Thursday, December 17, 2009

Caregiving in the US 2009 (from wanda deBruler)

Wanda DeBruler notes on her blog:

Caregiving is still mostly a woman’s job and many women are putting their career and financial futures on hold as they juggle part-time caregiving and full-time job requirements. This is the reality reported in Caregiving in the U.S. 2009, the most comprehensive examination to date of caregiving in America. The first national profile of caregivers, [...]

Read more of this post

Remembering our female US war veterans

Statistics show that female service members have much higher rates of divorce and are more likely to be a single parent. When they do seek help at VA medical centers, they are screening positive at a higher rate for military sexual trauma, meaning they indicated experiencing sexual harassment, assault or rape. Some studies have shown that female veterans are at greater risk for homelessness. The VA estimates that about 10 percent of homeless veterans are women.  Read full story by clicking here...

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Rep. Anastasia Pittman Addresses Sexting Craze

OKLAHOMA CITY – Over 50 percent of 14-24 year olds have experienced some form of digital abuse, and 3 in 10 have sent or received nude pictures through text messages, said state Rep. Anastasia A. Pittman, who plans to file legislation next session to address Oklahoma’s problem with sexting.

Sexting is the sharing of sexually explicit photos, videos and chat by cell phone. More than a quarter of young people have been involved in sexting in some form, an Associated Press-MTV poll found.

Pittman said the problem has hit home and has now become a serious problem in our own state and parents need to be aware. Currently, Oklahoma has no laws specific to “sexting”; however the act of sexting breaks numerous other laws.

“Sexting is becoming surprisingly common among Oklahoma teens. We need to educate not only the kids about the risks and liabilities involved but the parents. Parents, don’t be afraid to ask your kids about this – this is a crucial issue on the rise in our state,” said Pittman, D-Oklahoma City. “Sexting seems to be the newest craze for teenagers, and it is a very dangerous craze that could lead to numerous consequences.”

The practice has led to child pornography charges against teens in several states. Earlier this year, three Pennsylvania high school girls who sent semi-nude photos and four male students who received them were all hit with child pornography charges.

Currently in Oklahoma it is unlawful when a person facilitates, encourages or solicits sexual conduct with a minor by the use of technology, which includes any cell phone or computer. The crime is a felony charge that can result in up to 10 years in prison.  The law also states that every person who willfully and knowingly photographs, prepares, publishes, distributes, gives or exhibits any obscene material or child pornography is guilty of a felony punishable by 30 days to 10 years in jail.

“These teenagers see their behavior as free of consequences if they get caught and assume it’ll just be a slap on the hand. They are unaware of all the legal consequences involved,” said Pittman. “Not only is the sender of the obscene material breaking the law, but if the recipient forwards that picture or video to someone else, they too are breaking the law.”

The study conducted by MTV further showed that 12 percent of those who have “sexted” have contemplated suicide, which is four times more likely than those who haven’t, and targets of digital abuse are almost three times as likely to contemplate suicide as those who haven’t encountered it, and nearly three times more likely to have considered dropping out of school.

“Not only are there legal consequences involved but also there are so many emotional consequences,” said Pittman. “These teens don’t realize when one picture meant for one person gets shared with multiple people, it can destroy their sense of self-worth. We need to stop them from ever getting to that point.”

The Oklahoma City Democrat said she plans to file legislation clarifying the applications of the current law, and also hopes to launch a statewide campaign to deter teens from sexting. When it comes to online behavior, only half think their actions could come back to haunt them, and 1 in 4 believe that their digital actions could have legal consequences.

Pittman noted that MTV recently unveiled “A THIN LINE,” a new multi-year initiative to empower America’s youth to identify, respond to and stop the spread of digital abuse.  Digital abuse is an emerging issue that includes behaviors like “sexting,” cyberbullying and digital dating abuse.   

MTV’s “A THIN LINE” will address digital abuse issues through a series of on-air, online and real world initiatives, including integration in MTV’s top-rated programming, an MTV News special focused on Sexting, True Life: I have Digital Drama, thought-provoking PSAs, innovative online and mobile tools and the “Redraw the Line Challenge” -- which calls on young people to submit innovative digital antidotes to digital abuse. Today, MTV also launched where young people can access information, resources and support on issues related to digital abuse.

“I applaud this effort. This is a serious issue that is finally getting national attention. It’s about time we start the discussions of what we can do locally to protect the innocence of our children,” said Pittman.

Source. Oklahoma House of Represenatives Media Division, Dec 4, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Oklahoman MJ Alexander Photographs Gloria Steinem and Alice Walker for Ms Magazine Cover

Oklahoma photographer and writer M.J. Alexander recently got to photograph women's rights activist and Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem and author Alice Walker for the cover of Ms. Magazine. Other of her photographs are featured inside the Fall 2009  issue which is for sale on news stands now.

Alexander took photos of 144 Oklahoma centennarians for her wonderful book Salt of the Red Earth: A Century of Wit and Wisdom from Oklahoma's Elders - which, by the way, would make an excellent Christmas present!

You can watch a brief interview of Alexander on the YouTube piece below:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation's Joan Merrill Honored for Lupus Research

Kuddos to Dr. Joan T. Merrill with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF). She recently received the Lupus Foundation of American (Oklahoma Chapter) "Outstanding Achievement Award" for her many years of research on lupus. Merrill heads OMRF's Clinical Pharmacology Research Program and also teaches at the OU Health Science Center. Read more here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Oklahoman Phyllis Hudecki to Chair NAEP Business Task Force

Phyllis Hudecki is Executive Director of the Oklahoma City-based Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition. She has been tapped by the National Assessment of Education Progress program (aka The Nation's Report Card) to chair NAEP's new Business Policy Task Force. This group will look for ways to make NAEP results more meaningful to the business community.  Read more by clicking here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wanda Jo Eviage of Frederick, Oklahoma, Honored for Civic Service

Frederick, OK, City Councilwoman Wanda Jo Eviage was one of four current and former local government officials recently inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for City and County Officials. Eviage is a retired teacher who has served on the Frederick City Council for Ward 3 for 26 years. She is also a former Frederick Mayor. In addition, she has served on the Board of Trustees of the Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments (ASCOG) for 19 years, including nine years on the executive committee, where she became the first female president of the 39 member board. Congratulations, Councilwoman Eviage!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Judy Love Honored by Oklahoma City University

Oklahoma City University's Meinders School of Business recently inducted five into the Oklahoma Commerce and Industry Hall of Honor. One of the honorees was Oklahoma businesswoman Judy Love who received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Judy and her husband, Tom, founded Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores. She serves on the board of many civic organizations including the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, St. Anthony Hospital, Oklahoma City University, and the Oklahoma Museum of Art.  Read more here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Urban League Honors Susan G. Komen of Central OK

The Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City Inc honored Central Oklahoma Susan G. Komen for the Cure at the Urban League's recent 2009 Awards Luncheon. Both are remarkable organizations led by equally remarkable women (Valerie Thompson and Lorna Palmer respectfully).  

Friday, October 30, 2009

We Need Another Jeanna Sellmeyer; Nominate Someone for Oklahoma Small Business Person of the Year

Dottie Overal, Oklahoma Director of the Small Business Administration, invites you to nominate people for Oklahoma’s small business person of the year.  Last year, Oklahoma City entreprenuerJeanna Sellmeyer, founder of ASSET Group, Inc., won the state award and went on to win the national small business person of the year award! Read the Oklahoman article HERE.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Two of my husband's recent studies now on the Internet

Grrrrr - I just tried to put the links to two reports that Larkin did recently on Twitter/Facebook. The titles of his reports are longer that 140 characters - let alone adding the link. And the State Chamber and the Oklahoma City Chamber have them as pdf files that have to be downloaded. WHY can't they just put them out on the Internet as a unique URL, please?!?! Then I screwed up the " bitly" shortened links. I HATE that Twitter/Facebook don't let you delete a post when you realize it contains inaccurate information.  Whats with that? (Or maybe they do and I'm just too old to figure out all this new fangled stuff.) As far as I am concerned, blogging isn't dead; I still prefer it to tweeting!

And, in case anyone is interested, here is:

"Executive Summary: Impact Analysis of Oklahoma City's MAPS and Other Significant Central City Investments" prepared for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce by Larkin Warner and Eric Long (Revised February 2009)


Dr. Warner: The Administration of Oklahoma State Government Promotion of Economic Development

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wants to watch our legislators live on OETA?

Oklahoma soon may have live streaming of all activity in the Oklahoma State House and Senate (see Cameras may be put in House, 10-16-2009).  We already have some live audio streaming to the Internet from the House and live audio and video streaming to Internet from the Senate. But it  isn’t gavel to gavel and some areas of Oklahoma still don’t have access to high-speed Internet. I'd prefer it got broadcast on OETA; what do you think? If it was on OETA, would you watch? Why or why not?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Univ of Central Oklahoma/Rose State focusing on domestic violence

UCO is hosting a series of events drawing attention to domestic violence during October which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Kudos to Kathryn Touhty for helping organize UCO's events. 

I know Rose State College is also holding several events because one of my interns staffed a table today at Rose. She reports the event was filled with people learning about domestic violence awareness and prevention.

Do you know of any other Oklahoma colleges or universities that have hosted or will be hosting DV awarness events this month? If so, leave a comment and tell us about it! Thanks.

Cathy Cummings and Vito's Ristorante in North Oklahoma City

There is a great restaurant review in today’s paper about Vito’s Ristorante in north Oklahoma City which is owned and run by a woman, Cathy Cummings. I can vouch for the very high quality of both food and service at this restaurant at 7512 N May Avenue. My grandson, Andy, occasionally helps with the cooking week nights or on Saturday night because (a) he has so much respect for Cathy and (b) it is such a pleasuure to cook there. The food is all made on site and fabulous. Andy has a full-time day job cooking for folks at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation but he just loves to hang out and cook with Cathy at Vito’s, too. With a degree in culinary arts and restaurant management from Johnson & Wales in Providence, RI, he knows great restaurants and Vito’s is one. Check it out and see if you don’t agree!

Congrats to Oklahoma's Faye Garrison - Outstanding Principal

An elementary school principal in Muskogee, Oklahoma - Faye Garrison - has been selected as one of 63 for a  2009 National Distinguished Principal award. She's at Hilldale Elementary School. Way to go, Faye!  Read more here.

Guy Kawasaki - 500 years of women portraits

Take a look at about 500 years of portraits of women in three minutes by Guy Kawasaki of AllTop posted to Holy Kaw and sent to me by posterous. Just Click HERE  and then click on the image. Amazing, delightful, hideously Western European (sorry - wished there were more women of color but it is still lovelyl).

Google Guy Kawasaki, Alltop, and posterous. You'd know about all these very cool services already if you'd gone to BlogWorld so start planning NOW to attend SXSW in Austin, TX next March.

Tulsa's Getting Women's Professional Basketball

From Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor:

Well, it's official! Women's professional basektball is coming to Tulsa!
A formal announcement was made yesterday, but Bill Cameron ended the speculation late Monday night, in a brief e-mail to the Tulsa World confirming the three-time WNBA champion Detroit Shock is moving to Tulsa.

"We're thrilled to not only have a team, but one of the most successful teams in league history," Cameron said in the e-mail. "Under Coach Nolan Richardson, we're eager to build upon this team's success, and continue its winning tradition here in Tulsa."
We look forward to welcoming the Shock to our community. We know that having world class athletes and a thriving sports industry in Tulsa adds to the appeal of living and working here. Our arms and doors are open.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Extraordinary Bartlesville Women

I recently briefed members of the Bartlesville Women's Network on the purpose and programs of the Oklahoma Women's Coalition. This image was take that night. On the left is Joanne Bennett, the first woman to be elected to the position of County Commissioner in Oklahoma except for women appointed/elected to fill their deceased husband's office. She served several terms as County Commissioner in Washington County. On the right is Carolyn Price, Bartlesville community leader and long-time women's rights advocate.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Breast Impressions, Others Kick Off Breast Cancer Month in Tulsa

Breast Impressions, Inc. over in Tulsa is busy this month. Their Woodland Hills Mall Kick Off to Breast Cancer Awareness Month was a great success. They gave out 3,000 pink ribbons at the 4 entrances to the mall (they were all gone by 12:30!) with help from the Green Country Roller Girls, The Tulsa Oiler Hockey Ice Girls, Tulsa Craft Mafia and the Girl Scouts for making sure everyone knew it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Lots of wonderful Oklahoma groups had booths while Sparkles the dog kissed her heart out and raised $165 dollars!

Their Breast Impressions Survivors 2010 Calendar is now taking pre-orders. You can order them for $10 each plus $1.50 for shipping. They should arrive by October 25th. To view, click on the hotlink above; you can also order them there or send a check to Breast Impressions at 4645 S Vandalia Ave., Tulsa, OK 74135.

On October 25th at 3 p.m. get over to Woodland Hills Mall for the Breast Cancer Survivor Fashion Show. It's going to be one of the most moving shows the runway will ever host. Thanks to Linda Layman Modeling Agency for coordinating the show, and to all the wonderful stores who are participating!

Then on October 25th at 7 p.m. the Mall will be transformed into a wonderland of black and pink (Breast Impressions colors) and for just $25 you can be fed, entertained and bid on your favorite cast with all proceeds from the auction going to Tulsa Project Woman! You won't BELIEVE the fabulous gifts the merchants have donated to the $10 raffle! Even a $500 Coach Purse! The men won't be left out either.. some great gifts they might win too, if their number is drawn!

Kudos to Breast Impressions founder and director, Judi Grove, and her team working hard to meet the needs of women who are facing breast cancer now and educate those who may face it in the future.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

NPR's "Weekend Edition" host Scott Simon Visits

National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition Saturday" host Scott Simon and Director, Sarah Beyer Kelly, with Oklahoma economist (and my darling husband) Larkin Warner. Scott and Sarah taped an interview with Larkin in our living room last week. It should be featured either this coming Saturday or the following Saturday. :-)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Journal Record Names Catherine O'Conner 2009 Woman of the Year; Many OK Women's Coalition members also honored

Congratulations to Catherine O'Conner, assistant city manager for the city of Oklahoma City, who was named 2009 Woman of the Year at the Journal Record's Woman of the Year banquet in Oklahoma City last night. You can read the Journal Record article about Ms. O'Conner and event highlights by clicking here.

Oklahoma Women's Coalition members who were honored as one of this year's "50 Making a Difference" were Barbara Butner, Calm Waters Center for Children and Families; Robyn Elliott, The Chickasaw Nation; Rhonda Godwin (InvesTrust); Senator Debbe Leftwich; and Penny Voss (Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation). Robyn Elliott was one of six women inducted into the Journal Record's "Circle of Excellence" for having been a Women of the Year honoree three times.

Four programs were honored including two run by Oklahoma Women's Coalition members -- Jan Peery, CEO of the YWCA of Oklahoma City and Katie Fitzgerald, Director of the Women's Leadership Program at the Carl Albert Center at OU. (The other two Okahoma-based programs recognizedwere World Neighbors and Peace Through Business.)

Best of all (excuse my bias), the 2008 Woman of the Year honoree (Ret.) Major General Rita Aragon made a few brief remarks. She ended her talk by giving the Oklahoma women's Coalition a HUGE plug - ending with "Tomorrow, Google 'Oklahoma Women's Coalition,' go to their website and become a member!" Rita sits on the Women's Foundation of Oklahoma board and, obviously is a big OWC supporter.Thank you, Rita!!!!!

The guest speaker was Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Rwandan genocide survivor who has written a New York Times best-seller, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. A major motion picture is about to be made about her remarkable story. The Rwandan Ambassador to the US and the Rwandan Minister of Gender and Family Promotion were also present.

It was a glorious night. Congratulations to Mary Melon for the Kudos to the corporate partners for the Woman of the Year program are Coppermark Bank, Cox Business Services, Crowe & Dunlevy, Eide Bailly, OGE Energy Corp., Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business, Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center and University of Phoenix.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kathy Taylor to be OK Governor's Top Education Advisor

Yeah for Oklahoma. Kathy Taylor reports she will be helping Governor Brad Henry on education matters after she leaves the position of Mayor of Tulsa. And she is bringing her wonderful assistant, Amy Polonchek, with her. Yippee. Here is her message:

Dear Friend,

I want to be the first to tell you what I plan to do when I finish serving as your mayor this December. A few minutes ago, Governor Brad Henry named me his top education advisor!

I’ve gotten so many emails, letters and phone calls asking what I plan to do AFTER my term is over and Bill and I return from our Route 66 Trip, and I am absolutely thrilled to spend 2010 working to improve Oklahoma’s schools.

Governor Henry and I have one year left to bring change and continue improving our schools. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my time than as the Governor’s Chief of Education, Strategy and Innovation so that I can help make Oklahoma one of the top states in the country for education!

The governor was kind enough to say, “I’m thrilled that Mayor Taylor has agreed to serve my administration and the state in this new and important role. As she does with all of her endeavors, Kathy will bring great expertise, high energy and a laser-like focus on the task at hand. I want Oklahoma to enhance its reputation as a national leader in educational innovation, and Kathy Taylor has the skills to help us accomplish that goal.”

As I think you’ll agree, our public education system is critical to the future of this state and many important decisions about its direction will be made in the next year. With the federal government encouraging and rewarding innovation with the Race to the Top grants and other initiatives, we have a small window of opportunity to make a great difference for our state.

When I start in January, I will be working full-time since this is a cabinet-level position in the executive branch, but I’ve decided to volunteer my time so we can direct more dollars to our classrooms. And I am taking my fantastic chief of staff Amy Polonchek with me to continue as my right hand.

Please know that I will be as focused and determined to be the best mayor possible until my final minutes serving you. And since this position will only last one year, I am not closing the door on working for you as an elected official in the future.

As always, I’m honored to be your mayor. You’ve been the backbone of my successful tenure in City Hall. I hope you will join me in making life better for our children, grandchildren, and future leaders of our great state by working to improve education in 2010!

Stay tuned for ways to get involved by going to our website ( or follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I will also continue to keep you updated with periodical emails.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Read about one remarkable young woman, Amanda LaMunyon of Enid

Amanda LaMunyon of Enid is a remarkable Oklahoman on a number of levels. You can read about her here:

I am developing a more and more respect for kids with Asperger's. Her story will surprise and impress you!

Friday, September 11, 2009

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In preparation for Domestic Violence Awareness month in October, the Oklahoma City YWCA is spreading awareness! Have the YWCA join you for a brown bag lunch at your workplace, school, church or civic group. They can do presentations on the effects of domestic violence and the programs offered by the YWCA. Or come to the YWCA for a "Lunch & Learn" session which includes lunch, a presentation and a tour of the YWCA facilities!

Click here to see the dates and to sign up for a Lunch & Learn today!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Ovarian Cancer Luncheon at OK Govenor's Mansion (followup)

For those of us who couldn't swing an invitation to the first annual Ovarian Cancer Research Fund's luncheon at the Governor's Mansion Pavilion this week, you can at least catch a glimpse on this video -->

FYI, click here to read an August 4 article by Melinda Beck in the Wall Street Journal entitled Toward Earlier Detection of Ovarian Cancer. It will give a little encouragement but the current statistics will break your heart. Tell your lady friends: a PAP does NOT screen for ovarian cancer (only cervical); our life time risk of getting this nasty thing is 1 in 70; this is "the silent killer" because there aren't any really clear symptoms; most cases are not detected until they are far along which is why only 45% of patients survive more than 5 years.

Thank God for physicians like Joan Walker who is doing important research and spoke at the recent luncheon (and who is my dear friend Florence's surgeon).

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Indian Women Artists of Oklahoma poster

I saw this hanging on the wall at the home of my Stillwater friend Pauline and had to share it.

You can read the names of the women artists if you click on the image (it will enlarge).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sept 3 - Come to State Capitol to Discuss Women Incarcerated


Meeting to Address Female Incarceration, Re-Entry and Expungement

Sen. Constance N. Johnson announced on Friday that legislators, Department of Corrections (DOC) officials, members of community-based organizations and the public will meet in the Senate Chamber on Thursday, Sept. 3, for a discussion on the impact of the state’s high incarceration rates.

Johnson said there is an immediate need for the state to begin addressing this issue with a comprehensive plan, as Oklahoma currently incarcerates more women per capita than any other state, and is the third highest incarcerator of both men and women per capita. In 2009, the state spent $503 million on corrections costs, including an additional $24 million in emergency supplemental funding to cover increasing offender growth and operating costs.

“We can no longer set this issue aside while the cost of our high incarceration rates continues to take a toll on our state, our communities and our families,” said Johnson, D-Oklahoma City . “In order for us to correct this problem, we must examine the causes that lead to incarceration and methods to reduce recidivism and ensure successful re-entry. By doing so, Oklahoma is uniquely positioned to be on the cutting edge in developing a comprehensive plan to address the impact of incarceration on our communities.”

According to statistics from the Department of Corrections, Oklahoma ’s incarceration rate ranks first nationally for females and fourth for males. Of the 25,120 prisoners currently in Oklahoma correctional facilities, 2,587 are women. Of those women, 77 percent are non-violent offenders. Johnson noted that since 1986, the Department of Corrections (DOC) budget has grown 250 percent, more than twice the rate of increase for education spending.

"We want to be tough on crimes that warrant a tough response, but we must be “smart on crime” when dealing with non-violent offenders who, with comprehensive rehabilitation and education, can be fairly punished and then return to society to be productive taxpaying citizens. Through a collaborative effort between legislative leaders, state agencies, mental health advocacy groups and community-based service organizations, I’m confident we can develop a smarter plan to reduce our overall prison population while keeping violent offenders off the streets,” Johnson said. “It’s time for us to finally acknowledge this issue as a pressing legislative and social concern and begin addressing it accordingly.”

“It’s time to develop a system that works both fairly and equitably, while reducing our economically unsustainable prison population.”

The group will meet from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. in the Senate Chamber on Sept. 3. The meeting will be open to members of the public.

Friday, August 28, 2009

OKC YWCA Women's Equality Day = Great Success!

On August 24th, the YWCA hosted its Inaugural Women's Equality Day Celebration which was a huge success! A panel of local women leaders discussed women's equality in our state and the future of the women's movement, followed by an networking reception. Plans are already underway for next year's event! >Learn more about Women's Equality Day and see pictures here!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Attorney Karen Long of Tulsa appointed today to OK Ethics Commission

Tulsa attorney Karen Long was appointed by House Speaker Chris Benge to the State Ethics Commission today. She replaces Commissioner Don Bingham whose term expired.

“Karen Long has a strong, diverse legal background that is coupled with a familiarity with the legislative process that makes her an ideal selection to serve in this vital position,” said Benge, R-Tulsa. “Her experience gives her a unique base of knowledge that will serve her well in this new role.”

Long is a partner with Rosenstein, Fist and Ringold. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Christopher Newport College of the College of William & Mary, and a J.D. degree from Oklahoma City University. Her practice emphasizes collective bargaining, labor, employment discrim­ination, education law and federal and state court litigation involving those areas.

She is a member of the Tulsa County Bar Asso­ciation, Oklahoma Bar Association, American Bar Association, National School Boards Association, and Council Oaks / Johnson-Sontag Chapter of the American Inns of Court. In 2002, Long was nominated for and elected to membership in the Fellows of the Oklahoma and American Bar Foundations. She has been honored as an Oklahoma Best Lawyer for the past eleven years, and has been recognized as an Oklahoma Superlawyer and one of the top 25 Oklahoma women lawyers since 2006.

In 2008, she received the John Athens Award from the Council Oak/Johnson-Sontag Inn in recognition of her work in Oklahoma’s Title IX litigation related to girls’ and boys’ sports. In addition, Long serves as the 2009-2010 President of the Council Oak/Johnson-Sontag Inns of Court.

She is a member and past President of the Oklahoma School Board Attorneys’ Association. She has served as one of three members of the Public Employees Relations Board, which is the Oklahoma state board respon­sible for resolving collective bargaining disputes between police and fire personnel and their municipal employers.

From 1979-1989, she served as the General Counsel of the Oklahoma Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. She serves as a speaker regarding a range of legal issues including employee termination, sexual harassment, an employer's response to discrimination, family and medical leave, employer decisions involving employees with disabilities, religion and schools, Title IX and gender discrimination in school sponsored sports, and other issues.

Since 1999 she has served as an Adjunct Settlement Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma. In addition, Long serves as a lawyer with Tulsa Lawyers for Children, a non-profit organization that provides no-cost legal representation to children who have been identified by the court system as deprived and neglected. Her five-year appointment to the Ethics Commission begins Monday.

Source. Press Secretary, Oklahoma House of Representatives

Thursday, August 13, 2009

~ Empower women thru Suited For Success

Do you know about Suited For Success? This wonderful program provides professional clothing and career development services to low-income women who have completed a job training or job readiness program and are actively seeking employment. Clients are referred by a number of social service agencies and job readiness programs. They range in age from 18 to 65 and many are entering the job market for the very first time. 95% are single mothers. Many have been abused and many come from area shelters. The program also serves women coming out of the criminal justice system. Almost all of their clients report incomes of less than $10,000. Suited For Success is the only organization in central Oklahoma that provides these services and the services are available to clients at no charge.

How do they do it? On the 3rd Friday of each month from 9:00am until 4:00pm, area women donate new and gently worn clothing and accessories. All items arrive on hangers, clean and pressed because many clients go directly from Suited for Success to job interviews. You can also support the program by making a financial donation. Founded in 1997, Suited for Success is located at 4141 Highline Blvd in Oklahoma City. Susan Walton is founder and director of the nonprofit. Read more about Suited for Success HERE.

Susan Walton is a really remarkable woman. She started planning Suited for Success in the early 1990s but her plans were delayed when she was nearly killed in the Murrah Building bombing in April of 1995. You can read about Susan HERE and also HERE.

Monday, August 03, 2009

RIP Vivian Smith - aging advocate extraordinaire

Vivian Smith, a great Oklahoma woman, passed away on July 27, 2009. I hope you will pause a moment to read her obituary and remember her. By the time I knew her, Vivian Smith was a master advocate on behalf of Oklahoma's seniors. Almost 30 years ago, she was among a group of Oklahomans who organized the Oklahoma Alliance on Aging. But she did so much more than that for Oklahoma. She will be greatly missed.

~ Oklahoman Allison Bailey has a new blog+website at Allioppe

Allison Bailey has a new website that also includes a blog. You can view it all at The website and blog offer area shoppers lots of good tips on where to find good boutiques and interesting products. Allison welcomes ideas and suggestions just send them to

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Gloria Trotter Inducted as President of the OK Press Association

Yippee - Gloria Trotter (co-publisher of The Countywide & Sun in Tecumseh) assumed the presidency of the Oklahoma Press Association on July 1, 2009. Read more here. (Image is from the OPA website)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chickasaw Nation to honor Lisa Johnson-Billy & Tessie Mobley

On August 13, the Chickasaw Nation will host their Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Riverwind Casino near Norman. Inductees are Lisa Johnson-Billy, Daniel Worcester, the late Tessie Mobley and the late Overton Love.

Lisa Johnson-Billy of Purcell is a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives (Republican-District 42). First elected to this post in 2004, she is the first woman and American Indian elected in the district. In 2006, she began the Oklahoma Native American Caucus and serves as co-chair. She is also vice chairwoman of the Republican Caucus in the House of Representatives and serves as deputy whip. Johnson-Billy previously served six years as a legislator for the Chickasaw Nation and was an educator in the Department of Continuing Education at the University of Oklahoma.

Born near Ardmore, Tessie “Lushanya” Mobley was a world famous operatic soprano in the 1940s and 1950s. After she sang in the Hollywood Bowl for the 1929 Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial, a promoter arranged for her to perform in Germany. She debuted with the Chicago Opera Company at the Teatro Verdi Opera House in Italy and eventually traveled and performed throughout Europe. She was known as the "songbird of the Chickasaws."

Inductees make a red carpet entrance at 6 p.m.; the Native-themed banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. There is no charge to attend but reservations are required for the event. They expect 525 so you'll want to arrive early for good seating. Make your reservations by contacting Brian Cooke at 580-559-0781 or e-mail

Source. Ada Evening News (

Sunday, July 26, 2009

OU Engineering Prof Amy Ceratore receives national honor

Amy Cerato, an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma, teaches civil engineering and environmental science. She is among the 100 recipients nationwide to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama. That is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers starting their independent careers. Congrats, Amy! Read The Oklahoman story HERE and the Lafayette College Alumni News article here . Here is the White House press release (Amy is under the National Science Foundation which is listed towards the bottom of the list).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The LINKS are coming to OKC

Over 500 members of the Links, Incorporated from 17 states in the Central Area of the US will be in Oklahoma City for 5 days beginning July 27. Founded in 1946, the Links is one of the oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. Learn more about the Links by clicking HERE.

They will be using the Renaissance Hotel, the Sheraton Hotel and the Cox Convention Center. The Links national president, Dr. Gwen Lee of Chicago, will deliver the keynote address at the civic luncheon on Friday. This is a great honor for our fine city. I got to speak to the Links several years ago and was so impressed by this remarkable group of African American women leaders. I'm hoping I'll get a chance to attendor at least stick my nose in for a little while.

Journal Record's 2009 "50 Making a Difference" Named

The Journal Record has announce the 2009 honorees for their "50 Making a Difference" program. The grand winner will be named at their 7 pm banquet on October 1. Individual tickets are $150, and corporate table sponsorships are available. Reservations for the banquet can be made by calling Kari Koster at (405) 278-2820 or by visiting their website (

I'll never make made it into the elite group of Oklahoma women who are honored this way but I DO love to attend the banquet and hope some of you will plan to attend, too. It is a great night and this year's keynote speaker is Imaculee Ilibagiza, Rwandan genocide survivor and author of Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust.

The link to the Journal Record article is at but the Journal Record usually makes you sign in as a subscriber (boo hiss) before you can view their articles. Anyway, try the link and see what happens.

Here are this year's honorees; congratulations to them all:

• Ann Archer, Integris Comprehensive Breast Center, Oklahoma City.
• Cheryl Borelli, BancFirst, Oklahoma City.
• Katy Boren, Cox Communications, Oklahoma City.
• Sylvia Burgess, Cameron University, Lawton.
• Barbara Butner, Calm Waters Center for Children & Families, Oklahoma City.
• Shelley Cadamy, Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Oklahoma City.
• Priscilla Cude, First Bethany Bank, Bethany.
• Linda Dzialo, Lawton Public School, Lawton.
• Amy Eldridge, Love Without Boundaries, Edmond.
• Robyn Elliot-Scribner, The Chickasaw Nation, Ada.
• Robyn Ewing, Williams, Tulsa.
• Staci Freudiger, Valir Health, Oklahoma City.
• Caroline Boecking Gist, Putnam City Public Schools Foundation, Warr Acres.
• Rhonda Godwin, Investrust NA, Oklahoma City.
• Margo Gray-Proctor, Horizon Engineering Services Co., Tulsa.
• Debbie Harrison, Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority, El Reno.
JoAnn Haysbert, Langston University, Langston.
• Cathryn Hibbs, Deaconess Hospital, Oklahoma City.
• Lori Westbrook Hill, Morgan Stanley, Oklahoma City.
• Pat Hoerth, Turtle Rock Farm, Red Rock.
• Gail Huneryager, Crowe & Dunlevy, Oklahoma City.
Jia Bane Johnson, Choctaw Electric Cooperative, Idabel.
• Sandy Scaffetta Johnson, Anautics Inc., Oklahoma City.
• Marti Jourden, St. Anthony Hospital, Oklahoma City.
• Cathy Keating, Express Employment Professionals, Oklahoma City.
• Kerry Robertson Kerby, Kerry Robertson Communications, Oklahoma City.
• Karen Langdon, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc., Tulsa.
Debbe Leftwich, Oklahoma Senate, Oklahoma City.
• Janet Levit, University of Tulsa Law School, Tulsa.
• Melanie Macdonald, World Neighbors, Oklahoma City.
• Susan McCalmont, Kirkpatrick Family Foundation, Oklahoma City.
• Ann McFerron, Turtle Rock Farm, Red Rock.
• Teresa Moisant, Moisant Promotional Products, Oklahoma City.
• Vanessa Mushrim, Eide Bailly, Oklahoma City.
• Cathy O’Connor, City of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City.
• Colleen Payne-Nabors, Mobile Cardiac Imaging LLC, Tulsa.
• Mary Blankenship Pointer, UMB Bank, Oklahoma City.
• Brenda Porton, McCurtain Memorial Hospital, Idabel.
• Lisa Putt, Willis HRH, Oklahoma City.
• Joyce Reed, Griffin Communications LLC, Oklahoma City.
• Kathy Lee Santangelo, Midwest Regional Medical Center, Midwest City.
• Sue Lynn Sasser, University of Central Oklahoma Center for Economic Education, Edmond.
• Jeanna Sellmeyer, Asset Group Inc., Oklahoma City.
• Katrina Shaklee, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond.
• Robyn Sunday-Allen, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, Oklahoma City.
Rebecca Dunning Switzer, Switzer Talent Agency and Trapeze LLC, Norman.
• Marsha VanHoutte, Choctaw Police Department, Choctaw.
• Kristy Ventimiglia, HR Solutions, Oklahoma City.
• Penny Mills Voss, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Norman.
• Mary Whitson, SandRidge Energy, Oklahoma City.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Oklahoma women receive Emmy nominations

The Emmy nominations are out. Broken Arrow native Kristin Chenoweth is nominated for her role in "Pushing Daisies." Tulsan Jeanne Tripplehorm is nominated for her performance in the HBO movie "Grey Gardens."

Other Oklahoma connections this year: Tripplehorn and Mary Kay Place (from Tulsa) are part of "Big Love" which was nominated for outstanding drama series, Holly Hunter was nominated and her series, "Saving Grace" takes place in Oklahoma City, "The Amazing Race" is nominated for best reality competition series and Christine Volkmer from Choctaw was part of that production and "Saturday night Live" is nominated for outstanding variety, music or comedy series and Tulsa native Bill Hader is part of that production. Winners will be named during the 8 pm September 20 broadcast on CBS.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Muskogee Women's Leadership Conference a Success!

I was delighted to be a part of yesterday's Women's Leadership Conference hosted by the Muskogee Chamber of Commerce.

Kudos to Sue Godwin, Indian Capitol Technology Center, who chaired the event and the other women who planned and carried out this event.

The photo is from the closing session which featured (left to right) former State Senator and current chair of the Oklahoma City Public School board, Angela Monson, Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins, Tri-County Technology Center superintendent (just retired) Anita Risner, and former Chief of the Cherokee Nation Wilma Mankiller (click to enlarge image).

Everything I attended was excellent but I especially enjoyed the luncheon speaker Elaine Dodd who is former Director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and now works as VP-Fraud Training with the Oklahoma Bankers Association. She was filled with good ideas on how to succeed in life PLUS she shared tips on how to avoid the many kinds of financial scams out there these days!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tulsa's Irma Russell picked as Dean, Univ. of Montana School of Law

Irma Russell, formerly a law professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law, is now Dean of the University of Montana's School of Law. Russell is the law school's first female Dean. A graduate of the University of Kansas, she is a national leader in environmental and energy law. Read more here.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

~ Terry Stuart Forst Is First Woman President of Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association

Congratulations to Terry Forst who makes history this month by becoming the first female president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association. Read The Oklahoman's article "Historic role awaits cattle group's leader" by clicking HERE.

~ Oklahoma's Pioneer Woman Museum

Last Saturday night, the YWCA of Oklahoma City presented me with their Embrace Award (thank you, thank you) PLUS the gorgeous statue in this photo!

It reminded me that I wanted to purchase "Pioneer Women' statues to present to women who do extraordinary things to advance the mission of the Oklahoma Women's Coalition. But it turned out I couldn't FIND a "Pioneer Woman" statue. Not even a little bitty one. I need to make a trip to the Pioneer Woman Museum and see if I can't talk them into selling statues on their website.

Speaking of their website, it begins with the following paragraph.
The Pioneer Woman Museum showcases the history of women in Oklahoma and their influence on the development of the state and nation and preserves the legacy of women from all races, creeds, and nationalities who have made significant contributions to the history of Oklahoma. The world-famous 30 ft. tall bronze statue commemorating the heroic character of the women who braved dangers and hardships to settle in Oklahoma is featured.
Now I am really inspired to make the trip to Ponca City!

Monday, June 15, 2009

- Okahoma women to compete in 2009 Air Race Classic

Cross your fingers for Barbara McClurkin and the other four University of Oklahoma women pilots who will be competing June 230June 26 in the 2009 Air Race Classic. Read about it here.

-- the book "Florence of Arabia" inspired by Oklahoma's Fern Holland

I had the pleasure of working with four college interns this past year. One of them, Erin Campbell, graduated from Southern Nazarene University last month and is now back home in Kansas City. She sent me a newsy email today and I wanted to share with you one paragraph from that email. Enjoy.
I've had some time to do some reading, and my mom suggested a novel called "Florence of Arabia" by Christopher Buckley. It's political satire meets spy novel meets feminism meets the Middle East. It's hilarious and entertaining. I got to the end and read the acknowledgments and discovered the story was inspired by a real woman named Fern Holland from Oklahoma! I'm betting you've heard of her, but I googled her and was amazed by what I found! Here's an article from the NY Times Magazine a few years ago about her: . It only made the book better to discover it was based on a true story about an Oklahoman Woman. I'd highly recommend it!

-- OU's Taylor Treat of Ada is Miss Oklahoma

Taylor Treat, recently crowned Miss Oklahoma, selected as her "platform" service learning. You go, girl. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on community service - including service learning. Good topic. Go forth and spread the word. Read more about Taylor by clicking here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

-- Margo MacRobert awarded RWJ Foundation grant

Congratulations to Margo MacRobert with OU's College of Nursing. She has been awarded a 3-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study ways to reduce injuries sustained by seniors when they fall. Click for more.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, June 13, 2009

-- Becky Felts & Linda Hampton to lead OEA

Members of the Okahoma Education Association recently elected a new president (Tahlequah teacher Becky Felts) and Vice president (Pleasant Grove teacher Linda Hampton). Click for more.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

OKC's World Neighbors To Be Honored June 13

World Neighbors will receive the Basic Human Needs award during the deadCENTER Film Festival this Saturday night.

Wavy Gravy, the founder of the SEVA Foundation, will present the award, which is named after a song he wrote proclaiming that all humans should have their basic needs met.

The Basic Human Needs award is presented to an organization or person that has gone above and beyond to raise awareness about an issue they are passionate about.

You can join World Neighbors on Saturday for Peace, Love and Wavy Gravy starting at 6:30 p.m. The evening will begin with Yoga with Laura Lester, followed by six different live musical acts from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. The award ceremony will begin at 9 p.m., then Wavy Gravy will show the movie of his life, Saint Misbehavin' - The Wavy Gravy movie."All the evening events will take place on the lawn located at the corner of N.E. 3rd & E.K. Gaylord in downtown Oklahoma City.

For more information about the five-day festival, please visit

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Another 1st for Oklahoma Women's Coalition

Tomorrow is a big day. The Oklahoma Women's Coalition hosts its first Annual Business Meeting and Issues Forum at the Oklahoma History Center. We have 26 organizational members and 175 individual members and over 100 of them are coming for the full afternoon. We'll do a full business meeting followed by an expert panel on aging, violence and incarceration as those issues impact women in Oklahoma. Then Senator Debbe Leftwich and Representative Lee Denney will review the 2009 Oklahoma Legislative session as it impacted Oklahoma women and girls. We wrap up at 5 pm with a networking reception so everyone heads home on a full stomach. I'll report on the day here afterwards. Now I have to go collate and stuff 120 Participant Packets!


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Polly Nichols To Be Inducted Into Oklahoma Hall of fame

The Oklahoma Heritage Association yesterday announced the 2009 inductees into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. They are Ken Ferguson, Burns Hargis, Lee Roy Selmon, Wayman Tisdale, Ike Glass, Polly Nichols and Justice Steven Taylor. What a great group! The induction takes place at the 82nd Oklahoma Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet on November 12 at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center. Tickets go on sale in September and this will definitely be a sell out event. Go to this link to read about all 7 inductees and also watch a video including Nichols' remarks.

Polly Nichols is an extraordinary community volunteer and philanthropist. She has been involved with more nonprofits that you can name. Among them are the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, Oklahoma City Junior League, Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, Girl Scouts-Western Oklahoma, Allied Arts, United Way, Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and many more! Yeah, Polly!

Norman HS Grad Melissa Jones Gets Gates Millenium Scholarship

Congratulations to Norman High School graduate Melissa Jones who is one of the 1,000 students to receive the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship! It means she will attend the University of Tulsa tuition free. She'll also get to meet bill Gates at the Gates Millennium Scholars National Conference this summer. That is very cool.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

OK First Lady Kim Henry to Lead Sarkeys

Congratulations to Oklahoma's First Lady Kim Henry who will be the new executive director of the Sarkeys Foundation in Norman. Sarkeys was ably led by Cheri Cartwright until she lost her battle with cancer recently. Henry has served on the Sarkeys board since 2003 and will do a fabulous job. This is great news for Oklahoma.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

OSU Prof Charlotte Wright Named 2009 Outstanding Accounting Educator

The Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants named Dr. Charlotte Wright at Oklahoma State University the 2009 Outstanding Accounting Educator. She has taught at OSU in Stillwater since 1982. Read more at the Oklahoma Society of CPAs website HERE.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Remembering Oklahoma's Marianne Vannatta

Pause a moment to remember Marianne Vannatta. After a tough fight, she succumbed to cancer recently and our hearts and prayers go out to her husband, Jerry, and her family. She was a professional working woman (CPA) plus a civic leader (served on many working boards). And she was nice and kind; I know that first hand. She will be greatly missed. You can read her obituary here.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

For Breast Cancer Awareness, Meet Judi Grove

April 21 was "Breast Cancer Awareness Day" at the Oklahoma State Capitol. The Oklahoma Gazette had a nice article by Charles Martin April 15 on the event and breast cancer awareness. Featured prominently was Tulsa activist Judi Grove, founder of Breast Impressions which raises awareness through art and other projects. The mission of Breast Impressions is
to increase breast cancer awareness and fund raising to support breast cancer education, prevention and treatment. We donate breast casting kits to women who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, to make a memory prior to surgery.
Grove is doing remarkable things to raise public awareness; read about her here. You can also see an interview with her here. Did you know that health care insurance plans in Oklahoma do not cover the cost of a mammography until a woman is 40 years old; so how do we catch breast cancer in young women?

Additional Oklahoma Women Confirmed to Serve Oklahoma

Other nomination confirmations in the State Senate yester for Oklahoma women:

Marjan Seirafi-Pour to the State Textbook Committee.
Shari Williams to the Murray State College Regents.
Vicki Vaughan to the State Textbook Committee.
Barbara Sessions to the Murray State College Regents.
Sandra Rose to the Environmental Quality Board.
Amy Regan to the Okla. Tourism and Recreation Commission.
Nancy Pfeifer to the Examiners of Long-Term Care Admins Board.
Vicki Petete to the Oklahoma Accountancy Board.
Sharon Myers to the Air Quality Advisory Council.
Teresa Kay Jackson to the Eastern Okla. State College Regents.
Jenny Hendrick to the Quartz Mtn. Center Board of Trustees.
Deanna Hartley-Kelso to the Board of Juvenile Affairs.
Jane Godlove to the Quartz Mtn. Center Board of Trustees.
Maxine Finley-McFalls to the ABLE Commission.
Jeannie Gault to the Examiners of Long-Term Care Admins Board.
LeAnn Chastain to the State Textbook Committee.
Julie Cohen to the Quartz Mtn. Center Board of Trustees.
Betty Boyd to the OSU-Tulsa Board of Trustees.

Any Oklahoma women I left out? (If so,my apologies.) If you know any of these women, please congratulate and thank them for serving. These aren't honorary appointments; they will work hard, give up a lot of their time and spend some out-of-pocket money serving in these capacities.

Thanks to The Journal Record's Legislative Reporter ( for tweeting this information!

Terri White Now Officially OK Secty of Health

Congratulations to Terri White who was officially confirmed as Cabinet Secretary of Health yesterday. The motion to confirm was introduced by Sen. Rice. It was approved by the Oklahoma State Senate 47-0. White has served as Commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for two years and, before that, she was deputy commissioner of the agency. Here is a story about her appointment last January.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Women in Communications Honor Oklahoma Women

I'm tardy in mentioning the extraordinary women honored last February by the Association for Women in Communications Oklahoma City Chapter. They were Mike Farris, Martha Ferretti, Molly Fritch, Cathy O'Connor, Dr. Marion Paden, and Billie Thrash; you can read about them HERE. The AWC Tulsa Chapter also recognizes women; click HERE to read about their 2008 Newsmakers.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Check out Oklahoma Magazine's May 2009 Issue on Oklahoma Women

The May 2009 issue of Oklahoma Magazine is out and it is entitled "The Women's Issues." Go HERE and register so you can view the issue online. As usual it is a beautiful product. But, more importantly, it is dedicated to issues important to WOMEN.

See especially "Women Helping Women" about programs in Oklahoma tackling some of the worst statistics on the status of women in our state. But also check out "Girls Will Be Girls," "No Boys Allowed," and good articles on women's health including "The Parent Trap" on fertility, "The Unavoidable" on menopause, "It's Different for Women" on heart disease, "Predicting a Heart Attack," "Best Practices" on lifestyle changes, "Close Call" on warning signs of a heart attack, "A Beautiful You," "Adventures in Mommyland," plus 9 pages featuring Oklahoma business women and a special article on "Wine, Women & Shoes" -- three YWCA of Tulsa events June 11, 12, and 13.

There is also a profile on Jane Jenkins (the new President of Downtown OKC Inc.) and another on Arcadia, OK Mayor Marilyn Murrell entitled "A Warrior for Women." It begins, "A quick glance at statistics regarding women in politics shows that Oklahoma lags far behind the national average in the percentage of women involved in local and state government. Marilyn Murrell would like to see this disparity reconciled." Me too! Thank you, Mayor Murrell, for the hat tip to the NEW Leadership program at OU's Carl Albert Center.

I'm a little sad there was no mention of the work of the Oklahoma Women's Coalition but you can't have everything, right? This is an issue worth buying and saving. Kudos, Oklahoma Magazine, for a job well done.

Oklahoma Women Traveling to Rwanda

Oklahoman Terry Neese runs the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women which helps women abroad learn business skills. Her focus these days is Afghanistan and Rwanda. She has several Oklahoma city women (see below) involved as well:
Our upcoming 2009 Peace through Business® graduation in Rwanda will have mentors from the U.S. in attendance! Mary Melon (Publisher, The Journal Record), Martha Parker (IEEW Board Member), Darcie Harris (Founder, EWF International), Desma Reid-Coleman (IEEW Board Member), and Lin Weigel (Chief of Staff for IEEW) will travel to Rwanda on May 1st and will be a part of the graduation ceremonies. They will conduct a mentor lecture series for our students enrolled in the program. The 15 women selected to travel to the U.S. will be announced at the reception where dignitaries will include the Minister of Gender, Minister of Education, Minister of Justice, and U.S. Ambassador Symington. It will be a very festive graduation and a busy week. We want to offer our complete and heart-felt thanks to Eron Nsenga and Holly Hixson for their dedicated efforts to making the Rwandan In-Country magnificent!
Last I heard, Mary Melon, Darcie Harris and Lyn Weigel are all Oklahoma City residents.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day by honoring Kenyan Dr. Wangari Maathai

In honor of Earth Day, watch a videoblog on Dr. Wangari Maathai, who in 2004 became both the first African woman and the first environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Maathai is from Kenya and knows my dear friend Florence Mubichi.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Kristy Stewart with Norman's Women's Resource Center Receives National Honor

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) has announced the 2009 recipients of the Visionary Voice Award. This award recognizes the creativity, hard work, and dedication of individuals around the country working to address and prevent sexual violence. Winners are selected by their respective state, tribal, or territory anti-sexual violence coalitions and represent a wide range of individuals doing this critical work at the local level. Twelve individuals were honored this year including Kristy Stewart of Oklahoma. According to the NSVRC website,
"Kristy Stewart has been Coordinator of Crisis Services at Women’s Resource Center in Norman, OK, since 2002, having served as a women’s advocate since 1984. She quickly advanced from Intake Worker to Women’s Advocate to Supervisor to her current position. Kristy is actively involved in the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, especially in the area of legislative initiative and technology development. Kristy led her agency’s efforts in developing a model rape crisis center on the campus of Women’s Resource Center that has set the standard for sexual assault services in Oklahoma."
Congratulations, Kristy! The NSVRC provides resources and information on sexual violence to rape crisis centers, state, territory and tribal coalitions, allied organizations, agencies, educators, media and the general public.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Oklahoma Supporting Single Mothers Pursuing College Degrees via "SMART"

Today there are more than 25,000 single parent students attending Oklahoma colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, these are women balancing parenting, college and jobs.

SMART is an acronym for Single Mothers Academic Resource Team; SMART is committed to identifying pathways for all single parents who wish to complete a higher education in Oklahoma.

Why should this matter? There are a multitude of reasons:

~ Assisting single parents improves graduation rates for Oklahoma's colleges. This generates a multiplier effect: new college graduates with families are more likely to stay in Oklahoma and become a part of our professional workforce. Those campuses that make a multi-sector effort to be “adult-friendly” see increased enrollment because they appeal to the 31% of Oklahoma college student who are 25 or older.

~ Households led by single mothers collectively face daunting economic challenges: affordable housing, appropriate child care, health care benefits to name just a few. Many women are forced to rely on federal and state assistance programs and yet still live below the poverty threshold. In Oklahoma, nearly one in four children lives in poverty[1] and one third of all Oklahoma children are raised in homes where no adult has an education beyond high school.[2] Yet, we know that parental income level is the best predictor of a child’s educational attainment. A college education provides a family with the earning power to move out of impoverishment and off of assistance programs that costs Oklahoma taxpayers millions annually. Federal and state governments pay up to $2,000 less per year on social services for persons who have a college education.[3] Considering the nearly 30,000 single parent students in Oklahoma, we are on our way to saving $60 million dollars annually in social services.

~ Supporting single mothers as they complete their higher education goals diminishes the dismal statistics about Oklahoma women including the fact that not even 1 in 7 completes four or more years of higher education.[4] At the national level, less than 5% of single mothers graduate from college. [5]

~ A college education for single parents is not only about better jobs and increased incomes. Historically, college graduates are more active in our political processes and contribute more of their time and resources to their communities because they exhibit a greater awareness of current political and social issues, community needs and government policies that impact their lives. Overall, college graduates pay more taxes, are less likely to be imprisoned and enjoy better health and health care coverage.[6]

~ Most importantly, a parent with a college education models a legacy for their children where goal setting and academic achievement are valued. It sets a new tradition: In this family, we go to college.

SMART is the result of collaborative funding on the part of the Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) and GEAR UP. It is seeking to identify and advocate for pathways that enable single mother students (SMS) to complete their higher education goals.

There are programs already in place at many of Oklahoma's public college campuses that assist single mother students. One of these is Project Second Chance (PSC) at Oklahoma State University – OKC Campus (See Appendix B).

PSC, housed at The Learning Center and under the direction of Karen Kruse, is the state’s longest established program to assist single parent students. This program offers a myriad of services to approximately 1,000 single parent students annually including completing financial aid forms, supporting an emergency food pantry, family-friendly campus events and a Single Parent’s Student Association. Karen secured seed money through grants and then, by demonstrating how effective her programming had been, was able to receive additional support from the campus itself.

There are many excellent ways to make a difference on our college and university campuses and many of these interventions are cost effective. Consider, for example:

· Advertising the pediatric services available at your campus health center

· Providing a basket of children’s books at academic advising offices

· Designating a portion of married/graduate student housing for single parent students

· Starting an organization for single mother students

· Providing faculty mentors for single mother students

· Adding high chairs to common eating areas

· Reviewing the hours of operation, costs and waiting lists at community child care centers

· Advertising the children’s literature available for check-out at your campus library

· Offering textbook scholarships to eligible single parents

· Providing budgeting workshops and financial education (including financial aid advisement)

· Offering a new student orientation session that is family-friendly

· Encouraging student organizations to take on service projects that meet the expressed needs of single mother students

· Hosting holiday events on campus specifically geared toward families

· Developing a graduation plan for single parents where they can visualize the milestones
they must achieve to complete their degree

Most importantly, research indicates that all Oklahoma campuses offer services for single parent students but they are not doing a good enough job marketing these resources to their student population. Each campus should consider:

~ What can we include in admissions packages?

~ Where do we need to advertise to reach single mother students?

~ What minor modifications can we make right now?

The SMART Team invites colleges across Oklahoma to join them in this statewide effort. 25,000 families are depending on you to help them achieve their college dreams.

[1] Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma,
[2] Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “Unrealized Health Potential: A Snapshot of Oklahoma, “
[3] Cunningham, Alisa, “The Broader Societal Benefits of Higher Education,” Solutions for our Future.
[4] Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma,
[5] National Center for Health Statistics, 2002.
[6] Cunningham.

Source. "Dr. Erin Taylor, Academic Affairs, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education?" (Paper entitled "The SMART Pathway")

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor's 5th Communications Director in 3 Years Leaving

How come Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor has so much trouble hanging on to a Communications Director? See

You Have to Watch Sony's Video "What Does It Mean?"

Sony played this mind-blowing video at their executive conference this year. It is a MUST watch!

(Thank you, brother Pete, for passing this on to me!)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Caroly Whitener Inducted Into Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame

Thirty-seven years ago, three individuals in Stillwater, Oklahoma, challenged a state law that allowed females aged 18–20 to purchase beer of 3.2 % alcohol while males could not purchase beer until age 21. The law was challenged by two underage men, Mark Walker and Curtis Craig, who were joined by a female beer vendor, Carolyn Whitener. By the time the case was argued before the US Supreme Court, both men had turned 21 so only Carolyn Whitener was ruled to have standing.

Whitener and the two male students sued the Oklahoma Attorney General, the Oklahoma Legislature and the Oklahoma Governor for enforcing a law that, they argued, discriminated based on gender. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Whitener by ruling unconstitutional all laws advantaging one sex. A new equal protection standard had been established - gender. Craig v. Boren has been cited routinely in constitutional sex discrimination cases ever since. To read more, click HERE and HERE. Also see

Susan Savage Inducted Into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame

M. Susan Savage was appointed Oklahoma Secretary of State by Governor Brad Henry on January 13, 2003. In that capacity, she serves as a member of the Governor’s cabinet with broad policy duties and as a Constitutional officer with responsibility for international relations, maintenance of the state’s registry of official records and policy oversight for several state agencies. Prior to that she served as mayor of Tulsa from 1992 to 2002. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Municipal League Hall of fame for City and town Officials in 2005. was the 2002 national Conference of community and justice honoree for leadership. She received an honorary degree of laws in 2000 from Aradia University and is a past recipient of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award.
Read more HERE and HERE.

Lamar Looney Inducted Into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame

Marabeau Lamar Looney was born in 1871 in Talladega, Alabama. She and her husband D.T. "Doc" Looney moved to Oklahoma Territory (now Greer County). In 1900, her husband of 12 years died suddenly leaving her with five children under the age of ten. She moved to Hollis and worked as a music teacher, a postmistress and was elected in 1912 registrar of deeds for Harmon County. She went on to be elected county treasurer, county clerk and, in 1920, the first woman elected to the Oklahoma Senate. At age 52, she was admitted to the Oklahoma bar. After serving 3 terms in the State Senate, in 1926 Mrs. Looney considered running for Lieutenant Governor but abandoned the idea because the Oklahoma constitution barred women from holding the office. Instead, she ran for the U.S. Senate, lost that race but won her fourth and final term in the Oklahoma Senate in 1927. As a Senator, Looney pushed for legislation that would allow women to serve in all state offices but didn't live to see that come about. She was worked actively for women's right to vote. She died September 3, 1935. To read more click HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE. Looney dies in 1935 and was inducted posthumously into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame on March 26, 2009.