Path Home Shows 2017 Show Archive June 2017 Show 1724 Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1724

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1724

This week on “Oklahoma Horizon,” we look at a new generation of law enforcement as well as job training for people with disabilities.
Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1724

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1724

For more information visit these links:

Western Technology Center

Cadet Lawman Academy

Oklahoma Highway Patrol


Oklahoma SkillsUSA


Francis Tuttle Technology Center

Americans with Disabilities Act

NewView Oklahoma

Freedom Scientific

Tulsa Rollin RoustAbouts

Show Details

Show 1724: Oklahoma Horizon TV
Air Date: June 11, 2017



Rob McClendon: Here’s what’s coming up on your “Horizon.”

[NATS: Three… Two… One… Ignition].

Rob: Well, when an intercontinental ballistic missile was knocked out of the sky last week in a test over the Pacific it was a first -- a technology that protects the U.S. against long-range ballistic missile attacks by destroying incoming threats while they are still in space and safely outside the earth’s atmosphere -- just the latest deterrent in a long held defense strategy of our country of peace through strength. Today, we begin our show at a one-time strategic air command base in western Oklahoma that is a Cold War relic that still protects us today, just in a different way.

Robert Francis: We’ve seen kids out here that come out that have a sour look on law enforcement and they get to come out and spend the day with us and see that, you know, we’re, we’re dads, we’re moms, we’re brothers and sisters. You know, I think when they walk away from here, I think that they have a different outlook.

Rob: For the disabled, finding a job is often a struggle – unemployment is high and wages often low. We will look at the work underway to help the blind get a new view on employment.

Elmer Norton: You have to learn how to adapt to everyday life, but in a different way. It made my life a lot difficult, but I’ve had a good life, a real good life.

Rob: And we end our day in the rock-em, sock-em world of wheelchair basketball. Stay with us for “Oklahoma Horizon.”

Female Announcer: “Oklahoma Horizon” is made possible by CareerTech – a job for every Oklahoman and a workforce for every company -- with additional support from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” I’m Rob McClendon. Well, when you are 16 and holding a shiny, new driver’s license in your hand, there is nothing so scary as a highway patrolman. Too often, this barrier grows and young adults find themselves looking on law enforcement in a distant, if not negative, light. But in western Oklahoma, a technology center is working to break down those walls and connect students to law enforcement at a site that can trace its origins back to the Cold War. Austin Moore has our story.

Austin Moore: Admittedly, it doesn’t look like much. But this nondescript, long-shuttered military building has a potent past.

NATS: These men are preparing for a mission unique in military history. The bombers they man will be an airborne force that will patrol the skies for 24 hours. In their bomb bays and under their wings will be more potential, destructive power than that expended in all wars fought since time began.

Austin: Though built during World War II, western Oklahoma’s Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base was best known for its role in the Cold War. During that tense time, this base housed squadrons of B-52 bombers, training crews to launch at a moment’s notice in order to rain destruction from the sky. But today, the site has been repurposed. Its runways serve as a training ground for Oklahoma’s respected Law Enforcement Driver’s Training School. And for one week a year, this facility hosts the Cadet Lawman Academy, when 150 youth from across the state live and train with troopers.

Robert Francis: These kids get to come out and they get taught the exact same skills that we teach troopers that are out on the road. Now, obviously we don’t teach them high-speed maneuvers. We don’t teach them, you know, they are not driving fast, but we are teaching them the fundamentals and the basics of things that are going to keep them alive out there on the road.

Austin: Trooper Robert Francis has been volunteering his time with the academy for 14 years. He and the other instructors teach more than just driving, gun safety and lake patrol techniques. They are building teamwork, character and opening relationships with the camp attendees.

Francis: You know we instill the core values in them of honesty, integrity and professionalism. You know, there is those things that they may not get at school or, you know, in other places, maybe at their work, that we instill in them that they carry for the rest of their lives. And on Saturday when they graduate there is normally not a dry eye in the house. There is not any of them that want to leave.

Austin: But to prepare for that week, a day of service occurs called “Brooms N Badges” where the students and staff of Western Technology Center go elbow-to-elbow with troopers working to make this facility ready for the summer. Assistant Superintendent of Western Technology Center Kathe Corning.

Kathe Corning: They’re going to roll up their sleeves and they are going to get the elbow grease going, so. There is some tire changing going on. There is some welding going on putting up a new sign in honor of a great partner that they had at Burns Flat schools. And we are cleaning kitchens and dishes and a little bit of everything.

Penny Berry: I partner up with the biomed students, and we go to the bathrooms and clean because those kiddos are into seeing what kind of germs they can find, because those students are being trained to go into the medical field. And at some point they may find a cure for some of that stuff that we found in the potty.

Austin: Fellow Assistant Superintendent Penny Berry.

Berry: “Brooms N Badges” is all about our students having opportunity to give back to the men and women in blue because we support what they do out on the highways as far as keeping us good and safe. Our mission statement is educating people for success, and we want our students to know that they have an opportunity to give back to their communities, and this is how we are doing it today.

Austin: What do you think about being out here today?

Student: I think it’s pretty awesome.

Austin: Yeah? Why so?

Student: Helping people. I love to serve people.

Francis: You know, we’ve seen kids out here that come out that have a sour outlook on law enforcement. And they get to come out and spend the day with us and see that, you know, we’re dads. We’re moms. We’re brothers and sisters. You know, we enjoy the kids. And we like spending time with them and getting to know them. And I think when they walk away from here that they have a different outlook.

Austin: Just as student Larissa Odom.

Larissa Odom: Most of the time you just see them, like, on duty. And so they are, like, almost not human. And so this is kind of, like, you relax and you talk to them and you get to know their personalities more than just their scary police personality.

Austin: Hardly the scariest thing in a place once built for the end of the world, now striving to build a better one.

Rob: Now, when we return, a new generation of law enforcement.

Female Announcer: You’re watching “Oklahoma Horizon” with Rob McClendon – weekly insight into your changing world.

Rob McClendon: Well, the Highway Patrol camp is by far not the only way law enforcement agencies are teaming up to teach the next generation of cadets. Here at the annual SkillsUSA competition at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa, students from all over the state are taking part in some of the things that officers have to do on a daily basis. Whether it’s a traffic stop or a crime scene investigation, these young cadets are being judged on how effective and level-headed they can be in the field.

Jeremy Lewis: Just the traffic stop alone, that takes a lot of practice to get this down, and you can tell they’ve done it over and over and over – they know it very well. So, yeah, I think that’s why the city of Moore, you know, we participate in this program. I think it’s great for the kids. It’s good for law enforcement and try and bring up the next group of police officers.

Amanda Eastridge: We spend the entire year preparing for the competition through our curriculum and really coming out here to show our best and bring the students who are the most prepared and the best prepared to come out here and do their thing and do what their passion is for the industry they’ve chosen.

Rob: Law enforcement is just one of the many industries represented at SkillsUSA, and we’ve got plenty of coverage from previous years’ competitions on our website at

Female Announcer: Still to come on “Oklahoma Horizon,” a new view on blindness, but first, working in a sighted world.

Rob McClendon: Well, Department of Labor statistics show that roughly two-thirds of working age people with disabilities remain out of the workforce. And often it’s the lack of skills training that is the difference between those with a job and those without.

Rob McClendon: : Slice and dice – all by feel and not by sight.

Callie Chappell: I really enjoy coming to work because everyone’s very positive.

Rob: Callie Chappell lost her sight from a retina disease, yet still works as a chef at Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Tutts Café.

Chappell: My least favorite job in the kitchen is probably peeling potatoes. I don’t really look forward to doing that but I have to.

Hubble: She’s very sincere, been here every day on time, one of my best employees.

Rob: Yet unemployment is high among the visually impaired. According to the National Federation of the Blind, 60 percent of vision-impaired workers are actively unemployed. In downtown Oklahoma City, Michael Harvey teaches lessons he knows well.

Michael Harvey: I’m going to empower them by teaching them the tools.

Rob: Training other visually impaired on how to be self-sufficient.

Harvey: How to get basic directions. How to problem-solve. If you get stuck by a construction zone how do you get around it?

Rob: Equipping others with transferable skills that can make them more marketable in the workforce.

Harvey: One of the problems with blind people finding jobs is a lack of training. Many blind people don’t have the opportunity or don’t take the chance to go get the blindness skills training that they need. So therefore, they’re more reliant on people than is probably feasible for them to be as independent or as employable as they need to be.

Rob: Rob Slaughterbeck is one of Harvey’s students and knows all too well that finding a job can be difficult.

Rob Slaughterbeck: I actually have a bachelor’s in industrial engineering and a master’s in business. Even with that, I attended several job interviews face-to-face, they liked me, everything went great, but never would receive a phone call. Eventually after months and months of that going on that really starts to wear on you, and you get depressed and questioning your own abilities.

Rob: Which is why Slaughterbeck is working with Harvey, all in an effort to be seen for more than blind.

Slaughterbeck: The biggest thing is just treat ‘em like you would any of your sighted friends. And if you would hold the door open for your friends, hold the door open; if you wouldn’t, don’t. You know, we’re not special people; we just want to be treated like people in general.

Rob: And while working in a sighted world can be difficult, breaking through stereotypes might be their biggest challenge.

Slaughterbeck: For myself, I know I learn from making mistakes. If people stop me from making a mistake, then the next time I’m more apt to make that same mistake again.

Rob: An attitude of self-reliance that employers like Kevin Hubble says inspires him every day.

Hubble: It’s not that hard. It’s not that scary. You’d be surprised most people really, can really shock you on that nature. Prove something, you know, that they can produce like everybody else, they can work like everyone, there’s no difference.

Female Announcer: “Horizon” is at your fingertips – join us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to catch the segments you may have missed and our latest new content as it happens.

Rob McClendon: Well, losing your eyesight can mean a lot of difficult changes to your way of life, especially your career. But one nonprofit is working to help the legally blind adapt their skills and learn new ones to keep their prosperity and their dignity. Blane Singletary shares this insight.

Blane Singletary: David Anderson hasn’t been able to see for most of his adult life.

David Anderson: I was 18 years old, I was on a construction site, nail guns hadn’t been out that long, and a nail gun actually blew up in my face.

Blane: David was blinded instantly, but the reality of the situation didn’t sink in until much later.

Anderson: Cause I asked the doctor after surgery and all that, “When, you know, what’s gonna happen to me, what’s going on? Tell me straight.” He said, “You’ll never see again.” Because I had family people around, so I said, “OK, where can I find an organ grinder and a monkey?” You know, you’re trying to have some levity there ’cause how do you take something like that?

Blane: He took it the only way he could, by continuing business as usual. He found work wherever he could to support himself and his son. But other than that, David says he shut himself away from the rest of the world and kept to himself.

Anderson: I wouldn’t talk to anybody. I wanted to come to work. I wanted to feel, you know, “Hey, I’m doing something.” But I didn’t want people to know me. I didn’t want ‘em to notice, “Well, that’s him, he’s the blind guy.”

Blane: And that was life, as he accepted it. It would be decades before David ever found someone who didn’t just want to employ him, but to help him.

Anderson: I received a flier for donating to this company for the blind. Nobody had ever told me there was another blind person in this state, ever.

Blane: David was very skeptical, but after talking with them over the phone, he took a tour of the factory and was surprised at what he found.

Anderson: I was shocked, and then before I left, they asked if I’d like to fill out an application. All those years went by, and I relied on what I could do out of my own shop to make money because nobody would hire me – for any reason. The first thing they notice is your blindness. When they offered me to fill out a job application I said, “Wow, really?!” and that’s the first time, you know, I felt like I fit in somewhere.

Blane: NewView Oklahoma is a nonprofit manufacturing company who supports and employs the legally blind. Otherwise, they’re just like any other manufacturer. Dennis Loney is the vice president of business development and operations.

Dennis Loney: This business is no different than any manufacturing concern. We have to buy low, sell high – do it as efficiently as possible. We have to put out quality products at a competitive price. We over-accommodate for accessibility issues for our employees to be able to do a job.

Blane: Every machine in this building is enriched with adaptive technology, meant to suit people at varying stages of blindness – from complete blindness in David Anderson’s case to partial blindness in the case of Adam Higby.

Adam Higby: I was actually born with a disease called optic nerve dystrophy. I can see better, you know, but as I’ve gotten older it’s gotten far worse.

Blane: He took classes at Francis Tuttle Technology Center to learn precision and CNC machining and ways that even someone with very limited vision can pursue careers in this field.

Higby: You’re limited to your imagination. I mean, that’s just the honest truth. But currently, we do a lot of engraving, some automotive parts, we make these coasters that we’ve been working on and a lot of engraving on this machine.

Blane: While he learned this alternate way to do things, Adam says, he honestly doesn’t know if he’s got it easier or harder than others.

Higby: I honestly don’t know. I don’t have any basis for comparison because I don’t know otherwise, you know. It’s not easy; you just have to find a way to adapt.

Blane: The adaptive technology on this machine is just one example of the ways accessibility has been taken into account. Sometimes something as simple as a smartphone camera can be enough to make small text and details more visible. But for others here, it can be a bit more extensive than that.

Elmer Norton: Being blind is a learning process.

Blane: Elmer Norton is in charge of managing the orders, the stock and the raw materials at NewView. He has macular degeneration, steadily losing his eyesight since high school

Norton: You have to learn how to adapt to everyday life, but in a different way. It made my life a lot difficult, but I’ve had a good life, a real good life.

Blane: Thanks to adaptive technology, like Magic and JAWS, he can run this whole department and easily run other computers all over NewView’s offices.

[Computer Voice: Douglas Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK, 73106].

Norton: Two years ago, I knew nothing about a computer. You know, I’ve learned how to get to anywhere, I mean, anywhere on here.

Blane: NewView may be much like any other business, but it gives these visually impaired people a lot more than a job – it gives them dignity and pride. Again, Adam Higby.

Higby: At least for me, I raise, I’m raising a 7-year-old son almost by myself and to show him, “Hey, my dad’s doing this with the hand that he’s been dealt, then that means with my vision being 20/20, that I can do anything I want.” You have to want something, that’s just the honest truth. You have to want it. And if you don’t want, you’re gonna get what you get – nothin’.

Female Announcer: Want to see more stories like this? All our segments are streaming on our YouTube channel at OklahomaHorizonTV.

Rob McClendon: Well, begun after World War II, wheelchair basketball was designed to help returning veterans suffering from paralysis. It’s not a sport for the faint of heart and one that teaches lessons on and off the court.

Rob McClendon: For Tulsa’s Rollin’ Roustabouts, wheeling down the court is not for the faint of heart.

Brock Battles: It’s a lot more aggressive than people think. I always tell people if they’ve never seen it before, you kind of describe it like bumper cars, NASCAR and basketball combined into one.

Rob: And while they may be in wheelchairs, there’s nothing sedentary about their game.

Anthony Meadows: As you see, some players are more physical than others. We actually like being knocked out of the chair sometimes. It gives you a jolt. A lot of people will say that we might be a little bit of adrenaline junkies, but sometimes that’s what you need to get you up and down the court on a regular basis, consistently moving as quickly as possible.

Rob: Paralyzed at 19 by a bullet when he says he brought fists to a gun fight, Anthony Meadows says his injury is probably the best thing that ever happened to him.

Meadows: Like I tell the kids when I talk to ’em I always let them know that this was a blessing in disguise when it happened to me, ’cause when I was walking I was arrogant. Everything was about me. I felt like everybody owed me something. Once I got in the chair, it made me, it forced me to be humble and actually open my world to people that I would not have opened my world to had I not been paralyzed. But wheelchair basketball, it just basically opened my eyes and let me know there is a bigger world out there than what little problems I had going on.

Larry Salyer: There’s nobody on our team that was born when I started playing wheelchair basketball.

Rob: Meet Larry Salyer, better known by his teammates as Papa Smurf.

Salyer: You can see by the games today that it’s very, very competitive. And again, a lot of people think that, “Well, isn’t that precious? People want to play basketball in wheelchairs. That’s just great.” Over the years there’s been a few players that come out like that, thinking that, and then they go to one practice and they go, “No, that’s too rough. You know, I’m gonna get hurt doing that.” Well, you do, sometimes you do get hurt.

Keelie Battles: The more involved games, they’re intense. You get, you get all caught up. You’re on the edge of your seat. The hardest part is watching like, Brock, my husband, fall. You’re like, your heart jumps in your chest ’cause you’re scared they’re gonna hurt themselves. I like watching people that on a normal basis can’t get involved in a major sport, get involved and be competitive and do things that people think they can’t do. I mean, you see someone in a wheelchair, and if you’re not used to being around ’em you’re like, “Oh, my gosh! How can they maneuver like that? How can they move that quickly? How in the heck to the get back up after falling down?” Getting to see people do that, it’s, it’s great.

Rob: Routinely ranked in the top 20 nationally, the Tulsa Rollin’ Roustabouts are as competitive as they come, but realize their game is not just about winning.

Meadows: With basketball, it’s just one of those things to where you can see somebody start from point A, and you can see them go all the way to Z, where when he first came out, he couldn’t even hold himself up in the chair. But after a couple of months, you see ’em start to get a more authoritative, and they get more of accomplishments of what they’re doin’. And they feel a sense of community and with that sense of community, makes them become better at being a person in a wheelchair, a person with a disability.

Rob: An attitude that’s changed Michael Thompkins life both on and off the court.

Michael Thompkins: I got injured when I was 12, so, and I started playing when I was 16. But I’ve always loved basketball. I played in sixth grade and stuff and just always loved it, so initially I thought that it was, you know, that kind of my dream of playing basketball was gonna be over. But once, uh, Larry approached me, and I was kind of hesitant ’cause I thought it was, you know, this seems kind of different.

Salyer: Michael, whose dad coaches the team, I tried for four years probably to get him to come out and try wheelchair basketball. He said, “Yeah, I’ll try it sometime.” Couple of years later I seen him and his dad again and tried again. “Yeah, I’ll come out sometime.” Never showed up. One day his mom called me at work and said, “Hey, Michael is gonna come out to basketball practice and give it a try tonight,” and I said, “OK, good.”

Thompkins: It was actually kind of funny because I had told my dad, I was like, “Let’s pretend that we have, that I have something to do.” Like, “Let’s pretend I have a meeting. That way I can only stay for like 10 minutes and I say, ‘OK, I’ve gotta go now.’”

Salyer: Well, Michael had already made his mind up, he wasn’t gonna, he wasn’t gonna like it. Cause when he came in the door for my benefit that night he said, turned to his dad and said, “Don’t” -- it’s like 6:30 -- “Don’t forget we’ve got to leave at 7 to be at that meeting.” So, OK, so you’re not really wanting to put an effort into this, and so we started doing layups. He got hooked when we were doing layup drills.

Thompkins: After I started playing, I was like, uh, I told my dad, I was like, “OK, Dad, you can go ahead and do our meeting without me. I’ll catch up next time.” And then I ended up staying the whole practice and coming back out.

Salyer: He didn’t make his meeting. And before the night was over he goes, “What do I got to do to join the team?”

Thompkins: I really enjoyed it. I didn’t think I was gonna enjoy it, but I, you know, I love it.

Salyer: He’s worked his rear off, and he’s developed into one of the top players around. He is an awesome player.

Rob: With a never-quit determination that everyone on this team shares.

Salyer: Well, hey, life ain’t over. There’s still basketball, there’s tennis, there’s all kinds of stuff out there – may slow it down, you’ll find a different way of doing it.

Rob McClendon: Owning your own business is for many the American dream. Next time on “Oklahoma Horizon,” we go inside a new startup to see how that dream is being realized.

I don’t think you can go to any other country and you know you walk in, you get a good education, and then you can dream to even attempt something of this nature.

Rob: Immigration and our workforce, on Oklahoma’s show for the heartland, “Oklahoma Horizon.”

Rob McClendon: Well that is gonna wrap us up for today, but you can see more of any of our stories on our website at ok horizon dot com. You can follow us throughout the week on Twitter at OKHorizonTV or like us on Facebook, where we do post our weekly stories. Thanks for including us as part of your day. I’m Rob McClendon. Hope to see you back here next week.

Female Announcer: “Oklahoma Horizon” is made possible by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, with addition support from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.