Tahlequah Daily Press


May 16, 2014

Tahlequah could be on another ‘best town’ list

TAHLEQUAH — Many local residents are familiar with Outside Magazine, one of the country’s premier publications for outdoor adventure, recreation, fitness and travel. For the past four years, Outside has presented a “Best Towns in America” contest. The goal was to find the best small town in America, based on “top-notch restaurants, vibrant farmers’ markets, friendly neighborhoods and unparalleled access to hiking and  biking trails.”

In the past, magazine editors have made the selections. This year, they’re allowing “crowdsourced voting” from a bracket of 64 selected towns, divided into regions of the country. Oklahoma is in the Southern group – and Tahlequah has been selected as one of the potential favorites!

We have stiff competition in our bracket: Charleston and Beaufort, S.C.; Little Rock, Ark.; Shepherdstown, W.Va.; Louisville, Ky.; Oxford, Miss.; Norfolk, Va.; Breaux Bridge, La.; Alpine, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; Islamorada, Fla.; Savannah, Ga.; Chapel Hill and Asheville, N.C.; and Birmingham, Ala.

It’s not the first time our city has been similarly honored. We’ve been included in two other lists in the past as among the best small towns, for various reasons. And we’ve also been tagged as one of the top retirement areas in the country – which could explain why we have such a high number of retirees in our county.

Most recently, the online real estate brokerage Movoto picked Tahlequah as one of the 10 most exciting places in Oklahoma, coming in at No. 2 behind Stillwater. That designation, for cities with populations of over 10,000, was determined by using U.S. Census and business listings with relevant data in other criteria: night life, live music venues, active life options, fast-food restaurants (with fewer being better), non-fast food restaurants, and percentage of residents ages 18-24.

The Outside contest is set up in similar manner to basketball brackets. Six rounds of voting are planned, with each lasting five days. Participants can vote once per round for each regional contest. Winners will advance until only two towns are left, at which point Outside Online will stage a week-long “showdown” to pick the Best Town 2014. The winner will get spotlight coverage in the September 2014 issue, and the “Sweet 16” will also be featured.

It’s true there are some folks in Cherokee County who want our area to “stay like it is,” with no growth or infrastructural improvement. However, towns that stagnate are doomed to eventually die. Even those that manage to survive do not prosper. And when towns fail to prosper, their young people move away, seeking greener pastures. What one among us would not like to see Tahlequah advance to the point that it offers enough to prompt our young people to stay put? And high-profile recognitions, from sources such as this, are great places to start.

Now’s the time to weigh in. Go online to www.outsideonline.com/besttowns2014, and cast your ballot. Then keep up with future rounds until the winner is announced June 15. Let’s use this as a chance to show folks from all over the country what we’re really about, and why moving here – or at least visiting – might be a darn good idea!

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  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014

  • New chamber head needs to be free from scandal’s taint

    Every time another layer is peeled off the unfolding saga of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce embezzlement case, those going through the records hope they might see a light at the end of the tunnel. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    June 30, 2014


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