow or at least control the sprawl.

Oklahoma City has been growing at a rapid rate but this growth has not been evenly spread.  If you look at a map and find the downtown area you will see that the urban areas are mostly on the North side and to a smaller extent on the South side.  What is happening is that the city continues to grow long and narrow to the North and South.  The Western side has seen considerable growth as well.  The Eastern edge has very limited growth if any.  I would suggest picking a hundred block, say 15,000 block in all directions from the center and zone those areas for development and not allow any development beyond those points until those areas are filled.  I do understand that on the Northwest side they are already passing the 20,000 block of growth but if someone does not step up and take a stand, that area will grow forever while the rest of the city goes dormant.  I you were to look at the Oklahoma City area, you will find that the 15,000 block on the North side is around NW/NE 150th Street or 33rd in Edmond.  On the East side that would be around Choctaw Road.  On the South side that would be around SW/SE 149th Street.  On the West that would be around Richland Road.

This may seem to be an excessive amount of area to cover but if you think about it, the population growth has really begun to take off and so there has to be some area that is rural that is available for growth.  Simply de-annexing ALL rural areas does not plan for population growth that inevitably will happen.  The high costs of maintaining these areas will be offset by the added tax dollars that will be collected by the new residents.  Again, I am not an expert but I do think that it would be just as irresponsible to completely de-annex land in the name of preventing sprawl.  If people choose to buy land and they want to build in a non incorporated area, there is noting from preventing them from incorporating into their own city.  The city of Oklahoma City has plenty of land to build in and if correctly planned, this area could be used and managed efficiently.  I live near Choctaw Road and I-40 area and it is a rural area but also in the city of Oklahoma City.  I think that since there are many people that already live in this area, it should remain part of Oklahoma City.  While services are currently limited, as population increases, there will be more tax base to be able to pay for those services.

I can tell you why I moved out to the fringe areas of town.  My wife and I have finally achieved a financial status where we can afford a decent home.  We have been working for the last two years to build our own home.  In the process of this preparation we were shaken to find a reality that we had never considered.  You cannot find a new home that does not have restrictive covenants attached that require a home owners association (HOA).  These HOA’s are mandatory when you buy a home in their neighborhood.  These HOA’s require you to pay fees and adhere to overly restrictive rules on your own property.  They tell you what color your home can be, they tell you what kind of landscaping you can have and they allow themselves to change the rules after the fact.  This is completely unacceptable to me and my family.  The only way you can avoid these power hungry organizations is to move into an older home or build in the country.  Unfortunately I lived in an older home for the last 12 years and battled drug dealers because the whole neighborhood had become rent houses and section 8 housing.  I know, I know… Those that advocate HOA’s will tell you that if you had joined their HOA then all those problems would not have been a problem.  Unfortunately I would rather have drug dealers to deal with than to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to allow my neighbors to tell me what I can do with my own house.  At least with the drug dealers I do not have to give up my ham radio privileges because an HOA will forbid the installation of any antennas. In my opinion, HOA’s should be illegal.  Drug dealers can be dealt with by the police.

The only other option is to move out to a rural area and that is what we did.  You can blame my contribution to urban sprawl on the existence of these HOA’s.  I would rather live closer to work and things but I was forced to move out to avoid an HOA telling me what I can do with my own place.

Again, I am not an expert and do not have all the answers but I am definitely open to discussion on the issue.  If I am wrong, I would like to know where I am wrong and why. I can be convinced with proper justification.

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