Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kenya Mission - Books Donated

Several months ago, students at Summit Middle School in Edmond donated books for the children's library I helped launch in Meru, Kenya. Above is a picture of one of the drop off sites at the school. I went there with file boxes and the kids threw the books into my boxes. Those boxes have been sitting at my church and now I'm finally sorting through the boxes and repacking them tightly in preparation for their being shipping to Kenya.

I am actually going to store the boxes in a donated storage unit for a while until I have enough boxes of donated books to fill a 20 foot shipping container. I'd mail the books to Kenya but the postal rate is $1 per pound plus most of what gets mailed to Kenya of any value never arrives at it's destination. Also, there is much rigmarole involved in getting a waiver on books (otherwise I'd have to pay import tax on the assumption the books were for resale in Kenya). It involves getting papers signed by the Secretary of Finance and the Secretary of Education, bribes to officials at the Port of Mombasa and bribes to policemen who stop our truck between the port and Meru... I'm willing to jump through those hoops once for a 20 foot shipping container but not numerous times for smaller shipments.

If you know a middle school that would consider a service project of donating books for the community library located on the campus of the Kaaga School for Hearing Impaired Children in Central Kenya, please have a teacher or school official get in touch with me. My Kenya connection, the remarkable Florence Mubichi, and I will come to the school and show pictures and talk about the need for books and our goal of creating a culture of reading for children of Kenya. Thanks.

FYI, the first picture is my living room hearth where the repacking process has just begun. I am trying to bring home and repack 5-8 boxes a day. I keep wanting to hold back what I consider hugely culturally inappropriate books while my 7th grade language arts school teacher daughter insists we send almost everything donated. I have talked her into letting me set aside the "Adventures of Mary Kate and Ashley" series and the "Girl Talk" ("Allison's a model!") series. But Pokemon, Captain Underpants and Scooby-Doo are going to Kenya!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Oklahomans Melyanna Hewitt and Kelly Brown Produce Children's Book "A Story of Faith"

The following post is from the Oklahoma Writers & Authors blog and is so good, I am just pasting the whole post here:


"... I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move." - Matthew 17:20

Inspired by a true story, this delightfully innovative children’s story was written for seven-year-old Mary Ann, a little Amish girl who had just been diagnosed with cancer. As Mary Ann lay awaiting the first of many chemotherapy treatments, in walked a complete stranger bearing a cuddly bundle of fur named “Faith.” Faith arrived at Mary Ann’s bedside hoping to become her “bestest” friend and traveling company for the long journey ahead.

This tender story will guide you through Faith’s creation at Build-A-Bear Workshop and her many adventures on an Amish farm. Written and illustrated by two women from Oklahoma, Melyanna Hewitt and illus by Kelly Brown, A Story of Faith spearheads a fund raising effort on Mary Ann’s behalf. Your purchase of this book will help pay a portion of Mary Ann’s medical expenses. For more information, visit the website

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sheila Spurgeon New Director of Preservation Oklahoma, Inc.

Sheila Spurgeon has a doctorate in educational psychology and has taught at five universities but she has always had a special place in her heart for historical preservation. Now, as the new executive director of Preservation Oklahoma Inc, she is a key player in preserving Okahoma's architectural treasures. Read about her in this July 20 Oklahoman article entitled "Historic homes get shot at future."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Jo Ann Pearce Leads A Chance to Change Foundation

My husband belongs to the Oklahoma City Downtown Rotary (Club 29) which meets every Tuesday at noon. I have lots of female friends who also belong and one of them, Meg Salyer -- who won the Journal Record's Woman of the Year in 2003, served as president of Club 29 a few years back. So I keep an eye on the organization - wondering if they will ever have a second female president and hoping that a few of their speakers will be females over the course of a year (other than Sherri Coale, that is).

So I was pleased to hear that Jo Ann Pearce, Executive Director of A Chance to Change Foundation, spoke to Club 29 this week. Her organization was founded in 1979 and works with individuals who are affected by chemical dependency and related behavioral disorders. She has an awesome resume and word is she gave a very good talk. Yes!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Janet Lovet Named Law Dean at University of Tulsa

Janet Loven Levit has been named Dean of the Law School at the University of Tulsa.

She is the first woman to serve as law dean at TU and the first female dean of a law school in Oklahoma. So, yippee!

You can read the full story about her and the appointment here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TR's Pictures from China

My new Oklahoma friend TR - who authors the blog From the Faraway Nearby - is a "traveler by trade." He is currently in China working on activities related to the 2008 Summer Olympics.

He has a wonderful eye for images and takes fabulous photos.

Check out his first post from China for a moment of blissful zen!

Pam Peterson and Sue Tibbs Endorse Dana Murphy

Per Mike McCarville's blog, two state legislators - Pam Peterson and Sue Tibbs - have endorsed Republican candidate Dana Murphy in her run for Corporation Commissioner.

McCarville also reports that Chesapeake Energy is throwing money at Jim Roth, the Democratic candidate in this race, which (aside from the ethical issue re taking money from those you regulate) will help his race.

First, though Murphy has to win the primary against an opponent. Based on training and past work experience, Murphy is certainly the most qualified candidate for this post.

OCU Hall of Fame to Induct Ann Felton

Oklahoma City University will induct 6 business leaders to their Hall of Fame October 15 including one woman -- Ann Felton. She is chair and CEO of Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity and will receive OCU's Lifetime Achievement Award. Read The Oklahoman article here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Carolyn Stager First Women Director of Oklahoma Municipal League

Carolyn Stager, who broke a glass ceiling when she assumed the helm of the Oklahoma Municipal League this month, is a remarkable survivor of the May 3, 1999 tornado. The Oklahoman ran an article on her July 20, 2008 entitled "For first time, woman to lead Oklahoma Municipal League." Congratulations, Carolyn!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mike Korenblit, Respect Diversity Foundation, & NBA's "Oklahoma City Thunder"

Mike Korenblit spoke to my Sunday school class this morning. The son of Holocaust survivors, Mike grew up in Ponca City, worked 19 years with the Close Up Foundation in Washington, D.C. and moved back to Oklahoma in 1992. He is co-author of the book Until We Meet Again: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Holocaust, the story of his parents Manya and Meyer Korenblit. He and his wife, Joan, are co-founders of the Respect Diversity Foundation, a non-profit organization that teaches tolerance and inspires people of all ages and backgrounds to reevaluate their prejudices and biases. The foundation is headquartered in Edmond.

The foundation sponsors an annual state-wide Respect Diversity Symbol Exhibit with art collaborations, by students, that teach the community respect for diversity through the arts. Children across Oklahoma do an amazing job of reflecting the concept of respecting diversity visually. Not an easy thing to do. I have posted just a few of the great art it generates.

That got me thinking. I have heard a rumor that the Oklahoma City NBA basketball team will be called "the Oklahoma City Thunder." But how does one depict thunder visually?

Friday, July 18, 2008

OKC's St. Anthony Promotes Tammy Powell and Marti Jourden

St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City has promoted two women of note: Tammy Powell is now Executive VP/Chief Operating Officer and Marti Jourden is VP, Performance Improvement/Chief Quality Officer. Congratulations, ladies! Read The Oklahoman article here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Geraldine Suiter

Edith Suiter, Geraldine Suiter's daughter-in-law, in Duncan reports that there is so much more to Geraldine's story than I managed to mention HERE. You can find some of it at her online obituary HERE. Edith says there is property in Tillman County that has passed through the generations being owned ONLY by women in Geraldine's family. Imagine that. Let's hear it for empowering women! She did indeed have a passion for life; thanks, Pam, for hooking me up with Edith.

Deborah Barnes Sworn In As Judge of Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals

Tulsa attorney Deborah Ann Browers Barnes was sworn in July 9, 2008 as a judge on the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. Click here to read Tulsa World article. She was sworn in by her father-in-law and former state Supreme Court Justice Don Barnes. I don't think family got her the post though since Gov. Henry selected Barnes from a recommendation list that was compiled by the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission. Having served on one of those, I assure you they strive to pick the best QUALIFIED applicants! (I was appointed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission by President Jimmy Carter - that's how old I am!) Barnes replaces John Reif of Skiatook who Governor Henry named to the Oklahoma Supreme Court last October.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tipton, Oklahoma's Geraldine Suiter

The Oklahoman has an article by Ron Jackson today on Geraldine Suiter. She lived near Tipton, Oklahoma for over 92 years and died recently at age 98. She was an Oklahoma pioneer; click here to read the article. Raised in a log cabin; great friend and family member; first female basketball coach in Tillman County; a long career as an educator - this is a wonderful legacy for an Oklahoma pioneer woman.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Forty-Sixth Star Press Publishes "It Wasn't Much"

Forty-Sixth Star Press, a wonderful new Oklahoma publishing company, focuses on telling Oklahoma's story. As part of their "Oklahoma Portraits Series," they recently published It wasn't Much: Ten True Tales of Oklahoma Heroes by Jana Hausburg with portraits by Cheryl Delany. I loved this book!

Aimed at a young audience, this collection of short biographies tells of ten Oklahomans who have contributed in big as well as small ways to the state, the nation and the world. I am delighted that half the Oklahomans featured are women.

Those women are Rosemary Hogan (the angel of Bataan), Fern Holland (who was assassinated for her work on women's rights in Iraq), Bartlesville's gutsy librarian and civil rights leader Ruth Brown, environmental activist Carrie Dickerson, and Oklahoma City Red Cross volunteer Felicia Daugherty.

In addition to the book, there are materials and activities that supplement each chapter including resource materials, websites and discussion questions.

Oklahoma historians, parents, teachers and librarians, you will want to add this book to your collection. I plan to take several copies with me next time I travel to Kenya to add to our library collections in Meru! Here are a few locations where It Wasn’t Much: True Tales of Ten Oklahoma Heroes is available in Oklahoma City:

Best of Books 1313 E. Danforth in Edmond

Cokesbury, 6907 N May Ave in OKC

The Learning Tree 7638 N Western Ave in OKC

Oklahoma Historical Society Gift Shop 2401 N. Laird Ave in OKC

St. Thomas More Books and Gifts 7904 North May Avenue in OKC

Partner Abuse and the Bethel Foundation

There was a good article in The Oklahoman recently entitled Dealing with the reality of abuse in Oklahoma. And here is a related article about Lynda Powell's Bethel Foundation for abused single women. The Bethel Foundation can be reached at its Oklahoma City office at 286-3700, its Edmond office at 348-5826, or toll free at 866-442-1431. The foundation's office is located at 11212 N May Avenue, Suite 110.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Jodi Lewis Replaces Dana Shadid as ED of Oklahoma Community Institute

After more than ten years with the Oklahoma Community Institute, Dana Shadid stepped down as Executive Director July 1. She said,
I am excited about slowing down a bit and I am more excited about the
future of OCI. The organization has come a long way since 1995 when Nance
Diamond and the original board of directors acted on their vision of an
organization that focused on empowering local citizens to improve their own
communities. Working with some great board members and staff, I have done
what I can to continue to build on that vision. Now it is my pleasure to
pass that on to someone else to ensure that OCI continues to work for Oklahoma

The OCI board selected Jodi Lewis -- current Director of Development and Planning -- to move into the role of Executive Director. Their press release read:
In addition to her work at the Community Institute, Jodi serves on the City
Council for the City of Piedmont and the board of Places, a Piedmont voluntary
organization that supports the city library and other cultural activities. She
was recently named to the board of United Way of Canadian County. She was also
selected as one of OKC Business's 40 Under 40 this year. Jodi is a graduate of
Oklahoma State University with a BS in Agribusiness. Jodi brings an enthusiasm
and commitment to the position that will serve the organization and Oklahoma
communities very well.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Single Moms' Poverty Spikes After Welfare Overhaul

Women's eNews reports that:
The ranks of poor single mothers have grown since the 1996 welfare overhaul that
weakened their safety net, and 30 percent now live with neither job income nor
public assistance.
Read the post here.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Marolyn Pryor Forms Largest Real Estate Firm in Oklahoma

The Oklahoman Sunday ran a nice story about Mustang-based Marolyn Pryor Realtors merging with firms in Tulsa and Sapulpa to form Coldwell Banker Select. With 20 offices and 700 real estate agents statewide, it is the largest real estate firm in Oklahoma. Pryor is a former school teacher who got into real estate in 19977. She is president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of realtors. Nice work, Marolyn! You can read the article here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Louise Alexander, Nancy Anthony and Ann Simak To Serve on Ford Center Board

The board overseeing how $22 million in improvements to Ford Center get spent includes three remarkable Oklahoma city women leaders -- Louise Alexander, Nancy Anthony and Ann Simank. Alexander ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 4 city council seat in 2005. A retiree, she works as a community volunteer. Anthony is executive director of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and has been a member of the Metropolitan Library Commission for more than 30 years. Simank represents Ward 6 on the city council. Her ward extends from NW 23 on the north to SW 44 on the south. She has been a council member since 1995. You can read The Oklahoman article here.