Boyd Street Magazine April 2023

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April 2023 • Issue 4 • Volume 22
NORMAN’S OLDEST COMMUNITY MAGAZINE Bethesda Hope and Healing Freshman Gymnast Just Gotta Have Faith Volunteer Spotlight Angie Crandall
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APRIL CONTENTS ISSUE 4– VOLUME 22 2023 what’s inside on the cover /boydstreetmagazine @boydstreet Cover photo by: Josh Gateley - OU Athletics 38 34 50 What’s Happening Norman’s community calendar for April 13 IM-PROVE IT Sooner football looks to use spring to prepare for 2023 season. 42 Volunteer Spotlight Angie Crandall shares what motivates her to give back. 14 Hope and Healing Bethesda celebrates survivors, raise funds at annual gala. 20 State Honors Norman educator Dr. Rob Bradshaw, State Teacher of the Year finalist. 22 Cleaning for Spring City of Norman 2023 residential spring cleanup dates & information. 26 Tigerpalooza 2023 Students raise over $86,000 during annual philanthropy initiative. 30 Prep Sports Images Norman High state championship basketball and Crosstown Clash soccer. 34 Gotta Have Faith Freshman phenom helping Sooners’ drive for a national championship. 38 Regaining Independence Occupational Therapy Month raises awareness about patient rehabilitation care. 50 Dillard Cies Real Estate Two long-established real estate agencies merge. 52 Service Spotlight Chief Deputy Cary Bryant 56 OUFCU Tax Tips for 2023 60 Joe’s Wine & Spirits Cheers for Chardonnay 64
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mark Doescher MANAGING EDITOR Lindsay Cuomo PHOTOGRAPHY Mark Doescher CONTRIBUTORS Roxanne Avery | Lindsay Cuomo Kathy Hallren | Shannon Hudzinski Chelsey Kraft | Chris Plank ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Trevor Laffoon - Perry Spencer - Jerry Wagner - PUBLISHER Casey Vinyard Boyd Street Magazine 2020 E. Alameda Norman, Oklahoma 73071 Phone: (405) 321-1400 E-mail: Copyright © Boyd Street Magazine Any articles, artwork or graphics created by Boyd Street Magazine or its contributors are sole property of Boyd Street Magazine and cannot be reproduced for any reason without permission. Any opinions expressed in Boyd Street are not necessarily that of Boyd Street management. BOYD STREET Member FDIC NOW OPEN NEAR YOU! 212 E COMANCHE, NORMAN, OK This location offers the same great service you've come to expect, as well as ATM with Live Teller drive-thru machines, allowing you the option to chat face-to-face with an Arvest associate.







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For Angie Crandall, volunteering is often a family affair. Giving back to their community is important to Crandall and her husband, Sean, and they encourage their three sons - Brayden, Reece and Beckett - to do the same.

“Both my husband and I have always tried to teach our kids to give back and what a huge impact giving back can make in the community,” Crandall shared. “My husband has sat on the board of the Mary Abbott House, and we’ve tried to get our kids involved in helping out there with projects as far as cleaning up after a storm or raising awareness to some of the needs they have there.

“It’s just kind of always been part of who we are and what we do,” she continued. “We give back to the community because we know that there’s a huge need out there.”

Professionally, Crandall works for BancFirst as a senior vice president in a commercial lending role. As a volunteer, Crandall has served on different boards in various capacities, one of those being as a trustee for the Moore Norman Technology Center Foundation since 2016. She first got involved as a representative for BancFirst. In March 2020, she assumed the role of president from a longtime mentor of hers, Charles Hollingsworth.

The Moore Norman Technology Center Foundation provides funds to assist the center’s students and staff members. The foundation provides scholarship and emergency funding programs to help students pay for certifications, purchase tools for their future job or put gas in their vehicles, among other needs. The foundation also operates a food pantry and assists MNTC teachers through grants.

Other organizations Crandall has been involved with include the United Way and the Citizens Advisory Board, and she has also served at her children’s schools as the treasurer for both the Whittier Booster Club and Norman North soccer. Crandall has lived in Norman since 1992 when she moved here to attend

the University of Oklahoma after graduating from Del City High School.

She emphasized there are always ways people can volunteer their time, whether that be as a Santa’s helper for the Citizens Advisory Board, donating time or clothing to Assisteens, working at a food pantry, or through another avenue.

Stephanie Royse, executive director of strategic communications and engagement for Moore Norman Technology Center, described Crandall as a “kind and thoughtful leader” who cares about what she is doing.

“She really has been a force, along with the rest of the trustees, in keeping it going,” Royse said. “It was really a challenge during the pandemic and is in general, just keeping people interested and understanding what their purpose is serving on the board of a foundation. Angie is the one who has been driving that.”

Robyn Castleberry, director of business and technology programs at Moore Norman Technology Center, said Crandall “has been an ambassador for career tech education, and Moore Norman specifically. She’s done a great job as our foundation president, and I really appreciate her giving her time and talents to the board.”

Castleberry added that one area in which Crandall has made an impact is by identifying ways the foundation can sponsor learning experiences for students. For example, there was a workshop in which students could participate and earn apprenticeship hours in the film industry. The foundation offered scholarships for students to have the cost of the workshop covered.

“We appreciate the trustees so much and (their) understanding that students need support to finish their education,” Castleberry explained. “I appreciate that they recognize that and are willing to help students with tools or certification exams so that they can continue their studies and get out in the workforce and help pay it forward.”

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18 | April 2023 COMMUNITY
Bethesda Celebrates Survivors, Raise Funds at Annual Gala Executive Director Saeed Sarani, far left, and staff at Bethesda

Local non-profit Bethesda’s intervention professionals work with survivors of childhood sexual abuse to overcome trauma through therapy, education and prevention. Later this month, the community in and around Norman will gather in support of these vital services.

Bethesda will host Swing into Spring from 6 to 9 p.m. on April 7 at Norman’s OU Jimmie Austin Golf Club. The annual event features dinner, guest speakers and a live and silent auction in support of prevention, intervention and outreach programs.

The event has become a local favorite and this year’s gala will also include a big reveal: a new logo intentionally designed to illustrate the positive impact of Bethesda’s life-changing work.

Tickets are available in advance by purchasing online at

“We are so excited to host this fundraiser in support of providing services for children and celebrating their strength,” said Saeed Sarani, executive director. “We look forward to the future growth and expansion

of our services so that no child is left untreated from the trauma of sexual abuse.”

Bethesda serves between 680 and 750 clients each year, more than 18,000 individuals since 1981, with services primarily geared toward youth ages 3 to 18. Insurance is not a factor in availability of care since all services, including counseling, are offered without charge.

Prevention is also an important focus of the organization, with school and community efforts presented locally through the Stop, Go and Tell Program, which focuses on body safety, empowerment and what to do in unsafe situations. Therapeutic camps for survivors are hosted each summer, in addition to yearround programs. Caregiver support for non-offending parents or guardians is also available.

“We have served Oklahomans for more than 40 years with the public’s support,” said Sarani. “With more than two-thirds of our funding coming from private sources, donors make our services possible.

“A donation of $250 makes it possible for one child to attend summer camp, for example, which is an intensive week-long experience equivalent to four months of therapy.”

Joy, Sarani points out, and finding ways to move on with life despite trauma is also part of the restorative work made possible through collaborative efforts, which he sees fulfilled through individual client successes.

Find more information about the Swing into Spring gala and Bethesda at– BSM

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Dr. Rob Bradshaw

Dr. Rob Bradshaw was among 12 finalists considered to be Oklahoma’s 2023 Teacher of the Year. This is the fifth straight year a Norman Public School educator has been a finalist and the sixth time in eight years.

Bradshaw teaches orchestra at Longfellow Middle School and Jefferson Elementary where he hopes “to be a force for positive change.”

“I want to make good musicians but more importantly I want to make good humans that pursue their passions relentlessly,” Bradshaw shared in the Oklahoma State Department of Education spotlight video.

Bradshaw said that programs like orchestra are an important educational motivator for many students. In fact, students participating in extracurriculars such as band or orchestra are less likely to drop out of school and tend to perform better on standardized tests.

“Extracurriculars could be the reason some students come to school each day. Orchestra was my spark,” he shared. “It carried me through all the hard times. I want every kid to find their passion, that thing that will help them achieve their goals.”

Bradshaw said that a highlight of each school year is the annual All-City Concert that brings students each

spring in grades 5th through 12th from across the district to perform together.

“Concerts are great learning opportunities,” he explained. Students put life skills into action such as “determination, project management, leadership and a positive work ethic. They practice individually and together to build something great.”

As the District Teacher of the Year, Bradshaw said he has enjoyed representing fellow Norman educators.

“Norman has always been a premier district not only in Oklahoma but also in the nation,” he said. “Our orchestra program was the first of its kind in the state. Our aviation academy is the first like it in the nation.

“I want the community to know that teachers work tirelessly each and every day to deliver the best for your students. But teaching is not just for those of us in the classroom. We all have a role to play.”

Bradshaw encourages Normanites to find ways to support their local school.

“Public education has at times become a political issue, but the truth is we are here to make our society better,” he shared. “We all want success for our children. Please help your local school raise the best generation we have seen.”– BSM

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City of Norman 2023 Residential Spring Cleanup Dates & Information

The City of Norman Sanitation Department will pick up bulky waste free of charge each Saturday in April for Norman sanitation customers.

Residents must place items curbside no later than 7:30 a.m. on your designated collection day and no earlier than one week before scheduled collection day. Solid Waste Collection crews are not able to accept yard waste of any kind, remodeling or demolition debris, junk cars or any hazardous waste such as tires, batteries, paints, etc. Polycarts, wagons, wheelbarrows, etc., are not to be used as containers for clean-up items.

Spring Cleanup pick-up dates are based on your daily polycart service.

• 4/1 - Monday polycart service

• 4/8 - Tuesday polycart service

• 4/15 - Wednesday polycart service

• 4/22 - Thursday polycart service

• 4/29 - Friday polycart service

The Transfer Station at 3901 S. Chautauqua, will be open and free on Saturdays in April for any Norman sanitation customer. Residents may haul their own applicable waste if desired. If visiting the Transfer Station, remember to take a current City of Norman utility bill. Questions may be directed to the Sanitation Department at 405-329-1023.

Commercial construction debris is not considered part of the spring clean-up. To dispose of household hazardous waste, book appointments at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility at no cost.

26 | April 2023
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Students Raise Over $86,000 During Annual Philanthropy Initiative

Tigerpalooza is an annual, student-led philanthropy effort that raises money to give back to the Norman community. Each year, students select a non-profit to support.

A committee of high school students planned and hosted a variety of fun activities, spirited challenges and an exciting assembly to raise funds for Not Your Average Joe, an Oklahoma coffee chain that employs individuals with disabilities.

“Not Your Average Joe gives people with disabilities an opportunity to work,” said Claire Hopper, one of this year’s committee chairs. “Getting to work with them has been incredible and has helped our students see the importance of inclusion.”

Co-chair Emma Henry echoed Hopper’s sentiments, saying she was “in awe in of what Not Your Average Joe is all about.”

“The first time I went there I could see how much it meant to everyone,” she said.

This year’s activities included a student dare challenge, Lunch on the Lawn food truck picnic, school dance, community banquet at Sooner Theater and more, resulting in a record-breaking $86,601.22 raised.

Hopper said the record-breaking tally came in in the final minutes of the campaign.

“It happened in the last ten minutes, so no one really knew before the reveal,” she shared.

In addition to raising money, students also completed over 2000 service hours.

“Norman is such a supportive place, and we are thankful for that,” Hopper said.

Efforts are already underway for the 2024 Tigerpalooza. Henry shared that the committee works year-round to ensure each year is a success.

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The University of Oklahoma Women’s Gymnastics team is on a mission for back-to-back National Championships. The Sooners have won four of the last six national titles.

In the pursuit of the sixth title in program history, a solid group of veterans has helped keep the Sooners in the top spot the entire season. But within that mix of talented veterans like Olivia Trautman, Ragan Smith and Katherine LeVasseur is a freshman that has made an immediate impact and might just be the future of the program.

Faith Torrez, the standout freshman from Bristol, Wisconsin, has stepped right into the mix as a consistent performer in the Sooner lineup.

“I’ve been so impressed with her,” KJ Kindler said, the Sooners’ head coach. “Her demeanor overall, she’s very joyful when she’s out there, super confident for a freshman.”

Torrez has become a regular part of the Sooner lineup, earning All-Big 12 on the floor. She has also been

recognized as the Big 12 Newcomer of The Week in seven of the 10 weeks the award was given and was also named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Not bad for a freshman trying to crack an already stacked National Championship lineup.

“I didn’t realize how much of an impact I could make my first season,” Torrez said. “But going out there and seeing that I could contribute in almost any event was an amazing feeling.”


Torrez arrived in Norman as a decorated prospect. She competed with the Senior National Team and the 2022 USA Development Program National Team and competed at the 2020 Gymnix International in Montreal, Canada. But she had already caught the attention of KJ Kindler at a very young age.

“I saw her when she was 9. She was from a small gym in Wisconsin and was the regional champion on the balance beam at a young age and doing very difficult skills,” Kindler said.

38 | April 2023
Photos by: Mark Doescher

Her family saw it too. Her mother, Carrie, was a gymnast and could see something special in her daughter. So, they decided to make the jump to elite gymnastics and move gyms which paid off.

“When they moved gyms, that’s when she blossomed on all her other events,” Kindler said. “You could see her power was coming out in her floor tumbling and vault and all those things started getting better and better and better.”

Torrez excelled qualifying for the J.O. National Championship four times and three times as a Nastia Liukin Cup participant. She tied for first in the all-around, finished second on floor and third on vault at the 2022 Development Program National Championships. At her international debut at the 2020 Gymnix International, she won a gold medal on beam and in the team competition, along with a bronze on bars.

But the move to elite did have its challenges. The gym that Torrez trained in was over an hour from her home and she transitioned to a home school education to allow the necessary time to train. It was a challenge, but one her family embraced.

“At first it was a big change, having my mom and dad to drive me was a big help,” Torrez said. “I would do school on the way to practice and school on the way back. It was a huge commitment from everybody. They helped me get here. It was an incredibly special sacrifice.”

When times get tough, Torrez always had her mom to turn to.

“She really understood my struggles and I was able to talk to her,” Torrez said of her mom. “I hope she understands how much that means to me.”

The hard work and sacrifice paid off as Torrez has starred as a true freshman at the highest level of women’s college gymnastics and is a major piece in the Sooners push for a National Championship. As challenging as college can be, in some ways it has been refreshing.

“She’s not driving an hour and a half to practice and probably has a better schedule overall,” Kindler said. “Working out 36 hours plus the drive and the homeschooling, it can be really challenging for these young gymnasts before they come to college. College can be a breath of fresh air.”


As the 2023 season kicked off, Kindler not only had the Sooners competing against a challenging schedule but also had the freshman in the lineup from the start. Torrez played a big role in the Sooners’ victory in the season opener in Las Vegas, as the team posted a score of 197.925. She posted a 9.875 on bars, a 9.9 on beam and a team-high 9.95 on floor.

“Throw them into the fire. They’ve got to learn eventually,” Kindler said of her approach with freshmen. “If you postpone that, they’re learning as sophomores. If you wait, you’re postponing all of that learning.”

Torrez has competed in every meet this season and has even worked in the all-around. Her commitment and excellence have caught the attention of her teammates.

“She’s amazing,” Olivia Trautman said. “She grasped the team chemistry right out of the gate. She’s fit in super well. To see her shine the way she has her freshman year is amazing.”

“She came in like a rock,” Teammate Kat LeVasseur said. “She’s just been confident, and that’s something that stands out to me, her confidence and her calmness in her routines. She’s got a lot of amazing stuff coming up for her.”

The future is bright for Torrez. Not only is she already a foundational piece for Oklahoma and its future success in the move to the SEC, but she is an essential part of the Sooners’ quest for National Championship No. 6.– BSM


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There has been one theme as the Sooners prepare for Spring football - improvement.

“We need to make improvement,” Brent Venables, Sooner head football coach, said. “In every single area of the program.”

As Team 129 approaches the Spring Game, the Sooners look to improve after a disappointing 6-7 first season under Venables. OU is looking to find playmakers at every position. They secured one of the top recruiting classes in the country, adding several newcomers. All totaled, the Sooners have 11 newcomers from the transfer portal, one junior college transfer and 14 who arrived in January from high school. OU will add 12 more freshmen to the roster after high school graduation.

Here are five storylines to watch for as Oklahoma prepares for the Spring Game on April 22.


Venables is one of the best defensive minds in college football, but simply said last season was a disappointment. After starting the season 3-0, OU allowed nine opponents to rack up at least 400 total yards and seven to score 35 or more points. Oklahoma finished the season ranked 122nd out of 131 FBS teams in total defense, better than just five Power 5 teams.

But history would tell you that the Sooners are going to get significantly better in 2023. Change is coming and improvement is imminent.

When Venables took over as the defensive coordinator at Clemson, he inherited a defense that was 81st in the country in opponents’ points per game. After one season, Clemson improved to the 48th-best scoring defense in the country, allowing 24.8 points per game. His defense also forced 1.8 turnovers per contest and allowed 396.2 yards a game on average.

The following season, the Clemson Tigers had a better understanding of what his defensive scheme was all about and showed marked improvement. Clemson allowed just 22.2 points per game defensively, good for the 24th-ranked scoring defense in the country and allowed nearly 40 fewer yards per game with an average of 2.3 takeaways per contest. History is on the side of the OU defense being significantly better in 2023, just based on the knowledge gained in season one.

“We have a lot of familiarity with what we’re doing, so that leads to better execution,” Venables said. “We’re a lot further along. We have a veteran group that can teach the 26 newcomers. A year ago, everybody was a newcomer.”

One of the key pieces to embracing the necessary commitment to detail is the development and the continued progression of standout linebacker Danny Stutsman.

42 | April 2023
Photos by: Mark Doescher



Stutsman led the Big 12 in total tackles with 126 last season. His individual production skyrocketed from his freshman season, but there are still improvements that needed to be made.

“Danny was outstanding in our bowl game,” Venables said of the Sooner linebacker. “It was quite obvious he’s the best player in our defense. He’s a guy that’s been putting in the work. He’s fanatical about putting in work and improving.”

Stutsman will be counted on, along with key returning contributors Woodi Washington, Ethan Downs, Key Lawrence and Billy Bowman.


Dillon Gabriel is back as the Oklahoma Sooner starting quarterback. There is plenty to improve for Gabriel in his second season as the Sooner starter, but in his first season at the Power 5 level, Gabriel proved his value, throwing for over 3,000 yards, 25 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions.

It is hard to overlook the talented freshman and 5-star prospect, Jackson Arnold. Arnold enrolled early and has been one of the most talked about additions to the Sooner roster this offseason.

“He’s in the back of the line right now, but probably not for long,” Venables said of Arnold. “I say that not having to do with anybody else, it’s just how he competes and how he works.”

The Denton Guyer product was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year and is a true dual-threat quarterback. He threw for 3,400 yards in back-toback seasons and ran for 921 yards during his senior season. Rated as the 8th overall recruit nationally by 247 Sports, Arnold is taking it slowly when it comes to learning the ins and outs of Jeff Lebby’s offense.

For now, there really isn’t a quarterback competition and Arnold is accepting that. But that does not mean he is not competing day in and day out.

“Dillon’s going to be the guy, and I understand that,” Arnold said. “But I still want to compete and get myself better every day so I can prepare for the future.”

Arnold and Gabriel developed a relationship when the Sooners were recruiting Arnold to Oklahoma, beginning almost the moment that Gabriel first arrived on campus.

During Arnold’s senior season, he made many trips to campus and has engrained himself in the Oklahoma culture very early. It helped not only to lure other recruits to Oklahoma but also helped foster relationships for the upcoming season.

“I first got to know Dillon back in spring ball last year when he first got to campus,” Arnold said of the Sooner starting quarterback. “We kept our relationship going strong and he was my host for my official visit. Coming up for all those gamedays and getting to talk with him and the whole quarterback room, things have clicked well so far. I’m very grateful for being accepted in that quarterback room.”

Venables has described Arnold as a foundational piece for the Sooners and Arnold is focused on being Oklahoma’s next quarterback following Gabriel’s departure. “He’s a doer, very ambitious, he’s not waiting on anybody,” Venables. “Jackson is not waiting to be great. He’s a confident guy, but he’s a great teammate. He’s trying to learn and grow, and I think that’s just a very refreshing thing to be around.”


Eric Gray had one of the best single season rushing performances in the history of Oklahoma Sooner football.

Gray was responsible for over half of the total Sooner rushing yards in 2022 and gained 66% of the rushing

44 | April 2023

yards gained by running backs. His breakout season led to him opting out of the bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft. In deciding not to play in the Cheez-It Bowl against Florida State, Gray’s absence opened the door for a pair of freshmen running backs to shine.

Javonte Barnes and Gavin Sawchuk took advantage of the opportunity.

Throughout the season, Barnes had flashed when given the opportunity. He finished his freshman campaign with 519 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

His performance against Florida State in the CheezIt Bowl (27 carries for 108 yards, 1 TD) was a sign of things to come. Behind a makeshift offensive line, Barnes was impressive.

“We showed a little preview,” Barnes said of the performance in the bowl game. “I can’t wait until next year.” Running back Gavin Sawchuk was equally impressive against Florida State amassing 100 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown, displaying his incredible speed. Sawchuk had only played in one game all season before the bowl game but had been preparing for that moment all season.

“I’ve prepared like I had opportunity for every game. You never know what happens in the game of football,” Sawchuk said. “The minute that you’re not prepared, that’s when you get called and then you’re not ready. I was ready.”

Sawchuk also has displayed an incredible work ethic and attitude despite not having a carry during the regular season. That focus helped build a solid bond between Sawchuk and Barnes.

“The whole season Gavin has been great and always has a smile on his face,” Barnes said. “He’s been confident, even during the lows, always keeping us up.”

The Sooners return Marcus Major as well to a running back room that will also add two talented freshmen Kalib Hicks and Dylan Smothers. The battle to replace Gray is a crowded one with incredible talent and several hungry, talented backs waiting for an opportunity.


“The lines of scrimmage on both sides of the ball are incredibly important,” Venables said. “Lines of scrimmages are always incredibly important.”

Oklahoma has upgraded the talent in the trenches both offensively and defensively, but there might not be a bigger question for the Sooners than the battle to replace four starters on the offensive line.

In 2022, Oklahoma’s unit was solid run-blocking, but struggled in pass protection. They allowed 31 sacks, the second-most in the league ahead of Texas Tech.

Much like the battle for the starting running back, OU got a head start on its new-look offensive line when both Anton Harrison and Wanya Morris opted out of the game for the NFL Draft. Andrew Raym missed

the game with an injury and starting right guard Chris Murray was a last-minute scratch.

Despite being down four starters against a talented Florida State defense, the Sooners were able to have incredible success running the ball. OU ran for 253 yards as a team which was nearly 100 yards more than the Seminoles had given up on average all season.

“The guys up front, they played physical, they played with purpose,” Venables said after the game. “I thought the players played with tremendous physicality and toughness. Coach Bedenbaugh did a great job getting these guys ready.”

With a solid performance to help lay the foundation for the future, Oklahoma went to work in the transfer portal to firm up its rotation for 2023.

OU added Caleb Shaeffer from Miami UniversityOhio to compete for a guard spot. Shaeffer started 12 games last season and figures to battle for a spot on the interior of the offensive line.

Tyler Guyton solidified himself at right tackle and Oklahoma snagged Walter Rouse out of the transfer portal after a standout career at Stanford. The 6-3, 318-pound left tackle chose Oklahoma after originally committing to Nebraska.

With Rouse recovering from an off-season shoulder surgery, mid-year enrollee Cayden Green has a chance to make an impact. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive tackle is rated the No. 9 overall tackle in the country by 247Sports’ Composite Ranking.

“Cayden is as highly recruited as there is with the O-line,” Sooner offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby said of the freshman. “He can do a lot of different things - a massive guy who knows how to play tough and mean and physical, incredibly athletic.”


Venables knows there is a need for time to develop his high school recruiting class and highly regarded portal group. The recruiting class was ranked in the Top 5 and many of the portal additions are projected to compete for starting jobs immediately.

To show his confidence in the group of youngsters and newcomers, Venables became the first OU coach in recent memory to allow freshmen to speak to the media, players that have yet to play a down of college football.

Letting freshmen and newcomers speak to the media might not seem like a big deal to some, but it showed a massive amount of faith that Venables has in the new group of Sooners.

“These are guys that we’re going to have to count on,” Venables said. “We’re trying to be great right now.”

OU still has 12 high school signees to arrive in the summer, but of the on-campus additions, 12 are transfers and 14 are first-semester freshmen. Defensive back Peyton Bowen and edge rusher Adepoju Adebawore are five-star athletes who will likely be relied on as future impact players.

Some transfers, like former Indiana linebacker Dasan McCullough, Wake Forest defensive lineman Rondell Bothroyd and Texas Tech safety Reggie Pearson, are expected to have major roles for the Sooners in 2023.

“We got to get them transitioned quickly because we’re going to need a bunch of them to help us day one,” Venables said.

Over his five-year career at Wake Forest, Bothroyd totaled 136 tackles, 16.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. Bothroyd brings a ton of production and a fresh perspective after a challenging 6-7 season.

“It’s a blessing in disguise,” Bothroyd said of entering OU’s situation. “Everyone has a sense of urgency because of (last season’s record). It’s going to end up being a good thing, but right now, it’s killing us. It’s getting me better, personally, even though I wasn’t here.”

Safety Reggie Pearson spent the first three seasons of his college career at Wisconsin before transferring to Lubbock, where he was a two-year starter for the Red Raiders. He recorded 55 tackles, four pass deflections and two interceptions. Pearson made an impact on the Sooners with his play in the season finale as a member of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Add talented linebacker Dasan McCullough to the mix and the Sooners have instantly upgraded its talent in several key areas on the defensive side of the football. During his freshman season at Indiana, McCullough totaled 49 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks for the Hoosiers last season. With arguably better defensive talent around him and an offseason to take another step in his development, he has been impressed with the attitude around the Sooner program.

“They kind of threw last season out the window,” McCullough said. “These guys, they don’t walk around like a 6-6 team at all. They walk around like a 13-0 team. They walk around like they want a national championship.”

Now the key is getting everyone on the same page and ready for the start of the 2023 season.

“I feel like we got exactly what we need,” Venables said. “I love the group of guys and we’ve made exponential improvement from where we were a year ago at this time.”– BSM

46 | April 2023


Occupational Therapy Month Raises Awareness About Patient Rehabilitation Care

April marks Occupation Therapy Month, an awareness effort focused on shining a light on the rehabilitation services available to patients facing a disability whether as a result of an illness, surgery, injury or other conditions. In recent years, Norman Regional Health System has expanded its occupational therapy (OT) services, integrating care into several departments.

“We have been working on growing our OT outpatient services, hiring new professionals to offer more specialized care,” shared Bruce Rau, lead occupational therapist for the health system. “We have come a long way in the last five years and are now more integrated as a profession with patient care throughout the health system.”

Norman Regional has recently opened a new freestanding emergency department with occupational, physical and speech therapy services. In addition to Norman Regional Nine, OT services are offered at Norman Regional Moore and the Physical Performance Center.

Rau said that occupational therapy is often misunderstood and underutilized.

“We are just not a very well-known profession,” he explained. “Our goal is to help people participate fully in their life.”

That impact is what drew him to the profession.

“During my undergrad education, I was interested in several therapy professions, however, I ending up landing on occupational therapy because of its holistic approach in helping people live their lives,” he explained.

Rau said that patients who are no longer able to do things they were before an illness or injury should reach out to their primary care doctor to get a referral. He wants people to know “there are people who can help you.”

“We help patients regain their independence, regardless of what is impacting them,” he encouraged. “If you want to get back to driving, painting or gardening again, OTs can help. There are all kinds of equipment available that help people use their bodies in new ways.”

50 | April 2023 HEALTH
Occupational therapists Addison Hall and Bruce Rau with certified occupational therapy assistant Katie Barfield

Rau cautioned that some patients may not get their functionality back but their therapist can utilize technology and modifications “so that patients can perform activities to reach their optimum potential.”

For example, a patient of Rau’s wanted to cook a meal for her family again.

“She had suffered a stroke and was very depressed,” he shared. “As an OT, we brainstormed how we could make that happen.

“We looked for tools to help her. We practiced the skills she would need. And in eight weeks, she was able to feed her family and she was so proud of herself.”

Since OT covers a variety of skill sets, Rau recommended finding a professional that specializes in your circumstance and age. OTs also engage in community education and support resources.– BSM

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Two Long-Established Real Estate Agencies Merge to Better Serve Norman and its Surrounding Communities

52 | April 2023 BUSINESS

Dillard Real Estate and Don Cies Real Estate recently merged their successful companies, expanding their deep roots in the Norman community, forming Dillard Cies Real Estate.

“We knew we wanted to grow Dillard in size and numbers and knew the best way to do that would be to merge with another company,” shared Darlene Bowline, co-owner and realtor at Dillard Cies Real Estate. “There wouldn’t have been a better company to do it with other than Don Cies. Their credibility in town and the longevity of their business (creates) a good partnership with these two companies.”

“We’re proud of that, and it’s not because of the ownership that it happens. It’s because of our realtors. We have the best realtors, and that’s something that will continue,” Darlene explained.

With over 80 realtors on staff, the brokerage values education with the utmost importance. All agents receive extensive training and continuing education to ensure they are competent and confident in their work.

“They’re dealing with people’s most valuable assets,” Darlene said. “The education they receive is very important in this business.”

Charlie and Darlene Bowline, Steve Williams, Andrea Dillard and Evan Nixon all share ownership of the newly formed Dillard Cies Real Estate agency. Andrea is the daughter-in-law of Mike Dillard, who helped form Dillard Real Estate in 1989, alongside Charlie Bowline and Steve Williams. Williams is also the group’s current managing broker. Mike recently transferred his partnership to Andrea. Evan Nixon is the grandson of the late Don Cies, who created the Don Cies Real Estate brokerage in 1963. The two companies’ rich histories are merging as they look to the future.

Together, their goals remain to be the number one producing company in Cleveland County.

The partnership is further enhanced by the aspects that each brings to the table. Agents and owners range from their 20s to their 90s.

“We will continue to provide excellent service and knowledge in the real estate business so that (clients) can make knowledgeable and wise decisions,” Darlene said.

The newly formed brokerage is celebrating another upgrade as well. A remodel of the Don Cies building is complete and is officially their new home, at 1203 Brookhaven Boulevard.

Learn more about Dillard Cies Real Estate at dillardcies. com or call 405-366-7707 for more information.– BSM



Our mental health affects how we think, feel and act. It also determines how we handle stress, how we relate to others, and how we make healthy choices. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five Americans will experience mental illness each year and more than half will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.

With such prevalence, law enforcement officers like Deputy Chief Cary Bryant understand that law enforcement personnel are often asked to intervene in mental health crisis, in addition to their duties as first responders.

A press release issued by the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office announcing the hiring of Bryant earlier this year explained why healthy resolution to mental health crisis is essential.

“Without proper mental health services for inmates, our law enforcement officers and jails continue to see the same people re-offend,” the release explained. “Serving this vulnerable population better is something we must do.”

Bryant is using his two decades of experience in law enforcement at the Cleveland County Detention Center. He retired earlier this year from Norman Police Department where he served as a lieutenant, a community outreach coordinator and was on the Crisis Intervention Team.

With Bryant’s experience in mental health intervention, Cleveland County Sheriff Chris Amason is excited about what he will bring to their agency.

“When people walk through the doors of the jail, I want an environment that is safe, empathetic and holds people accountable,” Bryant said.

Jails often act as de-facto mental health institutions for those experiencing a mental health crisis and

many facilities are not equipped with the therapeutic staff and resources necessary to care for this vulnerable population. Bryant understands the importance of mental health response programs and is working to bring change and transparency to the center.

“Coming here from the municipal law enforcement side is challenging but I have good people working here who have been an immense help to me,” he said.

As the chief office administrator and deputy chief of the detention center, Bryant’s role is to ensure the safety of inmates and his staff.

“The Cleveland County detention center has a staff of dedicated men and women to fulfill our mission of keeping people safe as well as holding people accountable for their actions both in the inmate population and the detention staff,” Bryant said. “We want to make sure the public stays safe as well as the people who come behind these doors.

“Everyone gets their day in court. We keep them safe while they go through that process.”

Originally from Hobart in southwest, Oklahoma, Bryant was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army in 1984. He retired at the end of 2012 as a lieutenant colonel in the Oklahoma Army Guard.

Bryant has lived in Norman since 2002 when he began working with the Norman Police Department. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in business administration and a graduate degree in business administration from the Meinder’s School of Business from Oklahoma City University.

Married with three grown children, Bryant said he’s too busy to do anything except work, and added that his favorite part about his job is the staff he gets to work with at the Sheriff’s Office. – BSM

56 | April 2023 This is a continuation of our series on public servants in Norman.
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Tax season is here again! Before you start stressing over those forms, read this guide for what you need to know about filing taxes in 2023.


Take a note of these important dates as you start preparing your 2022 taxes.

• The tax filing deadline is April 18, 2023.

• The extension deadline is Oct. 16, 2023. Make sure you have all the forms and information you need in advance so you can get your return filed on time.


Here are some important tax code changes to note as you prepare to file.

• Changes to the income tax brackets - Income ranges for each of the seven tax brackets have increased to account for inflation. Visit to ensure you’re filing correctly.

• Increase in the standard deduction - The 2022 standard deduction increased to $12,950 for single filers, $19,400 for single heads of household and to $25,900 for married couples filing jointly.

• Decrease in charitable deductions - The deductions for gifts and donations to public charities in 2022 are limited to 30% of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for contributions of non-cash assets if held for more than one year, and to 60% of AGI for cash contributions.

• Increase in Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions - For 2022, the maximum you can contribute to an HSA is $3,650 for an individual and $7,300 for a family. Individuals age 55 and over can contribute an additional $1,000.

• Decrease in the Child Tax Credit - Tax credits, which decrease your tax liability dollar for dollar, are more desirable than tax deductions. The Child Tax Credit was temporarily bumped up in 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). In 2022, the credit returns to $2,000 for children aged 16 and younger. The credit phases out at an AGI of $400,000 for joint filers and $200,000 for single filers. For other qualified dependents, you can claim a $500 credit.

• Decrease in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)The EITC returns to $500 for eligible taxpayers with no children.

• Decrease in the Child and Dependent Care Credit - In contrast to the $8,000 credit of 2021, the Child and Dependent Care Credit returns to a maximum of $2,100 in 2022.

• Increase in estate tax exemption - This exemption, indexed to inflation, increases to $12.06 million for 2022.

• Increase in the annual gift exclusion - In 2022, you can give money to your loved ones without incurring tax liability or use up any of your lifetime estate and gift tax exemption, up to $16,000 per recipient (up $1,000 from 2021).


Other parts of the tax code that are important to know and haven’t changed much for 2022 include the following:

• State and local taxes - Deduction for state and local income taxes, property taxes and real estate taxes is capped at $10,000.

• Mortgage interest deduction - The mortgage interest deduction is limited to $750,000 of debt. However, people who had $1,000,000 of home mortgage debt before Dec. 16, 2017 will still be able to deduct the interest on that loan.

• Medical expenses - Only medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of AGI can be deducted in 2022.


• The deduction limit for 401(k) contributions for 2022 is $20,500, or $27,000 if you’re over the age of 50.

• The maximum tax-deductible contributions for IRAs is $6,000, or $7,000 if you’re over the age of 50.

Tax time can be stressful, but you don’t have to go it alone. Use this guide for a smooth, stress-free tax season.

60 | April 2023


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Cheers for Chardonnay

Springis well underway and summer is inching ever closer. White wine and warm weather go hand in hand, and despite a plethora of wine and seltzer choices, chardonnay remains very popular.

Chardonnay is a white grape, currently the second most planted white grape on this planet. Chardonnay is very adaptable and takes on characteristics from the climate where the vines are planted. The vines are abundant producers, and wineries can start producing chardonnay much more quickly than other wines.

Several factors affect how the chardonnay that ends up in the bottle and ultimately in your glass tastes including terrior (where it comes from), production method and chemistry. Vintners are always looking for “new” ways to produce the finished product.

The old oak barrel and the ubiquitous stainless steel tank remain the mainstays of fermentation. Additional processes such as malolactic fermentation change the acidity of the wine, resulting in a buttery flavor and mouth feel. Wine may be aged in oak to

mellow the acidity or exposed to oak for subtle flavor changes or enhancements.

More recently, wine is put through a centrifuge so some alcohol can be removed to reduce calories and alcohol content. Chemistry is not talked about as much but is used to keep large production wines in the same taste profile. A variety of wine from different sources or small amounts of other varietals can be blended as allowed by regional regulations.

Choosing among all the chardonnays is where your local wine merchant comes in. Chardonnay typically has the most choices to offer of any white wine in the retail setting. Some have names that guide you to the taste, for instance, like Butter or Butterkissed, but in most cases, the staff of the local liquor store can guide you to a choice best to suit your taste.

So jump into spring with a great glass of chardonnay.

Keep safe,

64 | April 2023

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