Boyd Street Magazine April 2024

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April 2024 • Issue 4 • Volume 23 BOYD STREET NORMAN’S OLDEST COMMUNITY MAGAZINE Airports of the Future STEM Tank What’s Eating Norman Levity Breakfast House High School Sports Crosstown Soccer SPARK PLUG

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APRIL CONTENTS ISSUE 4– VOLUME 23 2024 April 2024 Issue 4 Volume 23 BOYD STREET NORMAN’S OLDEST COMMUNITY MAGAZINE Student Airport Designs STEM Tank What’s Eating Norman Levity Breakfast House High School Sports Crosstown Soccer SPARK PLUG what’s inside on the cover /boydstreetmagazine @boydstreet 26 40 62 What’s Happening Norman’s community calendar for April Around Town Images from events around Norman Full Circle Adult Day Nurturing holistic well-being for seniors and adults with disabilities Explore Norman Free app offers tour of city’s historic sites Love’s Field, a fitting home for Sooner Crosstown Soccer Images from the girls and boys contests Hope & Healing Community investment elevates patient care at Norman Regional Hospital Service Spotlight Alaisha Castleberry 66 Joe’s Wine & Spirits Cheers for chardonnay What’s Eating Norman Levity Breakfast House 62 Spark Plug Outfielder Rylie Boone energizes the Sooner softball team. 36 Norman students soar with innovative Rose Rock Music Festival Noble offers small town vibes with big Best time to buy a home Cover photo by: Mark Doescher

For Norman.

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Our Women Stronger

Norman Regional has been named a 2024 Women’s Choice Award Best Hospital in five categories.

This is an evidence-based distinction that evaluates patient satisfaction, patient recommendations and the ability to align with women’s healthcare needs and preferences. We are proud to provide care tailored to the women in our community and we pledge to continue to earn this award recognition each day – and for years to come.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mark Doescher MANAGING EDITOR Lindsay Cuomo PHOTOGRAPHY Mark Doescher CONTRIBUTORS Roxanne Avery | Lindsay Cuomo Kathy Hallren | Shannon Hudzinski Rae Lynn Payton | Chris Plank ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Trevor Laffoon - Perry Spencer - Tanner Wright - 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 RAIN OR SHINE, HAVE PEACE OF MIND We can help you start saving, one step at a time. Even a small start can create some peace of mind! Open your savings account today at Or schedule an appointment to speak with a banker at Member FDIC Opening deposit required. Fees and restrictions may apply; fees may reduce earnings.
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14 | April 2024 AROUND TOWN


7 though 10 - Eisenhower Elementary’s 50th Anniversary

11 &

1 & 2 - Young Family Atheltic Center Ribbon Cutting 3 & 4 - Rose Rock Habitat for Humanity’s Common Grounds Coffee Festival 5 6 - Sooner Theatre’s Fiddler on the Roof 12 - The REF’s 68 Team Giveaway
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18 | April 2024 COMMUNITY
“My mom loves being able to attend Full Circle. She tells me all the time how lucky she is to get to go there.”

Full Circle Adult Day Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the holistic well-being of seniors and adults with disabilities. Through a diverse range of enriching activities and support services, their professional staff strive not only to maintain but also to enhance the abilities of their participants.

“We focus on supporting our participants cognitively, socially, emotionally and physically,” shared Kim Zaman, executive director. “Because as the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it.”

As Norman’s only licensed day center, Zaman said that Full Circle is helping more people today than ever before and the need is growing. From July to December 2023, Full Circle provided services to 60 people, the majority of whom are over 60. Additionally, they offer support services for caregivers.

“Full Circle aspires to be a one-stop shop to help ease the burden of caregiving,” explained Zaman. Latosha Lornes, the center’s development and social services director, recounted a poignant review from one participant regarding their experience at Full Circle.

“She told me we are like a cruise,” she shared. “Because of all the things we offer – massages, yoga, haircuts, pedicures, musicians, karaoke, BINGO.”

For Lornes, the most inspiring aspect of Full Circle is the sense of community and camaraderie among the participants, staff and volunteers, a sentiment echoed by the participants themselves.

“The best part of being at Full Circle is the comradery with friends, especially the other veterans. We enjoy helping each other,” shared Steven Norwood

Both Zaman and Lornes affirm that Full Circle offers a rewarding volunteer experience.

“You become like family here,” Lornes said. A belief that is supported by their many long-time volunteers. In fact, the Assistance League of Norman has been organizing and staffing a monthly BINGO session at Full Circle for 25 years.

Volunteers have the opportunity to assist with daily activities, special events, companionship, site beautification, office tasks and more. Full Circle will host a Mother’s Day Tea for participants and caregivers in May and a car show in June to celebrate Father’s Day. While the tea is exclusive to program participants, the car show is open to the public, inviting the community to join the festivities. Other activities include weekly outings, board games, arts and crafts, movies and trivia. One of Norwood’s favorite activities is the “Daily Buzz,” where participants share their knowledge of history and current events.

In an effort to keep participants’ costs as low as possible, Full Circle receives financial support from the United Way of Norman. Additionally, they organize a flavorful fundraiser in the fall – the annual Guacamole-Salsa Throwdown, and, this year, they are adding queso to the competition’s line-up!

“Businesses compete to see who has the best guacamole, salsa and queso in Norman,” Zaman said. “Last year’s winners were Charleston’s salsa – their chef created an off-menu salsa recipe just for our competition – and Midway Deli won for best guac.” The event also features food trucks, beer, wine and more. Find more details about this year’s Throwdown on their Facebook page, @FullCircleADC.

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Free App Offers Tour of City’s Historic Sites

Some of Norman’s historic sites are getting some high-tech treatment. Residents and visitors can download a new app to take a self-guided tour of many historic structures in central Norman, such as the Moore-Lindsay Historical House Museum, Sooner Theatre and historic buildings at the University of Oklahoma.

The free app gives people insight into historic structures that are still used today, said Anaïs Starr, a city planner and the city’s historic preservation officer.

“I think people will learn about their city and their community and learn about preservation,” Starr said.

The City of Norman, in collaboration with the city’s Historic District Commission, launched the app in December of last year. The Historic Norman Tour, available on the STQRY Guide App and is a free download from the Apple App Store or through Google Play, features 23 historic structures, including 16 sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The historic tour is designed to begin at the Moore-Lindsey Historical House Museum and end near the OU campus but Starr said people can start the app at any location near them. Each location in the app has an audio and written narration and a map for directions to the site. Starr started working on the project last summer, using funding through the State Historic Preservation Office to aid educational programs. She said the state office encouraged educational outreach programs to involve technology, and one of the suggestions was a tour app. Starr had the idea of a historic Norman tour app as a companion piece to coloring books of Norman’s historic sites that are offered to local students “so there would be something for adults as well as children to use together.”

There are a variety of sites to explore, and points of interest include the amphitheater in Abe Andrews Park, the Santa Fe Depot, the Cleveland County Courthouse and historic OU campus buildings, including Boyd House, also known as

22 | April 2024

the President’s House, and the Oklahoma Memorial Student Union.

Amy Pence, museum manager at Moore-Lindsay Historical House Museum, said it’s exciting to have the museum featured on the new app. Pence hopes it will encourage more people to visit the museum, and help residents see “how much historical value is still left in Norman.”

Pence said the app could also prompt more interest in preservation efforts for historic buildings and sites in Norman.

“Preserving those helps strengthen those ties to your community,” she said.

Starr said she’s received positive feedback about the app and plans to add more historic areas. She hopes residents and visitors who use the app gain insight and appreciation about Norman’s history and the buildings that played a role in the development of the community.

“This is just a great way to learn about Norman and find out about all this history around you,” Starr said.– BSM


The Historic Norman Tour is available for free on the STQRY Guide App which can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Once you have downloaded the STQRY Guide App, search for Historic Norman within the app to start exploring.

For more information, visit



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Norman Students Soar with Innovative Airport Designs

Elementary and middle school students from several Norman Public Schools, accompanied by their teachers, as well as students from the Oklahoma Aviation Academy, gathered at the Nancy O’Brian Performing Arts Center in mid-March to unveil their concepts for airports of the future.

The student teams dedicated several months to researching, brainstorming and crafting their designs in preparation for the inaugural STEM Tank challenge, organized by the Norman Public School Foundation.

On the big day, in a Shark Tank style event, teams presented their unique concepts to a panel of judges who evaluated their projects based on innovation, sustainability, technical accuracy, creativity and presentation.

Alexander Boot, a 5th grader from Lincoln Elementary, reflected on his participation in the challenge, saying it “taught him a lot” as he delved into research on aviation professionals, principles of flight, airport operations and modeling materials. He remarked that the most challenging aspect was tackling intricate elements of the model airport.

26 | April 2024

“It didn’t always turn out as I expected but my airport is unlike any others,” Boot said, as he shared about the multi-story terminal structures that would house a foot court, bowling alley, movie theater and underground train.

The team from Jackson Elementary visited Will Rogers World Airport and Max Westheimer Airport to observe real airports in action.

“We decided to put a cross runway in our design because of Oklahoma’s winds,” said Myla Dowell, a 5th grader from Jackson.

Dowell’s teammate and fellow 5th grader, Wrenna Porter said their team incorporated green spaces for “beauty and to reduce emissions.”

“We spent a lot of time forming our ideas and deciding on what materials to use,” Porter shared. The event was designed to help students expand their skills in engineering, presentation and teamwork as they craft solutions to a specific problem. With the recent opening of the Oklahoma Aviation Academy, as part of Norman Public Schools, an aviation theme was a perfect fit for the first STEM Tank challenge, shared Alesha Leemaster, executive director of Norman Public Schools Foundation.

“We were excited to help develop STEM Tank and bring this program to fruition for students,” Leemaster said. “The program aligns perfectly with our mission to enhance the educational experience for students, and there’s no doubt they learned many academic and life lessons during the four-month program.

“We appreciate our generous donors who helped make this program a reality, and to all the Norman Public Schools students, teachers and administrators who participated.”

Steve McDaniel, NPSF board member and executive vice president for Arvest Bank, served as a STEM Tank judge and he said he was very impressed.

“I was blown away by the kids and all their hard work,” McDaniel shared. “It was amazing to see all that the students were able to accomplish, to see them work together and develop all these different responses to the challenge.

“It was hard to pick the winners. They were all so good.”

Each of the participating teams were paired with a high school student enrolled in the aviation academy to serve as mentors.

“The academy kids were so intertwined with the teams,” McDaniel said. “They completely embraced the project and helped lead that process.” – BSM


• Creativity AwardMonroe Elementary

• Technical Accuracy AwardWhittier Middle School

• Sustainability AwardTruman Elementary

• Presentation AwardWashington Elementary

• Christina Rehkop* Innovation Award - Wilson Elementary

*As Devon Energy’s director of community relations, Christina Rehkop was influential in creating STEM centers in elementary and middle schools around the country through a partnership with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. Rehkop died in February 2024 at age 46.



Noble Offers Small Town Vibes with Big Entertainment

The best-kept secret in local entertainment is just a short drive from Norman. The Rose Rock Music Festival takes place in the heart of Noble, May 3-5, and this year, they are celebrating 42 years of kicking off summer fun for the whole family.

Music starts Friday night with local singer-songwriter, Matt Maxwell. The stage is set up near Noble City Hall. Musical entertainment goes on all evening and all day during the event. Saturday morning, May 4, the festivities start with a parade at 10 a.m. In addition to musical entertainment, the festival also includes over 100 different vendors, food trucks, a carnival, a car show, a wrestling match, a poker run, and a parade.

This year the event is bringing 80s rock n’ roll vibes with a theme combining the band Poison and their famous song, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” with “Rose Rock,” calling it, “No Thorns…Just Music.”

“The festival showcases our town,” John Stokes, chair of the Rose Rock subcommittee and pastor for Discover Church in Noble said. “I always tell people our town is closer to the University of Oklahoma than half of Norman, we can see the Lloyd Noble Center from our highway and there’s a lot of people that have no clue that we’re down here. This festival is an opportunity for people to come down and see that we’re a nice little town.”

While the town may be small, the entertainment offered at the Rose Rock Music Festival is anything but, featuring a variety of local musicians,

some of whom have gone on to have immense success in the music industry.

“I love to bring quality music and shine a light to musicians who may not get that kind of musical exposure without it,” Brian Houck, co-chairman of the Rose Rock sub-committee and owner of New Leaf Fitness and Nutrition in Noble Oklahoma said. “We have had people who have gone on to become internationally famous, including Parker Millsap, Grammy-nominated John Fullbright, Monte Montgomery and American Idol contestant Tyler Byrd. Tyler continues to perform every year.”

The parade on Saturday morning is an opportunity for the whole community to get involved and celebrate not only the beginning of the festival but to celebrate their community with businesses, students, pageant winners and car show participants making an appearance.

“The Rose Rock Music Festival is an important event for the Noble community because it brings new people to our town to see all the restaurants, shops and more that we have to offer. It also brings a sense of community where people can come out to a safe environment and hang out,” Kim Adams said, executive director of the Noble Chamber of Commerce.

The full itinerary will be shared on the event’s Facebook page, @RoseRockMucisFestival. Discounted early bird carnival passes are now available. – BSM

30 | April 2024
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Spark plug, ignitor, instigator - Rylie Boone has been a bolt of energy and enthusiasm for the University of Oklahoma softball program, but her story goes well beyond fist pumps, highlight reels and National Championship rings.

Rylie Boone is a passionate teammate and the story of how she got to an elite college level while battling injury and adversity is one that deserves attention.


Gayla Boone, Rylie’s mother, is a baller. During her time as a Lady Huskie at Pawhuska High School, Gayla wowed with her range from the outside while playing a six-on-six, double-half court format in girls basketball. Her high school career was such a success that she was inducted into the Pawhuska Hall of Fame. So, it only makes sense that her kids would be incredible athletes as well.

Trevor Boone is a standout baseball player who is currently in AAA playing with the Albuquerque Isotopes, after a storied career in Stillwater with Oklahoma State University. Growing up, the passion for sports that Rylie developed and her ability on the diamond were born from watching her big brother play and trying to match everything he did.

“While Trevor would have his games going on, all the siblings went on the other fields and had their own game going. It was mainly a lot of boys and Rylie was right there competing with them”, Gayla said. “Anything that Trevor did, she was trying it too. He would eat four chili dogs, well Rylie’s trying to eat four chili dogs.

“She was mimicking all the things he did. They were mainly outside playing - playing kickball, basketball, stick ball, anything outside with a ball.”

While the two were competing and challenging each other, older brother Trevor knew that there was something special about his little sister at a very early age.

“She (was) probably 6 and I was old enough to understand the swing and how it looked. She was playing t-ball and I mean it was smooth. It was natural,” Trevor said. “Growing up, she struggled figuring out which arm to use to throw or hit and ended up just going left.”

Rylie’s very first glove was a right-handed, pink and black glove, a gift from her uncle. But one day at practice, her mom challenged her to try throwing with her other hand and immediately the search was on for a pink and black glove for a lefty. Once she was comfortable, the rest was history. “She just started getting stronger, and then in kid pitch you could really see it,” Trevor added. “She always had the love for it. She had that down from a very young age and she started getting looked at by colleges in seventh grade. I didn’t even know what was going on when I was in seventh grade and here she is having colleges look at her. Yeah, she’s legit.”

While Trevor was impressed with his sister’s natural ability, Rylie was busy investing herself in what her brother was doing. The mutual love for a similar sport continued to build the bond.

“With us basically playing a similar sport, I would always go to him for hitting,” Rylie said. “We do bicker back and forth, but I just want to figure it out.”


Rylie’s high school softball tryouts were held in a gymnasium - not a softball field - a basketball gymnasium. There was no hitting, only ground balls, but she was leading the way by making plays and even coaching.

34 | April 2024 OU SPORTS
Rylie Boone • Sr. • OF SPARK PLUG Photos by: Mark Doescher

During the season, Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso showed up at a game. The buzz was that Coach Gasso was there to watch the pitcher for the opposing team. If that was truly the case, the attention quickly switched to Rylie Boone.

“One of the first times I saw Rylie Boone, no disrespect to her high school team, she wasn’t on a very good high school team, and she was pitching,” Gasso said. “The team couldn’t make plays behind her, but she was the constant encourager. In that moment, everything about her resonated. She’s not a pitcher but she’s pitching and she’s coaching. In that moment, I said I’ve got to have her. I need a player like Rylie Boone.”

It was clear to Gasso that Rylie had what it takes to play at the highest level, but was Rylie sold? Did she believe it? Did she truly know the ability she possessed and the opportunity in front of her?

“The bunt game was when it turned. That’s when I knew I could be a true three tool player,” Rylie said. “When I played for the Texas Glory select team, I played with Jayda Coleman, and Jayda would get on and I would get the bunt. I had never done that before. I was always swinging away. I was challenged to use my tools. That is where the triple threat came in with my play and it took me to another level.”

Gasso knew it, now Rylie knew it. She was on her way to becoming a Sooner. To big brother Trevor, he knew it was a big deal.

“I looked around at Oklahoma for baseball, so I knew what she was getting into,” Trevor said. “Obviously, we watched Oklahoma softball religiously, and as Rylie got older, softball in general. When the World Series came on, it was an every night thing in our household.

“She is there at the exact same place we saw all those girls - Keilani Ricketts and Lauren Chamberlain, all of those women. She’s at the same field, same uniform, same colors.”

Rylie wasted no time making an impact during her freshman season at Oklahoma. She started the first four games of the season in 2020 and looked incredible hitting .467, but an injury cut her season short and then the pandemic eventually shut down the entire season.

Optimism reigned for her sophomore season, but unfortunately another injury limited her. After starting her first four games of her freshman season and showing incredible promise, she found herself battling for playing time her second season, only starting nine games.

But Rylie was not going to leave. In the era of the transfer portal, she had a different mindset.

“I think it was the girls that kept me around because I feel like anyone in that space would be checked out,”

Rylie said. “Grace Lyons and Grace Green were setting a foundation and Grace Green was a great example. She wasn’t playing a lot, but she felt God put her here for a reason. She touched so many hearts while being here... and she had me working hard.”

Her mom saw the dedication step up another notch as well.

“She was bound and determined to get on that field… she knew what she had to do,” Gayla said. “She had to ask herself ‘how bad you want it?’”

Rylie stayed at Oklahoma and excelled. She has been a regular part of the starting lineup and has provided a spark and leadership while being a key part of three straight National titles, now the pursuit of a fourth. No team has ever won four straight national titles in softball.


The Rylie Boone story goes well beyond the on-field success. While her career found another level after her sophomore season, so did her faith.

“After my second injury - we went to Mexico my freshman year and I got hurt. Then we came back for the fall, and I hurt my other knee,” Rylie said. “I was so invested, I fell in love with the creation that the creator did rather than being so invested in the creator. Softball ruled my heart... I was constantly on an emotional roller coaster, results mattering more than my way of making an impact through the game.”

Adversity helped her mature. Rylie has become more than just a leader on the field. She is a spiritual and emotional leader off the field, something that has brought as much pride to her family as any success she has had on the field.

“I’m beyond proud because, that’s her. She’s always been that person,” Trevor said. “To see her grow into that and write her own story, be her own person, to see her be able to connect with people and live out her dream is just mind boggling to me. I just couldn’t be prouder.”

“Today, I see what she’s about,” Gayla said of her daughter. “She’s very independent, I know that I can sit back and go to sleep at night and not worry. I know this is a program where you don’t even worry. They’re held accountable. They won’t have a problem with getting a job and being a good employee because of the structure they have had.”

In her senior season, Rylie is making the most of every opportunity. During the 4th inning of a midweek game, the Sooners were blowing out their opponent. Rylie didn’t get the start, but as she stepped to the plate with the game well in hand, she drilled a double. As she popped up at second base, she pumped her fist and the crowd roared “Booooooooooooone.”

36 | April 2024

It didn’t matter that she did not start the game, it did not matter that it was late in a blowout, Rylie made the most of the opportunity, just as she as her entire career.

“Those are true heartfelt moments, she’s a true team player,” Gasso said of Boone’s mindset. “Besides her play, her emotion, her passion, her work ethic, her personality - her style is so loyal to this program.”

Rylie Boone is true to who she is and true to the game of softball. As the pursuit for history and a fourth straight national championship continues, the drive and determination of Rylie Boone and the legacy she has left on and off the field will never be forgotten.

“I’m here to strictly serve humans. That’s my goal,” Rylie said. “Whether I get exhausted from it or I get burned out by it, I’m only here to serve others so when they look at me they don’t just think about how great a leader or softball player I was and they just see Christ.” – BSM



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Photos by: Mark Doescher

The Oklahoma Sooners softball team opened play in its palatial new home on March 1 and as expected, the facility is truly breathtaking. The commitment of Love’s Travel Stops, the championship mindset of head coach Patty Gasso and the passion of Sooner softball fans now has a stadium that matches the magnificence of the program.

“It was a day that I’ll never forget,” Gasso said. “This has been a dream come true - Love’s Field.”

The Sooners had called Marita Hynes field home since 1997. In those 26 seasons, Oklahoma went 548-62-1 (.856), winning seven national titles and 15 regular season conference titles. While nostalgia remains for the incredible success at Marita Hynes, it was time for something newer, bigger and better.

“We build championships here,” Gasso expressed emotionally. “We had a lot of coaches come in and out. I’ve watched my son coach here. 30 years - It’s time to move into a mansion.”

The facilities situation prior to the construction of Marita Hynes Field was a shared location not even exclusive to the program. When Gasso first took over the program, the Sooners were playing at Reaves Park and they had to be off the field by a certain time to make room for a slow pitch softball league that used the field after 5 p.m.

They’d show up early for the games just to pick up trash and, when they hosted a regional in Gasso’s

second season, the team’s dugout was too small to hold the entire team. Now, the Sooners have a stadium that has more than enough room.

“It’s cool because the stadium holds a lot of people, and it doesn’t seem like it,” Jenny Love Meyer, chief culture officer for Love’s said. “In the early stages, Coach Gasso wanted to have the crowd be loud. The construction of this really reflects that. My family and I are so proud to play a part in making Love’s Field a reality.”

Love’s Field is the largest on-campus softball stadium in the country, boasting state-of-the-art training facilities for student-athletes and coaches. However, there is still work to be done. When fully completed, Love’s Field will feature a 10,669 square-foot indoor training facility, which is more than double the size of the previous training space, plus several team spaces including a training room, locker room and classroom. It will also have space for a recognition area to showcase National Championships, All-Americans honors and other outstanding accomplishments. The overall square footage of the complex is 44,000 compared to 15,168 at the Marita Hynes Field facility. It will accommodate 4,200 fans compared to a seating capacity of 1,378 in the previous stadium. While it took a solid sales pitch to get it done, it was not a hard sell to an administration that believed in the vision of Patty Gasso and Oklahoma Sooner softball.

“I sat down three years ago after the first of the last

42 | April 2024
Sooner softball head coach Patty Gasso speaks at the ribbon cutting

three national championships celebrating with Patty. Patty was sitting next to me, she looks over at Joe Castiglione, and she says, ‘What do you think about me mentioning that we might do a new stadium?’

And I was like, ‘Hey, look, you’re Patty Gasso, you be you,’” OU president Joseph Harroz said during the ribbon cutting ceremony. “The next thing you know, 18 months go by, the September (of 2022), it’s hot outside, we’re standing in this area and we talked about building this field.

“Here we are today. It couldn’t be more exciting. This is the house that love built.”

Sooner Athletic Director Joe Castiglione believed in the vision from the start. And while the commitment of Love’s Travel Stops made it a reality, the focus and determination and commitment of Patty Gasso made it a possibility.

“It’s (Gasso) that is represented in every part of this stadium,” said OU athletic director Joe Castiglione. “Her greatness goes way beyond statistics, or even the games that we’ve won — and there have been a whole lot that we’ve won under her leadership. She’s taught us how to live life with a sense of purpose and meaning.

“Let’s be clear, there’s great athleticism in the women that have played. There’s a great championship mindset, but I think more than anything, that type of influence has elevated this program to a level of greatness few ever thought was possible.”

The financial investment by Love’s laid the foundation and the overall passion of Oklahoma Sooner fans helped push the total over the top. More than 1,100 total donors from 38 states stepped up including 337 who have donated more than $10,000. Almost $38 million has been invested so far, Castiglione said.

“Thank you is insufficient,” he added.

The scoreboard is the crown jewel. Shaped in the outline of the state of Oklahoma, the innings and score are showcased in the panhandle while Love’s Field with the signature heart logo sits atop the $1.4 million dollar eye catcher. When Gasso was first presented with the idea of a scoreboard in the shape of Oklahoma, she did not know if it would work, if it would fit.

But once the coach laid eyes on it, her opinion changed.

“I think it’s the coolest thing,” Gasso said. “It’s a state of Oklahoma and as big as you could make it… It’s just a great representation of who we are and who we’re representing.”

The team facilities will be the best in the country when they are completed. There is a player’s lounge connected to the locker room that gives student athletes a place to rest. Then when it is time to focus on softball, a theater-like film room with comfortable chairs and plenty of space gives the Sooners the resources they need to prepare. There is a sleep area, a massive equipment room, nutrition space and just about everything necessary to enrich the overall student athlete experience.

But don’t worry about the Sooners taking any of this for granted. If there is one thing that is true about Patty Gasso, it’s the mindset to appreciate what you have and continue to work to earn what has been made available for you.

“You couldn’t even fit a full team in the dugout when we were at Reaves Park,” Gasso reminded. “They would have to sit in the front row in the bleachers with the fans to watch our team, but no one ever complained. They just wanted to play. You know why? Because we loved to play softball.

“We are on a tight watch. We are going to keep this thing as new and pristine and clean as ever. We’re not going to take this for granted, ever. Ever.”

Opening weekend was as memorable and emotional as it was exhausting.

“It was tough,” Gasso said. “I’m going to be honest. It’s no excuse … but the expectations, the anxiety, the build-up of it all. … It felt like a lot of chaos. Good chaos, but I don’t know that we knew that it would drain us that much.”

Oklahoma Sooner softball has set a standard for not just college softball but the world of women’s sports. While the Sooners chase history, they will do so in the greatest facility ever built for college softball. That commitment goes beyond the recent run of success and rests solidly on the foundation of Patty Gasso and her belief in the possibilities and the future of this program.– BSM

44 | April 2024
Jenny Love Meyer speaks at the ribbon cutting
The first game included some “Sooner Magic” as catcher Kinzie Hansen hit a walk-off 2 run home run

Crosstown Clash Soccer

48 | April 2024
Photos by: Mark Doescher


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Community Investment Elevates Patient Care at Norman Regional Hospital

Hospitals are meant to be there for us during times of crisis, to provide hope and be a place of healing. For Kevin and Josie Jones, the healers at Norman Regional provided care for their family during some very dark times, followed by brighter days.

In 2022, just 12 weeks into Josie’s pregnancy, the couple received devastating news—a routine scan uncovered concerning issues with organ and spine development. Another scan at 19 weeks found the same concerning results.

“Our doctors prepared us for a possible miscarriage, but we just had to wait and see,” Josie said. “It was a really hard and emotional pregnancy.”

Josie carried their daughter, Ruth, until she went into premature labor at 30 weeks.

“We had an emergency c-section that next morning,” she said. “She passed away within a few minutes.”

Josie said she expected her hospital stay to be a traumatic experience but to her surprise “was one of the most healing parts of the process.”

“The nurses we had that day were phenomenal. They offered us so much support,” she shared. “Caring for a family with an infant that has passed away is complex and emotional.

“They were so gentle with us.”

The Joneses were beneficiaries of a program called P.R.I.D.E, Parents Responding to Infant Death Experience, which is funded in part by the Norman Regional Health Foundation. The program, comprised of a team of nurses, chaplains and social workers, along with other resources, provided invaluable support, Josie said.

“We were not prepared for all that would happen, but they took extra time and care with us,” Josie said. “They gently walked us through what to expect and our

52 | April 2024 HEALTH

options. They gave us a care box and provided us with keepsakes – they did a print of her heartbeat, gave us a blanket people had made, things we still have today.

Two years later, the Joneses returned to Norman Regional’s labor and delivery unit to welcome their son, Thad, in January. Josie found herself once again impressed by the hospital’s level of care.

“After what we had been through, I was dealing with so much anxiety and emotion, but I felt so taken care of. I didn’t want to leave,” Josie said. “I was touched by how the nurses kept checking in with us, adjusting to make our experience better.”

For parents like the Joneses and many others living in the south metro, Norman Regional Health Foundation’s Equipped for Tomorrow campaign is already elevating patient care in order to provide the best possible outcomes. The foundation focused its $4 million campaign on four health-related areas – cardiovascular care, cancer care, physical rehabilitation and perinatal care –purchasing a variety of state-of-the-art, life-saving medical equipment. The Joneses found comfort in knowing that perinatal care was a priority in funding 16 new labor & delivery beds designed to improve patient comfort and 30 infant warmers for the 2,500 babies born each year.The Joneses found comfort in knowing these resources were available had they needed it.

“The infant warmers provide access from the front and sides which allow staff and physicians to perform assessments and care without disturbing the baby or constantly repositioning the bed,” explained Karen Brazeal, NCIU nurse manager. “The new technology allows for accurate weight checks and provides information that uploads to charting features for nursing.”

Another benefit of these new infant warmers, the adjustable overhead heater allows mothers to provide important skin-to-skin contact to their babies in the NICU.

“These new warmers benefit both the infant and the mother,” Brazeal said.

To learn more about the Equipped for Tomorrow campaign and the Norman Regional Health Foundation, visit equipped_for_tomorrow.html. –SMS

Kevin, Josie and Thad Jones
3401 36TH AVE NW NORMAN, OK 73072 (405) 360-6061


Your home will probably be the most expensive item you’ll ever buy. That’s why it’s of utmost importance that you time your purchase right. Of course, market conditions, like mortgage rates and the general state of the economy, will significantly impact the price of your new home. Here are the best times of year to buy a home.


As the traditional slowest season for the real estate market, winter will generally bring the lowest prices on homes. As one of the few buyers on the market, you’ll also likely have an easier time negotiating a better deal with a seller. Finally, the professionals guiding you through the home-buying journey may be more available to work with you during this slower season, possibly making the process quicker.

Buying a home in the winter is not all fun and games, though. First, fewer homes for sale means slim pickings for you. If you’d like to have a wider selection of homes to choose from, winter may not be the best time for you to go house-hunting. Depending on the area of the country you live in, you’ll also be checking out homes and properties in less than ideal conditions. In addition, you’ll have fewer daylight hours to get a feel for the home’s true curb appeal and the amount of natural light that shines into it.


The real estate market really blossoms in the spring. This is the time of year when you’ll see a large influx of new homes on the market. The warmer weather and longer days are ideal for scouting properties, inspecting roofs and exteriors of homes, as well as getting a feel for a community. You’ll also have a robust inventory of homes on the market to choose from.

However, shopping for a new home during the warmer months of the year means competing with many other shoppers who can be interested in the same homes you are. This can lead to higher prices, fierce bidding wars and the inability to negotiate for a lower price. Lastly, realtors and title agencies can be swamped during this time of year and may have less time to work with you, resulting in a lengthier buying process.


Early summer is peak real estate season in the U.S., and often sees the most homes sold out of the entire year. The weather is still warm and the days long, making for ideal home-shopping conditions.

Shopping for a home in the summer means shopping the homes that are left over from the influx of spring. You may have slimmer pickings, but sellers will also likely be more eager to sell before autumn and winter arrive.

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Cheers for Chardonnay

Spring is 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,

58 | April 2024

What’s Eating Norman

Levity Breakfast House

62 | April 2024
April 2024
Photo by: Mark Doescher

Jon and Mark Hunnell have always been big fans of breakfast. As kids growing up in Portland, Oregon, they rode their bikes to the store, bought what they needed to make waffles and breakfast sandwiches, returned home and started creating.

“We would make them when we got home from school,” Jon recalled. “We fell in love with breakfast.”

Some three decades later, the Hunnell brothers are still making breakfast as co-owners of Levity Breakfast House, 309 S. Peters Ave.

“All our best ideas happened over coffee and breakfast,” Jon Hunnell said. “Our tag line is ‘great ideas begin with breakfast.’”

The menu sums up how the Hunnell brothers feel about breakfast: “All Times Are Breakfast Times.”

Breakfast sandwiches — referred to as “sammies” on the menu — are popular among guests as are the gravy scones and the signature Benson Belgian Waffle.

Espresso drinks, teas and tea lattes, and specialty drinks that include Blueberry Matcha and the MJ (a housemade salted caramel drink) are also a big hit.

The 411 is served with a scrambled egg, chevre cheese, a premium pork sausage patty and apricot jam on a house-made three cheese chive scone.

The waffle — yeasted and served with butter and pure maple syrup — is named in honor of former Norman Mayor June Benson, the first woman to serve as mayor in Oklahoma when she was elected in 1957.

Levity is housed in a 104-year-old structure near June Benson Park that was used previously as a law office and an architecture firm.

The business, which celebrated its grand opening on Feb. 26, is open from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. every day except Tuesday.

“To see people enjoy the food and the experience validated something we’ve been dreaming about and talking about for 30 years,” Jon Hunnell said. “You don’t know how it’s going to be received. To see people enjoy something you’ve created is special.”

Mark Hunnell, 39, cooks most of the food while Jon, 42, works to bring people together, something he learned over the years working for Apple as a retail store manager.

The job taught Jon about helping people and working with people. About the value of a kind word.

“The make or break for people is often the little things, the one conversation you had with someone,” he said. “When I worked at Apple, if they start yelling or screaming, it’s never about the iPhone not working. There’s usually something going on ... money troubles or someone is sick. Processing that isn’t always easy for us. It comes out during traffic.”

That philosophy has carried over to Levity Breakfast House, a place where community members gather for food and fellowship.

Jon Hunnell is about building relationships and bringing people together and he’s been doing that since he moved to Norman in 2016, according to resident Tom Schooner.

“Jon has spoiled my family for years with his delicious scones,” Schooner said. “Every now and again, we’d get a knock on our door on a Saturday morning and there’d be one or both of his children, Abe or Maddie, standing there with a plate of fresh scones. Or perhaps Jon would see you at the mailbox and ask if you’d like to try a type of new scone he’d made that day. You’d never said no, and you’d always be pleased that you hadn’t. Always. Because they were delicious.”

“Since his family moved from Portland to Norman, he has brought our neighborhood together through street events and backyard BBQs. Everyone knows their neighbors just a little better and it’s impossible not to smile and wave at each other now as we pass on the sidewalk. Jon did that.”– BSM

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The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office (CCS) employs 30 school resource officers that serve at various schools in the county including Deputy Alaisha Castleberry, who serves at Truman Elementary.

Castleberry said her job is to check the parameters of the school and hang out with the kids. As a single mother to her nine-year-old son, she brings a unique perspective to her job.

“I mainly hang out with the kids and be a mentor to them,” she said. “I want to be a good influence. I’m a mother also, so that helps me to be able to relate to them more.”

Growing up in Midwest City, Castleberry once aspired to a career in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). However, becoming pregnant during her senior year altered those plans, although she notably scored 20 points in a game during her third month of pregnancy.

“At first, I wasn’t interested in law enforcement until I went to junior college at Seminole State,” she said. “I had just finished my associate degree in business and needed to take another class, so I took a course in criminal justice just for fun.”

Castleberry ended up liking it and went on to finish her studies at UCO including two bachelor’s degrees - one in forensic science and one in criminal justice. She is currently working on her master’s degree in public administration.

Before her role as a school resource officer, Castleberry worked as a dispatcher for the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center campus. She then transitioned to CCSO as a probation and parole officer, but Castleberry said she was ready for some more positive energy, which she has found at Truman.

Reflecting on her time at Truman Elementary, Castleberry fondly recalled her introduction to the school community in September of last year.

“I was introduced to the whole school,” Castleberry said. “The kids were excited, the teachers were excited, and I was excited!”

Another cherished memory occurred after a temporary assignment at Kennedy Elementary.

“When I came back to Truman, I felt so much love because the kids all ran up to me and hugged me,” she remembered. “The staff were happy to see me, too. I enjoy building relationships with everyone.”

In her spare time, Castleberry plays basketball and enjoys writing and making music, crafting lyrics that focus on empowering herself to be a better person. She’s also teaching her son to play basketball.

“Life has no limits” is Castleberry’s favorite quote and is the mantra she lives by. She expressed her ambitions to enact significant changes within the criminal justice system and to aspire to leadership roles in the future.

66 | April 2024 This is a continuation of our series on public servants in Norman.

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