Boyd Street Magazine October 2022

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Upscale NOUN Hotel Norman Economic Development Coalition Prosperity Ahead Normanite of the Month Cutter Elliott
October 2022 • Issue 10 • Volume 21 MAR VIN JUST THROW IT TO

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16 Rotary Road Rally & Festival

Fall festival to celebrate bikes, bites, beers and beats.

20 ExpandED by Lindsay Cuomo

Norman Public Schools’ next phase of virtual learning.

24 Normanite in the Spotlight: Cutter Elliott

Defying the odds, Cutter Elliott thrives as a country music artist.


A Family Legacy by Lindsay Cuomo

Ortho Central welcomes new orthopedic surgeon.


Just Throw it to Marvin by Chris Plank

Marvin Mims Jr. electrifies the Sooner offense.

44 Fast Start by Chris Plank

The Sooner volleyball program finds success early in the season.


Crosstown Clash Football by Mark Doescher

Images from a memorable, rain-delayed Timberwolf Crosstown Clash win.

56 Noun

by Tim WIllert

Norman’s unique, boutique hotel opens to the public.

80 Prosperity Ahead by Callie Collins

Norman Economic Development Coalition focuses on positive change, regional opportunity with visioncentric initiatives.


MANAGING EDITOR Lindsay Cuomo PHOTOGRAPHY Mark Doescher Josh Gateley


Roxanne Avery | Callie Collins

Lindsay Cuomo | Kathy Hallren Shannon Hudzinski

Chelsey Kraft | Chip Minty

Chris Plank | Tim Willert


Trevor Laffoon -

Perry Spencer -

PUBLISHER Casey Vinyard

Boyd Street Magazine 2020 E. Alameda Norman, Oklahoma 73071

Phone: (405) 321-1400 E-mail:

Boyd Street Magazine


13 What’s Happening Community Calendar

52 Norman Regional Hospital: Healing the Heart by Lindsay Cuomo

Service Spotlight: Deputy Don Hudgins by Roxanne Avery

All You Need to Know About Home Equity Loans by Shannon Hudzinski - OUFCU

Get Ready to Entertain with Wine Cocktails by Kathy Hallren - Joe’s Wines & Spirits

Cover photo by: Mark Doescher
Copyright ©
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. /boydstreetmagazine
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Rotary Road Rally & Festival

Live music, food trucks, craft beer and lots of fun are in store at the fifth-annual Rotary Road Rally & Fes tival at the Lakes, overlooking Lake Thunderbird and Little River Marina, located at 13801 Marina Rd.

The Oct. 22 event features local favorite Mike Hosty and OKC party band, Mystery Dates. They’ll be playing ev erything from jazz and blues to rock and roll for a Sat urday afternoon crowd of bicyclists, music lovers, beer enthusiasts and food-truck groupies.

“We could not be more excited to bring Mike Hosty and Mystery Dates to this year’s Rotary Road Rally & Festival,” said Steve Morren, president of the Norman Rotary Club. “Hosty is a one-man cult band who does things with music that don’t seem humanly possible. And Mystery Dates? Well, let’s just say they bring peo ple together.”

But music is only half the fun, Morren said. Two of Nor man’s best craft brewers and food trucks will be there as

16 | October 2022

Fall festival to celebrate bikes, bites, beer and beats

well. Lazy Circles and BIG will be on hand, serving their most popular brews, and they’ll be joined by Midway Deli and The Meating Place food trucks, offering every thing from chicken clubs to brisket sandwiches.

And don’t worry, the Sooner football team is off on Oct. 22, but there will still be a TV tent set up so fans can keep up with all the college football scores.

Tickets are available at the event or from a Norman Ro tary Club member. The music festival runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the $15 per person admission price also pays for a food truck lunch.

For those with even more adventure in mind, registration for the Rotary Road Rally bicycle ride begins at 7:30 a.m. The 50-mile and 37-mile rides start from the Little River Marina at 9 a.m. The bike tour will include rural east Norman and circle Lake Draper before returning to the marina for the festival. There will be rest stops and SAG support on the courses to help make the hills seem a little less hilly. Preregistration for the bike ride is $40 and $45 the day of the event. The cost covers the ride, a t-shirt, festival admission, lunch and the first beer. To preregis ter, go to

The Rotary Road Rally & Festival was established in 2017 to help Norman Public Schools improve reading education in several of the district’s at-risk elementary schools. Money raised by the event is used to pay for bi cycles, helmets and bike locks that are given away to stu dents as incentives to read more books.

“Statistics show a correlation between high school dropout rates and reading skills developed at the elementary school level,” said former Norman Rotary Club President Craig Heaton. “Bikes can be enormously important in the life of a child, so if we can provide bikes and nurture a love of reading at the same time, we can change lives.”

The Norman Rotary Club is proud to partner with Nor man Regional Health Systems, title sponsor of the 2022 Ro tary Road Rally & Festival at the Lakes. More information about the event is available at


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ExpandED Coordinator Kevin Hogan with math teacher Adrianne Frenette and special education teacher Hannah Danaghe.
20 | October 2022 COMMUNITY

Norman Public Schools’ next phase of virtual learning

While virtual education made headlines in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, online educational opportunities have been avail able within the Norman Public School district for over a decade.

Originally known as Norman Net, the district renamed the program, ExpandED, as a nod to the expanded ed ucational opportunities now available to families which include a comprehensive, self-paced online curriculum as well as hybrid options.

ExpandED Coordinator Kevin Hogan said that the dis trict’s virtual learning opportunities have undergone sig nificant changes and substantial growth in recent years. One key shift Hogan said has had a positive impact is that ExpandED is now staffed by Norman teachers.

“Originally, teachers for students in our program could be from all around the country, but now, the vast ma jority of our students are served by our local, Norman teachers which allows ExpandED to be able to do more of the things they might do in a traditional classroom,” he said. “We offer field trips, park days, art activities, and more.”

Katherine Rauch, an ExpandED school counselor, shared that they are “building a K-12 community with holistic supports, small groups and social-emotional skill building to support students.”

“Where we are now is that these are students that want to be virtual learners, and we are paving the way for how that is going to look,” Rauch explained. “Our families want the flexibility of virtual learning but with traditional supports and resources such as tutoring and mentoring and the ability to do it all in a location where they feel safe and comfortable.”

Hogan said that last year the program started with four teachers on staff and quickly grew to more than a doz en in just a few weeks due to the volume of students enrolled. This year, they added an additional math teacher, ELA teacher and a speech pathologist.

The program also has a large number of students partici pating in the blended option where they take some classes online and some inside brick-and-mortar classrooms.

“Between the two high schools, we have about 520 stu dents that take virtual classes and are at school at some point in the day,” Hogan said.

Taylor Bott, an ExpandED elementary teacher, said that online learning opportunities allow students to pursue passions that are in line with their learning preferences.

“Families can find a rhythm that works for them which I think is a very cool thing about virtual learning,” she said.

Teaching varied grade levels, Bott said she spends a lot of her time assessing student progress.

“Since students can build their own schedules, we all work together to provide support in whatever way they need whether that be daily Zooms, emails or to cheer you on from the side,” Bott shared.

“Our students are not alone,” Rauch added. “There is a whole team working behind them to guide them.”

Bott said her favorite part of being a virtual teacher is “how connected we are with the whole family.”

Community building opportunities such as park days are another key addition that Hogan said has trans formed the student experience. After talking with one of the ExpandED kindergarten teachers, that teacher expressed a concern that while the school year was go ing well, something was missing.

“She said kids being kids was missing,” Hogan remem bered. Her solution was a playdate at a park.

“Park days are now one giant recess with the whole elementary team,” Bott said. “The kids are making friends and families are connecting. Real community has been created.

“When we were on holiday breaks, families still went to the park together.”

While ExpandED follows the same calendar as in-per son learning, enrollment in the virtual program is open throughout the school year.

To learn more about NPS virtual learning opportuni ties, visit – BSM

Park Days are a regular part of the ExpandED program. Students participate in craft days as part of the virtual education program.


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Cutter Elliott

Music has been part of Cutter Elliott’s life since the beginning.

Cutter, who was adopted by Don Elliott and Debbie Elliott-Tresemer, was born eight weeks prema ture in 1995. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and autism and is partially blind and deaf. He was raised by his mom and his stepdad, David Tresemer.

After he was born, Cutter spent time in the NICU at Mercy Hospital. His mom placed a music box in his in cubator.

“My love for music started from a very young age,” he shared. “I think it actually started when I was in the incubator because still to this day, all I do is listen to music.”

Music remains Cutter’s passion. When he was born, Cutter underwent different surgeries, and doctors gave his parents a prognosis that he has defied throughout his life.

“Doctors told my parents that I would never play guitar. I would never walk. I would never talk or graduate high school, let alone college,” Cutter said. “My mother nev er told me any of that. She just told me that it would be more of a challenge for me to achieve things.”

Cutter began his school career at All Saints Catholic School before attending third grade at Cleveland Ele mentary. He then went to Whittier Middle School and Norman North High School. After taking some of his basic classes at Oklahoma City Community College, he attended the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma, graduating in 2019.

Growing up, Cutter went to Cochran Music School starting when he was about 2 and a half years old and later participated in Sooner Theatre’s summer camps

for several years. In third grade, he started singing Johnny Cash songs, and the rest is history.

“That was really when I knew what I wanted to do, hearing that applause,” he reflected. “It’s just been my passion and something that I’ve loved to do.”

When he was little, Cutter’s grandfather would sing him Cash’s song, “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town,” before he went to sleep, the same song his grandfather would sing to his mother when she was young. Cutter said those bedtime singing sessions were his introduction to the artist.

In addition to Cash, Cutter cites George Strait and Merle Haggard as his biggest country music influenc es. Beyond country music, he is also heavily influenced by Elvis Presley, partly because his father, Don, who passed away in 2020 due to congestive heart failure, was a huge fan.

Cutter named one more influence - The Wiggles. He dis covered the Australian kids group when he was young and memorized all their dances. Looking back, he said he has realized that dancing might be what helped in strengthening the right side of his body, which is the one affected by cerebral palsy.

As to why he is drawn to country music, Cutter said he likes the truthness of it, especially in traditional country music songs and the way they all tell a story, whether it be a sad one or a happy one. He considers his own style to be one that aims to keep traditional country music alive.  Cutter recorded his album in Nashville, with some of the best musicians in the business playing on the re cord. This included Dave Roe, Cash’s bass player; Kenny Vaughan, Marty Stuart’s guitar player; Pete Abbott, Tom Jones’ drummer; and Mike Schrimpf,

24 | October 2022

“That actually is what motivates me,” he shared. “When somebody says I can’t do something, that makes me want to do it even more. So, I would just tell them to follow your heart and follow your dreams and don’t listen to the doubters. Prove them wrong.”


“At the time, I was going through a bit of a breakup, and I just thought that song was perfect for what I had just gone through,” he explained. “It felt like a song that maybe Elvis Presley or Carl Perkins would have done back in the 50s. It has this rockabilly feel to it, and I just fell in love with the song.”

Cutter plays at Redrock Canyon Grill in Norman every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. He is also a regular at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill and said he plays any fairs and festivals that he can. His music can be pur chased at his website,

Recently, Cutter partnered with Autism Speaks as an ambassador. He will be a guest speaker and performer at the 2022 Oklahoma City Walk on UCO’s campus in Edmond on Saturday, Oct. 22, and a portion of all CD sales will go to the nonprofit.

For anyone who might be facing obstacles in life, Cutter said he would tell them to follow their dreams and to not let anyone tell them they cannot do something.

Conway Twitty’s piano player. His latest single, “Heart ache Waiting to Happen,” was written by Paul Reeves, a longtime family friend and now Cutter’s manager. When Cutter first heard the song, it caught his attention both because of the story it told and its sound.
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A Family Legacy

30 | October 2022 COMMUNITY Ortho Central welcomes new orthopedic surgeon

Growing up in West Texas, some of Joshua Wil son’s fondest childhood memories are of time spent with his dad, watching from the sidelines as his dad cared for student athletes.

“I grew up seeing what it was like to be a doctor,” Wil son shared. “Both of my parents are physicians, and my dad is an orthopedic surgeon.”

Following in his father’s footsteps, Dr. Wilson is now a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon and will be caring for athletes of all levels as the newest member of the Ortho Central team, Norman Regional’s ortho pedic care clinic. He sees patients at their Norman and Newcastle offices and also provides medical coverage for Southmoore High School.

“I’ll be treating a broad range of athletes of all ages, even weekend warriors,” he said.

His specialties include arthroscopic surgery, rotator cuff repair, sports-related injuries and surgical fracture care.

Prior to joining the Orthro Central team, Wilson worked with the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans and the NFL’s New Orleans Saints during his fellowship with the Ochsner Andrews Sports Medicine Institute, an op portunity that allowed him to work with medical pro fessionals and athletes at the highest level.

“(My patients) needed to be the best of the best, and it was great to work with professionals and be able to bring the same practices, treatments and work ethic back to Norman and to schools like Southmoore.”

A particular area of interest for Wilson is cartilage res toration, as cartilage damage is an affliction common in athletes.

“Cartilage restoration is a special interest of mine and has been historically one of the harder things to treat,” he said. “Cartilage is difficult to repair and can cause decreased quality of life.”

Wilson said that he views every patient as a family mem ber and puts a high priority in building relationships.

“Every patient that comes in the door I want to treat like a family member and take the time to explain their situation, answer all their questions, and understand their needs and goals so they can feel comfortable with their treatment plans,” he said.

Wilson completed medical school at Texas Tech Uni versity before attending the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center for his residency where he spent time working with local hospitals and clinics in cluding a stint at Orthro Central.

“When Dr. Wilson did a residency rotation at Ortho Central, our physicians were very impressed with his skills, so we hired him before he left for his fellowship in New Orleans,” Heather Kuklinski, director of Ortho Central operations, said.

Some might be wondering how a West Texas native and Texas Tech grad ended up in Sooner Country. His answer was simple – the community.

“After five years at OU, I fell in love with the communi ty,” Wilson shared.

He added jokingly that Sooner fans don’t give him too much of hard time being from Texas, “as long as you aren’t a Longhorn or wear burnt orange.”

Wilson is a member of the Chickasaw Nation and looks forward to “bringing (his) culture and that connect into (his) practice.” Outside of work, Wilson enjoys staying physically active, running 5- and 10-kilometer races, biking and hiking. He also enjoys spending time with his family and friends and traveling.

To learn more about Dr. Joshua Wilson and the services available at Ortho Central, visit –


“Every patient that comes in the door
I want to treat like a family member.”
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36 | October 2022 SPORTS



The smile on the face of Sooner standout Marvin Mims was broad and beaming and for good reason. He had just wrapped up a career performance in a Sooner win over Kent State, posting a career-high 163 yards on seven catches with two touchdowns and a huge punt return.

But it wasn’t an individual play that was the biggest joy to Mims. No, that was saved for the fans and the light show.

“The lights were my favorite part, and the best part was the fans matched the lights,” Mims said with a smile as he explained the feeling on the field of the new LED lights the Sooners debuted in the game. “When the lights went off and flickered and the fans had the flash on. It was the coolest thing ever, really nice.”

The smile on his face is no surprise, even when the lights aren’t flashing. The third-year Sooner receiver has an in credibly positive and refreshing perspective and is one of the more popular Sooners on the roster. He has reached lofty standards in the classroom while also developing into one of the top receivers in the college game, likely a first-round pick in the NFL Draft.

“I’m super proud of Marvin Mims,” OU head coach Brent Venables said. “When he touches that ball, man, it’s elec tric.”

Mims has displayed that electricity from the moment he stepped on the field in a Sooner uniform. As a freshman, Mims set the all-time Sooner mark for touchdowns by a freshman (9). That number tied the Big 12 record. He was also the first wide receiver in OU history to earn FWAA Freshman All-America status and earned fresh man All-America honors from The Athletic and ESPN.

His sophomore campaign didn’t provide the increase in opportunities he had hoped for. While his 705 yards were more than 300 over any other Sooner, his reception total had dropped. The frustration after his sophomore season was understandable and noticeable.

Mims faced a dilemma - did he want to continue his career as a Sooner or take advantage of the transfer portal and seek opportunities somewhere else? Change also came at the top of the Sooner program when Lincoln Riley left for the west coast as Mims was considering his options.

“That’s kind of a hard topic to talk about,” Mims said this offseason on the possibility of transferring. “It was up in the air, but I always wanted to stay. There was never a point where I was like, ‘I’m leaving, and I’m going here.’”

He wanted more opportunities. The allure of playing in the exciting up-tempo, high-power offense that Venables would be employing alongside offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby was something that Mims wanted to be a part of.

“Lebby didn’t have to really talk much to me to get me to stay, especially with the offense he runs,” Mims said. “You’re talking about one of the top three offensive coor dinators in the country statistically. He’s just a great guy.”


Mims was staying and he had an incredible blueprint to follow. Lebby has been an offensive coordinator at UCF and Ole Miss and his leading receivers had at least 70 catches and 1,000-plus yards.

Comparisons to New York Jet Elijah Moore started almost immediately for Mims under Lebby. While the offensive coordinator at Ole Miss, the way Lebby used Moore not only helped maximize his talent and numbers but also el evated him to the second round of the NFL Draft.

In 2019, the season before Lebby took over, Moore had 67 catches for 850 yards and six touchdowns. Mims rushed for 705 yards and five touchdowns on an incon sistent Oklahoma offense last season. In his full season with Lebby, Moore improved his yards per catch to 13.9 while catching 86 for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns. Mims will be the undisputed No. 1 target for new quar terback Dillon Gabriel, making Moore’s stat line look very achievable.

“Personally, they’re very similar,” Lebby said of the com parison between Moore and Mims. “Both profession als… They keep themselves at an extremely prominent level and know how to lead and work like professionals. From that point of view, there are many similarities.”

But the process of learning a new offense and following the Elijah Moore blueprint is not easy. Mims not only had to learn a new offense, but he also had to work with his third starting quarterback in as many seasons.

UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel transferred in and im mediately meshed with the Sooner receiver. It helped that Gabriel had played for Lebby at UCF in 2019 and had a firm grasp of the offense that everyone was learn ing. It also helped that Gabriel and Mims spent a ton of time together in the offseason, both on and off the field.

“We spent a lot of time together in the spring and sum mer knowing we were at a disadvantage with a new play book and a new offense,” Mims said. “The Dime Time retreat was incredibly helpful, taking us to Medicine Park in Lawton staying in a house together having a throwing session and hanging out. At this point, this is the closes we’ve been as a team than in the past teams I’ve been on and I’m just loving it and that’s where it’s coming from.”

The much talked about “Dime Time” retreat was one of the hits of the offseason and seemed to help establish Gabriel as a leader and develop cohesiveness on the of fensive side of the football. Of course, there was also a lot of fun too. Activities included lots of throwing in the

38 | October 2022

backyard, a little golf at Fort Sill Golf Course, some lake time, plenty of fun and games, but mostly just fellow ship. And eating. Lots of eating.

“Made sure to eat every meal together,” Gabriel said. “Breakfast, lunch and dinner. That was a big point for me just to connect with one another.”

Now the Sooners are eating up opponents with its ex plosive offense. And at the core of it all is the relation ship between Gabriel and Mims.

“I mean, he’s an explosive player,” Gabriel said. “I trust Marv, know what he can do with the football in his hands, and know special things will happen.”

The relationship off the field is just as important to Ga briel and Mims.

“I think what’s really cool about me and Marvin is we’re very similar,” Gabriel said. “Just the way we ap proach football, but also the way we approach life. As

we connected and continue to have conversations over the past six or seven months, I just feel confident in the person he is.”

Don’t lose track of how tight the receiving room has become. Returning talent around Mims includes Drake Stoops, Jalil Farooq and Theo Wease while exciting newcomers Jayden Gibson and Nic Anderson will look to make an impact in 2022.

“We are all best friends,” Stoops said. “At the end of the day, we all love each other and that helps with that cohesion in the room. We’re all playing for each other; we’ve got each other’s back.”

That means end zone and sideline celebrations, indepth and intense film room studies, and of course a ton of smiles.

“We all have respect for each other. Drake, Theo and I are the older guys, and we always see eye to eye,” Mims said of the group. “We try to teach each other as much as we can, especially in the film room. I love those guys to death and it’s definitely the closest room I’ve been in.”

Mims has found the opportunities and energy he want ed in a new coaching staff and new quarterback yet still in the same location at the University of Oklahoma.

“It’s different than it’s been in the past, that’s for sure,” Mims said. “Games are always different than practices. I feel like everything’s so much calmer in games. We’re just out there playing football. It’s been great, with the receiv ers on the sideline, quarterbacks on the side, communica tion at halftime, everything’s been different, but I love it.”

And did we mention the opportunities on the field?

“I love it when I get thrown the ball,” Mims added. “Just making the most of my opportunities. Even when I’ve got to block for someone else or something, I’m go ing to try my hardest at it because we’re a team. This year, there’s no type of selfishness. We’re all out there playing football for each other.”

Mims brings it every game, every day, every opportuni ty. And while Oklahoma came close to potentially losing Mims, the renewed passion and energy is contagious in the Sooner locker room and throughout the Oklahoma fanbase.

“He epitomizes what you want the Oklahoma football player to look like… work ethic, accountability, depend ability, reliability. He has all the abilities,” Venables said of Mims. “He has a lot of gifts. You want your best players to be your best leaders and you want your guys to be about it and be doers and not takers. He’s got a great presence to him, an incredible example of what (a student-athlete) should look like.

“Everything he does he autographs his work with excel lence.” BSM

42 | October 2022

Fast Start

Photos by: Mark Doescher Megan Wilson Coach Lindsey Gray-Walton
44 | October 2022 SPORTS

The Oklahoma Sooner Volleyball team is off to its best start of the Lindsey Gray-Walton era. During her five seasons as the head coach, Gray-Walton has engineered an incredible turnaround including a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2019, after a five-year tournament absence.

But after disappointing runs the last two seasons, the Sooners have righted the ship and look primed for a sol id run into conference play.

“This young team keeps getting better every match we play,” Gray-Walton said. “It doesn’t matter what gets thrown at us, we keep the bus moving in the right di rection. We’re gelling as a unit, not just as players but as people.”

The Sooners went 10-17 last season, including a frustrat ing 4-12 mark in conference play. But the new-look Soon ers have been on fire in the first half of the season and are focused on an even better for the second half. If OU reaches its goal in 2022, the post season is a certainty.

“The standard here for the program is that we’re in the tournament every year,” Gray-Walton said. “The beau ty of the Big 12 is you don’t have to win the league to be in the postseason. The league prepares you to make a deep run in the postseason if you win.”

The talented Sooners roster features a lot of new faces. True freshmen Alexis Shelton, Taylor Preston and Mor gan Perkins have all made an immediate impact. While graduate transfer Adria Oliver has developed into a sol id leader in a short amount of time.

“These freshmen don’t feel like freshmen,” Gray-Wal ton said. “They’ve probably competed at a more intense higher level than any of the kids that we’ve ever recruit ed to this program before. We won’t need to rely on just one player like we have in years past.”

While the new is exciting for Sooner Volleyball, the continued development of Megan Wilson is impressive. Wilson just started playing volleyball in the 9th grade after playing competitive soccer for several years.

“I grew up doing swimming and just about every sport you can name,” Wilson said. “Soccer was it for a long time, but in high school I got burned out a bit and I started looking for something new to do… and I found volleyball.

“I didn’t know how to play or much about it and I just picked it up and was like... all right let’s go.”

Wilson appeared in all 27 games with 16 starts last sea son. As a true freshman, she led the Sooners with 392 kills, 441.6 points and was 4th in the Big 12 with 3.70 kills per set. She is already on pace to surpass those numbers in 2022.

“Megan has matured. She’s a different kid,” Gray-Wal ton said. “That’s the exciting part for us as coaches. It’s

not always about the game, it’s about life situations and how they handle things now. Off the court is no differ ent than on the court.”

It is incredible when you consider this is the 5th year that Wilson has played competitive volleyball and she’s having success while battling against some of the best in the sport.

“I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t played soccer or did all those sports,” Wilson said. “The footwork that is necessary in soccer helped me. I transitioned right to volleyball and fell in love with it. It still feels new to me, and I love it.”

In addition to Wilson, veterans Savannah Davison, Kelsey Carrington and setter Peyton Dunn have had solid starts to the season as well. The players are in place, the buzz is generating.

Now, the Sooners hope the atmosphere can match it.

“We talked about giving the people something to talk about, something to buzz about,” Gray-Walton said of the desire to pack the McCaslin Fieldhouse. “We want to create a product people want to come see.”

“We want to pack that thing and break records,” she add ed. “This group is hungry; they aren’t done yet and that crowd can be the tipping point to make that happen.”

With the postseason in site, the Sooners will need all the help they can get in the challenging Big 12.

“The fans are what drive us,” Wilson said. “We want everyone to come to our games and be affected by the energy that we’re bringing them.”


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Photos by: Mark Doescher
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Healing the Heart

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), aortic stenosis is one of the most common valve diseases and is classified as the hardening of the aortic valve by calcium buildup. This life-threaten ing condition that weakens the heart affects an estimat ed 1.5 million Americans each year.

Aortic stenosis can impact people of all ages but is most common in people over the age of 65.

While medication can help mitigate symptoms, pa tients with aortic valve diseases experience chest pain, dizziness and shortness of breath, as well as difficulty sleeping and walking short distances, all of which can greatly impact their quality of life.

Long-term treatment plans usually include surgery to re place the diseased valve which used to mean open heart surgery with a week-long stay in the hospital and months of recovery and restrictions. Today, patients have anoth er option - a minimally invasive procedure called Tran scatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, or TAVR.

“The TAVR procedure bridges the gap, especially for very sick patients that would have a hard time with a longer recovery period,” said Brittney Roberts, a physi cian assistant with at the Norman Regional Heart Plaza.

TAVR’s recovery time is typically requires a 24-to-48hour hospital stay with one week of recovery at home and some additional activity restrictions for two weeks.

Norman Regional started a TAVR program in 2020 and has had great success, according to Roberts.

“Patients often experience less pain and have signifi cant improvement in their quality of life in a few days,” Roberts shared.

The American Heart Association compares the proce dure to the placement of a stent in an artery and Rob erts said that a new TAVR valve can last 10 to 15 years.

“The procedure is a good fit for most patients, even high-risk patients,” she explained.

Aortic valve disease can be hereditary, and Roberts en courages people with a family history to talk with their primary care physicians about their risk factors and to get regular screenings.

“Treatments for aortic valve disease have come a long way,” Roberts encouraged. “We have treatment teams ready to take great care of you.”

To learn more about aortic valve diseases and the TAVR procedure, visit heart-care or


Minimally invasive procedure reduces recovery time for patients needing aortic valve replacement
52 | October 2022

Turning setbacks into comebacks

Visit our Saturday Injury Clinic

The Ortho Central team includes six orthopedic surgeons, two sports medicine physician, bone health experts, and physical therapists. Our physicians are James Bond, MD; Ted Boehm, MD; Brian Clowers, MD; Richard Kirkpatrick, MD, and Zakary Knutson, MD, Joshua Wilson MD, Jeremiah Maupin MD, and Aaron Smathers MD.

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Upscale Elegance

Scott Lambert grinned from ear to ear as he wel comed about 150 investors, community lead ers and other guests to his new hotel on Campus Corner.

Lambert’s dream, inspired by wife Christine, a Nor man native, was close to coming true.

“Since 1991, I’ve been wanting to build a hotel,” he said. “I noticed that OU didn’t have an on-campus hotel.”  NOUN, a four-story boutique hotel at 542 S. Universi ty Blvd., is the first of its kind within walking distance of the University of Oklahoma.

The hotel opened to the public Sept. 22. It operated at limited capacity for three weeks before that.

Lambert, NOUN’s managing general partner, is a Cal ifornia native. He moved to Tulsa in 1996. Two years later, the couple started a company based in Los An geles and Dallas that specializes in elevator interiors.

NOUN is short for north of the university. The title also references OU, along with a covered wagon parked outside the hotel entrance.

Norman is near and dear to the Lambert family. Chris tine Lambert and two of the couple’s three sons grad uated from OU. The other son attends the university now.

“We just want to bring people together,” Scott Lam bert said. “We want to come together and have fun to gether.”

There’s an elegance to NOUN that Lambert calls a “comfortable sophistication.”  He points to his inspiration, or muse, for the ho tel -- a 32-year-old married mother of one who is smart and physically fit and wants to get away with her girlfriends for the weekend.

Photos by: Mark Doescher
56 | October 2022 COMMUNITY

Norman’s unique, boutique hotel opens to the public

“She comes here, has a glass of red wine in a thinrimmed glass and just enjoys a great conversation,” he said.

When the hotel was under construction, Lambert had a “tough decision to make” he would often ask “what would the muse like?”

“We picked that person because my wife is 55 years old and wants to be a 32-year-old woman, and the 22-yearold young lady wants to be that 32-year-old woman,” he said. “That 32-year-old woman makes all the decisions in her group. We purposely built the hotel for that person.”

NOUN features 92 modern guest rooms, including two suites that are sold out for each of OU’s home foot ball games, according to Melissa Stephens, the hotel’s assistant general manager.

The rooms include king or double queen beds, walk-in showers, Italian linen sheets and custom artwork.

The hotel’s grand opening coincided with OU’s Big 12 Conference home opener against Kansas State.

The game day experience is enhanced by One Bar, NOUN’s second-story bar with indoor and patio seat ing that overlooks the west end of Campus Corner and the north end of the university.

Bench seating and firepits on the One Bar patio are de signed to “create conversation,” Lambert said.

Behind the bar is a private room modeled after a speak easy, illicit nightclubs that were popular during prohi bition. Patrons who rent the space can “order drinks through a window in the wall,” Stephens said.

Boyd House, the official residence of OU President Joseph Harroz Jr., is close by, as are numerous restau rants, bars and shops.  Harroz is among those who have toured the new ho tel.  Lambert said the president told him it “exceeded his expectations.”

Many who attended a “sneak peek” of the hotel on Sept. 15, were also pleased.


“It’s an impressive open concept,” Sara Coonce said. “Sim ple, with beautifully curated community centers and an eye for fine details.”

Guest Denny Lee called NOUN “a welcoming home away from home.”

Greg Wood said the hotel “is about to change the way peo ple think about Norman.”

“It finally going to be a destination,” he said.  Supper Club, the hotel’s bistro-style restaurant, is locat ed on the first floor and offers seasonal dishes and craft cocktails.

NOUN includes approximately 3,900 square feet of meet ing space and features a lobby that is three times larg er than one built for a hotel of similar size, Lambert said.  “We want people to enjoy each other’s company,” he said.  Lambert promises patrons an “elevated experience” in both “feel and service.”

“The NOUN is about people, place and ideas,” he said. “We truly want to please the community and OU.”  General Manager Ronnie Krodel said NOUN will deliv er a “very unique experience.”

“There’s nothing like this until you get to downtown Oklaho ma City,” he said. “On game days, it’s OU, OU, OU. And then on non-game days it’s a boutique, up-scale experience.” – BSM

58 | October 2022

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62 | October 2022 C M Y CM MY CY CMY K
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Service Spotlight: Deputy Don Hudgins

Deputy Don Hudgins knows a thing or two about illegal dumping, an increasing problem in Cleve land County. As the investigator of the environ mental crime for the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, Hudgins has collected about 26,000 pounds of trash during a five-month period this year alone. That’s 13 tons of trash.

A 35-year member of law enforcement, Hudgins retired after 24 and half years with the Midwest City Police Department. He then moved to the Logan County Sheriff’s Office in Guthrie where he spent 10 years in various positions before coming up with an idea to help clean up illegal dumping in the county.

“I had all the details for a grant to present to the De partment of Environmental Quality (DEQ),” Hudgins said. “When I first started in Logan County in 2018, there were only six agencies doing what I do.”

As Hudgins helped clean the county, organizations be gan taking notice and he received several awards from the “Keep Oklahoma Beautiful” campaign.

Retiring a second time, Hudgins and his wife moved to Cleveland County to a property where they could keep their horses. A few months later, he received a call from the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office wanting in formation about the illegal dumping program he set up in Logan County.

“A guy from the DEQ put a bug in the ear of the sher iff’s office and I received the call,” Hudgins said.

Hudgins began working in Cleveland County in Janu ary and is still getting to know the area. His goals in clude identifying popular areas for dumping, cleaning it up and finding out who is doing it. Offenders often dump late at night to avoid the cost and inconvenience of proper waste disposal. Because the dumping of gar bage, household appliances, abandoned automobiles, construction and demolition debris, hazardous materi als and other waste endangers public health, a variety of laws exist including misdemeanor and felony charges.

Armed with several methods to identify culprits, Hudgins uses hidden cameras, digs through trash piles in search of a name and follows leads.

“You’d be shocked at the things I find,” Hudgins said.

Recently, he found a bunch of bowling balls. In another pile, he found children’s baseball items including helmets.

It’s important to hire a reputable company when clean ing out a residence. Hudgins warned that the person who hired the company might still be liable.

“If they hire someone and the person didn’t do the right thing, the person who hired them has to prove what happened or legally they are getting the charge,” he explained.

This is a continuation of our series on public servants in Norman.


Hudgins remembers the time a lady asked her husband to take several file boxes to the dump, but he threw them on the side of the road, which happened to be right in front of one of Hudgins’ cameras.

“I had his picture, license plate number and files with their address,” Hudgins laughed.

Several issues in Cleveland County include items left behind by the population without a home.

“There are no sanitation services, so a lot of trash gets built up at those locations,” Hudgins said.  “We work with them to keep the area cleaner.”

Another issue is contractors who clean out rented hous es, roofers or used tire companies who dump out their trash rather than paying the fees.

“It ends up costing the state money and that cuts into our budget,” Hudgins said.  “Although I know I’ll never be able to catch everybody, if I can figure out who is doing it and catch them on camera, I’ll be able to get the word out that they have to dump legally.”

Sometimes Hudgins receives help from citizens including what he describes as an odd case in Wagoner County.

“A lady reported a truck dumping concrete into a pond and started looking into it herself,” he shared. “Using Google Earth, she saw the truck dumping and filling in

the pond. When I investigated, the landowner was al lowing them to do it, but it turned out to be a federal wetland. The guy was tearing down a building and fill ing the pond with construction debris, resulting in the company getting stiff fines because of it.”

Fines for illegal dumping range from $500 for small items to $8,000. Fines are issued not just for dumping trash but also for chemical or sewage runoff if, for ex ample, a septic tank is malfunctioning. Although it’s not illegal to burn brush on private property, it is illegal to burn plastics and tires because it is a different type of pollution than brush.

“It indirectly affects our fuel prices at the pump,” Hudgins explained. “The DEQ has people who test the air quality around the cities several times a week. If there’s more pollution, it raises our taxes on fuel at the gas pump. That’s why we watch illegal burning so closely.”

Hudgins said he enjoys his job because it gives him a lot of freedom.

“I’ve done a lot of things in my career,” he said. “With a Type A personality, I’ve worked all the fun stuff…nar cotics, SWAT and all that but I’m older now. The days of my 6-minute miles are gone.”

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All You Need to Know about Home Equity Loans

As you pay down your first mortgage or the value of your home increases, you develop equity. When you have equity built up in your home, borrowing against it with a home equity loan is a great way to tap into the money when you need it most. Many people take out a home equity loan to finance home improve ments, pay for their child’s college education, cover unforeseen medical costs, and many other purposes. Here’s all you need to know about home equity loans.


A home equity loan (HEL), or second mortgage, is a se cured loan that allows homeowners to borrow against the equity in their home. The loan amount is based on the difference between the home’s current market value and the homeowner’s outstanding mortgage balance. Home equity loans tend to be fixed rate, while the typ ical alternative, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), generally have variable rates and allow the borrower to withdraw funds as needed.


Your primary mortgage is the amount you borrowed when you first purchased your home. Over time, as you pay down the loan and/or the value of your residence increases, so does your equity. You can take a home eq uity loan out against the equity you have built up in your home, essentially borrowing against your home’s value minus what you still owe on your mortgage. It’s important to note that a home equity loan is a second loan against your home. You’ll still need to pay your primary mortgage along with new payments for your home equity loan.

A lender will typically want you to have at least an 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio once your home eq uity loan has been approved.


Home equity loans typically have a fixed interest rate, making budgeting for the payments easy. The lender provides a lump sum payment to the borrower, which is then repaid over the life of the loan, along with a set in terest rate. Both the monthly payment and interest rate will remain the same over the entire loan term, which can last anywhere from 5 to 30 years. If the borrower sells the home before the loan term is matured, the loan must then be repaid in full.

A home equity loan can be a great choice for a borrower with a one-time or straightforward cash need such as a home addition, large medical expenses, debt consolida tion or a wedding.


As with mortgage loans, there are closing costs associ ated with home equity loans. Closing costs refer to any fees incurred when originating, writing, closing or re cording a loan. These fees include application, apprais al, title search, attorney fees and points. Some lenders may advertise no-fee home equity loans which require no cash at closing, but these will usually have other as sociated costs or a higher interest rate which can easily offset any gains.


There are several advantages to taking out a home equity loan to fund a home improvement project or a large expense:

• The amount of interest paid toward a home equity loan may be tax-deductible.

• Interest rates on HELs are generally lower than those provided by credit cards or unsecured loans.

• You can use the funds for a variety of purchases.

Home equity loans do have some disadvantages as well:

• Using your home as collateral for the loan means risking foreclosure and the loss of your home if you default on the loan.

• If your home value declines over the term of the loan, you may end up owing more than your home is worth.

• You’ll need to pay closing costs and other fees when you take out a home equity loan.

• You may qualify to borrow more than you actu ally need and ultimately end up using more than planned, which of course you’ll need to repay.

The hot real estate market has led to a boom in popu larity for home equity loans. However, it’s important to weigh all factors carefully before determining if a home equity loan is best for your specific needs.

70 | October 2022


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Get Ready to Entertain with Wine Cocktails!

Temperatures are dropping, football is happening, and it is time to get together and entertain. I went looking for some easy wine cocktails because cocktails (and yes, seltzers) rock.

Making cocktails can be daunting, but wine-based cocktails are usually simpler. . So here are some suggestions for your party, or just to treat yourself.


This red wine spritzer lightens up red wine, and then you can use the rest for cooking. Here’s how to make it:

• Fill a glass halfway with red wine, preferably chilled.

• Pour in an equal amount of club soda and stir gently.

• Add an orange slice garnish!


• Pour 1 1/2 oz. pinot noir, 1 oz. vodka and 1/2 oz. dry vermouth in a mixing glass.

• Add ice and stir until the glass is chilled.

• Strain into a martini glass and serve with a couple of quality cherries.


• Combine 1 bottle red wine, 3 oz rum, the juice of 1/2 lemon and 4 teaspoons sugar in a punch bowl.

• Stir well to make sure everything combines and the sugar dissolves.

• When it’s time to serve, add ice and any variety of seasonal fruits you wish.

This punch will make about nine 4-oz servings.


• 2 oz Hpnotiq Liqueur

• 2 oz white wine, any style will work perfectly in this recipe.

• 1 oz ginger ale

Pour the Hpnotiq, white wine and then ginger ale into a Champagne flute. Serve and enjoy.

Since there’s no ice, chill all ingredients beforehand. Chilling the flutes will help, too.

To make party service quick and easy, line up all the flutes you need and pour the liqueur and white wine. Right before it’s time to pass out the cocktails, top each glass with cold ginger ale.

Enjoy your party!


76 | October 2022
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Prosperity Ahead

Norman Economic Development Coalition focuses on positive change, regional opportunity with vision-centric initiatives

Norman Economic Development Coalition (NEDC) strategists see hope on the horizon. Even as consumers fight inflation and higher gas prices, a brighter future looms large.

NEDC is a public/private partnership, a joint ef fort between the University of Oklahoma, the City of Norman, Moore Norman Technology Center and the Sooner Centurions, a committee of the Norman Chamber of Commerce. According to its mission state ment, the entity “is dedicated to improving the quality of life of Norman residents through the creation and retention of jobs.”

Husband and wife team Lawrence and Elizabeth McK inney are experts in strategic planning in economic de velopment. Lawrence serves as president and chief ex ecutive officer of NEDC, while Elizabeth is a principal of her company, Economic Strategy Professionals. The couple chose to move to Norman in 2021 and accept ed the challenge of applying their expertise with the know-how to effect positive change.

A previous economic development plan for Norman had already been written pre-pandemic but it needed mod ification due to economic shifts. The couple set out to understand Norman and surrounding communities by talking with the people who know the area best: com munity leaders, business professionals and everyday cit izens who choose to make Cleveland County their home.

Approximately 120 confidential interviews later, through a series of 40 questions and more than 300 hours of conversation, how the plan needed to change became evident.

“We asked people key questions like ‘What are the community’s strengths?’ ‘What holds Norman back?’ and ‘If you were king or queen for a day, what would you change?’,” Lawrence said.

Working through the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in buying patterns shifting business away from local shop ping and the challenge of preparing tomorrow’s work force have resulted in lessons learned, better practices and new ideas that will ultimately prepare Norman for generations to come.

“Part of what we’re doing is working to bring in vibrant community partners who see Norman as a permanent destination for jobs, which enhance quality of life ini tiatives,” said Lawrence.

A total of 10 initiatives were planned pre-pandemic but rewriting of the strategic plan led to focusing on five key areas, which will be put forth in a detailed plan later this fall.

“The plan is slated to include major initiatives over the next five to 10 years,” said Lawrence. “With project ed growth, there are certain expectations. People need jobs at all levels, but we’re focused on wealth-produc ing jobs, which leads to support of arts and charities.

80 | October 2022 COMMUNITY

“Everything ties back to the business community and how it ultimately supports other initiatives that matter to people, not just in Norman, but across Moore, Noble and other smaller communities. Throughout this pro cess, we are making sure we are communicating and appreciating our regional communities.”

Projections will also include estimated growth for busi ness sectors like real estate, car sales and groceries. One factor anticipated to jumpstart is OU’s announcement it will join the Southeastern Conference (SEC), with the big move anticipated in 2025.

“We have already heard of realtors and property own ers fielding calls and offers being made on properties from out of town because of the upcoming SEC affilia tion,” said Lawrence.

Focusing on the positive aspects of living, working and pursuing recreation in and around Norman is an im portant undertone of all efforts to plan for the future. Staffing, a current challenge for employers throughout the country, is top of mind for local employers

“Our biggest challenge at the moment is embracing change. Change is hard for a lot of people, but we have to focus on coming together as a community,” Elizabeth said. “People love this community. Sometimes, a vocal minority may speak up about something really bother ing them but across all the interviews we have conduct ed what we found is that, by and large, people have a lot more in common when it comes to what they want for the place they call home.”

Lawrence agreed, adding that the opportunities ahead highlight tremendous growth potential.

“Norman is a culturally rich community. We are inclusive and diverse. Through our work, we listen to a lot of opin ions and small groups may think their thoughts and ideas are leading the charge, but Norman is much more unified than one might assume,” Lawrence shared. “What we’ve seen is there are 128,000 people here to round out what is actually a middle-of-the-road kind of community.”

NEDC will prepare a community report card every year with an online dashboard updated monthly.

“Generational change is on the horizon, especially con sidering all that the SEC will bring,” Lawrence said. “Changes are not just tied to OU but to burgeoning in dustry as a whole with new possibilities ahead. We are not looking at companies that pay minimum wage, but rather at least per capita income.

“We are focused on attracting and retaining wealth-pro ducing organizations from hospitals to trucking. Through the Aviation Academy, we anticipate multi generational growth. This vision will allow Norman and surrounding areas to rise to the level of what they really are and can be for future generations.”

Find more information and future announcements at



retention and expansion





Corporate attraction for weather and radar industries

Oklahoma Aviation Academy

Lawrence and Elizabeth McKiney
• Business
• Entrepreneurship
• Quality


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