Live and let live

The Skunk Whisperer shares his tips on how to keep pests away.



One of Ned Bruha’s earliest lessons in wildlife respect involved a chipmunk bite to the face. So it’s pretty obvious that his moniker, The Skunk Whisperer, is more symbolic than literal. In fact, rather than getting up close and personal with unwelcome critters in and around Tulsa homes, he prefers to remain hands-off.

Bruha is vice president of The Skunk Whisperer Inc., a Tulsa-based company with a “don’t trap, don’t kill” (except in extreme cases) approach to removing various species of “problem” wildlife from residences and businesses.

Even the most humane trapping can be harmful to animals when they’re relocated to unfamiliar habitats — where other territorial critters may kill them, Bruha explains. In contrast, some of his proven wildlife-management tricks include finding and blocking the trespassers’ main entry and exit points or tweaking certain architectural features that are attractive to them.

“There’s a solution for practically every situation that makes it so we can coexist with wildlife,” Bruha says.

Bruha realized this at age 7 when his father instructed him to get rid of chipmunks that were desecrating gravesites near their Wisconsin home. Armed with a pellet rifle, Bruha quickly learned that shooting or trapping all of the furry offenders was impossible. When his dad showed him how to bury hardware cloth around graves to create a barrier for the chipmunks, it was a lightbulb moment.

Because Tulsans live side-by-side with many species, Bruha notes that we must respect these animals and not keep them as pets to minimize our “human imprint,” which often has a detrimental effect on wildlife, and to avoid personal danger and possible infestation.

“Our angle is not just for the animals’ sake but for humans’ sake, too,” he says.

Wildlife prevention tips from The Skunk Whisperer, Ned Bruha

Does it sound like your attic is the Interstate 44 expressway for wildlife? Squirrels in your attic? Bats in your belfry? Raccoon family in your chimney? Skunk spraying your dog?
It can happen to anyone. Millions of dollars are spent each year repairing wildlife damage. Newly built and old homes are equally susceptible to wildlife entry.

Wildlife wants three things: food, water and shelter.

If we eliminate just one of them, they will typically move on to greener pastures.
A few types of shelter include: decks, leaf debris (rats and mice love leaves — snakes love rats and mice), your building crawl space, your attic, brush piles and thick underbrush.

Spring has sprung and, along with it, nature has generously replenished cute, fuzzy little creatures, which can potentially turn your lives upside down.

We are at the beginning of different wildlife species’ birthing seasons. Start preventative measures now.

Squirrels
This time of year, as in the fall, a majority of squirrels make dreys (squirrel nests) in trees and attics throughout the United States.

While these are amusing, cute, fuzzy creatures to some, they are rats with fuzzy tails to others.

Be aware that squirrels do not know the difference between chewing the bark off of a tree and chewing the insulation off of your electrical wiring.

Preventive measures should be taken immediately to head off thousands of dollars of potential damage.


Raccoons
Raccoons will soon be having their young (called kits and cubs) in chimneys and attics.
These adorable masked bandits can pop your attic roof vent off like a soda bottle cap, dismantle your roof, remove your chimney cap and be under your couch before you can bat an eye.

Along with their adorable young, they bring lice and their feces carry roundworm.

Skunks
Skunks are already raising a stink, and their activity is not even in full swing yet.
If you have one under your house, deck or outbuilding, time is of the essence — they are having their young now.

Once their young (called kittens) are born, evicting them becomes a time-consuming task.
Skunks are deadly accurate up to 15 feet with their essence, and it is the strongest, longest-lasting scent known to man.

This is not a pleasant wildlife fact if this smell penetrates your home.

Bats
Most Big Brown Bats never left Oklahoma, and most Small Brown Bats are returning to their summer roosts.

If they decided to make your building their home, you may need professional assistance.
Once their babies are born in mid- to late May, it will be late August or early September until they can be evicted without inadvertently killing the young and making a smelly mess.

Opossums
Opossums will soon create their own posse and invade garbage cans, crawl spaces and attics.

Their prehensile tails and unique hands and feet allow for acrobatic maneuvers that may bring them to your attic or under your deck.

Although their nocturnal, maternal educational program for their young is amusing to watch, you have the power to ensure that this new posse does not invade your castle.

Snakes
You are enjoying your big back yard when, low and behold, the soil moves. Snake behavior is unpredictable, so treat all snakes as though they are venomous.

What to do
Wildlife management professionals can assist you with evicting unwelcome houseguests of the wildlife type.

You can save time, frustration, headaches, heartaches and a lot of money by doing simple preventive measures yourself by purchasing common items at your local hardware store.

A few tips:

  • Be certain that all garbage can lids are tightly closed, and never lay garbage bags on the ground. Your garbage can is an attractive buffet to wildlife.
     
  • Although disheartening to hear, feeding the birds is an invitation for a wildlife invasion. You cannot possibly comprehend how feeding any wildlife can negatively alter your neighborhood eco system drastically.
     
  • Think hard before you feed the hummingbirds. The sweet, nectar smell not only attracts hummingbirds, bees, and wasps, but also skunks, opossums and raccoons.
     
  • Never feed pets outdoors. If you must, bring food in at night. Do not store cat or dog food outdoors.
     
  • Purchase and install a common dryer vent cover if your dryer vents out of a wall.
     
  • Thousands of dollars are spent each year in Oklahoma alone remedying damage caused by wildlife entry through dryer vents.
     
  • The little floppy doors on your existing dryer vent typically are less than adequate.
     
  • This $10 item (and the 10 minutes required to install it) is less expensive than replacing a dryer with a decomposing squirrel, skunk, raccoon or bird in it.
     
  • Keep your garage door closed.
     
  • Do not leave it open for ventilation or for pets to enter and exit.
     
  • Many homes unintentionally introduce wildlife dilemmas by unknowingly trapping wildlife in their garages. Wildlife may find it to be a suitable home, too.
     
  • Do not over-water your lawn. A lawn that is abundant with mole food (earthworms) may be full of dirt mounds quicker than a drier lawn, in some cases.
     
  • Keep your lawn manicured. Encourage your neighbors to do the same.
     
  • Taller grass will encourage snakes and other vermin to call your property theirs.
     
  • Consider having a wildlife management professional inspect your existing home, or your next home.
     
  • Pre-purchase inspections by a wildlife management professional who understands Integrated Pest Management. It can possibly save you thousands of dollars in future damage.
     
  • Eliminate brush and junk piles. Raccoons, opossums, snakes and skunks love this easy shelter.

Trapping
Before you resort to utilizing your Red Ryder BB gun (you’re going to shoot your eye out!), know that contrary to popular belief, it is illegal to use within the city limits.

Place your traps on the back shelf or donate them to Animal Control because there are very few species in Oklahoma that a homeowner can legally trap on their own.

Trapping is typically a waste of time and money if you still have holes in your building that wildlife can enter.

Wildlife is attracted to certain architectural features, and others will soon return to the scene of the crime, even if you fix their entry point.

Trapping is, at best, a temporary solution because another animal will soon fill the void in that territory and you cannot legally release wildlife in Oklahoma without proper permits.
Mother Nature immediately replenishes territorial attic-and- crawl-space-invading wildlife — but she does not do home repairs.

Put away the mothballs and fox urine, and concentrate your efforts on money-saving preventive maintenance.

 

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June 2018

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

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Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
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Cost: $12

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Telephone: 405-236-3100
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Cost: Prices Vary

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Mabee Center
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Cost: Free

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108 Contemporary
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Telephone: 191-889-56302

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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
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Cost: Free with admission

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Cost: Prices Vary

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Mabee Center
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Telephone: 918-495-6000
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Central Library
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Telephone: 918-682-6294
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Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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Cost: $12

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Telephone: 405-236-3100
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Cost: FREE

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Cost: Free

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108 Contemporary
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Telephone: 191-889-56302

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Cost: Free

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41st and Riverside
400 Civic Center
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Sponsor: Tulsa Riverparks Authority
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Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
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Website »

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Cost: free

Where:
41st and Riverside Plaza
4100 S. Riverside Dr.
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Sponsor: Friends of the Helmerich Library
Telephone: 918-596-2001
Contact Name: Ryan Howell
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Cost: Free

Where:
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3500 Batfish Rd
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View map »


Sponsor: Muskogee War Memorial Park
Telephone: 918-682-6294
Contact Name: Brent Trout
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

This annual FREE new home showcase is presented by the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa and sponsored by Samsung Electronics.  This year’s event will feature more than 150...

Cost: FREE

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Samsung
Contact Name: Nathan Carter

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
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Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Tulsa City-County Library
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Remembering Our Fallen is a photographic war memorial that honors our country’s military Fallen from The War on Terror. Because 9/11 was such a defining moment, this memorial includes our...

Cost: Free

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Muskogee War Memorial Park
Telephone: 918-682-6294
Contact Name: Brent Trout
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Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

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Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

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Cost: $40

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View map »


Sponsor: ahha Tulsa
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Cost: FREE

Where:
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Sponsor: Samsung
Contact Name: Nathan Carter

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Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
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View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

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Cost: free and open to the public

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View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

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Sponsor: Tulsa Time Paint & Sip Studio
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Opera in the Ozarks, the nationally acclaimed summer music festival and training program for top emerging opera professionals, celebrates its 2018 Season from June 22 to July 20 with nearly...

Cost: $25

Where:
Inspiration Point
16311 Hwy. 62 West
Eureka Springs, AR  72632
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Shades of White is a play written by Ilan Kozlowski and directed by Rebecca Ungerman. For mature audiences only.

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
John H. Williams Theatre, Tulsa PAC
110 E. Second St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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The fourth annual No Hills for Hilary Memorial Ride will take place this year on June 23. This is a social ride benefiting Rescued 'n Ready Animal Foundation (RnRAF), a nonprofit organization...

Cost: 25

Where:
Washington Irving Memorial Park and Arboretum
13700 S Memorial Drive
Bixby, OK  74008
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Sponsor: Rescued 'n Ready Animal Foundation
Telephone: 918-260-6717
Contact Name: Sandra Sorber
Website »

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The second annual Cheer and Gears Auto Show will be Saturday, June 23 at the Charles Page High School parking lot, 500 N. Adams Road in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. All makes, models and years...

Cost: Free

Where:
Charles Page High School
500 N. Adams Road
Sand Springs, OK
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Sponsor: Charles Page High School Cheer Teams

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Wagoner Main Street Presents... Switching Gears-Saturday June 23, 2018 9am-10pm in Downtown Wagoner Oklahoma! An entire day of family fun, food, music, and more. Events start at 9am with the Car...

Cost: FREE -$20.00

Where:
Main St
130 S Main St
Wagoner, OK  74467
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Sponsor: Wagoner Main Street
Telephone: 918-869-7318
Contact Name: Jay Stephens
Website »

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The Pathways Summer Carnival is free to the public. Enjoy a dunk tank, balloon animals, games, a pet fashion show, food, and so much more. Bring the whole family for a day of fun in the sun on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kirk of the Hills
4102 E 61st St
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: Pathways Adult Learning Center
Telephone: 918-859-0060
Contact Name: Katie Groke
Website »

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Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Telephone: 405-236-3100
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Remembering Our Fallen is a photographic war memorial that honors our country’s military Fallen from The War on Terror. Because 9/11 was such a defining moment, this memorial includes our...

Cost: Free

Where:
Muskogee War Memorial Park
3500 Batfish Rd
Muskogee, OK  74403
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Sponsor: Muskogee War Memorial Park
Telephone: 918-682-6294
Contact Name: Brent Trout
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The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Telephone: 918-495-6000
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Legion LIVE! 2018 is a day-long event filled with live music on two stages, broadcast live to troops around the world! FREE and open to the public, the event raises much-needed funds for the...

Cost: FREE

Where:
American Legion Post 1
1120 E 8th Street
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: American Legion Post 1
Telephone: 918-809-3745
Contact Name: Kasey Rideout

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This annual FREE new home showcase is presented by the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa and sponsored by Samsung Electronics.  This year’s event will feature more than 150...

Cost: FREE

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Samsung
Contact Name: Nathan Carter

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Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 191-889-56302

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Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

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The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
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Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
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Come join us for a fun tropical evening of dinner, live music, dancing, silent & live auctions, games and more!  All proceeds benefit Kelly B Todd Cerebral Palsy and Neuro-Muscular...

Cost: $50.00 per person

Where:
Muskogee Civic Center
425 Boston Street
Muskogee, OK  74401
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Sponsor: Kelly B Todd Cerebral and Neuro-Muscular Center
Telephone: 918-683-4621
Contact Name: Sharon Riggs
Website »

More information

Come join us for a fun tropical evening of dinner, live music, dancing, silent & live auctions, games and more!  All proceeds benefit Kelly B Todd Cerebral Palsy and Neuro-Muscular...

Cost: $50.00 per person

Where:
Muskogee Civic Center
425 Boston Street
Muskogee, OK  74401
View map »


Sponsor: Kelly B Todd Cerebral and Neuro-Muscular Center
Telephone: 918-683-4621
Contact Name: Sharon Riggs
Website »

More information

Opera in the Ozarks, the nationally acclaimed summer music festival and training program for top emerging opera professionals, celebrates its 2018 Season from June 22 to July 20 with nearly...

Cost: $25

Where:
Inspiration Point
16311 Hwy. 62 West
Eureka Springs, AR  72632
View map »

More information

Still I Rise is a dramatic dance-theatre presentation incorporating all elements of Bharatanatyam, some elements of yoga, theatre, spoken word and music. The performance exemplifies the example of...

Cost: $15

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: South Asian Performing Arts Foundation
Telephone: (918) 625 6037
Contact Name: Mohan Kelkar
Website »

More information

Shades of White is a play written by Ilan Kozlowski and directed by Rebecca Ungerman.  For mature audiences.

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
John H. Williams Theatre, Tulsa PAC
110 E. Second St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Website »

More information

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TULtalk


How to have a Parisian good time — in Tulsa!

You know what they say, Tulsa is the Paris of Oklahoma...

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“Sovereignty” comes to Tulsa for a reading

Monday, June 18, see a staged reading of the buzzed-about new play by Oklahoma native Mary Kathryn Nagle.

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QUIZ: Which Tulsa Mural Fits Your Personality?

Tulsa has a plethora of colorful, vibrant murals! But which one should be the backdrop for your next selfie?

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Video: BA Ninja Warrior

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The Fabulous Mid-Life Crisis

The popular cover band is scheduled to bring the good times (and huge crowds) to Summer's Fifth Night in Utica Square on June 7.

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