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October 2018

Fishy Business Joe and Dee Anne’s Colorful Career

Beautiful Restoration Etiquette for Everyone Dominion House


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Features 8

STRENGTH OF SHADOW DOG SHELTER

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THEIR DOMINION

Halloween is a time for donning costumes and becoming someone else for a little while. A once-a-year opportunity to become a princess, a pirate, a superhero. I guess I’m lucky. I get to take on a different persona quite often - in fact, I’ve been told, every time I travel I become a somewhat more annoying version of myself (thanks Alison). My eyes get squinty, my pulse quickens, my hearing intensifies yet becomes even more selective and I break into a mild sweat. Yes, I’m talking about “Airport Dave.” Airport Dave’s job is to get himself and whoever he is unfortunate enough to be traveling with - to their intended destination in the most efficient and expedient way possible. Airport Dave has this all figured out. Most people say get to the airport an hour early. What if there’s a wreck, 4am traffic, or an earthquake? No, we must get there earlier. Trust me. And please, I must have silence while I locate the most efficient parking spot in the long term parking lot. Please, more silence while I weigh the option of taking the parking lot shuttle or leading us on foot to the gate with our bags in tow (I do mean leading like 50-75 feet ahead of you). Yes, we will hoof it. It gives us more control. As I approach the airport, my fast walk transforms into a slow jog. The little wheels on my suitcase begin to smoke. Stay with me - that’s your only job. You hate me, I know you do. As we check our bags, I’m frustrated by the airline’s lack of efficiency. Don’t they know my flight leaves in two hours and I still need to get through a line of a dozen people at the TSA checkpoint? Don’t they know I have a layover in Vegas that needs my tactical attention? You get the idea. I’m no fun to travel with. But the good news is, I’m me again when I reach my destination. Lounging by the pool enjoying the sun on my face, I’m relaxed… wait, where exactly is the rental car return place again? I need to check on that. There might be a shuttle involved.

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Former Inmate Finds Freedom in Rescue

1920s Children’s Home Reborn as Wedding Venue and Hotel A VERY FISHY BUSINESS

Raising, Breeding & Selling Fish from the Amazon Basin PRECIOUS FABRIC OF HISTORY

Textile Conservator Anne Murray Chilton

THE ART OF ETIQUETTE

Empowering Tools for Social Settings

BEAUTIFUL RESTORATION

Non-Profit’s Strength is Unconditional Love

Business 22

GARAGE CONDOS

Storage Space You Can Own

Columns 28

LOUISE TUCKER JONES

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DR. J. DAVID CHAPMAN

A Small World

Will Birds Fly in Edmond?

Dave Miller Back40 Design President Cover photography by Marshall Hawkins

ADVERTISING l Laura Beam at 405-301-3926 l laura@edmondoutlook.com MAILED MONTHLY TO 50,000 HOMES IN EDMOND/NORTH OKC 80 East 5th Street, Suite 130, Edmond, OK 73034 l 405-341-5599 l edmondoutlook.com l info@edmondoutlook.com October 2018 Volume 14, Number 10

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Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc.

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© 2018 Back40 Design, Inc.

PUBLISHER Dave Miller l ADVERTISING MANAGER Laura Beam l GRAPHIC DESIGN Adrian Townsend and Sable Furrh PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins www.sundancephotographyokc.com l DISTRIBUTION Edmond 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.


FEATURELOOK

Strength of Shadow Onward to California By Lea Terry

In a recent Facebook live video for S.O.S. Dog Rescue - Strength of Shadow, founder Robbie Miller introduced viewers to one of his rescues: Seymour, a senior dog with a possible luxating patella, and a significant ear infection and major dental problems stemming from owner neglect. Miller’s mission of rehabilitating and finding homes for abandoned pets started during the 12 years he spent in an Oklahoma prison and the rescue of his first dog, Shadow, followed by two and a half years working at an animal sanctuary in Edmond.

“It gives me a sense of purpose, because I was broken. Dogs have helped me and changed my life, and now I help broken dogs and broken people,” Miller said. Miller’s love of animals dates back to childhood and a lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian. He didn’t seriously consider bringing a dog into his life until the end of his sentence in 2014. He originally intended on buying one when he returned to his home state of California. A friend’s girlfriend urged him to adopt a rescue instead, which led him to Shadow, who had been abandoned in the desert in freezing temperatures. The pair quickly bonded, but he nearly lost her after just a month when she began coughing up blood due to a bullet lodged in her lung. After she recovered, Miller began volunteering in the local rescue community, sharing his story of how adopting a dog changed his life. Several months later he returned to Oklahoma, where he has family, to work at an Edmond animal sanctuary; eventually becoming the kennel director. There, he learned basic animal care such as microchipping, reading blood work and administering fluids, as well as how to engage with each animal as an individual. 8

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“Every dog is different, and I learned about the different personalities and how to deal with them,” Miller said. “Every dog that came into the shelter was a challenge, most were scared at being in a totally new environment. I had to learn to vaccinate them, deworm them, and get along with dogs I’ve never met before.” He also learned about the significant amount of paperwork involved in operating a rescue and screening potential adopters. Miller eventually returned to California where he worked as the ranch manager for another rescue. He soon felt compelled to fulfill his vision for helping animals by starting his own group, which he named after the dog who started it all. Miller and his team of volunteers are located in the Kern County area of California. There, they rescue dogs from local animal shelters and talk about the importance of spaying and neutering pets. Using social media, they continue to raise awareness, start fundraisers, and find good foster homes, “one dog at a time.” The group’s motto is “Dogs are Medicine,” and Miller hopes to foster humananimal bonds like the one he formed with Shadow. “I’m not great with people, so I like to put my love into an animal and get it to where it needs to be, and then the animal gives the love to that person that might be broken too,” Miller said. For more information, visit www.strengthofshadow.org.


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FEATURELOOK

Their Dominion

By Amy Dee Stephens

“Blighted” was the word used to describe the rambling estate at 602 E. College Avenue in 1999. The once-grand property in Guthrie had suffered from neglect and vandals. The graffiti-covered walls showed evidence that too many adventurers had snuck into the abandoned buildings. The City of Guthrie invited construction experts, Trey Ayers and his fatherin-law, Calvin Burgess, to look at the possibility of converting the dilapidated buildings into a juvenile detention center. “A week later, Calvin called me and Julie (his daughter) and said, ‘I’m going to buy it, live in it, and move the Dominion Leasing office there,”’ Trey said. “We thought it was a pretty crazy idea, but we loved the beauty of the classical revival architecture and its deep sense of history. We had no idea how that decision was going to impact our lives for the next 20 years!”

Julie & Trey Ayers

It took four years to restore the central part of the property. During that time, Julie and her dad quickly realized that the main building had potential as a wedding venue. The structure already had a history of hosting large numbers of people, specifically, children. It was built in 1923 as a Masonic Children’s home--the nicest, most impressive orphanage in Oklahoma, built to house about 350 kids. Julie saw that by keeping the beautiful terrazzo floor and adding decorative woodwork to the cement columns, the cafeteria could easily be converted into a large ballroom. The downstairs gymnasium was the perfect size for an indoor wedding chapel. With some outdoor landscaping, a bridal party could also choose a beautiful garden backdrop. So, in 2004, the orphanage opened under the new name, Dominion House. The Burgesses lived in the main building and continued to run their construction business. Trey orchestrated the on-going building conversion, and Julie became a full-time on-site wedding planner. “I would call it a stressful, but fun transition,” Trey said. “We bought a house nearby, and Julie and I got to work together full-time to bring her vision to reality. One goal was to positively impact the community—and now, we bring thousands of guests into Guthrie every year.” Some of those guests are the very children who once lived in the orphanage. “It’s been so neat to meet them and hear their memories,” Julie said. “They say that they were the lucky ones who had a home during the Depression.” “They had a gym, an indoor swimming pool, and a skating rink in their own home, too!” Trey added. Now, another generation is making the Dominion House their home--on a short-term basis. The dormitory wing of the house just opened as a 10-room boutique hotel. Each room is unique, with both modern and traditional touches. “I want people to walk in and say, ‘Wow, this doesn’t feel like a hotel!’” Julie said. “While other hotels are making their rooms smaller, we went the opposite.” Continued on Page 12

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FEATURELOOK Continued from Page 10

Most of the property’s interior structure had to be gutted, so the hotel rooms are completely new. To preserve the historical integrity of the site, however, the Ayers salvaged and repurposed what they could. The windowsills throughout the facility are made of the marble slabs that used to be bathroom partitions for the orphanage. Bricks from a torn-down dormitory were used to build new walls. Cast stones from a burnt structure became decorative elements. The main building continues to undergo transformation, too. The Burgesses recently moved out, and the Ayers added a grand staircase up to the second floor, where wedding parties can now rent their own suites. Downstairs, the kitchen is almost ready to open for business as a public restaurant. The 602 Bistro will feature a brick oven for pizza and a menu that varies from steaks to rotisserie chicken. The Ayers’ twenty-year project isn’t done quite yet. They hope to eventually install an outdoor pool, open to the neighborhood. “The idea is to develop this place as a social setting for the community--a place to meet up with neighbors, go swimming and have dinner,” Trey said. “It’s our version of Southern hospitality. We want Dominion House to be that hidden gem that everyone thinks they’ve discovered.” Photographs placed along the Dominion House hallways tell the story of the 95-year-old building, which came tragically close to being lost. Thanks to the Burgess and Ayers families, the property is blighted no more. “It stands to impress once again,” Julie said. “And the people who lived here when it was an orphanage tell us they are happy we brought their home back to its grand glory.” To learn more, visit www.dominionhouseguthrie.com

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(Above) Dominion House and Gardens. (Below) The Presidential Suite is a mix of traditional style with new and modern design elements including intricate woodwork, crystal chandeliers, a large glass shower and a vintage claw foot tub creating elegance & grandeur. Currently, there are 10 hotel rooms with an additional 4 rooms opening up in November.


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FEATURELOOK

A Very Fishy Business By Amy Dee Stephens

Joe Nelson loves tropical fish. Joe has so many fish tanks in his house that he’s buying a bigger house! He currently has twelve tanks that range from 20 to 200 gallons, but he has 125 more tanks waiting in the garage. Why? It’s his retirement plan. “I’ve gotten good at growing fish to sell, so I’m gearing up to sell a lot more fish once I retire,” Joe said. After spending 23 years in narcotics law enforcement, Joe is now a construction supervisor. Each night when he gets home, he spends two to three hours cleaning tanks, which he and his wife Dee Anne both describe as a labor of love. Joe’s interest in fish goes back to the 1960s when he was a child. “I visited an amusement park, and they had a game where you would throw ping-pong balls at fish bowls filled with water. If your ball landed in a bowl, you got a fish. I won six that day. When I got home, my grandparents bought me an aquarium, and I’ve been interested ever since,” Joe said. “After we got married, I gave Joe a 29-gallon tank one year for Christmas,” Dee Anne said. “His sister said, ‘You obviously don’t understand how much Joe loves fish.’ I guess I didn’t, but I support him because that’s what makes him happy.” Joe’s tanks are incredibly clean and crystal clear—which is the perfect backdrop for the beautiful angelfish and discus fish that Joe raises. Both are strikingly colorful species from the Amazon Basin. “I currently have five varieties of angelfish: zebra, silver, koi, platinum and marble. They are big, beautiful and easy to care for,” Joe said. “If you feed them and keep their water clean, they do really well.”

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Joe and Dee Anne Nelson

His specialty, however, is in raising discus fish, which are large, flat fish with extremely bright colors. “They are so flat and round that they look like dishes. We have some that are 9 inches across—as big as pie plates! You won’t see them in pet stores, because they are pretty expensive, and they’re not for amateurs. A breeding pair can go for upwards of $600,” Joe said. “I bought my first discus pair in the 1990s for a lot of money—and promptly killed them, because I had no idea what I was doing. Now, I’ve gotten good at it.” Most of the Nelsons’ buyers are individuals who’ve heard about their fish by word-of-mouth and live in the area. Joe and Dee Anne especially enjoy the reactions they get from visitors and buyers who see their tanks. “It’s like they’ve walked into a mini pet store. They always say, ‘Wow!’” Dee Anne said. Their operation is also starting to attract online, out-of-state discus buyers who are willing to spend the high shipping fees for exotic fish transport. “It’s wonderful having fish at home. Watching a large tank is like watching a bunch of grade-school kids interact at recess. If you watch long enough, you start to understand what they are doing. Dee Anne’s gotten really good at understanding fish behavior. Last night she said, ‘That pair is getting ready to lay eggs.’ Sure enough, there were eggs in the tank the next day,” Joe said proudly. “This business can be lucrative or a big loss, but I just enjoy the fish. It’s my passion. They’ve been around for thousands of years. They each have personalities, and they are so beautiful.” Visit 405 Discus & Aquatic LLC on Facebook to learn more.


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FEATURELOOK

Precious Fabric of History By Amy Dee Stephens

Few people can claim to have touched Alexander Hamilton’s coat or the Star Spangled Banner. Anne Murray Chilton has done both. As a textile conservator, Anne specializes in helping museums and private individuals preserve the future of some of the world’s most precious fabrics. She’s worked on an impressive array of flags, quilts, uniforms, and teepees spanning across America’s history. “My goal is to assess each piece and decide which treatment prevents further damage to the item,” Anne said. “In many cases, textiles are utilitarian, handmade objects that are not very well preserved because they were used every day.” Preserving textiles is a highly-specialized career, and one that Anne describes as tedious but satisfying. “I spend a lot of time sewing with surgical needles, using thread that is finer than human hair,” Anne said. Her home studio has specialized lamps, magnifying glasses, and enough space for multiple tables. “A textile can be quite large, so I have to pre-plan how to move it, flip it over, or reach the middle. When I was working on the Star Spangled Banner for the Smithsonian, we set timers to remind us to get up and stretch, because we contorted ourselves into such strange positions. There was a gantry bridge hanging about six inches above the flag. We laid on our stomachs, with our arms out in front of us while we attached the flag to a support fabric.” Preserving the

future of some of the world’s most precious fabrics.

Anne discovered textile conservation after achieving degrees in anthropology and art history. With no career prospects, she took a job restoring oriental carpets and Navajo blankets. “I found out that textile conservators existed, so then I went back to school for two years of organic chemistry in order to get into graduate training.” During Anne’s college internship, she and another conservator spent over 500 hours conserving a confederate captain’s coat for the National Parks Service. “The coat was in shreds, but there aren’t many left, so it was an object worth preserving.” She also worked on a fragile silk and wool two-sided flag from Fort Pulaski. “The flag was very damaged and stored in a heavy storage frame. Since the flag is evacuated during hurricanes, it needed both repair work and a lighter-weight frame.” Although Anne is the only textile conservator in Oklahoma, she works on artifacts from across the nation. Many are textiles that hold sentimental value to an individual family, such as quilts or war artifacts--but she’s also regularly hired by museums seeking expert care for their historic clothing collections. In recent years she’s worked on a wildlife art tapestry for the Oklahoma City Zoo and assessed the textile collections for both the Edmond Historical Society and Museum and the University of Central Oklahoma. “Every artifact offers its own challenges, but the goal is to stabilize the item and document what was done. As much as possible, conservators choose treatments that can be reversed as new technologies emerge.” It’s the very reason why Anne found herself lying above the Star Spangled Banner, working to reverse 200 years of damage. “I’ve seen some amazing things during my career,” Anne said. “I find it greatly satisfying to fix and preserve textiles for future generations.”

Anne Murray Chilton repairs a vintage American flag in her studio

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To contact Anne about conservation work, place a request through the American Institute for Conservation.


New Look, New Management! • New equipment & decor

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• 15% off everyday for students, teachers, and military

9:30am-7:30pm Mon.-Sat. 405-715-0393 3431 S. Boulevard, Ste. 104 Edmond, OK

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FEATURELOOK

By Lea Terry During her youth etiquette classes, Carey Sue Vega turns to George Washington’s “Rules of Civility” as a guide. Like many etiquette traditions, Washington’s list of 110 rules remain surprisingly relevant. Rule 18, for example, mandates: Read no letters, books, or papers in company, but when there is a necessity for the doing of it, you must ask to leave. Vega, who teaches children and adults in her Expeditions in Etiquette program, comments to the class, “That’s an old school rule, but is it really old school after all? Does the tenet also apply to the phones and electronic devices we read today?” Vega offers youth programs in Edmond and Oklahoma City, at the end of which students practice their newly learned skills at a formal ball. She also has two young adult programs: College 101, for high school seniors, and Adulting 101, for graduating college students. Her adult programs include specialized programs for athletes and executives, in addition to general etiquette training. She also offers several online courses and webinars that allow students to fit training around their busy schedules and make it easier for parents to help their children learn basic etiquette rules. “If you don’t talk about what’s expected, then when the kids are put in a situation at a restaurant or at Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, it’s not fair to them because they don’t know what the expectations are,” Vega said. Vega began teaching etiquette after a decade of working on cruise ships as a youth coordinator and cruise director. When she returned to land, she realized that she could use this experience to build a new career that would allow her to improve people’s lives.

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“It all just clicked, as far as realizing that these skills are important, and that I can empower people with tools to help them feel more comfortable in a social setting,” Vega said. While on cruise ships, Vega frequently interacted with people who didn’t know what was expected of them in unfamiliar situations such as formal dinners. Also during this time, she worked with a formally trained English butler who was able to explain the “why” behind many etiquette conventions. She realized that etiquette wasn’t stuffy or old-fashioned and that it wasn’t an arbitrary set of rules to follow, but something that could help people feel more confident and at ease in social situations. “When you know the rules and you know what’s expected of you, you’re more comfortable and you put other people at ease,” Vega said. Back on land, Vega launched her youth etiquette training program, but soon branched out into adult etiquette after her students’ parents expressed interest for themselves and for their workplaces. Her corporate programs focus on everything from customer service to professional dress. “Professionalism equals profitability, not only for yourself but for your company,” Vega said. “But being professional doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and you can’t have personality.” She also addresses generational differences, such as the disappearing tradition of sending handwritten thank-you notes.. “One of the young guys in the group said ‘I’m not going to waste my time on this, it doesn’t do anything for me,” Vega said. “I said that’s the problem; it’s not about you, it’s about the person who receives it, because it does something for them.” For more information, visit www.expeditionsinetiquette.com


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BIZLOOK

Garage Condos By Maria Veres

Anyone who’s rented a storage unit knows how quickly the costs can add up. Chris Carllson of Garage Condos Oklahoma has a better solution— storage space that’s owned, not leased. Located in south Edmond, Garage Condos features climatecontrolled luxury storage units that are perfect for business and personal use. Owners can’t actually live in their units, but they can do just about anything else. “A lot of people store classic cars and RVs,” says Carllson. “One of our owners is a musician who uses his unit for practice space. They make great man caves, too.” When owners don’t need the storage space anymore, they can sell it. As with any other investment, the profits from the sale are theirs to keep. Like many successful businesses, Garage Condos grew out of a personal need. Carllson’s family was paying over $1,000 in monthly rent to store an RV. Owned storage space seemed like a much better idea, but that kind of space didn’t exist

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in Oklahoma. So Carllson decided to create it himself. Carllson has always had a passion for innovation. Before founding Garage Condos, he worked in the up-and-coming field of robotic surgery. He grew up in a household of entrepreneurs—his parents owned a business and his grandmother ran the Denton’s clothing store in downtown Edmond. So starting his own business was a natural fit. Garage Condos launched in 2017. It has units in two buildings for sale right now, with a third building opening soon. When finished, the complex will have six buildings and 85 units. Like any condominium, Garage Condos offers some great amenities and a sense of community. There’s a luxurious owner’s clubhouse complete with a restroom, shower, conference room, and kitchen space to support catered events. An active HOA encourages interaction among owners. The property is gated, with 24/7 surveillance— and for good measure, it’s also right around the

corner from the Edmond Police Department’s south office. “That’s one of the reasons I picked this location,” says Carllson. Owners can also install security devices to monitor the inside of their units. Condos come in a variety of sizes and can be customized to meet each owner’s needs. They’re surprisingly affordable, with monthly payments that are often equal to what owners were paying in rent. “Less than one percent of storage facilities in the U.S. are ownership driven,” says Carllson. “It’s a brand new type of real estate.” Garage Condos is proud to be the first to bring owned storage to Oklahoma. Visit Garage Condos located at 3200 Technology Drive in Edmond, or online at garagecondosofok.com.


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FEATURELOOK A little over three years ago, Edmond resident Kaylene Balzer befriended fellow Victory Church member Sharee Land, establishing a connection that would transform both of their lives. It offered Balzer a chance to give back, and it provided Land refuge from a toxic marriage and years of addiction. “It’s meant my life,” Land said.

Restoration local Edmond non-profit By Lea Terry

When Land and her husband broke up, Balzer and her husband invited her to stay with them. There, Land witnessed the kind of healthy lifestyle she aspired to. She asked Balzer for advice, which led to an informal weekly meeting in Balzer’s living room. What started with eight women has evolved into the nonprofit organization Beautiful Restoration, which welcomes between 100 and 150 people each week. It’s also branched out into 20 offshoot groups, including a men’s group, a youth group, and Beautiful Restoration Salvage, which restores furniture to give to members in need. Beautiful Restoration’s members seek help for everything from addiction to mental illness to family dysfunction. The group helps them repair their relationships and get back on their feet through assistance with finding everything from a car to an apartment. However, Balzer said its greatest strength is unconditional love.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, you come in and you are totally accepted,” Balzer said. It’s a sentiment echoed by Land. “This group of women modeled to me how we each have an individual gift, and then when they come together they’re so powerful because they’re not jealous,” Land said. “They combine their gifts between each other and they encourage each other.” As the organization outgrew Balzer’s living room, she started looking around for something larger. She found herself drawn to a vacant property just two blocks from her home but learned that the sprawling 17-acre estate had recently been sold. Still, Balzer couldn’t stop thinking about it, and she eventually felt a sense of urgency that compelled her to write to the new owners. “My letter said I don’t know why I’m contacting you, we just felt this property could be used for our ministry,” Balzer said. “We believe that God wants us to do more than just meet every Thursday night.” Balzer’s letter reached the new owners just 10 days before demolition was scheduled. They offered her a chance to buy the property - provided she could offer them $50,000 in two days. “We knew that Providence stepped in, because had I not sent that letter that week, everything would have been gone,” Balzer said. Balzer put the word out and donations came rolling in, with the group raising $12,000 more than it needed. However, the group needs to raise the full $1.3 million purchase price by October 4. Restoring the property will likely take another $1.3 million. Balzer hopes to obtain a HUD grant, but with that process taking at least six months, the organization either needs to find an investor or secure enough donations to fund the purchase. She hopes to transform the property into a “whole little village” that includes an events center and community center, as well as temporary housing for members in need. The group is already meeting in the gatekeeper’s house, which provides much-needed space. As the organization grows, Balzer balances her full-time job as a paralegal with the growing responsibilities of the group. While this leads to a full calendar, it also brings great rewards in the form of witnessing changed lives. “I’ve been a preacher’s kid and a Christian all my life, and I have never been part of a group like this,” Balzer said. For more information or to donate visit www.beautifulrestoration.org

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ALOOKBACK

It’s a small

WORLD By Louise Tucker Jones

I often go to northwest Arkansas to visit my son, Aaron and his family. When I go, I may spend a few weeks rather than a weekend, so my son, Jay and I stay in a private home in Bella Vista. It’s comfortable and I enjoy the people and small town atmosphere. I especially like the grocery store that plays rock and roll music while you shop and the church bells chiming through those Ozark hills. Another interesting place is the Bella Vista American Legion Post, which has some kind of function nearly every night. There is Taco Tuesday, which we frequented, and Karaoke Thursday as well as Saturday night dances with a live band. The first time Jay and I attended the

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Saturday night event we were welcomed to a table in a crowded room by Jerry, a gentleman who would become our new friend.

ago in another state but had lost touch with each other. I immediately texted my brother with the news and sent a picture.

On our next visit to Bella Vista, Jay and I attended the Saturday night music and our friend, Jerry was there along with his girlfriend who danced with Jay and made him smile. And though Jerry knew I was from Oklahoma, we had never discussed exactly where I was from. That night, as we chatted, he asked, “So, where did you grow up?” After telling him Henryetta, Oklahoma, I started to explain where it was located. He interrupted and said, “Oh, I know where it is. I have a good friend from Henryetta.” Well, that was interesting.

So now, when Jay and I attend Saturday night music events in Bella Vista, Jerry watches over us like a big brother and tells everyone about our unique friendship. I am always amazed at the way God gives us friends whenever and wherever we need them.

Then suddenly he asked, “Do you know Monte Tucker?” I sat in shock. He repeated, “Do you know any Tuckers?” Finally, I answered. “Jerry, I’m a Tucker. Monte is my brother!” What a small world! Monte and Jerry had become friends years

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker & founder of Wives With Heavenly Husbands, a support group for widows. LouiseTJ@cox.net or LouiseTuckerJones.com.


CITYLOOK

By Dr. J. David Chapman

Will Birds Fly in Edmond? On-demand electric scooters are all the rage in urban environments around the country. As you might have read about or seen in the news, electric scooters are causing controversy and headaches for city planners all over the United States. A host of start-up companies are piling into the business spurred by the euphoria around Southern California-based Bird, an appbased service for on-demand scooter rentals that is now valued at $2 billion by venture capitalists less than a year after it was launched.

According to Randy Entz, Director of Planning for the City of Edmond, the city has not been contacted by any of the scooter companies and the city has made no changes to ordinances to accommodate or eliminate them. The University of Central Oklahoma executive cabinet has held discussions regarding the possibility of allowing Bird Scooters to place scooters on or near the UCO campus and scheduled a meeting with a representative from Bird to explore the opportunities and implications of scooters on campus.

The fixation with electric scooters grew out of dock-less bike-sharing, where companies offer bike rentals that can be picked up and left anywhere convenient to the rider. The once-lowly scooter, now equipped with better batteries, lighter-weight materials and tracking sensors, suddenly looked like an even better urban transport option, especially for professionals in business attire.

Entz thinks they could serve the campus and immediate area well, but thinks they would struggle to serve more than that because the City transportation system isn’t built for them. He believes that they could extend the walkability of an area, and serve that “last mile” connection for transit users if placed by bus stops. He envisions students who live on campus possibly using them to get to shopping and entertainment in downtown Edmond. He cautions with these advantages they will also run into the common challenges of how to cross busy arterials, how to interact with automobile traffic, and the potential that there may not be enough to ensure a return ride (a problem with many small-scale shared transportation alternatives).

Some claim the scooter frenzy is simply a fad, however investors poured $3.5 billion into scooter and bike rental startups globally in the first half of 2018 in spite of many municipalities not endorsing or even allowing them on city streets. There are still many issues to work out on this entry into the multimodal transportation strategy in the American urban fabric. A couple that come to mind are Americans with Disability Act, sidewalk, bike lane, street, and helmet laws. Current laws and requirements are simply inadequate to tolerate these cute and convenient little vehicles. Nevertheless, they are here. Both major players in the industry, Bird and Lime, now have a presence in the Oklahoma City metro area. There are several hundred scooters on the streets of downtown Oklahoma City, and they are prevalent on the campus of Oklahoma State University. I have been getting questions about when the scooters will make it to Downtown Edmond and the University of Central Oklahoma. Plans from companies deploying the scooters are difficult to ascertain. Their mode of operations is to simply drop the scooters in cities and campuses without any announcement or approval, making it difficult to determine where they will show up next. 30

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So, to answer the question if Birds or Limes will make it to Edmond. The answer is not if, but when. In fact, it would not surprise me if the Birds land before this article goes to press. I suspect that they will start at UCO and move downtown. That’s their mode of operation. They act and deal with the ramifications later. I applaud UCO leadership for being proactive and can’t wait to see the impact these cute little scooters will have on our community.

Dr. J. David Chapman is an Associate Professor of Finance & Real Estate at UCO. jchapman7@uco.edu


80 East 5th St., Ste. 130 Edmond, OK 73034

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Edmond Outlook October 2018  

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