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Day or Evening Classes Available Practical Nursing • BSN Nursing • A.S. Nursing (LPN to RN) Dental Assistant • Pharmacy Technician • Medical Asst./Phlebotomy A.S. Culinary Arts • Pastry Arts • A.S. Medical Laboratory Technician A.S. Respiratory Care Surgical Technologist Medical Office Administration Specialist

749-2433 North Campus


Central Campus


Moore Campus For important program information, go to

Licensed by O.B.P.V.S. Programs offered vary by campus.

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April 2012

24 Connecting the Community An Edmond nonprofit helping hundreds of families affected by autism across the state.


“Oklahoma Kid”

10 Sports


12 Louise

Loving Jay

15 Food

Roma’s Italian Easter Eats

18 Business

Edmond Hearing Doctors Oklahoma Institute of Allergy & Asthma

20 Home

Where Dreams Are Born

30 Shopping

Spring Sensations

33 Before & After

Nelson Lawn Care & Landscaping

22 Innocence on Death Row

A sister fights to free her wrongly convicted brother

26 Honoring a Legend Artist Shan Gray sculpts the Wayman Tisdale award

28 Financial Peace Local company offering their employees more than just pay

34 Easter Services Celebrating Easter in Edmond

36 A Solid Foundation The Bethel Foundation caring for local single mothers

39 My Edmond Outlook

Ruth Rickey, super star sugar artist and cancer survivor

Cover photo provided by Brittany Stover Photography 615-1608 |

$ To advertise, call Laura at 405-301-3926 6

13431 N. Broadway Ste. 104 OKC, OK 73114 Office: 405-341-5599 Fax: 405-341-2020

PUBLISHER Dave Miller EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING MANAGER Krystal Harlow EDITOR Erica Smith ADVERTISING SALES Laura Beam Lori Cathey PRODUCTION DESIGN Tanner Yeomans Karen Munger PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins DISTRIBUTION The Edmond Outlook is delivered FREE by direct-mail to 50,000 Edmond homes.

(Volume 8, Number 4) Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc. Š 2012 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. 7

“OKLAHOMA KID” by Nathan Winfrey


ourth-generation Wild West showman Marty Tipton, aka “The Oklahoma Kid,” carries on the family business with style. The trick-roper and professional cowboy has performed thousands of shows across the nation, adding his own chapter to his storied pedigree with his sharp wit and a unique message. “It’s not always how fast you run in life, or how high you climb, but how you bounce,” is Tipton’s mantra. When poor health forced him to live in an oxygen tent for much of his sixth year of life, he didn’t have much contact with the outside world, but he had a trick rope and a cap gun and those proved to be ingredients for stardom. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Tipton grew up on the legendary 101 Ranch in Ponca City, or that his great-grandfather worked with Buffalo Bill and Geronimo, or that his grandfather worked with Pawnee Bill, or that his dad was a rodeo world champion, or that he has relative ties to Will Rogers. One might think spinning lassos is embedded in Tipton’s DNA. His first rodeo performance was in 1978, at the 101 Ranch Rodeo, when he was 9 years old, but he started performing at age 5, tap dancing and jazz dancing. By age 8, his “hobo act” made the top 10 in a national talent contest. He rode bucking ponies in grade school, then graduated to bulls in high school and joined the National Rodeo Association. On weekends, Tipton would drive to Mesquite, Texas, to rodeo for eight-time world champion Don Gay. Tipton went on to be a bullfighter for Wrangler


for two years. Part of the show required him to be “shot” in the rear end with a shotgun. At the right moment, Tipton would hit an igniter that would blow up the seat of his pants. “Sometimes, my shirt would catch on fire and I would have to roll around a bit, and a lot of the time I got burnt. But it was a great act,” he remembers. Now, he’s a trick roper and public speaker, emceeing conferences, banquets, silent auctions and charity events. During Oklahoma’s centennial, Tipton did close to 300 performances, putting on shows in up to three cities in one day.

“Sometimes, my shirt would catch on fire and I would have to roll around a bit.” Along the way, he’s gained some famous fans. Late-night TV host Conan O’Brien once sent Tipton an image of himself as Tipton’s onstage persona, The Oklahoma Kid. In 2009, George W. Bush invited Tipton to spend July 4 shooting fireworks with him in Woodward, but Tipton was already scheduled to perform at a Boy Scouts convention with Shooter Jennings and Tipton refused to break his contract. “I’m an honest cowboy,” he affirms. Tipton entertains patients at places like The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center and the Troy Aikman Center as often as he can. He relates to the young cancer and transplant patients, glassed off in quarantine, because of his year in

the oxygen tent as a boy. “I’ve seen the pain. I’ve been there,” he says. “I thought I was going to die when I was six years old.” He remembers one little girl had been crying all day and night, and when he gave her a trick rope on one of his visits, Tipton says he had her laughing and smiling. “I like to see kids that have been crying, smile,” he relates. “That’s what’s closest to my heart, to help people like that who are in trouble.” Once, Tipton was eating at a pizza place and the manager came up to him. The man said his daughter was at one of the treatment centers Tipton had visited and that his daughter had gotten well. The girl’s dad offered Tipton free pizza for the rest of his life, but he refused. That’s not why he does it. “It’s really the only thing that makes me feel good, is to help someone else,” he says. Tipton got involved with charity work through the urging of his pastor. After dodging death a few times — his childhood illness, a parachute malfunction during Operation Just Cause, getting caught in a shootout in Panama, rolling his car and getting mauled by a bull — Tipton wondered if God kept him alive for a reason. “He saved my life,” Tipton believes, “There have been several occasions that I should have died and I feel God kept me alive because he had a plan for my life.” He says his pastor told him to start giving back. In addition to charity work, Tipton does a lot of educational programs, visiting libraries and schools. He brings ropes for the kids to use and he teaches them how to spin. He also teaches them the value of “bouncing” well after life’s setbacks. “You can try to be the best,” he explains, “[but] it’s about how you respond to bad things that happen that matters.” To learn more about Tipton, go to 9

SEMI-PRO by Nathan Winfrey


eteran college football coach Brian Kelly has set his sights on the Oklahoma City Diamondbacks, a semi-professional football team with a promising future and several Edmond players on the roster. The season kicked off March 3, with early wins perhaps setting a template for a successful 2012 for the team. “We kind of have an idea we’re going to be pretty solid this year,” Kelly predicts. The season

ends May 30. “No conflict with NFL or college football for fans, but it gives them a chance to see some ball between now and then,” he says. “We’re a highscoring offense; it’s a lot of fun for the fans.” This is his second season with the Diamondbacks and first as head coach. Last year, he served as defensive coordinator and this year has taken on both duties. Kelly was defensive coordinator for arena football teams Kansas City Brigade and Las Vegas Gladiators (now the Cleveland Gladiators), for years. Before that, over the course of nearly two decades, he was on the coaching staff at Eastern Illinois University, Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Mars Hill College, University of Memphis, University of Maryland, Sam Houston State University and Southeast Missouri State University. He was at Eastern Illinois during Tony Romo’s tenure. “Good guy. All the guys on the team loved him.…He’s definitely one of the elite quarterbacks in the league,” Kelly says of Romo. “I’m not particularly a Dallas Cowboys fan, but I am a Tony Romo fan, so I can’t help but cheer for him.” Of his time with the Gladiators, Kelly remembers, “That was a great experience. Vegas is what Vegas is — it’s a show town, so arena football is just another show.” Attendance at those games sometimes reached 8,000 and they played in a venue nearly the size of the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Originally from Moore, Kelly came back to Oklahoma in 1996 when, while coaching in North Carolina, he got a phone call and learned his dad had cancer. He was told to come home and make funeral arrangements. Now, his dad is still alive, 83

years old, and cancer free. Kelly was head coach at Edmond Santa Fe High School from 1997 to 2001 and during that time 24 of his boys signed to D-1 schools. About 50 went to D-2 and 1-AA schools. He partly credits this to his contacts in the world of college sports. He knew coaches all over the country and he used those connections to get the schools to look at the players. In those days, coaches had to suffer through the cumbersome process of sending tapes of each player’s football highlights to universities, then call three days later to ask if they received it, then call in another three days to ask if they watched it. Now, players can post highlight clips on YouTube to pique colleges’ interest. Still, even with changes to the recruitment process, Kelly says it’s important for hopeful players to attend football camps. He played for OSU during the Jimmy Johnson era, and he owes it to attending a football camp. “By the end of three days, I had a scholarship offer up there. Camps can be important for kids and I don’t think people need to discount that.” Of his Santa Fe players, Brandon Whitaker played at Baylor University and led the Canadian Football League in rushing this year. “I think the CFL is going to have a hard time keeping their hands on him,” Kelly predicts. Another player went to Sam Houston State then started coaching at Baylor, and that’s how Kelly got Whitaker there. “We knew when he was a sophomore that he was outstanding.” “It was a good place to coach and a good school,” Kelly says of Santa Fe. “A lot of talent.”

“We're a high scoring offense; it's a lot of fun for the fans.”


Coach Brian Kelly His current league is also impressive. “Our league is only getting better and stronger,” Kelly says of the Oklahoma Metro Football League, which includes the Diamondbacks. “It’s pretty rock ’em, sock ’em ball.” In February, the OMFL reorganized to merge with the Central Football League. The leagues have blended their schedules and, at the end of the season, OMFL and CFL teams will butt heads for the championship. The Diamondbacks play against teams from across the state, as well as Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. “We’re kind of a gateway league for some players,” Kelly explains. Lionel Bibbins, who played for the Diamondbacks last year, has signed a contract with the Utah Blaze. Kelly says NFL teams and Canadian teams have been after Bibbins. “He’s an excellent player. We were happy for him to get the opportunity; of course, we hated to see him go because he’s so good. We probably have, I guess, five or six guys that if that’s what they want to do, they will have the opportunity to do that.” “It’s more than just weekend warrior football,” Kelly affirms. He says a large percentage of the team members played four-year college football and have a great understanding of the game. “We have guys from Louisiana, Texas, St. Louis, Chicago, as well as our Oklahoma guys.” Kendrick Powell and David Hunt, originally from Flint, Mich., are Edmond transplants. “They’re good additions to the community,” Kelly says. New to the Diamondbacks, TJ Shaw played for Edmond Santa Fe and UCO. “I think he’s going to be an excellent addition for us,” Kelly says. Quarterback Brandon Noohi and wide receiver Ryan Gallimore also are former Bronchos. “Those guys hold a lot of records over at UCO for passing and receiving,” said Kelly. “We’ve got about seven receivers who are just outstanding players, but Gallimore, he’s something else.” Gerald Jones played for the University of Tennessee and made it to the final cut with the Philadelphia Eagles last year. Kelly is pretty sure someone will snatch him up this year. The team practices and plays its home games at Millwood High School, the host location for all Oklahoma Metro Football League teams on this side of the state. “We love playing at Millwood; it’s very convenient, right off the highway, there’s great parking, and it’s a great place to see a ballgame,” Kelly says. “We really enjoy it; it’s a great venue.” For more information visit 11

About the Author

LOVING JAY by Louise Tucker Jones


of prayers over this child and watched God work pril brings a birthday to my son, miracle after miracle in Jay’s life yet still leave many Jay, as well as tender thoughts on requests unanswered. raising a child with special needs. However, my reason for writing is not to In these 36 years there is little I complain, but to let people know how thankful I haven’t experienced. I have seen the best and worst am for my son. I loved in people, from those who were afraid to touch my child, seeming to fear that Down Syndrome was Jay before I even knew contagious, to those who put me on such a high he existed, having prayed pedestal I couldn’t help but fall off. Big news! I’m daily for God to give me no hero or heroine. I made plenty of mistakes, but a baby. I fell eternally in thankfully Jay survived them. love with him when a As with all families with special needs, we have nurse placed a blanketed been through tough times. One bundle in my arms, wrapped happened at Jay’s birth when I tightly from head to toe, and told went through 18 hours of labor me not to unwrap him. Are you and delivered this baby frank kidding? She left the room and breech without a C-section, the I started unwinding, beginning umbilical cord wrapped around by lifting the corner flap of the Jay’s neck, cutting off his oxygen blanket to reveal his sweet face supply. Jay spent nine days in an with tiny up-slant eyes peeking isolette with oxygen and had a at me beneath a velvety, furrowed lifelong communication disorder, forehead. His miniature lips likely caused from a lack of opened as he yawned and oxygen at birth. When Jay was stretched. Love emanated from 14 months old, my husband and every fiber of my being as I made I were ushered into a cath room a silent promise to my son, “I Jay Jones with x-rays lining the walls. The will love you forever, no matter cath showed Jay’s rare heart condition could not be what!” And he has been so easy to love. corrected without risking his life, but without that Together, Carl and I unwrapped Jay completely particular surgery, his lifespan would be very short. in that hospital room, counting fingers and toes and Now there’s a choice for you! I’ve prayed thousands admiring the beauty of this six and one-half pound


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. Contact her at: or

miracle. What in the world was all the hullabaloo concerning Down Syndrome? How could anyone not love this baby boy? I found there were definitely people who would not accept Jay, simply because of his disability, but the good news is that most people adored him. As a toddler he captivated hearts when he flashed his fabulous, four-tooth grin. He grew up ornery, spoiled, sweet and lovable, character traits he still possesses. Jay has hugged more people than anyone I know and has given this mother a heart full of treasures that have come through the fire and now help hold me up in this grief-filled season of my life. With just the two of us at home now, Jay is the strong one, telling me his daddy is in heaven wearing a crown and even riding on the clouds. He sings songs to his dad at the breakfast table and releases bouquets of balloons to heaven with messages of love and watches them float upward before suddenly being snatched out of sight. This young man, who had such a special relationship with his daddy and loved him beyond words, now mimics his father’s courage and trust. What a legacy! Special needs? You bet Jay has special needs. He needs respect, love and acceptance, as we all do, along with the opportunity to show the world his priceless gifts of joy, faith and unconditional love. Happy Birthday, Jay! You are loved!

He grew up ornery, spoiled, sweet and lovable, character traits he still possesses. 13


ROMA'S ITALIAN by Dena A. Edwards


he Roma family has brought one of the best parts of Italy to Guthrie — the delicious food. Born in Milan, Italy, brothers Nick and Evan Roma own and operate Roma’s Italian Restaurant, 1202 S. Division Ave., and with the help of spouses, siblings, cousins and friends, they bring true Northern Italian cuisine to Central Oklahoma. Nick’s family moved to the United States’ West Coast more than 15 years ago. After several years, they tired of the fast pace of coastal living and relocated to Oklahoma for a quieter life. “It was a good change,” Roma said. “And now Oklahoma is home.” The Roma family had been in the restaurant business for many years when Nick and Evan decided to open Roma’s Italian Restaurant in Guthrie in 2009. They now have another location in Cushing, mostly operated by Evan. “We worked in the restaurant industry for a while and we were pretty good at it, so we decided we might as well do our own thing,” said Nick. Casual Italian décor, complete with rustic cedar beams and red and white checkered window treatments, provides a charming, welcoming ambiance,

Tima Roma, Nick Roma & Flamur Veqo but the real draw and focus of the establishment is its fragrant cuisine. Nick arrives at work hours before the restaurant opens for lunch, and gets started preparing the marinara sauce from scratch, giving it time to simmer for hours. “Our marinara sauce is the best — not too spicy, not too sweet, not too sour, not too bitter,” Nick said. The marinara recipe has been in his family for generations. “People try it and they are stumped. They don’t know what to say. It’s a perfect blend.” While the sauce simmers, Nick makes the dough for the pizzas — which eventually will be baked in a brick oven — and for the homemade rolls that are served to every table. The first batch comes out of the oven five minutes before lunch time and new batches are made throughout the day as needed. Nick does much of the cooking personally, as does Evan. “Me, Evan, the cousins … just about everyone in the family helps out in the kitchen sometimes,” Nick said. Roma’s extensive menu includes oven-baked stromboli, calzones, fried calamari, fresh bruschetta, salads, and desserts such as cannoli, tiramisu and Italian ice creams. But the stars of the offerings are

the pizzas and homemade pastas. Traditional ziti, spaghetti, ravioli and lasagna are taken to a new level with the freshly made sauces. In addition to the marinara, homemade Alfredo sauce, and another sauce that combines both Alfredo and marinara, are used throughout the menu. “The Roma (Special) Combo is like a tour of Italy itself,” said Nick, who often refers new diners to this sampling of fettuccini Alfredo, lasagna and chicken parmesan. More exotic offerings also grace the menu — like rib eye with mushroom and marsala wine sauce, or linguini tutomare which has shrimp, mussels, scallops and chopped clams in alla panna sauce — Nick’s personal favorite. Eating at Roma’s is like eating at the Roma family table. “We make you feel at home,” Nick said. “And once you’ve eaten here once, you’ll be known the next time.” Roma’s is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and closed on Mondays. Visit, find them on Facebook or call 260-1552. 15

EASTEREATS by Krystal Harlow

Running Wild Catering


Nothing Bundt Cakes

From elaborate social and corporate functions to casual family gatherings, this expert catering company helps you plan the perfect food for every mood. Create custom touches with an extensive selection of gourmet dishes, homestyle favorites and theme foods, plus drop-off lunches and on-site grilling. Plan now for corporate luncheons, church functions, reunions, weddings and summer grilling parties. Bar service, professional servers and décor and entertainment assistance also available. Call 751-0688 or visit

Enjoy Lottinvilles’ spectacular Sunday brunch buffet from 10:30a.m.-3p.m! Beautiful tables, multiple buffets and spacious dining welcome you with the comfy elegance of a grand resort. Feast on favorite breakfast items, fresh fruits and salads, made-toorder omelets and the chef’s special sweet potato pancakes or waffles. Enjoy leg of lamb and honey mustard glazed ham at the carving station or sample a lavish spread of specialty dishes or king crab legs on the buffet. Dine at 15th & Kelly or visit

No ‘bundts’ about it, this sensational new delicacy is sweeping dessert-lovers off their feet! Now open in OKC, Nothing Bundt Cakes delights you with artistically sculptured cakes draped in thick petals of signature cream cheese frosting. Available in bundts, bundtlets and bundtinis, the delicately sweet, light-as-air cakes melt in your mouth. Choose from 10 scrumptious flavors like April’s featured Chocolate Turtle. Decorated in 40 inspired designs, they’re the perfect treat, gift or centerpiece. Visit at 2520 W. Memorial Rd. or

cupcakes to go go

Earl's Rib Palace

Colby's Grill

Your parties are destined for fun when these fanciful cupcakes arrive. Inspired by the flavor and flair of exciting destinations, cupcakes to go go takes you worlds away with clever taste combinations baked fresh daily. Lose yourself in the Route 66 Red Velvet, Sonoma Valley Vanilla or Black Bottom Beach crowned with creamy frosting and whimsical toppings. You’ll always find more to explore like the Bricktown Brookie and Sunshine State Cake. Drivethru, custom orders and delivery options available. Visit 2524 W. Edmond Rd. or

An Easter feast is made easy with Earl’s! Save all the hunting for eggs, Earl’s has Sunday dinner covered with delicious slow-smoked ham sliced and ready to go. The Family Pack includes all your favorite sides. Choose from baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, fried okra, green beans and more. Want to change things up this Easter? Try the brisket, ribs, pulled pork, turkey, or chicken, all slow-smoked on the premises daily. Stop by 2121 S. Broadway or visit to view the full menu. Earl says if you can find better it!

Start your Easter celebration early with a delicious treat on ‘Good Friday.’ Don’t miss Free Float Fridays each week at Colby’s Grill! This cozy diner is renowned for their hearty, homestyle breakfasts, awesome grilled burgers, chicken fried steaks and lunch specialties. Try their new, Nathan’s gourmet hot dogs in a variety of combos and toppings and don’t miss $2 Hamburger Hump Days each Wednesday. Dine Mon.-Sat. 6:30a.m.-2:30p.m. and select from a full dinner menu through 8:30p.m. each Wednesday! Located at 511 S. Broadway.

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Edmond Hearing Doctors by Melanie Phillips Clemens

Sounds are part of everyday life. They define moments and occasions, and can also signal the possibility of danger. However, for someone who suffers from hearing loss, indistinct sounds often cause frustration that can lead to feelings of depression or isolation. Fortunately, many Oklahomans are receiving the correct testing, diagnosis and treatment through the care of Dr. Trevor Courouleau at Edmond Hearing Doctors. As an OU Health Sciences Center graduate, Courouleau’s education and background offer an advantage to his patients. “People like going to someone that’s educated in the field they’re working in. Much like an optometrist or dentist, I’ve gone through eight years of university training to be an audiologist. We don’t just sell hearing aids; we’re doctors treating our patients,” he explains. As the adjunct assistant professor of audiology at the OU Health Sciences Center for the past seven years along with six years at Oklahoma City VA Medical Center, Courouleau’s medical experience is relevant to how he serves his patients. “One thing I’ve learned is that


patients respond better when their care is personal. We’re a private practice offering very customized attentive care,” said Courouleau. A valuable part of Edmond Hearing Doctors is Belinda Merkel, patient care coordinator, who handles every aspect of patient relations from scheduling appointments to insurance and billing. “Belinda brings a lot to our practice with her extensive background in medical office management and is studying to be a licensed audiology assistant. Exceptional customer service isn’t the only thing that makes Edmond Hearing Doctors unique. “We offer a full range of hearing loss exams and treatments but we also offer services for tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears. I believe we’re the primary facility in Edmond that offers this service. Most people have occasional ringing in the ears but when it’s constant, it’s more problematic. Tinnitus is normally caused by hearing loss but can stem from medication, stress, high blood pressure or diabetes,” said Courouleau. According to the doctor, “Studies show that most

Dr. Trevor Courouleau, Au.D. patients wait seven to 10 years before seeking hearing loss treatment. The earlier hearing loss is detected and treated, the better.” For someone hearing clearly for the first time, after months or years of suffering hearing loss, it can be an emotional experience. “As an audiologist, the ability to give someone a better quality of life, by improving their hearing, is great.” To receive a free hearing screening and discounts on treatment, attend their upcoming open house, with lunch provided, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 10 and 11 at 307 E. Danforth, Suite 118. For more information, call 341-1800 or visit, or find them on Facebook where they provide updates, specials and promotions.

Oklahoma Institute of Allergy & Asthma by Melanie Phillips Clemens

“Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain and the pollen’s high and the grass is dry and the mold comes right behind the rain” isn’t Oklahoma’s theme song but it could be for those who suffer from allergy and asthma symptoms. Thankfully, many Oklahomans are singing a different tune after being treated at Oklahoma Institute of Allergy & Asthma (OIAA). Dr. Amy Darter established OIAA in 2004 to provide a progressive and comprehensive allergy and asthma management program for adults and children. “I realized that common allergies like hayfever were often ineffectively treated, and the less common disorders such as hives, drug allergies, immune deficiencies, angioedema (swelling) as well as taste and smell disorders were not treated at all. My team and I strive to provide the most comprehensive and compassionate care to our patients, using the latest technology,” said Darter. As a board certified allergist, asthmatologist and immunologist, Darter believes in customized evaluation and testing and not a one-size-fits-all

approach. “We have patients from all over the U.S. who’ve been evaluated elsewhere and come to us still suffering. It’s not uncommon for someone to have an immune deficiency rather than or in addition to allergies. Not all allergists evaluate and treat disorders of the immune system,” said Darter. Treating asthma and nasal allergy symptoms are areas of expertise for doctors at OIAA, though according to Darter, preventative and abortive therapy for sinus headaches and migraine management are some of their niches. “We pride ourselves on migraine management at OIAA, helping you find out what your triggers are, ways to prevent them and how to abort them. Oftentimes, migraines are misdiagnosed as sinus headaches.” Perhaps their most unique service is their oral immunotherapy to foods. “We’re one of a handful of centers in the U.S. that offer this new innovative approach to managing food allergies. Usually when someone is allergic to a particular food, an allergist recommends strict avoidance. We’re able to desensitize patients to food they’re allergic to like

Dr. Amy Darter peanuts, milk, cashews, soy, wheat or eggs so they can safely ingest the food,” said Darter. Adding healthy foods back into a patient’s diet isn’t the only benefit. Darter excitedly explained, “Allowing a parent to be able to leave their child at school, daycare or church without worrying about a life-threatening reaction to food is an amazing gift. We’re also successful in desensitizing to medications and antibiotics. We feel like our mission is to improve the quality of life of Oklahoma families, one patient at a time. Allergies don’t have to run their lives. Help is available, effective and affordable.” Oklahoma Institute of Allergy & Asthma is located at 1810 E. Memorial. Call 607-4333 or visit 19

Jessica Ockershauser's Princess Nursery - Photo by Brittany Stover Photography

“A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you're fast asleep...” - Disney's Cinderella


any parents turn those dreams into wakeful reality in elaborate nurseries that often are the most well designed room in their home. The sales staff at Room to Dream in Northpark Mall helps turn ideas into imaginative spaces. “People will walk in with photos off the Web, or rough ideas, and we help them take it to the next level,” said Debbie Francis, owner of Room to Dream. “Your nursery doesn’t have to look like any other nursery.” Francis starts the design process with functionality and the four non-negotiables, as she calls them: places to sleep, to change diapers, to sit and to store clothing and other items. Many of the furniture pieces double-up in function, with a simple changing pad sitting on top of a dresser, and a crib that converts into a twin bed. “We think over the long haul, with about a five-year time frame for the walls and window (treatments), and about 24 months on the beds,” Francis said. “We want the room to be able to transition into a child’s room.” After functionality comes aesthetics. Room to Dream offers not only baby room furnishings, but


Amanda Taylor's Hot Air Balloon Themed Nursery


custom bedding and draperies, wall treatments including murals and faux finishes, and even custom lighting. In one corner of the retail shop, overlooking a Western themed bedroom grouping hangs a fixture made from an old wagon wheel and a vintage wooden stagecoach. In another corner, a set of brightly patterned pastel glass presents were converted and now a light bulb “candle” tops each one and the entirety makes a whimsical chandelier. Francis said they have made light fixtures out of old toys, antiques, ceramic knick knacks, even an old porcelain tea set. These unique pieces really set off a space in an original way, she said. While whimsy works for many baby rooms, Jessica Ockershauser’s nursery called for elegance and the draping ropes of crystal on the chandelier dangling from the golden ceiling. The gold-painted four-posted iron crib is decked with pink and shimmering golden fabrics worthy of a princess. Cream-hued furniture gives the soft structure and long panels of pink silk draperies puddle on the floor

and frame the lacy sheers beneath. Throughout Ockershauser’s baby room sit antiques, stuffed animals, framed photographs and charming cut glass lamps which cast a warm glow throughout. The fairytale baby room was designed to make Ockershauser’s daughter, Claire, feel loved and cherished, Francis said, like royalty. Dian Sill wanted a different feel for her space. In designing a room suite for her four granddaughters, Sill chose the relaxing Cape Cod style, with its quaint cottage charm. Pale sea foam green wood planks cover the focal wall, which forms the background for the pair of white iron twin beds, covered with a feminine floral pattern in faint shades of pale green, pink and yellow. White eyelet bed skirts peek beneath the coverlet, and tie in the white lace pillows, each embroidered with a granddaughter’s name. Similarly colored fabrics with a variety of patterns cover the cozy chair and ottoman in the corner. Worn creamy wooden frames keep the nautical feel alive and an intimate tea party for two

pink bunnies on a child-sized white wicker table and chairs makes the room fun and homey. Sill carried the Cape Cod theme into the room’s adjoining bathroom, with butter-yellow bead board wainscoting forming the backdrop for the freestanding tub, old-fashioned toilet with the pull flush handle, and pedestal sink. A pillow-lined window seat sits beneath white café curtains, and soft white light filters into the space. Throughout the suite, rag rugs add even more warmth to an already inviting suite of rooms. Girls aren’t the only ones lucky enough to have over-the-top rooms created for them. News9 anchor Amanda Taylor and husband Nick lovingly designed a nursery in their Edmond home for their new son, Gage. While shopping at Room to Dream, Taylor saw a dresser that she fell in love with, and it became the focal point of a her baby’s room —a weathered cream-hued dresser covered with hand painted hot air balloons. They worked around the storage piece and shopped antique shops for an array of cast iron antique toys, such as the mechanical “Magician’s Bank” that sits in front of the bronze wire frame of a Ferris wheel, and the antique ring toss game that hangs on a wall. An apothecary jar filled with children’s vintage wooden blocks rests near the changing pad and more blocks spell out “Gage”

Dian Sills' Cape Cod Styled Room for her Granddaughters amongst vintage toy cars on a shelf beneath an old Motor Race game board displayed on the wall. Pale silvery blue, gray and white stripes set off the wall behind the transition crib, with “Gage” displayed in a graphic above. A few dangling hot air balloons add pops of color throughout. Bedding and curtains handmade by Taylor and her mom add softness and warmth. “(The design of the room) is not for my son, it’s 100 percent for us,” Taylor said. “Going into the room, seeing it complete, seeing my

precious baby sleeping in it…it makes me happy and brings a smile to my face.” That’s why Francis has helped decorate baby rooms at Room to Dream for 13 years —to make families happy with well-designed baby and kid rooms. Yes, they add visual interest and stimulation to the child as he or she grows up, Francis said, but it’s really more about the added joy of bringing a child into the world that a loving family member has created just for them. 21

INNOCENCE ON DEATH ROW by Christy Shuler “The tears keep gushing out like torrential rain — I’m not as tough as you think I am.” These words were written by Reginald Lewis in a poem titled, “The Lyrical Life of a Dream.” It was written from his prison cell on death row. Since 1973, there have been 138 people in the United States that have served on death row,

“You can free an innocent man from prison, but you can't free him from the grave.” only to be released after being proven innocent. These survivors spend an average of 9.8 years incarcerated. After they are exonerated, some of them receive no compensation for their years wasted. They are given no apology for the damage done to their name. They are simply released, left to pick up the pieces of their lives as they attempt to forget the fear that haunted them daily in that tiny cell. Edmond resident Nancy Vollertsen would gladly tell you her story if you were to ask. She works in the financial aid office at the University of Central Oklahoma, but her real passion lies in the work she does with Witness to Innocence, an organization aimed at abolishing the death penalty while providing support to death row survivors and their families. Nancy has a particularly close connection to this cause. She spent eight years fighting for her brother’s life. It was 1985 and Nancy’s brother, Greg Wilhoit,


was living with his wife Kathy and two young daughters, Kimberly and Kristen, 4 and 14 months old. On June 1, Kathy was found murdered in their Tulsa apartment. While Greg and his daughters mourned their incredible loss, it was one year later things got unimaginably worse. Greg was charged with the murder of his wife. “They had no evidence,” recalls Nancy. “We knew that.” What they did have, however, was a single bite mark found on Kathy’s body. A group of dental experts claimed that the bite belonged to Greg. Nancy says she and her family remained hopeful, having full faith that Greg could never have committed the crime. Their parents jumped into action, hiring an attorney to represent him. But as Nancy explains, the attorney had undisclosed alcohol abuse problems and, needless to say, the trial did not go in Greg’s favor and he was convicted of murder. Nancy and her husband had been living in Germany when she received a call from her father. The fact that it was her father calling left her uneasy, since courtesy calls were normally her mother’s business. “He said, ‘Bad news. Greg was convicted,’” Nancy recalls. As she struggled to get her mind around the statement, he finished, “That’s not all. He was sentenced to death.” The family went into a state of shock. Nancy returned home to her family’s aid immediately. They refused to accept the loss. With the help of Greg’s new attorney, Mark Barrett, who had been appointed for his appeal, the team sought after the nation’s top forensic odontologists.

“They took one look at the bite mark and said, ‘There’s no way that’s Greg.’” Finally, with affidavits supporting these new findings at his appeal in 1993, the judge declared Greg innocent. He was cleared of all charges. While some may assume that day was the happy ending they had hoped for, Greg’s new found innocence wasn’t all positive. After having spent the past eight years fighting this case, Greg

Nancy Vollertsen

Greg Wilhoit literally lost everything — his house, his mental well-being, and the opportunity to father his two little girls. “Greg was a wreck,” says Nancy. “He never recovered.”

Oklahoma is one of 34 states still exercising capital punishment. It is stories like Greg’s that fuel Witness to Innocence to work tirelessly until they achieve their goal of ending the death penalty across the country. Witness to Innocence uses the exonerated to spread their message. By allowing death row survivors to tell their stories publicly, they hope people will see that not only are real human beings going through this, but the ripple effect widens as their families and friends are affected as well. Most of us can only imagine waiting in a cell for years after being told they were to be executed. In Greg’s case, he was told a needle would end his life. If that didn’t work, the electric chair. If power ceased, he would be hung. If the rope failed, he would be shot. Add this to the fact that he was convicted of the murder of his wife, a crime which, after Greg was released, was never solved. Of course, not everyone on death row is innocent. People are guilty of committing heinous acts every day. Timothy McVeigh sat on death row before being executed for his crimes in the Oklahoma City bombing. This is a truth that Nancy will gladly acknowledge, pointing out that her and her family were victims of a crime as well and they lost a loved

one. Still, she stands by her resolution. “Revenge is not the answer,” she says. “Perpetuating the circle of violence is not the answer.” She says that while many may be guilty of a crime, it does not give us the right to exact the punishment that they deserve. Nancy has been told by families of the victims of the OKC bombing that the execution of McVeigh did little to quell their pain. Of course, she admits, criminals of such tragedies should in no way be allowed to walk the streets. Life without parole, she offers, would be a fair medium of the two sides, allowing justice for the victims, but not resorting to the same crimes for which they are accused. Nancy then references a quote often used by Witness to Innocence spokespeople, “You can free an innocent man from prison, but you can’t free him from the grave.” Greg now lives in California, working with Witness to Innocence to tell his story. A victim of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, he currently battles alcohol and drug abuse problems. But at least he can say he is alive. The real question remains, how many of the wrongly accused were not so lucky? For more information about Witness to Innocence, or to read the stories of other death row survivors, go to

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nonprofit organization that started as a parent support group in Edmond is now helping hundreds of families affected by autism across the state. Autism Oklahoma offers advice and resources for parents of children with autism, as well as numerous social activities, including summer camps, teen, college and adult groups and an annual PieceWalk and 5K. “We really try to focus more on the positive side of autism versus the negative side,” said the organization’s Director of Community Development, Crystal Frost. “We do try to change whatever the negative sides are and partner some of the positive with that to excel our community and our children.” Ten years ago, organization founder Melinda Lauffenburger began meeting with another parent at the Edmond Library. More parents joined and soon


Annual PieceWalk & 5K in Oklahoma City the Edmond Family Center for Autism was created. Eventually the organization started similar groups in Oklahoma City, Stillwater, Muskogee and Canadian Valley. “Last year we redid our website and we renamed our organization Autism Oklahoma, which is so easy to remember,” said Frost. “And we just have been growing and growing.” Frost joined Autism Oklahoma after her son was diagnosed with autism six years ago. She said one of the most rewarding aspects of being a part of the organization is giving back the support that she received. “The biggest thing with autism in general is that a lot of people still don’t know what autism is,” she said. “The grandparents don’t understand, so they just stop coming around or the aunts and

uncles don’t help because they don’t know how. Or there is denial.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism, along with Asperger’s syndrome and Pervasive Developmental DisorderNot Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. They are called Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASDs, because the symptoms range from mild to severe. Early signs of autism among infants include not making eye contact, not cuddling, not smiling back and not responding to their name. CDC statistics show that one in every 110 children in the United States has ASD. What

One in every 110 children in the U.S. has an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

causes it is unknown but specialists point out that early intervention is key. “What we are trying to perceive and get out is that people with autism can have a bright future and they can do anything that anyone else can do. It’s just harder, because of their developmental delay,” Frost explained. “What we are asking is for every walk of life, whether it would be your church, your school, your college, your grocery store, your neighbor, anything, to just understand that we have to do things a little bit differently and that we need those partners.” The organization’s mascot, Dash, who is a big red puzzle piece, is an essential part of all the activities. “It’s really hard for a person with autism to make friends, because they don’t know how to talk to people, or they are bullied because they act differently,” said Frost. “Dash is a friendly mascot that connects the community with people with autism. Hence, the puzzle piece, he is a connector.” The various programs that Autism Oklahoma offers are designed to encourage social interaction and build confidence. The Summer Advance program, in partnership with UCO, helps young adults transition from high school to college. Students learn how to plan their schedules, go to class and live on campus. “That’s really hard for somebody with autism that hasn’t had to do those things,” said

Frost. Camp Noggin is a summer camp for children son has autism. She said the network of parents not with special needs where they can exercise and only understand the challenges of having a child make friends in a safe environwith autism but also celebrate ment. The Bee’s Knees program their children’s unique abilities promotes self-sufficiency for and accomplishments. “Someyoung adults through developtimes it’s easier at the end of ing entrepreneurial and busithe day to stay home and not ness skills. have to explain to another perAutism Oklahoma has son or not have to deal with the several awareness and fundchallenges that you can face raising events throughout the being in public,” Archibald year. All of the proceeds are said. “Knowing you aren’t the used in-state. “We’ve given only one and knowing you over $85,000 in the last three have a support system if you years in programs and grants to need it goes a very long way.” the state of Oklahoma for the Autism Oklahoma is things that they need, whether planning to start additional it be education, research or the support groups and hopes to parent support groups,” said reach more families, including Crystal Frost and son Spencer Frost. The organization’s bigthose living in smaller towns. gest fundraising event is the annual PieceWalk and “We are a parent-led group, and we are here to raise 5K that is set for May 5 in Bricktown. More than our families together as a community,” said Frost. 5,000 people and 500 runners are expected to parShe is encouraging everyone to be open-minded, ticipate. The event will feature music, face-painting, to volunteer and get to know a person with augames, food and a resource and vendor fair. “It’s a tism. “It would bless their lives in ways they never phenomenal day.” thought possible.” Amy Archibald and her family regularly attend For more information about the organization Autism Oklahoma meetings and events. Archibald’s and how to get involved, go to 25



s Edmond sculptor Shan Gray first envisioned a national award to honor the late Tulsan Wayman Tisdale’s NCAA basketball legacy, he knew he wanted to try something truly special. Having already been successful in creating a national sports award in bronze, the Warren Spahn Award, Gray saw an opportunity to sculpt with an ageless quality through the clarity of its colorless medium. Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger received the inaugural Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award last year in Oklahoma City. The sculpture was a daring departure from Gray’s normal work…one in which he is finally sharing the full reasoning behind. “For my first foray into designing and sculpting a modern art award, I chose acrylic, sometimes called optical crystal, because it’s more pure than glass,” Gray said. “After studying many photos of Wayman, I was hoping to allow the shimmer of the acrylic to express the emotion of his smile.” Gray has more time to appreciate the upcoming second annual Wayman Tisdale Award gala banquet that will be held April 16 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. “I wanted to get through that first year, get the appraisal back and see how the sports world accepted the award before I disclosed why I was so adamant with the organizers — headed up by Scott Hill — that I be allowed to try this clear medium in this new endeavor,” Gray said. “As an Osage Indian myself, I saw the clear acrylic as a way to leave race out of

the equation — to focus more on his smile, as it was what people saw all the time and it tells it all. I worked hard on that smile.” Scott Hill, executive director of the Oklahoma City-based nonprofit Access Sports, approached Gray to sculpt the award that the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) gives to the NCAA’s best freshman. In 1983, Tisdale was the first college freshman ever named a consensus All-American, going on to be a three-time USBWA All-American and threetime Big Eight Player of the Year at the University of Oklahoma. A gold medal winning 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team member, he played in the NBA for 12 seasons. He retired to Tulsa in 1997 to focus on his guitarinspired jazz career and to support many charitable and humanitarian causes, including his foundation. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and had his right leg amputated above the knee in 2008. He died in May 2009. The DuPont acrylic ended up costing Gray time and effort well beyond what he would have normally expended during a bronze casting process closer to home. Gray found an artisan near New York City with four decades of experience who also mastered a proprietary process in acrylic fabrication. Gray said he saw aspects within the artisan’s castings that could highlight his sculpture. When an artist takes advantage of all that this palette holds, it can make the piece a unique and ethereal fine art acrylic sculpture, Gray said.

“I was hoping to allow the shimmer of the acrylic to express the emotion of his smile.”


Photo courtesy Access Sports

This medium allows the artist to celebrate the manipulation of light through the acrylic’s prism and the interplay of the shadows throughout the light’s distribution in the sculpture. “This artisan has experimented to create many original artistic aspects for this medium,” Gray said. “His gift to my project was the impact of splitting the design with images inside and out — an image is coming out, while a part remains inside. Also inside,

suspended within the acrylic, it says ‘The Wayman Tisdale Award’ where the light gives it a dramatic effect.” Because this fabrication process was all new to Gray, he said he might have spent too much time learning the ins and outs of acrylic. He made three trips to the artisan’s foundry, learning and watching the fabrication process. Gray reminded the Scott Hill & Shan Gray - Photo by Richard T. Clifton artisans of the precision needed in keeping the head at an upward tilt and looking inward by 52 degrees from center. After coming to the attention of his fellow Edmond residents while sculpting and erecting the 19-foot-tall bronze Shannon Miller statue near the Edmond Library, Gray has continued to be well-received by the sports world. His Warren Spahn Award, given to the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball each year, and three larger-than-life bronze statues have garnered him attention as a public artist. Gray, 55, lives in southeast Edmond with his wife, Melanie. Their 20-year-old daughter, Evan, is in her junior year of year-round study at Dartmouth, playing college softball after an all-state softball pitching career at Santa Fe High School. Gray began sculpting professionally in 1986 and describes his sculpting style as rooted in the classical tradition. The artist’s creations are almost equally divided between independent and commissioned pieces. He specializes in sculpting the human form, ranging from portrait busts and gallery sculptures to large-scale monuments. The Bronze Horse Foundry of Pawhuska has cast the majority of his pieces in bronze under the supervision of John Free Jr. This year the USBWA has selected Kentucky forward Anthony Davis as the winner of the 2012 Wayman Tisdale Award. The banquet will also honor legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski as the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award. Coach “K” is the winningest coach in college hoops. Members of the Downtown Club of Oklahoma City will play host to this year’s event. Access Sports helps honor the award recipient and also funds prosthetic devices for the needy through the Wayman L. Tisdale Foundation and educational scholarships through the USBWA. Tickets and sponsorship information for the April 16 event are available at, or by contacting Scott Hill at 749-1515 or

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FINANCIAL PEACE by Christy Shuler


oday we live in a world consumed with money. Whether it’s the desire for more or the satisfaction of having it, money haunts us. And what we fear most may be not having enough to make it. The employees at Vox Printing know that fear. In fact, they overcame it. A sister company of Edmond’s Reid Printing, Vox gave its employees a gift that would prove invaluable: a financial education with Dave Ramsey’s program, Financial Peace University.

“People bring their stress to work and money is stressful.” Vox had heard through the grapevine that its employees were struggling, living paycheck to paycheck. “People bring their stress to work and money is stressful,” says employee Jena Walla. Walla had heard of Financial Peace University, a program designed to educate people on money matters such as getting out of debt, saving for unexpected costs and retirement, to name a few. Soon, the company’s employees were offered the 13-week course, courtesy of Vox Printing. In addition, they would even provide a bonus for those who graduated. The program started in November because the company hoped its employees might get a jump on the Christmas season. Financial Peace University is primarily taught in churches all across the nation. Students are given videos to watch which correspond with lessons from their workbooks. Instead, Vox hosted the program right inside their facility, during the 30-minute lunch break. With a convenient location and tailor-made schedule, it was difficult for employees to say no. “We were hoping for at least 10 of our 50 employees to participate in the program,” says Vox president David Reid. “We ended up with 21 employees graduating.” Leading the program was Brenda Cannon, a CPA who volunteered her time to spread Dave Ramsey’s words. Having undergone the financial education herself and achieving financial freedom, she wanted


to find a way to give back. “People are so misled (about money),” Cannon says. It wasn’t long after she and her husband took the course that he was able to quit work for two years to go back to school. The inspirational stories go on from there. Vox employee Heather Patton had been planning her wedding before the opportunity with Financial Peace. She considered the program a perfect solution to not only save extra cash for the wedding and honeymoon, but begin a new life with her husband and have a fresh financial start. Patton and her fiancé were hoping to make it out of the wedding without giving in to the temptation of loans or credit card purchases and upon her graduation of Financial Peace, the two succeeded. “Everything was paid for in cash. We came back with no debt,” she says. The couple started by setting a simple goal to fill a change jar by their wedding day. They also began isolating some of their money into an emergency fund, the first of Financial Peace University’s “Seven Tips for Financial Peace.” Patton says she appreciated the layout of the course, since her husband was able to join her in the lessons, making them easier to apply to her daily routine.

Heather Patton on her Wedding Day She admits to having financial preconceptions that were shattered after completing the course. Having paid a home warranty for the past four years, she often wondered if the money would be put to better use. After all, these warranties are sometimes not used at all and often the damage done is not even included in the warranty. Patton, with her newfound knowledge, used her cash savings to make repairs, leaving the idea of a warranty behind. When asked if she would recommend the program to prospective students, Patton eagerly confirms she would. If people could only start out

with this kind of knowledge, she explains, they would be far better off. “I had to learn the hard way,” she says. Though money concepts and lingo can seem confusing, it doesn’t have to be. With easy-tounderstand lessons and relatable stories, Financial Peace University provides the tools for financial success, as long as the steps are followed. And with

FPU Graduates at Vox Printing a support group of peers there for every meeting, there is less chance of falling out of line. “Having that accountability helps so much,” said Cannon. Though nearly half of Vox Printing employees found success in the program, there were still others who came to regret not participating. Walla recalls some having admitted they did not sign up because they believed the class to be aimed toward only the debt-ridden. Walla said this is simply not the case. “(Financial Peace) is everything money from A to Z.” With principles targeting every financial status, the message of Dave Ramsey’s program suggests that everyone, no matter their level of debt or salary can find financial freedom. Walla relates, saying having her own student debt to overcome drives her to ensure that her children will not meet the same fate. And perhaps this is the overlying lesson to be learned: It is never too late to correct your mistakes. It is never too late to change. In this regard, Vox is already planning future collaborations with Financial Peace. Having given their employees a means to end their stressful financial burdens, they are excited to see their employees able to focus more on their jobs. “We always tell our employees to smile when they answer the phone because people can tell,” said Reid. “Now they have one more reason to do so.” 29

The Balanced Life Weight Loss Clinic Summer is right around the corner, are you ready? Lose an average of 3-7 lbs. per week with no harmful diet pills or hormones. Enjoy delicious foods designed to burn stored fat while maintaining muscle mass. The Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method is quick and healthy with proven long-lasting results. Call Tina, Accredited Ideal Protein Coach, for 25% off Consultation/Start Up! Workshops and tastings scheduled weekly. Located at 1015 Waterwood Pkwy, Ste.G • 330-6800 Find us on Facebook!

Beaucoup Boutiques has MOVED! Visit us at our brand new location in downtown Edmond. We feature over 15 vendors offering boutique clothing, purses, decor, hand-made jewelry and children’s items. Spring items arriving now! Open Mon-Sat 10-5:30 • 111 S. Broadway 285-7511 •


Blessings and Blooms is a fabulous home decor and gift shop on Main Street in Yukon. Celebrate every occasion with the Happy Everything Collection and fun interchangeable decorations. From cookie jars to frames to platters, we encourage you to make everyday merry! Open Mon-Fri 10-6 & Sat 10-5 at 419 W. Main Street in Yukon. Find us on Facebook! • 577-6790

Looking for a unique way to say thank you to your child's teachers? Candy bouquets make the perfect gift! Customize yours with their favorite colors and candy. Plus enjoy free Edmond delivery! Bring in this ad for $5 off a teacher bouquet. (min. $25 puchase - exp. 4/30/12) Located at the NW corner of Danforth & Santa Fe • 341-9400 • Find us on Facebook!

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Shop, Support, Save a Life. Our Sisters’ Closet is an upscale Edmond women’s resale shop benefiting battered women and children receiving services at the YWCA OKC.

Located 3 blocks North of 2nd, between Broadway & Boulevard at 101 E. Hurd. Child Care Providers of Edmond offers Open Tues-Fri 10-5:30 and Sat 10-5. FREE assistance to parents looking for 348-2442 • home-based child care in the Edmond area. All child care providers are Oklahoma DHS And at I-240 & S. Penn. (NW corner Walnut Sq.) licensed and are certified in CPR & first aid. Mention this ad for a Shopping Discount! For help finding quality care for your child, call 330-HOME or visit

Oasis Pools & Spas offers quality maintenance, repair and remodeling for your swimming pool or spa. Whether you have an inground or above-ground pool, our trained technicians will keep it running beautifully. Stop by our store and enjoy 15% off all toys, pool floats and games with this ad. Exp. 4/30/12 • 1333 N. Santa Fe • 340-6442 • Also, now hiring!


Introducing Barbie's Consignment, for . We now accept all women's sizes! Stop by and meet Barbara and Carol and browse our great selection of quality clothing, purses and shoes. Open Mon-Sat 10-6, Thur 10-7 & Sun 1-5. Located at 364 S. Kelly in Edmond 844-0505

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Co-Motion Group Exercise & Health Counseling is now open in Edmond! All levels, ages and sizes welcome. We offer ZUMBA, Cardio, Kick-Boxing and Health Counseling with convenient workout times and a great location, 2100 S. Broadway in Edmond. Enjoy 10% off with this ad! Exp. 4/30/12 Find us on Facebook or call 580-320-5743. Your first class is always free!

Ladybugs and Lizards is an upscale children's clothing boutique where the whimsical and classic come together. We offer traditional lines like Biscotti, Cach Cach and Feltman Brothers and carry the newest lines out of Europe like KidCuteTure, Scotch R'Belle and Dino e Lucia. Located in the Spring Creek Shopping Center, NW corner of 15th & Bryant • 348-2121 Find us on Facebook!

Anabelle’s Galleria Visit Anabelle’s Galleria for the newest Waxing Poetic line, Bespoken. Create heartfelt jewelry pieces tailor-made to your unique stories. You'll also find designer jeans, hats, shoes, gifts and children's items. Located at 1201 NW 178th (2nd & Western) • 359-1189 • Find us on Facebook!

Loabi Boutique carries all the latest in women's and children's apparel, shoes, gifts & handbags from brands like Fossil, Toms, Aden & Anais, Haute Baby, Miss Me and Brighton. Four piece sets of Munire baby furniture are 20% off for a limited time! Open M-F 10-6 and Sat 10-5. 454 W. Main Street in Yukon Find us on Facebook! • 494-7447

Hippity, Hoppity, Easter's on its way! Shop Hip & Swanky for an amazing collection of Easter dresses. You’ll also find Corral and Old Gringo boots, jewelry & accessories. 1247 E. Danforth (Kickingbird Square) • 341-3066 Bloomin Outdoors is Yukon's newest, hippest boutique featuring men's and women's outdoor lifestyle shoes and apparel. You'll find products from Teva, Lucky, Silver, Mt. Hardware, North Face, Keen, Old Gringo and Patagonia. Open Mon-Fri 10-7 & Sat 10-5 at 451 W. Main St. in Yukon. Find us on Facebook! • 494-7676

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‘Keep Oklahoma Beautiful’ has been an Oklahoma motto since 1965 and for Andy Nelson with Nelson Lawn Care & Landscaping since 1995. Nelson’s fascination with cars motivated him, at 12 years old, to mow lawns to earn money towards his first car. 18 years later, Nelson’s passion for cars is only surmounted by his passion for beautifying the landscape of Edmond and Oklahoma City. “I enjoy the role we play in keeping Oklahoma beautiful. As a full service residential and commercial lawn service company, our mission is to make properties look their best at all times. We provide weekly maintenance from April to October,” shared Nelson. But precision lawn care is just ‘icing on the cake’ for the landscape design services Nelson added to his genre 10 years ago. Incorporating a 3D landscaping design in lieu of an architectural layout has been advantageous for Nelson and his customers. “3D design is life-like and basically shows the client how the landscape will look,” said Nelson. Landscaping isn’t simply for beautification, but adds value to a home. Nelson explained, “I’ve done a lot of research and studies show that investing as little as 3 to 5% of a home’s value by revamping outdated or minimal landscaping can increase the value by over 10%.” Nelson’s uses perennials, annuals, evergreens and exotic plants that are proven to be ‘award

3D Landscape Design Rendering


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winning.’ “We work with about 30 different plants that adapt to Oklahoma’s changing weather. Last summer, we won ‘Edmond Yard of the Week’ three separate times. We thought that was great considering it was something that just happened. I wasn’t aware there was an award for that until last year,” said Nelson. From the first phone call to project’s end, every customer is priority. “We strive to answer every phone call, treat clients special regardless of project size and communicate through the entire process. We employ 15-20 people in the peak season, but my core team includes the sweetest secretary ever, Janelle, 10 guys that have been with me for six years and my dog Tugg. Tugg goes everywhere with me. When I pick up a crew, they know to get in the backseat because Tugg won’t move,” laughed Nelson. “We’re all like family, I attend their weddings and they’ll come to mine in June when I marry Keirsten Russel and adopt her dog Tallie.” Another benefit to their success has been Nelsons’ brother-in-law, Baltazar (Brad) Prado. “Brad received his doctorate degree from OSU in Agricultural Economics and gained experience in his homeland, El Salvador. He’s brilliant and oversees a lot of the landscaping. It’s nice having him on the team.”

Nelson’s pride in landscaping lawns stems not only from years of experience but from the help that he’s had along the way. Nelson explained, “Landscapers who’ve been in the business for 40 plus years have helped guide me. Perhaps my best lesson was from the mistakes we made early on. We feel we’ve got it down to a science after learning what works and what doesn’t, especially in Oklahoma’s clay soil.” To view a sample of their landscaping work, visit Spring Creek Assembly of God in Edmond. Find them online at or call 202-4120 before April 30th to book your consultation and receive a 3D landscape design for just $79 (retail price $250).

202-4120 33

aster ES ervices

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A SOLID FOUNDATION by Lindsay Whelchel


ynda Powell was struggling. The single mother’s difficulties ranged from the basics of food and clothing to the logistics of getting to and from work or getting through semester after semester of college. And to make things worse, she couldn’t find many resources for support. “Was it gas in the car or food on the table - these are real struggles,” Powell says. At her lowest point, Powell pledged that if she could just make it through, she would dedicate her life to helping others in similar situations. And now, through founding the Bethel Foundation, a nonprofit which gained 501(c)(3) status in 2004, she is. The organization, which served 9,549 women and children last year, offers a variety of opportunities and help for single mothers in the metro, one-third

of which are from Edmond, Powell says. “I think it’s important for a mother to know that there’s someone that’s been through this, understands the struggles and knows how to get out of it,” Powell explains. “So, it’s to help guide them and be there for them.” These are mothers like Katherine, whose last name is being withheld for safety reasons. It took Katherine, a single mother of six, almost two years to get out of an abusive relationship. At first she sought the services of the foundation from clothing to food, in sporadic times of need. Then after moving, her daughters had no beds. The Bethel Foundation provided bunk beds to Katherine as well as other services. “For me, it kept me from falling so far behind,” she said. “If it weren’t for them stepping in, in the places that they did, it would’ve taken me a lot lon-

“For me, it kept me from falling so far behind.”


ger to get where I am.” Household items such as this are provided by donations to the organization, Powell explains. She adds that they host a variety of programs that give the mothers and their children opportunities they may not have otherwise. “You never know when that mother walks through the door that this could be her last hope that she’s seeking, because when you don’t have food, you can’t afford gas. You’re trying, but you keep getting behind; we’re there to help propel you to keep going with the resources we have to offer,” Powell says. Those resources include life skills classes, clothing, food, a community center, a scholarship program called the Grace Scholarship and a home

ownership program, in addition to services directly for the children, such as a Christmas gift program and a host of free spring break and summer camps. Katherine explains the impact of these services on her and her children. “It was really amazing, it really touched my heart. It’s just something that when you are in those situations where you can’t help yourself, that they can step in and be that foundation for you and help you,” she says. Katherine’s experiences with the foundation spurred her to become a volunteer and she says that there are a lot of ways others can help. “Really there is a big need for volunteers when it comes to our kids’ camps that they do, to be that mentor,” she says. Her children will be attending the camps this year and she emphasizes what taking on a mentor role can mean. “To have that experience with a child, they may not have anyone else that could give them those type of experiences or be that role model to them or that word of encouragement, or someone to look up to, because they may not have that around them.” Powell echoes the importance of volunteers. “I think people can get involved and see that these needs are real, so they can get in and help; maybe you can give one or two hours of your time…

Scholarship recepient graduating from UCO

Boys attending Camp Sonlight

everybody can do something,” she says. In addition to monetary donations that would fund day-to-day operations, as well as help add a pavilion, add on to the community center, and the hope for a shelter for abused women and children, the foundation is always in need of material items such as clothing, appliances and furniture as well as volunteers to facilitate their programs. Powell explains that the center is located on five acres so even help with mowing is essential. Katherine adds that the program comes full circle when her children not only get to participate

in the programs but then get involved volunteering as they have done. “I think it’s great because they get to see that there are people out there who care about you and you need to care about others as well,” she said. The organization will be hosting a free spring conference for mothers on April 28. It will offer door prizes, free child care and they will be naming a single mom of the year. For more information on Bethel Foundation’s programs and services or how you can help, visit 37



OUTLOOK by Krystal Harlow

Name: Ruth Rickey, Super Star Sugar Artist What made you decide to make the leap from lawyer to decorator? It was a total accident. I always loved to bake. My mom and grandmother were great bakers. I took a cake class to make a birthday cake and next thing I know, I was working as a cake decorator during a six month hiatus from working for the state and never went back! What famous people have you decorated cakes for? I was honored to do wedding cakes for several Governor's daughters and for Toby Keith's daughter. I've done cakes for NFL and NBA families, pro golfers and horse racing folks. A year after opening Ruth's Sweete Justice Bakery, you were diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia. Tell us about that. Finding out you have an incurable, untreatable form of cancer can stop you in your tracks. When I was diagnosed, I was given two to five years. But six weeks after the diagnosis, the FDA approved the first real treatment for CML. I was the first person in OK to start Gleevec. Within a year, my bone marrow was clean. A couple years later, I was in cytogenetic remission. After 10 and a half years on the drug, my body was building resistance so I recently switched to Sprycel, the second generation drug for CML. And now you dedicate a tremendous amount of time and effort to raise money and awareness for cancer research? Yes - I turn 50 in April and to celebrate, I'm doing the Madrid Marathon with Team in Training. I'll also be doing the Anchorage, Nike and Dublin Marathons and hopefully the Redman Half Iron Man Triathlon this year, to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. My life was saved because of a $500,000 grant from the LLS. I believe it's important that I work to finance someone else's miracle. You are one of only 22 certified master sugar artists in the world! How does one qualify for such an honor? You have eight hours to do a three tier cake, single tier cake and a non-cake sugar display. Those pieces must show eight different advanced techniques and you must score very high on every aspect. About 20 people attempt the test each year. Only a few pass. It's no cakewalk! You've also been featured on several TV shows? Yes, I was the lead on WE TV's Wedding Cake Wars and we won. I assisted Pat Jacoby on TLC's Ultimate Cake Off and we won both times. And I was also on three specials filmed for the Food Network on the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show. Ruth's Sweete Justice Bakery recently closed. How come? While I miss my customers and employees, I believe that I'm meant to be an instructor. I love the sugar arts and want the new generation to learn the old techniques. It is incredibly rewarding to travel and teach others. 39


Edmond Outlook April 2012  

The Edmond Outlook is Edmond, Oklahoma's monthly community magazine. Since 2005, we've published hundreds of stories about Edmond residents,...

Edmond Outlook April 2012  

The Edmond Outlook is Edmond, Oklahoma's monthly community magazine. Since 2005, we've published hundreds of stories about Edmond residents,...