Story & Photo by Julie Archer
Plastic straws are starting to be banned in restaurants and even cities since the consistent circulation of a 2015 video featuring sailors rescuing and removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle. This ban was done in the name of reducing ocean pollution caused by plastic.
Large cities are leading the way in this environmental endeavor. On July 1, Seattle became the first major city in the United States to ban plastic straws. San Francisco also plans to outlaw plastic straws by July 2019.
Businesses began adopting a plan to reduce plastic waste, starting with plastic straws. A US-Australian study published in Marine Policy: The International Journal for Ocean Affairs found plastic straws account for .03 percent of plastic that enters the ocean annually, while the vast majority comes from fishing nets and disposable packaging. These different waste products affect the environment in various ways. For example, straws and packaging are lethal in a more direct way to sea life, while others decompose slowly or ruin habitats.
For most people, plastic straws are not a necessity, but there are some cases where people rely on them due to a disability. People who rely on plastic straws are against the movement to ban them. As a result, companies are trying to make straw alternatives for the people who do need them.
Large chain restaurants joined the movement to rid themselves of plastic straws in their businesses. Starbucks plans to go strawless at all 28,000 stores by 2020. Starbucks said this will eliminate more than one billion straws in one year.
Many local chains and restaurants in Oklahoma decided to go strawless, as well. Keith Paul, CEO of A Good Egg Dining Group, started a ban of plastic straws in all of his restaurants.
“It was an easy decision,” Paul said. “I think making small changes that are really easy can make an impact.”
Paul’s restaurants now offer paper straws as an alternative to accommodate those who need them.
While most feedback on the straw bans have been positive, not everybody is pleased with the switch from plastic to paper straws. Some people think that not having bendable straws available is discriminatory toward disabled people who need them.
“The negative feedback for the most part has been very mild,” Paul said. “In regards to the paper straws not being very good and not lasting as long as plastic straws.”
Paul also mentioned he expects larger national chains will come up with a better alternative over time.
Companies have already started creating a better straw alternative. The Final Straw is a company that created a reusable stainless steel straw, which can be easily taken on the go. The Kickstarter campaign straw collapses into a small container that can go on a keychain. The reusable straw also comes with materials to help keep the straw clean. The straw fits in plastic lids from restaurants. The innovative straws are available for pre-orders only and are expected to ship in November.
For more information, visit finalstraw.com.
Story & Photo by Michelle Rojano
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2005-2014 there were 3,536 unintentional fatal drownings. One-in-5 of those were children under the age of 14.
Thankfully, there are steps people can take to prevent such tragedies.
Although having a pool or a hot tub may seem like a hazard, these might actually be an asset that can help your kids learn how to swim and know basic water safety at an early age.
Introducing children to a pool or even a spa at a young age can help get them to become comfortable with water.
“It's so important to teach children swimming skills so that they become comfortable with water early in life,” said Emily Siddiqui, Rose State alumna and trained lifeguard. “Every second counts in a potential drowning situation.”
A large body of water can be intimidating at first, but teaching children how relaxing and fun a pool can be can make a difference.
The majority of drownings occur under adult supervision, according to the CDC. It is important parents or guardians are constantly supervising their children when they are in a pool.
Parents and guardians should remain attentive when children are in a pool.
“Contrary to popular belief, someone who is drowning will rarely be thrashing in the water or be able to call for help,” Siddiqui said.
Instead of thrashing and calling for help, common signs for people in danger are to have their mouth near surface level, head tilted back with mouth open, gasping or hyperventilating, unfocused eyes and may even be attempting to swim in a general direction but not succeeding.
“Parents or guardians often become distracted and fail to supervise their children around water,” Siddiqui said. “This is a very unsafe habit, as it only takes seconds for drowning to claim a victim.”
Children who know basic swimming skills may be able to save themselves or remain afloat long enough for help to arrive.
It is important to get rid of the fear of water so children are able to react in a situation where they have to swim to safety. Simple techniques can help children feel confident in water.
“Skills like learning to float, control breathing and push off the ground are key, because that means they can save energy and hopefully get to safety on their own,” Siddiqui added.
It is recommended that children start swimming lessons at the age of 4 but there are techniques like Infant Swimming Resource Self Rescue (ISR) for infants ages 6-12 months. This technique involves a child learning to turn into a face-up position in water and float until help comes. For children between ages 1-6 there are other safety techniques like a full ISR, which involves the child swimming to safety and taking breaks to float and catch their breath between swims.
Swimming lessons for children over the age of 6 are similar to traditional lessons and are available for beginners at local YMCA locations.
With learning to swim, it is also important for people to take safety precautions regardless of age. According to the CDC, bystanders who performed CPR on victims have saved many lives. CPR certification can take as little as two hours with an online course, which will certify you for two years. In addition, it is also important that people wear a safety vest when on a boat, regardless of age or swim experience.
People who have pools in their homes should have a four-sided fence. In addition, the CDC also recommends constant supervision for children and they also advise adults to remove pool toys from the water and the deck area so children are not tempted to jump back in when an adult is not
YMCA locations offer a variety of options for swimming lessons for parents and infants, children of all ages and classes for special needs children. For more information, visit ymcaokc.org or for more information on how to get a CPR certification, visit redcross.org.
A meat-free twist on the traditional meatloaf recipe. Pick up a copy of the 15th Street News for the traditional recipe.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Note: Barbeque sauce or other glaze may be used.
Bagged beans may be used instead of canned beans for more servings, but be sure to thoroughly cook kidney beans as they can be toxic if undercooked.
Original recipe by Randy Hayes, modified by Payton Hayes.
Story by Mina Onar
Color and warmth are spread when spring comes around. It takes away the heaviness and the cold of the past months of winter and many cultures celebrate the upcoming spring with joy. The idea of spring cleaning is not limited to only one day of house cleaning in Iran; in fact, it is the basis of Persian New Year called Nowruz. Nowruz means “new day,” notifying that spring has come. This year the event began March 20.
“Every year, Nowruz coincides with the start of spring and traditionally celebrates the rebirth of nature. It also coincides with the spring equinox,” said Nick Bastani, who is an Iranian-American and Rose State academic adviser.
The celebration of nature’s rebirth lasts for two weeks. Nowruz is said to have started in Iran, which is why it is also known as the Persian New Year, or Iranian New Year. It is celebrated not just in Iran but in other Middle Eastern and Central Asian communities as well. While not acknowledged as a national holiday, there are other countries that celebrate Nowruz. Some countries that celebrate the Persian New Year include: Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Albania, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Iraq and Turkey. Nowruz brings every Iranian together to celebrate the Persian New Year.
“It means rebirth of nature and start of another cycle of life, unifying of people and nations,” Bastani continued. “It helps my soul and brings me peace. I love to share this season with friends around the world.”
As Nowruz brings many people together, it is celebrated in Oklahoma City by many people as well.
Bastani added that the state of Oklahoma has recognized the Persian New Year when Gov. David Walters was a governor.
“Persian community along with our fellow Americans celebrate the Nowruz with music, food and fun.”
This national holiday of Iran is celebrated around the world by many people who often try to celebrate it as traditionally as possible.
“Children are dressed in traditional clothing for different shows across the world,” Bastani said.
Even though Nowruz, the Persian New Year, seems culturally different than the new year in the U.S., there are still similarities between the two. “From the spiritual standpoint, they both represent peace, tradition and family,” Bastani said.
One of the biggest differences between the New Year in the U.S. and the Persian New Year is that the Persian New Year celebration lasts for almost two weeks.
“On the 13th day around the world, we bring ends to our festivity,” Bastani added.
This year, the celebrations were held at Lake Arcadia for a full day of picnic.
By Danny Fritts
Fergie once sang, “I be up in the gym, just working on my fitness.” With summer around the corner, many will be looking for ways to become more fit. There are quite a few ways for people to increase their activity levels. Whether a person is an extreme athlete or someone who just wants to live an active and healthy lifestyle, there are fitness options available. Although it is challenging, fitness is choice that can be rewarding in many aspects of life.
Stephano Simmons, a personal trainer at Gerrity Fitness Center on Tinker Air Force Base, walked us through a few ways on how to implement and manage an active life.
Simmons noted that drinking plenty of water is a great start to living a healthy lifestyle. No amount of work can reduce the body’s need for water. According to Healthline, the Institute of Medicine recommends that men should drink 104 ounces of water per day while women should drink at least 72 ounces. Since every system in the human body needs water to function, drinking plenty of it is a great start.
Simmons also said that eating a big, healthy breakfast is vital to your body.
Like Adelle Davis once said, “Eat breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a prince and eat dinner like a pauper,” Simmons said.
Many people tend to do this backward. Due to the busy lifestyle many live, the majority does not allow enough time to eat breakfast. Once dinner rolls around, many people will eat an unhealthy meal that will sit in their system while they sleep, which can lead to unwanted fat.
When it came to exercising, Simmons made the case that eating properly is just as important when you have a certain goal in mind.
“You cannot out-train a bad diet,” Simmons explained.
For those that want to start working out, Simmons stated that full body workouts make a difference.
“Muscle balance is key. If you’re going to push, you have to pull. If you work the top, work the bottom. If you work the front, work the back,” Simmons added.
Beginners should start with full-body workouts because that is how our bodies operate. When we mix in different compound movements, that is where we tend to see results. As for bodybuilders, they tend to have split workout routines. For example, they will specifically work on chest and triceps one day, then back and biceps the next day.
A workout that Simmons uses for his beginners is known as Mindy’s 5x5. The five workouts are bench press, squat, deadlift, rows and overhead presses. A workout for people with a limited amount of time is working on pull-ups and squats one day, then dips and deadlift the next.
People live busy lives, but finding ways to be fit can potentially reduce stress levels and ultimately help people feel better.
Story & Photo by Shaun Beck
Freedom Oklahoma’s sixth annual LGBTQ College Leadership Summit was hosted Feb. 3 at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. The event brought many college students together to learn about LGBTQ rights and how to further LGBTQ inclusion in colleges around the state. The Summit showed LGBTQ individuals how their voices can be heard on their campuses and how allies’ voices can help promote inclusion.
The keynote speaker for the summit was Don Holladay, a law professor at OU, who played a crucial role in the marriage equality decision. .
“We are difference makers,” Holladay said in reference to his part in the historical event.
Holladay continued to discuss where the state of Oklahoma and America as a whole is on LGBTQ rights.
“America is not ready to go back 50 plus years,” Holladay said on the state of new legislation targeted against LGBTQ protections.
However, Holladay’s main points focused on speaking up.
“It’s important for voices to be heard,” he said. “Power yourself individually and collectively.”
The Summit was held at the Jim Thorpe Multicultural Center. Students who pre-registered for the event were provided with one free meal voucher for use at the Couch Restaurants on OU’s campus, as well as a free T-shirt and a tote bag full of goodies from the campus’ offices, which were helping to put on the event.
Attendees had an opportunity to participate in several mini breakout sessions that provided information on how to survive as an LGBTQ college student in housing. Students learned from two of the housing representatives that there are many resources to help LGBTQ students navigate housing safely. The representatives also explained that it is important for students to feel safe where they are living.
A queer sex education class was held as well, in which students explained where STDs come from and how they can be prevented. They also emphasized how to properly apply a condom and how HIV is spread and treated/prevented.
Sarah Hoss, Rose State health sciences professor and Spectrum faculty adviser, described her involvement with LGBTQ rights on and off campus and how she hopes to further the LGBTQ cause.
What made you interested in LGBTQ+ activism?
One of my dearest friends woke me up to the inequalities she faced living in Oklahoma as a married lesbian. (This was before same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide.) It hurt me to see my friend treated as a second-class citizen and so I began speaking up for the LGBTQ community. In 2015, the Oklahoma Legislature introduced 26 anti-LGBT bills and I became actively involved in helping shut them down. Through this, I made a lot of friends and colleagues in the LGBTQ community. When I got hired at Rose full-time, one of my priorities was to make sure there was a LGBTQ student organization on campus.
What influenced you to sponsor Spectrum Alliance Club?
Oklahoma is hostile towards the LGBTQ community. I wanted to advocate and support our LGBTQ youth and being a professor at Rose State gave me that platform.
What was the most influential part of the summit?
I enjoy networking and hanging out with LGBTQ folks and allies from all over Oklahoma. It makes me feel like we’re not alone.
What would you like to see happen to further LGBTQ+ activism within colleges?
I would like to see more visibility. Colleges in Oklahoma may be inclusive and supportive but they are not as visible or vocal in showing their advocacy as they need to be.
Was there a breakout session you enjoyed the most? Why?
I enjoyed the “Know Your Rights” session in which participants shared their experiences of harassment and discrimination. It’s a reminder that problems faced by the LGBTQ community are real and need to be consistently and constantly addressed.
What did you get out of the summit as a sponsor for Spectrum Alliance Club?
I love Spectrum members, and I loved giving them the opportunity to attend. The fact that most people really enjoyed themselves at the Summit made the trip worth its while.
What advice would you like to send to the LGBTQ+ students at Rose who maybe haven’t heard about Spectrum?
We welcome everybody. You don’t have to be a member of the LGBTQ community to join. We’re a group that is accepting and tolerant of all people. Spectrum meetings are a place in which everybody can be themselves.
What Advice would you have for non-LGBTQ+ individuals on how to get involved with LGBTQ+ issues and why is it important?
The LGBTQ community is marginalized in our society and many members face fear of discrimination and violence. Non-LGBTQ individuals have the power and privilege to speak up and create the most change and progress. It is safer for a “straight person” to speak out and be the voice than an LGBTQ person. LGBTQ allies are vital for advocacy and activism.
Story by Haley Humphrey
Photos courtesy of The Jones Assembly
There are innumerable places to visit in Downtown Oklahoma City that fit different tastes. A new hot spot can be found in the Film Row district. The area of businesses, restaurants and lofts that were once home to major film conglomerates has experienced many renovations and new additions. Oklahomans and out-of-towners wanting to experience a modern atmosphere that acknowledges its past need look no further.
A historical recap of Film Row will have people walking down memory lane with David Wanzer, designer of the urban area, and Bradley Wynn, planner of expanding the landscape to form a district.
According to Steve Lackmeyer, writer for NewsOK, Wanzer and Wynn were heroic in pulling Film Row out of the dust in 2003. The area became dilapidated through years of drugs and prostitution and was overrun by the homeless population in the 1980s. Wanzer and Wynn had a vision in mind but they could not do it alone. They gained support from Oklahoma City Council members like Ann Simank, who was the city councilwoman at the time, and organizations like DEADCENTER Film Festival that brought artistic interest back to the grounds where Hollywood stars once walked. Soon, word spread to property owners who got on board with their own revival ideas. One of OKC’s biggest transformations was in full swing.
Since 2006, Film Row has progressed to new heights. Each development located on Sheridan Avenue has a unique flair to share with the public. One of the newest additions is The Jones Assembly, which opened its doors in July 2017. The multi-functional space was named for the Fred Jones Manufacturing Company, which was established in 1922 in the same building. Fred Jones brought the first Ford dealership to Oklahoma City and The Jones Assembly finds the history endearing.
“We’ve had a lot of fun playing off that; we use phrases like ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ or ‘time to assemble,’” Annie Tucker, marketing coordinator for The Jones Assembly, said.
The members of The Jones Assembly have achieved keeping the automobile history alive in the location where Fred Jones’ Model Ts flourished. From the brick and garage doors to the lights and original markings, almost every piece that makes The Jones unique, has been repurposed.
The plan to bring diverse music to OKC was effective with the vast, authentic space, which has housed 12 concerts and counting. However, the space needed food to tie it all together. The Jones Assembly menu has a range of choices. From light dips and spreads to wood-fired pizzas and scallops, they have something for nearly every palate. The desserts are designed to accommodate chocolate or banana lovers, with the restaurant making its own homemade vanilla wafers.
Tucker insisted customers should not leave The Jones until they have tried the okra, served with their Jones sauce that is “spicy, tangy and creamy,” a triple threat that Oklahomans cannot resist.
The 21-and-older crowd is encouraged to try a cocktail with their decadent meals. The Jones serves original cocktails upstairs in their restaurant, while downstairs they put their own twist on the classics. The main difference being the catchy names not found on the menu in the upstairs lounge.
“Every dish, every cocktail, every dessert, every concert we book and every design element was extremely thought out,” Tucker said.
The Jones Assembly is a whirlwind of music, food and history in one restaurant experience.