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St. Anthony Hospital and Turner Construction were joined by physicians, employees and community leaders recently for a topping out ceremony for the new Pavilion construction project on the St. Anthony campus. In construction, a topping out ceremony – one of the industry’s oldest customs – is celebrated when the last beam is placed at the top of a building. The hospital’s beam featured signatures from physicians, staff and volunteers along with an evergreen tree and a U.S. flag.
The Pavilion, located south of 10th Street between Dewey and Walker Avenue, will house a new emergency department, intensive care units, and inpatient care areas. The 111,000 square foot, four-story facility project is slated to be complete in May 2016. The expansion represents the crowning point of the $220 million campus development plan that began 11 years ago when the hospital decided to remain in its Midtown location.

Celebrating their 45th anniversary of acceptance into Baptist Memorial Hospital School of Nursing are longtime friends a.k.a. The Dirty Dozen. Standing in front of a picture of James L. Henry (President of the hospital when the nurses started in 1968) L-R Lenora Beckwith, Connie Furrh, Lou Berry, Melanie Hemry, Beverly Botchlet, Linda Jackson, Janet Jamison, Laura Denwood. Not pictured- Norma Williams, Carol Neal and Terry Thurston. Evannah Esadoah (deceased).

by Vickie Jenkins

I had the privilege of interviewing some wonderful ladies that were celebrating their 45th anniversary of receiving their caps. What an exciting time for these 8 women that reunited at Integris Baptist Medical Center. It was the summer of 1968 when these women were accepted into Baptist Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. They all lived in the dorm on the hospital campus except the ones that were married.
At the time, it was a diploma nursing program and their class was small because Baptist was phasing out the school which was then morphed into the nursing program at Central State College (now, University of Central Oklahoma). In the summer of 1969, the 12 nurses were sent to St. Louis, Missouri State Mental Hospital for their psychiatric training. They graduated on June 5, 1970.
Interviewing the women that gathered for the reunion was a pure delight. The conference room at Baptist Hospital was full of hugs, smiles and laughter as each woman shared memories. “It was Dr. John Donnell, a cardiologist that gave us 12 nurses the nickname of The Dirty Dozen,” one woman said. Since then, The Dirty Dozen have held major reunions every five years, getting together whenever possible. In addition to reunions, they also stay in contact by Facebook, email and texts. A few send cards and letters.
After some fun and fellowship, here are some interesting answers from outstanding women telling us what their life is like now.
Melanie Arnold Hemry, RN-“Why did you become a nurse?” “I felt it was a wonderful career and a great way to serve others. It ended up giving me great features for my writing.” Hemry is now a freelance writer and has written for Guideposts and other magazines. She has written more than 50 books.
Laura Bliss Denwood, RN- Describing herself in three words, she says, “Friendly, empathetic and optimistic.” Denwood traveled from St. Croix, Virgin Islands, where she still lives. She is happy to see all of her friends again plus enjoyed taking a tour of Baptist Medical Center.
Janet Pomplun Jamison, RN, Clinical Research Nurse- “What is your favorite memory from the past while working at Baptist Hospital?” “There was a supportive nursing staff and several mentors. The progressive acute care experiences were great.” Jamison worked in Cancer Research at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC before working at the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. She resides in. Delaware.
Beverly Botchhlet, RN, MS-“What was your favorite thing about the reunion today?” “Being a member of a group who are totally nonjudgmental and have only love and support for each other.” Bachlet became a nurse in 1970 and is still going strong. Bachlet earned her Master’s Degree and continues to teach nursing.
Connie Blackburn Furrh, RN-“What is your life like now?” “I work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and work full-time at Oklahoma Spine Hospital.” “Do you stay in contact with the other nurses?” “Absolutely. I consider them my sisters. Time melts away when we come back together again.” Blackburn also helped build the Renaissance Women’s Centers.
Lou Berry, RN-“Describe yourself in three words.” ‘Full of energy!” Berry said her favorite memory of the past is working in the Surgery Center. She spent years teaching nursing.
Lenora Schoenhals Bechwith, RN-“What is your life like now?” “I’m a retired Hospice nurse, mother of two and grandmother of two. I go to Hospice Circle of Love, Enid, OK when needed. Bechwith says she was four years old when she received a nurse kit from her cousin one Christmas morning.
Linda Gossman Hazard, RN- “What is your life like now?” “I am retired and life is good!” Jackson worked at OU Health Science Center in NICU.
Unable to attend the 45 year reunion were Terry Thurston, Norma Aycock Williams, RN, Carol Neal, RN. Evannah Esadoah, RN (deceased)
After catching up on just a glimpse of the past years, the women planned on taking a tour of Integris Baptist Medical Center. A big thank-you to these fine women that have given their time and dedication to helping others provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support.
Perhaps, one of the women at the reunion summed up the countless hours of nursing the best. “When did you become a nurse?” I asked. she answered, “1970”. “When did your nursing end?” I asked. “Never!” she replied. I am sure The Dirty Dozen will meet again.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak wants to help seniors fight back against fraud.

by Mike Lee, Staff Writer

Seniors are one of the biggest targets when it comes to insurance scams.
That’s why Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak wants to arm Oklahoma’s senior population with the information necessary to fight back and make sure they don’t easily part with their hard-earned money.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Medicare Assistance Program is hosting a series of free events to help seniors fight fraud.
The Senior Fraud Conferences are ongoing and will be held through July.
“Crooks target seniors because they think they’re an easy target,” Doak said. “The scams have gotten more sophisticated, with crooks using social media and the Internet to find out where you live, where you work and who you’re related to. “Once they have that information, it’s easier for them to steal your money.”
Remaining conferences will be held July 14 in Lawton, July 16 in Norman and July 22 in Poteau.
“Seniors are prime targets for crooks because they usually have a healthy bank account,” Doak said. “Thieves also think seniors may be vulnerable because of their age. But in many cases, these scammers are very good at what they do and anyone can fall victim to the scam, regardless of age. But if you know which red flags to look for, you can easily protect yourself from these types of crimes.”
Experts will provide fraud information relating to Medicare, home repair, telemarketing, identity theft, banking, prepaid funerals, current scams and more. Each conference is free for senior adults and includes breakfast. Insurance professionals who attend the event can earn four hours of ethics Continuing Education (CE) credit for $30.
Doak’s office has been very aggressive in fraud prevention, with the Anti-Fraud Unit actively investigating and pursuing charges.
Last year a Tulsa insurance agent defrauded a Muskogee couple out of nearly $300,000 after convincing the 80-year-old husband to withdraw the money from annuities and invest it in a bogus company.
That agent pleaded guilty to exploitation of the elderly.
Another former agent was sentenced to two years in prison for defrauding seniors at investment seminars across the state. He convinced them to cash in their life insurance and annuity products in exchange for gold. But instead of buying the gold, he took the money and fled to Florida.
“I am very proud of the work we have done and continue to do to protect Oklahoma consumers,” Doak said. “These events are designed to empower seniors by showing them the tricks of the trade used by crooks.”
According to the FBI, senior citizens especially should be aware of fraud schemes for the following reasons: * Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists.
* People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just hang up the telephone.
* Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.
* When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory, and they are counting on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that they have been swindled may take weeks—or more likely, months—after contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more difficult to remember details from the events.
* Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties, and so on. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim.
The Senior Fraud Conferences are funded, in part, by the Administration on Community Living’s Senior Medicare Patrol grant.
Seniors are asked to register online at or by calling 1-800-763-2828

Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn

Many seniors find that a packaged tour offers the best in time and treasure management. A package tour is pre designed to offer the ease of small group travel and the expert knowledge offering the highlights of a particular itinerary. Package tours take the worry out of exploration, as the operators know the area offered and the fastest way to experience the survey of an area. For first time visitors, it gives an over view of the best of the area, and if the traveler finds that time at an attraction is not enough, it is a good reference point for a follow up visit. As you can tell, I find an expert package tour is a convenient holiday experience.
Adventures By Disney is a relatively new group tour operation. Disney does it right, whether it’s movies, theme parks or group tours. Recently I experienced Nashville the Disney way, with many insider and backstage visits not available to other tours and certainly not by solo travelers. Several years ago I visited Nashville, but after my tour with Adventures By Disney, I have a complete Nashville experience with many Disney extras that are memorable, educational and fun. Every day our energized and informative tour guides, Kelley and Paola, offered extras and surprises that got us spoiled as we visited from venue to venue. Just when we thought the venue or day was complete we’d hear our guides say, “And then there’s more!”
The Hermitage, located near Nashville, was the home of President Andrew Jackson. Adventures By Disney arranged for Andrew and his wife to greet our bus, and welcome us at the traditional entry to the homestead, which is not offered for other visitors. We had an after-hours visit, complete with a guided grounds and house tour, and then there was more. We had a period dance instruction with Andrew and his wife joining in, as others in the group enjoyed wine and vintage Andrew Jackson bourbon. And then there was more. We had a hands on instruction in simple biscuit making by expert, Maryann Byrd, and then enjoyed our creations baked just for us at a catered sit down dinner in an a joining air conditioned venue. Walking back in the dark to the bus we were all more than satisfied as our departure was enhanced with a spectacle of fireflies.
Recently Nashville has added notoriety with the popular ABC television drama of the same name. Disney enhanced our Nashville adventure with a bus tour of filming locations, and a very special private concert luncheon at the famed Blue Bird Cafe. The essence of Nashville’s established and rising performers was exhibited by the intimate hour long plus performances by Leslie Satcher and Walker Hayes. We were all moved by the stories they told that inspired the creation of the songs they sang for us. This example of sincerity and the universal experiences of life, is the real Nashville sound. The clear voices and rhythmic songs were true examples of craft being raised to the level of performance art. Beyond the flash and country glamour of Nashville, the Blue Bird Cafe experience reaffirms the essence of America’s indigenous music.
A visit to Music City would not be complete without a tour of the historical Ryman auditorium and of course Disney gave us a special private tour and a chance to stand on that stage which was inhabited by the founders of country music. We entered through the stage door entrance in an alley adjacent to a bar/lounge famous as a haunt of music pioneers. And while the Ryman is a must, the new Grand Ole Opry venue is as impressive when you are able to visit the famous back stage dressing rooms, and wall of fame. But there was more!
We had a pre-show dinner in the broadcast studio where many Nashville shows were filmed which included the sound stage where the popular Hee Haw show was once produced. A catered sit down meal with wine was only briefly interrupted when instruction in line dancing was included. And to top off all of this VIP experience, we had VIP seating at that night’s Grand Ole Opry show, with a special treat for me, hearing a couple of songs by Vince Gill, a fellow Oklahoman.
The more continued with hands on poster making at Hatch Show Print, a mock station ID recording at the legendary WSM 650 AM radio station, admission to the expansive Country Music Hall of Fame, and a private visit to Music Row’s RCA Studio B recording studio where Elvis along with other legendary artists, recorded their songs beginning in 1957. We were entertained with insider stories, and with many rehearsals under our belts, we recorded our own group singing a well-known Elvis favorite, and was later presented with our own special CD of our performance.
All along our days of adventures all admission charges were taken care of by our hosts as were most meal times. We ate at Merchants’ Restaurant where we customized our own BBQ sauce, and had breakfast at popular Puckett’s Grocery. There was even a little free time for us to explore downtown Nashville sights on our own. I took this opportunity to reserve my spot for lunch at the Southern Steak and Oyster restaurant, and then took a stroll up to the historic Hermitage Hotel and the Capitol Grille, where I took in a beverage and tales of this famous watering hole.
If you couldn’t tell I was impressed with the services and thoughtfulness of the Adventures By Disney experience. Some Disney tours are for adults only while most welcome the whole family. Documents and itineraries are sent to you well in advance of your departure and should you have added questions they are easily answered by phone from your personal travel concierge. Besides state-side destinations, the company offers tours overseas and cruises as well. Tempt your travel lust by exploring:


Mr. Terry Zinn – Travel Editor
Past President: International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association –

Whodunit Dinner Theater has done it again with the hilarious new show.
‘Win Lose or DIE’!
Come find out what happens when a Hillbilly lottery winner battles it out with his hippy son, crazy maw-in-law, ‘people of Wal-mart’ sister-in-law and a whole slew of greedy hilarious characters that all want a ‘piece of the pie’! Someone will DIE and you can help use solve the mystery!! Performed by the best of the best OKC actors, c ome see why we’ve been ‘killin’ it’ for over 24 years!! Admission is $48 for an adult and $24 for children and includes the show, full dinner buffet, soft beverages and dessert. Alcohol is available at an additional cost. Venues vary- please see our website for more information. Attendance is by advance ticket purchase only. Tickets, full menu and venue information can be found on our website or by calling 405-420-3222 Our mailing address is 11736 sw 3rd street (not a performance location) Whodunit is also available for private shows, call or email for more information.
SUMMER SEASON DATES: July 17th & 24th – August 14th & 21st – September 11th & 18th – all shows begin at 6:30pm

If you have experienced the death of a loved one, grief is the normal and the natural response to loss. INTEGRIS Hospice provides ongoing grief support. Conducted by Shari Ostroff, B.S., family studies and gerontology, these free six-week programs provide a step-by-step approach for those who wish to resolve their loss issues and move beyond their grief toward a richer quality of life.
Session 1 – Dates: July 21 – Aug. 25 (Tuesdays) Time: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Place: INTEGRIS Cancer Institute Conference rooms, southwest entrance 5911 W. Memorial Road, Oklahoma City, OK 73142. Session 2 – Dates: July 21 – Aug. 25 (Tuesday evenings) Time: 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. Place Moore Public Library, Room A, 225 S. Howard, Moore, OK 73160.
Call 405-695-0984 to register. Programs are free; space is limited. Ostroff has led support groups for Mercer Adams Funeral Service and the Calm Waters Center for Children and Families. Normal grief responses include appetite loss, difficulty sleeping, feelings of guilt or regret, lack of concentration, mood changes, numbness and crying.

Brent Madding discusses the benefits of elderberries with visitors to his display at Ag Day in the Oklahoma state capitol rotunda on April 1, 2015.

A native crop in Oklahoma is getting a renewed purpose through the vision of one farmer. Brent Madding, of Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, is taking native elderberry plants and making the most of them on his farm. Elderberries have graced the land around his community for many years. Madding researched the plants and their benefits and has become an expert on the elderberry bushes as well as the elderflower. Elderberries have many reported health benefits including being antioxidants which help lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and help with coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections.
Madding, along with his wife, Valerie, is continually researching potential markets for the berries and their value-added products. He named his place the 360 OK Farms to denote his life coming full circle from leaving the family farm at a young age to returning to it in retirement. Madding’s passion is education regarding elderberries. You can tour 360 OK Farms by making an appointment. The farm features more than 7,000 plants as well as a nursery where visitors can purchase elderberry plants. The crop is typically harvested in August each year. The farm currently offers several products including dried elderberries, dried elderflower and a tea blend of the two.
To schedule a tour or for more information about 360 OK Farms, please visit

Emily Ardoin, winner of 2015 OKALA Caregiver of the Year award.

The Oklahoma Assisted Living Association recognized Emily Ardoin as the winner of 2015 OKALA Caregiver of the Year award. Ardoin serves as an Advanced Certified Medical Aide at Jefferson’s Garden.
“Emily is truly a team player. She’s willing to fill in wherever we need her,” said Donna Kilgore, Residence Director at Jefferson’s Garden. The award indicates Ardoin has shown excellence in the care of Oklahoma seniors since August 2010. It also proves the exceptional performance of her duties within Jefferson’s Garden Assisted Living.
Emily is respected and admired by her fellow associates and she can always be counted on to help where she’s needed.
“Emily pays great attention to residents and details. I’m so glad to have her on my team,” said Adrian Carpenter, Health Care Coordinator at Jefferson’s Garden.
Everyone says Ardoin’s smile and cheerful spirit is infectious. Residents adore her and she adores them.
Jefferson’s Garden is a Legend Senior Living residence. Legend Senior Living is a privately owned company founded in 2001 by Timothy Buchanan and is dedicated to providing quality services and housing to senior adults. Legend Senior Living owns and operates Senior Living Residences in Kan., Fla., Colo., Okla. and Texas.

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor

Aug 6/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9:30 am – 4 pm/ 951-2277/ Palinsky
Intergis 3rd Age Center – 5100 N. Brookline
Aug 8/ Saturday/ Moore/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 799-3130/ Palinsky
Brand Center – 501 E. Main St.
Aug 13/ Thursday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 440-8802/ Palinsky
Norman Regional Hospital – 901 N. Porter Ave.
Aug 14/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S.W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
Aug 18/ Tuesday/ Yukon/ 9 am – 3;30 pm/ 350-7680/ Edwards
Dale Robertson Center – 1200 Lakeshore Dr.
Sept 3/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9:30 am – 4 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
Intergis 3rd Age Center – 5100 N. Brookline
Sept 8/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky
Rose State – 6191 Tinker Diagonal
Sept 11/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 752-3600 or 478-4587/ Reffner Mercy Hospital – 4300 W.Memorial Rd.
Sept 11/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwads
S.W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to:

On February 20th, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it was making changes to its Nursing Home Compare 5-Star Quality Rating system, which allows consumers to learn about and compare nursing homes in terms of their performance on surveys (inspections), staffing levels and quality measures. The following changes were made to the ratings, which are now updated on the 3.0 revisions website: – go to the Nursing Home Compare section.
The addition of 2 new antipsychotic quality measures – one for long stay, the other for short stay residents. Antipsychotic medication use had previously not been calculated into the rating;
Raising the bar for performance on quality measures through the increase of the number of total quality measure points needed to achieve each star rating:
The conduction of specialized onsite surveys of a sample of facilities nationwide to assess accuracy of the resident assessment information used to calculate quality measures;
The adjustment of how the number of stars awarded for staffing is determined. Up to this time, a facility could have 3 stars for RN staffing and 3 stars for total nursing staff hours and receive 4 stars for overall staffing. Under the new system, a facility must have at least 4 stars in either RN staffing or total nursing staff hours to be awarded 4 stars.
When selecting a nursing facility for a loved one consumers can check out the newly revised 5-Star Ratings on the Medicare website’s Nursing Home Compare to see how a facility measures up in terms of quality indicators or contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at Areawide Aging Agency 942-8500 to discuss the rating of any nursing homes being considered for placement or any other questions you may have about a particular facility in Canadian, Cleveland, Logan or Oklahoma County.