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Safe and Sound Tornado Shelters in Edmond



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13431 N Broadway EXT, STE 104 Oklahoma City, OK 73114










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Advertising Director

Krystal Harlow

Advertising Sales

Laura Beam Lauren Wheat



Heide Brandes Melanie Phiilips Clemens Rachel Dattolo Radina Gigova Louise Tucker Jones Lindsay Whelchel Nathan Winfrey


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22 CALM WATERS The Silent Language of Grief



24 SUMMER CAMPS & ACTIVITIES A Guide to Summer Fun

10 SPORTS Brandon Weeden: Yankee Turned Cowboy

27 MINIATURE MANSIONS The Art of Sculpting Homes

12 BEST OF EDMOND Smooth Finish Roofing & Bullet Liner


15 DINING GUIDE Let's Do Greek 16 DINING LIGHT Lighter Meals Around Edmond space 18 HOME Tornado Shelters: Safe and Sound, Underground 33 MY EDMOND OUTLOOK David Findlay

Dave Miller Joshua Hatfield

Marshall Hawkins

www. Sundance Photography OKC.com

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(Volume 7, Number 4) Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc. Š 2011 Back40 Design, Inc. Articles and advertisements in Edmond Outlook do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or Back40 Design. Back40 Design does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by Edmond Outlook does not constitute endorsement of the products, services or information. We do not knowingly present any product or service that is fraudulent or misleading in nature. Edmond Outlook assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials.



A rts & Entertainment


by Nathan Winfrey

reaking into the business” has been the goal of countless hopefuls who moved to Hollywood and then moved home again without one screen credit. Recent decades have seen the rise and legitimization of independent film, but it wasn’t until the past few years that quality camcorders and affordable video editing software have made filmmaking something that could be done with a few bucks and a dream. “We are living in a very different time for artists, having the power to create their own work and reach audiences without waiting for people to call you up and see if you want a job,” says Toni Robison-May, an Edmond native who moved to Harlem, New York, three years ago. She is currently enjoying the festival circuit with her debut film, "Hurts Like Love". “I had a story to tell



and I had the means to get this done,” Robison"Hurts Like Love" was shot in one grueling May says. 16-hour day. There was a tiny amount of impro"Hurts Like Love" is a monologue short that visation, but Robison-May stuck closely to the tells the story of a woman’s personal struggle on script. “I feel like what was left on the cutting the day of her best friend’s wedding. The film’s room floor was for the best, and now the piece only on-screen character, Mel, is the product of that I have is something I’m extremely proud of improv sessions with Robison-May’s acting coach to present to audiences,” she says. and mentor, Rosalyn Coleman Williams. RobiThe film premiered at The View From Here son-May interacted as Mel with her mentor to Film Festival in Fairfield, Connecticut, but it was improve the dialogue, and then went home and still a rough edit with temporary music. When wrote the script. the final, polished version of the film screened at “I wanted to do a character-driven story based iNdie Power in New York in February, Robisonoff of a character that I came up with during an May had intentionally avoided seeing the final exercise in acting class. It was something that re- cut so she could experience it for the first time ally moved me and I wanted to do more with that with the audience. “It was really well received. character,” Robison-May says. I was so happy with it,” she said. The screening The plot is a combiwas standing room only. They nation of that charachad to turn people away beter and what she’s gone cause they were afraid the fire through in her experimarshal would shut the event ences as a young woman. down. “We were amazed by the “Mel is different from turnout,” she says. who I am as a person, She hopes to screen the but there are similarities film at deadCENTER Film and I think everyone can Festival in Oklahoma City relate to her because it’s in June. Other festivals are about what unrequited likely in the future, as well love feels like and what as a release on Amazon.com it can make you do,” and a possible appearance on she says. the BET short film showcase. Robison-May in a screen capture from With a running time "Hurts Like Love" Robison-May also is setting of less than 10 minutes, the film is mostly Mel her sights on a Web series between auditioning talking into a camera, but Robison-May was and meeting with casting directors for other projcareful to avoid the pitfalls that often plague ects. She plans to collaborate with a playwright such experiments. for a stage production of a new work, and then “A lot of times when you see one person adapt that into a film as well. talking to the camera, the audience can feel “After having done this film, I feel encourleft out and feel like this whole piece was done aged to get out there and do more. I don’t feel like for the actor, to celebrate them and make them my career is dangling in the hand of some great look good, but it does nothing for a compelling and powerful Oz. I can do something like my own story and other stuff that the audience cares short film and have it screened,” she says. about,” she explains. Her goal with "Hurts Like To find out more about Robison-May and Love" is that the audience doesn’t feel like it is a "Hurts Like Love", visit twitter.com/toekneenyc vanity piece. or www.hurtslikelove.com.






L etters from Louise

A S A BBATH by Louise Tucker Jones


have had a very busy month. Actually, more like two months. During these weeks I celebrated 45 years of marriage, met half a dozen writing deadlines and took my son, Jay, to doctors for a very painful foot which turned out to be a stress fracture—yes, he is in an orthopedic boot. I was keynote speaker at a couple of women’s retreats, advocated for my son with special needs at a hearing with DDSD, sold the house our family lived in for 22 years, bought another house, celebrated Jay’s 35th birthday with a party in Tulsa, and survived a round of “shingles.” It was my second time around for this “dastardly disease” and for those who aren’t acquainted with this illness, just know that it has nothing to do with roofing! Of course, there were other things going on like laundry, cooking, cleaning (well, a little), along with talking to my grandchildren via phone and even seeing a few videos of their activities. The sight of a three-year-old fishing and a five-year-old doing Taekwondo are award winners in this grandmother’s book. But today I am simply relaxing—“chilling” as the younger generation says. No deadlines on today’s calendar. No place I have to be in this 24-hour period other than taking Jay for his daily Coke. There is no one ill or in dire need—a huge blessing. No business calls on my agenda and no planned visitors that would throw me into a cleaning frenzy. Just warm sunshine blanketing my heart and home. A peaceful time. A respite.



I need this time of rest—physically and mentally. We all need a period of restoration, time for the mind and body to relax and recharge. If the God of this universe, who spoke the world into existence, molded man out of clay and breathed the breath of life into him needed a day to rest, then certainly we need the same. We need a Sabbath.

“Yes, it is a day of worship and rest, but it’s also a time to enjoy our families and friends, as long as we dedicate the day to God and keep it holy.” When I was growing up, my mother was adamant that no unnecessary work be done on Sundays. Living on a farm, the cows had to be milked, eggs gathered from the henhouse, and meals prepared, but it was not a day to “catch up” on chores after church as we so often do today. I remember asking Mama if it was okay to sew on Sundays. She responded wisely, “Do you consider it work or pleasure?” That statement helped shape my philosophy about the Sabbath. Yes, it is a day of worship and rest, but it’s

also a time to enjoy our families and friends, as long as we dedicate the day to God and keep it holy, as the Bible says. I think we all need a Sabbath rest. Our minds are inundated with every electronic device imaginable. We have TV, radio, CDs, DVDs, Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. We also have smart phones, iPads, iPods, desktop computers, laptops and online Yahoo groups vying for our attention, not to mention all the activities we try to squeeze into our schedules for our kids or ourselves. We even cram work into our vacations. Maybe it’s time for a sabbatical, a leave from the ordinary work and stress. A time to follow our hearts to a peaceful place. When Jesus walked on this earth he often withdrew to a quiet place, away from crowds, to spend time alone with his heavenly Father. I want to do the same. I long for that gentle respite and solitude of the soul. Perhaps we all need a Sabbath rest.

about the author Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author and inspirational speaker. Author and co-author of four books, her work has been featured in numerous publications. Mother of four and grandmother of four, Louise resides in Edmond with her husband, Carl and son, Jay. Contact her at: LouiseTJ@cox.net or www.LouiseTuckerJones.com.




ost people enter college sports with dreams of one day playing in the majors, but Brandon Weeden did it the other way around. The starting quarterback for OSU may see pro football in his future, but he started appearing on baseball cards almost a decade ago, playing for the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Kansas City Royals. An Edmond Santa Fe 2002 graduate, Weeden showed promise in football, baseball, and basketball, being named MVP and offensive player of the year in football and All-State in baseball. He was drafted to the Yankees in the second round of the MLB draft nine years ago.

“It was the chance of a lifetime. I enjoyed every minute of it and had some good experiences along the way.”

by Nathan Winfrey



“It was unreal. It was a dream-come-true. Since I was a little kid, I wanted to play in the majors,” Weeden says. “It was the chance of a lifetime. I enjoyed every minute of it and had some good experiences along the way.” He says his big break came because the Yankees saw potential. At 6-feet, 4-inches, Weeden was tall for a pitcher and threw in the upper-90s. “There weren’t many guys who threw that hard,” he explains. “I was a decent player back then and they gave me a shot.” In 2003, he was traded to the Dodgers and made his way to the Royals after the 2005 season. Weeden loved travelling all over the country and playing in different cities. He developed close friendships with his teammates and looks back fondly on those years.

After a shoulder injury, Weeden graciously bowed out of the majors. “I wasn’t able to compete at that level at 100 percent,” he says. For a time, Weeden was out of the athletic world. In 2007, he enrolled at OSU and set his sights on a different sport. “College football has always been one of my favorite sports. I always knew that if baseball didn’t work out, I wanted to play football,” Weeden says. The injury that ended his pitching career does not limit his ability to throw a football. “It’s two different throwing motions, and the ball is wider,” he explains. However, Weeden was out of practice. “When you take some time off, you don’t know how long it’s going to take to knock the rust off,” he says. Rust may have gathered, but Weeden was a decent high school quarterback, so he knew he had the ability. When he decided it was something he wanted to do, he trained hard. Weeden got bigger, stronger, and with experience came a fuller utilization of his talent. “It really got me ready and helped me understand what it takes to play at Oklahoma State,” Weeden says.

He redshirted in 2007 and remained patient during the uphill years. For the first couple seasons, Weeden played when he could. It was a game here and there, and filling in for injured then-quarterback Zac Robinson. Eventually, Weeden’s day came. In 2010, he was named the starter. “It’s indescribable, playing in front of 65,000 people, sometimes 100,000. Every kid grows up wanting to do that,” Weeden says. Now at 27 years old in his final semester of wearing orange, Weeden looks beyond graduation and college sports at the opportunities in his future. “Football is my primary goal. I want to play in the NFL. I want to play football as long as I can, but obviously I can’t play forever. I have to have a backup plan,” he says. That backup plan involves entering what Weeden calls the “real world” and hopefully becoming a successful businessman after his football career is over, whenever that may be. He has his eyes on the oil industry, a field which certainly promises a myriad of possibilities. He married his wife, Melanie, in 2009, and the couple lives in Stillwater. Life is good for Weeden, but he’ll probably wear a jersey again before it’s time to put on a suit and pick up a briefcase.

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Best of Edmond

Raise the Roof by Melanie Phillips Clemens


klahoma’s diverse weather patterns include high winds, hailstorms and tornadoes. These often have Oklahomans running for shelter. But when the dust settles and damages are assessed, many find their shelter in need of repair. Dennis Helm, owner of Smooth Finish Roofing, Inc. in Edmond, has more than 16 years experience in the industry and with 24 years of dealing with insurance claims, he “knows what it takes to get the job done.” In 1987, Helm started a painting company working strictly with roofers. While working with the “biggest premiere provider in OKC doing work for the largest insurance carriers in the state,” Helm realized he had learned to roof. “This company trained us and put my best friend and me in charge of the roofing division. One thing I learned ... was how to deal with insurance claims and how they operate.” Incorporating in 1994, Smooth Finish Painting/ Construction became Smooth Finish Roofing in 2002



and began handling everything related to insurance claims: roofing, guttering, siding, windows and painting. “My customers like me working on their behalf to get them everything they’re entitled to. They’ve paid their premiums and they should get things back to original or better.” said Helm. As a roofer, Helm has seen his share of storms and how they’ve proven his success. “In June of 2010, a flood, later called the 500-year flood, ruined a lot of houses. We didn’t have one phone call due to a leaky roof. I checked on some of my customers and they declared no leak,” said Helm. He gives credit to “the best hand-picked crews ever.” “It’s reassuring to me that my crews are trustworthy, hardworking and do it right the first time. I oversee the jobs but they don’t need me to, they’re that good.” Helm recalls how one storm in February 2009 changed his life and how he views his business. “I’d just finished a roofing job when the tornado sirens went off. We were trying to get away from the tornado and ended up across from Lake Hefner. It was heading

Dennis Helm,

Smooth Finish Roofing

toward my home when I called my wife telling her to get the kids in the closet. As soon as she shut the door the tornado started rattling the house and tried to suck them out of the closet. A birdbath suddenly shattered the window and the tornado jumped and moved on. We know that God showed up.” “What’s changed in me is before I represented a company or myself, I wanted the money. Now I want to help people, to give back what I’ve been given. I still get paid but it’s not just about the money. Please call today and we will gladly serve you.” For more information, call 409-HELM (4356) or visit www.smoothfinishroofing.com.

A Strong Finish


by Melanie Phillips Clemens

n this day and age of advanced technology, endeavoring to be one step ahead of the competition makes good business. Bullet Liner of Oklahoma, Inc., formerly known under another truck bedliner brand, has been serving the OKC metro area since 1993. Cale Levescy, manager, shared the motivation behind this change. “The only reason we changed names is because we now have a better product. We’re under the same ownership and offer the same service. Our product is the latest, most innovative protective coating system on the market today. We have to change with the times or be left behind. The chemical manufacturer we use, Burtin Polymer Labs, designed this product and has been in business for over 60 years.” The strong durable finish of Bullet Liner’s advanced system makes applications almost limitless. “We coat anything from commercial fish floats, lawn equipment, work boots, speaker boxes, and of course, truck beds, that can be color matched to the truck.”

Bullet Liner is set apart by “having the most UV resistance and the best color/shine retention available.” They back this with a lifetime guarantee never to warp, crack, chip, peel or separate from the truck bed. “When the material is applied properly, there’s no reason for defects. If necessary, we’ll repair our liners at no cost to the customer,” said Levescy. As a product distributor, Levescy shared an added benefit of using their material. “Our product shows very little signs of moisture sensitivity when being sprayed which is very beneficial to the installer.” Also with green features including renewable sources like castor oil and no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), their liners are eco-friendly. Bullet Liner also offers a full line of truck and car accessories: running boards, bed caps, window tints, grill guards, billet guards, trailer hitches, custom molded floor mats, bug shields and “anything associated with commercial use.” With more than 18 years serving Oklahoma, the biggest success for Bullet Liner is “our customers.” “We go above and beyond to take care of our customers.

Cale Levescy,

Bullet Liner

We opened stores in Norman and Edmond just to serve our customers who were driving into OKC. Our customers tell us they love our product and our customer service is second to none. Last year, we had a customer drive up from Amarillo to have us do his liner. Afterward, two more drove up on his referral. They were willing to drive four or five hours to get their truck done when they could’ve had someone local do it. But they chose us.” Bullet Liner is located in Edmond at 2222 S. Kelley Ave. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment on Saturdays. For more information, call 330-4900 or visit www.bulletliner.com.

Programs offered vary by campus

749-2433 946-7799 912-3260 North Campus

Central Campus

Moore Campus

Licensed by O.B.P.V.S. www.plattcolleges.edu www.edmondoutlook.com




Dining Guide

Marsha and Gle en Aguilar,


Let's Do Greek


by Melanie Phillips Clemens

any Edmond residents expect excellence in their dining experience. Marsha and Gleen Aguilar, boasting more than 30 years in the restaurant business, opened the doors of Let’s Do Greek in February and delivered that excellence. La Greek in Midwest City had been in the family for 25 years before it was sold two years ago. “We missed it so much we decided to open one in Edmond,” said Marsha Aguilar. Their legacy of delicious Greek food has made them famous among Oklahomans who’ve now discovered the Aguilars’ latest venture. Although many menu items are the same, the Aguilars cut back their menu to help keep things simple. However, the demand for customer favorites had them adding to the menu after being open for only a couple of weeks. While Greek food is their specialty, with such favorites as Oregano Chicken or Chicken Suvlakia, also on the menu are Venezuelan Arepas with daily specials of Persian food. Using only the finest and freshest ingredients available. “Cooking is our passion. When you do your passion, everything comes out better. We are involved in the whole operation; every day one of us is going to be here. It’s a big deal to us that we’re hands-on. They could come here a hundred times and it’s

always us cooking the food and out front to greet them,” said Gleen. The Aguilars’ legacy of excellence and passion is not just for cooking but in caring for their family and customers alike. “I always tell my employees, we get one chance with that person coming in for the first time. I know when they walk in I can make them a lifetime customer and a friend. ” said Marsha. Family is a priority and the main reason Let’s Do Greek isn’t open late at night. “We’ve had people tell us they respect us for wanting to spend time with our kids. We’ve had people say they came by three or four times and we were closed but they came back and they’ve become repeat customers,” said Marsha. Although the Aguilars have won several awards over the years, their greatest rewards are the compliments left in the comment box in the front of the restaurant. “Whatever comment we get, good or bad, goes on the board,” said Aguilar. “Mostly, people tell us the food is amazing. Our email is on the front of our menu because we want to communicate with our customers.” Let’s Do Greek is located at 180 W. 15th St. They offer a private room for reservations (free of charge) and catering is available. For to-go orders, call 858-TOGO (8646).



D ining Guide



by Krystal Harlow

“Dining is and always was a great artistic opportunity.” — Frank LLoyd Wright



First Watch Café

Zen Asian Dining

It's an OKC first! First Watch Daytime Café, with 86 locations nationwide is now open in Quail Springs Market Place between Penn and May on Memorial. Serving breakfast, brunch and lunch favorites everyday from 7 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., this café also delights diners with exciting fare like the Chickichanga, Crepeggs and a myriad of soups, salads and sandwiches. The menu is infused with wholesome touches, from fresh fruits and vegetables, to multigrain pancakes and bread and organic, fatfree yogurt. Choose a fresh fruit crepe, Power Wrap or substitute egg whites or cholesterol-free eggs at no charge. Visit www.firstwatch.com or stop by at 2328 W. Memorial Rd., 748-EGGS (3447).

Zen Asian Dining has an amazing array of healthy eating options. As a starter choose from a variety of delicious soups and salads or try the Vietnamese Summer Rolls stuffed with flavorful shrimp, lettuce, basil, bean sprouts and vermicelli wrapped in rice paper and served with peanut dipping sauce. Follow that up with their new Zensational Thai Basil Seafood platter complete with tilapia, scallops, shrimp and a sweet and spicy Thai sauce. Gluten free menu items are always available as well as 100% carrot juice brimming with antioxidants. Stop by their location on the NW side of 33rd & Broadway. Call 285-2396 for more information. www.zenasiandining.com.

Colby's Grill

Let's Do Greek

The Cow Calf-Hay

Colby’s Grill is best known for their mouth-watering burgers that are anything but small, but did you know they have several lighter menu options that are sure to please as well? The chef salad, chicken strip salad and club sandwich are all made to order and piled high with crisp veggies and the freshest meats and cheeses. Or try a chilled chicken salad stuffed tomato or turkey avocado sandwich with a side salad. With satisfying selections like these, eating light is still a delicious indulgence! Call 513-8590 or drop in to dine at Colby's, located at 511 S. Broadway open 6:30 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

When you’re thinking, “Let’s do something light,” think Let’s Do Greek! With their tasty salads and vegetarian dishes, you can dine light without giving up great taste. Try their delicious Gyros Salad with juicy gyros meat on a bed of mixed greens tossed with onions, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, feta cheese and a Greek vinaigrette. Or enjoy the amazing Veggie Combo and select three of the following: hummus, tabouleh, falafel, dolma, spanakopita, tyropita, or Baba Ghanoush all made fresh daily and served with homemade pita bread. Dine in at 180 W. 15th, carry out or have them cater by calling 285-8898. www.letsdogreek.com

Looking for a smart way to trim a few calories and still enjoy a great burger? The Cow Calf-Hay offers turkey patties or vegetarian substitutes for any burger on their menu! Feast on the Maui Cowi with Teriyaki grilled pineapple, the Barnyard Burger with sautéed mushrooms or the Classic loaded with lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles. The Grilled Chicken Tender Sandwich on grilled Texas Toast is a delicious option, too! Dine in or carry out Tuesday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. or call 509-2333. Located off 33rd and Broadway on Wynn Dr., the street between McDonalds and Little Caesar’s.



T O R N A D O S H E LT E R S I N E D M O N D by Radina Gigova


ature’s most violent storms are headed back to the Sooner State and local contractors are advising residents how to stay safe the next time the siren sounds. By selecting the right tornado shelter for their needs, homeowners would not only protect their loved ones, but can make those tense moments underground a little less unpleasant. “It’s something that you are looking to save your life,” said Aaron Glenn, owner of Aaron’s Storm Shelters. In the heart of Tornado Alley, Oklahoma is among the states with the highest number of tornadoes per year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 102 tornadoes hit Oklahoma in 2010 alone.

“A clean and welcoming interior can alleviate some of the negative emotions, especially when people have to stay there longer.” When it comes to safety and reliability, Glenn recommends concrete underground shelters. His company installs custom shelters that are monolithic structures, built in a single pour of concrete. The floor, the walls and the top are all one piece and that makes the structure firmer. “We’ve been doing them the same way for over 50 years,” he said. Glenn explained these shelters are real underground rooms, where residents can have a TV, radio, fan and even a refrigerator. “If you have to stay there for two to three hours, it’s not a problem,” he said. During a storm, one of his neighbors, an older woman who lives alone, chose to spend the night in the shelter because she had everything she needed in there. People often use the concrete shelters not only as a place to hide during emergencies, but for everything from exercise rooms to home theaters. Another of Glenn’s clients uses the shelter as a quiet room where he can read a book while his grandchildren are




An Outside Storm Shelter

from All Safe Shelters

running around the house. His wife uses it as a food and wine cellar. While metal shelters and steel rooms range in price from about $3,000 to $6,000 according to their size, concrete underground rooms cost about $1000 more. Yet they are considered a permanent structure and add value to the home. "Concrete or not, all homes in the area need some sort of protection", said Richard Crow, owner of Ground Zero Shelters. He said buyers always prefer a house with a shelter. Steel underground models are the most widely used and usually the most inexpensive. They also are the easiest to install. People often have them in their garage so they won’t have to run in the rain or amid flying debris to get inside. “The garage floor unit is out of sight until you need it,” said Crow. “You also don’t have to close the lid until you hear the debris hitting the garage door.” One of the disadvantages is that they are relatively small. The average size for six adults is three feet

Continued on page 21 www.edmondoutlook.com




Continued from page 19 wide by six feet long. “You are pretty tight in there,” said Matt Shores, owner of Smart Safe Tornado Shelters. “But if you are scared, you don’t care how comfortable it is.” Buyers also should remember that older residents may have a hard time using the removable vertical ladder and the sliding door may be difficult to open if covered by debris. Metal shelters can also conduct electricity from downed power lines or lightning. However, they can be used for storage or as a lockable safe. “Men always say they could use them as a place to change oil and work on a car,” added Crow. Stacy Price, owner of All Safe Tornado Shelters, said looks matter when parents try to convince frightened children to go underground. A clean and welcoming interior can alleviate some of the negative emotions, especially when people have to stay there longer. Price offers shelters made of fiberglass and stainless steel. They have plastic honeycomb composite floors and glossy white gel-coat finish similar to modern bathtub linings. “They are very eye-pleasing and comfortable,” she said. People in wheelchairs often choose above-ground steel rooms. They can be installed in pre-existing homes or the house can be built around them. The

A Garage Shelter

from Ground Zero Shelters

thicker and heavier they are, the more they cost. “They are much better than a closet or a bathtub to hide in,” said Shores, but he added an underground unit is always safer. “You just don’t know what’s flying around in the debris; it might be a tractor or a trailer truck.” Most shelters don’t need a lot of maintenance, other than weeding around the entrance or cleaning the dirt off the rolling doors. Still, it is a good idea to always keep them ready. “A couple times a year, go down and check your supplies,” advises Crow. An

emergency kit, radio, extra batteries, flashlights, bottled water, nonperishable snacks and medications should stay stocked. Once installed, the shelter should be registered with the city, so that emergency crews can easily locate it. You can register it online at the City of Edmond's website or by calling 359-4564. For more information on storm shelters, you can visit their websites at www.aaronsstormshelters.com, www.allsafeshelters.com, www.groundzeroshelters.com and www.smartsafeshelters.com.

Karen Summers, Owner





The Silent Language of Grief

by Heide Brandes


ebbie Horany, counselor at Centennial Elementary School in Edmond, has seen the fear and stress on faces of children who have lost someone close to them. The youngest ones don’t understand. They believe death is only temporary. The older ones fight against talking about their loss, not wanting to open such a vulnerable part of themselves to strangers. They all feel scared and lost in the whirlwind of changes. “All these kids have to deal with separation issues of a significant nature, which changes their happiness levels at home or school,” said Horany. “We have Calm Waters come in for peer support groups, and it’s been so instrumental in helping our students. Calm Waters is an Oklahoma City-based grief support center for children and their families whose lives have been affected by death, divorce or trauma. The nonprofit provides a place for children and their parents to share experiences through ageappropriate support groups and grief curriculum.



Free support groups are open to ages 3 to 18 and their parents or guardians, as well as to young adults ages 19 to 25. “Calm Waters began 19 years ago to provide grief services for children and families,” says Barbara Butner, executive director. “It was founded at the Baptist Hospital Outpatient Services because there was no place that offered this kind of support for children.” Since then, thousands of families and kids have gone through the organization’s curriculum. In 2010, 342 Edmond children and family members attended support groups at Calm Waters and in their schools, says Butner. “This allows families to come together as a unit to work through their grief.” In 1992, 9-year-old Jason Woodruff lost his father, who used to take the young boy on sailing trips. Jason says his father would navigate the boat into a cove during storms when he and his father sailed. In the stormy times following the loss of his dad, Jason says he longed for safety and peace. Jason’s mother

Sondra realized Oklahoma County lacked a service for grieving children. “She partnered with Charlotte Lankard and the Baptist Medical Center Outpatient Services after watching a television show about a grief support service in Portland,” says Butner. “Calm Waters started out offering free support groups for children who had suffered a death of a loved one. We then saw the need for a divorce support group for children. Now, we offer both.” Grief in children manifests differently than in adults, says Maribeth Gavin, program director at Calm Waters. “For the little ones, adjusting to the change is a big issue. Are they involved in the funeral? Is it appropriate for them to be involved?” she says. “Sometimes, kids will forget their grief for a time. They’ll run and play and laugh with their friends, but then it comes back to them.” For the youngest clients, death doesn’t seem permanent. “They keep asking when daddy is coming home,” says Natalie West, program coordinator for Calm Waters. “At age 3 or 4, they see death as reversible, not permanent. They suffer bad dreams and worry about monsters. They have a more magical thinking about death, but they want to know what happened to their loved one.” Older children become fixated on death and sorrow. West says this sometimes scares parents, but it’s a normal process for that age.

“We have Calm Waters come in for peer support groups, and it’s been so instrumental in helping our students.” “The support groups at Calm Waters focus on topics. We have a 16-week curriculum that runs from August to May. In every support group the same topic is discussed during that week.” Topics include identifying feelings, dealing with anger and working through changes. While parents discuss the topic in their own support setting, children are brought to rooms made to look like school rooms. They play games, do arts and crafts or watch movies related to the topic. “We incorporate what they’ve seen or done into the discussion that night,” West says. “For the older teens, we use multimedia and music. Each activity or group is developmentally broken up to be age-appropriate.” During the 16 weeks, West starts to see changes. Teens open up, families become comfortable talking about pain and both children and parents come to understand they aren’t alone in their grief. “For some families, the process takes six months. For others, it may be two years,” says West. “The grief journey is completely different for each family, for each child.”

Kids from Calm Waters

with the center's

From left to right:

therapy dog

Charlie Kusiak (Board Member), Barbara Butner (Executive Director), & Eric Stiglets (Board Member)

In 2000, the center reached out to schools in Oklahoma County, offering support groups during school hours for children who were grieving. More than 300 school counselors and educators were trained by Calm Waters staff to recognize symptoms in their students. “Edmond and Putnam City were the first districts included,” says West. In the schools, counselors and teachers identify which children are affected by loss. A letter explaining how Calm Waters can help is sent home to parents, who can then request that their child is enrolled in

a six-week, in-school support group session. “By the end of the six weeks, they’ve bonded and they realize they aren’t alone,” says West. “They form friendships and trust one another with feelings. They are willing to talk.” Calm Waters continues to grow, from having served 47 children and parents in 1992 to more than 2,800 in 2010. Expanded services include courtapproved Parenting through Divorce seminars and grief training for volunteers and educators. Volunteers are always needed. For more information please call 841-4800, or visit www.calmwaters.org.











by Rachel Dattolo


f you happen to look outside one day and see a friendly elderly woman hiding in your bushes taking pictures of your house, it just might be Jean Routman, sole proprietor of Home Portraits. Routman has traipsed across the front lawns of dozens of houses in Edmond since making clay replicas of houses became her profession. Usually, those who seek Routman’s talent for reproducing the front of their house in clay form want the model as a surprise gift, requiring a certain amount of stealth on Routman’s part. “I sometimes have to sneak around and take pictures of the homes,” says Routman, who has been making models of houses for more than 11 years. “It’s often an anniversary gift, or perhaps as a keepsake for someone who is selling their house.” She laughs as she recalls a time she got caught taking pictures and tried to pass it off as fascination with the front yard’s flower beds. “I then had to stand there for 30 minutes while (the homeowner) told me the names of each one.” Another time, she had to admit the real reason she was there to a suspicious homeowner: “It’s for a gift. Please be surprised when you get it.” Routman uses the pictures she takes to create a 15-inch wide, half-inch thick colored clay replica of the front of the house (grounds included). The model perfectly matches the house in proportion and color. Pictures of the house are critical, so Routman usually has to take them herself. The model is of the front of the house so it is necessary to get pictures taken straight on. “Any pictures from an angle will skew the perspective, and thus my measurements for creating it in proportion,” she explains. After getting pictures, Routman draws a design based on the photograph. Then she rolls out the clay

and gets to work. The carving process takes about three days. As the clay begins to harden, she puts in the details. The next step is a struggle for Routman: waiting. The clay has to dry for two to three weeks before it can be fired in the kiln, requiring patience that she admittedly doesn’t always have. Firing the clay too soon, however, can result in breakage. She fires the clay in her personal kiln, which takes six to eight hours. Working with water-based clay can be a challenge, says Routman. Even the slightest air bubble or hint of moisture trapped within the clay will cause it to “blow up” — or shatter — when it is fired in the kiln. Sometimes a minor repair can be fixed with more clay and wood putty. But if a clay model breaks in the kiln it usually means starting from scratch. Another big challenge, she says, is matching the colors of the house. “Sometimes I sit in front of the house (that she is replicating) and just look at it,” says Routman. “For that week, I know that house perfectly, I live it.” The final step is painting the model with acrylics, again matching the original perfectly. While the finished clay model is only a half-inch think, the depressions and raised parts make the house look 3-D. The entire process takes about five working days over a three to four week period, but since she can work on several models simultaneously, she can turn out a finished model every three days. Routman started making model houses for Edmond residents in 1999. She’s made at least 500 for houses all over the world, even as far away as Germany. One regular local client is the Oklahoma County Medical Society Alliance (OCMSA) annual fundraiser. People pay admission to tour five houses in Nichols Hills. Each year, the volunteer hostesses

get one of Routman’s models of their house as a thank-you. She also does miniatures for the chairmen of the Oklahoma Symphony annual fundraiser. The 82-year old has been an artist all her life, after years of art lessons and attending Washington University School of Fine Arts. She started doing pastes and portraits but liked “playing” with clay the best. She also makes clay figures and sculptures which are for sale at the Paseo Originals gallery in Oklahoma City’s Paseo district. The images and characters she crafts in her own sculpture art are purely from her memory and imagination, she says. Her favorite part of sculpting is watching that lump of clay come to life. “It’s exciting to have a nothing blob come to life as you work on it,” she says. For more information contact Jean at 844-1035 or send an e-mail to jroutman@mac.com




by Nathan Winfrey

acing of any kind is an adrenaline rush. For me, there’s nothing like it,” Jason Baffrey of the Central State Gasser Association (CSGA) says. “It’s the noise, the smell, the control of the car and the force at the launch. All those things go together to make it one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have.” Drag racing is popular today, but it will never be like it was during the gasser wars of the 1960s. Back then, Friday night was street-race night, Saturday night was date night and Sunday afternoon was for the drag strip. Racers modified cars from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, and set them roaring against each other to prove their speed and power. There was no air-conditioning to fight the oppressive heat of those summer afternoons at the fairgrounds’ track. Eyes and noses burned from the nitrous oxide. There were no shift lights or power brakes. “I was 16 or 17, and I had no helmet or seat belt. I just had a T-shirt and I went out there and ran, everybody did. That’s how it was,” Fred Wietleman recalls. “In modern times, if you go to drag races, most of the cars look essentially alike,” Baffrey says. The Edmond resident races a 1956 Ford and was the 2009 champion. “We’re bringing those old cars, and the personality that those cars have, back to the forefront.” The CSGA was started a few years ago by Wietleman and three others. “We’d all raced back in



the old days and the current kind of racing was so foreign to us that it wasn’t any fun,” he says. Part of the association’s purpose is to give people an idea of what drag racing was like in the ’60s and show off cars from the hot-rod era. “We’ve taken that love of old hot rods and brought it to the mainstream,” Baffrey says. “We’re doing it because we love the sport and we love the cars.” “It’s a tight-knit community,” Baffrey says. “You have very close friendships and those people become like family.” The CSGA is not a member of the National Hot Rod Association, so they are not bound by NHRA rules. However, they do follow its safety guidelines. CSGA cars have roll-cages, five-point safety harnesses, and meet all other NHRA specifications. Drivers wear helmets and fire suits. Wietleman races “Wild 1,” a silver 1931 Chevy that he’s updated as little as possible. “All the safety features that you need to go safe, I’ve got on the car, but I didn’t compromise any of the old-school stuff,” he says. “I want to get in a car and I want to be taken back. I don’t want air-conditioning, power breaks. I want the old stuff. I want to feel like I’m in a car. ... It’s like pushing a brick through the air. It’s not aerodynamic like new cars are. At 135 mph, in that car, you feel that speed.” He bought “Wild 1” at a swap meet in Bakersfield, Calif., in 1998. “This is a real car,” he says. “It’s not a wannabe or a poseur or some kind of street car, it’s a real car. It’s been raced its whole life. It’s got a lot of history.” “I’ve grown up around cars and hot rods, so pretty much anything that has an engine and makes a lot of noise and goes fast, I like,” Baffrey explains. He started riding motorcycles when he was four. Eventually, he and his dad, Melvin Baffrey, started racing dune buggies. In the early 1990s, they built the 1956 Ford Baffrey races in the CSGA. “About 90 percent of the work we did ourselves,” he says. “That goes for most of the guys in our group. Part of the fun is building the cars and working on them.” Baffrey and his dad are a team, but when he pulls to the starting line, it’s just him and the other driver.

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“It’s a head-to-head competition,” he says. “In drag racing, it’s you versus another car and everything is up to you, while in football and baseball you count on your teammates.” Wietleman shares Baffrey’s sentiments. “I’m having the time of my life, it couldn’t get any better than this,” he says. “Even if you lose, it’s the greatest thing on earth. Everybody that does it feels the same way.” “Sometimes, there are some misconceptions,” Baffrey says. “There is a distinction between organized drag racing and street racing.” He explains that the CSGA doesn’t encourage street racing. That’s the reason they go to official tracks. The CSGA uses the Ardmore Dragway and Thunder

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Valley Raceway Park in Noble. The 1/8-mile track at Thunder Valley is the oldest continually-operated track in the country. Drag racing runs from March to November, and the CSGA races at each place about once a month. “We encourage people with old cars to come out and race with us because the more cars, the merrier,” Baffrey says. “It doesn’t matter how fast you are or how good you are,” Wietleman says. “You have to have some competition to get better. We have young guys and we have a lot of gray-haired guys. Car guys are the best guys in the world.” For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ centralstategassers.




by Lindsay Whelchel

n an arena of sequin dresses and sparkling smiles, the sport of child beauty pageants is competitive and not without controversy. But one Edmond mother and her daughter are discovering there’s a lot more to it than that. In the beginning, Lynn Barrett and her daughter Morgan were like many people who watch child beauty pageants on television and feel skeptical or amused. But Morgan, who is 12 years old, was intrigued. “She thought it would be fun,” says Barrett of her daughter’s initial interest and added that before getting into pageants, Morgan had competed in cheer and pom. “She was really looking for something different to do, so we went to our first pageant knowing nothing,” Barrett says.

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Morgan won that competition and has since plunged full force into the role of a young beauty queen. This is an undertaking far more complicated than it seems, explains Barrett. The girls must have coaching, practice and, yes, costumes. “It can be costly when you first start, there’s no denying that. It can be as costly as you want to invest,” Barrett says. Those costs can include local competition entry fees of more than $100 and over $400 for national entry fees. Then there are the dresses and travel expenses. But Barrett views pageants as no different from any other activity a child can get involved in and she works to facilitate the logistics for her daughter. “I know pageant moms get a bad rap and there are some crazy ones out there, but that’s in any sport, and that’s really what this is — pageantry is a sport.” Barrett says pageants are different from what is portrayed on television and that through Morgan’s participation she has gained not only confidence, but many friends. “Until we were behind the scenes, we watched (TLC show) Toddlers and Tiaras and laughed, ‘look at those crazy people,’ and then we actually did it and we met those people and they are some of the most genuine, caring people that you’ve ever met.” Barrett cites instances she has witnessed this unstereotypical behavior and says that the girls will help each other out and cheer one another on. “It wasn’t ‘I hope she trips and falls,’ it’s ‘go, go! Do your best’,” Barrett says. This component of a pageant is part of a lesson that Barrett hopes her daughter learns. “I really hope this will give her the ability to be a very generous winner and a very generous loser, to make friends with people from all different backgrounds and different situations.” One person well-rehearsed in the lessons of pageantry is Mary Cusick, founder of Fancy Faces, a youth development and pageantry system. Cusick

organizes Oklahoma-area pageants, one of which was featured on Toddlers and Tiaras. She can testify to the benefits of participation. “They do gain self confidence,” Cusick says. “It’s good, healthy competition, as long as the parents are in the right state of mind,” she laughs. Cusick takes measures to make sure her pageants are drama-free and that every child feels accomplished. “Every child gets awards. I try to make sure they get good stuff, have a good time and feel that they have won first place no matter what they might get, because they’re all No. 1,” she says. Cusick explains that pageants vary in their styles between casual and glitz, which means more formal wear, hair and makeup. She says time is a difficult thing to manage on a pageant day but to lessen the stress, she keeps her pageants local. In addition to participating in some of Cusick’s pageants, Barrett and her daughter usually travel to one competition a month and the trips offer a unique opportunity for Barrett to bond with her daughter. “We have a lot of fun time together. We have a lot of road trips and that offers a lot of mommy/daughter time,” Barrett says. She is rewarded for these efforts by seeing her daughter enjoy the competition. “There is nothing in the world like seeing your daughter up on stage, shining and having fun and enjoying what she’s doing. It melts your heart,” she says. Morgan does admit that there can be a great deal of pressure to compete in a pageant concerning practice and backstage preparation, but says that she loves the aspect of competing. “I love the rush of winning, and I do love the crowns,” she laughs. Both Barrett and Cusick advise those who want to participate to learn about the process from people already involved. Barrett also urges others to have an open mind about pageants and cautions that a parent should make sure it is what the child wants to do. “This is not for everybody. It needs to be something that your child desires to do, because it’s hard work and it’s a lot of money, but it can be something very fun and very rewarding.”





by Melanie Phillips Clemens

Name: David Findlay, Author, Illustrator, Husband and Father Edmond Resident Since: 1988 What drew you to the medieval type stories and characters? When I was nine, I was fascinated with the film “Excalibur.” From there on anything revolving around adventures in a sword age got my attention. I’m also a collector. What kind of items do you have in your collection? The list is long! A shirt and coif of mail (mistakenly called chain-mail), a great helm, brigandine armor, seven swords including three replicas from Lord of the Rings, an axe, a flail, and a couple of outfits for the fairs. Do you have any favorite Medieval Fairs? The Renaissance Festival at the Castle of Muskogee is open every weekend in May. I think it's my personal favorite. You’re writing and illustrating your first novel. What was your inspiration? Lord of The Rings inspired me as well as my faith in God and life experiences that I can apply to the story. Tell us about the language you created for your novel. I call it Lanthrish and it’s a work in progress. But I’ve created a script and my wife likes to guess what a word means when she reads it. For instance, byden means bring. Have you ever been in a dual or sword fight? I've done a little fencing and combat choreography. But, I have mad skills with a bow staff. Is there a subculture of people in Edmond who are into this type of stuff that we don't know about? I know they're out there, but they may not be as outgoing as me. I have no problem going out for a frozen yogurt dressed as Little John!