Story by Camryn Sturgill
The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is held once a year in honor of those who were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995.
This year, Rose State is celebrating its 50th anniversary, is by organizing a team of 50 Rose State full-time employees to participate in the events at the marathon. The marathon is being held in Oklahoma City on April 26, 2020.
Chris Leland, director of health and wellness Rose State, along with Coty Cooper, executive athletic director Rose State, are responsible for organizing the 50th Anniversary team.
Employees who decide to sign up for the marathon will have the option of receiving 50% off whatever event they register for. This offer is valid until all of the sponsorship money is gone. The first 50 employees to sign up will also receive a $100 gift certificate to Red Coyote Running in Oklahoma City or Edmond.
Leland said he was intentional about partnering with Red Coyote Running as an incentive.
“The reason I teamed up with Red Coyote is because they do one thing-running. (I know of the people that run it and their purpose for starting it). A lot of it was because people sometimes go out and start running and don’t put any planning into it. You can actually buy shoes that make your feet, knees, hips and lower back hurt, so they custom fit you to the right shoe for your running pattern.”
Both Leland and Cooper call Oklahoma home. The two are passionate about Oklahoma and all of its history. This is one of the reasons they wanted to get involved in the Memorial Marathon.
“I think you’ll see this in Oklahoma, and this is not just a cliché, that any time there has been a tragedy or anything happens in this state, the people of this state take care of each other. From the tornadoes in Moore, to the bombing, to the wildfires we had a few years ago. Oklahoma is just that way. That’s why I love it here. You know, this is just a way of recognizing what happened that day.”
Leland and Cooper said they are over halfway on their goal of 50 full-time Rose State employees.
“We have 35 people signed up right now. Our goal is to have 50 people for the 50th anniversary,” Leland said.
Although the goal is to get 50 runners to participate, Leland mentioned that they might be able to help sponsor more than that.
“The thing is, even if we get over 50 [people to sign up], we will still be able to help sponsor because the majority of the people who are signing up are signing up for the 5K which is less expensive. We may be able to sponsor 55 or 60 people,” Leland said.
Employees can choose to sign up for any of the four following races, the 5K, the relay, the half-marathon or the full marathon.
Lance Newbold, Vice President for Student Affairs Rose State is already registered to run the 5K.
“The OKC Memorial Marathon is a special event,” Newbold said. I am not much of a runner, but I want to be a part of this city’s annual event so I chose the 5K. This year being the 25th anniversary of the bombing and the 20th year of the marathon make it that much more special to me.”
Those who are interested in participating can sign up by contacting Leland at 733-7500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story by Caleb Betterton & Photos courtesy of Bob Whitaker and sportspix
Junior college athletes or “Juco athletes,” face unique challenges and have a different approach and view of college life than students at four year universities.
For most college athletes, the focus is on becoming a professional athlete or using their degree to pursue a career. For Juco athletes the focus is different. Juco athletes are taking a shot at going to a four year university and trying to get a chance at becoming a professional athlete.
This is the reality the athletes at Rose State are experiencing, aiming high and going for a chance at pursuing their dreams. This journey is not an easy one, but it is a worthy one.
“Grind” is how Rose State outfielder Alex Eddinger defines being a Juco Athlete. With tough practices twice a day and classes in between it is an absolute grind. “But it is a grind that never gets old,” Eddinger said.
It is all a part of the journey for these athletes even though it is hard work and most athletes would prefer to go straight to a four-year university. Starting at a Junior college can be very beneficial especially, when transitioning from high school to the college environment. “While it was work, the smaller environment helped make it easier.” said Madison Zick, defensive midfielder for Texas A&M University-Commerce.
The junior college experience helps with the growth of these athletes not only as a player, but as an individual. Players get the chance to work on their skills and learn about themselves while getting opportunities to show they have what it takes to go the next level. “I loved my time at Rose State, it really helped me grow as a person and a player.” Zick said.
Another aspect of Juco athletics is the relationships these athletes make that continue on after their time in college is over. Junior colleges also provide opportunities for international athletes to come to America and get a chance at an opportunity to play at a four-year school.
One of those athletes is Aristides Batista who is an infielder on Rose State’s baseball team. Batista is from Puerto Rico. Not being able to see friends and family for so much of the year is one of his biggest challenges. However, it is worth the sacrifice for Batista because it has been his dream to study and play at the collegiate level in the United States.
This is really what being a Juco athlete is all about; following your dreams and working on making them become a reality. It is all about the journey.
One athlete that has made the most of this journey is Jake Hamilton. Hamilton started his journey at Rose as a pitcher. He struggled his freshman year on the field but turned it around in a major way his sophomore year. He went 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA (Earned Run Average) with all American honors.
“You have to love it.” said, Hamilton. That’s what drives these athletes to do the work through adversity and fulfill their dreams.
One thing every one of these athletes mentioned was the work it takes to go after their dreams.
“You get a better perspective on what it’s like to have to work for what you get,” Hamilton said.
The biggest thing these athletes get out of their time at junior college is perspective. They see what it takes to get to the next level and are thankful for the opportunities they are given to make it there.
This approach and the perspective they have is something anyone could benefit from.
The road they take is not a popular one, but it is a worthwhile one.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado by Grayson Gregory
Two professional photographers give their insight on photography
Story by Camryn Sturgill - Features Editor
Grayson Gregory, a senior at the University of Tennessee, is a self-taught photographer. Gregory says he has always enjoyed taking pictures and making videos with his family, but his knack for photography did not turn into a hobby until 2017, when he bought a professional camera.
“There was nothing that specifically got me into photography or cameras in general,” Gregory said. Over time, I just had a desire to capture moments of my life at a higher quality than I had before. Something about the whole creative process was just extremely entertaining to me and it still is.”
Although Gregory experiments with many different types of photography, he mostly enjoys taking landscapes.
“I usually like to be outside taking pictures and videos in nature. I get such a desire to go out and see the world from nature photos, especially in the mountains. I don’t hate doing portraits or more professional photos, but it definitely doesn’t bring very much excitement to me,” Gregory said.
Gregory now uses a Sony A7-III to capture his masterpieces. The Sony A7-III is a professional camera often used by travel photographers because of its compact size.
Gregory enjoys taking photos and videos when he travels. He said his best memories and photos are from a trip he took with friends in August 2019. They visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado where they looked up at the tallest dune and decided they would not leave until they made it to the top.
“It took so much longer than we thought, and I felt like just falling over and passing out,” Gregory said.We eventually made it to the top and the wind was blowing insanely hard, like seriously hard. We were there for a long time and watched the sunset there, which was incredible. The whole trip was amazing for us and it was definitely the best trip I’ve taken so far.”
Gregory credits his friends and family for supporting his photography and video skills in a way that builds him up and allows him to make more creative decisions.
As far as inspiration goes, Gregory named Ryan Resatka, Garrett King, Josiah Gordon, Stevin Tuchiwsky and Daniel Ernst as people who have insired him.
Gregory does not consider himself to be a professional photographer, but others may disagree when looking at his work. Either way, Gregory remains humble and admits that he still has a lot to learn.
Gregory’s advice to those who are interested in photography is lighthearted, yet motivational.
“Just get out there and do it,” Gregory said. “No matter what you use for your camera, just go take some pictures. Nobody picks up a camera and is a pro from the start. It takes some time and the only way to really do that is by taking a lot of pictures or videos.”
At the other end of the table, some people decide to take their love for photography to the next level and turn it into a career. Kenneth Beachler has done just that.
Beachler is a professional photographer as well as Rose State’s official photographer, he also went to Rose State. He has been in the photography field for 26 years. Beachler attended a vocational school for photography and eventually graduated from the graphic design program at University of Central Oklahoma in the Beachler’s job as a photographer has opened the door for many opportunities.
“Photography has afforded me travel to places I may have not had a chance to go,” he said. “For instance, I was flown to Hawaii to photograph a wedding. Also, I’ve been able to photograph people like Lewis Black, Martina McBride, Rex Linn, Shirley Jones, Anthony Bourdain, Brian Regan, and more.”
Beachler uses a Nikon D810 DSLR camera at work, but for his personal projects he uses a Nikon D7500.
“I used to use Canon DSLRs. I switched because using Nikon cameras over the last 11 years with Rose State has made them more comfortable to me. Canon and other brands are great, I just simply feel at home with Nikon now,” Beachler said.
Throughout Beachler’s 26 years of experience, he has learned many useful tips and wanted to give a bit of advice to beginners.
“Have fun,” he said. “Utilize your own personal imagination and creativity, and then learn how to make that image in your mind coalesce through traditional or digital means. You’ll have fun, learn more about the craft, and have a final image that is uniquely you.”
Story & photos by Zaviana James - Social Media Coordinator
The holidays are all about family; unfortunately, there are some families that are not able to spend the season together. Even worse, some are unable to see each other during the rest of the year.
Families tend to get separated for many different reasons such as child abuse, child neglect and other problems. These children get taken away from their parents and are placed into state custody. In many cases they are put into a group home or foster care until their parents can regain custody. Many times these children can see their parents at the Child Welfare services office only under supervised visits. Being under direct state supervision can make both the child and parent feel uncomfortable.
Fortunately, there is a local nonprofit organization that is bringing families back together in a home-like environment until children can be placed back in their homes.
This particular organization is called Hope for the Future, founded by Clotiel Howard.
“HFTF provides an environment that allows families to connect safely, following their temporary separation due to allegations of abuse and/or neglect,” Howard said.
Hope For The Future serves an average of 50 children a month and has served at least 440 children since it opened.
What makes Hope For The Future so different from Child Welfare Services is that this organization has set up 5 visitation rooms to resemble a home living area. Also, they offer a party room so that families can celebrate birthday parties. There are toys, televisions and even a kitchen located on site so children and parents can feel more accomodated.
“After a couple of visits, parents are comfortable, children are comfortable, the anger from both sides appears to cease and visitations are a lot better,” Howard said.
The families are still supervised but by cameras, so they can feel more comfortable than if someone were to be in the room.
“The greatest impact is when I see families interacting, laughing, talking, eating, doing homework or most importantly, when a family is ordered unsupervised visits because visitations have been going extremely well- that is the greatest impact of them all,” Howard said.
Each visit parents have with their children gets them a step closer to putting their families back together, and because children who are taken away from their families at such a young age can experience longlasting psychological effects, speed matters.
Howard, a former Court Appointed Special Advocates Training Manager for Oklahoma County, encountered a young juvenile girl who she says helped inspire Hope For The Future.
This young girl was angry and waiting for a judge when Howard asked about her five younger siblings and when she last seen them.
“She could not remember the exact time she had seen her siblings last, but she said they visited ‘in that stinky room upstairs’ and that ‘everyone always lied to her,’” Howard said.
Howard asked the girl what she wanted for her future. “Her face filled with sadness. The girl replied with obvious remorse, ‘I don’t have a future’. I immediately responded, ‘Yes, there is always hope for the future!’’’ Howard said.
Howard is one of the many people running a non-profit in Oklahoma City, which on top of daily life and careers can tend to be a lot. Howard welcomes volunteers and donations from anyone who shares the same passion for social work as she does.
Hope For The Future has received no federal or state funding. For more information about Hope For The Future or to donate call 535-2279.
States that have accepted and rejected expansion, by Kurykh (Wikimedia Commons), edited by Bailey Walker, licensed CC3.0
Story by Bailey Walker - Previous staff member
SQ 802’s petition signatures were submitted Oct. 24 in aims to bring Medicaid expansion to Oklahoma in a vote scheduled for Nov. 3, 2020.
Medicaid expansion began in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, and Oklahoma is one of 14 states that has refused the measure. An expansion would allow people ages 18 to 65, making under 133% of the poverty line (around 16,600), to be Medicaid-eligible in a population of about 200,000 in Oklahoma according to the OK Policy Institute. The federal government would foot 90% of Medicaid costs, leaving 10% for the state to cover itself. Depending on the number of people in a given household, that income level can vary from $12,490 for an individual to $43,430 for eight people. Above that add an extra $4,420 per person.
Many major medical organizations in the state came out in support of the measure, citing various benefits it could bring to average Oklahomans. A statement from the Oklahoma Hospital Association said, “Medicaid expansion will make families healthier and our economy stronger. In addition to providing health care to nearly 200,000 hardworking Oklahomans, it will create thousands of new jobs, keep rural hospitals open, and boost our economy.”
The Oklahoma Osteopathic Association said, “In addition to Oklahoma’s health being ranked 47th in the United States, our state also has the second highest uninsured rate. We must seek out every opportunity to improve the health of Oklahomans, and providing access to insurance has been shown to improve healthcare outcomes.” Other notable medical groups in support of the measure include the Oklahoma State Medical Association, Saint Francis Health System and the Oklahoma Nurses Association.
House Rep. Melissa Provenzano wrote “For every dollar Oklahoma spends on Medicaid expansion, the Federal government will match that with 9 dollars. If you were running a business, wouldn’t you take that deal? Expanding Medicaid will provide the funding to bring critical health care jobs to our state, help keep our rural hospitals open and improve the overall health and well-being of our workforce, leading to greater productivity, less time off work and a positive economic impact for our state.” This one to nine ratio is cited by other supporters in the legislature including House Rep. Colin Walke and Jacob Rosecrants.
It is possible that, although these organizations and data do support the fact that more people will be insured and have better health outcomes, professionals and organizations working in this field have a financial incentive in seeing more insured people and more money invested into their services.
There have been groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council that publish reports claiming Medicaid expansion has actually increased prices for those who use private insurance. The argument is: as more people use the cheaper government program, insurance companies and hospitals will shift extra cost to private plan holders. Conservative organizations point to this as a reason to cut the whole program; Medicaid causes prices to be low for those who use it, and high for those who do not.
Progressives like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez point to this as a reason to expand a government system fully, like Medicare for All, to eliminate private insurance all together and spread those low costs, similar to the UK’s National Health System which is entirely free at the point of use.
There’s only been one major organization to make a move against SQ 802, The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs- a conservative think tank. In June the group made a legal challenge against SQ 802 calling its ballot summary misleading. The group also called it unconstitutional as Medicaid expansion would be written into the Oklahoma constitution. And though 90% of funding is supposed to be from the federal government, the federal government may defund the program leaving Oklahoma to fill the gap. The challenge was denied by the Oklahoma Supreme Court on June 18 this year.
Representative Jim Olsen published an article on the matter on Aug. 19, 2019, claiming Medicaid expansion is “too good to be true.” He explained his reasoning as distrust in the federal government to continue funding the program. He also cites Health Affairs and the New England Journal of Medicine that said the majority of doctors (69%) accept Medicaid and Medicaid recipients were six times more likely to be turned down. These are people who otherwise would not have been able to see a doctor, though Olsen omits that fact. Olsen thinks healthcare should be a “free market” so that one can shop around for cancer treatment or immediate medical emergencies. Olsen also claims that prices increase under Medicaid expansion, which isn’t supported by the vast majority of available data.
What Does the Data Say?
One of the largest meta-analyses available is from the Kaiser Family Foundation which incorporated 324 studies between Jan. 2014 and June 2019. The three main takeaways from the study were: first, that coverage of uninsured and low-income people increased, second, access to care, health outcomes, and financial stability among low-income people largely improved, and third, economic effects of budget saving, economic growth and employment gains were largely positive.
Medicaid expansion would disproportionately benefit rural areas, which in 2010 held about 40% of Oklahoma’s population according to census data. Something pointed out by Jane Nelson, CEO of the Oklahoma Nurses Association, is that Medicaid expansion would bring money back into the state, “The Oklahoma Nurses Association supports returning Oklahomans’ own hard-earned federal tax dollars back to our state to provide health coverage for low-income working Oklahomans, to reduce the uninsured rate, to ease the costly burden of healthcare, and to protect the health care infrastructure and the well-being of all Oklahomans,” she said.
Between insurance providers, hospital administration, government services and political obfuscation healthcare policy is incredibly complicated. If SQ 802 passes, like most policies, it is going to require monitoring and backup plans in case federal funding falls through. The benefits are clear and proven, and the drawback of federal funding is a real concern. Whether an emergency funding plan is cooked up or not is up to policy makers, while Medicaid expansion is up to the voters.