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Take a Walk on the Art Side | A Story of Survival

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Game Never Ends April 10

Vol. 7 Number 2

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contents A pril 2010

17 features

departments

Publisher

Advertising Sales

Design

Photography

Michael Keith Brad Carter Michael Keith Dejah Quinn

Writers

Scott Bartley Denise Quinalty Bob Searl Mindy Wood

Distribution

The Shawnee Outlook is delivered FREE by direct mail to 25,000 homes and businesses. Distribution includes Shawnee, Tecumseh, McLoud, Meeker & Prague.

Comments or Suggestions?

Write to: Shawnee Outlook PO Box 1365 Shawnee, OK 74802 Website: www.shawneeoutlook.com E-mail: info@layersmedia.com

To Advertise Call Brad at 445-3033 or 808-0963.

9 Scott’s Space

6 Safe Community

10 Best of Shawnee

13 Finding the blessings of family

10 Sonic Contest

17 The game never ends

30 Reflections Volume 7, Number 2 Shawnee Outlook is a publication of Layers Media, Inc. Š 2010 Layers Media, Inc.

21 Take a walk on the art side

Articles and advertisements in Shawnee Outlook do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or Layers Media. Layers Media does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by Shawnee 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. Shawnee Outlook assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials.

22 Train whistles, actors and romance

25 A story of Survival 25 Dedication and Determination Pay off

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Safe Community Shawnee Receives International Award

by: Mindy Wood

Shawnee will receive a designation award by the World Health Organization as one of seven safe communities in the nation. The Oklahoma State Department of Health selected Shawnee to participate in the year long application process for the designation that will be awarded at Woodland-Veteran’s Park April 17th during the Child Abuse Prevention and Family Safety Day. Safe Communities partnered with the Kelsey Briggs Foundation to offer the community a free safety fair from 10am to 3pm in honor of Child Abuse Awareness month. Venders will offer booths with information and services, kids will enjoy moonwalk, face painting, fire clowns and learn about safety through demonstrations for the whole family. When the Oklahoma State Department of Health approached Tina Johnson, Administrator for the Pottawatomie Health Department, she took the opportunity to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). “They’ve been very active in the community and safety is one of their main interests so I presented it to them. They were very excited and then I started going into the community identifying the different safety programs and events available in the community.” The LEPC is comprised of businesses, schools, city government, tribes and various agencies who Jennifer Dawson, Technician for the Emergency Management Office, says was the steering committee for the project. The year-long application involves inventorying and reviewing safety plans from all sectors of the community and goes far beyond car seat checks and home safety. “You have to have so many different players in relation to safety,” said Johnson. “Many times people think about seatbelts and bicycle helmets for their child but there are so many facets of safety in a community. It’s about having side-

6

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walks for people to walk on instead of the street, industries making sure their workplace is safe or the right location for a stoplight. It covers so many different areas in the community so you have to have all of those represented for it to be successful.” So how does Shawnee rate when it comes to real crisis? Jennifer Dawson says, “I think we’re pretty well prepared. We do a lot of exercises. We have plans and we review those plans, most of them annually. We’re constantly discussing different aspects of a plan and updating them to make sure they’re what they need to be and then we exercise them.” Dawson added that Shawnee is prepared for tornados, floods, fires, and even bioterrorism. According to Johnson, we’re even ready to help Oklahoma City. “Shawnee is a part of the City Readiness Initiative. Because of where we’re located we would work closely Oklahoma County if there were a large scale incident that occurred in Oklahoma City. That relationship in developing those resources with Oklahoma County has been very beneficial for us as well. Centers for Disease Control conducted a site visit last April and we scored 95, one of the highest scores in the nation. We’re very pleased with that.” Both Johnson and Dawson are pleased with how well Shawnee businesses, agencies and organizations are prepared for crisis. “It makes you feel comfortable knowing that others know what their role and responsibility is. You have peace of mind,” said Dawson, “knowing it’s going to go as smoothly as possible because you’ve taken the time to prepare.” Johnson said as they began to document contacts and safety procedures, the community began to communicate more effectively and discover they could work together even more. “We had three or four organizations doing car seat

safety checks, which is good. Now we can let them know they can pull their resources together and have more options for those participating or we can receive a call from someone needing car seat safety checks and have the information ready for them. It helps make sure all those resources are available for those who need it.” The Safe Community certification is also good for business. “I think that’s a big interest to businesses considering a location where their employees will work and live. Being a safe community will make a difference in that process. We’ve also already begun to see grant opportunities available.” Representatives from Safe Community Canada performed their site visit last November and they were impressed. For two days they reviewed safety plans beginning with the Pott. County Health department and moved on to the business sector with Exxon Mobil, famous for their workplace safety. They viewed slideshows from various agencies at Unity Health and attended safety demonstrations like car seat safety checks State Farmer Insurance and the Tai Chi exercises used at the Senior Citizens Center to prevent fall injuries. They met with the police and fire department, Gordon Cooper and more. Johnson says the evaluation isn’t based on a rigid list of requirements by the WHO. “It’s about what your community needs. We do a needs assessment and then talk to the people who live and work in the community to find out what the concerns and issues are.” Dawson said the certification is a reflection of the community. “It’s not anything we’ve done. We’ve just promoted what the community was already doing. We didn’t go out and start all these programs.” Johnson added, “I’m proud of Shawnee. It’s a great community.”


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Scott’s Space

time marches on by: Scott Bartley

W

ell kids, we made it through the first quarter of the year. Well done! Spring has sprung, birds are chirping, trees are bloomingspring is a great time. Easter is upon us- time to shine those shoes, comb your hair, put on your Sunday best, and enjoy one of my favorite Easter traditions- the Cadbury creme Egg. Yes, you heard me- I love those little guys! An egg of delicious milk chocolate, filled with creamy, faux egg innards? Love them!!! However, this is not an article about Easter. I’m writing about something that affects us all whether we like it or not- aging. Yes, Father Time visits all of us, but some of us get hit harder than others. At the ripe old age of 42, I started thinking about my age a few years ago, when I hit the magical 40. And it really smacked me in the face in February, when we celebrated birthdays for my daughters. Sabrina turned 10, and Marilyn turned 4. Probably doesn’t seem that old to most of you, but the fact that my eldest is no longer in the single digits gave me pause. Just 2 more years to Middle School, and 6 more years untilgasp- drivers license!! And then- college. Goodbye Sabrina!! Where has the time gone??? Marilyn still has a way to go. However, Cindy and I always shudder a bit when we think about how old we’ll be when Marilyn graduates- 58. Fiftyeight stinkin years old!! Do they allow walkers and wheelchairs at high school graduations? Will Marilyn be embarrassed if we have to stop for some extra Depends on our way to the event? Okay, so I hyperbolize a bit. But that still sounds pretty old to me. Age is relative. It’s a state of mind. I do believe these statements, to an extent. There are some people who seem to age rapidly, and others who hang on to their youth. My father was an

She insists that I am starting to resemble Bert from Sesame Street, with an ever thickening unibrow.

old man before his time. I’ve told you a bit before about his battles with alcoholism and chain smoking, and these had a lot to do with it. He died when he was 65, and seemed really old to me at the time. But then there are people like the age defying Jim Brown, former OBU professor. Jim can still run circles around me, and I’m pretty sure he’s around 105. I hope I’m half as active as he is. And my dear old mom is still feisty at 87. Unfortunately, if I’m going to be moving around at that age, I need to be moving around at this age. Exercise- you are a millstone around around my neck!! When are they going to develop a pill that gives us the benefits of exercise? Sign me up!! So how has age affected me personally? I see a few signs. My metabolism is horrible. I’ve always struggled with weight, but it’s getting harder the older I get. I try to be more selective in my eating habits. (“Try” is the key word here) Also, I’m starting to get those nagging little aches and pains that weren’t there before. Getting out of bed in the morning requires some effort, accompanied with some moans and groans. A few weeks ago I was working at a Benefits/Wellness event at Unity Hospital. They had a test to see how flexible you were. I tried it, and was told that I’m WAY below where a man my age should be. But I do have a very strong grip, surprisingly. I guess that’s from the extra firm handshakes that I dole out. My eyesight has always been bad, so there’s really no difference there. And since I don’t really spend much time in the sun, my skin

is in pretty good shape. One thing I’m pretty proud of is my hair. Now don’t get me wrongby no means do I have a thick head of hair. It is thinning and receding somewhat. But if you look at pictures of me from my childhood, you’ll see I’ve always had a somewhat billboard sized forehead. No, what I’m really excited about is my hair color- it’s still dark! Many of my younger friends already have a good salt-n-peppa thing going, but so far, I’ve only found one or two of the little gray fellows. And speaking of hair, it is starting to make appearances in places that are unexpected. A favorite game that my red-hot smokin wife likes to play is “Pluck the Eyebrows”. She insists that I am starting to resemble Bert from Sesame Street, with an ever thickening unibrow. Trust me- it’s not that bad. But she gleefully grabs the tweezers, and begins plucking away, as I squeal in pain, tears streaming down my cheeks. And speaking of my wife, she looks fabulous for her age. In fact, people who don’t know us wonder what kind of a man am I that would run around with a girl half my age. I just tell them I’m extremely wealthy, and she’s my trophy wife. What about you friends? Any signs of aging yet? I’m not talking to you punk kids in your 20’s- your time will come. But to those of you 30 and up- any good aging stories? Any of you break a hip yet? Remember, you can share with me at scott.space@hotmail.com. I’d love to hear your stories! Uh-oh- I have to run. Cindy has the tweezers out, and I just don’t think I can take the pain right now......

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Being passionate about what you do always shows up in the quality of your work. For Tom Flora his passion has always been capturing those unforgettable moments in life, preserving the history that means everything to a loved one and even a community. His talents have won him prestigious awards and kept him in demand all over the state for more than 30 years. Tom Flora graduated from OBU in 1966 with a music degree and taught band for seven years before he decided to take his photography hobby seriously. He bought out Houston Payne’s studio in 1973 where the first color picture was printed in Shawnee. Innovation captured Flora then and today the studio utilizes all that technology offers the industry. “If you can think of it, we can create it,� said Flora. The studio walls are lined with prints reflecting creative imagination. Beautiful photographs are crafted to appear as an antique or enhanced with finishes that create the appearance of a painting or porcelain effect. Their creativity, according to Tom Flora, is part of the job but part of the fun too. “Photography takes imagination and an eye for detail. It takes seeing the possibilities, what you can create and ultimately that’s an adventure just to see what new thing we can do tomorrow.� Technology aside, Flora also enjoys capturing mo-

ments with timeless simplicity. “I love to capture the interaction and not just a pose. I love to talk with clients and find out what they’re about because when I do that, they forget about themselves and I get the natural in what’s happening in front of me.� Tom Flora has photographed everyone from kids in school pictures to Governor Brad Henry and his wife Kim, Barry Switzer, Mary Fallin, and T. Boone Pickens. His work accounts for 60-70% of the photography in Oklahoma’s Historical Centennial Cookbook by Ronnye Perry Sharp. Though he is transitioning into retirement, his work is far from over. This year Tom is turning over more management to his son Cody and while he will still photograph in the studio, he plans to dust off some ambition. “I’ve always wanted to photograph the buffalo crossing the snow in Yellowstone. I’ve never been to the northeast in the fall and I’m looking at a second cookbook.� Cody Flora will build on the strong foundation laid by his father. “I like everything we do here and the quality and service we provide is something I feel is lacking in today’s market. We want to provide a quality product to our customers with service they deserve.� For more information contact Tom Flora Photography at 273-8631 or visit their office at 601 W. Independence. View their work online at www.floraimaging. com.

Photos by Tom Flora Photography


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Blessings Finding the

of Family

by: Denise Quinalty

While not every day can be Christmas, to adopted children and their parents, many days must feel like this traditional gift-giving holiday. Adoption is a year-round gift experienced by both the children and the parents involved. Howtoadopt.org says that 20,000 or more U.S.based infants are placed for adoption each year. The number is often higher in many other countries. While the specific reasons for placing a child for adoption are varied, the Web site says that lack of resources and support are the greatest contributors to the decision to seek out a better life for a child. The Web site showhope.org states that every 18 seconds another child becomes an orphan somewhere in the world. This site explains that a child who experiences the sickness and death of a parent is just surviving the first of many tragedies ahead. In many cases, adoption may be the only hope these children have for a healthy, productive future. Shawnee residents Sydney and Paul Gore know how life-changing adoption can be. The Gores moved from Edmond to Shawnee two years ago when Paul accepted the pastorship at Aydelotte Baptist Church. Sydney is a homemaker and proud mom to five-and-a-half year old Kate, two-year old Solome (pronounced solo-may) Noel and sevenmonth old Isaiah Natnael. Solome means “peace”

“One of the things we celebrate as a family is how God brought us together through the blessing of adoption,” and Natnael means “gift from God” in Amharic, a Semitic language spoken by the Amhara in north central Ethiopia. Kate joined the family through from Russia in 2005 and the Gores decided to adopt again in 2007. At that time, they planned to adopt a child from central Asia, but the process stalled. Realizing God had other plans, they eventually chose to adopt a child from Ethiopia. Finally, in January of this year, Solome joined the family followed shortly by Isaiah who came home in February. The couple explained that many factors help potential parents make the decision to adopt. They admit that the process is different for each family, but for them, it was about the gospel. “Jesus Christ is God’s only Son but through faith in Him we can become God’s adopted sons and daughters. So the amazing truth that we have been adopted into God’s family motivates us to adopt

children into ours. Even families who aren’t led to adopt are motivated by this truth to support adoption and orphan care in the world,” Paul shared. The Gores have had very positive adoption experiences. They believe every family should at least consider adoption. A family thinking about such a step must decide between domestic or international adoption. One reason the Gores felt guided to international adoption was through the experience of serving at an orphanage overseas during their own teenage years. “We encourage couples to think carefully about whether domestic or international adoption is right for them. In the end, whether families adopt in the U.S. or elsewhere, children are children and they all need loving homes,” Paul said. The Gores explained that adoption requires commitment. Time, paperwork, financial responsibilities, answering personal questions and travel may >

>

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continued from pg. 13

be required, depending upon the situation. They added that adopting a child of a different ethnicity may require “extra courage” due to what they see as mixed feelings in the media regarding multi-ethnic adoption. They hope their family will serve as an example of just one of many success stories. “One of the things we celebrate as a family is how God brought us together through the blessing of adoption,” Sydney said. The Gores noted several differences in what an orphan in the United States might experience versus how those in Africa live. While a child in our country is placed in foster care until he is adopted or “ages-out” of the system, children in Africa are placed into orphanages. The Gores said these children receive few educational opportunities and are released from the system as teenagers with little to no support. During their own trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capitol, they observed contrasts in the population. They saw tall, modern buildings and also shanty-style structures covered by tarps. Some people talked on cell phones as they walked down the street and others led donkeys or goats. While differences existed in the city, something that was consistent at the two orphanages they visited was

14

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the great care given by the nannies and the active and friendly nature of the children. The couple said obvious needs included clothing, medicine and attention. Ultimately, the Gores believe that children with parents have a better chance in life.

“We wish for others to know that adoption is not second best or a last resort; it is a wonderful and viable way to create or build a family. There is a stigma associated with adoption that shouldn’t exist. Instead, adoption should be celebrated by the community and supported whenever possible.”


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The Game Never Ends

by: Mindy Wood

Shawnee’s Weight Loss Challenge

M

ost people sitting on the sidelines of a game or contest know that when the time runs out a winner is chosen and the game is over, end of story. For Shawnee’s Weight Loss Challenge, these players will keep running their race and the game will never be over. The lessons they’ve learned, the friends they’ve made are forever and their story is just beginning. Three months ago twelve contestants accepted the YMCA’s challenge: lose the most weight, most inches or most body percent fat to win a free family membership at the YMCA and a free personal trainer. Each contestant was paired with a free personal trainer and five other team mates to get healthy. Twelve weeks later their blood, sweat and tears have paid off. Most contestants lost between 35 to 40lbs and 9 to 12 inches. Going into the program, everyone shared the same crisis. In spite of books, fitness videos and fad diets, they had no idea how to eat right or how to exercise for maximum results. The trainers and coaches at the YMCA took care of that with weekly handouts on nutrition and observance of their eating habits and choices. Contestants worked out

at twice a week with their trainer combining cardio workouts with strength training and put in at least 6-12 hours of exercise a week on their own. A few contestants talked about what they learned and how they feel about their involvement. “I’ve learned it’s not just a contest, it’s a new lifestyle that we have to choose to continue,” said Barbara Boise. “The knowledge I’ve gained,” said Nikki Redding, “makes me feel comfortable leaving the program and knowing that I can carry on without help from someone else. That’s truly the biggest thing.” Darrell Whitten said, “It’s been a life changing experience. It’s been the challenge of things you would never do on your own and the challenge of things you didn’t believe you could do anymore. My trainer LaDawn has done a tremendous job as an encourager and a challenger. I’m very pleased with the results.” Tina Falcon and Carrie Good, contenders for the Most Weight Lost, talked about the value of a personal trainer. “I’ve appreciated my trainer and all the team mates. When you’re home and trying to do this yourself it’s so much harder. It’s meant a lot to me to have all this support,” said Falcon. “It takes away the awkwardness of a gym to have a trainer. I would never have walked in here and

jumped on a treadmill because I didn’t know how to set up a training schedule. I would never have done that on my own or known to mix cardio with weights,” said Good. “I was always scared to go over to the free weight area because it’s mostly guys,” said Lindsay Dyer. “Learning how to use equipment, the ropes, bands, weights and all the different ways you can use the equipment has been great.” Their trainers couldn’t be more proud of them. “They know how to push themselves,” said Natalie Hogan. “They know how to eat right,” remarked Michelle Jones. “They know the lifestyle choices they can make,” said Tara Andrews, “and change from here on out.” LaDawn said, “They’re all learning that they’re stronger and that they can do this.” Their knowledge has touched a community as families, friends and co-workers have joined the mission to live healthier lives. Nikki Redding’s school took up a weight loss contest earlier this year. Keith King, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Tecumseh studied the Five Pillars of Health with his congregation. “This is has been nothing short of life changing. We’re doing some studies on health and we have one person training

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Who is managing your technology needs?

continued from pg. 17

for a triathlon.” Tina Falcon and Max Smith talked about the far reaching effects of the program. “My kids are eating so much healthier,” she laughed “and so are my parents. My friend has lost 13lbs. She just started eating what I was eating. She came to me and said, ‘teach me.’ We all have stories like that here.” Max added, “We did this but we’re teaching our families. It’s not just about us, its about other people.” That is music to Tracy Walker’s ears, CEO of the Shawnee Family YMCA. “The driving passion behind this program is the change it makes in the community. We’re not affecting twelve people, we’re affecting twelve families. I don’t like that Oklahoma is the third fattest state in the nation and if we can change anywhere, then we can change it right here in Shawnee. It takes one community at a time.” Contestants have no intention of slacking off. “For me the journey is going to begin after the final weigh in…to lose more and keep it off,” said Jennifer McAlister. Contestants will keep track of their continued progress and connect with some of last year’s contestants through Shawnee’s Weight Loss Challenge Facebook page.

There they will challenge each other with 5K’s, Contributers: triathlons, and other events that bring them together and keep the team spirit alive. Anyone is welcome to join the site and get healthy. May 3rd contestants will participate in the Family Promise 5K to benefit the ministry that helps homeless families. Trainer Natalie Hogan (405) 273-8888 will continue training contestants for the big race. “The team from last year and this year will be participating and training together for four (405) 273-5801 weeks with group runs and walks.” Design Security The end of Shawnee’s Weight Loss Challenge (405) 241-6199 is a new beginning for these contestants to carry Maintenance Management on what they started and pass the baton to those who will run the race with them. With the tools (405) 273-7985 they’ve been given, they can equip and inspire IT Consulting others to live healthier, stronger lives. (405) 834-9333 “Computer & Network Services--Done Right!” To find out who the winners are, visit www. shawneeloser.com and check out their427 Facebook N. Union Shawnee, OK 405 834 9333 www.psg-it.com page, “Shawnee’s Weight Loss Challenge” for (405) 273-4386 continued coverage on their progress.

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take a walk on the art side

by: Mindy Wood

If you’re of the opinion there’s nothing to do in Shawnee, think again. April 24th is a Walk on the Art Side and Music Fest. The event, sponsored by Safe Events for Families (SEFF) is held in conjunction with the annual Woodcarver’s Show on Main Street, sponsored by the Santa Fe Depot. The day’s events include live music, food, carriage rides, and free fun for kids and parents who want to explore their artistic creativity. There’s also a chance to win a $1,700 shopping spree. All along Main Street artists will set up displays of their oil and water color paintings, sculptures, pottery and more for the public to view. Downtown merchants graciously offered to allow artists space in front of their businesses free of charge. With all but two businesses participating in the Main Street Shopping Spree, it’s also a good chance to register to win the pot of gift certificates. SEFF board member Lauren Stastny helped coordinate the shopping spree. “Every restaurant participated. There’s no way anyone could spend this in one day and it’s beyond Main Street. We’ve got so many businesses who went in with this, even within two blocks of Main Street. So it really includes downtown.” The loot includes discounts and gift certificates on furniture, clothing, office supplies, sporting goods, antiques, and gift shop items. Registration for the drawing began March 24th and ends close of business April 24th. For families the day promises to be filled with wholesome entertainment. Charlie Cox will bring his enormous horses out for carriage rides for only $3 per person or $7 for an all day pass. “It’s hard to find wholesome entertainment for little kids,” said Cox who has been in the carriage business for fifteen years. “We’ve been in this business all of our lives and its rewarding work.”

Fun for the whole family is the idea behind the event, according to SEFF president, Norman Wagner. This year kids will enjoy Sidewalk Art, an activity that moms and dads can get their hands in as well. “SEFF chooses an artist like the Picasso to discuss their work with the children and it’s always fun to see what they will create from their discussion, the colors they choose and how mom and dad usually jump in there to lend their creative hand. I am always warmed to watch parents as they slide their arms around their child to help them. I don’t know if they realize it but not only are they creating memories, they are also showing love to their child.” Kids can also win a prize for the Chalk Art Contest, sponsored by A Sense of Charm Gift Boutique. “SEFF is contributing to the project buy securing sponsors to make this free for everyone. We are looking for individuals and businesses to help sponsor the contest so that there is no entry fee and prizes can be awarded for each age group. The kids will be working on an array of projects this year but mainly collogues. They’re fun and easy for all ages to do,” said Wagner. The Woodcarver’s Show will be at the Santa Fe Depot Museum. Every year people turn out to see top quality wood crafts, including work from local woodcarving legend, Chief Haney. Local musicians playing country, bluegrass and rock-a-billy will perform all day until 10 pm between 7th and Bell Street where the winners of the shopping spree will be announced that evening. Bands include the Red River Boys, Gaskill Family Bluegrass Band, Liberty Creek, Lesser Feast and more. No matter what your taste in art is like, taking a walk on the art side promises to please everyone from music lovers to woodcarvers, from illustrators to painters. For more information contact Pam or April at a Sense of Charm 405-275-1311.

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Train Whistles, Actors and Romance i n

H i s t o r i c a l

Sh a w n e e by: Mindy Wood

Sandra Wilkins

Local author, Sandra Wilkins will release the second novel in her historical fiction series, Rose’s Hope (Avalon Books, 2010) this month. Set in the early 1900’s, all of her books take place in Shawnee. Her research gives readers an inside look at the way people lived and thought in the early part of the last century. Her first book, Ada’s Heart (Avalon Books, 2008) is the story of a young actress who travels to Shawnee when vaudeville was the entertainment of choice and the town was a bustling city along the Santa Fe Depot and railroad. Weary of her travels, Ada falls in love with the townspeople, their way of life and a certain farmer. She befriends two girls in town, Rose and Gwen, who form the plot for the next two novels. In Rose’s Hope, young Rose must choose between a widow with a child to support and another suitor. Wilkins recently submitted her third novel which continues with Ada’s other friend, Gwen and she hopes to release later this year. Wilkins said she started researching Shawnee’s past through newspaper articles. She found help at the Santa Fe Depot Museum and gleaned information from a good book she read on the history of Pottawatomie County. She weaved her research in the story, especially the setting. “Part of the backdrop of the story is the location of St. Benedict’s

Church. It was closer to downtown, on 9th Street, I believe. The original building was there when they decided to raise money for the church’s new location on Kickapoo where it is now. There were bazaars, dinners, things like that and it ended up being the backdrop in all three stories.” Local readers will recognize various scenes as characters make their way down Broadway, Park and Market streets and other local landmarks. While Wilkins lived in Ponca City, she worked for a bookstore where she met two young women whose personalities made a lasting impression. “One was a red headed part time actress who was hilarious and the other one was a sweet blonde girl. Then there was me. I had this idea for a book about three friends and took some of their characteristics to form my characters for the book. We moved back to Shawnee where, conveniently I could do the research.” For the first book, her research also determined the cover of Ada’s Heart, which is a picture of the Santa Fe Depot taken by her husband Andrew. The second novel uses a picture of a store front she found at the museum as well, retouched and colorized that appears on the spine of Rose’s Hope. Wilkins always had an artistic ability, both with a pencil and words. She is a sketch artist and novelist who quietly practiced both while grow-

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ing up in Meeker. She wrote her first novel before she graduated high school but set it aside, having tried to publish it without success. She had been married several years before beginning Ada’s Heart and wrote the other two with children underfoot. “My grandmother always encouraged me before she passed away and my husband is very supportive of me as well.” Her wholesome Oklahoma upbringing is also evident in her work. “Truthfully I always wanted to put a spiritual aspect into my writing. I wanted to show how faith helps people through difficulty. When I wrote the first story I didn’t know if I should pursue the mainstream market or the Christian market. When I ran across ‘wholesome romance’ that seemed to be a good place to start. I wanted to write a book I wasn’t afraid to let my mother read and I think ‘inspirational romance’ best describes my books.” Wilkins is pretty modest about it all. “Little ole’ me from Meeker, Oklahoma interested a publisher from New York? I look at my book and I still can’t believe it.” A book signing will be held April 24th from 10am to 12pm at Shoenecke’s Pecans and Fudge in Meeker; on May 2cd from 2pm to 4pm at Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee. Her books are also available on amazon.com. Visit her website at www.sandrawilkins.com

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Survival a story of

by: Mindy Wood

Randy Booker’s warm smile and kind demeanor are a welcome sight in a world troubled by worry and sorrow. His mirthful eyes and thankful attitude would lead anyone to believe he’s lived a quiet and carefree life but nothing could be further from the truth. Randy Booker has experienced more than his fair share of grief and loss but he’s never let it get him down. In fact, this survivor is grateful to be alive and tells his inspiring story to anyone who will listen. Tragedy touched Randy’s life at thirteen when he lost his father to a horrific car accident. Blinded by trees, they hit a truck on their way to a fishing trip. Randy was thrown through the front windshield and back before landing on the tail gate. An 88 year old man drove up and pulled Randy’s burning body from the car to safety. His father and his dad’s friend died. The doctors didn’t expect Randy to live. He suffered a concussion, required 300 stitches and sustained severe burns on his back, arms and stomach. Young Randy held on and survived eight surgeries in two months. To everyone’s amazement, he made a miraculous recovery. Missing his father’s funeral was tough but he says there was some closure to the accident when

he got a chance to meet the man who saved his life. “He was a small, frail black gentleman and I just thanked him but I didn’t shake his hand, I embraced him like I’d known him all my life and we just cried. Two months later he died. If the Lord hadn’t sent him when He did, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Randy. Randy says his grief didn’t embitter him. “I never blamed anyone. A lot of people blame God

across the lake but by the time they reached him he was already on the shore, passed out. To this day, no one knows how he managed wash up alive. Again 1984 he was on a lake with his girlfriend and her son. The boy’s arm floats blew onto the water. Although he was only knee deep, Randy ran after it and underestimating the speed of the wind and how quickly a lake floor can drop off, he plunged into deep water. He panicked and nearly drowned again. Once more, a man drove up and saved his life. In 1989 he lost his brother and admits he was emotionally exhausted, still scarred from the trauma of his father’s death. His mother, whose strong faith and moral support was like a rock in his life, was slowly dying with Alzheimer’s. For the first time in his life she couldn’t help him cope. She died in 2001. Life was about to get worse for Randy Booker. In January of 2002 his doctor diagnosed him with mitral valve failure, a condition affecting the hearts ability to pump blood. It was far worse than that. “When they did an ultrasound they found my blood was backing up into my lungs. Two weeks later they did open heart surgery. The surgeon told me I was within hours or days of going into congestive heart

“A lot of people get to the point where they quit fighting and give up. I couldn’t. I decided I wasn’t going to give up. I was thankful and blessed to be alive.” but I didn’t. I never wondered if I did something wrong. Accidents happen.” Randy’s trials were far from over as he would face death four more times. In 1974 he nearly drowned when his friends asked him to retrieve some water skis on the lake. Although he couldn’t swim, he bravely trusted a life jacket. It failed, somehow getting over his head and kept him struggling for the surface. They heard him half way

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continued from pg. 25

failure. He said, ‘you do not know how fortunate you are.’” Although he was glad to be alive, Randy had to face changes in his life. “I was a marathon runner and active in sports like kickboxing, baseball, basketball and I had to give it up. Taking blood thinners meant that I could bleed to death and die if I fell and no one would know it.” In December of that same year, Randy suffered another setback. He had a stroke and doctors warned he could no longer work as more would inevitably occur. Another stroke followed three years later. It was so massive doctors were puzzled that he lived through it and warned that he faced two years of recovery, with little hope of walking or regaining his speech. It wasn’t the first time Booker was faced with a long recovery. But he admitted he did wonder at times, ‘what next?’ He says looking back, God made sure there were people along the way to encourage him and strengthen his faith. When discouragement and hopelessness crowded his mind, he says he had to make a decision. “A lot of people get to the point where they quit fighting and give up. I couldn’t. I decided I wasn’t going to give up. I was thankful and blessed to be alive.” Booker not only regained his speech, but today

he walks more than five miles a day and enjoys a very simple life. He is well known to downtown merchants as the ‘Mint Man’ because he carries mints with him everywhere he goes and a story he tells to anyone who will listen. “I don’t know why but I started doing that a few years ago. I give a mint to anyone who wants one and if my story will inspire someone and encourage them that anything is possible with God, I tell it.” Randy says he takes life a day at a time, always

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hoping to make to brighten someone else’s life. “When people ask me why I smile all the time, I tell them the joy of the Lord is my strength. It’s to the point now where people will ask me to pray for them. It makes my day to think maybe I’m making a difference.” Randy enjoys attending church, visiting with friends and outdoor drama. He learned that though life simple, it is precious and he’s thankful for every moment of it.

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27


main street D OW N TOW N

KAFÉ

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20l0

ll4 E. MAlN


Dedication and Determination

Pay off

A few competitive cheerleaders from Shawnee and surrounding areas have a lot to be proud of. Last January and February, the team at Victory Elite Cheer’s All Star gym took the NSA National Championship in Tulsa and the ASC Nationals in Oklahoma City by storm as they matched their talents against girls whose teams outnumbered their own and whose experience they thought they were no match for. As it turns out, they were up to the challenge. Because the team has one member who fits into the senior age bracket, the team was forced to compete on the senior level against girls who were older and enjoyed more experience. To make it even tougher, their own team has only ten girls but they were facing off with teams of at least fifteen to twenty girls. With fewer girls to a team, it can be more difficult to demonstrate strength, skills, and impress judges. Victory Elite Cheer owner and head coach, Allyson Moore says she taught them to keep it all in perspective. “I told them they had to focus on themselves, not anything else. They tuned into what they were supposed to do and they did really well. They were freaking out a little when they saw those girls but I reminded them that they were competing against their score card.”

by: Mindy Wood

The judges kept it in perspective as well, sending them back with six titles in the Mini Division National Championship. Emerson Newell, who placed first in Best Cheerleader, also won first with Bailey McIntosh in the Duo Mini Division. McIntosh also took first place in Best Tumbler and second place in Best Cheer. Darion Rhodd and Harper Morris scored first in Best Jump Junior and Youth Division, respectively. Miranda Maltos won first place in Youth Best Cheerleader. At the ASC, their team won second place in the Level Two Small Senior and a half paid bid to compete at the 2010 International All-Level Worlds Championship. That makes them the first gym in a 65 mile radius to win a bid that allows them to compete on a world scale. “They won runners up, losing first place by only half a point. Given the division we were in and the number of girls we had, I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Moore. Last November, the girls qualified for a bid to compete at Las Vegas for American Cheer Power’s “Nations Best Individual Nationals.” Each girl will compete for the chance to win a $5,000 scholarship and an appearance on the cover of American Cheerleader Magazine. “This is the huge nationals compe-

tition that girls work for to attend at the end of the season. You have to win a bid to be eligible to qualify in order to go to Vegas,” said Moore. Moore says their recent win is that much sweeter because of where the girls started less than a year ago. “Last year it was tough. As far as their skill levels go, we couldn’t even do preps. Less than a year later they’re doing straight up extensions and skills like their leg positions in the air show that they’ve come up two levels in one year. They’re very dedicated and for them to start out where they did and score what they have, I’m so proud of them.” Allyson Moore has spent sixteen years in competitive cheer and eight years coaching. Moore is from Holdenville and says she saw the need to for an all star gym in Shawnee that offered both recreation and competitive cheer. “Shawnee is where I’ve always wanted to be, I just love it. I have a lot of people I know here and I could see that the Shawnee needed this.” Moore also continues to train and compete herself in the Open Six, the highest level offered in Cheerleading and is an OSU National Competition Cheerleader. To find out the results of their next competition, visit www.velitecheer.com

.com

www.shawneeoutlook.com

29


Reflections

The Power of Self-Deception by: Bob Searl

I’ve started playing racquetball. The guys I play with are really good and I’m really bad. I’m being honest. To say that I’m the weakest link in the group is an insult to weakest links everywhere. In spite of my lack of coordination, speed, hand-eye coordination and general aptitude for racquetball, I play with enthusiasm. I hustle. Sometimes I hustle into walls or other players, but I never whine about how hard the walls are and I’m quick with an apology if I knock an opponent to the hardwood. There is something endearing about a klutz with heart, right? Anyway, I get a great workout. It is amazing how quickly I ramp-up my heart rate by running in tight circles in a small room chasing a rubber ball. What I have going for me are my racquetball partners. The guys I play with are more than good racquetball players; they are good teachers. They are remarkably patient with me and give generously of their time to help me improve my game. What they don’t realize is that they are sowing the seeds of their own humiliation. I listen to their instruction. I practice the skills they teach me. Instinct will soon replace conscious thought. The little voice that says, “Hey! You blew that shot because you didn’t bend your knees,” will go silent and my knees will bend on their own. I will take a full backswing and crush the ball instead of watching the ball shoot past me as I think, “step, reach, swing…oops!” My

30

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inner racquetball monster will emerge and they will rue the day they taught me anything about the sport. Who am I kidding? I’m fifty-two. I’m overweight. I have a touch of asthma. I’m on a first name basis with most of the people who work at Dave’s Donuts. Ah, the power of self-deception! There’s a little Don Quixote in all of us, isn’t there? Doesn’t everybody paint a rosier picture of her potential than is realistic once in a while? Who doesn’t overestimate his prospects now and then? Most of the time the consequences of such thinking don’t amount to much. Does it really matter that I have irrational racquetball domination fantasies? The self-deception stakes get a little higher when we’re talking about our health, however. Is it wise to convince yourself that the cholesterol reading the doctor warned you about during your last physical was just a blip, an aberration? It might be time to lay off the pizza and ribs buffet for a week or two. Or how about the personal financial fairy that whispers in your ear: “So, you’re up to you’re eyeballs in credit card debt and two goons just repossessed your matching four-wheelers off the back porch. Your financial situation will improve in time. Just stay the course.” Things can get serious when life-crushing addictions are on the line. How many alcoholics say they are in complete control of the booze? Ad-

dicts convince themselves they can lay off the crack anytime they want to. Sadly, even after losing their families, their careers, their shirts, they still don’t want to stop. Of course, they could if they wanted. Right. Self-deception can be a killer. I’m going to clean out my garage this spring. I am amazed by the amount of stuff I paid good money for that ends up collecting dust in the garage and squeezes my car to a parking spot in the driveway. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Although it may be obvious, the garage isn’t the only thing that might need a good cleaning. Selfdeception is the so-called friend that works beside me, helping me pile up the junk that gets in the way of living the life I truly want to live. Is fried chicken with a side of potato salad worth by-pass surgery or a paralyzing stroke? Is an iPod worth a month of sleepless nights worrying about how you’ll pay the light bill? Would you trade your family for a beer or a hit? Selfdeception tells you your indulgence won’t cost you a thing. So, I’ll never be a world-class racquetball player. In the meantime I will practice. I’ll also keep my eyes peeled for an eighty-year old with a racquet. I’ll let her win, of course. It will be good for the old gal’s self-esteem to whip a kid like me.


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(405) 878-6012 1338 E. Highland Shawnee, OK


AMILY PRO JOIN

IN OUR SUPPORT OF

FAMILY PROMISE 5K ROAD RACE & KIDS’ FUN RUN • SUNDAY, MAY 2, 2010

of Shawnee

5k Road Race & Kids’ Fun Run

Sunday, May 2, 2010 DATE _______________________________

INFLATABLES

AWARDS

GENDER:

M

F

EMAIL ADDRESS: ______________________________________

CITY:

E-MAIL:

FUN

For race questions: 405-823-1104 (Meredith) Website: www.familypromiseshawnee.org

/

SIGNED ____________________________________________________________________

DOB:___/

CITY:

PHONE:

LAST NAME:

ADDRESS:

FOOD

AGE ON RACE DAY:

FOOD

LAST NAME:

/

FUN

FIRST NAME:

Day of race registration time: 1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. $20 entry fee *First 100 5K run entrants receive a free t-shirt. Additional t-shirts will be available for purchase at the event. Mailed entry forms must be received before Wednesday, April 28, 2010, otherwise, register on day of race

STATE:

PERSONAL INFORMATION:

SHIRT SIZE:

S

Ages 10-11 Boys & Girls – 400 Meters Ages 6 -9 Boys & Girls – 200 meters Ages 5 & under Boys & Girls – 50 meters

Waiver: I know that running a road race is a potentially hazardous activity. I should not enter and run unless I am medically able and properly trained. I also know that there will be a possibility of traffic on the course. I assume the risk of running in traffic. I also assume any and all other risks associated with running this event including, but not limited to falls, contact with other participants, the effects of the weather and the conditions of the roads, all such risks being known and appreciated by me. Furthermore, I agree to yield to all emergency vehicles. I also a fully aware that baby strollers and wheels of any kind (except competitive wheelchairs), animals and head phones are strictly prohibited and I agree not to have them on the course. Furthermore, I agree not to go back onto the course after finishing. I am fully aware that it is a fraudulent act to switch race numbers with anyone or allow anyone other than myself to wear my race number and I agree not to do this. Knowing these facts, and in consideration of your accepting my entry. I hereby for myself, my heirs, executors, administrators or anyone else who might claim on my behalf, covenant not to sue, and waive and release and discharge any and all race sponsors, race officials, volunteers, local and state police including any and all of their agents, employees, assigns or anyone acting for or on their behalf from any and all claims or liability for death, personal injury or property damage of any kind or nature whatsoever arising out of, or in the course of, my participating in this event whether same be caused by negligence or fault. This release and waver extends to all claims of every kind or nature whatsoever, foreseen or unforeseen, known or unknown. The undersigned grants permission to sponsors and or agents authorized by them to use any photos, videotapes, motion pictures, or any other record of this event for any purpose. Minors accepted only with a parent or guardian’s signature.

L

XL

ZIP:

GENDER:

INFLATABLES

Kids Under 12 Races (free!)

M

F

M

EMAIL ADDRESS: ______________________________________

AWARDS

Day of race registration time: 1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. $20 entry fee *First 100 5K run entrants receive a free t-shirt. Additional t-shirts will be available for purchase at the event.

Start Times:

2:00 p.m. 5 km Race ($20) 2:40 p.m. Kids under 12 Races (free)

STATE: SHIRT SIZE:

ZIP: S

M

L

XL

Family Promise of Shawnee P.O. Box 3044 Shawnee, Ok. 74802 – 3044

E-MAIL:

DOB:___/

PERSONAL INFORMATION:

Kids Under 12 Races (free!)

Ages 10-11 Boys & Girls – 400 Meters Ages 6 -9 Boys & Girls – 200 meters Ages 5 & under Boys & Girls – 50 meters

2:00 p.m. 5 km Race ($20) 2:40 p.m. Kids under 12 Races (free)

the USAT&F. The 5k course is certified.

Waiver: I know that running a road race is a potentially hazardous activity. I should not enter and run unless I am medically able and properly trained. I also know that there will be a possibility of traffic on the course. I assume the risk of running in traffic. I also assume any and all other risks associated with running this event including, but not limited to falls, contact with other participants, the effects of the weather and the conditions of the roads, all such risks being known and appreciated by me. Furthermore, I agree to yield to all emergency vehicles. I also a fully aware that baby strollers and wheels of any kind (except competitive wheelchairs), animals and head phones are strictly prohibited and I agree not to have them on the course. Furthermore, I agree not to go back onto the course after finishing. I am fully aware that it is a fraudulent act to switch race numbers with anyone or allow anyone other than myself to wear my race number and I agree not to do this. Knowing these facts, and in consideration of your accepting my entry. I hereby for myself, my heirs, executors, administrators or anyone else who might claim on my behalf, covenant not to sue, and waive and release and discharge any and all race sponsors, race officials, volunteers, local and state police including any and all of their agents, employees, assigns or anyone acting for or on their behalf from any and all claims or liability for death, personal injury or property damage of any kind or nature whatsoever arising out of, or in the course of, my participating in this event whether same be caused by negligence or fault. This release and waver extends to all claims of every kind or nature whatsoever, foreseen or unforeseen, known or unknown. The undersigned grants permission to sponsors and or agents authorized by them to use any photos, videotapes, motion pictures, or any other record of this event for any purpose. Minors accepted only with a parent or guardian’s signature.

AGE ON RACE DAY:

SIGNED ____________________________________________________________________

DATE _______________________________

ADDRESS:

PHONE:

Family Promise of Shawnee P.O. Box 3044 Shawnee, Ok. 74802 – 3044

FIRST NAME:

Mailed entry forms must be received before Wednesday, April 28, 2010, otherwise, register on day of race Start Times:

To benefit homeless families with children and pregnant women

Location: Woodland Park in Shawnee, OK. at the corner of Broadway Ave. & Highland. This event is chip timed and sanctioned by the USAT&F. The 5k course is certified.

Location: Woodland Park in Shawnee, OK. at the corner of Broadway Ave. & Highland. This event is chip timed and sanctioned by

Sunday, May 2, 2010

5k Road Race & Kids’ Fun Run

of Shawnee

To benefit homeless families with children and pregnant women

For race questions: 405-823-1104 (Meredith) Website: www.familypromiseshawnee.org

Shawnee Medical Center Clinict/4BSBUPHB 4IBXOFFttwww.smcclinic.com


Shawnee Outlook April 2010