Notebook: January 2016
Topics of interest to Tulsans
Making a statement
An Oklahoma lawmaker is behind a new public mural that promotes unity and character in a north Tulsa community.
State Rep. Regina Goodwin (D-Tulsa) worked with volunteer artists from the Paint Positive Initiative to remove graffiti and paint the mural on the Neighborhood Store at 4538 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
It is the site of the July 2015 fatal shooting of 16-year-old Deouijanae Terry, Goodwin says. Police believe Terry was the unintended target of a gang-related shooting.
Terry’s father, Thomas Landrum, as well as former gang members who now promote peace, including Ojo Bailey and Terry Bell, were among attendees at the Nov. 21 ceremony to dedicate the mural.
“While peace is sometimes shattered by a violent few, most in the community are loving, peaceful and hopeful,” says Goodwin, who drew and painted the mural with artists Bruce Benjamin and Rufus Reed. “The mural is a fixed symbol of the best of who we are.”
Union student goes to White House
Few students have attended an event at the White House or launched something into outer space. Fifteen-year-old Andrew Hoke, a Union High School sophomore, has done both.
The Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance and the US2020 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiative brought Hoke to the fall 2015 White House Astronomy Night, a gathering of scientists, engineers and astronomy and space industry professionals.
He was selected based on his “Cubes in Space” project, a collaboration with NASA that utilized two teams to design and construct experiments that were launched into space. The experiments tested the effects of zero gravity on common painkillers and on a small ecosystem.
Hoke hopes to pursue a career in astronomy or aerospace engineering.
Bixby teen honored for volunteerism
Sixteen-year-old Bixby High School student Ragan Fletcher was recently recognized by the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization for her work with Tulsa-area humane education and shelter pets.
North Shore Animal League America honored Fletcher and three other U.S. students at its star-studded Celebrity Gala on Nov. 20 in New York City.
Fletcher is an ambassador for Mutt-i-grees®, a national preK-12 curriculum designed to enhance students’ social and emotional competence by teaching and reinforcing critical skills such as empathy, cooperation and ethical decision-making. These skills help students care for themselves, people around them, animals and the environment,
according to organizers.
In 2014, Fletcher started an after-school club for Bixby fourth- through sixth-graders called M.U.T.T.S. Club (Motivated, Understanding, Thoughtful, Thinking Students). The club meets weekly for Mutt-i-grees lessons and conducts service projects. Its two pet supply drives have collected nearly $5,000 worth of items for the Tulsa Humane Society.
Additionally, Fletcher has presented Mutt-i-grees to more than 1,500 students and adults at local schools, Miss Oklahoma pageants, youth service events and at Oklahoma’s first animal conference in Oklahoma City. By volunteering at animal shelters, pet stores, and pet adoption events, she also has helped hundreds of shelter animals find homes.
Fletcher holds the title of Miss Northwest Oklahoma City’s Outstanding Teen and plans to take the Mutt-i-grees platform to the 2016 Miss Oklahoma’s Outstanding Teen competition in June.
“Ragan is saving the lives of companion animals right now while dramatically improving the future for the shelter pets of tomorrow,” according to Joanne Yohannan, senior vice president of operations at North Shore Animal League America.