Business Intelligence Report
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Top Business Stories: Kudzu Vs. Crops, Knutson Vs. OKC, And A Departing Publisher

Karen Hickman, Oklahoma State University professor of natural resource ecology and management, displays what the leaflets of a healthy and growing kudzu plant look like.
Karen Hickman, Oklahoma State University professor of natural resource ecology and management, displays what the leaflets of a healthy and growing kudzu plant look like.
Credit Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

An Invasive Plant Threatens Oklahoma’s Agriculture Industry.

Kudzu is a vine known for taking over huge areas of states like Alabama and Mississippi. It can cover abandoned buildings and take down utility wires. It can grow 18 inches a day, and some experts joke that it grows so fast you have to be careful falling asleep near it.

The problem is that it also can kill off native species and can carry diseases that damage crops such as soybeans, which produces up to $130 million a year in Oklahoma.

Kudzu has been found in 50 places around Oklahoma.

Though work is underway to eradicate the plant, Amy Buthod of the Oklahoma Biological Survey says the horse has already left the barn, and Oklahomans are just going to have to get used to kudzu.

A Man Known For Posting Angry And Vulgar Signs Is Suing Oklahoma City.

Bruce Knutson owns land at Council Road and Southwest 89th Street. In 2006, he tried to get it rezoned as commercial or residential property. The requests were denied.

One of the signs posted by Bruce Knutson on his Oklahoma City property.
One of the signs posted by Bruce Knutson on his Oklahoma City property.
Credit Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

So Knutson got mad. He started posting huge handmade signs on trailers, overturned desks and tractors. I can’t repeat what many of them said about city officials, but he called one realtor the worst he never met.

When folks complained about the signs, the city sent out code enforcers. At first, they said he was fine because he’s not in a residential area. Two years later, they changed their minds. He was issued four citations and ordered to pay $1,600.

He fought the charges, and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals eventually agreed that the city was in the wrong.

Knutson is now suing the city in federal court. He wants repayment for his legal fees and a guarantee the city won’t come after him again.

Mary Melon, president and publisher of The Journal Record
Mary Melon, president and publisher of The Journal Record

Journal Record Publisher Mary Melon Is Moving To A New Job.

Melon is to become the CEO of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Melon first worked at the Journal Record in 1993 in advertising sales. She went to radio for a while, and then came back in 1995 as advertising director. She has led the company since 2001.

Under Melon’s leadership, the Journal Record expanded into Tulsa and became known for its events, including the annual Woman of the Year program.

Melon is active on nonprofit boards, and Governor Fallin recently named her to the Oklahoma Humanities Council.

Melon, who is a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, will leave Journal Record August 30.

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