13431 N Broadway EXT, STE 104 Oklahoma City, OK 73114
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Art Heals the Heart
21 FRIEND AND FOAL Blazes Equine Tribute Rescue
LETTERS FROM LOUISE Happy 45th Anniversary! (cont.)
22 THUNDER GIRL Made in Edmond
10 SPORTS Touchdown: Adult Flag Football
24 SHOPPING GUIDE Spring Sensations
12 BEST OF EDMOND Stillwater National Bank & Copeland Construction
26 A FATHER'S HOPE Fighting a Son's Battle
15 DINING GUIDE Chili Dog Express 16 CELEBRATE SPRING Easter and Mother's Day Dining space 18 HOME Flip Out: Advice for Flipping a Home 32 MY EDMOND OUTLOOK Rep. Elise Hall, (R) OK - District 100
28 R.A.C.E. Dancing Towards Change
Follow Us On Twitter t w itter.com/EdmondOutlook
Become a Fan on Facebook facebook.com/EdmondOutlook
Visit Our Website w w w.edmondoutlook.com
Laura Beam Lauren Wheat
Marshall Hawkins Heide Brandes Melanie Clemens Radina Gigova Louise Tucker Jones Lindsay Whelchel Nathan Winfrey The Edmond Outlook is delivered FREE by direct mail to 50,000 Edmond homes and businesses.
Additional copies available at the Edmond Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Bureau, & Back40 Design office. 13431 N. Broadway Ext., Suite 104 Oklahoma City, OK 73114 405-341-5599 Fax: 405-341-2020 Website: www.edmondoutlook.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Volume 7, Number 4) Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc. ÂŠ 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
rt can turn a complex feeling or idea into something physical. It can distill the mind’s dissonant troubles into a work done by the hands, and that can be a great tool for cancer patients and their families. “If those with cancer can find a creative side, I think it’s therapeutic for them, whether it’s painting, or sculpting, or writing,” says Bob Willis, grief counselor with Hospice of Oklahoma County. Willis leads “Healing Heart” workshops for cancer patients and their families twice a week. “It’s a grief support group, but it’s a little different slant,” he explains. Participants sculpt a bandaged heart. “I see people who can relate to the broken heart, as well as the bandage and stitches,” Willis says. “They’re in a tough battle and they need to be aware that there are people who can help them at this time.” Mary Lou Moad, a licensed art therapist who teaches with the Edmond Fine Arts Institute, says artists use their craft to work through feelings, but most are doing it alone. “Even though it’s cathartic to do that kind of art, it can be genuinely healing with an art therapist,” she says. “It’s not just about the patient or the person,” Moad explains. “It’s not just about the art and it’s not just about the therapist; it’s about that triangle. All three parts are equal. You’re really involved in the process of doing the art and why.” Moad leads art therapy sessions for displaced children at Pepper’s Ranch in Guthrie, but she
by Nathan Winfrey worked with cancer patients for ten years. Her first internships were at Integris Baptist Medical Center’s cancer unit and with a group at St. Anthony’s, doing therapy with kids whose parents had cancer. “I loved working with cancer patients because they so wanted to live that they were really excited about their art and really living their lives to the fullest,” Moad said. “They were such a good example of what it means to really live, especially those who knew that their time was really limited.”
“If those with cancer can find a creative side, I think it’s therapeutic for them.” She finds her own artwork to be therapeutic and revelatory. In her first art therapy class at the University of Oklahoma, she painted a portrait of herself as a younger person, during a time when she was severely depressed. Moad found herself using shades of blue and purple. “For the first time, I realized how sad I had been. My own art mirrored that to me, how I had been all those years. I started bawling when I saw that picture and realized how sad she was and that’s what taught me the value of art therapy,” Moad says. “When I did all that blue in my
picture, I did it around my heart … and the process of doing that was very healing for me.” Moad also loves to paint landscapes and Native Americans. “I find it really moving and beautiful when I think of (what) all the Indian tribes in America have been through and how we all need to be a warrior in our own lives,” she says. It takes extensive education and experience to become a licensed art therapist. You have to become the equivalent of a licensed counselor, and also study art therapy. “It’s very rewarding because you’re required to be an artist in addition to being a therapist,” Moad says. Willis and Moad recently participated in an art show at Integris Cancer Institute. “It’s an opportunity for either cancer survivors or people who are currently in treatment, or just professionals, to share how cancer touched their lives,” Willis says. The hospice patients Willis works with usually can no longer create their own art, but he started casting their hands. “It captures something very personal,” he says. “The hands’ size and fingerprints are caught in that casting. It’s a way for a person to be remembered.” Often, Willis sees patients who are artists but can no longer paint or sculpt. He tries to help them focus on the body of work they have created. “It gives their life value and helps their self-esteem,” Willis says. “It reminds them that they created art and have something that will continue after they’re gone to be a reminder of their talents and life.” Willis has also been a pastor for nearly two decades and for 15 years has been working with families stricken by cancer. “It’s my ministry to deal with grieving, death and dying.” Aside from his work as a counselor, he sculpts cowboys and Native Americans. He performs demonstrations at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Willis uses sculpting to help himself deal with the heavy nature of his work. “It's my therapy,” Willis says. “When I deal with death and dying, sculpting brings the balance back to my life.” To contact Willis, call 330-4910. To contact Moad, call 478-0515. “I’d be happy to talk,” she said.
L etters from Louise
THE R EST OF THE STORY
by Louise Tucker Jones
Dear Readers, Last month I wrote a story about my marriage to Carl Jones—yes, that was Carl in the picture, not Joe—and our 45th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, the end of the story didn’t make it onto the printed page. And even though you can read the original, full-length story online at www.edmondoutlook.com, I thought I would give readers a little recap from last month along with the “rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey would say.
arl a n d Cm o th e is u Lo o f h is becau
me he ca when 1967 ess e r s il ln
needed a ride home from college; he needed money for gasoline—that’s how Carl and I met. We made the trip from Tahlequah to Henryetta and back almost weekly. Our personalities clashed immediately. I disliked his egotistical attitude. He loathed my incessant questions whose answers probably couldn’t be found on Google. But after weeks of verbal sparring, we called a truce and actually became friends. At the end of the semester, Carl left school for a job in Tulsa and we lost touch. Several months later, we ran into each other in Henryetta and decided we might like to be more than friends. After a year of long-distance dating, Carl was drafted into the Army. Six months later, we did what many young couples did during the Vietnam War. We got married at a little Army chapel in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, just eight hours before Carl was shipped overseas. We had a lovely ceremony followed by a marriage supper of cheeseburgers and French fries before saying goodbye in the middle of a March snowstorm, never dreaming it
would be a year and a half before we would see each other again. Certainly not the best way to start a marriage, but that’s how our life together began 45 years ago. So much and so little has changed over the years. We still have snowstorms in March. Carl and I still eat cheeseburgers on our anniversary. My heart still melts with his Rock Hudson smile and I’m still asking crazy questions. During these 45 years, we celebrated the births of three beautiful sons—Aaron, Travis and Jay, along with the adoption of a lovely little girl, Paula. We also mourned the death of our precious middle son, Travis. We have become grandparents and even great-grandparents. Like other couples we have struggled with illness, death, finances, and
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.
L o u is e
a lu m n i
C e v e n t in a r l a t h e r h ig h scho 2007 ol
multitudes of other things, including the disabilities and fragile health of our youngest son. Sometimes it would have been easier to give up, but we held on to our relationship. So what is the secret of a 45-year marriage? Well, outside of those days that border on survival, I’d say it’s a lot like walking, putting one foot in front of the other, except in marriage you place your spouse in front of yourself and before all others. You also ask the Lord to be a partner in your marriage, praying love and blessings over your family each day. Sounds simple, but I believe that’s how God designed it. Oh, and if I had the choice of doing this all over again? I’d choose warm weather and a beach for those vows if at all possible! Happy Anniversary, Carl!
by Nathan Winfrey
t can be hard to stay involved in team sports when you’re too old for Little League, high school is over, and adult responsibilities conflict with grueling practice and game schedules. But team sports don’t have to end when life gets busy; that’s the goal of the Edmond YMCA’s adult flag football league. “Anyone can get out there and play. If you do have some prior experience, you may excel a little more, but someone who’s never touched a football, after a couple plays will be right there with the other guy,” says Norris Williams, captain of the Regulators. The 12-man team from Edmond went undefeated in last year’s spring league, and made it all the way to the final game in the fall league. “Not everybody’s an all-star out there. It’s all levels,” says Chris Berry, Edmond YMCA sports director. “Our whole reason for doing this league is to give adults the opportunity to participate in a team sport.”
“I’m getting a little bit older now, (flag football) is not as much wear and tear,” team member Sean Harman says. “It’s fun to get out there and compete with some younger and older guys, and show that you still have some skill.” “A lot of us played in high school and it’s something we can get together to do and compete again and stay active,” explains team member Ryan Shoecraft. He says the best part of being a Regulator is competing, hanging out with friends and hopefully winning a championship. Team member Ben Purkeypile says most of the Regulators have played team sports all their lives and the flag football league is a way to continue the experience. “When you get away from it, it’s almost like you’re lost,” he says. “You’re back down to ground level and haven’t been there for 20 years. You just miss it. You have to get back into it.” The YMCA has offered flag football since fall 2007. The fall league, which runs from September
“It’s good to get out there and compete and just have some fun with your friends.”
to November, has 25 teams and the spring league, which runs from March to May, has had up to 18 teams. Some teams travel from as far away as Lawton or Stillwater. When possible, teams are split into skill levels. Players must be at least 18 years old and teams can have 8 to 16 players. “We set the maximum so that everybody gets a chance to play and nobody has to sit out a lot,” Berry says. Games are held on Sunday afternoons, and there are seven games per season, plus a single-elimination playoff, and every team automatically makes the playoffs. “Playing in a win-or-go-home situation is a really fulfilling experience,” Purkeypile says. Games are played outside with 20-minute halves. The field is broken into four, 20-yard sections, and teams have four plays to move one section. The field is 40 yards across. Flags hang from “sonic boom” belts that make a popping noise when a flag has been pulled. Unsportsmanlike conduct like playing too rough, foul language and profane hand gestures are forbidden. “It is non-contact, but there’s still guys bumping into each other and we try to keep the physicality to a minimum,” Berry says. “It’s good to get out there and compete and just have some fun with your friends,” Williams, a University of Central Oklahoma student, says. “It gets people active again,” Berry says. “It gives them something to do other than go home on a Sunday and sit around.” He says game times don’t conflict with morning church services and the games are done in time for evening church or family activities. Practice isn’t a huge time commitment. The Regulators usually practice about four or five times a season. “One year, we didn’t even have practice,” Williams explains. “If we can get everybody out there, we will. If we can’t, it’s no big deal.” “It’s all about just getting out there and having fun and being active,” Berry says. Those interested can register at the Edmond YMCA or at www.ymcaokc.org. The next league will start in September. The YMCA also offers adult volleyball and will offer adult soccer again if interest
The YMCA's Men's Flag Football Team, Playing at their field on S. Boulevard & Myra Ct.
warrants it. A women’s flag football league existed in the past and the YMCA will offer it again if there’s enough interest. There must be at least four women’s teams for the league to be reinstated. For flag football, team fees are $350, or an individual feel of $35 for YMCA members and $55 for nonmembers. Financial assistance is available and additional costs are minimum. “Really, all you need is cleats,” Purkeypile says. “Everyone should already have gym shorts and a T-shirt. I didn’t have to purchase anything.” “Prior experience definitely isn’t needed.” Williams says. “It’s always fun to get out there with friends and throw the football around.” Whether it’s friendly competition or an effort to achieve a new personal best, flag football at the YMCA gives those who put away their cleats too early a chance to again experience the camaraderie and athletic challenge of team sports.
Best of Edmond
A Penny Saved
xcellent customer service and longevity are two qualities that can make any business more attractive. Stillwater National Bank (SNB) combines those qualities with a vision for fulfilling dreams. As one of the oldest businesses in the state, they’ve been serving Oklahomans since 1894. With headquarters in Stillwater, they expanded to OKC in the late 1980s and became full-service in Edmond in 2008. SNB, one of two banks owned by Southwest Bancorp, Inc., is publicly traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The advantage this offers customers is bank regulations combined with a publicly traded company means “that anyone can know almost anything about our business; we’re an open book.” John Osborne, market president for central Oklahoma, talked about the company’s stability. “Southwest Bancorp currently has about 2.8 billion in assets in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. We know banking is a trust based business. The leadership of our bank has understood this for 117 years. The trust of our clients is something we strive for every
by Melanie Clemens day. This has been challenging with the economic situation over the past few years causing the general reputation of banks to suffer. However, we’ve kept the course and we’ve stayed who we are. Our existing bank CEO has been with SNB since 1967. Our entire management team has that kind of legacy,” said Osborne. SNB offers traditional banking services involving commercial and personal accounts. They are also “a proven financial solutions provider in the health care industry” offering funds and treasury management for health care providers. However, it’s the employees that make SNB unique. “We have a customer service philosophy that’s ingrained in our culture. From the president to our tellers, we believe the customer comes first. Our people become experts at understanding their clients’ needs. That allows us to become our clients’ advocate, not just their banker. Customers don’t necessarily want just an account or loan, they want what those things will do for them. Our success comes from the understanding that we’re in the dream fulfillment business. Our services are
Stillwater National Bank
simply a means to an end. We serve our customers best when we understand their dreams and goals,” said Osborne. “The responsibility to maintain this type of banking is a powerful motivator to get it right. No one at our bank wants to see the service level slip on their watch. As long as we continue to structure our business in this manner and have this philosophy we’ll serve our customers well,” said Osborne. SNB is located in Spring Creek Plaza at 1440 South Bryant Ave., Edmond. For more information, call 427-4000 or you can visit their website at www.banksnb.com.
hat began as a summer job became the foundation that led to a family business that’s been serving Edmond and the greater Oklahoma City area since 1976. Scott Copeland of Copeland Construction, Inc. (CCI) shares, “My brother and I grew up working construction with our neighbor. We learned by starting at the bottom sweeping floors, and worked our way up. We started this business together but an injury prevented him from working for a few years. I’m thankful that he’s back. He’s a big part of this business.” Although CCI specializes in insurance work dealing with water, fire, tornado and storm damage, they do remodels on kitchens, bathrooms and even window and door replacements. “Anything to do with a home, we can do it. We’re willing to take the small jobs others won’t. We’ve got a team of licensed professionals that help us get the job done. Everyone from electricians, plumbers as well as heat and air technicians,” he says. They also offer 24-hour emergency services for homeowners
by Melanie Clemens needing “water extraction, roof tarping or roof/wall board-ups.” Helping homeowners put their lives back together after a disaster makes their job even more rewarding. “We work for the homeowner, to help those affected by disaster get back to their homes as quickly as possible,” Copeland says. Homeowners often are overwhelmed with all the details involved with restoring their home. Effective communication has been a key factor in the success of Copeland Construction. “We try to help them understand what’s going on. We explain what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. I have three employees in the office to make sure someone’s there during the day to answer the phone. A customer calls to talk to a person, not a machine. Our goal is to help you and get you the answers you need,” he says. CCI believes in providing quality workmanship at competitive prices. They take pride in their work and are determined to “treat others the way they would want to be treated.” “My greatest joy is watching the homeowner walk into their home, remembering the
way it looked and saying how beautiful it is now,” Copeland says. “We get letters from our customers telling us how much they like the quality of our work and the way we communicate with them before, during and after the job. The greatest success has been keeping our doors open for 35 years and getting to work with my brother. Hopefully we have many more years to come. We’re thankful to have our customers. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.” For more information, please call Copeland Construction at 495-3460 or visit their website at www.copeland-construction.com.
Chili Dog Express
Jessica and Colby Mason,
Chili Dog Express
by Melanie Clemens
olby Mason has always loved to cook. He decided at an early age that he was either going to culinary school or opening a restaurant. In 2007, one of those dreams came true when he and his wife, Jessica, opened their first restaurant in Edmond, Colby’s Grill. And in March of this year, they opened a second restaurant, Chili Dog Express. Colby’s learned the secret that often takes years to discover: When you love your job, it never feels like work. Colby’s Grill serves up delicious home-style breakfast and lunch entrees. Whereas Chili Dog Express will tempt your palate with 100% all-beef American hot dogs topped with your choice of almost anything edible. Selections from Colby’s Grill inspired the Inferno Dog that’s topped with homemade relish, mustard, jalapenos, chili and pepper jack cheese and the Cowboy Dog topped with bacon, fried onions, cheese and barbecue sauce. Of course, old fashioned plain or chili cheese dogs are on the menu as well. An unusual but popular selection for children is the PB&J dog. “The previous owner said a lot of people bought it, so we’re keeping it,” Mason says. They’re also keeping 50-cent Wednesdays that are a big hit among college students. “Being across from
UCO, is a huge advantage for us. We have game nights with specials for the college crowd. Right now we have a dart game area and eventually we’ll have more TVs and a Wi-Fi sitting area,” Jessica says. A hot dog eating contest also is planned for the future, patterned after the Rumble Challenge at Colby’s Grill. At Colby’s, if you can eat the 3 pounds of hamburger meat, 6 pieces of bacon, 6 pieces of cheese and a triple order of fries by yourself within an hour, it’s free and you get a free Colby’s T-shirt. Mason’s favorite part of owning a restaurant is getting to know his customers and making food they enjoy. “I love seeing a customer’s smiling face. We have regular customers that come in once or twice a day. I like getting to know them. They know us and know our kids. Our customers are like family, we take pride in that. We hope some of our Colby’s Grill customers will join us at Chili Dog Express,” Mason says. Chili Dog Express is located at 321 E. Second Street next to the UCO campus. They are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For take out, call 285-7011. ‘Like’ Chili Dog Express’ Facebook page for specials and event notifications.
D ining Guide
by Krystal Harlow
The Trellis Restaurant at Rose Creek
“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” — William Shakespeare
The Trellis Restaurant in Rose Creek's stunning new clubhouse is now open to the public! Enjoy a menu of favorites in the elegant bar & grill, plus an exquisite wine selection at amazing prices. On Sundays from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., feast on a lavish brunch buffet in the banquet room overlooking the greens -- perfect for Easter and Mother's Day dining! An omelet station and chef-inspired lunch dishes offer resort-style dining and relaxed luxury the whole family will love. Open daily for lunch & dinner, Saturday breakfast 7:30 a.m.-10 a.m. & Sunday brunch 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Visit 17001 N. May Ave. or call 330-8220.
The Melting Pot This Easter or Mother’s Day, stir things up by surprising Mom with a fun and interactive dining experience she won’t soon forget at The Melting Pot. With so many enticing food combinations and fondues to try, the whole family is sure to enjoy the occasion. Enjoy your favorite fruits and vegetables diced and dunked into a bubbling blend of melting cheeses followed by bites of flavorful filet mignon, white shrimp or cedar-plank salmon. For dessert, try sweet treats such as graham cracker-encrusted marshmallows doused in melted chocolate. To make reservations, call 235-1000. Located at 4 E. Sheridan Ave. in OKC. www.themeltingpot.com/oklahomacity
Let's Do Greek
When nothing but sensational flavors will satisfy your craving, Let's Do Greek is sure to delight! Discover 30 years of award-winning cuisine, now right in your Edmond neighborhood. Select from classic Gyro sandwiches loaded with choice toppings, vegetarian dishes, stuffed corn meal bread Arepas, kabobs and rice dishes, all made to mouthwatering perfection. Celebrate early for Easter and Mother's Day by dining on Saturday, enjoying the occasion with all your special family and friends. Closed Sundays. Open Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Friday 10 a.m.–8 p.m. & Saturday 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Visit 180 W. 15th, www.letsdogreek.com or call 285-8898.
Celebrate spring at Tropical Café with their mouthwatering dishes and bright, upbeat atmosphere that have made them an Edmond favorite. Enjoy custom-made omelets, sandwiches and crepes delicately crafted for Sunday brunch, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. perfect for Easter and Mother’s Day. Look for a new and exciting dinner menu coming soon complete with hibachi, sushi, wine and beer. And be sure to check out their ad below for great grand re-opening specials. Open M-Th 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Fridays 8 a.m.-9p.m. Saturdays 8 a.m.-8:30 a.m. and Sundays 8 a.m.-7 a.m. Located at 304 S. Kelly, www.oklahomatropicalcafe.com or call 340-8956.
Serve up a traditional Easter feast without spending hours in the kitchen. Super Suppers' complete dinners offer all the home cooked flavor and variety your guests expect. Choose their ham dinner that serves 6-8 people for just $75 or their chicken or pork dinner that serves 6 people for just $65. Complete with your favorite side dishes, rolls and dessert, there is no easier way to celebrate the day! Place your order by April 21 for pick up on April 23. For more information call 330-9156, visit their website at www.supersuppers.com, or stop by 1333 N. Santa Fe.
by Lindsay Whelchel
n today’s economy, an investment is not always a sure thing. But if you are looking to make a sound choice, you might want to start by searching with that old idea of the diamond in the rough. Through the years, many people have engaged in flipping houses to help them breathe a little easier in business. Edmond and metro residents continue the practice of finding rundown properties and turning them into dream homes. Aldi Chandra is one such person. He owns OKC Home Buyers Inc. and has been cultivating properties since 2005. Inspired to have a career in business when he read a book titled “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” while in college, Chandra chose real estate as a smart investment. “It opened up my mind about real estate, about money in general,” he says of the book, and explains how it taught him that there were four groups of people — employees and self-employed on the left side and big business and investors on the right. “My goal is to be on the right side,” he laughs, and emphasizes that in real estate, the best place to start is as an investor. “Anybody who is willing to start, they have to be patient, because there is a lot of stuff to learn,” Chandra says. But he has advice for those that do. He began in the housing market by attending the monthly meeting of REI Oklahoma. “That’s one thing for sure you want to do, so you don’t get lost,” he says of beginning the process. These meetings offer opportunities to meet with investors, flippers, Realtors and lenders, said Chandra. “You get to find out where to get the cheapest materials, who to hire, the pros and cons, you get to meet local people who are doing things that you want to do.”
“With busy lives, they want a home they can move into and not have to change a thing.” Chandra does admit, however, that the times definitely have changed from when he first started in the business. “Right now, we’re just moving with the market, because there are more sellers and less buyers out there,” he says. He cautions potential “flippers” to be conservative. The best market range to invest in are homes between $50,000 and $150,000. “That’s a good target to do a flip, because
that’s what most people are buying these days,” Chandra says. These homes are usually your typical three-bedroom, two-bath homes and because of their price, are easier to get loans on, he explains. This is a primary way to help facilitate the loan process. It is here that Chandra stresses the importance of maintaining a good relationship with local bankers, as opposed to the larger banks. So if you’ve made the jump and are looking for a house to make a home (for someone else, that is), it is essential to keep in mind what sells. “When searching for a home, most buyers are searching for something that is turnkey,” says Kristyn Grewell, active Realtor with Century 21. Grewell specializes in the Edmond area and knows what buyers want. “With busy lives, they want a home they can move into and not have to change a thing,” she says. This is where flipping a house can be most rewarding. Grewell explains that to make a house more appealing to potential buyers, it has to be clean. “New carpet, fresh paint and clean grout are a must,” she says. Grewell adds that the use of neutral colors with white- or dark-stained wood are becoming the most popular trends. Granite in the kitchen and bathroom is often expected. Once the interior is taken care of, the next focus should be on landscaping duties. Have a trimmed lawn with seasonal flowers, new exterior paint, and new shutters or garage doors where needed, says Grewell. These homes can come out completely different from the condition in which they began. Suffice it to say that if you look hard enough, anything is possible. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but it doesn’t have to stay there. For more information you can visit their website www.okcreia.com
BL A ZES TRIBUTE EQUINE RESCUE by Melanie Clemens
ome Oklahomans agree that ‘a dog is man’s best friend’ while others would proclaim that honor belongs to a horse. Dogs are sometimes rescued from abandonment or adverse situations and placed for adoption. Unfortunately, some horses have experienced a similar plight but now rescue and adoption are available for them as well. Two horses, Mimosa and Crash, rescued by Blazes Tribute Equine Rescue, found their way into the hearts and home of an Edmond family. Oklahoma horses that are abandoned, neglected or abused are often rescued by nonprofit organizations like Blazes. Shawn and Natalie Cross established Blazes in 2001 to aid in the rescue of horses in Oklahoma. “Our first rescue involved 20 horses, but we’ve rescued as many as 82 in one location. In 10 years we’ve rescued and rehabilitated over 646 horses and found forever homes for 514,” said Natalie. “If someone had told me years ago we’d be here, I would’ve said they’re crazy. But I believe if God leads me to it, he’ll lead me through it. I never thought we’d take on the capacity of horses that we have,” she said. Some of the horses have come to
From left to right:
Kaitlin, Natalie, Shawn & Dakota Cross
Blazes after surviving traffic accidents. One horse, Crash, was named such after being hit by a car. “By the time we rescued Crash, he already had a lot of rehabilitation.” Whatever the condition horses are in when brought into Blazes, they’re all given love and care to improve their quality of life. Blazes’ vision for horses has drawn many families to adopt from them including the Burgess family from Edmond. Avid horse lovers, Greg and Lynn Burgess were looking to purchase young horses. “It’s a buyers’ market right now but we couldn’t find the right horse,” said Lynn. After hearing about Blazes through a family friend, the Burgesses didn’t hesitate to pursue this possibility. “We went to Blazes immediately. We loved the idea of being able to give a horse a good home,” shared Lynn. The Burgesses delved through information about the horses assigning them to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ list. “We kept passing over one that was on the ‘no’ list. When we finally looked at the picture, my husband became emotional. It was a picture of Crash,” said Lynn. “When I opened the picture, I realized he looked like Two Bits, a horse I’d had as a child,” said Greg. Generally a “horse will pick its owner” and that’s exactly what Crash did. Crash was only two years old and had been with Blazes for more than seven months when the Burgesses adopted him but “it was like he was meant to be ridden,” and at Blazes, his rehabilitation was almost complete. Normally it takes a long time to get a horse under saddle, but the Burgesses said he took right to it. Crash exudes a sweet spirit and will lay his head on Greg’s shoulder. “He’s like a lap dog, always in your business. We’ve never had a horse that young so (we’re) not sure if it’s common, but he wants to be with you wherever you are,” said Lynn. Mimosa, the horse they adopted for their son, had been with Blazes for less than two months and her rehabilitation had just begun. Mimosa, part of an
From left to right,
Crash and Mimosa
animal cruelty situation, was starved and emaciated when she was rescued. “It takes several months to get in the starved body score and takes just as long to rehabilitate them. Once you rehabilitate them, they get fat. It shows how long it really takes to starve them. Horses go into a survival mode and will eat the bark off trees. During rehabilitation when we offer them hay, sometimes they refuse it until we get enough nutrients in their bodies,” said Natalie. Mimosa, like Crash, is eager to please. Lynn shared, “As a mother, I enjoy watching my son take on the responsibility of caring for his horse. There’s something really wonderful about that. The day he hopped on her without a saddle was amazing.” Crash and Mimosa, renamed Ranger and Lese respectively, reside with the Burgesses’ son who lives about a mile away. Greg and Ranger are “pretty much inseparable.” “I think you’d be amazed at the quality of horses they have at Blazes. It’s a misconception that a rescued horse is a problem horse. Ranger is unique and has really bonded to me. Our other horses will wait for me to come to them but Ranger will come when I call him. Lese is older than Ranger and was abused but, she’s slowly learning to trust again,” said Greg. These two horses have found their forever home in Edmond and continue to thrive under the love and care of their owners. For more information about Blazes Equine Tribute Rescue, visit their website www.blazesequinerescue.com
ot everyone who graduates from high school can say they’ve done what one Edmond teen had the chance to do. When Alexis Hancock was only 18 years old, she was selected to join the NBA Thunder Girls squad and was the youngest member on the team. Hancock is now 20 and still dances with her fellow teammates for the fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder. “I love my job, because I love to dance. I love interacting with people,” Hancock said. “It’s not because I want to get up and put my makeup on and dance around in a bikini and look cute, that’s the last thing on my list.” Born in Wichita, Kansas, Hancock moved to Edmond with her family when she was 5. She graduated from Edmond Memorial and is now a sophomore at UCO majoring in Elementary Education. She started dancing when she was 3 and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. She has participated in competitive dance since the age of
by Radina Gigova 5. She took part in competitions across the country, from California to Las Vegas and Oklahoma. "I have even preformed at Animal Kingdom in Disney World," she said when she danced for an Edmond studio named Kim Massey Dance. With Kim Massey she took part in competitions on a national level, and won in different categories, such as jazz, lyrical, production and best small group. So it is not a surprise that Hancock’s dedication helped her land her dream job. At the end of her senior year one of her friends suggested she should become a Thunder Girl. “I thought she was joking,” Hancock said. All of the girls on the team were professional NBA dancers. Hancock wasn’t sure if she’d be able to make it but decided to try. “I looked it up on the Internet and it seemed kind of cool, amazing, not kind of cool, awesome.” Hancock worked very hard with the help of a personal trainer. Then she signed up for the try-out, the first phase of the selection process, where she was competing with 100 girls. After making the cut to the
PA I D A D V E R T I S E M E N T
next rounds, Hancock went through an interview and made it to the final round, along with about 40 more girls. Half of them were selected for the team. It is her second year on the squad. “The first year they called my name I literally felt like the floor had fallen beneath me. I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I was a part of the new family. I got to high five my dad and hug my mom. It was really exciting.”
"There were 18,000 people standing there watching the court and I was on it." The practices began and Hancock had to adjust quickly to her new schedule. “It’s a very busy week. We may have a game Sunday, practice Monday, practice Tuesday, Wednesday, game Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” she said. “Outside of that you have work and school, and on top of that you are working out.” But the experience is amazing and the rest of the girls are her best friends. “I love them, they are the first people I call,” she said. “These are the people to fall back on, because nobody understands your life but them.” Hancock’s most memorable moment as a Thunder Girl was her first game. “There were 18,000
Continued on page 25
Continued from page 23 people standing there watching the court and I was on it. It was crazy.” She added there were many other touching moments outside the court, like the time she had the opportunity to talk with a boy who was disabled. “It meant so much to me,” she said. “Getting to interact with people who love the Thunder just like I do. It’s really special. It sounds corny, but it’s true.” In August of 2010 the Thunder Girls were chosen to be a part of the NBA Madness tour In Taiwan. "Six of the original 20 girls were chosen to go, and I was one of them. We were over there promoting the NBA and getting the Thunder's name more publicized. We were over there shorter than a week and were treated like royalty! Everyone in Taiwan was so nice to us." Hancock admitted that even after all the experience she has gained, she still gets nervous before performing. “I love to perform, I love to dance, but I want it to be perfect,” she said. Once she starts dancing, the rhythm takes over her body and everything falls into place. “It’s breathtaking to be honest.” Hancock said being a Thunder Girl was not only a dream come true but has also helped her grow as a person. Hancock hopes one day to be able to use everything she learned to help people, especially kids, to exercise and eat healthy. “I want to plant the seed in these kids of how to do things right, how to be
healthy, how to not hurt their bodies, just help them so that they can help others,” she said. Hancock admitted she allows herself from time to time to indulge in her favorite foods: pizza, pasta and ice cream. She said during the summer she loves to hang out with her friends at the lake. She also likes reading, writing and painting. Hancock listens to different types of music but her favorite is country. “I’m definitely an Oklahoma girl,” she joked. Hancock said she looks up to her older brother Austin, who is currently training to be a firefighter. “He is a really good role model for me in that aspect of having great ambition,” she said. Hancock added she loves her family a lot, and they are definitely the number one priority in her life.
A FATHER'S FIGHTING A SON’S BATTLE by Melanie Clemens
he birth of a child may be one of the most treasured moments in a parent’s life. Many dream of what the future will hold for their children while working to provide for their needs and give them the best opportunities available. Oklahoma families with sick children face a new definition of needs and opportunities. Financial demands combined with dropped insurance policies left one family looking toward new legislation and the church for their answers. Eric and Marci Littleton are two of many Oklahomans whose lives have been altered by the diagnosis of a sick child. Solomon Littleton was born as normal and healthy as his twin brother, Isaac. But in October 2008, everything began to change. “We noticed when he played soccer he would keep running until he ran into the fence. He just thought he was trying to make a goal,” said Littleton. This was the first indication to the Littletons that something was seriously wrong. The next nine months were a “nightmare” as they watched their son become “trapped inside his own body.” “The only time this catatonic trance would break is when Solomon would have a panic attack,” said Littleton. Solomon was no longer able to feed or dress himself and eventually lost all his fine and gross motor skills. In June 2009, Solomon spoke his
last words. “It was, by far, our deepest, darkest place,” shared Littleton. Searching for a diagnosis, the Littletons traveled across the U.S. until Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, gave them the answer. A rare neurological disease called Landau-Kleffner syndrome was named the most likely culprit for Solomon’s illness. Identifying the disease gave the Littletons ammunition to begin treatment with a hope for Solomon’s recovery. However, when their insurance company refused payment on traditional procedures like MRIs and EEGs, the Littletons faced a whole new battle. “The insurance company refused to pay for Solomon’s bills, dropped my wife’s coverage and wouldn’t pay for Isaac’s services after 25 years of paid premiums,” said Littleton. Treatment rec-ommended by doctors incl-uded extensive therapy which insurance companies considered “an educational benefit, not a medicinal benefit.” The decision to either pay the mortgage or pay for neurological therapy, which can be as high as $7,000 per month, is one the Littletons have had to face. “We’ve blasted through our retirement, borrowed against everything we own. Our story is the happiest though because we were blessed financially,” said Littleton. “I’ve encountered hundreds of families who are in this situation. Our family is still together while many
“ The insurance company refused to pay for Solomon’s bills, dropped my wife’s coverage and wouldn’t pay for Isaac’s services after 25 years of paid premiums.”
others have ended in bankruptcy and divorce. This is a humanitarian crisis the people of Oklahoma need to know about.” In seeking a solution for the unexpected drop of insurance coverage, the Littletons realized other Oklahomans also are hoping that new legislation will help. “A bill has been submitted to create a high risk insurance pool for families like ours. We have advocates at the Capitol that are sympathetic towards this situation.” An insurance pool would help with schooling for children with neurological illnesses. “We’re currently working with a group of lawmakers and businessmen to bring a school here based on the Erin-is-Hope Foundation in Kansas. It won’t benefit families if they can’t pay or their insurance company drops them,” said Littleton. Although the Littletons have only sought political change for insurance companies since 2010, the battle has been raging for more than three years. As of yet, no bills have been enacted, with some “dying before coming to a vote.” “Ultimately, this means my family may be next in line to foreclose or file bankruptcy unless a miracle occurs,” said Littleton. Even through the frustration, the Littletons remain hopeful and don’t perceive new legislation as their only solution. “In November of 2010, we took Solomon to a healing crusade. We didn’t believe in
The Littleton family from left to right, Grace, Eric, Solomon, Marci, and Isaac
healing but the next morning we did when Solomon ‘woke up.’ There was an awareness that hadn’t been there before. He’s still nonverbal but we’ve seen continued improvement through therapy. My wife, Marci, home-educates our children and takes Solomon twice a week for therapy in Kansas. While staying at the Ronald McDonald House, we’ve heard amazing stories that have touched our children, Isaac and Grace, in a way they would have never known otherwise.” The Littletons hope to raise public awareness concerning uninsured Oklahoma children. Their desire is for churches to become a part of protecting the rights of children. “I want to stand in front of as many people as I can and tell the story. I’m just a dad whose kid got sick, whose insurance company and political system have abandoned him. Let me tell the story and let God move.”
"Rasberry Swirl", Choreographed by Jennifer Stevenson
by Lindsay Whelchel
he art of dance has great power. It can evoke emotion, either soothing or invigorating. It can convey love and passion. It can be beautiful and heartpounding. All of these things might be expected if you were to watch a performance by the R.A.C.E dance company for the first time. What may come as a surprise, however, is the power these dancers have in affecting social change. R.A.C.E. stands for Radical Application of Creative Energy, and was founded by Hui Cha Poos, an instructor in the dance department at UCO. With UCO students and beyond, Poos saw a need for opportunities for local dancers, specifically adults, to pursue their love of dance in a professional sense. “What I was noticing was that we were graduating a lot of really talented dancers, and there are a lot of really talented dancers around in studios,” Poos says, but explains that after graduation, there were not a lot of options for these dancers to stay in Oklahoma and dance professionally. “If they weren’t traveling to New York or Los Angeles, which is a small percentage, they weren’t
"B ur le sq ue ", continuing to dance,” Poos says. So her mission to create an opportunity for them took the form of R.A.C.E. Poos says that R.A.C.E. primarily teaches jazz and mainstream dance. They now have a studio in downtown Oklahoma City to serve as a training facility. Simply creating an outlet for these dancers was not enough for Poos, who is a single mom in addition to being a full-time teacher. She wanted to use the group as an opportunity to influence the audience as well. “Our mission statement is to bring about awareness and social change through dance. We’re using dance to facilitate that,” she explains. Their last show consisted of a theme to erase attitudes of racism and discrimination. They included many different forms of art in the production, ranging from poetry, to singers and even a drag queen, all to help
Ch or eo gr ap
Po os he d by Hu i
illustrate their ideas of equality. “We like to bring in many aspects of art because I truly believe that one affects the other and you can learn from them all,” Poos says. R.A.C.E. has a loyal following and is gaining in popularity, Poos says. She adds that many people who are learning about the group may have never seen some of these elements before and they benefit from the exposure. Having just officially gained nonprofit status for the organization, Poos says she has plans to seek grants and facilitate programs, such as a hip-hop version of The Nutcracker, to involve local disadvantaged youth. “We’re kind of on the cusp of beginning the journey, I think, of really having the effect that we want.”
"I hope that people realize the talent we have in the state. Once people see what we do, I think they’ll realize what they’ve been missing."
Continued on page 31
Continued from page 29 That journey, of course, will continue to include establishing long term opportunities for the adult dancers. One of those dancers is Rachel Parks, a UCO graduate who is thankful for having the group after college. “It’s the level of professionalism and knowing that since I’ve graduated, being with a group of likeminded people that are all striving for the same goals and love dance and love to share their art form with the community,” Parks says. Parks’ fellow group member and UCO graduate, Brandi Gable, explains that through R.A.C.E., Oklahomans have a chance to see the less-publicized contemporary and jazz dancing in a concert setting. “I hope that people realize the talent we have in the state. Once people see what we do, I think they’ll realize what they’ve been missing,” Gable says. Poos would likely agree. She says that in a long-term sense, she hopes R.A.C.E. will help develop a more formal dance industry in the state. “We’re just going to create our own (industry) here,” she says. “I don’t see why it can’t happen. I think there are enough people here. The city is starting to boom. We have the talent.” Yes, it seems that change is definitely coming. For more information visit www.racedance.com
"How it Ends", Choreographed by Tokyo
by Heide Brandes Name: Elise Hall, Oklahoma State Representative – District 100 Marketing student at the University of Central Oklahoma What makes you unique to Edmond? I attend UCO studying marketing, and I am the youngest person to have been elected in our state. What made you pursue politics at such a young age? I have always loved the political process and all its traditions and history. I did an internship where I taught the political process in 10 different states. About a year ago, I felt I needed to stand up for my generation. Why was running for a state office important to you? I’m 21. My generation can be lackadaisical and apathetic. I wanted to stand up for others my age, so when I turn 60, I can say I made a difference for my generation when they turn this age. After you were elected, what was the biggest challenge about serving at the Oklahoma Capitol? Because I had seen how the political process works previously, I haven’t had anything really blow me away yet. But, there’s a constant stream of ideas at all times. One minute, you’re talking about transportation and how it’s funded, and then you are talking about workers’ comp reform. What’s the best part about serving in the House of Representatives? People come in all the time from my district and talk about issues. The other legislators are inspiring. They love serving their districts and think of it as a blessing. What is an issue that drives you at the Capitol? I grew up in a family that depended on the success of a small business. Small business is the lifeline of our state, and I believe we need to reduce the burden on them. What do you hope other UCO students and Edmond youth see in your example? My goal is that they find my experience an inspiration. Just because you’re still in college doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference.
Edmond Outlook is the only publication in Edmond, OK that is shipped FREE to 50,000 homes and businesses.