LOCAL

Moore receives three-month extension

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Osage County commissioners on Dec. 19 voted, 3-0, to extend the employment of Mary Beth Moore, who is interim director of Osage County Tourism, from Jan. 1, 2023 through March 31.

The county is advertising for someone to fill the position on a permanent basis. Moore on Dec. 20 told the Journal-Capital that she had not yet decided whether to apply. The commissioners were highly complimentary of her performance as interim director in remarks at their Dec. 19 meeting.

“You’ve helped us tremendously,” District 2 Commissioner Steve Talburt told Moore.

“We appreciate what you’ve been doing,” District 1 Commissioner Randall Jones said. Wayne Ray Mitchell, chairman of the county’s Tourism Oversight Committee, also complimented Moore’s work. Moore has a background in tourism promotion and in real estate sales.

The tourism job became vacant when previous director Kelly Bland resigned and left the post early last spring. Bland had been both the county’s tourism director and the executive director of the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce. Mike McCartney is now managing the Chamber. He had previous experience in that job. The commissioners agreed in late April to appoint Moore as interim tourism director.

Moore credited the Pawhuska Chamber with providing her with essential support the past several months.

“I just have to give the Pawhuska Chamber a lot of credit for standing beside me,” Moore told the commissioners.

Moore also told the commissioners that public interest in Osage County as a tourist destination remains strong. In a written report that she submitted, she said the county’s tourism page on Facebook gained 1,013 new followers in November 2022, and that the county’s Facebook posts received 20,421 reactions (Likes, Loves and so forth) in November. There were 1,918 comments on the county’s tourism posts in November, and the posts were shared 2,328 times.

In an email Dec. 19, Moore told members of the Tourism Oversight Committee that she thinks it will be important to revamp the county tourism website.

"I feel like things are shaping up, we’re seeing good results, and moving forward with marketing efforts to be prepared for our upcoming events in 2023," Moore said in the email. "I think our main focus now should be on revamping and improving our website to give more detailed information about all our attractions and events, to include annual events for Osage County and surrounding areas that will pull those outside the 40-mile radius."

In the coming year, the Tourism Oversight Committee will be meeting in Pawhuska on the second Tuesday of each month. For more information about committee meetings and how to participate, contact Mary Beth Moore at 918-766-2627.

Moore told the commissioners she plans to attend a tourism and travel show in mid-January 2023 in McAllen, Texas that is geared toward the interests of so-called "snowbirds."