Boyd Street March 2021

Page 1

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration


United Way of Norman

Launching Dreams

High School Sports

Spring Previews

March 2021 • Issue 3 • Volume 20




Committed to


Spend Life Wisely Faith

Financial Well-Being

Health & Wellness

Personal Growth

Norman East • 801 12th Ave. NE • Norman, OK Norman Hwy 9 • 4925 SE 44th St. • Norman, OK Norman North West • 570 24th Ave. NW • Norman, OK



Access your Banking

Explore our Pillars


Equal Housing Lender. NMLS# 400025.



Not FDIC Insured. No Bank Guarantee. May Lose Value.



NEW MEMBERS EARN UP TO $450 IN THE FIRST 24 HOURS! The Wild Card is your ticket to earning entries into every big giveaway, but it’s also how you cash in on rewards like Bonus Play and free hotel stays. JUST VISIT ANY PLAYERS CLUB DESK TO GET YOURS.






e n i l n O r e Ord

rded a w e R t + Ge O R D E R S . E ATAT T H E G A R A G E . C O M

When you place your order online at ORDERS.EATATTHEGARAGE.COM, you’ll enjoy easy and convenient ordering, earn 405-360-4386 rewards through our

405-366-6291 loyalty program and enjoy contactless curbside or get your W.pick-up Robinson - Brookha301 W Boyd St.-Campus 3750 venVillage deliveredCorner to your doorstep. Norman, OK 73072 Norman, OK 73069

YOUR LOC AL NEIGHBORHOOD, FA M I LY P U B o p e n f o r l u n ch




we e ke n d b r u n ch

ORDER ONLINE FOR CONTACTLESS PIC K-UP p l a c e yo u r o r d e r a t p u b d u b . c o m f o r c o nve n i e nt a n d c o nt a c t l e s s o r d e r p i ck - u p .

3 7 2 0 W. R O B I N S O N S T . 6 | March 2021


4 0 5 . 7 01 . 5 8 4 4





Going Beyond Band-aids &

14 Boo-boos


by Lindsay Cuomo NPS health services staff takes on new roles to keep students, faculty and staff safe.

Adventures with Divot & Swish

18 by Rae Lynn Payton

Local author motivates readers to courageously try new sports in worldly ways.

Immersive Learning

24 Experiences



Mark Doescher Josh Gateley - OU Athletics


Callie Collins | Lindsay Cuomo Kathy Hallren | Joy Hampton Shannon Hudzinski | Chelsey Kraft Bill Moakley | Rae Lynn Payton Chris Plank | Perry Spencer | Chat Williams



Tracie Gray - Trevor Laffoon - Perry Spencer -


Casey Vinyard

by Callie Collins Engage Learning helps children, teachers through project-based learning.


Normanite in the Spotlight: 30 Megan Sherrer

by Chelsey Kraft Longtime Normanite understands the importance of giving back to the community for the greater good.


Heart • Hustle • Harkless

36 by Chris Plank

2021 OU Baseball

10 Capt. James Glasco

After a promising season cut short, the Sooners look towards Omaha.

Launching dreams

Building A Place to Gather

by Perry Spencer

60 Norman North Timberwolves

Spring Sports Preview

by Perry Spencer

by Lindsay Cuomo

76 by Shannon Hudzinski - OUFCU

Save Money When Shopping Online

82 by Kathy Hallren - Joe’s Wines & Spirits Sweet Moscato

by Bill Moakley Fingers crossed, this March, Asp Avenue will flow green once again.

Norman Regional Hospital:

What’s Eating Norman?

54 Norman Tigers

72 Keeping Normanites Healthy

Southwind Hills Home & Design constructs new urbanism development and custom homes.

96 O’Connell’s

by Joy Hampton

Spring Sports Preview


United Way of Norman offers competitive grant opportunity.

92 by Rae Lynn Payton

Spotlights Service Spotlight:

66 by Callie Collins

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.

The Sooners’ newest X-factor looks to keep making an impact deep into March.

46 by Chris Plank

Boyd Street Magazine 2020 E. Alameda Norman, Oklahoma 73071 Phone: (405) 321-1400 E-mail: Copyright © Boyd Street Magazine




89 by Chat Williams - Youth Performance Consistency is Key

Cover photo by: Mark Doescher




Service Spotlight: Capt. James Glasco


native Oklahoman, James Glasco’s father was a career corrections officer with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, so it was no stretch when James took a job at the county jail. What Glasco could not have visualized growing up was a global pandemic that would put the staff and inmates under his care in danger, or that his actions on the job would contribute to their safety. “I grew up in Holdenville and we moved to Noble when I was in eighth grade,” he said. “My dad worked in corrections for 28 years, and I was always interested in the detention and corrections side of law enforcement.” The new facility opened in Norman in 2012 and he started working for the county jail that July. “We toured the old jail before it was torn down,” he remembered. “Looking at it, I didn’t want this new facility to turn into that. This isn’t a dungeon like some facilities. We’ve got natural light coming in, and we keep the walls clean.” A clean, bright environment helps ease the tension of inmates and staff and affects the overall mood of the facility, he said. “If we don’t take care of our facility, it shows the inmates that we don’t care, and why should they care if we don’t?” he said. Glasco advanced through the ranks to captain in 2018 and now he is part of the command staff, supervising 85 detention

officers and first-line supervisors. “I had a supervisor who said his job as a leader was to help write my book,” Glasco said. That made him realize he is helping those under his leadership. “This gives me the opportunity to help mold the future generation of law enforcement and make sure they’re on the right path, upholding our mission, vision and values,” he said. Glasco also routinely deals with inmate concerns. “I’m not here to judge,” he said. “I don’t look at what color this person is wearing, orange for inmates or gray for staff. If that officer did something wrong, they are going to be held accountable. I believe in accountability.” As part of the leadership team, Glasco faced new challenges in 2020. “When COVID first hit, they tasked me with finding a cleaning method to stop or slow the spread,” he said. “I started looking into UV lights. I found out XENEX disinfecting robots were at Norman Regional and talked with them about the effectiveness.” The XENEX LightStrike robot uses a patented system that produces UV across the entire germicidal spectrum to deactivate pathogens without damaging bedding or other materials. “When I looked at alternate UV manu-

facturers, most of their bulbs were made with mercury which can be an environmental hazard if broken,” Glasco said. He also had trouble getting data from other companies on the effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. “I knew we could implement the robot here, and it would help inmates and staff,” he said. Glasco had a robot-naming contest for staff to promote buy-in during training, and soon “Deputy Germinator” joined the team. While Deputy Germinator zaps pathogens throughout the jail, they also use it frequently in the break and briefing rooms used by staff. Glasco said the robot is easy to use and effective. The robot deactivates many pathogens, and the jail has experienced no flu this year. He noted that the staff is healthier overall, which means fewer sick days off work. The robot was a major investment, and Glasco said he appreciates the support of the administration. He gives credit to detention officers and first-line supervisors under his command for the success of the facility’s ability to maintain a safe environment. “Day-to-day, they are in the trenches,” he said. “That’s where much of our success comes from.” – BSM This is a continuation of our series on public servants in Norman.

10 | March 2021

Need help with your Real Estate?

Aria has a team of professionals ready to serve you! Call us or visit our website to see how we can help you this year! - Residential Sales - Association Management


- Residential Leasing - Property Management



Going Beyond Band-aids & Boo-boos

NPS health services staff takes on new roles to keep students, faculty and staff safe


he image of a school nurse doling out ice packs and band-aids merely scrapes the surface of what health professionals working for Norman Public Schools handle during a normal school day, but this year especially, the department has also taken a leading role in combating the spread of COVID-19. “When I tell people what I do, they often say ‘I didn’t know that is what school nurses do,” shared Mollee Speichinger, a licensed practical nurse working at Alcott Middle School. “It’s not just band-aids and boo-boos. I see students for asthma and diabetes care, first aid, mental health, a wide variety of health needs.” Beth Roberson, a registered nurse and the district’s health services coordinator, said that the health services program has evolved since its inception in 2009, something she credits to community partners like the Norman Regional Health Foundation. Deana Aissaoui, a registered nurse, said NPS was uniquely equipped to address the challenges of the pandemic since the district already had health services at each school. “Because we have been proactive, we were ahead. We already had (a health professional) in each school with a working knowledge of the school and that community. That was a real plus for us.” Justin Milner, the district chief operations officer, echoed Aissaoui’s sentiments. “I can’t imagine how we could have put something like this together in a pandemic without our partnership with Nor-

14 | March 2021

man Regional Hospital,” he said. “We were able to move a couple of positions from part time to full time and that was an absolute blessing to have all that in place. Our health services program has assisted us so much.” Health services staff have worked to maximize distancing within classrooms and lunchrooms, managed PPE distribution, coordinated testing capabilities with IMMY Labs at school sites and streamlined contact tracing processes, all while adapting as new CDC guidelines change. “You hear a lot about the heroes of the pandemic. I can say without hesitation that our health professionals have been the heroes of our district,” said Dr. Nick Migliorino, superintendent of Norman Public Schools. “They are working tirelessly, day-in and day-out. Whether it’s doing contact tracing after hours or on weekends, or coordinating protocols and safety in their buildings, they are truly making it possible for our schools to remain open safely.” Milner commends the work of Roberson and her team and how they have taken on additional training related to the pandemic and added additional important tasks as needed. “The compassion and hard work they are doing right now is beyond anything we could ask for, beyond the call of duty,” he said. “Our district would not be as successful if we didn’t have the health services team. All of us should shout their praises.” Even with so much already in place, navigating a global pandemic meant staff are now dealing with new challenges. “Contact tracing wasn’t even on our radar as part of our job but we are running all of that now,” Roberson said. “They

Mollee Speichinger and Deana Aissaoui, health professionals with Norman Public Schools are experts now and they have done a great job.” Speichinger said that contact tracing takes up most of her work hours and even some of her after hours. “We are working nights and weekends at times,” she said. “If we get notified that someone has tested positive we want to work as quickly as possible for the safety of our students, teachers and staff. Our workload has shifted but my focus has not. I want my parents and students to be able to come to me with questions and concerns. “Everything we do is for the safety of our students, teachers and staff.” Roberson is thankful for the community support that has

come in from so many this school year. Organizations and community members have donated hand sanitizer, thermometers, handmade masks, disposable masks, alcohol wipes, gloves and more. “We are so appreciative and I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many that have donated and wrapped around the school district when we needed it,” she shared. “We are so thankful to the Norman community. It has been a joy to see everyone come together and support the district.” Speichinger said the outpouring has meant a lot. “For someone to bring me a value pack of Clorox wipes, since they are such a hot commodity, I teared up.”  – BSM























Nor ma n C ham ber of Com m erce A nnu a l Ba nqu et Em ba s sy Sui tes & Conference Center



Adventures with Divot & Swish

Local author motivates readers to courageously try new sports in worldly ways 18 | March 2021


hildren of all ages will delight in the rhyming, inspirational work of art that is “Adventures with Divot & Swish in Costa Rica” by author Beth Brown, Ph.D. The book is the first of many to come in a series centered around two already well-loved characters, Divot and Swish. The duo travels the world, meeting new friends and learning life lessons, while playing new sports. The book’s mission is unique in that the story encompasses and integrates key skills in both physical and emotional literacy while exploring culture with whimsical, creative art that engages readers. The story takes readers to Costa Rica where Divot, the outgoing golf-loving character, and Swish, the shy basketball enthusiast, meet Sammy the Surfer, who takes them through the lush jungle to a beach-side town where he’ll teach them how to surf and encourage and support them along the way. Divot and Swish are naturally nervous and must develop their superpower of courage in order to take on the waves and explore surfing amongst the varied marine life. “At one point in the book, it states ‘it takes courage to surf with the fish or to do anything new.’ That embodies the whole point of the book. We can be scared, but it’s the idea of pushing out of our comfort zones and trying something new that’s crucial. It’s okay to fail or fall. That’s how we actually get better. Failure is learning,” shared Dr. Brown. Brown’s goal is to inspire kids, families, coaches and educators to have more active life lessons and to help adults intentionally teach those lessons.

lines from one of her childhood favorites, Dr. Seuss, said a prayer, and began to write. About four hours later, she had accomplished her goal. When choosing her illustrator, Brown felt a connection with Charlotte Strickland. They communicated almost daily for two months to make sure the art was technically accurate and matched Brown’s thoughts, with Strickland’s own artistic spin. “She merged my vision with her art to match exactly what was in my heart and in my head,” Brown explained. Brown is grateful for the support from family, friends and others in the book industry. Book readings and virtual meetings with children have become one of her new favorite activities. Lovingly referred to by students as “Dr. Beth,” children are eager to ask her questions and hear her story. She’s just as eager to listen to their responses and share. The newest surprise development: Divot & Swish will soon have pets. Kali the Puppy and Lennie the Lizard will become additional timeless characters, per request of pets from young fans. Since the book’s launch on Jan. 12, the sport-loving duo is already adored by many. Brown is hopeful to begin working on the next book in the coming months. Few secrets can be

“Sport does not automatically develop character, but we can intentionally help them develop character through sport which is what Divot & Swish is all about,” she explained. The book is recommended for children of all ages, birth and up. Brown’s hope is that children will grow with it, first by being read to, followed by learning to read it themselves, and then finally by reading to others as well. It’s a story for the ages, with a variety of talking points that will spark engaging discussion with inspiring advice for young readers. “Explore and try lots of new things, whether it’s different sports, writing, art or helping others, for example. Trying new adventures is how you’ll find your passion as you grow,” she shared. Dr. Brown’s journey began with the seed of an idea about 15 years ago, while in a bookstore. As time passed and her journey in life developed, she knew she wanted to write the book one day. She used her life experiences, including a surfing lesson in Costa Rica, along with detailed research on marine life to craft her story. After listening to an inspiring speaker, Jill Donovan, back in 2019, Beth decided to sit down one October morning and begin writing her book. She collected her thoughts, read some


shared yet, but we do know that the next adventure will take them to meet another human friend, a young lady. Brown’s love of sports began at the young age of 2, as she was often seen holding a basketball. By age 8, she was playing golf. Her dad was a coach in a small eastern Oklahoma town and was a huge inspiration to her. “It was a great opportunity to get to learn the teamwork from basketball and individual responsibility from golf,” she shared. Her youth sport experiences and hard work paved the way for her collegiate success as a member of the University of Oklahoma basketball team and conference champion women’s golf team. As her love for sports continued, she realized the unique opportunity sport has to impact not only physical abilities but life skill development as well. Since earning her Ph.D. in sports psychology at the University of Kansas, Brown has gone on to influence and impact thousands through her roles as a golf coach, an educational program developer at The First Tee and LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, and founder and owner of the consulting agency, Team Aureus.

20 | March 2021

Her roles have allowed her to train adults to engage kids in sport and help them develop character and life lessons in sport intentionally. She has been involved in curriculum development and coach training. She feels that her life’s work has brought her to this point. “I have lots of hopes that Divot & Swish can reach a much broader group of people and influence them in ways I couldn’t ever do as one person,” she said. Find copies of “Divot & Swish” at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and at – BSM

Whether he was in the synagogue, at home, on the road or among his accusers, Jesus was honest, authentic, truthful. This Lenten season at McFarlin, we invite you to join us as we challenge ourselves to become Real Like Jesus.

Our Lenten series // Feb. 21 - Apr. 4

Sunday Worship at McFarlin Sports Talk Radio AM1400 // 99.3FM


(Broadcasts one week behind)

Online Worship YouTube & Facebook

9AM // Modern 11:15AM // Sanctuary

Find more ways to jump in at

into Spring and as always...




Immersive Learning Experiences

Engage Learning helps children, teachers through project-based learning

24 | March 2021


utting textbook concepts into practice happens both inside and outside of the classroom — or in the case of Engage Learning, often outside of buildings with playground equipment, doghouses of the future and other structures. The non-profit approaches project-based learning in ways that are valuable to both teachers and students. “The work teachers are asked to do in their daily jobs is hard. They’re wearing so many hats and they have meetings, hundreds of students and testing requirements. Through Engage Learning, we can support teachers and empower their biggest dreams in ways they don’t have the time and resources to do,” said Bart Keeton, founder and executive director. The Oklahoma-based nonprofit has collaborated with schools since 2017 with primarily science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) experiences that go beyond typical school experiments or science fairs. Community impact often benefits the areas where students’ families work and live. For example, once a week over the course of a semester, approximately 50 fifth graders at Lincoln Elementary met to imagine, design and build prototypes for a new playground. They then lent a hand outside to help construct that vision. Engage Learning coaches also helped Lincoln’s fifth graders create a playground for the school’s first graders. Their elaborate design plans included a 16-foot rocket ship and launch tower, an obstacle course and a tipi structure they described as a “chill volcano,” all of which are now part of the school’s playscape. Throughout the past three years, Engage Learning has partnered with nearly 100 public schools throughout Norman, Oklahoma City, Noble and other areas. Projects typically take place during school time, after school, throughout the summer and holiday breaks.

Rather than being discouraged by the complications of COVID-19 and in-person instruction, Engage Learning staff accepted the challenge of increasing access through virtual learning. With 17 full and part-time employees, Keeton embraced the key question “How can we recreate the powerful maker-focused learning, engagement and interest of an in-person experience in an online medium?” Small classes via Zoom with teaching teams of usually two or three instructors and up to 12 students have formed a new model: virtual maker camps. Students are supplied with boxed materials that they keep at home and take out to participate in each session. “Our largest groups of students do not always have great opportunities in a rural setting. Sometimes, socioeconomic factors are an issue. Our goal is to provide learning, programming and coding opportunities to all students, including those who might otherwise not have that access just because of where they happen to grow up,” said Keeton. “Our vision is to be in all 77 Oklahoma counties to demonstrate how this type of learning can have an impact on students and teachers statewide.” Local teachers continue to be involved and Keeton has no intention of substituting their role. “We are always eager to collaborate with teachers on our projects. Our mission is to engage teachers, not replace them,” explained Keeton. “The goal has always been to work within the system. Starting a private school would be easier. It would be an amazing place for the handful of kids who could attend but Engage’s impact would be limited.” “The need is urgent, so our vision is to create as many powerful learning experiences as possible. Childhood is now,” he said. Contrary to what might be assumed, Keeton is not an engineer nor a classroom teacher. He studied English at the


University of Virginia and Duke University and relocated to Oklahoma for family reasons. Engage Learning was a way to impact the place Keeton now calls home. Students who join the program do not necessarily have to be the most outstanding at math or science, Keeton said. “Engage is for all students,” he clarified. “Academically-motivated students tend to love what we do. That’s not a surprise. Children who excel through active, kinesthetic learning but may not even know it yet are the children who often find a special place with Engage.” Funding has been made possible through corporate sponsors and private donors, including OERB, Devon and Norman’s Oklahoma Electric Cooperative. OU’s Innovation Hub continues to provide support and facilities for special projects and a growing relationship with OU’s College of Education is crucial for program expansion. Starting this past summer, a group of Norman High School seniors began training to also work as Engage instructors and program creators, with a college-level seminar that includes child development fundamentals, teaching basics and more. 26 | March 2021

Training the next group of program providers and creators continues with Norman Public Schools high schools and other peers in nearby districts, including those who may have experienced the program as students with architecture projects, graphic novel design or other immersive learning experiences. “If they’re patient and love kids and have the necessary skills, students and adults can find a fit with mentoring,” said Keeton. Design + Do, a two-month competition sponsored by Devon on-site at OU, allows children to bring design principles into the prototype phase. Previous themes have been Playground Equipment, Doghouse of the Future and Parade Float. Seeing a complex project through from start to finish is a valuable process for students regardless of the field they choose to pursue. Making a lasting impact for students in Norman, throughout our state and beyond by showing the practical application of classroom concepts happens with Engage Learning. Find out about sponsorship opportunities and upcoming initiatives at – BSM



Megan Sherrer 30 | March 2021


ommunity involvement seems to come naturally to the Sherrer family, so naturally that Megan Sherrer jokes that in some ways, she wishes her family could relax a little more. Sherrer’s husband, Andy, serves on a variety of boards and works as community market president at First United Bank. The couple’s two children – 16-year-old Sheridan and 13-yearold Jackson – are both active in their schools and community, too. As for Sherrer, her current volunteer roles include PTO president at Whittier Middle School and president-elect of Assistance League of Norman. She’s also an active member and volunteer at First Christian Church, where her great-grandparents were founding members. “I have always firmly believed that my community is only as good as what I put into it,” Sherrer explained. “If I want things to be better and I want people to be better, then I need to be out there working in the community.” Sherrer’s Norman roots go way back. Her grandfather was born in a house located on 48th Avenue NW that had been in the family since the early 1900s. The location was Haynes Dairy Farm when Sherrer’s mom was growing up, and then it became Haynes Sod Farm. Sherrer, whose maiden name is Minadeo, said her dad was the oldest of six children and her mom is one of three. Many of her cousins have also settled down in Norman, leading people to sometimes jokingly ask if she’s family with everyone. After graduating from Norman High School in 1995, Sherrer and Andy both attended Oklahoma State University, where she earned a degree in secondary English education. Sherrer later earned a master’s degree in educational and community renewal from the University of Oklahoma. The Sherrers met as sophomores in high school through Norman Chamber of Commerce’s Tomorrow’s Leaders program – which their daughter is currently participating in. The pair became friends but did not start

dating until their sophomore year of college and married in 1999, the week after they graduated from OSU. From Stillwater, the Sherrers moved to Arkansas when Andy took a job as a buyer for Dillard’s. They then moved to Tulsa and lived there for about a year and a half, but, when Andy got the opportunity to earn his MBA at OU, Sherrer was ready to return home. Sherrer spent a few years teaching before becoming a stay-athome mom. She taught English to seniors in Locust Grove, sophomores at Norman North High School and for three years at Whitter Middle School, where she and her daughter both attended and where her son is currently attending. “I’ve had every experience at the school,” Sherrer stated. “I’ve been a faculty member there, I’ve been a student there, and I’ve been a parent there.” This year, Sherrer took on the role of PTO president at Whitter Middle School. She admits COVID-19 has made the year difficult, shifting her goals to ones mostly about keeping the bills paid. If the year had been a bit more normal, Sherrer said she would have liked to focus on improving outdoor spaces or establishing programs to engage more students. Another prominent volunteer job for Sherrer is with Assistance League of Norman, where she is president-elect. Assistance League is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization focused on community outreach that benefits children and families in the Norman community. Their premier program is Operation School Bell, which helps kids from Norman and Little Axe Public Schools get new school clothes. Other programs include Seniors R&R, where members play bingo with clients at Full Circle Adult Day Center once a month, Bears for Children and Book of My Own that supplies new books to kids.

One goal for Sherrer, once she steps into the role of president, is to get more professional women involved. She also mentioned there are opportunities for local businesses and organizations to send volunteers to help children shop for school clothes. “Assistance League is one of my very favorite things,” Sherrer shared. “What we do best is serve our community, and we do that through friendships with one another while we’re working alongside each other making the community better.” Once a week, Sherrer works the front desk at Bloom Medical Aesthetics. When she’s not working or volunteering, Sherrer said she enjoys listening to audiobooks and spending time with her family. Most of all, Sherrer just enjoys being around people, whether that is during zoo trips with her family or interacting with others while volunteering. “My hobby has always been people,” Sherrer said. “I just love people, and I love my community.” – BSM


Our team at Ortho Central helps you turn setbacks into comebacks. The Ortho Central team includes four orthopedic surgeons, a 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.


Turning setbacks into comebacks Norman

3400 W. Tecumseh Rd., Suite 101 Norman, OK 73072

Midwest City

1624 Midtown Pl., Suite A Midwest City, OK 73130


34 | March 2021


BY: CHRIS PLANK he X-factor is a term often used in sports to define a person who could have a significant impact on the outcome of a game or an event. It’s not always the person who will get the headlines or the praise but, in the end, is the most important piece of a winning team. For the Oklahoma Sooner Basketball team, Elijah Harkless has been the unexpected X-factor, providing the Sooners with the spark, energy and toughness needed to move to another level heading into March Madness.


The fact that Harkless has had this type of an impact is not a surprise to those who have played with him, but what is even more impressive is that the Sooner transfer is providing an influence on the court despite not even expecting to play this season. As a transfer, Harkless had accepted the fact that this season would be a learning season to prepare for next year. But when the one-time exemption for transfers was awarded, Harkless was ready to help in any way he could. “The transfer rules in college had set my expectations,” he said. “It was a 1% chance that they would allow you to play after transferring. I was recruited to redshirt and that was the mentality that I came in with. But the pandemic opened that up and the coaches felt strongly about me coming out of my redshirt to help the team and I just believed in the coaches and the vision they had for me with the team.” The Cal State Northridge (CSUN) transfer had been considered an elite perimeter defender, and many projected his skills would add a spark to the Sooner lineup. But not many could have projected just how big of a spark that Harkless would truly add. After coming off the bench in his first five games, Harkless was inserted as a starter when the Sooners traveled to Lawrence to face Kansas. He has been a part of the Sooner starting lineup, making a noticeable impact since. His spark has turned into a player who is an all-around game changer. “I think in his case, he was very conscientious about doing the things right,” Sooner Head Basketball Coach Lon Kruger said. “I think maybe even stepping into the rotation a little bit he was concerned about how other people are feeling about that. Our point was just, ‘Just play. We’ll take care of the rotation’. It takes time… but as you saw, he’s progressed in every ball game and he’s playing awfully well right now.” Harkless made an impact on his Sooner teammates from the first moment he stepped on the court. “Since summer, he’s always been showing that dog side of him,” Kur Kuath said. “He can play in this league with us. He hustles. He works hard. He’s just like that. He comes to fight day in day out. I like that about E.J.”

HEART • HUSTLE In a lot of ways, Harkless has been the glue guy, or a dog as Kuath put it, for every team he has played for, the piece that helps hold a team together. His passion for the sport is contagious and his hard work is a character staple. It is something that coaches like David Kleckner noticed from the first time they saw him on a basketball court.

“You can see how he can impact the game in a variety of ways,” Kleckner told the OU Daily in a feature. “His toughness, the loose balls, the deflections, the steals, the rebounds, just the value to have someone like that in the lineup, it impacts the game.” Kleckner coached Harkless in high school at Etiwanda in Rancho Cucamongo, California and won a state championship. While Harkless was a star for Etiwanda, his friends over at Chino Hills were stealing most of the national and local headlines. The Ball brothers and their bombastic father Lavar were preaching to the world how they were ready to take over basketball. While Harkless was staying out of the spotlight, his close friends were dominating the sports headlines and he was learning in the process. “I witnessed it from a young age how they handled their exposure,” Harkless said of his friendship with the Ball brothers. “Melo was getting it at 14 and Lonzo was getting at 16. Just seeing the national publicity and watching how they handled it I took a lot of pages out of their book and I saw what it was like to work hard like they did every single day. So, I saw what it took to be good and I learned a lot from them.”

Photos by: Mark Doescher

Hard work is often overshadowed in the media by the swagger and attitude but not many could see how hard the Ball family worked behind the scenes and it made an impact on Harkless. “They put the work in,” he shared. “Lavar is a character and he brags on his kids, but he knows the work they put in… running the hills every day, putting up the shots every day. They’ve been doing it from a young age.” With the Ball brothers off to the NBA, Harkless was ready to chart his path to the next level. After his high school career wrapped up, the offers were not necessarily flying in.

36 | March 2021



“He was not getting recruited by anybody,” Kleckner said. “I was like, are you guys kidding me? I’m sitting here, begging these scouts. I said, “Hey, guys, Elijah Harkless is not getting the credit he deserves. You need to put him out there… and promote him as being a top player.” As had typified his career, Harkless worked hard at CSUN under the guidance of an experienced and focused coaching staff. Harkless had a vision for himself and the style he wanted to play. He took everything he could from the staff at Northridge and used that to continue to improve. “It was an incredible amount of knowledge,” Harkless said of the CSUN coaching staff. “Mo Williams fresh out of the NBA, Jeff Dunlap won a Canadian championship, Jim Harrick won a national championship at UCLA and was good friends with Coach Kruger. Mark Gottfried was our head coach and had a great run at Alabama. Mo played for him, there was a lot of knowledge there for sure and I learned from it.” When Harkless decided to move on from CSUN and find a different school, his options had increased. His numbers were not jaw dropping at Northridge, but his reputation had become more known. His ability and desire caught the attention of more schools. “The staff supported me. They definitely did,” Harkless said. “I don’t think my goal was to go a Power 5. It just happened to be at a Power 5 conference. I was looking for a school that plays up-tempo and takes pride on the defensive end of the 38 | March 2021

floor. Somewhere they take pride in getting me a lot better and becoming their ideal point guard in my year off.” Kruger and the Sooners reached out to Harkless quickly, and he committed before being able to visit campus due to COVID-19, choosing OU over Montana State, Fresno State and Loyola Marymount. “Northridge coaches talked often about how physical and how aggressive he is,” Kruger said. “And that’s certainly been the case here. He’s a very on-ball, physical defender … any coach would want that type of attitude and mentality in a program.” “Right about a month into the pandemic I started hearing about Oklahoma and honestly, I didn’t know too much,” Harkless said of his knowledge of Oklahoma Sooner basketball. “I had heard about the run to the Final Four with Buddy Hield and his unbelievable year. I’m on the West Coast so I didn’t see too much of it. I mean I didn’t even know that Buddy wore 24. Coming in I just picked a number that was valuable to me. If I would have known it was his, I wouldn’t have picked it.” For Harkless, the Sooner fit has been perfect, and, more than anything, it was refreshing to see hard work and grit rewarded. While the first round of recruiting did not go the way that he anticipated out of high school, his commitment to making the most of the situation earned him the opportunity to play in one of the best conferences in college basketball. “It was unbelievably cool to feel wanted,” Harkless said.

“Where I grew up, how I play the game, I was not into the camp thing and we didn’t get all the publicity through the camps, so I was under recruited. But the people who knew my game felt I was capable to play in any conference and it just took a couple of years for me to fill out and I guess it took a while for everyone to figure that out.” While Harkless is contributing and helping the Sooners, it’s hard to ignore how different the past year has been as athletes continue to play through a pandemic. The off-the-court fun is minimized, if not nonexistent. Activities like team meals and get-togethers, even full team practices, are limited. But, Harkless has not allowed that to affect him too much. “I keep to myself. I keep my circle small,” he said. “I like video games, that’s my thing. I’d rather play video games than go out so I’m not missing that part of life. People go out and love campus corner but we really didn’t have that at CSUN so I haven’t really known nor cared for the social scene. The part I don’t like is the opportunity to get in the gym every day. Some games it’s tough because you can’t get in the gym as much due to protocols.” With defense, hard work and hustle as noted benchmarks of his game, the junior transfer has also shown a knack for scoring big buckets in key moments. Against Alabama, Harkless hit a jumper with 20 seconds left to help secure the win for the Sooners over the 9th ranked team in the country. The headlines in the Norman Transcript the next day read, “How Could You Be So Harkless.” But for Elijah, it was not a moment to say “I told you so” or to even beat his chest. It was a moment that magnified his ultimate motivation...winning. “I do anything to help the team,” he said. “If that’s scoring that night, if that’s rebounding that night, if it’s assisting another night, I think I’ll be able to help the team. I can’t wait to see where we’re at in March.” “He’s been fantastic,” Kruger said. “He’s been super aggressive, he’s a very physical player… those are winning plays and Elijah has no hesitation to get on the floor and stick his nose in there on a rebound and play in a physical way.” “Me and my people, we never thought any of those guys that were recruited over me were better than me,” Harkless added. “Nobody really appreciated the way that I played the game. It wasn’t all about points. It’s all about wins. Wins are more important than stats to me, in my opinion.” X-Factor, glue guy, hard worker, hustler, grinder… all adjectives that correctly describe what Harkless is all about, but the most important thing to Harkless is not how he is described. What matters most to Harkless is winning. “I’m a winner. I’ll do anything to win. Anything it takes for the team to win that night, I’ll do to the best of my ability. Put guys in the right spot so ultimately we can succeed, that’s the goal, to win every game.” – BSM 40 | March 2021

Photos courtesy OU Athletics - Josh Gateley




46 | March 2021

Brandon Zaragoza


s Oklahoma Baseball kicks off the 2021 season, it is hard not to look back and think what might have been had the 2020 season not been cut short by COVID-19. The Sooners won six of their last seven games including three-straight games, had a no-hitter against LSU with Dane Acker on themound, and whispers of Omaha had started to make the rounds for the Sooners within the college baseball landscape.

But COVID-19 had other plans, shutting down the baseball season with the Sooners holding a 14-4 overall record before they could open conference play against the Texas Longhorns. The season being cut short was a huge blow to the Sooner momentum, but a bittersweet moment came during the MLB Draft in June of 2020. OU had four players — pitchers Cade Cavalli, Dane Acker, Levi Prater and catcher Brady Lindsly —drafted within the first four rounds, a first in program history. The entire Sooner weekend pitching rotation was gone and the impact on the 2021 roster will undoubtedly be significant, but OU can draw some positives on the recruiting trail, specifically touting the staff’s ability to develop players. “We’re gonna get over it,” Sooner head coach Skip Johnson said. “We’re happy for them. They got that opportunity because they worked for that, they really did. They’re always going to be a part of OU baseball. “My goal is to build relationships and to teach life lessons to these kids,” he added. “I really wish we could have reaped the benefits… who knows how that would have played out? But I gotta think it would have been good, for sure.” The positive momentum on the recruiting trail will be felt in time, but the roster vacancies and extended offseason are huge challenges for the Sooners in this season. “We had a really good team going into the season. We’re just really thankful for the opportunity to play this spring,” Johnson said. “We’re thankful to get to play as opposed to not play. We’re 340 days since we played so it’s unique in that sense and we’re just thankful to play baseball.” The start of the 2021 season presents a much different look for the Sooners’ starting rotation and overall roster. Of the 18 games that the Sooners played in 2020, the pitchers responsible for 12 of those 18 starts have now moved on to the next level. Despite a completely new look for the pitching rotation, there are some familiar faces. Closer Jason Ruffcorn returns for the Sooners after a season in which he notched five saves and was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Ruffcorn was named a preseason All-American by Despite the solid season in 2020, Ruffcorn decided to return to the Sooners and used the quarantine time to fine tune his overall approach as a pitcher.

Wyatt Olds

“One of the things I worked on was breaking down my mechanics,” Ruffcorn said. “I broke everything down, piece by piece to see what I could work on. The time we were forced to have away challenged me to see what I could improve upon. I noticed that I used to pull off my shoulders and once I fixed that I felt like my control and velocity improved.”

Jason Ruffcorn

Johnson also welcomes back Wyatt Olds to the staff after a solid 2020 season. Olds finished last year with a team-leading 1.98 ERA and struck out 29 batters in just 19 innings.


“I think we, just as a team, not just individually, made leaps and bounds,” Olds said of the elongated offseason. “It’s a really big deal for us to play because we didn’t know if we would have a season. I’m excited to get it started. Sure, some guys have moved on and they supported me and taught me and now that’s my role to be the role model around here.” Offensively, familiar faces dot the Sooner landscape, including All-American candidate Peyton Graham. Graham, a redshirt freshman from Waxahachie, Texas, started all 18 games as a true freshman last season at third base. “He’s got instincts and there are a lot of things he can do on a baseball field,” Johnson said of Graham. “He’s got raw power and he can really run. He’s got a good arm and he can hit. He walked onto our club last year and started early and had a lot of success. We want him to take it pitch by pitch and play the game hard. If he does all those things and is a good teammate all the other individual accolades will take care of themselves.” The Sooners also welcome back fifth-year senior Brandon Zaragoza who had to prepare this offseason without knowing if he would even be back in 2021. “The season ended so abruptly, and it was completely unexpected,” Zaragoza said. “I looked at it as an opportunity to prepare as if we were having a season. Defensive work, hitting, getting in the weight room, staying in shape. I was optimistic that I would get a chance to play. I continued to challenge myself and have the mindset that I was going to be ready to continue if we were able to play.” The Sooners have a chance to repeat the success of 2020 with some familiar faces on the field and a lot of new faces in the rotation, but in the end, the Sooners are simply happy to have a chance to play. “We’re just really thankful for the opportunity to get to play this spring,” Johnson said. “That’s the most important thing, to have a chance to play.”

BACK ON SPORTSTALK 1400 AND 99.3FM Every game of the Sooner Baseball season returns to SportsTalk 1400 and 99.3FM and the SportsTalk Network app. Every game can also be streamed at The Voice of the Sooners Toby Rowland returns for his ninth season behind the mic as the play-by-play voice for Sooner Baseball. While things are different with the challenges presented by COVID-19, Rowland anticipates every game being called on site which has been unique for sports over the last year. “As of now, we are planning to broadcast every OU Baseball game from in-stadium at home and on the road,” Rowland said. “That could change of course, but that’s the plan to start the season. We will not have normal access to the team, so we’re working on creative ways to continue to bring Sooner fans the comprehensive coverage we strive for every year.” The SportsTalk network is celebrating over 15 years as the home for Sooner baseball and the most exciting season may be on tap for 2021.

Jace Bohrofen

“This team has a chance to be an Omaha team, if the pitching falls into place,” Rowland added. “The loss of (Norman High Freshman) Cade Horton was costly. He was going to be a part of the weekend rotation, but if anyone can bring a pitching staff to together, it’s Skip Johnson. This could be the best hitting lineup we’ve seen for an OU Baseball team in many years. I’m excited!” Don’t miss a single minute of OU Baseball this season on SportsTalk 99.3FM/1400AM and online at– BSM

48 | March 2021


REAL. LOCAL. SAVINGS. Warren Stowe 405-248-9509 1500 W I-240 Service Rd Oklahoma City

Limitations apply. See for more details. GEICO & affiliates. Washington, DC 20076 © 2020 GEICO 52 | March 2021










(405) 799-0300 1199 S I-35 Service Rd, Moore, OK 73160

W E ’L L

Y O U.



54 | March 2021

BY: PERRY SPENCER ne constant for Norman Public School athletics is Gordon Drummond. The Norman High boys soccer coach starts his 37th season as the head coach of the boys soccer program. Since the season was cut short last year, Drummond said “the boys are determined to have a full season.” “Last season was an enormous disappointment,” he shared. “As one of the boys said ‘once is enough.’ Let’s finish the season.” Drummond will return two starters from a season ago so he is looking to his captains, Angel Velasco, and Griffin Storm for leadership, as two of Norman High’s most experienced players. The Norman High girls soccer program is looking to make the playoffs this season and finish with a winning record. Third-year head coach Mathew Yeoman thinks back to last year and what it means now that they are getting a full season and said he can wait to get started. “Being able to play this year means the world to me and my team. What happened last year still haunts us all. We are so grateful to be able to get out on the field.” The team will look to Brooke Goodman, Indigo Koch and Natalia Richartz for leadership this season. They do return plenty of experience with seven starters from a season ago. One other reason for excitement, their facility at Irving Middle School has new grass and they have leveled the ground to make Gordon Drummond Field an even better surface. Norman High will have a new coach for the girls golf program, Michael Jones. “Being a first-year head coach, I’m excited to see what our team can do in tournament play,” Jones said. “We had a really good offseason and have improved a lot in just a short time.” They have a goal to have a top finish in local tournaments and make the state tournament. Jones will be looking to seniors Lilly Boehm and Kaia Smith and junior Samantha Hames for leadership. They also return five starters from a year ago. Scott Monnard long-time success as cross-country coach has led his team to multiple state titles. He now enters his fifth season as head coach for the track and field program. The girls have 17 returning members from the previous season and the boys will have 22 returning. Monnard said, when asked about his goals for the season, his focus is the same as every season, and “that is for our kids to reach their full potential.” After the season ended abruptly last year, Monnard said last year was very disappointing. “They were obviously disappointed in how things ended a year ago, and especially since it was our best boys team we had had in the last 25 years.” Some of the track members to look for this season are Willie Prince, Luke Morrow, Spencer Greene and Phin Bonner, and on the girls’ side of things, Monnard singled out A’acia Brown. Zack Swart is starting his third season as head coach for the slow pitch team and there are plenty of reasons for excitement. The team has new infield turf, new fencing down the sides of the field and they have a new locker room in the works. The Tiger slow-pitch team will return three starters from a season ago. Senior Taylor Blanton is the one they will look to for leadership, and Shayne Roberts and Anslee Orrell, the team’s two juniors, are also players to watch. Freshman Laila King is looking for big things this season. The goal for the season, according to Swart, is to leave the season better than when they started, to build a culture that competes. They are excited to get on the field this year, “to finally get to put all the practice into real game situations,” Swart said.


“We’re excited to get out there and play ball.” Kelly Stout, Norman boys tennis coach, enters his 10th season in that role with the program. Last season was difficult for him and his team. “It means the world to the kids to play this season,” Stout said. “Most of them work on their sport all year long so they’ve been working since June of 2019 without receiving any of the reward of playing a competitive match. They really need this season to continue.” The squad will return five starters from last season and a group of seniors will lead the way, Caleb Hopper, Elliott Kmetz, Nick Fiebrich and Sam Mitchell. When asked what he’d like to see from this group of seniors and the team, Stout said, “to qualify the entire team for the state tournament.” Coach Stout also is the head coach of the girls tennis team this season, his 8th overall with the girls program, and like the boys program, the girls also will return five starters. This team will look to two juniors for leadership, Taylor Mattingly-Harnden and Yuna Jang, since they have no seniors on the roster. As a goal for this upcoming season, he would also like to qualify the entire girls’ team for the state tournament. The Norman High baseball team is excited to get into their stadium for the start of the season. They have had a lot of improvements over the past two years, but with no games, they haven’t been able to enjoy the new facilities. They have new infield and bullpen turf and new awnings for the bleachers. Head coach Cody Merrell said, “if you haven’t been by, the facilities and grounds look great, we are excited to get out there and play.”

Currently Norman High doesn’t have any players signed to play at the next level, but Merrell feels like that will change as we get into spring. Some of the guys to look for are seniors Daniel Hayes and Jordan Crowder and juniors Connor Goodson, Ben Huntley and Harrison Smith. Merrell knows that losing last year will make things more difficult this season. “Everyone lost a year of playing last spring, not just seniors,” he said. “So the guys who were working their way into the lineup last year are going to have to jump in with both feet and gain experience on the run.” The goals for the season are to “gain experience, gain confidence and win games,” Merrell said. The Norman High golf team brings a big name in as head coach of the program. Gregg Grost will enter his first season after more than 20 years experience as a Division One head coach, including stops at Lamar University and the University of Oklahoma. The team will bring back five starters from a season ago, including Ryan Bell who has signed to play golf at UCO. Look for Carson Wright and Evan Kelley as top golfers as well this season. The goal this season, according to coach Grost, is to “have a chance to capture the 6-A State Championship with nine holes to play.” “At that point, the team that handles the pressure the best will walk away with the title,” he said. Except for Grost, the rest of the staff stays intact with Hudson Harris and Brent Hartsook. –BSM

56 | March 2021

Children Teens Adults Braces & Invisalign

Arcade Waiting Room HD Movie Theater Internet Cafe’ Little Kiddo’s Play Area Easy Check-in Norman Office: South OKC Office:

405-321 -2735 405-407-6453

Proud Sponsor of Athletics

HOME LOANS WITH LOCAL SERVICE Arvest retains the servicing of 99% of the home loans we make, giving you peace of mind that you won’t suddenly be dealing with an unknown mortgage servicing company. You can also make payments at any branch location, over the phone, or even online. If you're considering buying a home, give us a call today. Fee assessed to non-Arvest accounts for online and telephone payments. Loans subject to credit approval.

Donnie Broms Associate Mortgage Lender (405) 517-9847 NMLS #1901681

Member FDIC





60 | March 2021

BY: PERRY SPENCER n March 26, 2020, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) unanimously decided to cancel winter state championships and the entire spring sports season. Now as we gear up for the start of a much-anticipated spring season, here is a preview of the Norman North Timberwolves spring sports. The Norman North girls soccer team is the defending state champion. Trevor Laffoon returns for his third season as head coach, and last year his squad started the season off 3-0, including two big victories over previous playoff teams, Westmoore and, on the road against Union, in extra time. Laffoon will return seven starters from a season ago. Meredith McAlester, the team’s only player heading to the next level to play college soccer, has signed with Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Players to keep a lookout for this season include juniors Hadley Horn, Becca Tweedy and Jada Ryan, sophomore Presslee Amick and freshman Narissa Fults. When asked about missing most of last season and what he is looking forward to this year, Laffoon said he is looking forward to “being able to watch the girls gain some high school experience and put themselves in a position to win another state title.” Winning a state title is a real possibility for this group and that is the goal for this season. The T-Wolves will look to add even more to their list of scoreboard accomplishments at Bryan Young Memorial Field.


Phil Corbett starts his eighth season as the girls tennis coach at Norman North High School. He welcomes back two returning starters and his top two players, Mackenzie Caddell and Peyton Benson, that were freshmen a season ago. He wishes his now sophomores had some more high school experience that they instead missed a season ago. A few other players to look for this season are seniors Liza Doyle and Jayden Kieffer and Kelsey Smith, a junior. When asked about his team’s goal this season, Corbett said his goal is to get six players into state every year. But he added that he always likes to take as many as possible to Day Two of state as well. The tennis facilities at Norman North have gotten quite the facelift recently and Coach Corbett said they have some awesome sponsors to thank. “Thanks to hard work from our booster club members the past two years, we have had sponsor signs up that bring in some money to help a sport that doesn’t get the most attraction.” The Norman North slow-pitch softball team returns a familiar face to the dugout, Beth Freihofer returns for her 27th season as a coach at Norman North, 24 of them as head coach.  The team only played five games a season ago, and but there is a reason for Freihofer’s optimism this season. “Most of these girls played fastpitch and had a really successful season, we are ready to take that momentum into the slow pitch season,” Freihofer said.  They return six starters from last year’s squad, but the Timberwolves don’t have a senior on the team.  The six juniors that Freihofer thinks will be the team leaders and help propel this program to the next step are Tylie Ligons, Trinity Hanska, Rylee Bottom, Jaelyn Brown, Madison Cheatwood and Mackenzie King.  The team is also excited to play on the new turf. It was there last season, but it didn’t get a whole lot of action. This year, the Timberwolves hope to host a regional tournament on their turf and to get to the state tournament. When talking about state champion teams, Norman North boys golf has never claimed the title, but this team has some serious talent. Josh Gorzney leads the Timberwolves into his second season as head coach.  Arguably the top golfer in the state of Oklahoma and OU Sooner signee junior Jake Hopper headlines the team. A few of his teammate to watch this season are sophomore Max Courange and junior Leyton Lyle. There is going to be some growing up for this team, Gorzney said “We have a young team, 10 out of 14 players in our program are underclassmen. After losing five seniors last year we have some young and eager players ready to step up.”

The goal this season is a state title and Gorzney added, “this season we’re doing it for the 2020 senior class that didn’t get to compete. We want to accomplish the same goal of a state title and honor them.” Just like Gorzney, girls golf coach Jennifer Anderson enters her second season as head coach.  The girls return five starters from a season ago. Anderson said this season she has five new members on the team, some who have never played golf before starting the program. The team will have seniors Maila Metheney and Baylee Samonte; juniors Kalya Watkins, Ayla Fetters and Blaine Bruton; freshmen Caydence Anderson, Syrah Javed, Corynn Speer and Ziporah Ward.  A year ago, Anderson said the team was devasted to have a shortened season, especially with only one senior on the roster. “There was so much heartbreak and disappointment, especially from my one senior that I had. We are excited and very much looking forward to completing our season. Our goal is to place in the top three in invitational tournaments, top three at conference, regionals and state tournament and first at state in academics.” The team was also fortunate to add the Jimmie Austin Golf Course to their practice rotation this upcoming season. Jonathan Koscinski, third-year head coach for Norman North track and field, said he is eager to return to competition. “It means the world to these kids to have the opportunity to go finally compete. They love going out and getting to race against the best in the state and see where they stack up.” With most of his roster returning, Koscinski has his sights set on qualifying as many as he can for the state meet and said adding new coaches to his experienced and motivated staff will be a benefit to his athletes. Two names to watch out for are seniors Jade Robinson and Sam Fisher. Kirk Hays starts his second season as the head coach of the boys tennis program. He has eight players returning from a season ago, but with last year being his first year as coach, he might not be too familiar with this squad. “It was my first year coaching last year and I only got to go to one tournament with my team. I am really looking forward to getting to know my team better this year and seeing how we compete outside of practice,” Hays said. A few names to watch this season for the Timberwolves are Tage Rex and Cooper McGuire, both sophomores, and Jack Baldwin, a junior. After losing seven seniors last season, Hays will only have one senior on the squad this season. “I’d like my team to win a tournament, but more importantly, get mentally stronger as the season goes on,” Hays said. When talking about a program at Norman North with a winning consistency, Norman North’s baseball program is led by Brian Aylor, who enters his 17th season as head coach. This year’s team brings back four starters from a year ago that saw Aylor’s team only played four games. “There is great leadership and chemistry with this group.  They seem very determined to achieve their goals,” Aylor said.  They are led by Oklahoma Christian signee Hunter Jones. Also

Meredith McAlester look for Ibraheem Ahmed at short stop, Brody Finlay at third base and on the mound, Jack Bucholz playing right field and pitcher and Brae Alonzo manning center field this season. Norman North will have a new outfield wall up at Tull Lake Field this year, and they are excited about that. The tradition-rich program has been close to winning the state title, and this year is no different. Aylor said he believes that the time is close. “We expect to win every game we play and continue our quest to be state champions. We will continue to do whatever it takes as a family to make sure the tradition never graduates.” The Norman North boys soccer team returns five starters from a season ago. The expectation much like the girls program is to win a state title and that is the goal once again. Head coach Khalil Benalioulhaj enters his third season at the helm. “The goal every season is to win a state championship,” he said. “But we’re focused on finding the opportunities to reach our potential in each game and bring our best selves to it.” The Timberwolves have three players heading to play college soccer all at Southwest Christian University, Angus Oglesby, Sebastian Maruri and Parker Seybolt.  Some other players to look for this season are seniors Ezra Moser and Braden Shipman, junior Nick Dioniso and sophomore Owen Whitman. Benalioulhaj said “every team has one less year of experience on their roster, but I fully expect every player to give a little bit more to each game.” He knows that nothing is guaranteed when the country is dealing with a pandemic but that he wants “to make the most of every moment.” –BSM




Launching Dreams United Way of Norman offers competitive grant opportunity


he United Way of Norman meets a variety of needs through services in our community, including providing financial support to 29 organizations and 42 programs. However, the focus of a new grant program known as The Launch, A United Way of Norman Social Innovation Initiative, encourages nonprofits to dream bigger.

Last year, The Launch began with its first participants in a “Shark Tank”-style panel format that characterized the competition. Norman’s The Virtue Center was the winner, with a $7,420 cash award to fund its “Move Through Recovery,” a trauma-informed approach to yoga that has become even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant will provide designated funding of up to $10,000, which is awarded to a 501(c)3 applicant within the areas the United Way serves: health, education or financial stability. Helping close gaps in these sectors is the grant’s purpose.

This year, the participants were narrowed down to five impactful finalists with their titled program concepts:

“About three and a half years ago when I came on as president and CEO, I had a vision of using this program to energize the Norman community to think outside the box,” said Daren Wilson. “Our board approved funds last year to make this opportunity possible. If our partners were able to dream and answer the question ‘If we had $10,000 to do something that we’re not currently doing, to meet a need that hasn’t been met in our community, what would that look like?’” Diane Murphree, community impact director, agrees that the value of the program is in allowing nonprofits the ability to add services that can make a tremendous difference in their day-to-day operations: “The Launch prepares them to take it another step.”

CROSSROADS YOUTH & FAMILY SERVICES – “Bibliotherapy Bags and Student Assistance Program Supports”

The goal of Crossroads Youth & Family Services is to partner with Norman Public Schools to help navigate mental health outcomes by providing tools and resources to help families in need. Reaching students who have been less engaged throughout the pandemic requires additional outreach efforts. Through assistance using a variety of methods and formats, Wellness Bags will include supports such as bibliotherapy books, art therapy supplies, journals and materials for play therapy and other supplies to support healthy choices and prevent risky behaviors.

BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF OKLAHOMA, NORMAN CHAPTER – “A Place to Gather: Creating A Safe and Engaging Space for Littles and Matches”

66 | March 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions have presented unprecedented challenges to youth, staff and the community matches in the program. Events and attractions that would normally be available as match outings for the child and his or her mentor have been canceled, with limitations for schools and restaurants, too. Activities like basketball, foosball, ping pong and video games would be part of a designated space children and their mentors could use as well as offer an area for children while parents or guardians are being interviewed.

MARY ABBOTT CHILDREN’S HOUSE – “Making the Unheard: A Guide for How to Notice, Understand and Report Abuse”

First responders, teachers, daycare workers and others are sometimes the first person a child tells about sexual abuse. What to do what that information, from how to respond to how to report, is often unclear for those who do not work in social services. Mary Abbott Children’s House would use The Launch grant funding to develop a booklet that guides individuals through the process and how to support families raising children who have experienced abuse.

BETHESDA, INC. – “Stop, Go and Tell App”, an app to prevent sexual abuse

According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, Oklahoma has the highest rate in the nation of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), a scale that includes the trauma of sexual abuse, among others. The disparity between the number of reported cases and the number of actual sexual abuse incidences indicate too many children are ill equipped to report abuse. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that fewer than 40% of sexual abuse cases are ever reported. Disclosing those crimes helps prevent abuse from happening to others and allows professionals to intervene on behalf of the victim through both legal and social avenues. Children and teens could be more likely to report

abuse through an app that also allows them to reach out to trustworthy adults.

BRIDGES OF NORMAN, INC. – “Podcast Project: Teens in Crisis in Our Own Voices”

Giving students a voice allows them to be heard, whether they have experienced homelessness or are serving as mentors. The teens Bridges of Norman serves are often unseen and unheard in our community. Their stories can help others be more aware of the issues affecting their lives and encourage others to keep moving forward. A podcast could be a way to reach both audiences. Although applicants are not required to be United Way partner organizations, this year’s finalists all happen to be included in the nonprofits the Norman chapter helps to fund. Training sessions were offered without charge to help the applicants prepare for a 15-minute presentation, including a five-minute question and answer session, before a panel of celebrity judges. The grant can be won by a single winner or split between multiple designees. “It’s pretty awesome our board of directors is also innovative. I’m thankful that they are innovative enough to want to fund something like this and they want to see our community be innovative and help organizations tackle these problems,” said Wilson. “Not every board of directors would say yes, but you have to be innovative especially in the times we’re living now, when the need is so great and circumstances are changing quickly. I absolutely want to thank our board but also our supporters who make the work possible.” If you would like to find out more about the work of United Way and its partner organizations or make a donation in support of The Launch, visit – BSM


ANGIE CRANDALL Vice President NMLS#: 564384 405.680.6610

SCOTT S. HOFMANN Senior Vice President NMLS#: 704192 405.680.6614


1201 W. Main | 333 12th Ave. SE 24th Ave NW & Robinson 405.360.6061

B A N C F I R S T. B A N K

AVIATION AT MNTC! Get Ready Aviation classes are coming to MNTC! Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drones) Sheet Metal & Composites Aviation Maintenance Technician | 405.801.5000 FRANKLIN ROAD CAMPUS: 4701 12th Ave. NW, Norman, OK 73069


13301 S. Penn Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73170



Keeping Normanites Healthy

Dr. Jason Taylor

Primary care doctor steps in to help at Same Day Clinic


e’ve been practicing social distancing and various levels of quarantining for a year now. Some might be wondering what lasting impacts all this separation might have on our immune systems. Dr. Jason Taylor, a primary care physician with Norman Regional’s Same Day Clinic, advised that the benefits of social distancing definitely outweigh the risks. “We aren’t in a complete bubble,” he explained. “Quarantining is not going to take away decades of immunity we have developed or the vaccines we got as kids. Our daily comings and goings are enough to keep our immune systems going.” That, paired with overall healthy habits like a balanced diet, daily exercise, taking a multivitamin and getting your COVID vaccine, he added, should help give your immune system its best fighting chance. Even still, from time to time, we are all going to get sick and getting in to see your primary care doctor for a same-day appointment can be a challenge and that is where Dr. Taylor’s clinic can step in. Taylor sees patients for a variety of medical needs, especially when your regular doctor’s office is booked and you need to be seen more urgently than the wait would allow. The Same Day Clinic, located on Main Street, is equipped to take care of a host of issues from minor injuries and burns to rashes and pink eye. They can even help patients needing a referral. “If a patient needs a referral for a specialist or a study ordered, oftentimes we can get those things started and then you can follow up with your doctor,” Taylor said. “Patients can get things addressed quickly and we are able to relay the

72 | March 2021

appointment information to their doctor. Patients seem to really appreciate that.” However, Taylor cautions that urgent care visits should not be a replacement for an annual checkup with a primary care doctor. “An urgent care visit isn’t going to replace the primary care relationship because long-term care needs aren’t addressed,” he shared, which is why Taylor and the clinic’s other provider, David Sparlin, a nurse practitioner, also offer established care. Taylor joined the Norman Regional team in October and the Same Day Clinic expanded its hours a month later in November. He previously worked at Southwest Medical Center in a fast track clinic in the ER. He said he has enjoyed working in Downtown Norman and getting to know more about the Norman community. “It’s interesting to walk out the front door and see Main Street,” he shared. “I see people from all over Norman and all over the metro.” “The people are great and very friendly and that’s coming from a guy who went to Oklahoma State,” he joked. Norman Regional - Same Day Clinic is located at 119 E. Main St and is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment, call 515-6246. If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing or the loss of smell, taste or appetite, please call the office before coming in or call the health system’s COVID hotline at 515-4328. – BSM

Free the healthier person inside Free yourself from the burden of an unhealthy weight. Discover medical and surgical options from one of the nation’s top weight loss programs at or by calling 405-515-2049.



Save Money When Shopping Online W

ith tens of thousands of people still out of work and the economy still limping toward a recovery, wise spending remains important. And with huge parts of life still happening on your screen, for many, this means saving on online shopping. Here are some tips for saving money when shopping online:

WAIT ON EVERY PURCHASE Online retailers purposely make it quick and easy to buy the stuff in your cart. Outsmart them by waiting between choosing your purchases and actually purchasing them. This trick serves a dual purpose: First, you may find you don’t really need or even want the item after a few days. Second, the retailer will almost always email a coupon for you to use for the “forgotten items” in your cart.

OUTSMART DYNAMIC PRICING Dynamic pricing is one of the most powerful tools merchants use to get online shoppers to spend more. It involves using sophisticated algorithms and tracking to show shoppers prices based on their location, browsing history and spending patterns. Retailers learn each shopper’s price point and show them products in that range. Fortunately, you can outsmart dynamic pricing by following these tips, especially when shopping for items with a wide price range, like airline tickets. • Clear your browsing history and cookies or shop with your browser in incognito or private mode. • Log out of your email and social media accounts. • Choose localized websites of international brands instead of being redirected to the U.S. site. • Time your purchases right. Believe it or not, there’s a method to the madness of online pricing. Learning how to crack the code can help you unlock substantial savings. Sunday’s your day to score cheap airfare, with Mondays being the most expensive day to book your tickets, according to Airlines Reporting Corporation. Bookworms are best off shopping for new titles on Saturdays, as this is when Amazon and Barnes & Noble launch most book sales. Shopping for a new laptop or desktop computer? Major retailers, like Dell and Hewlett-Packard, distribute coupons each Tuesday. 76 | March 2021

For most other purchases, it’s best to wait until the end of the week for the best deals. According to Rather Be Shopping, most stores roll out discounts and special deals on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

LAYER COUPONS You may already be in the habit of never completing a purchase without doing a quick search for coupons, but even when you have those coupons on hand, there’s a technique that will guarantee the best savings. Always use a promo code before a discount coupon. A promo code will take a specified percentage off your entire purchase while a discount code will take off a dollar amount. For example, say you have a 15% off promo code and a $5-off coupon to use on a $100 purchase. First, use the promo code to shave $15 off your purchase. Next, apply the discount to bring your total down to just $80. If you apply the discounts the other way, you’d save less money.

ASK FOR PRICE-DROP REFUNDS Discovering that an item you purchased yesterday has just dropped in price can be incredibly frustrating; however, some companies take the edge off by offering to refund the price difference within a specific timeframe. Amazon, for example, gives a grace period of seven days from the delivery date to claim discount refunds. You can use to monitor price changes on the retail giant’s website.

USE MULTIPLE EMAILS FOR DISCOUNTS Many online retailers offer one-time promo codes for new customers, but you can be a new customer more than once. All you need is a different email address.

DON’T SHOP ALONE Take advantage of the many apps, websites and browser extensions that can help you save money every time you shop online. Here are just a few you may want to try: • PriceGrabber – Use this app to compare prices on millions of products to find the best deal. • Rakuten – Shop your favorite retailers through this site for instant kickback cash. • Ibotta – Shoot a photo of your receipt for rebates that will go right back into your pocket. • – Check this site for discounts and coupons you may have missed. Online shopping just got cheap again!

IT’S HOW SOONERS BANK! Full menu of products and services, including FREE checking accounts, new and used auto, boat, motorcycle, and RV loans.

Mobile App with FREE Mobile Deposit.

Home equity loans and lines of credit.

Direct deposit and payroll deduction discounts.

Proudly Serving Our Community for 60 Years!

Water Restoration Carpet Services COVID-19 Cleanup Air Duct Cleaning Area Rug Cleaning

Your One-Stop Shop for Spring Cleaning.

Mold Removal Dryer Vent Cleaning Chimney Cleaning

Since 1993, Sooner Cleaning + Restoration has been serving customers in the metro area. Our trained staff

Carpet Stretching

brings knowledge and compassion to each job.

Pet Odor Removal Sewage Damage Cleanup Visit our website at

Our 24-hour emergency service line is 405-329-8999

Flood Damage Cleanup



Sweet Moscato


he most popular wine in recent years is probably Moscato. Made from the muscat or Moscato grape, these light, usually low alcohol wines are bottled in several varieties. Undoubtedly, the most popular is Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante. The sparkling (spumante) wine is made in the Asti region from Moscato grapes. There are many other Italian spumantes including Tosti, Poggio and Lunetta. Moscato di Asti is frizzante, or slightly effervescent, in a wide bottle with a regular cork. Cupcake and Stella Rosa produce this light, pleasant wine. These wines all come from the same region of Italy as Martini & Rossi Asti. Although muscat is not currently the most common grape under cultivation for wine, it is most likely the oldest grape. It is used not only for wine, but also for table grapes and raisins. It grows in a broad range of climates. Sparkling Moscato wine is made worldwide but cannot include the designation Asti in the name. Sweet bubbly is primarily produced from muscat grapes.

82 | March 2021

Still wine is also made from muscat grapes and is generally white wine, but sometimes a small amount of red wine is added to make pink wine. This is a different process than the usual method of producing rosé, which generally entails leaving the juice on the skins for a short period, producing a dry wine. Many fruit wines are produced by fermenting fruit other than wine. There is, however, a growing group of fruit-flavored Moscato based wines. Many of these are slightly frizzante and very low in alcohol. They include Barefoot Fruiscato, Myx and Love. All these wines are served cold and ice is not out of place. Among the wines that still lean to the sweet side are Rieslings, Vinho Verde and Torrontes. Rieslings have a range of sweetness as do Torrontes, so consulting with your local wine merchant to find what you are looking for is best. Experiment, have fun, stay safe. Kathy


C o r n e r o f Ro c k Creek & 36th We s t N o r m a n 4 0 5 .7 0 1 . 8 2 3 3


W W W. O KC O O P. O R G




88 | March 2021




Consistency is Key

fter 17 years training young athletes, there is no doubt that consistency in their training regimen is the key principle for performance development for any sport at any age. This applies to the 8-year old improving motor skill development, the 12old getting stronger, the 16-year old combining all of the variables of getting bigger, faster and powerful to compete for a varsity position, or the college athlete maintaining a high level of fitness and performance. Our most successful kids playing varsity sports in high school and college athletics have participated in our program for five or more years with many of them coming back to train at Youth Performance during their breaks while attending college. Every single kid that I have worked with develops at a different psychological and physiological pace. “So when are my kids ready to train?”

The answer is a combination of their chronological age and training age, and to be honest their training age plays a huge role with their maturation, commitment, type and intensity of training we incorporate into their program. The continuum of Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD) plays an important role when we work with kids to improve their fitness and performance at the

appropriate rate. It’s awesome to see kids develop and accept new challenges to push themselves when they are ready. These achievements include but not limited to a faster sprint time, higher box jump, higher max for their bench or squat or simply better range of motion or flexibility. As a strength coach, I must first develop a rapport to get them to believe in our program and themselves and quickly build their confidence and self-esteem, then, to be honest, the rest is easy. All they need to do is be consistent and follow our training protocols written for them each week. At Youth Performance, we believe in year-round training. The kids go hard during their off-season and utilize recovery workouts during the in-season, especially at the high school level, to prevent overtraining. After several years of training, during the later stages of LTAD, when an athlete is paying at a high level of high school athletics and has made the commitment to play college athletics, we will start to specialize and prepare them for the college environment. Chat Williams, MS, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D, CSPS*D, FNSCA • • 701-3416


FOCUSED ON YO , SOONERS! At INSURICA, we’re proud to be a part of the phenomenal growth in this remarkable community, and we want to be a part of your growth as well. That’s why our network of insurance agencies offers unique solutions specifically tailored to your industry’s needs. We specialize in you – so you can specialize in what you do best. To learn more, visit

3510 24th Avenue NW, Suite 201, Norman, OK 73069 | 405.321.2700 | @INSURICA

tion Education Energy Environmental Healthcare Hospitality M anufacturing Ministries Not-For-Profit Staffing Techn

nergy Environmental Healthcare Hospitality M anufacturing Ministries Not-For-Profit Staffing Technology Tr ansporta

onmental Healthcare Hospitality M anufacturing Ministries Not-For-Profit Staffing Technology Tr ansportation Const



Building A Place to Gather Southwind Hills Home & Design constructs new urbanism development and custom homes


outhwind Hills Home & Design, a home construction company based in Goldsby, is the first Southern Living builder in the state of Oklahoma, one of only 85 members across the country. Owners Tina and Brett Adkins work together as a team to deliver a quality experience to their clients and have been building homes for about ten years. Originally, they started their home design company as a compliment to their land development business. They wanted to showcase the type of custom homes homebuyers should expect in the new development. Pairing the two businesses together, the Adkins have the ability to touch on so many aspects of home living, from the actual home itself to the community surrounding it. While the couple owns several local businesses, Tina’s land development business is her primary focus and she is selective when it comes to taking on new custom home projects, which allows her the ability to connect better with her clients, she said. “Your builder is almost like a spouse. You get to know each other personally,” Tina said. “It is our goal to create a relationship where we know the client long-term and are confi-

92 | March 2021

dent that they’re enjoying the home we built for them.” Comfort, communication and luxurious living are at the forefront of Southwind Hills Home & Design. One of the requirements of the Southern Living brand is that you can’t be a mass production home builder and that matches the Adkins’ philosophy. “We think about each home as to how we would utilize it as a family… about how people live day to day,” Tina shared. “We work to make it practical and beautiful. Clients essentially get an interior designer with every home build instead of it being a separate expense that they try to figure out on their own.” If you are in the market to build a custom home, Tina has some important advice. Do your research and she recommended interviewing all of the builders in your chosen development “to make sure the personalities match up and that they can meet your needs.” “It can cause a lot of stress if you don’t,” she advised.

For Tina, those interviews are an opportunity to be sure the proposed project would be beneficial for both parties involved and helps establish a good working relationship.

“As we build homes, we build relationships and get to know clients’ needs and desires,” Tina said. “People want a place to gather so we are creating community.”

“We get an idea of what their lifestyle is like and design to fit their needs, narrowing down options within their budget to make the process less overwhelming,” Tina shared, which adds in the overall efficiency and timeliness of projects, with project completions often in 90120 days.

Residents will soon be enjoying a general store and coffee shop, along with a pizza place. Their restaurant, Pryor’s Pizza Kitchen, originally open in Downtown Norman, will reopen as a part of the new development.

The Southwind Hills team is in the middle of developing a 520-acre new urbanism development in Goldsby, offering a walkable community with public spaces and shopping near their residential development.

They also have a new residential development in Blanchard with one-acre lots and larger and homes in Chapel Acres as well as two commercial developments off Interstate 35 in Goldsby with one-acre lots and larger available. For more information about Southwind Hills Home & Design, their developments and custom homes, visit –BSM BOYD STREET MAGAZINE | 93


Experience excellent pace of play on the well-maintained championship course at the Westwood Golf Course. Westwood is one of Oklahoma's premier public courses. The 6200-yard course features wide, tree-lined fairways and gently contoured greens, Several traps and water hazards. The challenging, yet playable course, is perfect for the weekend golfer or the advanced competition.


Westwood Tennis Center is considered one of the top public facilities in the United States. In 2007, USTA recognized Westwood as a National Outstanding Facility. Westwood has 12 outdoor championship courts with four 36-foot youth courts and two climate-controlled indoor courts.





Photo by: Mark Doescher

What’s Eating Norman

96 | January March 2021 2021



ingers crossed, this March, Asp Avenue, the heart of Norman’s historic Campus Corner district, will flow green once again.

Plans are in place for O’Connell’s Irish Pub and Grille to hold its beloved, traditional St. Patrick’s Day celebration this year. After holding a skeleton version of the annual event last year as the Covid-19 pandemic was unfolding, O’Connell’s owner Jeff Stewart said following discussions with city officials last month, one of the city’s most cherished events should return. “We’re going to be doing it,” Stewart with a wide grin. “Cornerwide. It’s going to be pretty much our same format other than the fact we’re going to be set up out front in the street. We’ll have everything fully available. The mugs of green beer, the face painting, t-shirts. Inside breakfast starts at 7 a.m. with green eggs and ham. “This is going to be great. We had a zoom call with the city, with the police and fire departments and everybody on what to plan for. The city was concerned about capacity, crowds, lines. I don’t remember who it was, I think the fire department, suggested, ‘what if you guys close the street like you do on a game day.’ Three of us from the merchant’s association were on the call and agreed it was a good idea. So, that’s the plan. So far, we’ve gotten positive feedback from all the merchants that would be involved. We’re going to have a grandiose corner wide St. Patty’s Day.” Stewart is hoping to begin the day with a march down Asp Avenue led by a traditional bag and pipe band. “The first 100 people in line with the Pipers would get in for breakfast,” Stewart explained. Stewart noted for the first time in a number of years, University of Oklahoma students will be in town on St. Patrick’s Day and will be able to enjoy the festivities, in a socially responsible manner. “You’ll be able to come in through the front door and there’ll be two entrances outside to get in where we get to ID to make sure everybody’s 21,” Stewart said. In addition to areas for revelry along Asp Avenue, the restaurant’s outdoor venue behind the restaurant will be available. “We’ll have plenty of beads, mugs and shirts,” Stewart noted, adding 2020 mugs and shirts will be available, as well as 2021 merchandise, for those who have a hole in their collection from last year. Eight bands will play throughout the day, starting at noon. And, of course, karaoke is on the schedule.

“It’s encouraging to hear (the city) is working with us. It’s all about safety. Safety is the concern, so we’re going to make it as safe as we possibly can. That’s exactly where we’re going. We’re all moving in the same direction and that’s exciting.” With St. Patrick’s Day on a Wednesday this year, Stewart said his hope is the Sunday prior would be the latest plans would have to be canceled should the positive downward trend in COVID-19 cases change or should other circumstances arise. “We don’t want to do it on Tuesday, the day before because we’d already have people lined up to deliver down here,” Stewart said of a last-minute change of plans. “I will already have tents up.” Like most businesses, O’Connell’s has suffered from the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic. Last year, Stewart said although they had a line in front of the restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day that alarmed some people, only 50 people were allowed inside at a time and patrons were asked to limit their stay to 90 minutes. “Last year, to give you an idea economically, the whole day’s revenue could have fit in the first 30 minutes on a normal day.” Stewart said of 2020’s St. Patrick Day business. That continued through the 2020 OU football season and continues to impact the bottom line for merchants. “Football season was terrible,” Stewart said bluntly. “It wasn’t even 35 percent of a regular football season. And I’ll tell you, we all learned it on the first game day. We all overstaffed. We all overbought. We all opened too early. The products I bought for the first game lasted the first three games.” For Stewart, the scene that has played out across Campus Corner since last March has been unsurpassed in his 42 years in the restaurant business. “I didn’t know what it was like to see the street totally empty all day long,” he said. “The month of April and most of May, to drive around campus and not see a person at 3 p.m. in the afternoon on a bright sunshiny day? Not a soul out there. It was just eerie.” The hope this March is that eerie feeling will be replaced with socially responsible revelry signaling the beginning of the return to normal. “Somebody’s got to do it,” Stewart said of the return to events like the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. “Oklahoma City is going on Saturday, the 13th. They got quite a bit of stuff planned. Tulsa is doing a lot on the 13th. I’m very encouraged. I really am.” – BSM

Stewart said recent conversations with the city have left him upbeat and optimistic that things are moving forward. He complimented all parties involved in ensuring the event could be held.


Stories of Surviving a Crisis Meet Our Friend

Juan Hidalgo Owner of Hidalgo’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina

During the COVID-19 crisis, an FFB lender helped Juan secure a Paycheck Protection Program loan to keep Hidalgo’s doors open and support his employees and customers.

“When I saw the money in my bank for the PPP program, the relief was so good I didn’t know what to do. I told my wife, ‘We should be able to make it.’”

Meet Juan and explore other stories at

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.