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28 Team Stacey Friends, families and neighbors rally around Edmond mom Stacey Slaton as she faces a fight against cancer
DEPARTMENTS FEATURES 08 Arts
Red Mango Beat the Heat
Line-X Wilshire Pennington OU Medical’s DaVinci Robot
Staying in Focus
North America’s fastest growing sport
27 Before & After
Caliber Roofing & Restoration
32 One-Way Ticket Ashley Amend finds the secret to starting over in St. Thomas
34 Balancing Act Part-time actor Eric Starkey shares how he does it all
37 My Edmond Outlook
Renee Anderson, Performer
38 Nose For Hire K9 University offering private drug dog detection services
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(Volume 8, Number 7) Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc. ÂŠ 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.
STAYING IN FOCUS by Nathan Winfrey
f a camera is a mirror with memory, then memories captured by Brett Deering are being shared with a lot of people. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Inked Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and TIME Magazine, and he’s a regular contributor to Getty Images. He’s a freelance photographer, taking assignments from a wide range of publications, corporations and other entities — whoever approaches him with a contract. Deering can be schlepping his cameras around a movie set one day and scouting 30 picturesque urban basketball goals for The New York Times Magazine the next.
“You could throw a camera at her and it would take a great picture.” “Location photography, which is primarily what I do, is a series of problem-solving,” he relates. “There’s always something that comes up.” A shoot for a corporate client required Deering to take pictures in an environment filled with shiny glass surfaces, and strobes were bouncing off of everything. That presents a challenge to a photographer whose goal is not to appear in any reflections. “It was really good,” he recalls. “I learned a lot by just having to figure things out.”
Brett Deering Doing freelance can give a photographer a On bigger shoots, Deering employs an measure of freedom, but the downside is the lack assistant. “Sometimes, I have 15 minutes with of a steady paycheck and the responsibility of a client, but I need an hour-and-a-half of setup running the business solo. Deering says, “Taking time,” he says. “An assistant is wonderful for that.” photos is actually a small porAlthough no assignment tion of what I have to do as a comes without challenges, freelance photographer.” His he gets a break when his subjob also includes office work, jects already know the drill. promotion, public relations, “It’s always nice when you bookkeeping and even janitowork for somebody who’s rial duties. In that aspect, he’s been in front of the camera a one-man show. before. They make your job “The advantages are really easy,” Deering relates, manifold. The images are referring to past photo submine; when you work in a jects like Oklahoma City staff position, the images Mayor Mick Cornett and don’t belong to you,” he exactress Milla Jojovich. “You plains. “Being freelance, you could throw a camera at her don’t usually have a conflict and it would take a great picPhoto by Brett Deering of interest with clients… but ture,” he says. And at other it can be scary, too. Sometimes, it’s like feast or times, “there’s lots of adversity and lots of things famine. It has been in the past.” that you have to deal with and you can’t let those After graduating from Edmond Memorial High things bother you too much. I mean, it’s just part School, Deering was already interested in phoand parcel; it’s part of doing business.” tography when he started pursuing a journalism But there’s plenty of room for Deering to degree at the University of Central Oklahoma. love what he does. “Even people who are not However, a beginner-level photography class professionals, who enjoy it or are willing to be taught by well-remembered professor Woody engaged by me and just have fun with it, it tends Gaddis convinced Deering that taking pictures to be a blast,” he said. “Having a rapport with your was what he wanted to do with his life. subject is extremely important, at least it is for me Deering started attracting larger publications and the kind of photography that I do.”
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when he joined professional organizations including the National Press Photographers Association, the American Society of Media Professionals, and Advertising Photographic Artists. “Those organizations pay for themselves with one phone call, so it’s been worth it,” he says. By subscribing to photography databases, he’s been able to reach out to some commercial and higher-end editorial clients who wound up using his work. Photo by Brett Deering If a potential client sees Deering’s email promo and clicks through his site, he might send them a postcard-sized physical copy of the image from the promo to further entice them. As he’s progressed, larger clients find him through word-of-mouth, and, if a story is successful, he’ll get called back for another job. At this point in his career, he sometimes has as many as 20 assignments in one month. Photography can be lucrative, and the reason is simple: articles need photographs. “The advent of the photograph in the newspaper is what made newspapers into the bigger business that they became,” Deering says, explaining that when most people stop to look at a newspaper, it’s because the photo grabs their attention. The importance of photography is not waning as the Internet becomes a vital medium for journalists. “Look at the Web,” he says, “it’s awash with images.” To see some of Deering’s albums, go to www.brettdeering.com.
by Nathan Winfrey
ho doesn’t remember their first team sports experience? Whether it’s running around a grassy field, emitting highpitched hollers and kicking after a soccer ball, or dribbling a too-big basketball down the court while shoes squeak against the polished wood floor, those are the memories that are carried well into adulthood. The sense of loss at defeat, the sense achievement at victory and the bond of teamwork that runs through it all are important growing-up experiences for any child.
“I always had a passion for sports and I wanted to make a difference in kids' lives.” Edmond teacher and sports enthusiast Chris Waugh has brought i9 Sports to the Edmond/ Oklahoma City area. “It’s one of the first franchises for youth sports leagues and camps and nationally they have over 500,000 members since 2003 and over 275 locations in 30 states, but this is the first and only one so far in our state,” said Waugh. “I’ve been a coach and teacher the last six years and even before that, I was really involved with youth ministry and I just always had a passion
for sports and also I wanted to make a difference in kids’ lives,” he explains. “i9’s mission is to help kids succeed in life through sports, so it’s kind of a homerun for me to decide to do this.” This fall, the program will offer soccer and coed flag football. Spring will see the start of T-ball and cheerleading, as well as camps and clinics for kids ages 4 to 13, and maybe a smaller season of flag football. The fall season lasts eight weeks, beginning September 22 and ending November 17. Parents have until August 24 to sign up, and they can save $10 if they register before July 27. Before the fall season starts, there will be a one-time jamboree, where they bring all the coaches and players together so everyone can meet. Soccer is offered to kids as young as 3, and flag football starts at age 4 or 5, depending on ability. “We talk with the parents. Some kids are way more athletic at that age than others,” he explains. Waugh taught health and physical education at Edmond North High School, his alma mater. He knew he wanted to do something in sports right when he started teaching. He discovered i9 Sports
on the Internet. “I really like the values of i9 Sports,” Waugh says. “They wanted to be a fun but also professional atmosphere, because the main things they’re focused on are fun, safety and convenience.” “That doesn’t make it noncompetitive,” he affirms. “We still keep score and there’s still a championship game at the end of the season, but it is about having fun.” There will be a sportsmanship award each week for one of the kids on the team. Waugh wanted more experience with coaching and teaching before bringing i9 Sports here, so he completed his master’s degree in December. “Once I finished that I realized it’s go time.” Fields are located at Santa Fe Presbyterian Church, about half a mile north of Danforth on Santa Fe, and the league will meet on Saturdays. Referees will be trained through the program and coaches will be volunteers. “The neat thing about i9 Sports is we do practices and games on the same day, so people aren’t running around all week trying to get to this practice and that practice,” he explained. “If you have a game at 10 a.m., you have 9 a.m. practice. That’s where the convenience comes in.”
i9 Sports Director, Chris Waugh “It’s equal playing time for all the kids,” Waugh says. “There’s no tryouts or fundraising. All of the coaches and staff are background-checked.” He encourages parents to volunteer to be coaches. Waugh says it’s important for kids to have fun, but he also feels sports offer children something even more valuable. “It is great exercise and teaches them how to be part of a team, and I think it’s important as they grow up and they get a job and everything else,” he says. “I think sports teach a lot of things you need to learn in life.” “This is a new concept in Oklahoma, and we’re all about having fun, and it’s going to be one of the most professional organized youth leagues that they’ve been a part of,” Waugh says. The program stands to offer something new and unique for Edmond-area families looking for a way to introduce their children to the challenge, reward and education that come with team sports. To get started, go to i9sports.com.
GRANDMAMA'S GIFT by Louise Tucker Jones
was 12 years old when my paternal when she died and still knew so little about this grandmother, Edna Pearl Tucker, wrote a gentle soul. poem for me to recite at school. It was a It was after I became an adult that I learned my special poem, written just for me, the only soft-spoken grandmother, who wrote many of the gift I ever received from her. I still songs she sang, was also a brilliant, have her hand-written copy. outspoken woman, writing editoI didn’t know my grandmother rials for the local newspaper durwell. She lived a couple of hours ing World War II while her sons away and didn’t visit our home and son-in-law were overseas. since my grandfather never drove Best of all, I learned that my a car. A wagon and a team of horsgrandmother was present at my es were familiar to him, but cars birth. She stepped in to “deliver” were just too foreign. On visits me, in my parents’ home, when to their mountain home, I somethe doctor was detained and times wondered if they were poor. arrived after I did. Having raised Although we lacked what many 11 children of her own, my father considered necessary amenities in being next to the oldest, she Edna Pearl Tucker our own farmhouse—having no indoor plumbing, certainly had plenty of expertise. I like to picture her TV, or telephone, my grandmother still cooked on a sponging me off, wrapping me in a warm blanket wood stove and their three-room house was heated then rocking and singing to me just minutes after my by a pot-bellied, coal-burning stove. When visiting, birth. In those quiet moments, I believe she prayed I would often draw water from the outside well and a blessing over me and passed on her gift of weaving carry it to the kitchen for her. words into poetry, songs, and stories. Grandmama was also “hard-of-hearing” so I didn’t So in truth, my grandmother gave me two know how to interact with her. I felt disrespectful gifts—the poem she wrote especially for me, and the yelling at her, even though it was the only way she legacy she passed on through her own writing. Both could hear. But in spite of her difficult circumstances, gifts have lasted a lifetime. I never saw my grandmother unhappy. She sang all (I wrote this poem several years ago in honor of the time and wrote beautiful poetry. I was only 14 my grandmother, Edna Pearl Tucker.)
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. Contact her at: LouiseTJ@cox.net or LouiseTuckerJones.com.
Especially For Me by Louise Tucker Jones Oh Grandmama, Grandmama, it is my desire To have you here with me, to sit by my fire To hug me, to talk, or to sing me a song Oh Grandmama, Grandmama, it has been so long I was only fourteen, just a child now I see When you left this earth in glory to be I knew you so little, yet knew you so well For you had captured my heart as a very young girl Not just with your kindness or your love so free But with a poem written just for me And now that I’m older, I know why you wrote All those poems and verses so many folks quote For I too find it hard to say what is in my heart So a pen and some paper is just where I start And sometimes when I’m writing I think of you And all of the hardships you must have gone through I think of your smile and the songs you would sing While cooking or cleaning or most anything Then my heart fills with love and that sweet memory When you wrote a poem, especially for me.
Blessings and Blooms is a fabulous home decor and gift shop on Main Street in Yukon with new Vera Bradley styles arriving soon! We also have beautiful Pandora jewelry and unique home and seasonal decor. It's worth the short drive! Mon-Fri 10-6 & Sat 10-5 Located at 419 W. Main Street in Yukon. Find us on Facebook! • 577-6790
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. Open M-F 10-6 & Sat 10-5. 454 W. Main Street in Yukon Find us on Facebook! 494-7447
Child Care Providers of Edmond Shop, Support, Save a Life. Enjoy our unique atmosphere and find quality merchandise while experiencing Guilt-Free Shopping! 100% of our proceeds benefit the domestic violence programs for women & children receiving services at the YWCA OKC. Located 3 blocks north of 2nd, between Broadway & Boulevard at 101 E. Hurd. Open Tues-Fri 10-5:30 and Sat 10-5 • 348-2442 www.ywcaokc.org Also located at I-240 & S. Penn. Bring in this coupon for 20% off all regular priced merchandise! Expires 7/31/12
The kids are ready for summer, but is your pool? Oasis Pools & Spas offers quality maintenance, repair and remodeling for your swimming pool or spa. Whether you have an in-ground 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. 7/31/12 1333 N. Santa Fe • 340-6442
Child Care Providers of Edmond offers FREE assistance to parents looking for home-based child care in the Edmond area. All child care providers are DHS licensed in Oklahoma and are certified in CPR and first aid. For help finding quality care for your child, call 330-HOME or visit www.childcareofedmond.com.
Beadle Dee Bead & Gift Shop Stop by this unique bead boutique for a variety of exquisite crystals, pearls, glass, gemstones & other beads, plus supplies and gift items. Sign up for a class and learn how to make your own gorgeous jewelry creations or host a birthday party for 10 of your friends! • Danforth & Santa Fe in the 7/11 Shopping Plaza Visit us on Facebook! 715-5820
Bloomin Outdoors is Yukon's hippest boutique featuring men's and women's outdoor lifestyle shoes and apparel including a great selection of Chacos and Thunder tees. Overflowing with brands like Lucky, Silver and North Face we are now doubling the size of the store! Open Mon-Fri 10-7 & Sat 10-5 • 451 W. Main St. in Yukon. • 494-7676 Find us on Facebook!
Submitted by: Jessica Moore Jessica is married to Casey and is a stay-at-home Edmond mom to Briley (6), Briggs (2) and Breckin (newborn). â€œThis is my go-to meal to make for people when they have babies, surgery or just need help with meals. Everyone loves it!â€?
Food Favorites Poppyseed Chicken Casserole Ingredients 1/2 bag of egg noodles 1-2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken 1 sleeve Ritz crackers - crushed 1 stick of butter
1 can cream of chicken soup 1 (8 oz) container of sour cream Poppy seeds 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions Boil the chicken until done. Boil noodles as package says. When chicken and noodles are done, mix cream of chicken, sour cream, noodles and cooked chicken in large bowl. In a greased 9x13 pan, pour the mixture in, top with cheese and then pour cracker crumbs over the mix. Melt one stick of butter and evenly pour over the crackers. Sprinkle poppy seeds on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
To submit your favorite recipe for consideration in future publications, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RED MANGO by Radina Gigova
Owner Nabeel Jamal with Faisal Haq & Rachael Morton
t turns out that not everything that tastes great is bad for you. Red Mango in Edmond proves that by offering an impressive selection of smoothies, frozen yogurt, fruit parfaits and beverages that are glutenfree made of all-natural ingredients and are rich in probiotics, calcium and protein. “No artificial colorings, flavorings or sweeteners,” explained Red Mango owner Nabeel Jamal. Jamal opened the franchise in March, just in time for the hot spring and summer. “We realized this could be something good that we can bring to Oklahoma and offer our community, because the yogurt itself is actually good for you.” Customers are welcome to see for themselves — nutritional information for all the products is available online and in the store. From White Peach to Mango and Milk Chocolate, one serving of these frozen yogurt sensations often have about 100 calories. “A lot of people try it once and are back for more,” said Jamal. “We see a lot of people coming back.”
Once they walk into the store, all customers have to do is grab a cup and design their own combination of frozen yogurt flavors and healthy toppings such as fresh fruits, nuts and granola. “You can mix and match whatever flavors you want,” said Jamal. Customers can also take their frozen delight to go. In addition to its award-winning frozen yogurt, Red Mango offers fresh fruit smoothies and probiotic iced teas and lemonades that are not only refreshing but also boost your immune and digestive systems. And if that sounds almost too good to be true, wait until you taste the parfaits or the artisan hot chocolate that is offered during the winter. It’s easy to see why the Zagat survey, which reviews restaurants from around the world, ranked Red Mango No. 1 in two categories: top healthy products and best smoothie and frozen yogurt chain in the U.S. Another aspect that sets Red Mango apart is its friendly and relaxed atmosphere. “We always try to greet every single customer that walks in,” said Jamal. If a customer hasn’t been to the store before, a staff member walks them through everything they
need to know. Jamal said some of the most popular flavors this season are White Peach, Peanut Butter and Mango Coconut Swirl. His favorite is Mango, of course. He explained that mangos turn red when they are ripe. That is when they are the most delicious and rich in nutrients, hence the name of the store. It highlights the company’s commitment to healthy and natural products. The first Red Mango store opened in Los Angeles five years ago. Today there are more than 150 Red Mango stores nationwide and Jamal is hoping that more stores will open in Oklahoma in the near future. Red Mango is located in Hampton Village on Broadway and 15th Street in Edmond. For more information, call 562-1255, find them on Facebook (redmangoedmond) or visit redmangousa.com.
BEATTHEHEAT by Krystal Harlow
The Melting Pot
Escape the ordinary this summer with an exciting getaway to this authentic Irish Pub. Worlds apart but right in the neighborhood, this lively tavern serves up sensational Irish cuisine, American favorites and crowd-pleasing appetizers that keep you coming back for more. Stop in for a pint of Guinness and good cheer among friends while you munch on fried pickles, Scotch eggs or loaded cheese fries. Don’t miss Dan’s famous, hand-battered Fish N’ Chips, Bangers & Mash or Shepherd’s Pie and weekly lunch specials. Always the place to be, Dan McGuinness treats you to a diverse line-up of entertainment, too. Enjoy legendary Happy Hour specials daily, Karaoke, Ladies Night on Thursdays, late night and live weekend music or relax at a table with your own flat-screen TV. Visit danmcguinnesspub.com or stop by 3005 S. Broadway in Edmond.
Nothing takes the edge off a steamy summer day like that first silky spoonful of CherryBerry frozen yogurt. Naturally made from real ingredients, not powdered mixes like other frozen yogurts, this sensational treat delights you with all the guilty pleasure you crave, but without all the fat of ice cream. CherryBerry frozen yogurt is low fat or fat free and includes four types of live active cultures for a healthier digestive system. Indulge in 50 premium rotating flavors and an assortment of fun toppings like fresh fruit, granola, cereals, candies, sprinkles and a variety of nuts. Best of all, this fun yogurt bar offers the convenience of self-service, giving you the freedom to mix flavors, add toppings and pay by the ounce. Walk in, grab a cup and help yourself! Visit at 1309 E. Danforth in Kickingbird Square or cherryberryyogurtbar.com.
Summer is the perfect time to create memorable family moments. Prepare to be delighted and entertained at Magical Family Summer Evenings on Tuesday, July 17 and Tuesday, August 14 at The Melting Pot. Treat the family to a kid-friendly meal while a roaming magician mystifies guests from 6-9 p.m. with his tableside sleight of hand. Choose from the regular menu of delectable fondues and gourmet entrées or feast on a three-course Special Family Menu at $29 per adult, $19 per child (7-12) and free for kids under 6, plus tax and gratuity. Enjoy Fiesta Cheddar Cheese Fondue and an entrée of Ravioli, chicken or Teriyaki Sirloin and Shrimp, finished with original Chocolate Fondue for dessert. Reservations start at 4 p.m. Call 235-1000 to reserve your spot. Located at 4 E. Sheridan Ave., in Bricktown. Visit meltingpot.com.
by Linda Treadway If the storm chasers out of Norman trust Line-X to protect their chase vehicle, the Dominator, then you know you can. Jeff Kraft, part owner and manager of Line-X of Edmond revealed that his team has even been videotaped by the Discovery Channel showing how they apply the coating to the Dominator. Videos can be viewed online at www.tornadovideos.net. Kraft grew up in Edmond and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in business management. After moving away for a brief time, Kraft moved back to Edmond wanting to start his own business. “I grew up here, always lived in Edmond. It’s pretty neat that I get to open a shop in my hometown,” said Kraft. Kraft’s brother-in-law, former OU football player Brent DeQuasie, has been running his own Line-X business in Shawnee since 2002. Kraft and DeQuasie became partners, setting up shop in Edmond in March 2011. “We decided Line-X was something we wanted to do,” Kraft explained. His Line-X shop is
only one of two in the Oklahoma City metro-area. Most know Line-X as the spray-on truck bed liner promoted on TV. But the truth is Line-X is a coatings company. They can use their products on just about anything including garage floors, patios, boats, bathrooms, kitchens and more. Recently, Kraft coated a rusty baptismal for a local church. After blasting the rust off and coating it, he says, “They’ll never have a problem with that again.” Line-X spray-on composite bed liners are fortified with DuPont Kevlar, the same bullet-proof material used in the military. That toughness is why storm chasers use it on their own vehicles. “Not only the quality of our products, but the Line-X Premium and the Line-X lifetime warranty is what set our business apart from the competition,” Kraft explained. Line-X Premium, an additional UV-stable top coat, is scientifically engineered to withstand impact and abrasion, staining from harsh chemicals, cracking, bubbling, peeling and corrosion. It also provides protection from the sun’s rays,
Brent DeQuasie and Jeff Kraft keeping truck beds looking brand-new for life. The Aspart-X Flooring System offered within the past two years, provides exceptional protection and withstands the abuse a floor takes every day, and from not-so-everyday chemicals and stains. It provides a quick-drying, professionally applied, VOC-free solution that is guaranteed to never crack, yellow, or fade like other flooring systems. It provides a new level of protection for all flooring needs. To find out more about Line-X products, contact Jeff Kraft at 844-7230, or drop by for a quote at 3900 S. Broadway, Suite 2W in Edmond.
Wilshire Pennington by Linda Treadway Wilshire Pennington Wealth Advisors is a financial planning firm that focuses on financial planning exclusively for doctors. The company’s founder, Benjamin D. Kennedy III, having over 25 years experience as a financial advisor, realized that doctors get a late start in life, have large student loans, little experience in practice management and often a target on their back for lawsuits. Kennedy understands the financial needs of doctors because most of his family members are doctors, including his wife. The firm’s goal is to walk doctors through a step-by-step process with the end result being retirement on current lifestyle and not outliving their money. Kennedy shared several stories where previous clients wanted to give back to the community. One doctor wanted to invest in order to finance free dental services in South Africa upon retirement. Another moved to Oklahoma from China wanting to give back to people in his home country by building a hospital. Wilshire Pennington worked with both doctors to set up foundations, making these dreams a reality while building personal retirement portfolios.
In addition to managing custom portfolios and retirement plans, they also offer college savings plans, tax planning, estate planning and help with setting up corporations. One of the strategies Wilshire Pennington utilizes is “Lifestyle” planning. They begin by assessing one’s monthly living expenses and income sources to find tax strategies that can increase savings without altering lifestyle. The client pays taxes on the portion of their income needed to finance their lifestyle and the rest is put into the client’s pension plan as pre-tax dollars. Kennedy explained, “This strategy is also great for the economy because all of that pre-tax money is invested into the American infrastructure, helping the economy grow while funding municipal bonds. For Oklahoma, that means updated roads and schools.” Today, Wilshire Pennington has over 200 clients in several states. As the company expands, Kennedy plans on hiring additional financial advisors, giving them specialized training in understanding the unique needs of doctors and placing them in new branch offices around the country.
Kymberly Kinard, Benjamin D. Kennedy III, Lisa Kennedy, Benjamin D. Kennedy IV Not only does Wilshire Pennington work with doctors, but they also partner with the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University offering scholarships for medical students and arranging “lunch and learn” workshops to educate them on their financial options. Whatever your goals or dreams for retirement may be, if you’re a doctor, dentist or veterinarian, Wilshire Pennington wants to help you achieve them. For more information, call (405) 751-8600 or visit www.wilshire-pennington.com.
OU Medical & DaVinci by Linda Treadway There is more to OU Medical Center Edmond than one might think. Some may consider this a small hospital but they are leaders when it comes to the latest surgery technology, and the expertise and experience to use that technology. “We are not just a small-town hospital, but have the big technology that other larger hospitals might have. Only Edmond has it newer, faster and better,” said Leslie Buford, director of community relations. Their newest technology, known as DaVinci, was acquired in October 2010. At that time, it was and is still used for mainly gynecological procedures under the direction of Dr. Michael Glass, current director of robotics for the hospital. It is the newest advancement in laparoscopic-type surgery. Where traditional laparoscopic surgery uses straight rods, DaVinci is flexible, allowing more maneuverability within the body. After the FDA approved the robot for gallbladder surgery in December 2011, Dr. Brandon Kilgore performed the first single incision gallbladder surgery
in Oklahoma in February using this robot. This was the first step towards expanding the use of this new robotic technology to other types of surgery. The thought of surgery may bring to mind incisions, so one might wonder why it is considered noninvasive or “scarless” surgery. The robot actually enters the body through the navel, which is considered a natural scar area. So when they sew up the single incision, it is contained within the larger natural scar of the navel. What also makes DaVinci special is it has smaller “hands” that are flexible enough to work within the body. It has four arms to do the work. A physician sits at a high-definition console and manipulates the arms via joystick-type controls. Because it is less invasive surgery it has several benefits like shorter recovery times, less likelihood of infection and less blood loss. OU Medical Center Edmond is only one of 20 hospitals in the country to do this type of surgery. DaVinci is allowing OU Medical Center Edmond to
OR nurse assists in DaVinci gallbladder removal
do surgeries that other hospitals throughout the state just can’t do. This fall, Dr. Hamilton Le, general surgeon, will use the robot to perform bariatric surgery. Dr. Ashby Bowen, urologist and Enid native, will be joining the staff this summer. He has been specially trained in the use of DaVinci and will be using it in his practice to treat various male urinary problems. This Edmond hospital might appear small, but they have a lot to offer. They are certainly one of the “big dogs” in the national medical field. To discover more about OU Medical Center Edmond and read about Dr. Kilgore’s breakthrough gallbladder surgery, go to www.edmondfirsts.com.
TOXIC OVERLOAD by Heide Brandes
or 24 years, Karen Munger’s husband fought fires and sifted through the ashy rubble of destroyed properties and burned-out homes. He also breathed in the chemicals and toxins released from scorched plastics and synthetic materials and hundreds of other poisonous substances that haunted the air and burned the lungs. “He was always very careful about keeping his breathing gear on,” said Munger, of Edmond. “He really stood firm about protecting his lungs and limiting his exposure, but between the plastics and synthetics in fires, toxins still build up.” Munger’s husband suffers from toxic overload and chemical sensitivity, making him ultra-vulnerable to nearly every chemical, toxin or foreign substance. Suffering with headaches, dizziness, sinus congestion, difficulty breathing, rashes, nausea and body aches, - he couldn’t even walk by the outdoor pool in the couple’s Edmond home without the chlorine fumes irritating his skin and lungs. “Last summer we hit a crisis. We knew something was wrong for a long time, but no one could tell us what it was,” Munger said. “We had to go to the ER for his breathing issues. Finally, we found a doctor who specialized in environmental medicine.” What followed was a complete detoxification of not only Munger’s husband’s body, but their Edmond home as well. The food had to be all organic in order to stop adding to his toxicity levels. Personal care products - like soap, toothpaste and shampoo - and cleaning supplies had to be allergen and chemicalfree. The couple even invested in a far-infrared sauna made of a specific wood, glass only and no glues or plywood. That helped him release toxins from deep within his body. The Mungers aren’t alone. More people are being exposed to toxins and chemicals daily, even in their own homes. However, with a few small changes, anyone can start cleaning out their living space, making it safer and healthier. The Mungers are an extreme case of toxic overload, but Dr. Michelle Menzel, doctor of naturopathy and owner of Edmond’s Naturopathic and Energetic Wellness Center, says people in general are becoming too toxic. Menzel, who suffered an illness brought on by extreme diets and environment, says organic and whole
living can make a big difference in everyone’s health. “Our problem is all the over-processed and refined foods,” she said. “My heart was set on studying preventive medicine through food. What we eat is our medicine for our bodies.” After more than 15 years of independent and official study, Menzel opened her practice in 2008, using the seven laws of wellness approach. She also has introduced the 48-Day Transformation, a program designed to detoxify the system and, as an added bonus, lose weight. But besides a whole, organic diet, Menzel says homeowners can institute small changes to make a big impact on the toxicity levels in their homes. “Making a complete overhaul change can be intimidating and a lot of people do not have the means to do it all at once,” she said. “But you can start doing small things to detoxify your home. Start replacing toxic chemicals one by one,” Menzel said. “Adding whole foods to cleanse and build up the body through nutrition is best.”
• Open your windows for at least 20 minutes a day to circulate fresh air and air out any toxins in the home. • Choose hardwood flooring or tile over carpeting. Carpets contain many chemicals, including formaldehyde, which can be dangerous. If you choose carpets, choose ones with natural fibers and backing, like hemp. • Use nontoxic paint and wait longer than three hours between coats. Be sure to air out the room after each coat. • Choose natural and non-toxic cleaners for basic cleaning. Many stores now carry products that are organic or toxin-free. Or check the web for natural cleaning alternatives - like vinegar, baking soda or lemons. • Opt for a saltwater pool or other less toxic alternatives, over a traditional chlorine pool. • Cut down on electromagnetic radiation in the home created by electronic appliances by installing a home harmonizer. • In the kitchen, use stainless steel or ceramic-coated pans or glass ware to cook or store food. • Have air ducts cleaned regularly. • Install a reverse-osmosis water filter to your sink and use glass or stainless steel drinking containers.
Munger agreed. “Anything you can do to make your home greener or healthier, the better. Just changes in your food and what you use to clean things makes a big difference,” she said. According to Menzel, foods that typically have the highest pesticide load are fruits like apples, grapes, pears and strawberries as well as vegetables like celery, lettuce and potatoes. She recommends always buying these organic. Not only is organic produce chemical-free, but it also contains more antioxidants and higher levels of beneficial minerals like iron and zinc. Produce that typically has the lowest pesticide load are foods like bananas, kiwi, pineapple, avocado, asparagus and broccoli. Munger adds, “making a 180-degree change is hard, but if you make one percent changes and start upgrading slowly, you can do it. It’s so important now.” For more information on Dr. Menzel, environmental toxicity or the 48-Day Transformation, call 359-1245 or visit energeticwellnessok.com.
by Linda Treadway
ccording to the United States Pickleball Association, “Pickleball is North America’s fastest growing sport.” So what exactly is it? Players describe it as “ping-pong on steroids.” It’s a game similar to tennis, badminton and ping-pong and created in 1965 by Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum and Bill Bell. The men named it after Pritchard’s family cocker spaniel, Pickles, who loved to chase after and chew the perforated balls. Young or old, pickleball is a game anyone can
play. You don’t have to be an athlete. Families have found that the game strengthens their relationships and communication. Homeschool moms are even incorporating it into their curriculums as a form of exercise and socialization. In recent years, increased membership and club creation across the U.S. is attributed to a trend where retiring baby boomers get involved in this sport while traveling to places like Arizona, California, and Washington during the winter. When they return to their home states, they start new groups so they can
continue playing year-round. Word is spreading fast about this fun and competitive family sport and it’s not hard to understand why. The game lends itself to gentle wear and tear on the joints and uses large, lightweight paddles with a padded grip. The ball that is used is baseball-sized and perforated, similar to a wiffle ball, yet it bounces, so there is minimum impact when hit. The court is badminton-sized, allowing for shorter movements. Like tennis, the court is divided into zones and the game can be played with either singles or doubles. There are two pickleball clubs currently active in Oklahoma - one in Broken Arrow and one in Oklahoma City near Edmond. The OKC Pickleball Club meets weekdays 8:30 to 11 a.m. either at Quail Springs Baptist Church or Quail Springs Methodist Church. Times and locations can be found online at https://sites.google.com/site/okcpickleballclub. Membership has increased from five to 35 since it’s start in 2009 by Ron Barnes and Don Stanek and is anticipated to grow as other groups form in Oklahoma in the coming years. Existing groups throughout the U.S. are experiencing similar exponential growth. According to Barnes and Stanek, in Surprise, Arizona alone there are currently more than 2,000 players.
Terri Stanek, Ron Barnes, Matthew Henneke & Don Noakes playing Pickleball Vicky Noakes, recently appointed local ambassador by the U.S. Pickleball Association, is in charge of promoting pickleball in the Oklahoma City area. She has played for more than four years winning multiple competition medals. “The goals of the OKC Pickleball Club are to open more courts, especially on the south side of Oklahoma City, and establish nighttime play hours,” said Noakes. “We already have 10 people interested in joining. But since they work during the day, they’re unable to participate.” If anyone knows of a place willing to open their facilities for day or night play, they can contact Noakes at 206-3909. A retired teacher and tennis coach, Noakes plans to start pickleball clinics for beginners. In order to increase membership, several avenues have been explored. Stanek explained that Oklahoma is the only state that doesn’t have a public outdoor pickleball court, even though it is taught in a few middle schools and played at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University. “We have contacted the OKC mayor about this, but have yet to hear back from his office,” said Barnes.
A variety of play options are available, including club practice and competitions on local, national and international levels. Every October, the Oklahoma Senior Olympics include a pickleball tournament. This year, it will be held in Bethany. It rotates every two years between the Oklahoma City area and Tulsa. A recent Oklahoma City tournament earned 10 OKC Pickleball Club members 20 medals in the Yukon Senior Games. Participants included Peggy Cobb, Phil Cox, Laura Grooms, Debra Law, Lindell Mills, Don Noakes, Vicky Noakes, Denzel Oldham and J.B. Smith. A list of nationally sanctioned tournaments can be found at www.usapa.org. This site is also a great resource on how to play, places to play, international happenings, a monthly newsletter to keep players informed and more. But just a warning: pickleball can be addictive. Once you start, you may find it hard to stop. It’s a great way to spend time with your kids and get some exercise. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to play a competitive sport. The OKC Pickleball Club members are very welcoming and enthusiastic to teach anyone who wants to learn how to play.
Once you start, you may find it hard to stop.
by Christy Shuler
Oklahoma has its fair share of adverse weather, to say the least. After its latest and infamous hail storm on May 29th, Oklahomans are calling on Caliber Roofing and Restoration for all their servicing needs. Caliber prides themselves on the quality of work they provide as well as the promise that their materials will hold up longer and better than those of their competitors. During their latest project, Caliber replaced an entire roofing system on a home that was damaged by the hail storm. However, the house had zero decking (support that is adhered to the frame to which the roofing is applied). Caliber pulled the entire roof system off and reconstructed it with radient barrier deck board, Owens Corning Tru Definition shingles and synthetic underlayment, which carries with it not only a Lifetime Warranty, but is significantly stronger than a regular 15 pound felt paper that most roofers use. Synthetic underlayment can actually protect a roof on its own for up to six months, offering just that much more protection from the elements. Not only are Caliber’s superior materials strong enough to keep out leaks after hail and wind damage, but they offer green alternatives such as a radiant barrier and attic insulation which can keep the attic up to 35 degrees cooler in the summer, allowing the air conditioner to work up to 50% less. Caliber offers other services such as siding, gutters, windows, and garage doors as well. In addition, they are one of only four authorized dealers
in the area for Velux skylights. Owner Joseph Rosso and project manager Greg Cannon know their industry well and reveal that it was their experience with other roofing companies that would ultimately shape Caliber’s motto and their general outlook on the roofing industry in Oklahoma. As most homeowners know, the process of proving weather-related damage to insurance companies can often be difficult. Rosso notes that a lot of roofing companies are not qualified when it comes to insurance claims and adjustments, making a bad experience for homeowners even worse. When starting his company, Rosso wanted to ensure that residents could trust Caliber to deliver the utmost integrity in their contractors, services and materials. “The value of the materials we are certified to offer and the quality of the workmanship are going to be, bar none, better than anything you’re gonna get from your average roofer” says Cannon. Caliber is constantly searching for newer and better ways to validate each of its services. From licensed insurance adjustors to certifications with
After Haag Forensic Engineering, Caliber offers licensed services in nine different trades. In fact, Caliber’s certification with Fortune 500 company Owens Corning now allows them to offer a 10 year leak-free warranty backed by the billion dollar company in addition to the lifetime warranty that Caliber has offered from day one. Caliber services the entirety of Oklahoma with offices in Moore and Tulsa, and boasts an “A” as an accredited business in the Better Business Bureau of Oklahoma. “When we started Caliber, it was a goal to raise the bar in Oklahoma,” says Rosso. “[We wanted] to give roofers a good name.” Caliber Roofing and Restoration offers 24-hour emergency service, financing, and even a free inspection. For more information, call 889-7806 or visit www.caliberroofingandrestoration.com.
889-7806 www.CaliberRoofingandRestoration.com www.edmondoutlook.com 27
TEAM STACEY by Christy Shuler
Angie Lason, Stacey Slaton, Jennifer Keeney
reg and Stacey Slaton are active members in the Edmond community. A family of four, this faithdriven unit has vowed not to let adversity pull them under. Even when just a few short weeks ago, Stacey was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic and liver cancer. It was May 14 when the family received the bad news. Stacey, a self-employed daycare owner, will have to undergo a round of chemotherapy treatments in an effort to combat the disease. This family of 12 years, however, is determined to carry through. Stacey met Greg 15 years ago after the two were introduced by her ex-boyfriend. They spent the first two years as close friends, a relationship from which love blossomed. Now, they have two beautiful daughters, Alison, age 11, and Ashtyn, 2. Slaton says she’s been working her home-based daycare business since daughter Ashtyn came along. Throughout the school year, she offers childcare to teachers who are unable to look after their children
during school hours. During the summer, she provides field trips and community service projects for school-aged children. But her commitment to education doesn’t stop there. Years ago, while firstborn Alison attended Angie Debo Elementary School, Slaton was PTO president for two years and even worked there as a special education teacher’s assistant. “I love that school and love the teachers,” she says. Because of the taxing nature of Slaton’s treatments, she will not be able to work while undergoing chemotherapy. It will be up to Greg, a general manager at Pole Position Raceway in Oklahoma City, to provide for the family. However, as she begins treatment, they approach this emotional roller coaster with the best possible outlook. “I don’t think it has had time to digest, but we’re positive,” says Slaton. “We feel like God chose me and our family to do something bigger than we realize.” As their journey progresses, the Slatons continue to learn more about Stacey’s condition. In a recent
“We have an incredible community here. We are truly blessed and truly grateful.”
medical evaluation for which they drove hours from home, doctors concluded that what they had first believed to be stage 4 liver cancer that had spread to the pancreas was, in fact, contained only to her liver.
Since the liver is the body’s largest vital organ, and there is no alternative for its important bodily functions, liver failure can prove problematic, to say the least. Whether or not she remains a stage 4, the most severe form of liver cancer, Slaton’s condition is sure to be challenging to overcome. Having already undergone surgery to create a port for which her medicine is to be injected, Slaton is soon to begin her bi-weekly, five-hour rounds of chemo. She will be attending Integris Cancer Institute of Oklahoma. They chose this treatment center so that she could remain close to home and
Greg, Ashtyn, Alison & Stacey Slaton Photo by Angie Lason her family, carrying on daily activities as much as possible. If you question them about their unwavering positivity, the Slatons will tell you they consider it their only option. To them, “moping around and feeling sorry for (themselves)” would be the easy way out, and definitely not the message they want to send their daughters. “We have kids and they need their mom and they need their (normal) life,” Slaton says. Being such loyal Edmond residents, the Slatons have no need to worry about going through any of this alone. As members of LifeChurch, their fellow churchgoers, friends, family and community members are all rallying alongside them. On June 2, a garage sale was held in which personal and donated items were sold to raise money for Stacey’s increasing medical bills. Volunteers wore T-shirts reading “Team Stacey” on the front and “Tellin’ Cancer ... Get to Steppin’” on the back.
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Team Stacey garage sale
...continued from page 29 The garage sale was one of a multitude of fundraising opportunities held in June to support the Slatons including a Silent Auction that offered spa packages, Dallas Cowboy tickets, autographed sports memorabilia and Seaworld tickets. On their Facebook page, “Stacey Slaton Fundraising” well-wishers, friends and family can get up-to-date information regarding upcoming fundraisers and ways to purchase Team Stacey merchandise, such as the T-shirt and bracelets. Stacey’s supporters can also look forward to the upcoming RACE 4 STACE at Lake Hefner on July 14, among a number of other endeavors that are sure to follow. When viewing the Slaton’s Facebook page, one cannot help but be overcome with the positivity and support of those on Team Stacey. The page is filled with photos of dozens of volunteers at various events, and folks reaching out to help and offer words of encouragement. It is certainly
clear that this family is not alone. And with all of the love and support that Edmond continues to offer them, the Slatons have something they would like to say. “We are so humbled and grateful for all the support. It has been amazing to see what people will do for someone in need. Someone they don’t even know.” As Stacey moves forward in her road to recovery, the Slatons know they will have their friends and loved ones behind them. “We have an incredible community here. We are truly blessed and truly grateful.” Those wishing to give monetary donations to the Slatons can contact Bank of Oklahoma, where the Stacey Slaton Fund has been created. Visit the “Stacey Slaton Fundraising” Facebook page or www.slaton.1mobb.com for more information on upcoming fundraising events and how to help.
ONE-WAY TICKET by Heide Brandes
Ashley Amend & her daughter in St. Thomas
shley Amend poured everything into her tech startup business, one which created touch screen programs for kiosks. But when her business started struggling, she knew she had to start anew. Amend was ready for a change and a break from the business world; she was ready for something different. But for Amend, different meant extreme. She put everything she owned into storage and moved to St. Thomas in the Caribbean with her 6-year-old daughter. The sandy beaches and Caribbean waters called for her, and she said it was God’s voice that told her to go for it. It was this bold move that led Amend into a new career, and a new life. “It was June 28, 2010,” Amend said. “I remember the date. You don’t forget the day you buy a one-way ticket to St. Thomas. I had a software company and it wasn’t going very well. I had researched St. Thomas for three years, and here I was, a single mom with a daughter going into first grade.” Amend had options. She created her own marketing company while barely in her 20s, and had the struggling DigiTouch, touch-screen start-up, plus a
job offer at a tech company in Dallas. Or she could make that move to the islands. She chose the islands, joining an online “couch-surfing” community to find a place to live. “I was talking to a man named Paul who had a room in a villa to rent. So I couch-surfed for a while when we got to St. Thomas,” Amend said. “Then I met Paul in person and moved in. It turned out to be the best opportunity of my life.”
“You don't forget the day you buy a one-way ticket to St. Thomas.” Sandy beaches and an empty work schedule soon meant Amend was getting bored. Paul, her landlord, said he was self-employed and successful as a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist. He made his living by creating websites that funneled leads to several service industries. These service industries paid well for their leads. “I never learned SEO or cared about it before then,” Amend said. “But I watched what he did. He made PayDay Loan
France the number one spot on Google. So one day, he asked what I was going to do. He said, ‘Hey, in the meantime, I’ll teach you SEO skills.’ That’s how it all began.” In the following year, as Amend started assimilating to island living, working part-time and shuffling her young daughter to school and activities, she learned the basics of how search engines rank websites. It took her eight weeks to master the basics. She experimented on her own company, and soon was ranked number one. “Once I got my own site for my software company as number one on Google, I started to get calls from national companies,” Amend said. “I was amazed. It really opens door to have your site first on the Google search page. I didn’t know it was possible and didn’t really put thought into the effect that would have.” That first success, and the results, spurred her on to learn more about SEO and search engine rankings. She learned all the mysterious, magical tricks of SEO, including the not-as-respectable “black hat” method, which uses random spam. She prefers the “white hat” method, which uses strategy
Rank Monster owner Ashley Amend and communication with other sites to rank. “I realized there were better ways to earn ranking than spamming, including quality content, meta tags and code,” she said. “It’s more ethical and it doesn’t use automated software. What we do isn’t spamming; we do everything manually and with strategy.” With a new set of skills under her belt, Amend headed back to Edmond where she started Rank Monster in 2011, an SEO company. Within a year, she had to hire a team and already claims 21 companies as clients. “Because I have such an entrepreneurial spirit and saw this as a viable business, I knew I would not be able to build my company while in St. Thomas. I wanted a more personal touch than just doing business over the Internet. I had big plans for Rank Monster, so I moved back to Oklahoma,” she said. “I called friends I had done business with and told them what I was doing. When I was still in St. Thomas, I did some ranking work for boat rental businesses, so I did have experience to show.” With locals vouching for her and proven success to show, Rank Monster grew like wildfire. It still is. With six other employees, Amend now works to get companies to the top of the Google search engine through strategic SEO direction. “Of our 21 clients, most are local, but we do have a few in Chicago and a pending request from California,” Amend said. “The company grew a lot faster than I expected, but we are not overwhelmed.” What started as an escape to an island turned into a booming business for the Edmond native. “I’m a spiritual person, and in 2010, I was lost and confused,” she said. “I felt I had to move to St. Thomas, and because I did, I have all this success. I thank God for that. Every day I wake up so excited to work and do what I do.” For more information, visit www.myrankmonsters.com
BALANCING ACT by Lindsay Whelchel
here is duality in everything it seems. We work. We play. We live in town. We were raised in the country. We have dreams for the future but must live in the present. The trick is to find the balance. This is not a concept that is lost on Eric Starkey. The family man and Edmond professional is also an actor and he makes it a point to embrace his multiple roles in earnest. “For me, success is being able to enjoy my family and enjoy shooting a movie every now and then,” he says.
“My daughter is 6 and thinks it's pretty cool that daddy is on TV sometimes.” For Starkey, it is being able to have it all. Raised in eastern Oklahoma, but now living in north Oklahoma City and working in Edmond, Starkey has realized that his home state is the perfect example
an agent in Oklahoma City, while continuing to of this. “You really get the best of both worlds,” he pursue his career in business. says. “You can go to a Thunder game. You can go to Starkey explains that he got into the construction Cafe 501 in Edmond. That’s what I love about it here field by helping his father build his mother’s house — you can have it all, you can have kind of urban on their farm back home. Working with his hands is culture, then take an hour drive and you’re on a farm a love that has stayed with him ever since. Starkey riding horses, so it’s hard to beat.” and his wife’s latest hobby is restoring a 100-year-old Valuing both is perhaps the philosophy that also grocery store in Oklahoma City and turning it into a led to Starkey’s career decision to join the team at Edmond-based Saratoga Roofing, where he works as a controller, overseeing and handling accounting. “One of the things that really kind of sold me on Saratoga was they wanted to run their business in a way that was a little bit different than most businesses,” he explains that the company has spiritual roots. “While they’re concerned with profit, that’s not the bottom line. They wanted to conduct business in a way that was helpful to the people that worked for them and helpful to the community.” He connected with this from the start. “I related with the approach to the business because I think we tend "Bringing Up Bobby" 2012, Photo by Brett Deering to compartmentalize our home life, guesthouse and creative space called the Pink Cloud. spiritual life, and I don’t think that’s necessarily the These endeavors can often make for a busy best way to go,” he explains. “You have to combine schedule but Starkey says that his family is behind your spiritual life and your work life and your play his efforts. “They’re very supportive about it. My life. They’re all part of one piece and to be true to all daughter is 6 and she thinks it’s pretty cool that of them you have to include them all in the way that daddy is on TV sometimes,” he says with a laugh. you go about each one.” The same goes for his wife, Kari. “She’s really The task of integrating them all for Starkey been great because I work 10 to 11 hours a day at my meant taking his love of acting from the plays he did regular job and then sometimes when I get a couple in college at the University of Oklahoma and getting
of days off, I do a movie and I’m gone again, so it’s definitely not an easy life but she’s always supported me and has been as excited about the projects,” he says. And these projects are becoming more frequent with the film industry growing here in Oklahoma. “Oklahoma is a really great environment for the film industry,” Starkey says. “We’ve got great weather. We’ve got great locations, and one of the things that a lot of the film crews and directors I’ve talked to have said about Oklahoma is that the people here are so gracious.” He cites that film crews are welcomed to film in places where they would be charged or have difficulties in places like Los Angeles. “They come to Oklahoma and everybody’s just so happy to see them, and not just because they’re in movies,” he says. “One thing that I hear over and over again is that the people here are just genuinely friendly, even if you’re not doing a movie or they don’t know you’re doing a movie, you’re just kind of struck with the character of the people you meet here.” Starkey had a role in the film “Where the Red Fern Grows,” a 2003 remake of the classic version starring Dave Matthews, as well as roles in, “Time Expired,” “Pearl” and “The Downwinders.” He currently has a role in the film “Bringing up Bobby,” starring Milla Jovovich and directed by Famke Janssen, all well-known names in Hollywood. Starkey explains that if people from Hollywood are learning something about Oklahomans, he’s also learning something about people in the film industry. “It’s nice to be able to work with professionals at that level and the nice thing that I got to realize is they’re just regular folks just like the rest of us,” he says. “They’re just trying to do a good job with what they’ve been given.”
Voted Edmond's Favorite Place to Buy Flooring by Edmond Life & Leisure
OUTLOOK by Krystal Harlow
Name: Renee Anderson, Voice Instructor, Performer Did you grow up in Edmond? Yes I did. I'm an original Edmond Bulldog! When did you start performing? At the age of seven, I auditioned and was cast in my first musical. I played Gretl in "The Sound of Music" at Oklahoma Christian University. I've been hooked ever since. You've starred in many different productions over the years. What have been some of your favorites and why? Playing opposite Jonathan Beck Reed as Delilah Strict in Zombie Prom at OKC CityRep - sharing the stage with Jonathan is an actor's dream come true! Matthew Alvin Brown asking me to play Yitzhak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch being a part of that show was life-changing. But my absolute favorite? Watching the sheer excitement and joy of the audience as I flew through the nursery window as Peter Pan at The Pollard Theatre in Guthrie. That was truely magical. How long have you had pink hair? Only about six years. My stylist Cherlyn has been doing my hair for 18 years and she ROCKS! She's always done something radical with my hair, whether it's the cut or color. We found that the pink stays longer. I feel naked when my hair is not pink. It's become a part of me. You once worked on a cruise ship. What was that like? I performed on a smaller cruise ship out of Florida. I'm glad I had the opportunity and experience, but can say now that it's not really my cup of tea. If you enjoy living in a shoebox that floats on the ocean, then I highly recommend it. How long have you been teaching voice lessons? I just finished my 6th year of teaching private voice. I teach a couple of days at the Lyric Theatre Thelma Gaylord Academy in Oklahoma City and the rest of the week at Upstage Theatre in Edmond. I absolutely LOVE it! You're also involved in a lot of charity work? Whether it's shaving off all my pink hair or lending my voice to raise awareness or money, I do my best to be there and help. I am very passionate about keeping the arts in education. I believe it is vital! If you could star in any role or play what would it be? I would love to play Eva Peron in Evita one day. Your resume boasts high-pitched barking as a special skill? It got your attention didn't it? It's been a great conversation starter at auditions. What inspires you most? Witnessing a student's hard work pay off. Watching our theater community take risks and continuing to see it grow. Renee will be performing in "Anything Goes" at UCO in July for Edmond Summerstock. To purchase tickets visit, summerstockok.com. Photo courtesy Steph Bidelspach | Dress courtesy Jonathan Kayne
NOSE FOR HIRE by Radina Gigova
onnie Johnston, who lives in Edmond with her two German shepherds, loves her job because it combines her two passions: working with dogs and alleviating one of Oklahoma’s biggest problems — drug abuse. Johnston is part of the sales department at K9 University in OKC, a private company that offers different types of dog training from basic obedience to protection, and bite safety to drug detection. “I’m really impressed with what these dogs can do and the fact that there are kids that could be helped before they become addicted. It’s just a winwin,” said Johnston.
Oxycontin) and oxymorphone (marketed as Opana), more than tripled in the U.S. in the past decade. And one of every 12 people in Oklahoma, as young as 12 years old, reported using painkillers without a prescription. “If you are worried at all that something is going on in your home, there’s probably a reason for that. Don’t wait,” said Angel Soriano, dog behavioral expert and founder of K9U. The company has worked with several businesses and numerous private homes in the Edmond area. He said parents and grandparents often unknowingly become the source for their children’s use of painkillers by not locking the doors of drug cabinets and not disposing of old medications. “The grandkids come over to visit, go to the bathroom, and go through the drugs. A lot of stuff is sitting there that’s been there three, four years, but that’s still enough to do damage. So it’s important that you clean up your house,” he said. There are currently 16 dogs that are part of the company’s drug detection unit. Most of them are German shepherds, which are genetically equipped with strong olfactory receptors, are athletic and can work two to three hours at a time without a break. “They have Deba, K9 University Drug Detection Dog good work ethics. They don’t stop until they Johnston says that people who suspect there is a finish the job,” said Soriano. substance abuse problem in their family often don’t The dogs undergo special training, based on a know how to address it. She said contacting a comreward mechanism. If a dog is crazy about a ball, pany like K9U could be an easy first step. A team can trainers start hiding the ball near an illegal substance, check a home, garage or car in less than an hour and like marijuana. The dog will start making a connecthe process is far less invasive than drug testing. And tion between the ball and the marijuana. Eventually, even if something is found, it is up to the family to trainers will hide the marijuana only but the dog will decide what action to take. “We are separate from law get to play with the ball as a reward. “You repeat that enforcement; we don’t make arrests, we don’t publia couple of thousand times and you now have your cize anything,” she said. dog alerting marijuana,” explained Soriano. The statistics are alarming. According to the inK9U’s drug detection services are available not surance industry website insurancejournal.com, two only to companies and homes but also to schools. Oklahomans die every day as a result of drug overEverything is kept confidential. “We are responsible dose. In 2011 the website ranked Oklahoma No. 1 in for the well-being of our children,” said Soriano. the nation for prescription drug abuse. “It’s a killer to us to even think about what they are A recent report by the Centers for Disease headed into in the school system.” He said one of Control and Prevention shows that the death toll the most popular and most dangerous drugs among from overdoses of prescription painkillers like hydroteens is K2, also known as synthetic marijuana. Socodone, methadone, oxycodone (main ingredient in riano said some teens are even drinking hand sani-
tizer to get high. The consequences could be deadly. “The important part about this is that drug addiction is fixable and the person doesn’t have to hit rock bottom,” he said. “Once the team leaves, you have clarity that you don’t have a problem or that you have a serious problem and you have to deal with it.” The role of family members is crucial in early detection. Anything out of the ordinary in children’s behavior, such as lack of or impaired motor skills, imbalance, emotional outbursts, dilated eyes and impaired judgment can be signs of trouble. Johnston agrees. “Parents just need to be more involved, they need to know what their kids are doing, what are they in to, who are they hanging out with, what are they interested in. A little more involvement would go a long way,” she said. “There are such great things in our state. [Drug abuse] is not what we should be known for,” added Soriano. For more information about K9 University and helpful resources, go to www.myk9u.com or call 231-4335.
Oklahoma is ranked No. 1 in the nation for prescription drug abuse.