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Outlook June 2014
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
Sunday Worship Services at 11 a.m. Sequoyah Middle School
St. Luke’s in June:
The Wild Kingdom - Celebrating God’s Creation Sermon series begins June 8
Join us for worship 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 15
Vacation Bible School
Ages 3 to entering 5th grade, June 23-26 9 a.m. -12 p.m. Downtown Location St. Luke’s Edmond 1125 E. Danforth Edmond, OK 73034
edmond.stlukesokc.org | 285-2002 outlookoklahoma.com
C O N C E R T – G O I N G
Outlook June 2014
I T ’ S
M E A N T
State of Mind My wife, Sandy, hypnotizes me. With her beauty, but
also with hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is pretty cool
stuff. If you’re thinking that she swings a pocket watch in front of my drooping eyes—you’ve got it all wrong.
It’s a bit more sophisticated than that. And if you think
it’s just a tool to get me to divulge all sorts of tightly held spousal secrets like:
How much am I spending on performance parts for my car?
Did I ignore the cat throw-up rather than clean it up?
Did I finish off the yummy organic chocolate hidden in the fridge?
You’d be wrong again. Sandy practices “Ericksonian Hypnosis,”
38 My Outlook
where the therapist uses metaphors to give suggestions and ideas to your unconscious mind. She begins our sessions with some
Melinda Lay, Hoofstock Zookeeper at the Oklahoma City Zoo
relaxation exercises and then she talks me through some guided visualizations. She has a great voice and it puts me in a place where we can go beyond my conscious mind, where we can work on eliminating resistance to change.
Some people find hypnotherapy helpful in
eliminating harmful behaviors and habits. I like to use hypnotherapy for problems that come up in my everyday
8 Facts & Figures 10 Louise
life (if you’re in PR, marketing or middle management feel free to
substitute the word ‘problems’ with
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Once I’m in this relaxed state,
beyond my conscious mind, we
work on changing my thinking.
22 Summertime Activities
Which I’m naturally resistant to. I can be a bit rigid. And
somewhat obsessive. And I’ve
38 My Outlook
found this type of therapy to be effective as well as super relaxing.
Melinda Lay, Zookeeper
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting very, very sleepy…
Dave Miller, Publisher, Back40 Design President
20 Good Cluck The desire for raising urban chickens is on the rise! 25 Beauty in the Abandoned
A look at forgotten churches around the metro
30 The Likes of Us An indie band with local roots is creating its own sound
33 Life Change Ballroom
Teaching positive life skills through dance
Front cover photo by Marshall Hawkins
36 Fashion Forward Life as a personal stylist suits DyQuan Washington To advertise, contact Laura at 405-301-3926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
80 East 5th Street, Suite 130, Edmond, OK 73034
Volume 10, Number 6 Edmond & North OKC Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc. © 2014 Back40 Design, Inc. PUBLISHER Dave Miller
ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Laura Beam PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins www.sundancephotographyokc.com
PRINT PROJECT MANAGER Bethany Marshall
Account Executive Emily Hummel
Graphic Designer Ryan Kirkpatrick
DISTRIBUTION The Outlook is delivered FREE by direct-mail to 50,000 Edmond & North OKC homes.
Articles and advertisements in the 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 the 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. The Outlook assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials.
f a c
5.2 LifeChurch Crosses 125 Kevin Durants (KD almost to scale)
June is Adopt-A-Cat Month! Save a shelter cat today and adopt one of the
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furry felines available at the Edmond & OKC Animal Shelters.
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Join St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church Saturday, June 7 from 10am-3pm for their Bone-A-Fide Dog Show & Pet Adoption. All proceeds benefit animal rescue. 14700 N May Ave., OKC. More info at staugustine. episcopaloklahoma.org
12.8 Pops 66 Signs
(2014 movie version)
How many of these icons does it take to equal the size of OKC’s Devon Tower?
President Nixon made Father’s Day a permanent national holiday in
1972. This year it is June 15th. Don’t forget to put a card in the mail for Dad!
The Armstrong Auditorium in Edmond received the Outstanding New Attraction award during the 2014 Redbud Awards gala hosted by the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association. For upcoming concerts visit ArmstrongAuditorium.org or call (405) 285-1010. Dragon Kim’s Taekwondo & Fitness is hosting a Summer Camp July 21-25 for children ages 6-11. Students will enjoy Taekwondo-based games with an emphasis on maintaining a fun and positive attitude. More info at dragonkimstkd.com/summercamp. As the weather heats up, you need a cool place to play! Make plans to visit Science Museum Oklahoma often this summer. It’s your place to play, learn, climb, tinker and discover! Have a blast seeing science come to life. Find more info at sciencemuseumok.org
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Outlook June 2014
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Making Memories Yesterday, I ran out of cleansing cream. Not a major problem except that I was out of town and had no idea where to find a Mary Kay consultant so I ran to Walgreens and grabbed a jar of Pond’s Cold Cream. Wow, how long since I used cold cream? I wonder how a facial cleanser got such a name. When I opened the jar and spread the cream on my face, my senses were immediately assaulted by its fragrance. Suddenly, I was ten years old and my grandmother was tucking me into bed at her house. I could smell her sweet aroma as she kissed me goodnight. Every summer when I was growing up, my brother Jimmy and I would spend a week with our grandparents in Quinton, Oklahoma, where we roamed the small town streets and played with neighborhood children till dark. And every afternoon, Granddad would grab his hat and say, “Come on, children. Let’s go get the mail.” Jimmy and I trailed along behind him and marveled at the little glass boxes with dials at the post office. So unlike our rural mailbox along a dirt road. Granddad would introduce us to his friends playing dominoes and checkers at nearby tables. “These are my grandchildren,” he proudly announced, making us feel extra special. Then we would trot up the street a ways to get double-dip ice cream cones. Not what you see today where one dip is stacked on the other. No, these double cones had a place for each dip. When Grandmama was with us, we would also go to the dry goods store where we always came away with something new to wear. One of my favorites was a pair of yellow sandals for my usually bare feet in the summer.
by Louise Tucker Jones
And I absolutely loved my grandparents’ big yellow house on the corner with its indoor bathroom and kitchen sink—things we didn’t have in our little farmhouse. In fact, they had three kitchens since they often rented furnished rooms to boarders. A great place to play hide and seek when they were empty. Most days, Grandmama would quilt or sew and I often rummaged through her jewelry, trying on bracelets, rings and such. On Sunday, she would choose a necklace and earbobs to wear to church with her stylish suit and matching hat. Granddad was tall and handsome in his jacket, tie and dress fedora. He was a gentleman. She was a lady. I felt like a princess. But I think some of our best times were just sitting on the cool, screened-in back porch with Granddad, waving to neighbors as they walked by, or shelling peas and snapping beans on the side porch with Grandmama, vegetables she gathered in her apron from the garden. It was a simple life but I felt treasured and cherished. These recollections make me wonder what actions or smells will trigger sweet memories in my own grandkids when they are grown. Will it be the chocolate chip cookies we usually bake together? Could it be the hugs and kisses we share? Maybe it will be the books we read or the fun they have running through the trees and bushes when they visit my home. Perhaps Alex will remember that Grammi-Lou taught her to sew and Axton might recall bouncing on my bed. And who knows, since my reason for being out of town is to visit these precious grandchildren, those future memories just might be triggered by the smell of cold cream!
About the Author Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker and founder of the organization, Wives With Heavenly Husbands, a support group for widows. Email LouiseTJ@cox.net or visit LouiseTuckerJones.com.
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Outlook June 2014
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Outlook June 2014
by Laura Beam Blame it on the season. The first weeks of summer strike us all with a restless wanderlust. Our thoughts drift helplessly beyond our computers and cubicles to exotic beaches and fun destinations, begging us to new adventures. Local theme parks open their gates. Kids are out of school. Summer camps and sports leagues spring into action. We can’t help but crave a little excitement to expand our horizons. Great food is a memorable highlight of most getaways—that fabulous bagel shop we happened upon in New York City, the amazing seafood restaurant we discovered in Texas or that renowned eatery in Florida. Great food is a thrill we never grow tired of exploring. It’s a destination and lure all its own. Minus a lofty bank account and extensive work leave, we can’t jet away enough to fill the void. But we can gratify our innate hunger for adventure with some delicious local getaways just beyond our doorstep.
Since 2006, shooting sports fans have been privy to an unexpected OKC dining treasure that’s now on the radar of many local diners. Who would have guessed that a metro icon like H&H Shooting Sports would also be a hometown hot spot for world-famous onion burgers, chicken salad sandwiches, loaded hot dogs and daily specials like open-face roast beef sandwiches that rival the most celebrated diners in the state? At 4U Café & Catering, located at H&H Shooting Sports, specially seasoned grilled onions, fresh-cut fries, hand-dipped onion rings and 100% certified Angus Beef delight customers every day of the week. Originally opened as a small coffee and sandwich shop, the café soon expanded in 2007. Manager, Yvonne Cagle, notes that since then, the café has expanded twice due to a growing number of patrons and catering business. Guests come to continued on next page
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“shop, shoot, have business meetings, attend classes, hold parties and events in three event rooms and enjoy time with friends and family at the cafe,” Cagle comments. With four TVs, it’s also a fun hangout for watching games. Guests also love the availability of the kids menu for all ages. They get it—smaller portions aren’t a crime!
Food, Mood and Mystery
Date night enthusiasts, take note. There’s a secluded culinary hideaway near NE 63rd and Eastern in OKC that sparks romance upon arrival. Tucked in a deeply wooded enclave and shrouded in mystery, the Haunted House restaurant, celebrating its 50-year anniversary, serves up legendary steaks, seafood, pasta, lobster, chicken and rack of lamb in an unforgettable atmosphere. Exquisite food preparation makes this flawless menu a consistent attraction. Amid flickering candlelight and linenclad tables, the thrill of this storied mansion comes to life. The fabled country manor-turned-restaurant was formerly home to Mr. and Mrs. Carriker and their stepdaughter. In 1963, Mr. Carriker was murdered. Before the stepdaughter went on trial for murder, Mrs. Carriker died. A jury found the stepdaughter innocent and just before a foreclosure that would have rid her of the tragedyridden mansion, she was found dead. The murder was never solved and the case has been dropped, but the legend lives on today. Marian Thibault and late husband Arthur have been the sole owners of The Haunted House for 50 years. Marian comments that the restaurant is “like a romantic country inn that’s special for couples, friends,
wedding parties and other events.”
A Taste of the Old West
A short drive to the landmark Oklahoma territory of Mulhall leads you to one of our state’s ultimate dining destinations. At the historic intersection of Highway 77 and Main Street in Mulhall, Lucille’s Restaurant stands as a tribute to the land rush days and pioneering spirit of the Old West. Whether you cruise into town on your Harley or in the family SUV, Lucille’s delicious home-style foods like chicken fried steak, catfish, steaks and famous homemade pies, are an attraction not to be missed. Sunday brunch is an event all its own, replete with hearty favorites like homemade biscuits, waffles and all the trimmings you’d expect of a chuckwagon-style feast. Brothers Don and Chris Harman restored this lively roadhouse after it was damaged by an F4 tornado and devastating fire. Today, this colorful slice of Americana boasts all the authentic western flair of its namesake, Lucille Mulhall, who was dubbed ‘America’s first cowgirl’ by Will Rogers. Rustic furnishings and artifacts recall a bygone era of simpler charms. Guests love to stroll the four-corner area and see the covered wagon and 1894 sandstone bank then kick back on Lucille’s spacious patio with a cool drink in hand.
Great food is a thrill we never grow tired of exploring.
Laura Beam is a business and food writer and 20-year advertising and marketing executive in radio, newspaper and magazines. Share new business tips and trends with her on LinkedIn or email Laura@outlookoklahoma.com.
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Outlook June 2014
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Larry Jones AAA Insurance by Lance Evans The team at Larry Jones AAA Insurance
Larry and Johnnie Jones are more than just business partners—they’ve been married for 47 years. After agreeing to help her husband for a few weeks until he found a full-time employee, Johnnie is now a permanent part of the fiveperson team who make Larry’s AAA Insurance a success. Mr. & Mrs. Jones work to make every client feel comfortable and welcome clients the minute someone walks into their office. The smiles on their faces are genuine and it is clear that they care about each and every person they interact with. It becomes immediately obvious why the duo has been so successful. “We sell life, auto, home and commercial insurance,” says Mrs. Jones. When asked what helps set Larry’s AAA Insurance apart from the rest, she is quick to note that customer service has always been their selling point. “AAA is
Outlook June 2014
really good with customer service and in this particular office, I am customer service,” she says. “We have a total of four agents and our combined experience totals 96 years.” Larry Jones has been in the insurance business for 41 years. After working for another company for 29 years, he retired but refused to stop working. In October of 2013, he opened Larry’s AAA Insurance and built a small team that shared his large passion for insurance. He sees no end to his work and has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. “I just love the insurance business,” says Mr. Jones. Mrs. Jones says that during office hours, the phones are constantly ringing—usually with calls from friends of their clients. “A lot of our business is from referrals.” After going through the company’s history, Mrs. Jones smiles and recalls one of her most memorable
clients. After suffering the loss of their home in last year’s Moore tornado, a family was not able to find AAA coverage due to the fire risk associated with the acreage they selected. Instead of turning them away, Larry and his team were able to secure insurance for the family with another company within the AAA agency. “We still worked to get them covered,” she says. With a passion for customer service and a caring staff, Larry Jones AAA Insurance gives a new meaning to “Keeping up with the Joneses.” For more information on Larry Jones AAA Insurance, give them a call at 513-6500 or email email@example.com.
Harris Automotive by Amy Dee Stephens Blake Harris, co-owner of Harris Automotive
As a young boy, Blake Harris was always enchanted by the workings of an engine. “In junior high, Blake found a junk motorcycle, took it apart, and had it started in three days,” said Danny Harris, father of Blake and co-owner of Harris Automotive. With an interest in mechanics and a passion for people, father Danny and son Blake teamed together to introduce the cleanest automotive shop you’ve ever visited—and not just because the building is only six months old. Harris Automotive was designed with cleanliness in mind. The team was determined to provide an automotive experience that didn’t leave customers with grease on their pants. “It’s clean. The seating is nice. We have Wi-Fi and coffee available. It’s our focus to keep it that way,” said Danny. “Even our shop equipment is clean—everyone comments on that.”
Cleanliness is just one aspect of customer service that the Harris family considered when they decided to open the shop in Edmond. The father-son duo spent a year-and-a-half looking at business models and designing the building, considering everything from the waiting room to bays. Their dedication was born because of Blake’s natural ability to fix cars and relate to people at the same time. “Blake has a knack for helping customers understand, in simple language,” said Danny. “We’re different because we fix what needs to be fixed and nothing more.” The shop is staffed with Master Mechanics, and Blake is certified as a Master Mechanic— which means experts look at each car. “We aren’t the most expensive shop or the cheapest,” said Danny, “But we are gaining loyal customers because we give an honest diagnosis
and have the equipment and talent to handle it.” Danny, who retired early from his job to help start the business, is not only proud of his son, but he also knows that Blake has a gift for mechanics. “When he was seven, Blake asked for a weed eater for his birthday so he could learn how it worked,” Danny said. “I put him in safety goggles, ear plugs and long pants, and then offered to show him how to start it. He told me, ‘Dad, I know how to do it—I read the manual!’ That’s Blake.” And that’s why the Harris family doesn’t just look at their automotive shop as a business—but as a life’s calling and a chance to have a positive impact on people. For more information, visit harrisautoshop.com, call 513-5150 or stop by the shop at 2608 E. 2nd Street.
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Outlook June 2014
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SOS Pools by Sandina Heckert
Vanessa and Zach Teague and the team at SOS Pools
A flock of geese has invaded your backyard and decided to make your pool their home. What do you do? Zach Teague, owner and operator of SOS Pools is here to save the day! Zach and his team service the Edmond, Deer Creek and northwest Oklahoma City area by providing swimming pool maintenance, resurfacing and remodeling to a growing list of more than 400 clients. Evidently Zach is doing something right. SOS Pools has thrived over the last seven years. What’s driving his business? Referrals. Zach said he’ll begin with one client in an area, and before long, his reputation of having a personable approach and reasonable pricing has spread to neighbors who hire him as well. “We like to keep our customers happy and go above and beyond their expectations,” said Zach, “We try to always be honest and not ‘upsell’ them on
unnecessary products or services.” A majority of Zach’s business is in providing routine care and upkeep to his clients. SOS Pools helps their customers maintain good water chemistry through weekly maintenance programs, and encourages all pool owners to keep their pools clean. Zach advises that “just because algae isn’t visible doesn’t mean it isn’t growing, and even during the fall and winter when people aren’t swimming, pools should be maintained and regulated.” A clean pool also ensures added safety. When drains aren’t properly cleaned, the buildup can cause increased suction in the pool’s drainage system, which can be dangerous and even deadly. The suction from a faulty drain can entrap a person at the bottom of the pool. The SOS team verifies that each client’s drains are in compliance with federal standards.
In his many years in the pool industry, Zach has seen his fair share of bizarre incidents. Remember the geese that wouldn’t leave? The team at SOS came up with a solution by placing a stuffed coyote on the customer’s porch—and it worked! Being in the pool industry means not being afraid to get the occasional soaking. Every member of the team has fallen in a customer’s pool at least once. As fun and funny as that sounds, the circumstances aren’t always ideal. “The worst is falling into a pool during winter snow and ice,” Zach commented. He also was once called to repair a customer’s safety cover after a horse ran on and tore up a pool cover. With that kind of dedication to service and happy customers, it’s no doubt Zach and SOS Pools have a bright future. For more information on SOS Pools, visit their website at edmondokpools.com or call 513-8155.
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Terry Stilwell of Oklahoma City peers into the wooden box set up in the shop he has behind his house. Inside, a pillow of gray feathers bundles on top of six bluish-gray eggs, and little black eyes peer back at him from a bright red face. “Hey sweet girl,” Stilwell, the ranger at Camp DaKaNi in Oklahoma City, coos at her. “You sitting on some eggs, sweetie? You’re my little eggy girl, huh?” He tries to lift his chicken up a bit to show off the eggs. Normally affectionate, the hen isn’t in the mood for shenanigans, and she causes a fuss. “It’s okay, baby girl,” Stilwell says. He’s a tough man, used to doing heavy labor while running the campground, but around his chickens, he’s gentle. “You’re okay, sweet girl.” Outside, another hen is riding on top of a donkey. The donkey doesn’t mind, and the hen fits perfectly in the swoop of his back. Stilwell has three Americana chickens—two laying hens and a proud rooster—as well as a mating pair of caramel-colored Bourbon Red turkeys. In a warm box, a dozen or so little turkey chicks prance around warily. “They all hang out together,” Stilwell said of his chickens, turkeys, goats, donkeys and Great Pyrenees dog. “I like the chickens. The rooster can be a jerk. He’ll try to spur me sometimes if I try to pick up the hens. They all eat a lot of bugs. They’re funny.”
PART OF THE FAMILY
When life gets too much for Jacey Hyde of Forest Park, she wanders to her backyard to sit and relax. The baby won’t let her sleep, the day’s anxieties build up, or she just needs a time out. In the midst of the stress of the day, she rests her face against the soft feathers of the chicken on her shoulder. Its pinkish red face with bright, beady eyes looks ahead and it perches there, cooing in that gurgley way that chickens do when they are content or want to say something. Just having these birded companions eases away the worries of Hyde’s day, and they are like that friend you always call when you need a boost. “I sit with the chickens when I am stressed out,” said Hyde. “It makes a difference, and they make me happy. They sit on my lap or on my shoulder, and each of them has their own personality. They are just so entertaining, and I go sit with them and watch.”
Outlook June 2014
Hyde and Stilwell among the many Central Oklahoma residents who own urban chickens, and like most everyone who raises chickens, love them. Hyde’s six Bantams are full of life, she said, and as an added bonus, full of fresh eggs. However, Central Oklahoma has a love/hate relationship with the farm birds. In Edmond and Oklahoma City, citizens currently cannot own backyard chickens. Outside the city limits, however, homeowners love their birds and cannot understand why the urban townships won’t at least allow the quieter hens to be kept. The chickens are more than egg dealers. For many owners, the fowls are feathered friends as well. “They are such a joy,” said Hyde.
baby chicks.” The roosters think Hyde is part of their harem of hens. She’s nothing but a featherless big girlfriend, so the roosters are as protective of her as they are of the other chickens. “Of course, it’s hilarious to watch my husband do work inside the coop or the run because the roosters are relentless with him,” she said. “They love and protect me, but my husband is fair game. It’s pretty funny watching a grown man fighting off three Bantam roosters to collect eggs or paint the coop.”
Fresh chicken eggs not only taste better, Anderson said, but they are filled with higher amounts of Omega-3 Talk to any of the chicken owners and they and more. “I have a flock of chickens and I all say the same thing. The eggs are definitely a haven’t bought eggs in years. I get enough treat, but the chickens’ insect hunting skills from them, and oh my gosh, they taste and funny personalities steal the show. so much better,” said Anderson. Many Shelly Anderson of Anderson Organics times, she said, the eggs in stores are south of the Oklahoma City metro sees already three weeks old and taste them as pets and as valued members weak compared to her eggs. “Two of her family. chickens can give you plenty of “I go outside, and they are eggs,” Anderson said. “It’s easy to happy to see me,” she said. “They raise them, and you’ll never taste think they are pets. They like being anything better.” petted, and I see them cuddling up But ask anyone with backyard with the cats on the hammock outside chickens if they kill them for food, or running with the dogs. Each one is its and you can hear the horror in their own little person. You have the bossy one, voices. “Oh, no! They are family! They the shy one, the funny one and the crazy one. are our pets! We would never do that th i It’s a show every time you go out there.” to them,” Anderson said. “No way,” said w ark P Anderson began raising chickens for eggs and Hyde. “They’re like my children. I couldn’t t es J a c ey Hyde of For natural insect control. Her chickens snatch mosquitoes ever kill them. It’d break my heart. They are too out of the sky and pluck nasty ticks out of the grass. They are funny and entertaining to have around to ever kill them for natural fertilizers too, she said. “Everyone works at the farm, and the food.” Stilwell agreed. His chickens keep the yard free of pests, and chickens do too,” she said. “We take care of them, and they take care they are friends with the dog. of us by giving us eggs, killing insects and fertilizing the ground. Having backyard chickens is as easy as building a simple coop. When they see us coming, they make this happy little sound and talk For less than $10, a family can buy two young birds to raise for eggs to us. They cluck and get all vocal, like they’re trying to tell you ‘hi’ or and fun, as long as it’s legal where you live. “You can get on Craigslist something.” and find chickens. Pullets are younger chickens who are almost ready to lay eggs, and you can get them for $3 to $5 a piece,” said REBA THE ROOSTER Anderson. “A simple coop will cost about $30 to $40. It’s easy to have Hyde hand-raised her six chicks in the bathtub of her house. a couple of chickens in your backyard.” She bought them as hatchlings, and they imprinted on her. She’s the mother hen of six, all named after female country singers. All was well in Hyde’s chicken world until she realized Reba or Dolly actually should have been called Richard or Donald. “It turns out three were roosters,” she said. “I had no idea. Suddenly, I’ve got these roosters with girls’ names all strutting around like they are a big deal. I didn’t want roosters, because they can be aggressive and loud, but all our chickens get along, because they grew up together. Each has its own little job, and they don’t fight. I’ve never seen a single one of them draw blood.” The chickens add excitement to her life as well. “When they were little chicks and still in their brooder in the upstairs bathroom, I would go in and just watch them,” Hyde said. “One day, when they started getting feathers, one chick flew out of the brooder and landed on my lap, followed by another, then another until I was covered in on
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Outlook June 2014
by Mari Farthing
by Katie Dupré
Photo Credits: The AbandonedOK Team
oarded windows, overgrown foliage and an aura of mystery are just some of the features of the hundreds of abandoned historical buildings gracing the landscape in the state of Oklahoma. In an effort to chronicle and retain the history of these forgotten landmarks, the organization AbandonedOK travels to buildings that are no longer in use and documents their history and significance through photographs and research. While some of these buildings may not be preserved physically, AbandonedOK is making sure to remember these landmarks in history, as they continue to remain a part of Oklahoma’s cultural identity. Many of the most beautiful structures are former churches, full of detailed architecture and historical meaning—and they all have a story to tell. Among the most notable of AbandonedOK’s projects is Hopewell Baptist Church in Edmond, which was designed by the renowned architect Bruce Goff. The church was constructed entirely by the local community using found materials related to the surroundings, as is typical of Goff designs. It is, according to AbandonedOK founder Justin Tyler Moore, “A really, really cool building,” which was unfortunately beaten to death by Oklahoma’s severe weather. The unique domelike roof catches the eyes of all passersby and its architectural and
artistic features have continued to be studied extensively throughout the years, even after its eventual abandonment in 1989. Hopewell’s community is working toward restoring it to its former glory, though it continues to sit empty as funds for its renovation are slowly being raised. Another building left in limbo is the Center for Design Arts in downtown Oklahoma City, which was originally a church, but has since been abandoned after losing several of its key architectural points in the bombing of the Murrah building. These elements included elaborate stained glass windows and unique balconies original to the church. Since then, various groups of architects and designers have tried to raise the funds to restore it to its former glory with the idea of making it a hub for the city’s artists and architects, but to no avail. Unfortunately, says Justin, the decision to restore buildings like this “boils down to money,” and many investors are most concerned with the potential return. “You have to build business where there is traffic,” says Justin. “Sometimes it’s easier to buy a brand new building than it is to take an old one and renovate it.” While it still sits empty, the prime location in downtown keeps turning heads and gaining value as OKC grows. It’s inevitable that questions about the supernatural will come up when discussing old buildings with long (and sometimes sordid) histories, like that of St. Vincent’s Home, an old hospital and church with a rather gruesome and mysterious history. Very little information is readily available about the structure, but extensive research by the AbandonedOK team unearthed a past filled with creepy lore. St. Vincent’s began as a hospital in 1945, expanding quickly over the next few years and only treating male patients. In the 60s it was wracked with murders, as a female nurse inexplicably suffocated two patients. The tragedy didn’t end there. According to AbandonedOK, the founder of the facility’s alcoholism treatment center was found murdered in his home in the late 80s, possibly killed by one of the presiding priests, and a resident was shot and killed earlier that same decade. With all continued on next page
Beauty in the Abandoned, cont.
this scandal and violence, it’s no wonder there have been reports of supernatural occurrences. However, AbandonedOK is absolutely not a ghost-hunting group. Their focus has always been strictly about recording historical fact and they have no plans to change that any time soon. “Any time you go to an abandoned building you get a creepy feeling,” says Justin, but they aren’t seeking out the supernatural. However, maybe the supernatural at St. Vincent’s was seeking them. When first visiting St. Vincent’s, he and his team were taking photos and audio, and in one of their recordings a distinct voice can be heard speaking. According to Justin, this was a very frightening experience and he “can’t really say that ghosts don’t exist.” Despite this one sensational experience, AbandonedOK is more concerned with the verifiable events in the building’s physical histories, and always will be. AbandonedOK works in conjunction with the Historical Society, RetroMetroOKC, Preservation Oklahoma, and OKCHistory.org. The main members are Justin Tyler Moore, David Linde, Billy Dixon, and Johnny Fletcher. Thanks to these members and organizations, Hopewell Baptist Church, The Center for Design Arts, and the old St. Vincent’s Home will be preserved—in history, if not physically—and remain a part of Oklahoma’s cultural identity for years to come. For more information on other abandoned historical sites, visit abandonedok.com. Hopewell Baptist Church in Edmond
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Outlook June 2014
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by Heide Brandes
The retro-spiced musical duo, The Likes of Us will release their second album on June 12. While many in the metro area may not be familiar with the band, they should be. The singer/songwriter duo of Benj Heard and Katrina Stone creates a jazzy, 1940s-inspired pop sound that has its own following. Based out of Los Angeles, The Likes of Us not only creates their own signature sound, but writes music for television, commercials, corporations and more. They have opened their own musical venue in Burbank, CA, and are known for helping to promote other artists who suffer from the “pay-to-play” mentality in California. Their musical style has been likened to such greats as Etta James, Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz and John Mayer. While The Likes of Us is making waves and is getting more than a quarter of a million YouTube views and thousands of downloads, the story has strong OKC roots.
The Musical Roots
“I actually started my musical career through my dad,” said Benj Heard, an Edmond native. The youngest of six siblings, Benj grew up inheriting that love of a cappella style music. “When my dad and sister were really young, my grandmother taught them barbershop quartet music. She couldn’t read music, but she figured out the arrangement.” Following his grandmother’s guidance, Benj’s father started the Heard kids out young, and by the time Benj was born, each child was learning to sing barbershop style. “We did sixpart harmony, and we’d sing every Christmas at places like hospitals and for shut-in seniors all the time we grew up,” said Benj. Benj’s love for music expanded into production when he started playing at a local church. Yet, he never believed he could make a living from his passionate pastime. Benj attended the University of Oklahoma where he earned an engineering degree and worked as an aerospace engineer at Tinker Air Force Base. However, he continued to do music recording and the obsession wouldn’t go away. “I had a plan to build a studio, so for a while I lived with my
Outlook June 2014
brother Levi and used his front room for my business and decked it out as a recording studio,” Benj said. “Finally, I resigned my job at Tinker in February of 2010, continued to live with Levi and we were a happy little tribe, recording for clients.” Then he visited another brother in Los Angeles—and all his plans changed.
TO THE BIG TIME
“Having a musical cooperative in Oklahoma City would have been really cool,” Benj said. “But, when I visited my brother in Los Angeles, I made more contacts in the business in two weeks than I did in two years in Oklahoma. We are making huge strides in the music scene in Oklahoma, but the connections needed to get placement on television are really difficult to get there.” With the new direction, life for Benj changed in a blink. Packing up his car with only a few belongings and a computer, he drove out to LA with only a dream and the faith that all would fall together. He didn’t expect to make “ROCK STAR” overnight—he knew slow and steady wins the race. Meanwhile, he kept up an important partnership with a Colorado songbird he had met online and worked with. “We met before Benj moved to LA,” said Katrina Stone, the second half of The Likes of Us. Years before, Benj had contacted Katrina, and the two collaborated on their first tune, “Victoria,” a sweet song for a severely ill friend of a friend. The tune was included on their first album. The two continued their collaboration when Katrina and her husband moved to LA. “I called Benj from a cruise I was on and told him I was moving there and that we should do a duet project,” Katrina said. “We discussed it at length, and we settled on a 1940s jazz pop style. We immediately got started working on a project. It was really just an experiment; at the very least, we would have something our families would like.”
The duo’s self-titled first album was released for free on Noise Trade, and after a few thousand downloads, the album was released on licensing websites. It made waves with its unique blend of jazzy 1940s sound, modern pop, crooning lyrics and acoustics. “We started applying to perform at festivals like the Norman Music Festival, the Oklahoma City Arts Festival and a couple in LA,” Katrina said. “We still keep up with that, and it kind of makes us exclusive to our fans—they catch us when they can at festivals.” Both Benj and Katrina also continue their careers of songwriting for other artists, television, commercials and film. They have opened their own musical venue in Burbank, where they perform, host other bands and produce videos and music regularly. On June 12, the duo releases their sophomore album, one that Katrina describes as a more fleshed-out version of the first offering. “Our first album was an experiment where we wanted to see if people would dig our sound, and when we received such a positive reaction to that album, ‘Time Traveler’ became a chance to tell our fans that we are ready to take this to the next level,” said Katrina. “We have 15 songs on the new album, which we worked on for seven months. It’s more surprising than the first, I think. The title, Time Traveler, is fitting because it takes you back to different eras of music. We have elements of 60s disco, 50s harmony, our signature 40s sound and even some gritty bluegrass.” A partnership with The Music Bed for licensing has brightened the band’s spotlight. They can now work on commercials for everything from vodka to restaurants and nonprofits. “Every time we release a new album, we take a step forward to creating a full-time musical career,” said Katrina. “With this album, we keep building our team and network, book bigger shows and hopefully, one day, become a household name.” For Benj, the obsession to make music remains. “I’m doing what I always dreamed of doing.” On June 12, fans everywhere can download “Time Traveler” for free on noisetrade.com or buy it on traditional sites like iTunes.com or Googleplay.com.
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Outlook June 2014
Life Change Ballroom
Chyanne Wood & Santana Randle
by Amy Dee Stephens
Dancers agree that the Life Change Ballroom has an accurate name. A more elaborate description might include: ballroom dancing lessons for inner city kids who grew up on hip-hop, but now love the cha-cha so much that they practice for five hours every Saturday— positively affecting their self-esteem, improving their athleticism and ultimately redirecting their lives. “This is a mentorship disguised as ballroom lessons,” said founder Cindy Pipkin. “We teach dance, but the students ultimately learn about relationships. For boys, they learn how to respectfully take care of their female dance partners.” Pipkin started this program in 2006—and she’d never even danced before. “I had no experience with dancing, children, schools or non-profits,” Pipkin said. “I saw a documentary about a similar in-school ballroom program in New York, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. That’s how I knew this was a calling.” She analyzed popular ballroom dance shows and realized that ballroom skills were an avenue to teach children leadership, health and many other life skills. Pipkin called a meeting with her friends and family to share her plan: raise funds to hire dance teachers for art and physical education classes or after-school programs for the Oklahoma City Public Schools. Now, eight years later, while Pipkin still finds herself challenged to “walk and chew gum,” her dancers are so advanced that they are hired to perform by non-profits and local celebrities. Initially, the in-school ballroom dancing was for fifth graders, but it now extends to about a thousand kids of all ages and includes Putnam City and Oklahoma City school districts. Students who show promise in the schools are invited into the Youth Empowerment Leadership Program (YELP), which meets every Saturday. Seventh-grader Katalina Phomsouvanh was introduced to dancing through her school in the fifth grade. At first, she was skeptical. “I had to take this dance class at my school, and I was like, ‘Wow, I don’t want to do this,’ but I learned the basic steps. Then I danced the cha-cha for an audition, and I was invited to join the Saturday group,” Phomsouvanh said. This select dance troop spends five hours each Saturday practicing 32 different dances taught by Tami Bramel. They perform all over the city at art festivals, fundraisers and private
parties. Pipkin voluntarily runs the organizational and fundraising side of things, while Bramel is the lead YELP teacher. According to Katalina’s mother, Chanthorn Dy, her daughter looks so forward to YELP that she jumps out of bed at 8:00am every Saturday and hasn’t missed a practice in two years. “It has changed her life.” Phomsouvanh described her Saturday like this: “When I first go in, they’re playing music like O Happy Day, and everyone greets you with hugs and says, ‘Hey, Katalina!’ That’s how it feels to enter that door and dance.” “If it wasn’t for this program, I might have done bad things I shouldn’t be doing,” Phomsouvanh continued. “It’s crazy how many hard things I go through, but at ballroom, all my worries are gone. When I’m dancing, I’m in another world. It’s just me and dancing—that’s how I express myself.” Another student who has benefited from the program is Santana Randle, a ninth-grader who was introduced to Life Change Ballroom four years ago. “I’m from a school that only knows hip hop. Ballroom was a hard transition for me, because continued on next page
Ballroom Dancing, cont.
Tami Bramel & Cindy Pipkin
I like the free-spirited dance. But I got it down now—all the steps. I can get serious with the tango and have a big ol’ smile on my face during the cha-cha.” His ballroom skills have translated onto the athletic field. “In football, I’ve learned to have hip motion, and fancy footwork has helped me on the basketball court,” Randle said. “It’s also taught me to be well tempered, because you can’t get mad when you’re performing if you don’t get a step right, so I’ve learned to control my temper at school, too.” Pipkin said that keeping boys involved in the program has been a non-issue. In some cases,
she’s had boys quit sports because it interfered with Saturday dancing. For Randle, the YELP program has provided him an extended family and male role models. According to his mother, Pat Allen, it has shaped him into a quality young man. “He’s become a good follower and a great leader. More than just dance, he’s learned about etiquette, human relationships, religion, speaking skills and how to be considerate of others.” “It’s a big family atmosphere, coupled with dancing,” said Randle. “I’m speaking for all of us when I say that Miss Cindy and Miss Tami have prepared us for life. They’ve led me in the right direction, and now I’ve stepped into a leadership role to mentor some of the younger guys.” Allen attributes her son’s growth to Life Change Ballroom. “Those are some great women, there! They show kids how to reach down and pull the next person up. I truly believe there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for Santana, and I would do anything for them if they asked.” “When Katalina performs, it’s amazing,” said Dy. “She’s like a whole different person. It makes me want to cry. This has changed her life.” Pipkin said that she and Bramel are frequently asked why they would voluntarily give up every Saturday. “We just smile at each other, because there’s nowhere else we’d rather be. If you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing—you couldn’t be happier.” Life Change Ballroom is supported by donations. Learn more at www.lifechangeballroom.com.
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Outlook June 2014
Fashion Forwa It truly looks like a scene from a movie. The who’s who of Oklahoma is gathered to celebrate another winning night for the Thunder at the city’s newest hot spot, KD’s. Instead of eyeing the menu selection, patrons have their eyes glued to the front door. Everyone is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Thunder starting line-up. Before the hometown heroes show, a tall lady with light denim skinny jeans, a loose fitting pink blouse and long brown locks starts to steal the show. As she passes the crowd, she greets her numerous supporters and stops for picture requests. She playfully moves around the room and pauses just long enough for you to notice her bright red Louboutin soles. She makes her way into the restaurant, spots a friend and heads in his direction. Vanity Perkins is used to this life, but this friend is helping her keep it all together. As he greets her, he not only compliments her outfit, but also boldly reaches out to adjust it. Vanity welcomes the move. This isn’t just any guy, it’s her stylist DyQuan Washington. Who would think that DyQuan would even be able to find success in Oklahoma? The state is slowly starting to take its stake in the fashion kingdom. A Thunder player has a wife, and the wife must have a stylist. See—divine order. Enter DyQuan. After working at BCBG as a stylist and garnering numerous clients, DyQuan was finally starting to see his dream come true. “With BCBG you actually have a client book,” he says. “It was a great stepping stone to be able to learn about the business side of styling.” “I was working at BCBG and she came into the store,” he says. “I didn’t know who she was.” Instead of catering to Vanity like basketball wife royalty, DyQuan’s unawareness forced him to treat her like an everyday customer. “We built a relationship through that,” he says. “I took the time to get to know her and not just talk about styling.” DyQuan is now fully aware of how hectic Mrs. Perkin’s life can be. He has styled her for special events and casual gatherings. They’ve found a way to express Vanity’s many dimensions through fashion. “She likes a lot of timeless pieces,” he says. He says that Vanity is comfortable with pushing the limits of fashion, but always aims for a sophisticated look. “She’s a mother. There’s nothing wrong with a mother being sexy and liberated, but there’s a limit.” DyQuan is used to dealing with the hectic lifestyles of celebrities. Grammy nominated artist Keri Hilson and Love and Hip Hop Atlanta’s Rasheeda have also been styled by him. Before dreaming of working with celebrities, the Oklahoma native thought that his style would only see the inside of a court room. “I always liked putting clothes together,” he says. “However, when I was in
I realized my passion is in designing clothes and being a stylist.
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Outlook June 2014
by Lance Evans
high school, I wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer. I soon realized that my passion was actually in designing clothes and being a stylist.” DyQuan began wardrobe styling during his sophomore year in high school and hasn’t looked back since. He’s become the go-to person for the yearly fashion shows at his current school, Langston University. When he’s not busy studying for exams, DyQuan is sketching his bowtie line entitled 1BowtieAway. “It will be available in June,” he says. “I really wanted to do a lot of black and white. I wanted to create timeless pieces that men can have 10 years from now.” DyQuan is always looking towards the future. While it can be hard to maintain the demands of college while also starting your own fashion line, DyQuan welcomes the challenge. He’s confident that his new line will bring rave reviews and more clientele. “Your work will speak for itself and people will come to you.”
For more information about DyQuan, give him a call at 405.517.6060 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org outlookoklahoma.com
by Bethany Marshall
Melinda Lay, Hoofstock Zookeeper at the Oklahoma City Zoo How did you get started in zookeeping? I’ve always loved animals and was involved in 4-H and FFA growing up. I have completed many internships at zoos, and it’s through those that I grew a love for zoo keeping. I’ve been a keeper for more than 4 years now. You work in the hoofstock section of the zoo, what animals does that encompass? We have 60 plus animals in hoofstock! We work with giraffe, okapi, red river hogs, zebra, ostrich , gazelle, guinea fowl, Egyptian geese, white tailed deer, sika deer, tufted deer, goral, hog deer, Pere David’s deer, bat-eared fox, hyena, cheetah, African painted dogs, maned wolf, hornbill, African spurred tortoise, and crowned cranes. Do you have a favorite animal to work with? It’s so hard to choose! All of our animals have different traits and behaviors that make them unique. But I do have a special place in my heart for our okapi, especially our male, Kidomo. (pictured below) Do you have a favorite season of events at the OKC Zoo? It’s always really exciting when the zoo has newborns. Not only are they really cute but they are going to grow up to represent their species and to help educate the public. What is a typical day like? Being at the zoo, there is no typical day. We always have something different going on. But everyday we have to clean habitats, feed animals, and give out enrichment. Enrichment is fun, unusual and different activities for the animals that enhance their natural behaviors. Like, the red river hogs enjoy painting. Wallowing in the paint, making art and then receiving yummy treats when they’re done! There are also scheduled Keeper Chats that happen throughout the zoo on weekends. This gives us the best opportunity to interact with our guests and teach them about our animals. What has been your best experience with the animals? I think getting to know each animal and their personality is really the most rewarding. The better we know them, we can offer a higher quality of life. This is really the best part about being a zookeeper. If you could trade places with any of the animals, which would it be and why? I would trade places with a giraffe. It would be really cool to see the world from that high up. Do the animals have different personalities? What are they like? All of our animals have very different personalities even if they’re the same species. For example, in the giraffe family, Bogy is a dominant mail and ruler of the roost. He can be kind of pushy. Ellie is pretty fearless when it comes to new things especially if it comes with a food reward. Our older females, Ursula and Noel, are pretty shy and can be pretty stubborn at times. Is there anything else you would like us to know about your job? There are so many animals threatened by population growth that it’s important we all do our part to keep this planet healthy for us and our animals. Would any of your animals make a good pet? None of our animals would make good pets! Some people buy African spurred tortoises when they are little. Not only do they grow to be over 100lbs but can live more than 100 years! I recommend coming to the zoo to visit exotic animals. What are some tips for viewing the hoofstock animals? If you can come to the zoo on a cooler day a lot of our animals are most active then. They are also active during the first parts of the morning and closer to the end of the day. Just take time to really look, they may be camouflaged or hiding! For more information, visit www.okczoo.com.
Outlook June 2014
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Published on May 28, 2014
Published on May 28, 2014
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