Boyd Street September 2021

Page 1

United Way Kicks Off Annual Campaign

Generously Meeting Needs

Normanite in the Spotlight

Jordan Evans

Test Your Knowledge

Sooner/Husker Trivia

September 2021 • Issue 9 • Volume 20

S-E-C, S-E-C

Sooners and Longhorns are headed Southeast

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8 | September 2021




Generously Meeting Needs

16 by Chelsey Kraft

Mark Doescher


United Way kicks off annual fundraising campaign.


Mark Doescher


New Leadership

20 by Lindsay Cuomo

New high school principals share their vision, goals for the 2021/2022 school year.

Normanite in the Spotlight:

26 Jordan Evans

Mike Brooks | Callie Collins Lindsay Cuomo | Kathy Hallren Shannon Hudzinski | Chelsey Kraft Bill Moakley | Chris Plank Chat Williams



Haley Gauley - Trevor Laffoon - Perry Spencer -


Casey Vinyard


by Bill Moakley The former Sooner linebacker partners with Norman Public Schools to give back.

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

S-E-C, S-E-C

32 by Chris Plank

The Sooners and Longhorns are headed Southeast.

Sooner/Husker Trivia

46 by Joy Hampton

Challenging trivia questions to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Game of the Century.



54 provided

13 Community Calendar

Norman North swimmer Aiden Hayes heads off to college with even more to accomplish.

Tending Quality of Life New Parks and Rec director, Jason Olsen, shares his vision for Norman’s Parks.


Breaking Ground

71 Prioritizing Health

Norman Regional Hospital:

Post Pandemic Money Moves Bordeaux, A Timelss Journey in Wine

87 by Chat Williams - Youth Performance

New Addition


by Lindsay Cuomo

76 by Shannon Hudzinski - OUFCU

Vawter Real Estate welcomes a new team member.

by: Bill Moakley

82 by Kathy Hallren - Joe’s Wines & Spirits

Norman-based homebuilder plans a new development focused on luxury and lifestyle

66 Lt. Jeremy Garnand

98 by Chelsey Kraft


Service Spotlight:

90 by Lindsay Cuomo

Spotlights What’s Happening

60 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.



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Cover photo by: Mark Doescher

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United Way kicks off annual fundraising campaign 16 | September 2021


or its 2021 campaign, the United Way of Norman is focusing on growth. The organization aims “to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community” and encourages others to join in this mission. Daren Wilson, president and CEO, described United Way as a fundraising and impact organization. Through funds raised each year, United Way supports programs at 28 local nonprofits that help people in need. The 2021 campaign kicked off on Aug. 11, the official start to a year in which the group hopes to reach its $1.9 million fundraising goal. “The easiest way to explain what we do is in three simple phrases,” Wilson said. “We identify needs in our community, we work to find solutions with partner agencies and we improve lives. And I like to mark off improve and write the word save. I can tell you there are times where we know we’re not just improving lives, and there are cases where we know that the work we do along with our incredible partner agencies is saving lives in our community.” United Way is thankful for its donors, and Wilson explained the work done in the community would not be possible without the generosity and care of the Norman community. Wilson wants donors to know donations of any amount can make a difference. For example, a donation of $1 covers the cost of two meals at Food and Shelter. Despite the global pandemic, the organization hit 95% of its fundraising goal last year, an achievement Wilson said was celebrated. At the same time, the challenge is the United Way had $100,000 less to give out this year at a time when community needs have been increasing. With 90% of dollars raised coming from workplace drives and campaigns, there is an additional focus on growing in that area. “During the pandemic, we saw success, but this year more than ever with needs increasing, we need people, we need workplaces,” Wilson shared. “It doesn’t matter the size of the organization. We have employers that have two people on payroll, Mom and Pop organizations. I want them to know that they matter, that their dollars add to the bank, and they can make an impact in our community.

BY: CHELSEY KRAF T Throughout the fall, United Way hosts a variety of events. United Way focuses on three impact areas of education, financial stability and health. In early August, the organization held one of its education-focused programs, Stuff the Bus, distributing about 900 backpacks full of school supplies to local children. Their Pacesetter Kickoff event served as the official start of the campaign. Wilson said there are currently about 35 pacesetter companies, which he described as the companies that start their workplace campaigns early and have all-in support from the executive level down. “One of the greatest and most telling stories of what we do is the agencies that we fund, that are partners of ours, their employees donate to United Way because they see the impact that we have,” Wilson explained. The annual Crosstown Clash football game between Norman High School and Norman North High School served as the Community Kickoff on Sept. 2. On Sept. 17, the Day of Caring will see almost 600 individuals complete service projects throughout the community. Additionally, tickets can be purchased for Celebrity Sing, scheduled for Oct. 22 at the NCED Conference Center. During this event fundraiser, local professional and amateur performers provide entertainment, and there is also a live and silent auction. The campaign will wrap up on Dec. 15 with a celebration, where the total fundraising amount will be announced. “If it’s something that you can participate with, then we invite you to join us,” Wilson stated. “Join this team, join this effort to make a difference in our community. I tell people all the time: You can be a part of something much bigger than yourself by just giving $1 a week. You can literally change people’s lives and help people in all different areas.” – BSM

“If you have 50 or 100 employees or 1,000 employees, we want you too. There’s no company too big or too small. Join us to make a difference in our community.” Donations can also be made on an individual basis. Wilson said he often hears similar reasons for why people don’t donate in general, including they don’t know where their money is going, they want their funds to stay local and they were not asked to give. Last year, 59,993 people received help from United Way and its local partner agencies, and Wilson emphasized these funds are not sent outside of the community, instead helping people right here in the Norman area.

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New Leadership

New high school principals share their vision, goals for the 2021/2022 school year

20 | September 2021


oth Norman high schools start the new year under the leadership of new principals. Dr. Kim Garrett stepped into the role at Norman North High School after Dr. Kristi Gray was hired as the district’s director of gifted education and is Hallie Wright is now the principal at Norman High School. After a year filled with uncertainty and transitions, both women said they are dedicated to creating an atmosphere where all students can succeed. “I know that every year for a student is important, but I feel like the high school years have such an importance in opening doors to the rest of their lives,” Garrett shared. “These are their high school years and they don’t get to do those again. I want to give our students the memories and teach the skills they need to succeed, to be ready for the next journey in their life.” Garrett said she is excited to be at Norman North and continue “the level of excellence that is part of the culture at North.” “I am walking into a great school… a high achieving school with tremendous community support,” she said. “I want to take the time to see how my ideas can fit in with what the teachers are already doing and then work together to find those gaps we can build upon.” Garrett aims spend her first year as principal getting to know the students and faculty and finding ways to continue to open doors of opportunity for all students. Her first priority is to provide social and emotional support to not only students but teachers and parents as well. “As we left last year, we were hoping we would turn a corner and see our normal as we knew it before,” Garrett said. “Last year so many things were new but this year we’ve been down this path and learned a lot. “This year we’ve got to focus on the social and emotional part for our teachers, students and parents. Any time we go through an intense time of learning, it’s important to check in on those areas, to return to our basics, to our why.” Garrett brings with her eight years of experience as a principal and 10 years as an educator. She taught a variety of ages from 6th grade to high school as an English teacher and most recently served as the director of high school academics for Broken Arrow Public Schools. “Dr. Garrett has a wealth of experience,” Superintendent Dr. Nick Migliorino said. “Norman North carries a wellearned reputation as a high-achieving school and I am confident that Dr. Garrett’s background and judgment make her a perfect fit to not only continue that legacy but to build on it.” This school year is a homecoming for Hallie Wright. She began her career in education as a classroom teacher in Norman Public Schools nearly thirty years ago. “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Hallie back to Norman,” Migliorino said. “I can’t wait to see the things that will happen for our students and families under her leadership.” Even though Wright worked in the Putnam City School District for the past 17 years, Norman has always been home. In fact, Wright was part of the inaugural staff when Norman North High School opened.


Dr. K i m G ar re tt

“I feel like I have come full circle and I am super excited to come back to Norman High,” she said. “I am thrilled to be back here and in this position.” Wright said she is also focused on creating the “best possible experience for students.” “Norman High is a dynamic place with a rich reputation for creating the leaders for tomorrow,” she said. “Working alongside staff and students, I want to continue building a culture of learning and risk-taking at NHS. I love seeing kids engaged and excited to learn every day.” She too will work to address the mental health needs of students and teachers. “One of our challenges right now coming out of the pandemic is to find some sense of normalcy while creating a safe place for our students and faculty. They need to be healthy both mentally and physically to learn.” She will utilize a program called Character Strong, a social-emotional and character development curriculum, to facilitate a positive classroom environment. Students will engage with the program for a few minutes each week targeting five key areas. “The goals for this program are to help our students label and manage their emotions and a key component to that is the teachers in our classrooms. They are the positive ingredient to help kids show empathy.” Wright said she is thankful for the “high level of community support and parent involvement” at Norman High. “All these different groups band together to support learning and encourage our young people to stay in school,” she shared. “It takes a village to nurture our schools. We are all in this together.” – BSM

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Jordan Evans

or Norman native and current Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Jordan Evans, education has been at the forefront of how he tackles the issues he has faced, whether on the football field or off. Evans was a standout linebacker at Norman North High School and the University of Oklahoma, completing his Sooner career in 2016 with All-Big 12 honors on defense while leading the Sooners with 7.5 tackles a game and four interceptions. He was a sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2017 National Football League Draft and will enter the 2021 season with a fresh one-year contract worth $1.2 million he signed in March. Stopping opposing offenses come naturally to Evans, who also grew up playing basketball and running track. However, he is now turning his attention to stopping another hard-charging opponent off the field, the uptick in racial, cultural and social division that has gripped the country over the past few years. Evans is partnering with Norman Public Schools in the creation of a new course that will be offered at both Norman North and Norman High School. The Introduction to Ethnic Studies course is an outgrowth of what Evans says he has seen off the field in America. “It’s a course designed to help people understand cultures different from their own,” Evans explained. “I have a firm belief that in order to get rid of a lot of the ignorance that’s

26 | September 2021

in the world today, you have to educate people. And, in order to educate people when it comes to cultures, you have to have those uncomfortable situations and conversations and learn to be able to understand different views so you can live better with people that do not look like you do.” Evans began discussing the idea with NPS in 2020 and over the past year they’ve worked together to develop curriculum and search for faculty to teach the course. According to the NPS course description, the course objective will be to teach students to “be global citizens, engage in civil discourse, value their own cultural identity, appreciate the differences around them and understand worlds different from their own.” “Norman Public Schools affirms and values the experiences and identities of all our students,” Stephanie Williams, executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion with Norman Public Schools, said. “Introduction to Ethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary elective course that offers a unique opportunity for students to gain a better understanding of the world around them and the experiences of others. We are fortunate to have the support of Jordan Evans, who is also a former NPS student, in helping to make this course a great success.” For Evans, the objective is simple. “I hope what we see is people that understand each other and understand each other’s cultures and have a better living environment,” Evans explained. “I know there are kids

BY: BILL MOAKLEY that have questions out there and might feel scared to ask, they don’t want to look bad or look like they don’t know what they’re talking about. I want them to be able to put it all out there as completely transparent as possible, just so they can have a better understanding of the world. “I know at first is going to be very difficult, it’s going to be very new. And that’s why we’ve gone through a thorough process on the course and finding out who our teacher is going to be. We really want our teacher to be educated in this field so that they’ll be able to run the class the way it needs to run, and kids will feel comfortable.” The district plans to have a faculty member split time between the two high schools. The course will meet social studies and general elective credit requirements. Now living in Florida during the NFL off-season, Evans’ ties to his hometown run deep and that’s part of the motivation for collaborating locally on the project. “I’m truly grateful for the opportunities that have come to me and I’m very proud of where I’m from and happy that it all happened in Norman,” Evans said. “The memories I made there and the everlasting bonds I developed with friends and teammates growing up make Norman always feel like home. Obviously, my family’s there (his parents, Scott and Teneka), my sisters are there, my church family. It’s always going to be home no matter how far I live from it.” One of Evans’ younger sisters, Jacie, a member of the Harding University basketball team, is not surprised to see her older brother giving back to his childhood home. “My dad was very adamant about all of us knowing Black history, just kind of how things were and how it wasn’t always acceptable for mom and dad to be together,” Jacie pointed out about coming from a multi-racial family. “My dad made that very clear for us at a young age. Jordan went to a major-

ity white high school. Now, and at OU, he has experienced a lot more by being around African American culture. And so, I think him just trying to educate (people about) the differences between how it was at North and OU and now is where I think this class came from. It’s making sure people know other perspectives and how it’s not always just one way and how we grow up is different.” Jacie Evans believes the seed Jordan is planting with high school students will have similar impact as the influence he has had on her and their youngest sister, Jessica. “He can take pretty much any situation and do something good with it,” she said. “I’m very proud of him. My sister and I look up to him. We talk to him all the time. When we have questions about college and stuff like that, and how we should deal with teammates, and coaches and stuff like that, he knows. He’s gone through it. He knows what he’s doing. He’s obviously very successful, so I look up to him and I’m very proud of him.” Evans is working to share the success he’s had through his new foundation, Ironheart, which holds figurative and literal meaning for him. “Going into the fourth grade, I had heart surgery and they put some metal in my heart. I had a hole in my heart, like a heart murmur, but the hole kept growing,” Evans explained. “It was growing at a significant rate, and they decided it needed to be closed up before it got out of hand.” His vision for Ironheart, the foundation and the man, is to continue to grow and serve. “I really want it to be a foundation where it’s really open to a lot of things,” Evans said. “I mean, at first, it focused on the diversity class. Now, maybe I’ll run a camp or do a school drive. I just want it to be where it’s always helping and giving back to the community.” – BSM


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S-E-C, S-E-C

Sooners and Longhorns are headed Southeast

32 | September 2021



he Oklahoma Sooners are leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, a move that came as a surprise to many but is loaded with opportunities for Sooner athletics.

While the timing of the move shocked many, the Sooners have secured and solidified its conference future for years to come. It is still unknown when Oklahoma will begin competing in the Southeastern Conference, but the move has generated excited and energized the Sooner fan base. This story looks at the timeline of events that led the Sooners to make a move to the SEC and how it ballooned into one of the biggest moments in the history of college football.

MOUNTING FRUSTRATIONS Oklahoma fans have long been frustrated with the Big 12 Conference. Right or wrong, message boards and phone calls to The Ref Sports Radio Network would be filled with disappointment over the national narrative around the conference. The Big 12 was never given the respect that many felt it deserved nationally and that was exasperated by Oklahoma’s struggles in the playoffs. Sooner football has been solid against teams from the SEC, ACC, Pac 12 and the Big 10. In fact, Oklahoma football has a winning record against all the other Power 5 leagues, winning 15 of its 20 non-conference games against Power 5 opponents over the last 20 years. But, in the BCS and now the Playoffs, the Sooners have been unable to take that next step towards a National Championship. Some have blamed the conference affiliation for hurting in recruiting and others blame the lack of true competition or some point to a perceived conference bias towards Texas. The league went as far as penalizing players for the “horns down” hand gesture. Some fans have been frustrated by a lack of expansion within the conference or for adding the wrong teams during the last round of conference expansion. There always seemed to be a reactive mindset as opposed to a proactive approach. Whatever the frustration might be within the Sooner Nation as it pertains to the Big 12 and how it has handled business, at least one annoyance was universally despised: 11 a.m. kick-offs. OU has two kickoff times set for 2021 — and both are at 11 a.m. Last year the Sooners had five 11 a.m. kickoffs out of their 11 games. In 2019, OU had six 11 a.m. games, including a grueling stretch of five in a row. And in 2018, Oklahoma had five 11 a.m. kickoffs. That’s 16 morning starts out of 39 total games in the span of three seasons, with more to come. The disappointment with 11 a.m. kick-offs finally reached a boiling point for Sooner athletic director Joe Castiglione when the Oklahoma vs Nebraska game was slated for an 11 a.m. kick-off on Sept. 18. The reboot of the OU-Nebraska rivalry is part of a major celebration which has been years in the making. The hope was that the Sooners and Huskers game would be primetime and would be the final piece of a full weekend of


celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the 1971 ’Game of the Century.”

Less than a week later, the college football world was turned completely upside down.

“We tried every possible avenue to proactively make our case,” Castiglione said in a statement released by Oklahoma. “The Big 12 Conference also supported our strenuous efforts to secure a more traditional time that would honor this game and our fans. However, in the end, our TV partner chose to exercise its full contractual rights and denied our requests.”


When Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was asked at Big 12 Media Day last week about Castiglione’s comments in May about being “bitterly disappointed” that the Sooners’ home game with Nebraska had been slated yet another 11 a.m. kickoff, Bowlsby seemed largely apathetic about Castiglione’s concerns.

Longtime Texas A&M beat writer Brent Zwreneman tweeted a story that was exclusive to the Houston Chronicle. Oklahoma along with Texas had reached out to the SEC about joining the conference.

“He’s certainly entitled to that position,” Bowlsby said, “He and I talked about it extensively before he made those comments. Having said that, we all signed the TV contract. We can change it the next time if we want to change it. But we’re going to live by the stipulations of our television agreements and that’s what we did on this occasion.” Bowlsby was not asked about conference expansion or realignment during Big 12 Media Days in mid-July. In fact, he joked that he won $5 because no one even broached the topic. The commissioner was confident in his belief that the waters had calmed. The Big 12 was solid, and realignment was not an issue that kept him up at night. 34 | September 2021

Wednesday, July 21 was like any other day in the world of Teddy Lehman and Tyler McComas on The Ref Radio Network, but neither could expect the tidal wave of excitement that was coming when a single tweet changed everything.

“Someone sent it to us on our text line, right before a break,” Rush co-host Tyler McComas recalled. “So, I teased that the following segment would be a report about OU joining a major conference. Obviously, I thought it was a totally erroneous report. I was just glad it was going to help deliver some content on a slow summer day. There was zero thought about this story actually being true.” Conference affiliation rumors, questions and perspectives have dominated the conversation during most summers over the last decade in Oklahoma. A rumor about Oklahoma potentially joining the SEC was not necessarily something that immediately would lead to a belief that it was happening.

“There was nothing initially that led me to believe this was legit,” McComas added. “It was just one report and nobody else was confirming it. There was never any smoke. This was just another click-bait article that had no merit to it.” The report dropped just as Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher was about to speak at SEC Media Days in Mobile, Alabama. Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork was traveling with the team and immediately shot back at the prospect of a second Texas team joining the SEC. As rumors continued to swirl Oklahoma and Texas released very similar statements which seemed to fuel the report more than slow it down. “The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly,” OU said in a statement attributed to an unnamed university spokesman. “We don’t address every anonymous rumor.” This was no longer a click-bait headline. This was an all-out game changer rooted in reality.

IT IS HAPPENING The evening after the Houston Chronicle bombshell, reports circulated that the Big 12 was having an emergency call involving the teams and Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. When Oklahoma and Texas were not a part of the call, it confirmed what was happening for many. The Sooners and Longhorns were on their way to the SEC.

36 | September 2021

“It was the most overwhelming feeling of excitement I’ve had in my 10-plus years of doing sports radio,” McComas said. “That’s not an exaggeration. I immediately realized how great it was for OU, the fans and even our station. I had several people comment on the genuine excitement that was coming from my voice. It’s a huge deal and for it to break the way it did is a surprise that may never happen again in my lifetime.” Historically, reports of conference changes have dragged over months or even years. The move for the Sooners to the SEC worked in virtual hyper speed. Within 10 days of the initial report, Oklahoma had requested and accepted membership to the SEC. The bold move had been carried out with supreme secrecy in a timeline that was accelerated based on the report breaking when it did. The first time that anyone heard publicly from either Castiglione or University President Joseph Harroz was at the Board of Regents meeting to accept the invitation to the SEC. “What’s changed between 2012 and today? The answer is everything,” Harroz said in a speech at the Board of Regents meeting confirming the move. “We believe that joining the Southeastern Conference will sustain our tradition of national-caliber athletics excellence, strengthen our flagship university as a whole and serve the wider interests of the state of Oklahoma. The entire Sooner Nation and Oklahomans throughout the state stand to benefit from this move, and

we’re thrilled for a new platform to tell the OU story across the country.” “We are in an unprecedented era of dramatic change and historic transformation,” Castiglione said in his statement. “It is happening at a pace that none of us have ever experienced. We need to address these remarkable dynamics. So, after thorough consideration and study, it became obvious that standing pat would mean falling behind. It would mean putting our program in a precarious position, both competitively and financially.”

THE FALLOUT The backlash from the eight remaining members of the Big 12 was riddled with anger, disappointment and frustration. Texas administrators were answering to members of the Texas Senate defending the move while also serving as a punching bag for jokes about their inability to consistently beat TCU. Oklahoma was the target of criticism from its in-state rival 38 | September 2021

Oklahoma State. The Sooners were not only moving away from the Big 12 but for the first time since 1956, the Sooners and the Cowboys would not be competing in the same conference. Questions about the future of the Bedlam Rivalry have dominated the conversation between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State fans while frustration is continually plastered across all platforms of social media towards the Sooners conference move. Bob Stoops was perhaps the biggest critic of the SEC, fighting against the media narrative of the overall conference domination as a coach. But when the time came to put the move in its proper perspective and fight back against the noise, Stoops used his writing skills to make his voice heard. In a guest editorial column for the Oklahoman, Stoops applauded and praised the move. “Let’s set the record straight: OU’s move to the SEC is what’s best for Oklahoma. The reality is that conferences are now

more important than ever, and, with limited spots, the strongest conferences would not accept OU if we were to require OSU to join as well,” Stoops wrote. “By joining the SEC, we ensure the state’s flagship university will be represented nationally while protecting our rich football history for many years to come. To move forward in any other manner would be to the detriment of OU and the state of Oklahoma.”

ence. “I think it’s going to be a positive thing for this University and for our athletic department, our athletes and coaches, everybody.”

Stoops praised the move overall, citing everything from fan experiences to exposure and financial gains. In short, he said the program was “taking control of its own destiny.” While that might ring true for those bleeding crimson and cream, such changes are not without bitterness and hurt feelings by other schools who fear being left behind in college athletics’ changing landscape.

“I guess for me it’s tempered because of the task at hand… sure it’ll be great when it happens, but it doesn’t matter for right now. Right now, we’re a member of the Big 12,” Riley said. “Honestly any excitement or personal feelings that I have are really overshadowed. We have a job to do right now.”

Harroz said OU contemplated a move that could have included Oklahoma State as well. “We looked at solutions for us to move together,” the OU president said, “but that simply is not what the market we’re pursuing allows. The opportunity for Oklahoma was with one university only, and if we didn’t seize it, the answer would be none.”

THE EXCITEMENT IS REAL Across the SEC welcome messages were plentiful. From Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Athens, Georgia and beyond the conference was a unified front in welcoming Oklahoma and Texas. Even Texas A&M voted to accept the Sooners and Longhorns “It’s going to be exciting,” Sooner football coach Lincoln Riley said during Oklahoma’s annual Media Day press confer-

As the Sooners kick-off the 2021 football season, the excitement about the future in the SEC has taken a back seat as the team rolls through the early part of its schedule.

The conversation about conference expansion typically centers on football and football only. But the SEC is a significant step up in every sport except maybe men’s basketball. The Big 12 features National Champion Baylor, 2019 runner-up Texas Tech and one of the benchmark programs in college basketball in Kansas. But what you lose in Kansas, you more than make up for by adding Kentucky to the regular rotation of basketball opponents. Plus, solid programs like Tennessee, Auburn and Arkansas will bring a different feel to the hardwood. From a diamond sports perspective, you could not ask for anything more challenging or exciting. The SEC placed 12 of its 13 softball playing schools in the NCAA Tournament this year after putting all 13 in the field of 64 in 2019. And in baseball, the SEC had six teams advance to the Super Regionals and has claimed three of the last four national titles.

“This decision allows us to ensure we’re doing all we can to further OU’s long-standing record of athletics excellence;” Castiglione said. “Attracting top student-athletes from across the country and giving this institution the exposure it deserves. The special history, energy and character OU will bring to the SEC will only make us, and our new conference, stronger.” For now, the focus must be on the field. The SEC is the future, but it is not the present. In fact, it might not happen until 2025 if Oklahoma and Texas decide they don’t want to pay the exorbitant buyout. Last year, the Big 12’s revenue distribution was around $34.5 million per school and there were signs that it was headed toward $40 million prior to the pandemic. So that means a total of somewhere between $75-80 million each for OU and Texas to leave. “It’s still out in the distance a little bit for us,” Riley said. “I think it’ll be a very positive thing when the time comes. I think for our players, it’s news. It’s certainly something they’re aware of. You can’t avoid it, but at the same time, it’s not reality for us right now. That’s not going to change things for a lot of those guys in the locker room right now. I think our leadership has done a good job of setting the tone for that, making sure all of our players, our young players, understand that if any talk about conferences and what’s going to happen in the future takes away even the smallest bit from this season, then that’s a shame.”

42 | September 2021

For fans, the excitement will continue to build. The anticipation of an Alabama or Georgia home game in football coupled with John Calipari and Kentucky coming to town. In softball, Patty Gasso and the Sooners battling the SEC week in and week out with Skip Johnson trying to counter the challenges of knocking off the likes of perennial baseball powers Vanderbilt and Florida. And as the countdown continues and the excitement builds, the focus will remain on the present. But weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on The Ref Sports Radio Network, there may be a moment or two when the focus turns to the future and the possibilities that lie in wait for Oklahoma athletics. “I genuinely believe it’s going to be an incredible experience, especially the first five years. Going to Georgia, Florida, LSU and so many new places is going to bring an excitement level the fan base is going to love,” McComas concluded. “But one of the things I’m most excited about is the possibilities for the local merchants in Norman. The amount of visiting fans coming to town will be incredible and going to help out so many local business owners. I love that. “Will the road in the SEC be tougher? Sure, but since when has Oklahoma football ever been afraid of a challenge?” – BSM

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Sooner/Husker Trivia

With the 50th anniversary of the 1971 “Game of the Century” being commemorated by Nebraska visiting Norman this September, Boyd Street Magazine reached out to Mike Brooks, an Oklahoma football scholar and historian who has been working with the OU media relations department since 1996, and asked him for some trivia questions about the series

that could stump even the most dedicated fan. The following are a few of the questions Brooks came up with for Boyd Street. Some different questions appear in our sister publication, 19th Street Magazine. Pick up both and see if you know the answers, minus Google and Alexa. Answers on following page.

1. Who was the only coach to be head coach at both Oklahoma & Nebraska? A. Biff Jones B. Jim Tatum C. Howard Schnellenberger D. Dewey Luster

2. Three times in the OU/Nebraska series, Oklahoma has won the game on a field goal. Which Sooner kicked the longest game-winning field goal against the Cornhuskers? A. Tim Lashar B. Uwe Von Schumman C. Jimmy Stevens D. Mike Vachon

3. When was the last time both Nebraska and Oklahoma had new head coaches in the same season? A. 1995 B. 1973 C. 1963 D. 1940

4. Which Sooner holds the record for the longest rush from scrimmage in a game against Nebraska? A. Keith Jackson B. Clendon Thomas C. Adrian Peterson D. Thomas Lott

5. How many times has OU played Nebraska on Thanksgiving? A. 15 B. 9 C. 12 D. 5

46 | September 2021


6. Who is the last Sooner to make three interceptions in a single game vs. Nebraska? A. Steve Barrett B. Zac Henderson C. Randy Hughes D. Tony Jefferson

7. Who is Oklahoma’s all-time career rushing leader vs. the Cornhuskers? A. Mike Gaddis B. Billy Sims C. DeMarco Murray D. Samaje Perine

8. Who was the only Sooner to rush for three touchdowns in a single quarter against Nebraska? A. Tommy McDonald B. Quentin Griffin C. Billy Sims D. De’mond Parker

9. Between 1962-2010, only one time did the Sooners & Cornhuskers play in a season which neither team was ranked. What season was it? A. 1995 B. 1983 C. 2005 D. 1965

10. Three former OU assistant coaches became head coaches at Nebraska. Can you name the last Sooner assistant coach to be head coach for the Cornhuskers? A. Jerry Pettibone B. Bo Pelini C. Jay Norvell D. Jeff Long

Mike Brooks is an Oklahoma football historian with a passion for OU history about players, coaches, rivals and stats. He is one of the foremost scholars regarding OU football and has been working with the University of Oklahoma media relations department since 1996. Brooks serves as a freelance writer for numerous publications and assists local and national commentators from around the country.

A third-generation real estate broker, he established Brooks Realty LLC in February 2021 and has been selling real estate in Oklahoma since 2004. He resides in Blanchard with his wife, Kathy, and is the proud father of three adult children and grateful papa to 10 grandchildren. Brooks Realty LLC, 405-361-0821,


Trivia Answers

1. A - Biff Jones Hall of Fame coach Lawerence “Biff” Jones was head coach at OU from 1935-36 and at Nebraska from 1937-41. 2. A - Tim Lashar Tim Lashar kicked the longest game-winning field goal in 1986, 41 yards with :06 remaining in the game. 3. B - 1973 First-time head coaches Barry Switzer and Tom Osborne both began their Hall of Fame coaching careers in 1973. 4. A - Keith Jackson Keith Jackson, on an end around, went 88 yards for the Sooner’s first touchdown on OU’s fifth offensive play. Oklahoma won 27-7 in 1985. 5. D - 5 1965, 1966, 1967, 1971 & 1972. The Sooners & Cornhuskers have played 10 times on the Friday after Thanksgiving and 11 times on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

48 | September 2021

6. C - Randy Hughes Randy Hughes had three inceptions vs. the Cornhuskers in OU’s 28-14 victory in Lincoln in 1974. 7. B - Billy Sims From 1975-79, Billy Sims rushed for 592 yards, scoring five touchdowns and averaging 6.79 yards per carry vs Nebraska. 8. D - De’mond Parker De’mond Parker scored three touchdowns in the 4th quarter on runs of 34 yards, 17 yards & 51 yards. 9. C - 2005 In the contest that was played in Lincoln, the Cornhuskers were favored by one point. Oklahoma entered the game with a 4-3 record. Nebraska was 5-2. Oklahoma won the game 31-24. 10. B - Bo Pelini Bo Pelini was on Bob Stoops staff in 2004 and was head coach for the Cornhuskers from 2008-14.




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SA Today and Swimming World Magazine National High School Male Swimmer of the Year.

• All-Sport Oklahoma Male Athlete of the Year • 2021 USA Swimming National Junior Team & Olympic Trials Qualifier • Top-ranked swimming recruit in the Class of 2021 • 14-time OSSAA State Champion • 3-time Oklahoma Swimmer of the Year • 2021 Oklahoman Athlete of the Year • 2021 Jim Thorpe Award recipient • 7-time OSSAA state record holder • 3-time USA Swimming Academic All-American • Norman North graduate These are just of the few accomplishments Aiden Hayes compiled before leaving Norman for college at North Carolina State. Now he sets his sights on some NCAA titles and records before possibly making the USA Swim Team for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

54 | September 2021




Tending Quality of Life

New Parks and Rec director, Jason Olsen, shares his vision for Norman’s Parks


ason Olsen has served the City of Norman’s Parks and Recreation Department for nearly two decades. Recently, he assumed a new leadership role not even Olsen himself would have anticipated starting out in the field he accidentally fell in love with. “Leader of the Department never crossed my mind, actually, especially not starting out,” Olsen said. “I was privileged to work with Jud Foster, who is just beloved in Norman. I was honored to be named as his replacement but those are some big shoes to fill.” Foster retired in May, after working for the City for 42 years. Olsen is familiar with the Norman community both at work and at home. His wife, Liz, is an assistant principal at Whittier Middle School. Together, they chose to stay in Norman and raise daughter, Stella, 9, and son, Jaxon, 7. “Between my work and living in the area, we are wrapped up in activities and knee-deep in programs. Our favorite park is Highland Village, and we love the Westwood Family Aquatic Center,” said Olsen. “We have no doubt in our minds that Norman is the best place for us and the best place for our family. It’s an excellent community to raise a family, with a great school system, and for as much as I hate to take anything for granted when it comes to the future, my children will probably go to OU. Our roots are deep here in Norman.” Olsen credits his wife’s insistence for motivating him to finish college at Southern Nazarene University, a formality given his career was already underway. 60 | September 2021

“It was one of those things where you look back and think ‘It all makes sense. Parks and Recreation found me,’” he explained. “I feel so lucky to be in a community that invests in its youth, in the development of the Department, and in the development of resources serving everyone here.” A graduate of Mustang High School, Olsen first considered a career in broadcast journalism, as he grew up admiring sportscasters. “You know, as a kid, you kind of gravitate toward what you’re familiar with and what you could see yourself doing. I had seen sports announcers on TV and thought I could do that,” he explained “What you don’t realize is what professions are out there. I consider jobs in municipal service hidden professions.” Olsen graduated from Mustang High School but took a job as a Bethany YMCA summer camp counselor. He eventually worked through the ranks and got involved with sports programs. After accepting a part-time opening, it became apparent he excelled at organizing basketball leagues, something he had done in high school as the son of a Nazarene minister. He and his wife actually met at a rec center location. It seems to Olsen, with absolute conviction, he was meant to be where he is, in both personal and professional aspects of life. “My main job is to make people happy,” said Olsen. “Through creating programs for youth, sports, activities and events, you realize there’s more to do and there are opportunities in parks and green spaces. The way those changes

BY: CALLIE COLLINS impact not only your quality of life as a resident but also your community’s quality of life is a tremendous responsibility. It makes a direct impact on your neighbors and community.” Olsen shared his vision for the Department as being centered on quality of life. He is quick to point out the vital role of municipal workers, including the Department of Parks and Recreation, which employs more than 60 full-time professionals and almost 200 seasonal staffers, including an average of 100 at Westwood alone. “The Department is a financial driver in Norman, with more than 100 jobs available each summer for young people,” said Olsen. “Our lifeguards are the highest-paid municipal lifeguards of any in Oklahoma. We work around schedules of students for high school and college, and we know school comes first for them.” Familiarizing young people with career options is also a benefit of participating in municipal government, regardless of the specific area. “There are so many options out there and everybody’s role is so important. People are working behind the scenes to make sure the systems we depend on are in working order,” said Olsen, in recognition of the variety of roles, including firefighters, police officers, public works laborers and city clerks. Seeing how community life ties together is key, especially when it comes to making quality of life possible for future generations, the impetus behind Norman Forward, a citizen-initiated proposal that passed in 2015 to fund specific quality of life improvements. “Westwood and our libraries are open and completely changed, plus some parks, thanks to Norman Forward and the incredible investment by the citizens of Norman,” said Olsen. “A lot more is coming up too. We just broke ground at the end of July on the Young Family Athletic Center, which will include an amazing sports recreation complex.” Basketball, volleyball, swimming and more will headline the center’s attractions, which will also bring athletes from other states to train and compete at the facility set to span more than 120,000 square feet. A partnership with Norman Regional Health Systems will help underwrite a portion dedicated to sports performance with 25,000-square-foot space. “These are not the same parks you knew as a kid necessarily,” said Olsen, in reference to the 65 parks within the system he is tasked with overseeing. “Griffin Park is all about soccer while Reaves Park is mainly focused on baseball and softball. Ruby Grant Park is our little jewel, with hundreds of acres, trails, a playground, disc golf and more.

it come to fruition over the next year. My vision for the Parks System is that it belongs to the community. It should be what the community wants and what best serves our neighbors.” The overall goal, Olsen explained, is for every person within Norman city limits to have access to a green space within walking distance or via a short bicycle ride or car ride. “Not a whole lot of communities can offer that,” said Olsen. Events are another aspect of community life the Parks and Recreation Department helps to enrich, including Norman’s Fourth Festival, mother/son and daddy/daughter dances and more. “People love our special events, which have become a tradition and form the fabric of our community,” said Olsen. “There’s so much community involvement and people truly love their parks and what happens in public spaces at holidays.” Public feedback is encouraged on all programs, including events. In fact, an effort to gauge public opinion will take place later this year, with formal analysis of events and programs. Through it all, Olsen credits his staff, in addition to the support of the community.

“Of course, we recently finished Andrews Skate Park as well, and in the southeast part of the city, there’s Saxon Park, which will feature an all-inclusive playground, trail and walking space.”

“We depend on the communication of our residents to let us know how their parks are looking. Our maintenance crews do a tremendous job but we can get behind on mowing, especially in rainy spring weather. We are definitely trying,” said Olsen. “We want our parks to be beautiful. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Tell us if you see something.”

Olsen is also excited about the new Senior Wellness Center set to open in 2022, with groundbreaking and construction slated for this fall.

Olsen recognizes the way the Department supports key infrastructure as an administrator but also sees first-hand relevance as a local resident and father.

“Norman invested in itself; that’s the beautiful thing about Norman Forward,” said Olsen. “You’re going to see a lot of

“We are here to make our residents’ lives better and our neighbors’ lives better,” said Olsen. – BSM



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Service Spotlight: Lt. Jeremy Garnand


or Norman Police Lieutenant Jeremy Garnand, the two competitions he won during the 2007 Norman Police Academy aren’t the two that stick with him. It’s actually the one in which he came in second. “I won the fitness award and the Leadership Award for my academy,” Garnand recalled. “I didn’t get the firearms award. I’m pretty competitive in everything I do. I think that probably helped guide my path and I started getting more involved in training. I continued to really work hard on that area.” Garnand serves as supervisor of the Uniform Services Division, overseeing traffic and parking services as well as community outreach and special events held in the city. He is also a sniper specialist with the department’s Special Weapons and Tactical (SWAT) team and serves as second vice president of the Norman chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). Garnand’s hard work on his shooting skills has shown in the duties he has been assigned to and none may be more important than serving as a firearms instructor. “It’s one of those absolute crucial things that we’ve got to provide,” Garnard said about continual firearms training. “Not only does it help if an officer has to shoot their weapon, it gives them that confidence knowing that they have the ability because they’ve been trained properly. We provide them the confidence where they know if they have to pull their firearm, they’re going to be making a good decision.” Garnand pointed out proper training not only prepares an officer to make good decisions in the field and to how to properly fire a weapon, it also allows for precious time to make those critical decisions that often must be made in seconds or less.

“If we train them right, they’re going to have the confidence to make the right decision,” Garnand explained. Garnand himself is a championship-level shooter and a member of the department’s competitive shooting teams. The NPD SWAT team took its fifth state championship in 2019 at the Oklahoma SWAT Competition. Like everything else, COVID disrupted competitive shooting events. However, in June, Garnand and fellow officer Sergeant Josh Barker took part in the Bayou City Regional and Texas State Police Pistol Competition Championships. Garnand brought back two first place and four second place finishes, while Baker scored three seconds. “I had a good run there,” Garnand said. “It was probably the first time that we got out the guns and shot competitively in over a year.” In addition to shooting with the FOP team, Garnand also enjoys getting to connect with the Norman community through FOP activities, especially as attention has intensified around policing in America. “People kind of forget there are humans behind those uniforms,” Garnand explained. “Most people when they deal with us, it’s at their worst time. It’s not a great thing for us to always just be involved in the bad times and always see the vehicle collisions or the (domestic violence cases). “(Community outreach) gives us an opportunity to be involved in better things. We get to relax a little bit more and they get to see that human side. We enjoy it and it helps with educating people about good things we do in the community. It makes our community even stronger when people can come together.” When he’s not on duty or refining his shooting skills, Garnand and his wife stay busy with two young daughters.” This is a continuation of our series on public servants in Norman.

66 | September 2021

Law enforcement has long had a use of force continuum that dictates the amount and level of force that is recommended for use in the performance of their duties. This continuum has changed slightly over the years due to new products, such as the Taser, and OC Spray, but generally speaking, it has remained consistent. There has never been a use of force continuum developed for citizens to the point of the law enforcement continuum, however, CCW Safe has developed a guide that should be considered by concealed carriers to protect them from criminal or civil prosecution stemming from a citizen use of force. The guide is based on avoidance, and focuses on situational awareness and threat assessment to evaluate a situation where they feel force may have to be used to defend themselves. If a threat is determined to be real and possible, there should always be a 911 call for assistance, and action taken to physically remove yourself from the threat, or to set barriers between you and the threat. Deadly force is obviously the last stage of the guide, and should only be used when you have exhausted all other means to avoid the threat. Once deadly force is used, there is no turning back, so concealed carriers need to be fully aware of the citizen use of force guide, and how it can better protect them. For more information on how to avoid deadly encounters, and how to protect yourself as a concealed carrier, visit

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P rio r itizing

H ea lt h Studies show women are more likely to delay preventative care


ccording to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on national health issues, nearly 40% of women reported to have skipped preventive health screenings during the pandemic. Data collected by the Health Care Cost Institute found similar results as mammograms and cervical cancer screenings fell by as much as 80% during 2020. “Women tend to take care of everyone else before they take care of themselves,” said Dr. Kayla Barnard, a breast surgeon with Norman Regional. “Women have taken on additional roles during COVID. Some have lost access to care due to job loss.” While the numbers seem to be increasing, Barnard said, unfortunately, postponing preventative care isn’t all that new. “I hear over and over that women avoid getting their mammograms because they fear something is going to be there. They don’t want it to happen to them,” she said. “No one wants to end up in my office talking about cancer but if you are you want to be talking about stage one. “It cannot be overstated how important preventative care and screenings are to your overall health.”

cluding leading an active lifestyle; eating a balanced, nutritious diet; drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. Barnard added quitting smoking to that list. “My number one recommendation is if you are smoking or vaping stop. It’s the single most beneficial thing you can do for your health,” she said. “I just hope that anyone that is reading this, woman or man, that they will make the commitment to make their health a priority because if you give your body what it needs you will feel better and be able to do the things you want to do in life… to be there for the people you want to be there for.” Dr. Barnard has been a board-certified surgeon since 2013 and began specializing in breast surgery in 2017. She recently joined Norman Regional’s Breast Surgery Clinic. – BSM

KEY HEALTH SCREENINGS BY AGE Childhood & Teens – Experts recommend screening for obesity, depression and HIV.

Early diagnosis results not only in a significantly higher survival rate but also less aggressive treatment options and less impact to a patient’s daily life, Barnard shared.

20s & 30s – Annual visits should include screening for high blood pressure and mental health concerns. Women are advised to have an annual cervical cancer screening.

“Stage one breast cancer is approaching a 100% 5-year survival rate,” she confirmed. “If you wait until you see or feel something in your breast, your treatment options are more advanced with bigger and more involved surgery, longer impact on work when you add additional procedures and often more pain.

40s – Mammograms, colon cancer and diabetes screening should begin.

“Mammograms are no fun but it’s important to make your health a priority.”

60s – Bone density tests are recommended to detect signs of osteoporosis.

While screenings save lives, prevention is also important step

50s – Lung cancer screenings are recommended for those with a history of smoking.


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Post Pandemic Money Moves

Re-acclimating to normal life as pandemic restrictions are lifted and businesses reopen across the country will mean more than just getting used to wearing real pants again and working without your cat on your lap. You’ll also need to consider your finances. How has your overall money management changed during the pandemic? Have you dipped into your savings? Have you been letting your retirement accounts slide? Or maybe you’ve been waiting for the chance to hit your favorite retailers again, and you can’t wait to splurge after a 15-month financial fast? As you prepare to leap back into normal life, proceed with caution. Be sure to consider your full financial picture as well as long-term and short-term goals. Here are some forward-thinking money moves to make as you adjust to post-pandemic life.

REVIEW AND ADJUST YOUR BUDGET Pandemic times required their own budget, as people cut down on costs like dining out and updating work wardrobes but spent more on things like at-home entertainment. Others may have had to adjust their spending to fit a changed income level or to help them coast during a stint of unemployment. The pandemic may have also shifted something in some people’s mental list of needs and wants, as they found they can live with a lot less than they’d believed. As you adjust to post-pandemic life, take some time to review and tweak your monthly budget. Be sure to incorporate any changes in income, as well as a readjustment to pre-pandemic spending or changed priorities. You may need to review and adjust your budget, and maybe even your spending behaviors, every few months until you find a working balance.

REBUILD YOUR SAVINGS If you are one of the many Americans who were forced to dip into savings, or even to empty them completely, during the pandemic, create a plan to get your savings back on track. Tighten up your spending in one area until you’ve built up an emergency fund that can keep you going for 3-6 months without an income, or use a windfall, such as a work bonus or tax refund, to get the bulk of your emergency fund in place. Once your emergency fund is up and running again, continue to practice basic saving habits, such as setting aside 20% of your monthly income for savings, or whichever approach you prefer. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that it’s always best to be prepared, because you never know what can happen.

76 | September 2021

RETHINK YOUR LONG AND SHORT-TERM FINANCIAL GOALS The pandemic has prompted many people to reevaluate their goals. Retiring before you hit 50 or spending a month in Europe next summer may not be as important to you as you’d originally believed; or it may be even more important now. Similarly, you may realize your family has outgrown its living space and that moving to a new home is your number one financial priority. Or maybe you’ve decided you can live without a second car. Take some time to rethink your long-term and short-term financial goals and adjust your savings and budget accordingly. As you move through this step, be sure to consider any longterm goals you may have put on hold during the pandemic. Have you stalled your contributions to your retirement accounts or toward your child’s college tuition fund? Have you been making only the minimum payments on your credit cards? If any of these apply to you, be sure to revert your savings and debt payments back to pre-pandemic levels as soon as you can.

SPEND WITH CAUTION It’s perfectly fine to enjoy a shopping spree in celebration of a return to pre-pandemic norms, but it’s best to spend with caution. First, prepare to encounter inflated prices wherever you go. Gas prices have jumped recently, and costs of many consumer goods have spiked as well. If you planned to purchase a big-ticket item like a new car or tickets for a cruise, consider waiting it out a bit until prices cool off. Also, you may be eager to make up for lost time, but no amount of nights out on the town will bring back the months you spent at home. Similarly, overbuying for this fashion season won’t bring back the seasons you spent at home in a hoodie and sweatpants. To avoid irrational overspending, set up a budget before you hit the shops and only spend what you’ve planned.

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Bordeaux, A Timeless Journey in Wine


s I sat high above the Garonne River in southwest France, I looked across at one of the thousands of vineyards that line the banks, and I thought about how little things have changed. The day before, I walked through the famous streets of Saint-Emillion with its Roman ruins still prominent. The principal product and principal export of the region is also mostly unchanged. France produces 900 million bottles of wine a year and the country exports half of that production. However, as the No. 1 tourist destination in Europe, the wine staying within the borders of France is most certainly not all being consumed by French residents. The famous Claret is a red wine produced within weeks of the harvest and made for consumption within a year. Although that was originally not the case, sulfites are now added to increase shelf life. The Bordeaux region is surprisingly flat with slopes on the vineyards that are very gentle. The region was part

82 | September 2021

of England from the 12th century to the 15th century, with wine providing the primary source of wealth for the area during the era. Until the past 25 years or so, wine makers never directly interacted with merchants or retailers. Wine produced in Bordeaux was sold through brokers, appointed by the towns to negotiate and bid on wines. However, recent trends now allow wineries to bottle and market their wine directly to consumers and to retailers. In Saint-Emillion, the streets are lined with shops offering tastings and wide selections of wine. Whether you visit your local retailer or decide to visit Bordeaux yourself, you can have fun experimenting and learning. Either way, Bordeaux is a timeless journey. A votre santé, Kathy

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Hydration Tips: Combating Dehydration During Competition


ydration is a key component to keeping your body performing at its best. Here are some important facts to understand and strategies to ensure your athlete is hydrated for success.

DEHYDRATION FACTS • Weight loss greater than 1 percent can adversely affect performance • Weight loss greater than 3 percent of body weight can increase the risk of illness such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke • When optimally hydrated, urine color will appear clear or very lightly yellowed. • When becoming dehydrated, urine will become dark yellow or even brownish in color. • Signs of dehydration: Thirst, irritability, headaches, weakness, dizziness, cramps, nausea and decreased performance.

BEFORE/DURING/AFTER EXERCISE Fluids should be consumed several hours before exercises for proper absorption: • 2-3 hours BEFORE: 17-20 ounces • 10-20 minutes BEFORE event : 7 to 10 ounces • DURING: 7 to 10 ounces every 10-20 minutes or 28-40 ounces per hour of activity: Athletes should incorporate this into his/her training. Some athletes can have issues with consuming water during activity. • AFTER: 20 to 24 ounces of water or sports drink should be consumed per pound of weight loss within 2 hours of an athletic event. Athletes should consume enough water to replace any weight loss during activity. • Daily Consumption: Try to consume half an ounce up to a full ounce per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds: consume 60 ounces to 120 ounces per day. Chat Williams, MS, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D, CSPS*D, FNSCA • 405-701-3416


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Breaking Ground

Norman-based homebuilder plans new development focused on luxury and lifestyle


ue to the popularity of their active adult communities, Landmark Fine Homes is planning to break ground in the fall of this year on their newest development in Norman, The Springs at Flint Hills, located at 12th Avenue and Tecumseh Road. Donna Thompson, director of marketing with the Norman-based builder, said this new community is Landmark’s fifth active adult community in the metro and their second in Norman. “Our active adult communities focus on lifestyle,” Thompson shared. “Our homes are perfect for people looking to downsize.” Landmark prioritizes cultivating community within these developments, incorporating floor plans with spacious front porches, pickleball courts, clubhouses, community gardens and other amenities that make it easy for neighbors to get to know each other and to stay active, both socially and physically. “We host monthly social gatherings,” Thompson said. “We’ve had painting classes, cooking classes and potlucks.” Perks like gated entrances and the fact that lawn maintenance is included in each homeowner’s HOA dues has mass appeal. “There are no age restrictions to live in one of our active adult communities,” Thompson explained. “While the homes are perfect for empty nesters, the amenities and finishes also appeal to young professionals and families looking for a low maintenance home.

90 | September 2021

“I think people are wanting to spend less on their home and have less square footage so they can still be able to get out and about and travel.” Floor plans vary from 1,600 to 2,300 square feet and incorporate open living space, kitchen and dining area, all with high-end design. “The homes have all the same high-end finishes as in our million-dollar homes,” Thompson assured. Additionally, some of the homes in the development will be built to be visitable, an attribution given to homes and other structures that incorporate minimal-step or no-step entrances and other wheelchair and mobility accessible features. In the current high-demand market, homebuyers might be feeling pressure as multiple offers are now commonplace. Houses are often under contract within days of being on the market. Despite soaring lumber prices and supply chain issues, Thompson said Landmark has increased sales by 40%. “We usually have a certain number of model and specs homes available, but this year people are buying as soon as we break ground,” Thompson shared.


She thinks that the additional time spent at home during quarantine may have more motivated buyers to step into the market. “I think that since people have been in their homes more during COVID they are realizing they want a new home,” she shared. Thompson cautions homebuyers to not get too caught up in the bidding wars. “Don’t let the pressure of the market rush you,” she said. “You want to be sure you choose a home you’ll love and live in for many years.” Landmark currently has four new home communities in Norman and offers 13 different floor plans that homebuyers can fully customize. “You can move around anything within the plan’s footprint to suit your needs,” Thompson said. Landmark Fine Homes has been building homes for 20 years ever since owners Dan and Amy Reeves took a leap of faith to leave their careers as an Oklahoma City police officer and schoolteacher behind to realize a dream. A hallmark of their business, the Reeves are dedicated to giving back. Landmark recently fulfilled several local teachers’ Amazon wish lists so they would be ready for the school year. They also partner with organizations such as The Salvation Army, American Cancer Society and the United Way.

INTERESTED IN BUILDING A NEW HOME? Here are three questions Thompson recommends you ask a potential homebuilder: 1) Are the builder’s homes energy rated? Energy-efficient homes can save homebuyers money down the road.

2) Are they a certified builder? A certified builder has additional certifications and insurance and commits to additional oversight and best practices.

3) How long has the builder been in business and do they offer warranties? Warranties from experienced builders can help protect new homeowners from unexpected expenses.

Photos provided of Springs at Native Plains Community

To learn more about Landmark Fine Homes and their active adult communities, visit or call 405296-0293. –BSM



the DINE guide Legends Restaurant & Catering

Sauce It Up

Legends has served the Norman community and

Sauce It Up serves high quality pizza, pasta and

the University of Oklahoma for over 50 years.

subs that can be grabbed fast, on the go, or enjoyed

Legends is a stunning, intimate, casually up-scale

while watching your favorite sports in restaurant.

family owned restaurant that is perfect for business

With an extensive appetizer, salad, pizza, sub and

meetings, gatherings, romantic dinners or casual

pasta menu, Sauce It Up has something delicious

meals. Private dining rooms and catering available.

for everyone in the family.

1313 W Lindsey St. • 405.329.8888

2627 Classen Blvd Ste 104 • 405.857.7795

The Turn Grill @ Westwood Golf Course

Gringo Girl Tamales & Southern Eatery

Located at the Westwood Golf Course on the SE

Evolving from selling Tamales at central Oklahoma

corner of NW 24th and Robinson, The Turn Grill

farmers markets, Gringo Girl Tamales & Southern

offers a good meal at an affordable price to keep

Eatery has grown to a full scale restaurant serving

your energy up for your next round. Check out their

a diverse menu of home cooked favorites. From

Launch & Lunch special including $2 range tokens

nachos and loaded fries to chicken fried steak,

and Happy Hours every weekday.

tamales and fresh made pies, they have it all.

2400 Westport Dr • 405.360.7600

924 W Main St • 405.857.2202

Gaberino’s Homestyle Italian

Scratch Kitchen & Cocktails

Gaberino’s, a family-owned Italian restaurant located

Scratch’s menu is crafted entirely from scratch and

on Ed Noble Parkway, features craft cocktails and

features smokehouse bacon, pan-seared fish, farm

homestyle recipes made from scratch, with gluten-

fresh veggies and slow roasted meats. They have

free, vegetarian, vegan and low-carb options. They

a plethora of custom cocktails that will leave you

provide in-house dining, a spacious patio, delivery,

wanting more. Come taste the difference a true

online and takeout services plus Sunday brunch.

fresh, from Scratch experience can make.

400 Ed Noble Parkway • 405.310.2229

132 W Main St • 405.801.2900

O’Connell’s Irish Pub & Grill O’Connell’s, located on Asp Avenue in the heart of Campus Corner, is the headquarters for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Mugs of green beer, green eggs and ham, face painting, t-shirts and bag pipes. On regular days, O’Connell’s provides a perfect campus bar experience with great food and drinks. 769 Asp Avenue • 405.217.8454 94 | September 2021

The Mont You won’t find a better spot for lunch, dinner, or drinks than The Mont’s famous patio. Enjoy enticing entrees, burgers, mexican delicacies and a world famous swirl. Is it your birthday? The Mont is the perfect place for your big birthday blowout party with all of your friends. 1300 Classen Blvd • 405.329.3330

Service Station

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar

The Service Station has been Norman’s favorite

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar specializes in preparing

neighborhood restaurant for 43 years. Stop by and

simple foods - such as the quintessential hamburger

try one of their famous burgers, sandwiches, salads,

- with a culinary passion to satisfy restaurant-goers’

steaks or seafood and grab a drink from their full

cravings like never before. The bar features an

bar. Enjoy a nice meal on the patio, inside the

ever-rotating selection of regional draft beers and

historic dining room or grab your food to go.

cocktails that are well beyond ordinary.

502 S Webster Ave • 405.364.2139

2050 24th Ave NW Ste 101 • 405.561.1067


Penny Hill Deli Bar & Char

Interurban is a casual and fun concept featuring a

Handcrafted sandwiches. All-natural ingredients.

wide variety of menu items catering to families, busy

Cold beers. That’s what Penny Hill Deli has been

business professionals and baby boomers of all ages.

serving customers since 1981. Voted Norman’s

Their commitment to customers back in 1976 is the

favorite deli for 14 years, the menu extends far

same today: good, fresh, quality food; reasonable

beyond normal deli offerings, with a full bar,

prices and friendly and attentive service.

multiple grilled entrees, a great patio and 22 TVs.

1150 Ed Noble Dr. • 405.307.9200

1150 W Lindsey St. • 405.366.8767

Mr. Sushi

Thai Thai Asian Bistro

Mr. Sushi believes in quality and consistency, using

Thai Thai is a family run restaurant serving

only the freshest ingredients to prepare and present

delicious, authentic Thai food in Norman for over

every dish with care. From Yellowtail Sashimi

a decade. Everything on their menu is made fresh

to their creative Captain Crunch Roll, there is

daily. Join them for dine in at their location on 24th

something on the menu for everyone. Dine-in, take-

Ave NE near Tecumseh or take home a meal for you

out and delivery options are available.

or the enitre family.

1204 N Interstate Dr. Ste 130 • 405.310.6669

3522 24th Ave NW Ste 100 • 405.310.2026

Want to be included in our new monthly Dine guide? Call 405.321.1400 or contact us at for more information on how you can be included every month!

You could also be in our What’s Eating Norman feature!



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



New Addition T

Vawter Real Estate welcomes a new team member

here’s a new face on the Vawter Real Estate team. On May 1, Hannah Faler joined the group, which was established by Sallie Vawter in 2002.

Last December, Faler decided she wanted to make a career change from retail to real estate. She completed her real estate license course and, by April, began interviewing with companies. At the same time, she sat down to chat with Vawter, who has known Faler’s dad for years. The meeting was meant to be more of a mentorship conversation in which Vawter helped Faler navigate entering real estate and understand the pros and cons of the industry. But Faler felt a connection with Vawter and realized how much she’d like working with her. Faler soon called Vawter to ask if there was an opportunity to work together, and Vawter said yes. “She’s been in the business for 31 years, so she’s truly an expert,” said Faler of Vawter. “Everyone I talked to who has worked with her in Norman just has such good things to say about her. She’s very trustworthy and always doing what’s best for the customer. With me, I’m a little bit more reserved, but definitely business minded and also very creative … I just think our two personalities mix really well.”

Prior to transitioning into real estate, Faler spent four years as the manager at Occasions, a stationery and gift store located in Norman. While Faler loved her job there, she explained she wanted to find a career path that gave her more flexibility in her schedule, especially since she and her fiance, Nathan Wilson, plan to start a family soon after marrying next summer. That led her to real estate. Faler, who graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in entrepreneurship and marketing, said while at Occasions, she learned a lot about customer service, building relationships, organization and problem solving, all skills that have translated into real estate. “I just loved meeting new people in retail, and my favorite part of real estate so far has been meeting all of the clients and getting to know them on a personal level,” Faler shared. “I also really enjoy working with Sallie and learning from her. It’s more hands-on learning, and I enjoy that more than just sitting behind a desk.” Vawter said she has been impressed with Faler and her work ethic so far, echoing the thought that many of her retail skills have already been valuable.

Currently, Faler is a provisional sales associate, which means she is in her first year as a licensed real estate agent. Essentially, she is “learning all the ropes” while working directly under Vawter.

“She is super inquisitive,” Vawter shared. “She literally wants to know every detailed aspect of this. She’s super detail-oriented and a very calm, professional personality.”

Vawter said Faler is already making an impact, helping her with a lot of the necessary paperwork and also taking on some creative areas like designing ads. She’s also joined Vawter on almost every showing even though she does not have to, and Vawter said Faler is going to be ready to start showing clients homes herself in the next few months.

For anyone else considering a career change, Faler encourages them to “just jump in feet first and go for it.” As someone who was born and raised in Norman, this change is also allowing her to stay connected to a place she loves.

“Moving forward, our goal is to continue to work as a team and eventually for her to take on more of working directly with my clients and assisting them sometimes without me,” Vawter explained. 98 | September 2021

“This community is just so special to me, and I can’t seem to get away,” Faler said. “There was a time in my life where I wanted to leave Norman and get out and explore, but I always come back.” –BSM

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