Major Spice Company in Cleveland, Ok

Major Spice Company in Cleveland, Ok

Dad­dy Hin­kle’s, Adding Its Own Spice To Okla­homa Life

CL spends some time with David of Dad­dy Hin­kle’s spice com­pa­ny based in Cleve­land Okla­homa.

CL Har­mon, Lead Author, Osage Nation Mem­ber

28 Sep­tem­ber 2018

Now and then the expres­sion ‘the spice of life’ gets tossed around. Usu­al­ly, it is refer­ring to some­one or some­thing which adds a lit­tle more to life than what is the norm. It is a rare occa­sion when it hap­pens and so to meet some­one who spices up life both metaphor­i­cal­ly and lit­er­al­ly, is a fla­vor that has a taste all its own. Let me intro­duce you to the David Hin­kle Southard, the man behind the Dad­dy Hin­kle spices label.

Soft-spo­ken and with a sub­tle sense of humor, one imme­di­ate­ly feels com­fort­able in his pres­ence. He humbly works at keep­ing his intel­li­gence from shin­ing through, but it beams through the cracks as he explains the oper­a­tions at Dad­dy Hinkle’s Spices com­pa­ny plant in Cleve­land, Okla­homa. No, he is not Dad­dy Hin­kle, but his grand­son and one of three broth­ers who found­ed the com­pa­ny in 1993. At 50 years of age and liv­ing on a sail­boat in the Flori­da Keys, David had plans to “bum around in par­adise” as he put it when his younger broth­er approached him with the idea of start­ing a com­pa­ny sell­ing spices.

Pho­to­graph by CL Har­mon

As for the his­to­ry of where the spices orig­i­nat­ed, David explained that his grand­fa­ther J. Frank Hin­kle was the inspi­ra­tion to build and oper­ate a com­pa­ny using the same prin­ci­ples which the grand­fa­ther had used in build­ing his suc­cess­ful oil drilling busi­ness. The family’s suc­cess would afford them an upper-class lifestyle and a love for enter­tain­ing friends and busi­ness asso­ciates. Since Hin­kle was a lover of steak, it was usu­al­ly the main course. As such, his wife Zula began mix­ing spices and ingre­di­ents of vary­ing types and degrees to enhance the fla­vor. Unbe­knownst to her at the time, she was cre­at­ing the foun­da­tion for prod­ucts that her grand­sons would use to add more taste to the world.

The fam­i­ly had been using the recipes through the years, but pro­duc­ing them for com­mer­cial use was not some­thing that the broth­ers knew much about. David’s younger broth­er Den­ny was an endodon­tist, and his old­er broth­er Michael rais­es race hors­es. Den­ny, how­ev­er, want­ed to invest in the idea and David’s career choic­es made him the one most qual­i­fied to head up such an oper­a­tion. He had spent the pre­vi­ous 20 years own­ing and work­ing in dif­fer­ent capac­i­ties at bars and restau­rants. He knew how to cook var­i­ous types of meats and seafood as well as even being a sautee cook in a French restau­rant for a while. He had an under­stand­ing of what was required spice-wise to give the meat a fla­vor­ful, robust taste. When his broth­er Den­ny approached him about the idea, He wasn’t ini­tial­ly thrilled about run­ning ashore and leav­ing behind par­adise, but he was lured away by the thought of hav­ing what he calls “mail­box mon­ey.”

Pho­to­graph by CL Har­mon

The plan ini­tial­ly David believed would be to take a cou­ple of years off from “bum­ming around in par­adise,” devel­op the prod­uct, mar­ket it and then head back to South Flori­da where he could sail around for a few months and then anchor long enough to cash the mail­box mon­ey checks. For­tu­nate­ly for steak enthu­si­asts, that is not what hap­pened! After three years, it became evi­dent to David that his con­tin­ued involve­ment and for­mu­la cre­ations were cru­cial to the suc­cess of the com­pa­ny. So he debarked for good. His first order of busi­ness was to cre­ate the prod­uct. His grand­par­ents had cre­at­ed the fla­vors to make great tast­ing meats, but they had done so using ready-made spices from the store and sim­ply mix­ing dif­fer­ent options until cre­at­ing the taste they want­ed. David had to recre­ate the fla­vors with for­mu­las using raw ingre­di­ents.

This first for­mu­la would become the “Orig­i­nal” (Onion & Gar­lic based), which is still the largest sell­er. David has since added sev­er­al oth­er blends includ­ing the two oth­er main fla­vors. The sec­ond of these main fla­vors is South­west (Cumin & Oregano based), and the third is Spicy Pep­per (Jalapeno & Red Pep­per). All three blends are paired with Liq­uid Instant Meat Mari­nade. In addi­tion, the com­pa­ny has all nat­ur­al fla­vors sea­son­ing rub mari­nades. These include Onion & Gar­lic- Sug­ar-Free, Tex Mex- Sug­ar-Free, Low Sodi­um- Made with Sea Salt, Cracked Pep­per- Low Sodi­um and Spicy Pep­per-Sug­ar Free. There is also a sea­soned ten­der­iz­er, which is a liq­uid that has ten­der­iz­er, onion, and gar­lic already added.

Next would be the pro­duc­tion aspect. David set­tled on three blend­ing com­pa­nies in the US that take his for­mu­la and cre­ate the prod­uct. The prod­ucts are made in dry sea­son­ing and a liq­uid form. The com­pa­nies which pro­duce the dry sea­son­ing ship it in bulk to the Cleve­land facil­i­ty where it is then pack­aged or and some­times bot­tled for sale. The com­pa­ny offers the dry sea­son­ing in var­i­ous sizes and both the dry and liq­uid in bulk pack­ages. Also, it has gift bas­kets and com­bo packs.

The com­pa­ny has been in exis­tence for 24 years has had steady growth since its incep­tion. It cur­rent­ly dis­trib­utes Dad­dy Hinkle’s spices in the fol­low­ing stores: Wal­mart, Rea­sors, Food Pyra­mid, Krogers, Price Chop­per, Albert­sons, Home­land, Unit­ed, Hy-Vee, Brook­shire Gro­cery, H.E.B., Dil­lon, and var­i­ous meat mar­kets all over the Unit­ed States. The prod­ucts can be ordered online as well. The com­pa­ny also has cus­tomers in Cana­da, Cal­i­for­nia, New York, Col­orado, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Prod­ucts are also avail­able on Ama­zon, eBay, and The com­pa­ny has sev­er­al dis­trib­u­tors that rep­re­sent the com­pa­ny in sell­ing its prod­ucts.

Dad­dy Hinkle’s is cer­tain­ly a unique addi­tion to Okla­homa which con­tin­ues the tra­di­tion of adding to the blend of fla­vors that can always be found cook­ing some­where in the state. So crack open a bot­tle of Dad­dy Hinkle’s and enjoy the spice of Okla­homa life.

Tulsa Stained Glass

Tulsa Stained Glass

Tul­sa Stained Glass, Teach­ing How To Pick Up The Pieces And Put Them Togeth­er

CL Har­mon, Lead Author, Osage Nation Mem­ber


For over 1,000 years stained glass art has been a part of the cre­ative world. It is an art form that is like no oth­er in the world; a dec­o­ra­tion viewed in church­es, restau­rants, busi­ness­es and even some homes.  What is most inter­est­ing about stained glass is how it is used to con­vey a mes­sage or sto­ry. One such instance was its use in Medieval Times as visu­al accounts of Bib­li­cal sto­ries for those com­mon­ers who could not read the Bible.  Anoth­er instance was one I was not expect­ing. It was when I met Richard Bohm, own­er of Tul­sa Stained Glass Com­pa­ny.  This encounter would not be one of the art of telling a sto­ry, but of the artist telling how art was to become his sto­ry.

Expect­ing a sim­ple inter­view about the mechan­ics and the­o­ry of stained glass­works, I was sur­prised to learn about a man who stepped out on faith, suf­fered loss, found pur­pose and shared hope. Life is always a jour­ney and often what makes these jour­neys so inter­est­ing is how far we trav­el from the direc­tion from which we began the jour­ney. Bohm embarked on his life path using the left side of his brain as his com­pass. In oth­er words, he was using log­ic and math­e­mat­ics in a pro­fes­sion to prob­lem solve for oth­ers. It pro­vid­ed an income and a cer­tain amount of sta­bil­i­ty, but as with most jour­neys in life, there was a curve up ahead that would lead him into an entire­ly new direc­tion.

My wife Car­ol took a class on stained glass art, and she showed me how to do it. It was fun! That was 42 years ago,” Bohm said. The cou­ple began play­ing around with their new found hob­by at home and soon began to real­ize that there was a mar­ket for qual­i­ty stained glass. Although Bohm used the left side of his brain to earn a liv­ing at this time, he did exer­cise his cre­ative right side through his pho­tog­ra­phy hob­by. He had also been taught an appre­ci­a­tion for the arts by a high school teacher that obvi­ous­ly had a last­ing impact. The dis­cov­ery of stained glass art opened up that less­er used right brain, and it quick­ly became dom­i­nant. Using his skills from work­ing as a prob­lem solver, Bohm was able to mesh both sides of his brain into a fun and reward­ing career.

Pho­to­graph by CL Har­mon

Ini­tial­ly, the busi­ness start­ed in their din­ing room. Less than two years lat­er, the cou­ple moved to their first com­mer­cial loca­tion in Tul­sa. The busi­ness grew as they cre­at­ed and sold what Bohm calls “wid­gets” (var­i­ous pieces of stained glass art and sculp­tures). The growth con­tin­ued as cus­tomers would order cus­tom pieces or need repairs on exist­ing works of stained glass. The work kept them busy, and it was a labor of love for them. How­ev­er, life would bring Bohm anoth­er curve. This time it was a sharp one that he did not see com­ing. After 28 years of strug­gling and oper­at­ing the busi­ness togeth­er, Car­ol passed away. The art that had been his busi­ness, but now it need­ed to be some­thing else…a ther­a­pist.

While deal­ing with his grief, Bohm began ques­tion­ing if there was more to life. Although busi­ness was sta­ble, there were always lean times and cash flow issues. With the pass­ing of his wife, it was time to reflect and to heal. In his efforts to do so, he began tak­ing the busi­ness aspect out of his busi­ness and replac­ing it with the art that had appealed to him all those years ago.  It’s what he calls “self-ther­a­py.”

I began to devel­op a pas­sion for art, and that grew into self-ther­a­py. And from this came my new pas­sion of teach­ing oth­ers how to use art to solve prob­lems, self-ana­lyze and how to be hap­py,”

I began to devel­op a pas­sion for art, and that grew into self-ther­a­py. And from this came my new pas­sion of teach­ing oth­ers how to use art to solve prob­lems, self-ana­lyze and how to be hap­py,” Bohm said.  He began teach­ing oth­ers about the pow­er of hav­ing a pas­sion for art and how cre­at­ing some­thing releas­es inner heal­ing prop­er­ties and brings about answers to life’s ques­tions. It has been a win-win that keeps pay­ing off. In life, we are always look­ing to fit the pieces togeth­er and cre­ate an exis­tence that is our own work of art. For Bohm, those pieces in his life began to take on a new shape when he began teach­ing oth­ers to how to pick and assem­ble their pieces into a work of art.

He cur­rent­ly teach­es two class­es now at his store/studio locat­ed at 4131 S. Sheri­dan Road in Tul­sa. The first is a begin­ner class where he teach­es about the process and tech­nique that has been in prac­tice since the Mid­dle Ages. Each stu­dent is giv­en the same assign­ment which is designed by Bohm and focus­es on the fun­da­men­tals of cre­at­ing a pane of art such as a small win­dow which can be hung for dec­o­ra­tion. In this les­son, all of the pieces must touch and then be sol­dered togeth­er to become a sol­id pan­el. Class­es are avail­able on Thurs­day evenings sev­er­al times each year for 2.5‑hour ses­sions run­ning for eight weeks.

Pho­to­graph by CL Har­mon

The sec­ond is called Gar­den Spir­it Sculp­tures class which is one ses­sion only but it is a “fun and intense” three-hour class. This class allows each stu­dent to choose their mate­ri­als and cre­ate a design of their choos­ing. In this les­son, the pieces do not have to inter­lock. Thus it is called a sculp­ture.  He empha­sizes that the pur­pose of these projects is to allow stu­dents to cre­ate some­thing that “feels good to them.” This feel­ing allows the stu­dents to dis­cov­er pas­sion and use their life expe­ri­ences to cre­ate some­thing tan­gi­ble while allow­ing the process to help them work through issues in their lives. These class­es are avail­able every Sat­ur­day.

What’s most inter­est­ing about Bohm is not that he was able to build a busi­ness out of an inter­est­ing hob­by, but that he has been able to build an inter­est in help­ing oth­ers through his busi­ness with these ther­a­peu­tic class­es. There is an excite­ment in his every word when he describes how art ther­a­py affects people’s lives. It has become a part of his iden­ti­ty; a self-sculp­ture of what his life has become.  So much so that he has even pub­lished a book on the sub­ject.  In addi­tion to his reg­u­lar class­es, he even teach­es pro­fes­sion­al ther­a­pists to use art ther­a­py to help their patients over­come chal­lenges.  Per­haps Bohm is onto some­thing. Peo­ple are always work­ing to pick up the bro­ken shards in their lives hop­ing to repair them. Bohm sim­ply con­nects these peo­ple to those who have been putting the pieces togeth­er for over 1,000 years by sol­der­ing bro­ken shards togeth­er to cre­ate some­thing new, whole and beau­ti­ful.

To learn more about Bohm’s class­es, vis­it his web­site If you are inter­est­ed in pur­chas­ing his book, Expe­ri­ence the Pow­er of Art, they are avail­able on Ama­zon and at his store.


New Osage Casino Opens With a Winning Hand

New Osage Casino Opens With a Winning Hand


New Osage Casi­no Opens With a Win­ning Hand

CL Har­mon, Lead Author, Osage Nation Mem­ber


*This is not a paid adver­tise­ment and we have received no com­pen­sa­tion for the pub­li­ca­tion of this sto­ry.

It’s an excite­ment like no oth­er. The antic­i­pa­tion builds as you watch the dials spin­ning through the screen. The first dial stops and your eyes become fixed as the sec­ond one drops into place, match­ing the first one. Then your eyes widen, and a smile marks your face as the third dial drops into place…JACKPOT! Yeah, it’s an excite­ment like no other…like an arcade for adults. And thanks to the Indi­an gam­ing indus­try, Okla­homa gam­blers have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to try their luck with­out hav­ing to go to Vegas. How­ev­er, as the trib­al casi­nos gain more pop­u­lar­i­ty, the com­pe­ti­tion steadi­ly stiff­ens. In this com­pet­i­tive game, the Osage Casi­no has just been dealt a new hand, and with it, the tribe may be now hold­ing an Ace high hand.

The Osage tribe recent­ly anted up $160 mil­lion to play in the high stakes com­pe­ti­tion that becomes more preva­lent by the day it seems. Already a major play­er, the tribe has raised the stakes with their new casi­no locat­ed at 951 West 36th st North behind the one built in 2005. Unlike their oth­er casi­nos, this one is con­struct­ed to com­pete with oth­er tribes that have gam­bled on bring­ing more of a “Las Vegas” feel to the state with hotels and enter­tain­ment for its patrons. The 400,000 square foot casi­no opened on August 29 to a crowd of over 6,000 peo­ple.

This ele­vates our prod­uct and brings our game to a whole new lev­el. We are very excit­ed to show it off to every­one,” Byron Bighorse, CEO for the Osage Casi­nos said. He added that the guests in Tul­sa have become accus­tomed to a hotel/casino expe­ri­ence with their competition’s enter­pris­es and this will cer­tain­ly enhance that expe­ri­ence for Tul­sa guests while offer­ing some unique aspects that set them apart from their com­peti­tors.

Rib­bon Cut­ting

Pho­to­graph by Shane Bev­el

As for what one can find in this new addi­tion to the Tul­sa scene, there are 1,628 elec­tron­ic games which triple the size of gam­ing floors in Tul­sa. There are also cur­rent­ly 16 table games with the inclu­sion of roulette and craps to be added soon. The casi­no also offers a high-lim­it room for those high rollers who enjoy a night out of high stakes. Bighorse said, to make patrons even more com­fort­able, the casi­no has an updat­ed ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem which turns out fresh air through­out the facil­i­ty nine times every hour which is three more than an aver­age office space.

There are also four food and bev­er­age out­lets on the floor. The first of these is Stone Creek Kitchen which is a sit-down style café/restaurant and dou­bles as a break­fast buf­fet bar for hotel guests. There is also a piz­za place that is of their design dubbed ‘The Orig­i­nal Roni Pep­pos’ that works like a Sub­way where each cus­tomer picks his/her top­pings. There is also a bar & grill called Thun­der Bar & Grill which offers mixed drinks, beer and var­i­ous styles of food. Last­ly, is the Nine Band Brew Pub where there is a selec­tion of craft beers from fruity to dark bar­leys.

As for the hotel, there are 137 hotel rooms and four hos­pi­tal­i­ty suites which are unique to any­thing else in the area, Bighorse said. He added that “it’s get­ting a four or five-star hotel for a three-star price.” Anoth­er unique aspect of the rooms is that each one con­tains orig­i­nal art from Osage artists. The tribe com­mis­sioned these artists to pro­vide the art­work for both the rooms and the décor of the hotel itself. Bighorse expressed how much artis­tic tal­ent there is in the tribe. He said by using their art; it allowed the tribe to help out its mem­bers while adding a unique aspect of Osage cul­ture and his­to­ry to the hotel. In addi­tion, there is a pool area which he said is “beau­ti­ful” and a 1,039 space park­ing garage for guest con­ve­nience and ban­quet space avail­able.

We know there is a need for new event venues, par­tic­u­lar­ly in close prox­im­i­ty to down­town,” said Bighorse. “These ver­sa­tile ban­quet spaces are ful­ly staffed and give breath­tak­ing views of the Osage Hills that you just can’t find any­where else.”

One of the most unique aspects of the casi­no is that it has its own brewery…yes, they brew their own beer! Now, this is some­thing to raise your mug in a toast for. The brand is Nine Band Brew­ery out of Allen, Texas. Bighorse explained that craft beer is very pop­u­lar in Okla­homa and this brew­ery is the twelfth brew­ery to open in Tul­sa with­in the last year. As a bonus, the casi­no is work­ing on what Bighorse calls a “brew­ery crawl” where beer enthu­si­asts will ride in Mer­cedes shut­tles from the Nine Band pub to oth­er craft beer facil­i­ties where they can try dif­fer­ent brands of crafts beers. Then each of the par­tic­i­pants will be giv­en a hotel room for the night to sleep off the evening crawl.

View of the new Slots!

Pho­to­graph by Shane Bev­el

We are going to make a major state­ment with some major tal­ent with our event cen­ter. We are going to bring some major tal­ent and rock n roll,” Bighorse said. In Feb­ru­ary of 2019, the 2,000 seat event cen­ter will be com­plet­ed. He went on to say that this aspect adds to their new gam­ing expe­ri­ence they have brought to Tul­sa. He added that it’s a very inti­mate set­ting that is mod­eled after the Brady The­atre in Tul­sa and even has VIP box­es in the mez­za­nine.

The future is look­ing bright based on the ini­tial open­ing response, accord­ing to Bighorse. He is already seek­ing approval for $30 mil­lion more dol­lars to add anoth­er hotel wing, spa, and a brand name steak­house. He is hop­ing that approval will come this month and is poised to begin this phase in ear­ly 2019 with com­ple­tion in ear­ly 2020.

The new Tul­sa Osage Casi­no in down­town Tul­sa brings a great enter­tain­ment expe­ri­ence with the new games, event cen­ter, and hotel,” said Osage Nation Prin­ci­pal Chief Geof­frey Stand­ing Bear. “This casi­no rev­enue pro­vides finan­cial sup­port of Osage lan­guage and cul­ture activ­i­ties, includ­ing the Osage lan­guage Immer­sion school. All prof­its go to edu­ca­tion, health, hous­ing, lan­guage, cul­ture, and the oth­er pro­grams for our Osage peo­ple. Con­grat­u­la­tions to all those involved in bring­ing this project into oper­a­tion.”

Oklahoma Ladies Are Keeping in Fashion

Oklahoma Ladies Are Keeping in Fashion

Make a Run for Fash­ion at the Cain’s



*This is not a paid adver­tise­ment and we have received no com­pen­sa­tion for the pub­li­ca­tion of this sto­ry.

So I heard about this event where there are beau­ti­ful mod­els sport­ing some of the coolest garbs around. There will be wine flow­ing like stream­ing rib­bons and catchy music play­ing, and it’s at this real­ly cool old build­ing to boot. It’s kind of a New York meets Paris meets Tul­sa soiree, and you are all invit­ed. Sound fun? It is! So fun in fact that even the fash­ion police join in.

From some­one who has expe­ri­enced this event, I can only describe it as a liv­ing atmos­phere where ideas, pas­sion, and art jump to life cre­at­ing a col­lec­tive per­son­al­i­ty of ener­gy, tal­ent, and excite­ment. It was like find­ing buried trea­sure in my backyard…or for a woman, a clos­et full of design­er clothes in their home I would guess. Clary Sage Col­lege in Tul­sa has tak­en the best ele­ments of the fash­ion indus­try and sewn togeth­er an ensem­ble that is run­way wor­thy.



The fash­ion scene in Tul­sa is grow­ing,” Depart­ment Head for Fash­ion Design at Clary Sage and own­er of Dyana’s Designs cloth­ing line, Dyana Har­ri­son said. Clary Sage Col­lege is a cos­me­tol­ogy and design learn­ing insti­tu­tion where stu­dents are trained to be pro­fes­sion­als upon com­ple­tion of stud­ies as opposed to tra­di­tion­al col­leges where stu­dents are pre­pared to enter pro­fes­sions at an entry lev­el and then learn indus­try skills. This teach­ing phi­los­o­phy lets the instruc­tors cre­ate real busi­ness expe­ri­ences for the stu­dents through an 11-month pro­gram that allows stu­dents to cre­ate their designs from con­cep­tion to cre­ation. These skills include sewing, pat­tern mak­ing and illus­tra­tions among many oth­ers that are rel­e­vant to the fash­ion world. Also, stu­dents learn the skills nec­es­sary to enter the indus­try as pro­fes­sion­als with knowl­edge about fash­ion trends, design con­cepts, mar­ket­ing strate­gies and the hands-on expe­ri­ence of actu­al­ly cre­at­ing prod­ucts that can be the mar­ket­ed.

Design­er Ralph Lau­ren said, “Fash­ion is not nec­es­sar­i­ly about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about some­thing else that comes from with­in you.” This quote describes the atti­tude behind the Clary Sage Run­way Show and pro­gram because it encour­ages and fos­ters orig­i­nal­i­ty and char­ac­ter in each student’s designs. With this orig­i­nal­i­ty must come to the approval of their con­cepts by the pub­lic who then become clothes con­sumer. The Clary Run­way show encour­ages cre­ativ­i­ty to flour­ish. From 3‑D print­ed gar­ments to a wed­ding gown or a dress cre­at­ed from zip ties, one nev­er knows what will flow down that run­way. Clary Sage pulls out all the stops to give this oppor­tu­ni­ty to its bud­ding design­ers.

Accord­ing to Cam­pus Direc­tor Pam Mar­tin, every­one gets to be involved. Skilled servers pour­ing wine and offer­ing hors-d’oeu­vres, inte­ri­or design­ers cre­at­ing the per­fect set, mar­ket­ing team mem­bers strate­giz­ing, hair, make­up and mod­els, the entire col­lege plays a role. The event is planned and imple­ment­ed through­out the entire year. So plan­ning for the next year begins as soon as the cur­rent show is over, she added.

Our fash­ion show is an event, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a par­ty where we are pro­mot­ing all of the pro­grams in the school with the fash­ion being only a part of the par­ty,” Har­ri­son said. The show has been per­formed for sev­en years grow­ing larg­er each year. Har­ri­son cred­its this, in part, to the cre­ativ­i­ty of the design­ers but acknowl­edges that it is the sup­port of the whole col­lege that makes the event so fun and suc­cess­ful. She explains how much fun it is for the atten­dees to expe­ri­ence joint cre­ativ­i­ty that they rarely see any­where else. She added that the design­ers high­light the event by using their imag­i­na­tions to incor­po­rate objects not asso­ci­at­ed with cloth­ing to cre­ate a gar­ment that is tru­ly unique as well as beau­ti­ful and ele­gant cre­ations that would be appre­ci­at­ed on any run­way.

More than just enter­tain­ment for fash­ion enthu­si­asts, the event is a fundrais­er for the col­lege. Clary Sage is a 501(c)(3) non-prof­it cor­po­ra­tion and pub­lic char­i­ty. Mar­tin said that the show is the major fundrais­er for the year and that all of the pro­ceeds go for stu­dent schol­ar­ships so that more stu­dents have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn a skill and pur­sue a pas­sion. Last year the show brought in over $100,000. This year the col­lege has set their goal for $200,000. Although it is a high goal, Mar­tin expressed how those who spon­sor Clary Run­way and the tick­et buy­ers under­stand that they are invest­ing in the futures of those who will even­tu­al­ly enter the work­force, pay tax­es and add to the bet­ter­ment of soci­ety.

We had a great response last year. I think Cain’s Ball­room is a great venue and atmos­phere that sells itself. We have music, wine, audi­ence inter­ac­tion and so many oth­er activ­i­ties hap­pen­ing. It’s excit­ing. As I said, it’s a par­ty,” Har­ri­son said. She explained that the school goes this extra step to give the show excite­ment and ener­gy because peo­ple who have nev­er been to a fash­ion show or those who have been to “flop” shows have pre­con­ceived ideas of a snooze fest and are appre­hen­sive about com­ing. The extra step, how­ev­er, is work­ing as the show out­grows its venues every two years.

Sev­er­al spon­sors have stepped up to help make the show pos­si­ble, but more are wel­come. Mar­tin said. These spon­sor­ships include the Plat­inum $15,000, Dia­mond $10,000, Gold $10,000, Sil­ver $5,000,  Bronze $2,500, VIP Tick­et $250 and Gen­er­al Admis­sion tick­ets at $50. Each of the spon­sor­ships come with dif­fer­ent and/or addi­tion­al perks so check out to learn what each pack­age con­tains. Pur­chas­es and dona­tions may be made on the site as well. The show is Sep­tem­ber 22 at Cain’s Ball­room locat­ed at 423 North Main Street in Tul­sa. Doors open at 6 pm.

Check out the show!



How a Tiny Mosquito can Alter a Life

How a Tiny Mosquito can Alter a Life

How A Mos­qui­to Can Change Your Life


The fol­low­ing sto­ry is one that I felt com­pelled to write for a cou­ple of rea­sons. The first is sim­ply because it’s an incred­i­ble sto­ry about sur­viv­ing when all of the odds appear stacked in the oppo­site direc­tion. The sec­ond is the rea­son that caused the first. I think most would agree that we have an unusu­al­ly wet sum­mer in Okla­homa. Rain brings stag­nant pools of water which unfor­tu­nate­ly bring mos­qui­toes. Although most bites from these pests are just itchy annoy­ances, there is a dead­ly threat swarm­ing amid those annoy­ing pests. We at Unique­la­homa feel that the fol­low­ing sto­ry will help shed light on this dan­ger­ous threat and hope­ful­ly prompt our read­ers to take pre­cau­tions to pro­tect them­selves dur­ing this sum­mer sea­son.        –C.L. Har­mon

Unique­la­homa is about unique, hence the name. That term can cov­er many dif­fer­ent aspects from peo­ple to places and events. On occa­sion, it can even involve an expe­ri­ence. After hear­ing of a man who death cod­ed five times in a ten month peri­od, I cer­tain­ly thought that a unique expe­ri­ence had occurred. I was intrigued and decid­ed to find out if it was true and, if so, how it hap­pened. Nathan Johns relayed a sto­ry to me that is not only almost unbe­liev­able but extreme­ly unique in Okla­homa.

Imag­ine going from a com­plete­ly nor­mal life with a wife, one-year-old son, and busi­ness to a state of chaos that brings you to the edge of death with­in a mat­ter of days. Johns lived, died and lived again and can tell us exact­ly what this is like. A tiny seem­ing­ly insignif­i­cant pest would prove to be the largest obsta­cle he has ever faced. A sim­ple mos­qui­to bite would change his life for­ev­er. Dur­ing a back­yard activ­i­ty with his son in 2012, Johns was bit­ten and con­tract­ed West Nile virus.


He lived in the 71st and Sheri­dan area in Tul­sa at the time and it was lat­er deter­mined that the cul­verts with­in his neigh­bor­hood har­bored the dead­ly mos­qui­toes when the cul­verts held stand­ing water. The City of Tul­sa did spray to keep the pop­u­la­tion down, but it’s impos­si­ble to kill them all, Johns explained. A month lat­er, Johns became irri­ta­ble, lethar­gic and weak. This prompt­ed him to go to the hos­pi­tal where he was mis­di­ag­nosed with gas­troen­teri­tis and sent home. By the fol­low­ing day, he was hal­lu­ci­nat­ing from his high fever and began to become immo­bile.

Again he was mis­di­ag­nosed dur­ing his sec­ond trip to the emer­gency room. Due to his low­er extrem­i­ties becom­ing par­a­lyt­ic, the doc­tors believed he had Guil­lain-Barre syn­drome, a rare dis­or­der in which the body’s immune sys­tem attacks the nerves. Weak­ness and tin­gling in the extrem­i­ties are usu­al­ly the first symp­toms, and so it seemed a plau­si­ble diag­no­sis. How­ev­er, while treat­ing Johns for this, test results came back that showed he had West Nile virus, which is dif­fi­cult to diag­nose due to the long ges­ta­tion peri­od after the bite cou­pled with the delay in the man­i­fes­ta­tion of symp­toms. Because there is no cure for the virus, hos­pi­tal staff could only mon­i­tor his vitals and offer sup­port­ive treat­ment at this point and keep him from dying from the symp­toms.



A short time lat­er his brain began to inflame from encephali­tis, and that was just the begin­ning. He then began suf­fer­ing from Acute Res­pi­ra­to­ry Dis­tress Syn­drome (ARDS) which occurs when flu­id builds up in the tiny, elas­tic air sacs in the lungs. This con­di­tion alone has a 85 per­cent mor­tal­i­ty rate, Johns said. At this point, he had been trans­ferred to a long-term facil­i­ty after hav­ing been revived twice from death. The doc­tor in charge of his case decid­ed that induc­ing a coma due to the pletho­ra of issues Johns was hav­ing. As time passed, that same doc­tor informed Johns’ moth­er and wife that due to the brain swelling in com­bi­na­tion with the oth­er health issues, Johns was most like­ly going to be “veg­etable-like” and die soon. Not trust­ing the doctor’s eval­u­a­tion, his fam­i­ly request­ed the coma-induc­ing med­i­cine be stopped. He rec­om­mend­ed John’s be “unplugged” from the res­pi­ra­tor and let nature take its course.

How­ev­er, the doc­tor was wrong, and when he awoke, he was able to iden­ti­fy his moth­er and still appeared of a rea­son­able mind. That doc­tor was imme­di­ate­ly fired from Johns’ care team and the pul­mo­nolo­gist who had been treat­ing Johns took over the case.


This doc­tor was an amaz­ing man. He saved my life. He called me his mir­a­cle patient,” Johns said. In addi­tion to all of his oth­er issues though and in spite of his con­tin­ued men­tal health, Johns’ heart rate began to beat rapid­ly out of con­trol. The new doc­tor moved him from the care facil­i­ty back to the hos­pi­tal to get his heart rate under con­trol. The doc­tors even­tu­al­ly stopped his heart and revived him to reset the rate. At this point, he is com­plete­ly par­a­lyzed and on a ven­ti­la­tor to breathe. Doc­tors believed his periph­er­al ner­vous sys­tem was erad­i­cat­ed at this time.  This sys­tem con­sists of the nerves and gan­glia out­side of the brain and spinal cord. Because it was not the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem that was com­pro­mised, Johns was still able to feel the pain of his mus­cles seiz­ing and atro­phy. He said that he wished he would not have been able to feel any­thing at that time. Due to him being unable to move, he blinked his eyes to com­mu­ni­cate using cer­tain num­bers of blinks to rep­re­sent let­ters of the alpha­bet.

I was very, very mis­er­able and frus­trat­ed at this time, but I didn’t want to die. I want­ed to be here for my son,” Johns said. He does admit think­ing dying would be bet­ter for his fam­i­ly. For­tu­nate­ly for him, his con­di­tion caus­ing him to be out of the realm of con­tin­ued cog­ni­tive thought kept him from focus­ing on all of the neg­a­tiv­i­ty that was sur­round­ing him. At this point, Johns was tee­ter­ing in no man’s land between the liv­ing and the dead.

I was hav­ing vivid images. I real­ly thought for a time I went to hell,” he said. Johns fur­ther explained that there were sev­er­al repeat­ing dream-like sce­nar­ios that occurred, but not sure if those were hap­pen­ing dur­ing the brief sec­onds when he was dead or dur­ing moments of extreme­ly high fevers. He describes beings attempt­ing to “destroy” him while he is trapped in his bed. He describes it as being tied to real­i­ty, but still feels as though he is not actu­al­ly in the sce­nar­ios.


My recu­per­a­tion was extreme­ly grad­ual, and I couldn’t do any­thing for myself when I first left the hos­pi­tal,” Johns said. An exam­ple of his con­di­tion at that time would be his inabil­i­ty even to hold a pen­cil. The first sign of hope that things might be get­ting bet­ter was his abil­i­ty to move his big toe on one foot. With a friend’s inge­nu­ity, Johns began using that toe to change the chan­nel by tap­ping it in one direc­tion while still in the hos­pi­tal.

His con­di­tion began to improve slow­ly, and he was even­tu­al­ly dis­charged from the hos­pi­tal after ten long months. How­ev­er, he was still con­fined to a hos­pi­tal bed at home. With months of phys­i­cal and occu­pa­tion­al ther­a­py, he was able to regain some mobil­i­ty and strength. How­ev­er, the dam­age was done, and he would nev­er ful­ly recov­er includ­ing his diaphragm which makes it dif­fi­cult to breathe at times. Many of his mus­cles have nev­er ful­ly recov­ered, and this makes it impos­si­ble to stand from a sit­ting posi­tion if he is not posi­tioned in cer­tain angles and heights. Also, he can­not pull him­self up from the floor if he falls since his arms and legs no longer have the strength need­ed to do so.


I thought a fit­ting way to end this sto­ry would be writ­ing about Johns’ atti­tude. While many would feel as though they had been robbed of the life they had, Johns feels that focus­ing on what he no longer can do serves no pur­pose. He accepts that life is not fair and though his con­di­tion can be “frus­trat­ing,” he has a choice to make the best of life. Each day he choos­es to look ahead and not behind, to focus on his fam­i­ly and to believe in his future…and this is some­thing that not even death could take from him.

Oklahoma Museum of Bones

Oklahoma Museum of Bones

Close To The Bone



The image has sent shiv­ers down the spines of count­less through­out the ages. It has struck in our hearts fear and fright and the real­iza­tion of mys­te­ri­ous shad­ows and spir­its in the dim light. The mere sight reminds us of our mor­tal­i­ty, and that life and death only exist between the years of dust to dust. From black flags on pirate ships to mass graves and hor­ror movies, the images of bones and skulls, in par­tic­u­lar, are imprint­ed in the human psy­che.



What was once was taboo and a pro­fes­sion of thieves under cov­er of dark­ness, bone gath­er­ing has become a thriv­ing busi­ness right here in Okla­homa. No longer are their hunch­backs mov­ing about the autumn fog of a moon­lit grave­yard with a shov­el and a burlap sack in which to gath­er a few bones to be sold to med­ical schools. In this mod­ern age, we have Skulls Unlim­it­ed locat­ed in Moore, Okla­homa. Saman­tha Tutor, Direc­tor of Sales & Mar­ket­ing for the com­pa­ny, spent a few min­utes with Unique­la­homa to tell us how bones has become a busi­ness that is noth­ing to pick at.

Skulls Unlim­it­ed Inter­na­tion­al Inc. is the largest dis­trib­u­tor of oste­o­log­i­cal spec­i­mens (Bones) in the world. For those study­ing the struc­ture and func­tion of the skele­ton and bony struc­tures or just inter­est­ed in own­ing a spec­i­men to a skele­ton, Skulls Unlim­it­ed is the place to check out. Who knew that most of the bones for study around the world came from Okla­homa? It’s an inter­est­ing sto­ry of how such an enter­prise orig­i­nat­ed here. It starts with the fas­ci­na­tion of a young boy who found the skele­tal remains of a dog in the for­est near his child­hood home. Unlike many par­ents who would tell their child not to touch the bones, Jay Ville­marette’s father encour­aged him to fol­low his curios­i­ty and even begin col­lect­ing bones. A pas­sion was born that day.

As he grew into adult­hood, his unusu­al hob­by of col­lect­ing skele­tal spec­i­mens grew as well. Fol­low­ing high school, he began sell­ing his bony finds to those who shared his fas­ci­na­tion, includ­ing even sell­ing door to door, Tutor said. By 1986 Ville­marette and his wife Kim were clean­ing skulls in their kitchen and work­ing on a plan to turn the hob­by into a viable busi­ness. After four years of col­lect­ing and clean­ing bones, the two had estab­lished a retail and mail order busi­ness. Two years lat­er they went inter­na­tion­al with Skulls Unlim­it­ed Inter­na­tion­al Inc. Then, with the help of the inter­net, the com­pa­ny then began pro­fes­sion­al­ly sell­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing bone spec­i­mens to med­ical and vet­eri­nary schools and muse­ums world­wide Tutor said.

Through a part­ner­ship with the body donor pro­gram, the com­pa­ny legal­ly acquires human bones and com­plete skele­tons to sell to med­ical pro­fes­sion­als. Tutor stressed that the com­pa­ny does not pro­mote the sell­ing of human bones to the pub­lic because as it is still a sen­si­tive sub­ject, She went on to say that a need for human bones belongs to those learn­ing and sci­ence insti­tu­tions which have legit­i­mate pur­pos­es for hav­ing them. So for those of you who want one as a Hal­loween dec­o­ra­tion, Sor­ry! As for the remain­ing spec­i­mens of ani­mals, the com­pa­ny only uses legal avenues to obtain them. Their web­site states they, do not con­done and will not sup­port the poach­ing of ani­mals or approve of the destroy­ing of an ani­mal sole­ly to gain an oste­o­log­i­cal item.

Our sup­pli­ers and their sources obtain oste­o­log­i­cal mate­r­i­al from nat­ur­al & preda­tor deaths, road kills, food source by-prod­ucts in exot­ic regions, legal hunt­ing & trap­ping oper­a­tions, and from attri­tion in zoo­log­i­cal gar­dens. You can be assured of, and take com­fort in know­ing that your pur­chase con­serves trea­sures and pro­mote the eth­i­cal uti­liza­tion of lim­it­ed resources,” the web­site reads. Tutor also points out that the bones they receive from their sup­pli­ers world­wide serve a great edu­ca­tion­al need that would be dif­fi­cult to meet if bone sup­pli­ers such as them­selves were not in busi­ness. Many of the spec­i­mens would be lost to the wild or incin­er­at­ed and not be avail­able as teach­ing tools.

Although human spec­i­mens are a part of the busi­ness, most of what they deal in con­sists of ani­mal bones. Their affil­i­a­tions with many zoos allow them to obtain exot­ic ani­mal bones which the com­pa­ny uses to help edu­cate chil­dren about the ani­mals. It uses field trips to its muse­ums and out­reach pro­grams to schools to achieve this objec­tive, Tutor said. She goes on to explain that there has been a shift from skele­tons and skulls being “taboo” items in soci­ety to an updat­ed con­cept that they are sim­ply a struc­ture of nature that does not pos­sess some neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion in and of them­selves.

How­ev­er, one does not erase thou­sands of years of super­sti­tion, folk­lore, and well…just creepy fas­ci­na­tion with the dead. So obvi­ous­ly there is still a mar­ket for such items as dec­o­ra­tive items as skulls and skele­tons and for exot­ic ani­mal bones which are not avail­able in real bone. This too is a mar­ket that Skulls Unlim­it­ed has also tapped. They pos­sess over 500 var­i­ous repli­cas which are avail­able to pur­chase.

But there is more for bone enthu­si­asts. In 2010, the com­pa­ny opened SKELETONS: Muse­um of Oste­ol­o­gy in Okla­homa City to show­case spec­i­mens from Ville­marette ‘s per­son­al col­lec­tion. In 2015 a sec­ond muse­um loca­tion was opened in Orlan­do, FL. These muse­ums allow Skulls Unlim­it­ed to show­case hun­dreds of skull and skele­tal spec­i­mens acquired over the years, but also to pro­vide an insight into the oth­er­wise hid­den work­ings of the ani­mal king­dom. The Okla­homa City loca­tion has 800 spec­i­mens, and the Orlan­do muse­um has 500 spec­i­mens on dis­play. Tutor said that is an incred­i­ble expe­ri­ence for chil­dren and adults to see how ani­mals are struc­tured and to inter­act with a part of nature that most nev­er expe­ri­ence.

The goal of our muse­ums is to serve as an edu­ca­tion­al expe­ri­ence, with the hopes that through edu­ca­tion, an appre­ci­a­tion of the nat­ur­al world will ulti­mate­ly lead to con­ser­va­tion for the future,” Ville­marette wrote on their web­site.

As with all things in life, even death evolves. Thanks to the inno­va­tions and actions of thinkers like Jay Ville­marette and many physi­cians and schol­ars before him, the days of mid­night Res­ur­rec­tion­ists cart­ing bod­ies and bones from dark ceme­ter­ies has van­ished into the dust. In fact, make no bones about it, it’s some­thing all these peo­ple felt was nec­es­sary deep in their own bones. And so maybe, just perhaps…the old taboos are final­ly find­ing their place among so many oth­ers that time has put to rest in the bone­yard.

To learn more about Skulls Unlim­it­ed and the Muse­ums of Oste­ol­o­gy, vis­it their web­site at