Mike Isaac, RN, went from breaking down doors as a police officer to opening new ones as a nurse at the JD McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities in Norman.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

To say Mike Isaac’s resume is extensive would be an understatement.
EMT, police officer, detective, SWAT team member – all of it has combined into Isaac’s RN Nurse Manager role at JD McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities in Norman.
And for the past six years now, Isaac has been a nurse. But his past is almost as interesting as his present.
Fellow nurse manager Suanne Livingston likes working alongside Isaac and is constantly amazed by his background.
“He’s very organized and he’s very respected,” Livingston said. “He does a great job with staff. When he was a staff nurse he was a great staff nurse. I kind of defer to him as far as how he handles things employee-wise because he’s a little more hard-nosed than I am.”
“I learn a lot from him and I kind of watch and learn how he handles situations.”
Isaac worked in emergency rooms at night to help put him through college. He applied for PA school and quickly found it wasn’t a career track he wanted to pursue.
He spent some time in medical research and a couple other jobs before signing on with the Norman Police Department as an EMT for the ambulance service.
He attended the prerequisite police academy and later pursued his master’s degree. The only problem was working those 24-hour EMT shifts really took a toll on his studies.
So he decided to become a police officer instead.
“I said I would just transfer over and I did,” Isaac said. “I did really well and got promoted quickly and did a bunch of really good stuff but I got really interested in things involving mental health.”
A detective and eventually a supervisor, Isaac helped craft Norman’s policy on dealing with mental health subjects. His plans were carried over into department’s across the nation during his 27 years with Norman PD.
Isaac’s reputation earned him a spot helping craft officer-involved shooting policy.
“They weren’t getting the help they needed post-shooting,” Isaac said. “There were a lot of trauma victims involved with homicide and rape – two of the things I was assigned to – that weren’t getting follow-up care to prevent and treat post traumatic stress.”
Working with the FBI’s Behavioral Science unit in Quantico, Va., he helped craft policy to protect all involved.
“You didn’t take their gun right after a shooting. You took it as evidence but you replaced it,” Isaac said. “You didn’t put them on a desk job and treat them like they were unable to do work. Basically we wrote it so they would get a return to work slip.”
The process helped officers work through the ensuing mental and physical issues while protecting their personal health information. Inservice training was given and officers qualified again at the shooting range before easing back into their duties while riding with a supervisor.
“That was actually taken to Quantico for the national FBI academy that all law enforcement agencies around the world send people to.
“Our policy is still given out there.”
A friend mentioned he would be a perfect fit for nursing school.
“They sold me on this BADNAP program,” Isaac said of Oklahoma City Community College’s accelerated nursing program. “It was a great program. I wouldn’t do it again but it was a great way to get in and get employed and get out. I had a couple jobs before I even graduated.”
EMT, policeman, mental health advocate – you would think it all prepared him for nursing school.
“It did, but the pace was a great equalizer. It was just so fast. I don’t know how some of those people did it,” Isaac said. “I don’t know how some of those people did it, single heads of households with children to take to soccer games and other things.
“They were my heroes throughout. It was a great experience.”
Day and night, Isaac completed his ADN in eight months.
“It was tough but it was good. They don’t cut any corners,” Isaac said.
Assessment, investigation, report writing and observation – all skills Isaac honed in his former life have prepared him for a nursing career.
Nursing care plans are still vital. Different disciplines are heavily involved such as dietary and physical therapy.
He laughs when he admits his experience as Norman’s chief hostage negotiator still comes in handy.
But most days he doesn’t need it.
“The opportunity to see mostly the direct care staff grow in professionalism and responsibility so they can take ownership,” Isaac said of his greatest reward. “I always tell them when I interview it’s not a nursing home for kids.”

Jerri Wilson of Loco is being recognized as a significant woman in Oklahoma agriculture.

by Bryan Painter

Jerri Wilson at 10 years old showing her home-raised Angus show steer.

LOCO – Cattle and horses over people.
Jerri Wilson, raised near Duncan in southern Oklahoma, made that choice about the time she was still shedding baby teeth.
Horseback at every opportunity, Wilson would carry her lunch around in her saddle bags. Why?
“If it was even mentioned about going to town,” she said, “I became scarce out in the pastures.”
She was born to Billie and (Ed) John E Jackson, Jr. and grew up on the commercial Angus cow-calf ranch in southern Stephens and northern Jefferson counties. Ed Jackson purchased the ranch the year Wilson was born, 1959, and expanded it to 23,000 acres.
Billie and Ed had four daughters. Their names started with J so it was called the 4J ranch.
Wilson was the youngest and grew up following her father around taking care of the cattle.
“The others did not take up much to cattle and the country life,” she said. “I was quite the tomboy, staying out with the cattle all day.”
Wilson’s love for taking care of cattle and the land was not a secret. Everyone could see it.
“Our ranch was far from school,” she said. “I was the first one on and the last one off the school bus for two hours each way and spent many hours looking at cattle and pastures along the way.”
Add those round-trips up from grade school through high school and that’s a lot of miles.
Not long after the bus came to a stop near their house, Wilson was out on her paint pony riding through the cattle and across pastures.
“At branding and shipping time,” she said, “myself, and the other kids on the ranch were in the mix of helping. I thank all of the adults from back then for allowing us to be there because it was what shaped my future.”
More responsibility
As she got older, Wilson’s responsibilities grew. She worked cattle, took care of the cattle and horses, and doctored the sick ones.
Wilson also began showing cattle at the county and state level.
“I really think that was the point that I knew I would always have cattle in my blood,” she said. “At that time, everyone would show home-raised steers. I remember running down to the barn and feeding in the dark before getting on the bus.”
At 13, she showed heifers, but they had to be registered.
“I was fortunate that our neighbor, Mr. Phil Lowery, raised registered Herefords for years,” she said. “I had been riding my pony up the road to help him gather his cattle and I told him I needed to buy one of his heifers to show. He said, ‘Pick one out.’”
Lowery gave her a heifer every year through high school as payment for helping him with his cattle.
“His operation was much different than our commercial herd,’’ Wilson said. “I would ride around in his pickup with him and listen to all the pedigrees.”
Lowery kept little breeding books, with a rubber band around them, on his dusty dash. Wilson studied those little books.
“I built my first herd with those registered Herefords and still have a little Hereford patch for sentimental reasons,” Wilson said.
One of her other passions was livestock judging and grass identification. She went to numerous contests and loved all the aspects of learning.
4-H was a big part of her life, and the horses she took to 4-H and Quarter Horse events were not only for showing.
“They were also my cow horses back on the ranch,” Wilson said.
In high school, she started going to the state high school rodeos. That’s where she met her future husband Bob Wilson. The two married after high school, in June, 1977.
“For a couple of years we lived in Elk City,” she said. “Bob worked there during the oil and gas boom and of course I dragged a few cows along with us.”
As her Dad was getting older, he had heart problems, so Bob and Jerri returned to Ed’s ranch where they lived and worked.
The Wilsons had three daughters, Kristy, Kerri and Kayla.
When Jerri Wilson’s father passed away, the family dispersed the ranch and cattle.
Wilson, 30 years old at the time, and Bob, began their own ranching operation near Loco. They put together enough acreage to get a start, so they bought four loads of commercial Angus bred heifers.
“The timing was not great,” Wilson said. “The cattle market was on a low, so Bob began driving a Peterbilt with a flatbed.”
Bob hauled nationwide for a local wire plant which allowed “us to let the cows pay for themselves.”
“As soon as that was done, he stopped,” she said.
While he was gone, Wilson was feeding cattle and taking care of their first grandson.
“By now our two youngest daughters were beginning to show cattle and loved it,” Wilson said. “It had changed dramatically from my days. Hair products and clipping were much different. There was a lot of learning to do.
“Along the way I bought a couple of Simmental heifers for them to show and liked the way they performed and their temperaments.”
So, from artificial breeding the heifers, and purchasing some purebred and percentage bulls, they started breeding Simmental into their cow herd.
“Now we have a SimAngus cow base and have been breeding them to registered Angus bulls,” she said.
A dusty memory
During the fall of 2010, it seemed the Oklahoma skies had started to dry up.
Rains became a dusty memory.
“We had some really tough years during the drought,” she said. “From 2010 to 2013 we culled our cow herd by a third because there was no pond water. We had some wells dug for them but it is very hard to get water in this area.”
Plus, in February 2011, Bob broke his wrist in a shop accident.
“Then in August, him and his horse parted ways on a large crack in the ground from the drought and he broke his hip,” Wilson said. “It was a very tough year for him.”
A hired hand helped for about three years before moving back to Nebraska. Challenging decisions had to be made.
“At the time, there was not enough water so the calves were taken off at 400 pounds and we sent them to a feedlot which is not what we normally do,” she said. “Normally our calves are left on the cows till they are 500 to 600 pounds.
“In the end it improved our cowherd into productive beautiful cows that I am very proud of. We have been selling a lot of our heifers for breeding or as bred heifers. Steers and heifers not for breeding are sold through National Livestock at the Oklahoma City stockyards or sold at home.”
Over the years, Jerri and Bob have purchased more land and have doubled their size from what they started with, “which has been gratifying to improve those areas.” They have done a lot of clearing brush, sprigging Bermuda and weed spraying to improve the grass for cattle, while yet always being mindful of the wildlife.
They are also mindful of the future. In addition to three children, they have six grandchildren.
“So who knows, maybe some of them will continue in a ranching lifestyle,” Wilson said. “In the cattle business it’s a lot of long days and hard work but it is a lifestyle that I love and have a passion for.”

Brenda Schulz of Grant, Okla. is being recognized as a Significant Woman in Oklahoma Agriculture.

story and photos by Bryan Painter

GRANT – The cliche is that time flies.
Cattlewoman Brenda Schulz, who ranches near Grant in southeastern Oklahoma’s Choctaw County, won’t argue that point.
However, two 100-year floods in 25 years is more like time sprinting rather than just marching on.
“Some of our toughest times have come from floods,” Schulz said. “Along with the wonderful aspects of having your farm and ranch in the fertile ground of the Red River comes the possibility of flooding. Curt and I have survived not one, but two, of the so called ‘100 year floods.’”
Guess what Schulz thanks for making it through those two experiences? Her cows.
Thanks to the cows
The first of those two floods Schulz is referring to came in 1990.
The May Monthly Summary that year from the Oklahoma Climatological Survey reported that the agricultural-related floods losses exceeded $57 million.
“We had leased farm ground that completely flooded,” Schulz said. “We survived, mainly due to the diversification our cattle provided. Our cattle pastures were up on the prairies around Soper, Oklahoma at this time.”
Then came the floods of 2015.
Gary McManus, state climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, said that after being really dry for the first four months of the year, 2015’s “Super El Nino” ended up inundating far southeastern Oklahoma in May and June, and then again in November and December.
“That area near Grant in Choctaw County ended with their wettest year on record, with most of that rain falling within a select few weeks during those four months,” McManus said. “In other words, it was way too much water, concentrated into very short time frames, for the local rivers and reservoirs to handle.”
Schulz said the Red River overflowed its banks and half of their ranch flooded in May. She’s lived in Oklahoma long enough to have seen droughts turn dreams to powder. So she doesn’t curse the rains, she just respects them.
“After the water receded enough to flow within its banks again, areas north and west of us received a lot more rain and the Red River overflowed its banks once again in June,” she said. “We were not able to grow grain crops on our farm ground that year, it was too late in the season and the cows needed it for pasture. The cows have helped us survive those trying times.”
A small world
Schulz witnessed/experienced agriculture from a lot of different geographical viewpoints before landing in Oklahoma in 1984.
Not only did she grow up in North Dakota, she studied animal science at the University of Minnesota and worked with a veterinarian in Colorado where she met her husband Curt. They married in 1983 and a year later moved to Choctaw County, where his parents Delvin and Delores Schulz farmed and ranched.
“We started a beef cow herd as soon as we could,” Brenda Schulz said. “I loved being back around cows and horses. Curtis was custom farming and spraying. We rented farm ground and raised corn and soybeans.”
That was the start.
Today, 34 years after settling down in Choctaw County, they raise Angus cattle, corn, small grains, hay and pecans on 1,500 acres along the banks and in the bottoms of the Red River, south of Grant.
Schulz believes it was meant for her to live here, farm here and ranch here. Why?
Even though she was raised in North Dakota, Choctaw County is within 45 miles of her father Tom Secrest’s birthplace. Her grandfather was a sharecropper cotton farmer around Deport, Texas.
“He decided to settle his young family in east Texas when my grandparents’ wagon broke down, crossing Red River slate shoals,” she said. “These shoals are within 10 miles to the east of Stoneybroke Ranch, which is Curtis’ and my farm and ranch. It’s really a small world. I believe I have come back to my roots.”
Those roots are extending as daughter Kylee and son-in-law Keith Edge (superintendent of Boswell Schools), along with grandsons Kollin, 16, Kamden, 14 and Kolson, 12, take care of their cow/calf operation. They also help out at Stoneybroke Ranch with projects ranging from laying water lines to checking cattle.
Listen close
Cattle and horses aren’t something Schulz just tends to, she cares for them. That was evident as a child when she was around her parents breeding operation of Paints and Quarter Horses. It was evident in what she studied in college and then in the job she took working for the veterinarian. It was evident in how she gives credit to cattle bringing their operation through the floods.
It’s still evident today, especially if you listen real close during certain times of the year.
“In the spring, the cows are calving and all the babies are testing their legs, running and playing,” she said, adding that they tag and vaccinate every calf within 24 hours of birth. “I get to talk to and check the cows for new calves.”
Yes, “talk to.” What do you say?
Schulz said she would softly say something like, “You sure had a pretty baby, didn’t you? Good Mama!”
It is an enjoyable experience like that, that makes time fly at a comfortable pace.

What will be on your Thanksgiving plate? Norman Regional Hospital Auxiliary

Ham and dressing, gravy, green beans. Maybe a little turkey and hot rolls.

Derald Fendley

We’ll be eating off the same menu but my favorite is cornbread dressing.

Jan Fendley

The usual turkey and dressing but also rutabagas and red cabbage.

Jonnina Benson

Turkey and dressing with candied yams, and pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream.

Dixie Hurd

David Kallenberger, M.D., and Crysten Cheatwood, D.O., are physician partners who practice obstetrics and gynecology at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City. But what makes their partnership so extraordinary, is that they share a professional and personal bond very few will ever experience.
Cheatwood has known Kallenberger her entire life – literally. In fact, he was the one who physically brought her into this world, as the physician who delivered her as a newborn. “I could not have imagined 33 years ago when I delivered Crysten that she one day would be working with me,” admits Kallenberger. “This is indeed a full circle moment for me.”
“He was my grandmother’s OBGYN then he was my mother’s doctor, so I was familiar with his name and reputation very early on,” says Cheatwood. “I can remember being young enough that my mom would make me stay in the changing room during her exams.”
“I also saw Dr. Kallenberger at all of my mom’s prenatal visits when she was pregnant with my sister. He could tell I was curious so he was always asking me questions and volunteering information regarding my mom’s pregnancy. He made it a point to include me in all of the conversations.”
Kallenberger was equally impressed with young Cheatwood. “She made an impression on me at a very young age. She would ask questions that were very inquisitive and profound for a 12 year old. She was always probing for more information.”
Cheatwood remembers being fascinated by medicine and almost obsessed with her mother’s pregnancy. “I attended every doctor’s appointment. I even read the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book with my mom. I was completely invested.”
The day her sister, Hannah, was born, Cheatwood was in the delivery room. That is when her fate was sealed. “I was standing with my dad at the head of the bed when Dr. K walked into the room. He said, ‘Crissy… do you want to deliver this baby?’ Wondering if he was actually serious, I nodded my head yes. He said, ‘go over to the sink and wash up to your elbows, we’ll help you with some gloves.’ He told me where to put my hands and then put his hands over mine. And then he talked me through the whole thing!”
From that moment on, Cheatwood knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up. She wanted to be an OBGYN just like her newfound idol, “Dr. K.”
“She was a natural,” says Kallenberger recalling her sister’s birth. “She was not shocked, she just jumped right in without question and working with my hands literally delivered her sister. It was an amazing experience. In a way, a doctor was also born that day.”
Cheatwood shadowed Kallenberger several times during high school, college and medical school. She did a couple rotations with him again during her residency training. Now, with her medical degree in hand, she is Kallenberger’s newest partner.
Cheatwood remembers the moment he made her the offer to come work with him. “I was speechless initially, again wondering if he was actually serious. And then I nodded my head yes. It was wildly similar to the reaction I had when he asked if I wanted to deliver my sister all those years ago.”
“I feel like I’ve been shadowing him for 22 years,” laughs Cheatwood. “He has afforded me a tremendous amount of encouragement and exposure. He is a phenomenal teacher and an exceptional physician. I hope to continue following in his footsteps.”
Kallenberger has no doubt that Cheatwood will tread her own path, and is beyond proud of the physician she has become. “It is somewhat surreal working with her but I have worked with her so many times over the years as a mentor or as faculty that it feels natural.”
“I don’t know that this is necessarily a passing of the torch,” continues Kallenberger. “But I do want to groom her to be able to take over my practice one day when I decide to retire. It is comforting to know that someone with her compassion and skill set will be available to take care of my patients in the same way that I have tried to do over the last 42 years.”
Kallenberger estimates that he has delivered more than 15,000 babies in his lifetime. While he says some of them have grown up to be doctors, he says Cheatwood is the first he’s ever had the privilege to call partner.
“The transition we’ve made from student/teacher to colleagues has been interesting and entertaining,” Cheatwood jokes. “A few days after I started here, he told me to call him David now. I still can’t do it without laughing a little bit. I’ve heard people talk about their “work wife” or “work husband.” We definitely have a “work father/daughter” relationship. I have so much respect for him. He’s been such an advocate for me as a new physician. Even though I’m working beside him now, I will always look up to him.”

Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn

High on my list of want-a-sees in the Finger Lakes Area of New York, was the Corning Museum of glass in Corning New York.
An enthusiastic and knowledgeable docent took me on a whirl wind tour down their educational history of glass exhibition with stops to glass blowing exhibitions in their hot glass shop, and a chance to participate in a glass blowing experience. While I did the blowing the crafts person spun the blow rod and formed the small pumpkin, which when cooled was mailed to me. This is a Finger Lakes road trip stop not to be missed.
Of course I was overwhelmed by their glass gift shop, where I found several pieces from my favorite glass artists. I also found tempting glass in Corning’s Market street galleries. Also downtown is the Rockwell (no relation to the artist) Museum of Western Art which houses the best of the west in the east.
More hands on glass blowing can be had at Corning’s Hands-on Glass: Hot Glass Studio ( where classes are available as well as a small selection of glass for sale. Rodi Rovner and her team work hard to keep the tradition of glass on a personal level alive. My stay at Corning‘s Radisson hotel was convenient and professionally efficient.
If you want to be over fed and have a sensory dining experience, Spencer’s Restaurant should be your Corning dining choice. If you look closely you’ll see church pews accompanied by fireplaces and an inventive menu including eggplant fries!
On my way up to Aurora I just had to make a very brief detour to Elvira to see Mark Twain’s family cemetery plot and to see the near by little writing retreat, which is like a closed in gazebo. What’s a road trip adventure without an impromptu detour? Its this kind of flexibility that makes a road trip all worthwhile.
Of course it made me late for my lunch appointment at the Pumpkin Hill Bistro at 2051 route 90 near aurora. My delicious lunch was waiting for me, and promptly served amid a charming atmosphere of intimate dining.
I was in a bit of a rush as I had tickets for the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Auburn. The professional theatre building was once a merry go round enclosure. Getting off the road, resting and being professionally entertained is a welcome counterpoint to a road tour.
After the theatre there was a brief visit to Auburn’s Willard Memorial chapel with its interior decorated totally with Luis Comfort Tiffany religious stain glass windows and accents.
Then it was off to the Belhurst Chateau to enjoy the grounds and public rooms of this restored and expanded Geneva mansion. An elegant dinner at Edgar’s, with view of the lake was a perfect ending to an adventurous touring agenda. The history of this wine related lodge is felt in every room. To emphasize this wine region, there is even a working wine spicket available to over night guests in the second floor lobby. Now that’s hospitality!
On your drive out of Geneva on your way back to Rochester airport, you can tank up your thirst with award winning 100% fruit juices at Red Jacket Orchards (
While I had a very full Finger Lakes itinerary there is much more to savor, and you may find other areas of interest when you request your Finger Lakes planning booklet. ( Summer and Autumn are perfect times to tour the lakes, hills and many attractions of this part of America, I call a perfect sampling of Americana.
In our fast moving modern culture it is wise to check details of your stops while planning your trip, as some venues may be closed or have issues with operating times. A road trip is always an adventure and if you have an adventurous spirit, touring the Finger Lakes may be perfect for you.

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

With the installation of a twenty-four foot Blue Light Centerpiece this week, the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial added the final piece to the newly repaired and renovated memorial plaza. The Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial is the oldest state law enforcement memorial in the United States, dedicated on May 15, 1969. A few years ago it was discovered the memorial was sinking after almost fifty years of withstanding Oklahoma weather and rain water flowing over and apparently under it. Donations were made and the work to repair and renovate the memorial started on December 15th of last year when the memorial stones were taken up and stored. The renovated memorial was for the most part completed and was rededicated during the Fiftieth Annual Memorial Service on May 18th of this year. The center piece was the only part not ready by the service.
This Sunday, November 4th at 5:30 p.m. during the Oklahoma Chapter of the Concerns of Police Survivor’s Annual Blue Light Ceremony the perpetual Blue Light Center Piece will officially be turned on as a constant reminder of the service and sacrifices of our law enforcement officers. The memorial is located on the west grounds of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety Headquarters, 3600 M. L. King Avenue in Oklahoma City. The public is encouraged to attend.
The names of over eight hundred officers who have died in the line of duty in Oklahoma, both before and after statehood, are engraved on the memorial. See the memorial’s web site at for more information on the memorial and Oklahoma’s fallen officers.

The holiday season is approaching, and the Oklahoma City Fire Department has a few safety tips for your family and friends. A small fire can double in size every 30-60 seconds. Following these safety messages will provide a safer winter and holiday season. The holiday season is approaching, and the Oklahoma City Fire Department has a few safety tips for your family and friends. A small fire can double in size every 30-60 seconds. Following these safety messages will provide a safer winter and holiday season. Smoke Alarms· Working smoke alarms should be placed inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install smoke alarms on every level of the home including basements. The Oklahoma City Fire Department has a “Project Life” smoke alarm program. Firefighters will install smoke alarms at no charge for qualifying residents of Oklahoma City. Contact information 405-316-2337, or  Residents outside of Oklahoma City can contact your local fire department or Red Cross. · Test smoke alarms once a month while practicing your escape plan. Practice your escape plan based on your mobility and always have a meeting place outside the home. · Replace batteries once a year. When replacing the 9-volt battery consider upgrading to a 10-year lithium battery smoke alarm.· Replace all smoke alarms after 10 years or before expiration date located on the backside. · People with hearing impairment can contact the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT), 888-885-5588 or email     OkAT will install smoke alarms with strobe lights and bed shaker for qualifying Oklahoma residents. Apply at * According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or the alarms are not working.”Heating Safety·Keep space heaters a minimum of 3-feet away from anything that can burn. The 3-foot clearance must include people and pets. Never use extension cords with space heaters. Plug them directly into the outlet and ensure the space heater is the only item plugged into the outlet. Turn off and unplug when not in use or going to bed. ·Heating systems and chimneys should be inspected and cleaned every year by a qualified professional. Schedule your inspection and cleaning before use.  ·Keep metal fireplace screens or heat-tempered glass secured and in the correct position when in use. Discard cool ashes from the fireplace into a metal container. Keep the metal container at least 10-feet from your home.  ·Never use ovens, stove top, or open burning to heat your home. Open flame heat sources should have a venting system. The use of alternative heating sources inside your home could have deadly consequences caused by carbon monoxide poisoning or fire. ·Always follow the manufacturer’s instruction. ·Install Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.      *According to NFPA, “Half of home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February.”Holiday Safety·Don’t block exits with decorations. ·Follow manufacturer’s instruction and do not overload extension cords. ·Keep candles away from children and pets. ·Ask smokers to smoke outside. Wet all cigarette butts before discarding. ·Never leave food cooking on the stovetop unattended. Make sure you are alert when cooking. ·Cut 2 inches off the base of a live Christmas tree before placing in the stand. Add water to your tree stand daily. Don’t put heating sources or candles near the Christmas tree. Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed. ·Immediately remove the Christmas tree from inside your home after the holidays or when it is dry.  *According to NFPA, “Two of every five home decoration fires are started by candles.”Additional fire safety information is available at
This is the first of a series of safetey articles provided by  Oklahoma City Fire Department, Oklahoma County Sheriff Department and the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Dr. Edd Rhoades as Chief Medical Officer.

Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) Interim Commissioner Tom Bates has appointed Dr. Edd Rhoades as Chief Medical Officer for the agency. Dr. Rhoades has been with the agency for 40 years and is currently serving as the Medical Director for Family Health Services.
“Dr. Rhoades has served the state and this agency with integrity in a number of key positions over the years and it is appropriate that he should be the first person to fill this important role,” said Commissioner Bates. “The establishment of a Chief Medical Officer aligns with the public health structure of many other states and will provide guidance to our core mission.”
The Oklahoma State Board of Health approved creation of the position at their Sept. 14 meeting, following a recommendation that was included in a corrective action plan provided to the legislature in January. The Chief Medical Officer will advise agency leadership on medical and public health issues and provide medical oversight and consultation to agency service areas and county health departments. Under the current organizational structure, the Office of the Commissioner continues to focus on improving the financial operation and organization of the agency to ensure efficient delivery of core services.
A graduate of the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine, Dr. Rhoades also holds a Masters of Public Health in Health Administration from the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics and has received numerous awards for his work in maternal and child health and environmental protection. Among his honors are the Joan K. Leavitt, M.D. Award from the Oklahoma Public Health Association and the Mike Synar Environmental Excellence Award.
“I’m looking forward to working with Commissioner Bates and the senior leadership team to provide guidance for the agency as we continue to focus on issues that will improve the health of all Oklahomans,” said Dr. Rhoades. “I’m honored to have this opportunity to share my experiences and promote the great work being done by all of our public health professionals.

In recognition of November being National Diabetes Month, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is supporting efforts to bring awareness to the impact of diabetes on Oklahoma and its economy.
Oklahoma ranks eighth in the nation for percent of adults diagnosed with diabetes. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate more than one million Oklahomans have prediabetes, and two out of three are unaware they are at risk. Without proper intervention, it is estimated that 15-30 percent of them will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years, leaving them to pay more than double their current health care costs.
“Historically, the prevalence of diabetes has been higher in Oklahoma than in the United States as a whole,” said OSDH Diabetes Program Coordinator Rita Reeves. “The most current information from the CDC indicates the prevalence of Type 2 and Type 1 are increasing among young people.”
Average medical expenses for people diagnosed with diabetes are about $13,700 per year. Patients have a higher rate of being out of the workplace and receiving disability. Nearly 95 percent of cases are Type 2, which can be prevented or delayed through a lifestyle intervention with the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program. There are 21 programs in Oklahoma that offer guidance from a lifestyle coach to help set goals and adjust factors such as eating healthier, reducing stress and getting more physical activity.
Screening is the first step in preventing and managing diabetes. An online risk test to determine a person’s chance of having prediabetes is available at .
Those who have already been diagnosed with diabetes are encouraged to talk with their health care provider, and ask for a referral to an accredited self-management program, which can be found at .