Bill Kramer, Ross Hill, Kyle Salomon

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This week I got the annual end-of-the-school-year phone call from Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Public Relations Director Bill Kramer who always congratulates the many high school graduates here in Canadian County with his creative and descriptive greeting advertisement.

Bill is always upbeat on the phone and so positive about his interaction with the media and it is no different when you see him in person out in the community at events such as the Czech Festival or Chisholm Trail Festival.

I first met Bill at the end of the 1989 Summer semester at the University of Central Oklahoma Vista newspaper office. My good friend and fellow sports reporter John Lukehart (son of Jimmy Palleson/Czech fest) and I were finishing the final edition of the summer and about to board a Mexicana flight to Cancun.

Into the newspaper office waltzes this tall, skinny kid with a camera dangling around his neck from Collinsville, Oklahoma. He had on these thick glasses and looked very studious but the kid was ready to go to work! We knew that the 1989 Olympic Festival parade was moving along 2nd Street in Edmond and we needed some photos and we needed them fast.

John yelled over to Bill to hit the ground running and to get busy chasing that parade! Before we knew what had happened, he was sprinting out of the office, camera in hand, and racing full speed toward 2nd Street to get the best shots.

It’s hard to believe, but I have been reminding Bill of that first encounter with him for 30 years. It seems impossible that so much has happened since then. Bill was shooting a 35-millimeter camera, writing all his notes on a notepad and going to the library to confirm facts. (The Internet was not yet invented by the way)

In 1989, I had no idea of ever knowing that this kid from Collinsville would be sending us some of the best stories and information that we use everyday in our newspaper and online operations. I have always liked that guy and his work ethic. He just gets things done and he always does everything he can to take care of “his people” at the area newspapers that print his stuff.

Thanks for being a good friend throughout the years Bill. We are not getting older. We are just getting better. Not even the world’s largest tornado can stop you my friend. By the way, I will pay you $10,000 to see you run out the door at the Vo-Tech trying to chase down a parade photo without pulling a hamstring!

Canadian Valley Technology Center is very lucky to have such a great representative working for them.

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About 25 years ago, the corner of NW 10th Street and Cornwell was occupied by Canadian State Bank. (now BancFirst). The bank was owned by George Ramey who brought in this guy named Ross Hill. Ross took over the bank just weeks after USA Today had written a story about it that would have made most bankers look elsewhere for a job. However, what some guys call hell, Hill called home.

I watched Ross start doing things at the bank like giving away free photos with Santa Claus with his customers’ kids. Promoting his many banking products, advertising everything and even buying computers for the Yukon High School journalism program. Ross brought in some good people to help him too, including Dale Bogle, Smith Wycoff and several others. Ross was well-liked and you even heard complimentary things from guys at competing banks like Blayne Cole, Joe Sewell and Randy Wright.

Of the many things that Ross did, one has always stood out to me. He would always have a custom basket filled with Ted’s Mexican Restaurant’s chips and jar of salsa. Ross told me he was trying to convince them to build a restaurant here in Yukon and a purchase of 100 bags of chips and 100 bottles of salsa would surely make them know that he was serious.
I always liked that idea of personally greeting the new businesses whenever I can. It is still the best way to make a customer and a friend. Like Jan Scott’s husband Bill told me 15 years ago, “without contact, there is no impact.”

I always ordered the Ross Hill pepperoni pizza from Italian Jim’s. It was the best tasting pepperoni pizza on the planet and they sold a bunch of them. Longtime restaurateur and glass blower Chris McGahan closed his downtown Edmond location several years ago. I think it could be time to re-open it here in Yukon.

I always appreciated Ross Hill. He is one of those guys that made a good mark on Yukon and gave us something interesting to talk about. I am going to ask my friends at Mazzio’s to make me that pizza the next time I go to the buffet. I think Ross would be proud.

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Congratulations to Kyle Salomon at the Yukon Review as he prepares to give his hometown of Jenks a newspaper. Kyle has some good ideas for that community and is ready to get rolling. Kyle has been around Yukon for seven years and has done some good work here. I wish him the best in his endeavor.

Thanks so much for reading. I will see you next Saturday. Would you like a Progress?