Currently at work on a dystopian novel set in the near and far future. The collage to the right, “There Are Choices,” was inspired by my work-in-progress novel.
Honoring His Heritage | 2019 | for OSU-OKC | published by STATE magazine
In 2013, Congress commissioned the National Museum of the American Indian, one of 19 Smithsonian Institution museums, to oversee the process of creating the National Native American Veterans Memorial. Following extensive outreach to Native veterans, tribal leaders and community members that led to a shared vision and set of design principles, a juried international design competition for the memorial opened on Veterans Day 2017. A year later, Harvey Pratt, a Marine and Vietnam veteran, Southern Cheyenne peace chief and Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC) graduate, won the competition unanimously.
A forensic artist and retired investigator for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation with more than 50 years of law enforcement experience, he brought his fascinating experiences and a range of perspectives as an American Indian, artist, law officer and veteran to his design, Warriors’ Circle of Honor. From his birth in 1941 into a close-knit, traditional Cheyenne Tribe family in El Reno, Oklahoma, Pratt seemed destined for prominence. He was born a veil baby, a term for the membranes that surround the fetus in the womb that sometimes remain wrapped around the baby after birth. Pratt’s family considered the birth significant.
“I was born in a little house in El Reno, and the women who were caring for my mother were her aunts,” Pratt said. “When they saw me with that cloak on me, they said, ‘Oh, look at him. He’s going to be a chief.’ And before I was Harvey Pratt, they gave me the name Vehunkis, which means he’s going to be a chief.” Full story.
How a Grandmother Won a Prestigious Scholarship | 2019 | for OSU-OKC | published by the Oklahoman
At age 51, Cathy Tuton is not your typical Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City student. She’s a wife, a mother with three adult children, a grandmother with eight grandchildren, and is resolutely pursuing an associate of science degree in Enterprise Development, her third associate degree.While it might be unusual to pursue yet another degree at her age, Tuton also is navigating an additional challenge in her midlife evolution: Aniridia, a degenerative eye disease she was born with that has progressed to the point that she is blind. The disease manifests with an incomplete iris or complete lack of an iris. Link to full story; full story requires a subscription.
Pet Heroes: People Who Save Animals, Animals Who Save People, They’re the Luckiest in the World | 2019 | for OSU-OKC | published by OKC Pets Magazine and Tulsa Pets Magazine
EARLY LAST SUMMER, staff at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City were knee deep in organizing Paint This Town Orange, the school’s festive biennial scholarship fundraiser. While the fundraising team was busy coordinating myriad details for the event, they also were tasked with highlighting the school’s popular Veterinary Technology program. Why did Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City leaders want to shine a light on the Veterinary Technology program?
First, if you’re a pet owner, you probably know that Americans are in love with their pets. No matter where American pet owners live, their age or ethnicity, or how deeply divided they are on political issues, studies show that they stand united in believing that pets make a positive contribution to their lives.
Second, all that pet love is growing. According to the 2017-18 National Pet Owners Survey, 68 percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet. This is up from 56 percent of U.S. households in 1988, the first year of the survey. And, as any devoted pet owner knows, in addition to collars, leashes, carriers, pet beds and food, you want and need professional veterinary care for your beloved furry family member.
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rfablog.com| 2015 – 2017 | Randy Floyd Architects | blog content, writing, editing
Selected blog highlight: Coming Home in New Orleans
“The message of Make It Right is to take this spot that was emblematic of such human failure and to make it a human success story of how we can build in the future, how we can build with equality, how we can build for families.” – Brad Pitt, founder, Make It Right
One of our friends visited New Orleans last month and realizing the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina was on the horizon, made their way to the Make It Right community in the Lower Ninth Ward, where 109 LEED Platinum certified homes sited within a 20-block area of the Lower Ninth Ward dot the mostly empty urban landscape. The photos you see here were taken by our friend in early July, well before the media swirl surrounding the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina was underway.
Full blog post here.
Who’s Minding the Climate? | April 2013 | Oklahoma Gazette | Cover story
Oklahomans tend toward the folksy and poetic when talking about the mercurial qualities of the state’s terrain, weather and geography. It’s a relationship forged living amid volatile weather in a place that, per square mile, boasts the most ecosystems in the nation, where ecological disasters of epic proportions, such as The Dust Bowl, take place. Oklahoma bears the scars of the Dust Bowl paradoxically, celebrating the courage and perseverance of those who lived through it and simultaneously obsessing about whether lingering impressions from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath sully the state’s image. But we’re all clear on one thing: The Dust Bowl remains in the state’s collective memory as a cautionary lesson about our relationship to the land. Now, almost 80 years after that record-breaking catastrophe, a wealth of scientific studies and 97 percent of scientific experts say Oklahoma and the world face yet another ecological challenge, climate change, that — like the Dust Bowl — is caused in part or in whole by humans. Unlike that earlier disaster, however, the effects of climate change are hardly limited to state or regional boundaries. Full story.
Once Upon a Time on Paseo | May 2012 | Oklahoma Gazette | Cover Story
Nestled between N.W. 28th Street and N. Walker Avenue, to N.W. 30th Street and N. Dewey Avenue and encompassing an elegant, curving street and fanciful Spanish Revival architecture, The Spanish Village shopping center made its debut in 1929 on the cusp of the Great Depression.
In those early days, Nichols couldn’t have imagined that 83 years later, the area known simply as “Paseo” would have morphed quite so dramatically. From shopping center, to a decaying inner-city neighborhood that seemed destined for the scrap heap of urban ignominy, to Oklahoma City’s oldest artist community, the little district that could is now one of the state’s most distinctive destinations. Full story.
A Way to the True West | 2011 | Special to the Daily Oklahoman for Oklahoma Tourism | Feature story
In southwest Oklahoma where mountains meet prairie and transcendent light graces the land, you can journey deep into the heart of American Indian and Western history. Traveling the back roads along scenic highways and through charming small towns and main streets you’ll find Oklahoma’s rich heritage, history and culture is quintessential America, a fusion of the ancient, iconic and modern just waiting to be discovered. Link to full story requires a subscription.
Oklahoma Indian Country Guide | 2010 | Oklahoma Tourism | Project manager, writing, editing
Oklahoma’s first comprehensive Indian Country Guide includes profiles of the state’s 39 tribal nations and 90-plus American Indian destinations. Collaborative project team included Oklahoma Tourism, American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, Oklahoma Indian Tourism Association, as well as colleagues and staff from Oklahoma’s Indian Nations. Link to guide online.
Is this a Grape State or What? | 2006 | Oklahoma Today magazine | Cover story
Tom James likes ranging the rolling hills and bluffs near the towns of Haskell, Porter, and Coweta, all just a few miles south of Tulsa. The Arkansas River snakes its way around these small communities, pockets of tenacity lying alongside metropolitan areas and suburbs that stretch outward like fingers into surrounding farmland. Link to full story.
The Joy of Food | 2005 | Oklahoma Today Magazine | Cover story
In a feverishly busy world, the quiet humility of a small farm, the unpretentious service of farmers and ranchers, and the grueling and demanding work of growing and preparing food for our tables is often reduced to rhymes in children’s books or nostalgic stereotypes. Because consumers are out of touch with the land and disconnected from the people who grow and raise our foods, we are unconsciously consuming vast quantities of prepackaged items.
What we sacrifice for convenience is taste, flavors, and textures. But consumers are the most powerful agents of change in our current food system. Somewhere deep within the human psyche is a yearning to experience food’s rich heritage. As those seeds of yearning grow, the paradigm shifts ever so slowly and slightly. The table is the gathering place where differences are put aside and we commune once again. There, light shines not only on the meal we share, but perhaps even more importantly, on the fellowship we share with one another. Link to full story.