Smith & Turner General Manager Tim Ingram, seated, and his staff empower families to celebrate their loved ones on their own terms.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

It’s Friday morning heading into Memorial Weekend and Tim Ingram has been up since 4 a.m.
The general manager of Yukon’s Smith & Turner Mortuary rose early to make sure the finishing touches were in place for that day’s service.
Later in the day, Ingram and his staff would open their doors to the family and friends of a beloved husband, father and grandfather.
Celebrating the life of a career truck driver with more than two million miles was on everyone’s minds.
Pictures, clothing, memorabilia, a love of John Deere tractors, farming and cans of A&W root beer were all pieces that seamlessly would weave this individual’s story together.
There would be tears for sure, but Ingram wanted to make sure there would be smiles and even some laughter inside.
“We’re taking the funeral industry into a whole new area that most people haven’t seen,” Ingram said. “It’s a whole new way. You don’t have to be mournful through the entire service. A lot of these people have struggled for months or years and so now it’s time to take a deep breath and celebrate their life.”
While many Oklahomans would spend the holiday weekend at the lake, Ingram would be visiting local cemeteries making sure Smith & Turner grave sites were properly adorned for visiting families and friends.
It’s not just a business it’s a calling for Ingram and his family.
Ingram has also been a registered nurse for the past 18 years. Working in the ICU and then hospice, Ingram remembers feeling devastated.
“I was handing families over to funeral homes that weren’t even doing their own work. The funeral home wouldn’t even come to pick them up, they were sending some service out to meet with these families,” Ingram said. “I had just spent all this time with these families and (funeral homes) weren’t even caring.”
The sound of his patient’s name being mispronounced or wrong information given during a service grated on him.
“My wife and I prayed about it and decided this was a mission field that needed to be filled,” said Ingram, who earned a degree in Mortuary Science. “This is a ministry for us. We look at it as a way to get people through the grieving process. We not only help our families but we’re here for the community.”
Ingram serves on the board of Compassionate Hands, which serves Yukon as a clearinghouse, networking service, and referral agency to provide services, support and to foster hope for self-sufficiency.
“It’s pouring back into the community,” Ingram said.
Taking care of people through nursing and funeral services just seemed to go hand-in-hand.
“It’s the same,” Ingram said of the two fields. “I feel it’s just like taking care of a patient but you’re taking care of the family. You think of the nursing process as assessing, diagnosing and treating. You’re always looking at what’s going on with that body. The same thing happens here as soon as you meet that family. You’re assessing the situation, family dynamics, who’s getting along and who isn’t, what did they like and what do you see around you.”
Smith & Turner Mortuary dates back to 1925, serving four generations of Oklahomans in that time.
It’s a business that has to be ready 365 days a year and has to be flexible enough to serve families on their terms.
“A lot of our families don’t go to church anymore and so the tradition of the ladies at the church preparing a meal has kind of gone by the wayside,” Ingram said. “We have a gathering room that accommodates large families.”
From cookies, punch and tea and coffee to catered meals, Ingram makes sure families can choose.
“We want to serve all families,” Ingram said. “Families that don’t want (a traditional service) you shouldn’t put them in that mold. If they want to go out to the farm and have something at the pond we go to the pond.”
“If they want to go to the bowling alley and grandpa liked to bowl and was on a league let’s get out of the building and go to the bowling alley and let’s bowl.”
“Whatever it takes for that family to get through the grieving process is what we want to do.”
Walk through the halls at Smith & Turner and you’ll notice the attention to detail Ingram and his staff have maintained.
Smith & Turner Funeral Director Andy Shoaf has helped guide families through the process for 44 years.
Large rooms open to smaller sitting areas for one or two people to take a moment to themselves and work through the process.
Fresh-baked cookies great guests.
It’s a place for families.
“We want spaces where families don’t feel on top of each other and where they can come in here and socialize,” Ingram said.

Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Kim Lopez (right) and the TRIAD program help seniors like Vickie Hogan avoid being a victim of crime.

story and photos by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

With more than a decade in law enforcement, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Kim Lopez knows criminals have nothing but time to figure out new ways to prey on society.
Nationwide, and in the Heartland in particular, seniors are quickly becoming a favorite target.
That’s why Lopez is passionate about taking the message of awareness to seniors across the metro through the TRIAD Program.
TRIAD is a collaborative effort between the sheriff’s office, local police departments and senior citizens working together to reduce and prevent crimes against seniors.
The Oklahoma County TRIAD program began in 1997 and has developed into the strongest program in the state and one of the best in the country.
S.A.L.T. (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) Council is the group which carries out the TRIAD activities and Lopez says there are currently 19 councils.
Vickie Hogan was one of the first members of the Valley Brook S.A.L.T. Council.
A former town trustee, she remembers when Southeast 59th St. was still a dirt road and when someone came to her grandmother’s home offering to seal her tin roof garage.
“There’s a lot of fraud with seniors,” Hogan said, unfolding the story of why she got involved.
“All they did was spray paint (the roof) and when the two of them went in to get their money they took whatever money she had left. I had to take all of her jewelry off because she was always walking around talking and shaking hands with everybody because she was so friendly.
“Seniors are so friendly and the older you get the more trusting you are of other people.”
Lopez says the goal is to educate seniors on crimes directed at their age group and how to prevent becoming a victim.
The program offers educational seminars on frauds, scams and personal safety issues.
“It’s given us a lot of information on how to avoid (fraud),” Hogan said.
Through the program, Hogan says she’s learning to be more vigilant when she’s out.
And it’s a constant process since criminals move from scam to scam.
Lopez said the goal is to arm seniors with information on new scams as they arise.
A current scam is people calling homeowners to verify that they’ve filed their homestead exemption. The caller requests a copy of your driver’s license to verify that you are indeed receiving the tax credit.
Seniors have also reported individuals calling and posing as law enforcement and notifying them they are involved in a civil suit and did not show.
Callers threaten them with jail that can be avoided in lieu of a prepaid debit card or cash payment.
“The thing you learn in S.A.L.T. is 99 percent of those you’re not going to fall prey to if you don’t answer your phone,” Lopez says. “We preach that and we teach that. Let it go to voicemail.”
Lopez stresses to seniors that current technology allows callers to manipulate the number and description of the call that appears on caller ID.
“They can make it look like it’s coming from the IRS, the Pentagon or the police department when they’re asking for funds to fingerprint children,” Lopez said. “Don’t answer your phone unless you know exactly who it is.”
“The other one is don’t call numbers back. A lot of these incoming messages are left as a coercion to have you call back.”
Listening to how criminals can “wash” checks and reuse them or steal PIN numbers through special heat-sensitive cameras on their cell phones was an eye-opener for Hogan.
“I was shocked. I had no idea,” she said.
Lopez says resources are available for seniors through the various S.A.L.T councils.
A few of these include:
* The Refrigerator Information Card Program gives emergency responders immediate information to help serve you better in case of an emergency. Cards are available at no charge upon request.
* Oklahoma Seniors Against Fraud – An innovative educational campaign to inform seniors and other consumers on how to detect telemarketing fraud. Contact Southwestern Bell Pioneers 1-800-585-7448.
* Smart Alert Light Program – Light bulb flashes to help emergency responders find your home when seconds count. No special equipment or electrician needed. Available at the Light Bulb Store for $5.00 located at 3940 NW 10th St, Oklahoma City.
* Remembering When-Fall and Fire Prevention Program for the elderly.
* Bridges Program-Bridging the gap between the generations. Brings youth and senior citizens together bridging the gap of understanding.
“People that aren’t coming to S.A.L.T. aren’t getting this information,” Lopez said. “So much of this can be prevented.”
For more information you can contact Lopez at 405-713-1950 or by email at

Roland J. Chupik, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services Oklahoma, has helped bring affordable luxury to Oklahoma seniors.

by Bobby Anderson
Staff Writer

Five years ago, a developer invited Roland J. Chupik’s Neighborhood Housing Services Oklahoma group to help rehabilitate Wesley Retirement Village located at NW 12 and Harvey.
The 85-unit apartment complex was formerly Wesley Hospital, which later became Presbyterian Hospital from 1911 to 1964.
“The marketing study that went along with that showed the need for senior independent living is just incredible,” said Chupik, the general manager of NHS Oklahoma. “There’s no way we’re meeting that need.”
In an effort to do just that the group turned its attention to the heart of the city, in particular along Classen Drive just north of St. Anthony Hospital.
The result is an astounding 48-unit complex that wows before you even make it through the door.
The Commons, located in a residential area in downtown Oklahoma City, already looks like a fixture between the booming Midtown District to the south and the coveted Mesta Park neighborhood to the north.
The newly-constructed, energy-efficient complex is designed for those 62 and older.
One-bedroom, two-bedroom and efficiency offerings come fully equipped with washer and dryer, microwave, stove/oven, garbage disposal, refrigerator and dishwasher.
“It’s amenity-rich in terms of providing what residents need,” Chupik said.
Over-delivering was the hallmark of the project.
“It was extremely important because we encounter that all the time – ‘not in my backyard,’” Chupik said of the affordable-living concept. “We wanted to show not only the neighborhood but the city and whoever was interested that affordable housing particularly for seniors doesn’t have to be what people think that might be.
“I think we nailed it on the head.”
The Commons gives residents quick access to several shopping locations.
Family and friends are welcome to enjoy the splash pad, tot lot and patio grills for an afternoon or evening.
Property staff attends to those day-to-day tasks that residents no longer have to concern themselves with such as lawn care and maintenance.
A fitness facility, computer lab and library are all located within the building.
“It goes back to our mission,” Chupik said.
The Commons is actually the group’s former headquarters.
“It’s just exceeded our expectations,” Chupik said. “When you talk to the residents they’ll tell you it’s the best place they’ve ever lived.”
A lot of time and effort – along with meetings with local neighborhood organizations – went into making sure the building and its footprint would fit seamlessly into the area.
Resident Manager Shannon Hitchcock said the interest in the property has been strong.
“(The waiting list) is going to be fairly long but right now I still have openings,” Hitchcock said. “I anticipate there will be a two or three-year waiting list.”
To help residents on a budget, the property was constructed with energy efficiency in mind. Foam insulation inside walls helps prevent energy loss while higher R-value windows help block excess heat from entering.
In the late 1970s, the country was facing a decline in the economy. The oil embargo hit Oklahoma particularly hard and neighborhoods began to turn into ghost towns as people fled homes they could no longer afford. The abandoned houses began to deteriorate and crime began to rise as a result.
A group of dedicated Oklahoma City residents fought to combat this by banding together and forming “Residents for Capitol Hill Improvement.” This organization petitioned the city to provide funding to help provide quality-housing options, which would help alleviate the decline.
Eventually this grassroots organization merged with NeighborWorks America, an organization dealing with the critical need for affordable housing across the country.
Over time, the grassroots organization evolved into Neighborhood Housing Services Oklahoma.
In 2016, the group celebrated its 35th anniversary and continues its dedication of helping create affordable, quality housing options and to help families create wealth.
Potential Commons residents must be 62 or older and meet income guidelines. The application process can usually be completed in less than a week.
Hitchcock said the majority of residents are active adults who are downsizing or coming from a less energy-efficient property.
“It’s important this process continues,” Chupik said. “This is the beginning but I don’t think we’ll end our mission for affordable housing. If it’s possible to build even better we’ll do that but I’m not so sure it’s possible.”

Navigating the uncharted territory known as aging is not always easy. In fact, it can be down right frustrating. Boomers and seniors are encouraged to “plan ahead,” but knowing where to turn and who to trust when seeking information is often a challenge.
The Senior Living Truth Series, an ongoing educational program made up of monthly seminars and expert panels, explores various topics of interest to the 55 and over crowd. Boomers and seniors alike are invited to attend the free seminars.
Gary Harris began attending the seminars over a year ago.
“I appreciate the information provided at the seminars. says Harris. “They are well-organized and interesting with something new to learn every month.”
Like Harris, many attendees are preparing for the next chapter of life. Where and how can I live? What kind of support is available? How do people pay for senior living? Who will help me downsize?
The Senior Living Truth Series originated when Nikki and Chris Buckelew of Buckelew Realty Group at Keller Williams Realty set out to become the experts in mature moves in and around the Oklahoma City metro.
“Because our team specializes in downsizing, rightsizing, and simplifying, we get a lot of questions about topics outside the discipline of real estate. It became important to have highly competent and trustworthy resources and that is how the series began,” says Nikki Buckelew. “It was a grand experiment launched together with a small group of like-minded professionals, many still involved as sponsors.”
The Buckelews have made it their personal and professional mission to educate and guide consumers about best practices related to post-retirement living.
The attraction of the series may be that attendees are promised frank and uncensored commentary on the issues. Dr. Don Emler and his wife Suzanne began attending the seminars last year.
“The programs cover a wide range of topics and provide people with valuable resources to assist them,” Dr. Emler said.
As a retired religious educator and clergy considering his own options for future housing and care needs, he knows that many people are struggling with similar decisions. The couple also encourages formal and informal caregivers to attend the seminars so they are equipped to help others.
“I believe that clergy should attend so they can guide parishioners in making decisions about downsizing, moving, staying put in their own house, or daily care needs,” he said.
Beyond the issues of housing and senior living, the Emlers have also learned about the intricacies of long-term care insurance, veteran-related benefits, and in-home care options.
“Knowing where to go can be particularly hard for widows, added Suzanne. When you have had a partner alongside you for many years, making changes alone can be scary. The seminars provide a non-threatening atmosphere where people can go to become better informed and equipped.”
Melissa Hill of Home Care Assistance, a regular sponsor of the event, said the series has also impacted people in a way that was unexpected.
“Many people attend regularly and as a result, we get to know each other. The Senior Living Truth Series provides unbiased information and often answers questions that people didn’t even realize they should ask,” Hill said.
The next event is titled “The Truth About Probate for Property Owners “ on June 8th from 10:00am – 11:30am at the newly completed MAPS3 Senior Health & Wellness Center located at 11501 N Rockwell Ave. in Oklahoma City.
“We hear so much misinformation about the probate process. People think they know all about it, but it seems to cause a lot of problems at a time when problems are the last thing you need. We simply want to dispel the myths and equip people with facts,” Buckelew said.
Registration is free for those 55 or older and their guests. Registration for professionals is $25. Pre-registration is required and can be made at or 405-563-7501. Space is limited.

Liz Shumate, LCSW, says resources are available to help seniors find happiness at any age.

by Bobby Anderson,
Staff Writer

As a licensed clinical social worker, Liz Shumate understands sadness and depression are not a normal part of aging.
But for thousands of Oklahoma seniors, happiness is something they believe is long gone.
“Happiness is obtainable,” said Shumate, program manager at Norman Regional Senior Counseling Center. “Even though you’re an older adult that doesn’t mean that your older years need to be unhappy. There’s ample opportunities to help people be the best version of themselves and make changes and find new happiness.”
Throughout the week at Norman Regional Moore, 700 S. Telephone Rd, you’ll see seniors working on finding that happiness once again.
There’s smiles, tears, coffee, conversation and even lunch.
Shumate says the later years of life should be a time of enjoyment and continued positive, intellectual and emotional growth.
Senior adults experience a variety of unique and difficult life changes that can be overwhelming at times. For some, these challenges include declining physical or mental capabilities, the loss of independence and the loss of loved ones. These changes may cause confusion, depression, anxiety and withdrawal.
Many who lived through the Great Depression and war years often try to overcome their emotional obstacles on their own. Often unrecognized for a treatable condition, depression and feelings of sadness are allowed to remain untreated for years, allowing senior’s mental and physical health to spiral downward.
Counseling is also something unique to many older Americans.
“I think sometimes older adults are often overlooked,” Shumate said. “But they just seem to be very appreciative of the consistency of a caring person helping them get to where they want to be.”
Many of Shumate’s patients live alone. Isolation can be the worst thing possible for those struggling.
“The great thing about our service is the primary service we offer is group therapy,” Shumate said. “That’s an opportunity for people to not only interact with a therapist but to get that peer support. Often times they’re able to realize ‘I’m not the only one or other people have problems, too.’ When you’re isolated you tend to focus on what you don’t have and what you can’t do. Often smaller problems will exacerbate into bigger issues and they are something we can help you work on if you’re open to meeting new people and participating in the process.”
Transportation is provided within a 35-mile radius and vehicles are equipped with wheelchair lifts. Program services are offered during the day which allows patients to return to their homes in the afternoon.
Norman Regional Senior Counseling Center provides three group therapy sessions that incorporate fun and friendliness while discussing life’s victories and challenges.
A relaxed, comfortable environment is provided where patients are encouraged to participate in groups and is designed to promote achievement of individualized treatment goals.
Participants are served a lunch and provided snack breaks between sessions. Inspiration provides bathroom assistance to meet each patient’s individual needs. Services are approved and monitored by a physician.
Farhan Jawed, MD, is the medical director of the counseling program.
“Norman Regional Senior Counseling Center provides stability for a vulnerable population,” Jawed said. “Our services create routine and structure as we support the patient’s overall well-being. We collaborate with family to provide education about their loved one’s psychiatric disorder to support successful treatment outcomes.”
Shumate said each day often begins with patient arriving and greeting one another over coffee.
Relevant group therapy curriculum is always planned but Shumate says the beginning moments where patients are encouraged to share victories and setbacks often will steer the conversation.
There are breaks and then lunch is served.
Shumate knows the lunch hour is often a time when seniors are able to begin processing their morning.
“Often times you’ll hear people say ‘I never thought about that. This is motivation for me to try new things,’” Shumate said. “A lot of our folks who have been isolated or depressed we don’t just say ‘call this number.’
“You’ll hear a lot of encouragement in the dining room – peer support – and then they go home on the bus and that’s more socialization time.”
Signs you or a loved one could use help:
*Irritability or agitation
*Loss of interest in activities
*Feelings of suspicion and mistrust
*Excessive worry and anxiety
*Tearfulness or crying spells
Norman Regional Senior Counseling Center offers two schedule options for participants. The morning program runs from 9 a.m. to noon and the afternoon program is offered from 11:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. with transportation offered.
If you or someone you know could benefit from this program simply call (405) 912-3495. A screening will be provided at your convenience in the comfort of your home. Medicare is accepted.

Oklahoma Wound Center Medical Director Dr. TaySha Howell (second from left) and cardiologist Dr. Archana Gautam (far right) and Karen Ritchie, RN, hosted Save a Leg, Save a Life founder Dr. Desmond Bell to promote limb salvage awareness.

by Bobby Anderson
Staff Writer

Karen Ritchie, RN, has seen the looks come across the faces of new patients walking into the Norman Regional Oklahoma Wound Center.
There’s the understandable fear, anxiety and trepidation that comes with a process that has the possibility of unthinkable outcomes – the loss of limb and possibly life.
As Norman Regional Health System’s diabetic limb salvage nurse navigator, Ritchie always has a smile, caring word and a message for those patients: There’s hope.
That was just one of the messages stressed by Dr. Desmond Bell, DPM, CWS, president and founder of the Save a Leg, Save a Life Foundation (SalSal) during his presentation “The Gift of a Second Chance.”
Bell’s presentation capped a month-long awareness campaign spearheaded by Dr. TaySha Howell and staff at the Oklahoma Wound Center.
“SalSal is about creating awareness in the community and educating patients as well as the medical community,” said NRHS cardiologist Dr. Archana Gautam. “For many years everyone knew about peripheral vascular diseases but nobody was aggressive at treating it.”
Ritchie says that in any given year Oklahoma is No. 1 or No. 2 in the nation in total amputations.
The statistics Bell shared are alarming with more than 65,000 major amputations performed annually for crucial limb ischemia (CLI) alone.
Within five years nearly 70 percent of those patients are dead.
“Amputation should not be seen as a treatment option, but a treatment failure,” Bell said, quoting one of his colleagues.
The five-year mortality rate for a non-healing neuropathic ulcer is 45 percent.
Bell singled out the Oklahoma Wound Center as a national leader in promoting wound care awareness.
“Your group here has done a phenomenal job and I just can’t thank you enough,” he said. “You may not realize this but Norman … you all have been the model for what is to come and I’m sure what we’re going to accomplish you’ll look back on this day and be very, very proud in the next few years.”
After Bell addressed the group, patient after patient shared stories about their treatment journey at Oklahoma Wound Center.
“I drive a truck for a living and I was worried about not being able to do what I did,” said Eldon P., who presented with a diabetic toe. “I didn’t want to be in a wheelchair. It’s pretty scary and I went through some pretty rough times emotionally thinking I might lose a limb.”
The therapies, including hyperbaric oxygen dives, helped save his foot.
“It was a long journey, but well worth it,” said Carol T., beginning to tear up while sharing her diabetic ulcer story. “I definitely got the second chance message. There are things you take for granted until you could be missing it. I just thank Dr. Howell and her whole team.”
Bell said the SalSal Foundation is in its infancy, much like the Breast Cancer Awareness group Susan G. Komen Foundation was years ago.
That group started with a promise from one sister to another.
“Imagine what we could do if we had a dollar from every single person with diabetes in this country. It’s mindboggling but it’s achievable,” Bell said. “Five years from now we’ll look back and the things you all have done for our organization will be among the most impactful.”
Bell pointed out that the underlying factors such as diabetes and peripheral artery disease and obesity are more universal than cancer.
“If someone gets the word cancer thrown at them then all the wheels are set in motion and they become their own best advocate,” Bell said. “Yet our patients don’t understand what’s happening. They don’t understand the pain that’s ahead of them. It’s probably one of the most undignified ways to leave this world.”
“We have to do better, simply stated.”
Howell, wholeheartedly agrees and has a message for patients and clinicians.
“It’s so vital because either the patient doesn’t realize how serious it is … but also sometimes to primary care doctors the wound doesn’t look really infected, big or the patient doesn’t complain it hurts,” Howell said. “So a month goes by and another … and they get bone infection or no blood flow and it just blows up into some disaster where if they come when they first have a wound it’s so much easier to turn around.”
That’s why Ritchie loves her job, because she understands she truly saves lives. “It’s awesome. Wound care is very different than being a staff nurse or floor nurse,” Ritchie said. “With those patients they come in and you make them feel a little bit better and they are discharged and go on their way. With wound care they come in with wounds they know are going to take time to heal and you see them for weeks.”
“Once you know they’ve been successful – that’s the most awesome, most fulfilling feeling.”
“That’s what you went to nursing school for.”

Justice Yvonne Kauger.

Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn

Preceding the Red Earth Festival in Oklahoma City is the informative, entertaining and thought provoking Sovereignty Symposium. Being established in 1988 the Symposium is about to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary in the historic Skiving Hotel. For two days, June 7 and 8 the most prestigious speakers from the Judicial and Native American Leaders and artist gather to share their knowledge and expertise.
The mission statement of the Sovereignty Symposium states: “The Sovereignty Symposium was established to provide a forum in which ideas concerning common legal issues can be exchanged in a scholarly, non-adversarial environment. “
Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Yvonne Kauger has coordinated the Sovereignty Symposium since its inception. About its formation Justice Kauger says, “We did it because John Doolin kept going to the National Association of Chief Justices and they have an Indian law committee, but he went three times and came back and said, “They’re never going to do anything. They talk about it, they say they’re going to
have a seminar, they say they’re going to do this. They haven’t done anything and they’re not going to do anything.” And they still haven’t.
So he said, “We’ll just do our own.”
“Governor Bellmon was very instrumental in helping us, and Ed Edmondson, and we did it. And now we’ve been doing it, and no one gets anything for doing this, they pay
their own way. We have the best legal scholars in the world and they pay their own way and they get a T-shirt for coming and our thanks.”
Of particular interest and creativity is: SIGNS, SYMBOLS AND SOUNDS, moderated by the talented, WINSTON SCAMBLER, Student of Native American Art, who has gathered for his seminar: FRITZ KIERSCH, Assistant Vice President, Point Park University, Pennsylvania; ERIC TIPPECONNIC, (Comanche), Historian, Artist, and Professor, California State University, Fullerton; JASON MURRAY, (Chickasaw), Independent Scholar & Professor, Formerly of the University of South Dakota; POTEET VICTORY, (Cherokee/Choctaw), Artist; BRENT GREENWOOD, (Ponca/Chickasaw), Artist and Musician; JOSHUA HINSON, (Chickasaw), Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program and GORDON YELLOWMAN, (Cheyenne), Peace Chief, Assistant Executive Director of Education, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.
Winston Scambler is the youngest moderator, as he is an upcoming senior at Heritage Hall and wise beyond his years. Scambler continues the seminar “Signs, Symbols and Sounds,” he began last year.
“I attribute my initial interest to my grandmother, Justice Kauger. She was adopted into the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribe and is called the Mother of the Red Earth Powwow.,” Scambler proclaims. “Through her Influence I’ve grown up with Native American Art and really love it.”
With the guidance of photograph Neil Chapman, Scambler educated himself in art with assistance from the archives at the Oklahoma History Center, before forming his seminars.
One of his favorite artists and speakers this year is Eric Tippeconnic. “Eric likes to talk about the symbols he uses, as it means something different to everyone. You’ll see a lot of hand prints and horses,” says Scambler. “This year he is doing something really contemporary with his series called, Briefcase Warriors.”

Other sessions with their moderators include:
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT with JAMES C. COLLARD, Director of Planning and Economic Development, Citizen Potawatomi Nation;
LAND, WIND AND WATER with PATRICK WYRICK, Justice, Oklahoma Supreme Court;
Since its inception in 1988, the Sovereignty Symposium has award the status of “Honored One” to unique individuals whose life time contribution to the world, the United States, the State of Oklahoma and their personal communities are without peer. Past recipients include Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court; former Attorney General Janet Reno, Astronaut Commander John Harrington and Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller.
This years Honored Ones, are Former Assistant Secretaries of the Interior for Indian Affairs: Thomas W. Fredricks, Ada E. Deer, Neal McCaleb, Carl Artman and Larry Echo Hawk..
The Friend of the Court for this year goes to Kris Steele. The Ralph B. Hodges-Robert E Lavender Award for Judicial Excellence Award goes to Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Seven Taylor (Retired).
Benjamin Harjo, Jr. (Seminole & Shawnee), designed and donated the logo for the Sovereignty Symposium. The Lighthorseman depicts an Indian policeman framed in a star. In Indian Territory, the Five Civilized Tribes had a body of men, the Lighthorsemen, who served as a mounted police force. The Lighthorsemen helped the United States Army to keep peace in Indian Territory and to drive out white intruders. Considerable latitude was given to the Lighthorsemen in enforcing the judgments of the courts. Harjo has won many awards in major Native American art shows in the United States. His generosity is appreciated in designing and in donating the logo.
General Admission of $300 for both days may be found with your registration at, or
You may want to add on to your cultural entertainment, the Red Earth Festival and Powwow June 8 and 9th at the Cox Convention Center near the Skirvin Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City The festival includes dance competitions and a high quality Native American art show and sale.

Picnics, campouts and going to the lake. Kathy Swan

Staying in the AC and watching the birds and squirrels. Margaret Salter

The flowers, watching people jog and exercise and getting my little puppy and playing with him. Barbara Gossett

It ain’t cold. I can’t ride my scooter wherever I want in the winter.

Mike Davis

Dear Savvy Senior, My husband and I are interested in getting a couple of bicycles for leisurely exercise and fun, and would like to get your recommendation. We’re both approaching 60 and are a little overweight, and it’s been a while since we rode. Easy Riders

Dear Easy,
If you’re interested in leisurely, recreational riding for fitness and fun, a great option is a “comfort bike,” which is very popular among baby boomers. Here’s what you should know about this option, along with some tips to help you shop and choose.
Comfort Bikes
A comfort bike is a style of bicycle that’s easy on an aging body because it lets you ride in a more comfortable upright position. These bikes have high handlebars so you don’t have to hunch over, which eases lower-back strain and reduces pressure on the wrists and hands. They also come with wide tires for a smooth ride, offer fewer gears, and have soft, wide seats to eliminate saddle soreness.
Most comfort bikes also come with shock-absorbing forks and seat posts for additional comfort. And some offer unique design features like an ultra low step-over bar that makes getting on and off easy for people with limited flexibility (like the Biria Easy Boarding at, or the “flat-foot” design offered by many manufacturers where the pedals are moved forward, away from the seat. This allows you to get a full-leg extension when you pedal, but keeps the seat in a lower position so when you’re stopped, you can put your feet down flat on the ground while seated, which is a great safety feature for older riders.
Most major manufacturers including Electra, Sun, Raleigh, GT, Giant, and Trek all make a line of comfort bikes that costs between $300 and $800 or more depending on its features.
Shopping Tips
To find a quality comfort bike, your best option is to find a good bike shop in your area. Bikes from big box stores, like Walmart and Target, are mass-market bikes that may be less expensive, but the quality isn’t as good and they’re typically seven to eight pounds heaver. They also come in only one size, so you’re not likely to get a great fit.
Before you buy any bike, be sure you take it for a test ride first to ensure that the seat and fit of the bike is comfortable, the brakes and shifters are easy to use, the gears can go low enough for climbing hills, and the frame and suspension adequately smooth the bumps.
Recumbent Bikes
If the comfort bikes don’t meet your needs, another popular style among older riders is a recumbent bike. These are the low-to-the-ground, stretched-out frame bikes with La-Z-Boy style seats that allow you to recline with your legs positioned in front of you.
Recumbent bikes are very comfy, easy on the back, arms and shoulders, and aerodynamic which make them ideal for long rides. The disadvantages, because they are low-to-the-ground, they can be harder to balance and maneuver, and are more difficult for other vehicles to see.
If you worry about falling or want more stability when you ride consider a three-wheel recumbent trike. See and for a nice variety, but be aware that recumbent bikes are more expensive, typically ranging between $1,000 and $2,500.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Amy Chlouber, LPC-S was recognized recently for her work with the 2017 C.V. Ramana Award. She is pictured here with the late C.V. Ramana’s wife, Marjorie, left, and their son, Rob Ramana.

Amy Chlouber, Sunbeam Family Services Early Childhood Mental Health Coordinator, LPC-S, was recently honored with the 2017 C.V. Ramana Award. The award recognizes Chlouber for her outstanding contributions to children’s mental health in Oklahoma.
The C.V. Ramana Award was established to honor individuals who have played exceptional roles in enhancing awareness of children’s needs and the development of education and services to meet those needs.
Amy leads Sunbeam’s Infant Mental Health efforts with enhanced and expanded Infant Mental Health services across the organization’s four core programs: early childhood, foster care, counseling and senior services. She and her team also provide training for child welfare professionals and the District Courts of Oklahoma County as well as community presentations that create awareness about the mental health needs of infants and very young children who experience stress and trauma.
“Amy leads this initiative with her vision and passion for the youngest and most vulnerable in our community. She is the Russell Westbrook of Infant Mental Health. Talented. Passionate. Resourceful. Focused,” said Sunbeam Family Services CEO Jim Priest. “I don’t know how well she shoots free throws, but I know she consistently scores a triple double in the arena of Infant Mental Health.”
Amy is an Endorsed Infant Mental Health Mentor-Clinical/IMH-E ® (IV-C) who has worked in the mental health field for more than 20 years, specializing in infant and early childhood mental health in public, private and non-profit organizations. She has provided home and office-based therapy services and support to biological, kinship, foster and adoptive families. Amy developed and served as Clinical Director of a private mental health agency satellite office where she provided consultation and training to child welfare professionals and foster families as well as content expertise in juvenile court. She served on the Board of Directors of Canadian County CASA and provided training to CASA volunteers for many years. Amy was one of the original therapists chosen to participate in Oklahoma’s Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation pilot in licensed child care facilities. She served as the Mental Health and Disabilities Coordinator for Early Head Start through Sunbeam Family Services where she provided consultation and training for direct care and administrative staff and was instrumental in the design of the mental health program of OKC Educare. Amy left Sunbeam to work at the state level for seven years providing leadership and oversight of the Oklahoma Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Strategic Plan. She has served on numerous local, state and national early childhood work groups. Amy is on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Association for Infant Mental Health (OK-AIMH) and is currently President-elect. She returned to Sunbeam in 2015 as the Early Childhood Services Manager.