Local family goes to war against boredom

By Jacob Factor, News Editor

For years, downtown Shawnee looked like a ghost town. No cars. No patrons. And blocks full of empty buildings.

If anyone wanted to have a fun evening, they had to go all the way to Oklahoma City for entertainment.

Shawnee couple Beau and Misty Dorrough were one of the many victims of Shawnee’s boredom epidemic.

They had to drag their five children all the way to the city and pay an arm and a leg just for one family outing.

“That kinda hurts,” Beau said.

That was the norm for a long time.

“You’ll see a lot of kids over spring break or the summer doing nothing.”

Last year, though, the Dorroughs got an idea on how to end the plight. Beau, a post office worker, repaired retro arcade games on the side.

“We owned hundreds of them,” Beau said.

The Dorroughs thought they could put the games to use and open an old-school arcade. So, they bought the building at 1 East Main Street downtown in late October 2018 and started planning.

“Right when we bought the building though, they opened the [arcade] down the street.”

Bell St. Retro Arcade is a welcome new business, putting some color in downtown Shawnee, but now the Dorroughs had to come up with a new idea.

The top two floors of the Dorroughs’ building are rented out as apartments, and the Dorroughs thought maybe renting out the first floor as well would be best.

They were brainstorming other possible business ideas when they found inspiration right in their own home.

Their children solved Shawnee’s boredom problem without even trying.

“Our kids love playing Nerf in the kitchen,” Beau said. “They’ll play for hours in such a small space.”

A Nerf Gun arena hadn’t even crossed Beau’s mind, as the main room on the first floor is a bit smaller.

But, seeing his family playing showed him kids can have fun with Nerf guns even in a spot like the first floor of their building.

Now, they had their business plan, but then came another problem.

The building hasn’t had a business in it for almost a decade. A lot of repairs needed to be done.

“We don’t have a ton of money, so we can’t pay for [contractors],” Beau said. “Most of the renovations we would have to do ourselves. We’re not professionals. We were scared about how we could get the building to where it needed to be.”

This was in January. In just over two months Beau and Misty, along with Misty’s brother and the one handyman they could afford, completely changed the building from an empty shell to a neon war zone.

“We painted everything,” Beau said. “Of course, when we painted the walls green, everyone thought, ‘marijuana shop’.”

When the Dorroughs bought the building, the lights had no light switches. Now they do.

Misty’s brother wired in a blacklight system so the arena can be glow-in-the-dark.

They put in neon trash-cans and tires for players to hide behind, and floor mats to have a soft floor instead of tile.

Now that almost everything is finished, the Dorroughs plan to open Nerfed Battle Arena April 6, and are hopeful for what Nerfed can be for the community.

“One, a really good place for the kids to have something to do,” Misty said.“There’s not enough of that in this town.”

It’s also a relief to parents who work all day. When their kids want to go do something, instead of trekking all the way to OKC after being at work all day, Nerfed is right down the road on Main Street. The Dorroughs want Nerfed to be more than just a free-for-all arena, too.

“We really want to make it more interactive,” Misty said. “We’ll have refs with whistles who can judge when someone gets out. There will be rules to make it more interesting than just go out and shoot.”

This isn’t a money making venture for the Dorroughs either.

“We don’t assume we’ll make a ton of money,” Beau said. “As long as it’s self-sufficient and everyone has fun, that’s it.”

Nerfed Indoor Battle Arena opens to the public April 6. Nerfed will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Visit nerfedshawnee.com for more information. 

Capstone project becomes community outreach

By Jonathan Soder, Features Editor
Sometimes, in fact most of the time, classes stay on campus. Classrooms are on campus, professors have offices on campus and students do homework, though not exclusively, on campus.
Naturally, campus is the epicenter for class life, but what about classes that are specifically focused on going out instead of staying in?
Last semester, several students in Dr. Galen Jones’ Intro to Evangelism responded to the Matthew 29:19’s mandate to “go” and took their class to downtown Shawnee.
For the capstone project, junior cross-cultural ministry major Jordan Sheehy, sophomore Biblical studies major Caleb Stewart, then-sophomore cross-cultural ministry major Sam Creasy and junior something major David Gonzalez began a homeless outreach ministry.
Originally, Sheehy and Creasy planned to start a discipleship group in Agee dorm, but the plan never came to fruition.
Meanwhile, separately Stewart hoped to serve the homeless in Shawnee. After hearing about Stewart’s idea, Sheehy approached him about merging the two, and the Good Samaritan Project was born.
“I didn’t have any idea what I was going to do or how stuff was going to work,” Stewart said. “So with him [Sheehy] being able to cut hair, then the idea of grilling, it all just came together [to] have free haircuts, free food and fellowship.”
With a rough plan, the team began work. First, they made posters and hung them up downtown several weeks in advance of their first visit.
The free dinners were set for every Thursday at 6 p.m. Then they purchased and prepared food for the first Thursday night and headed downtown with a pair of shears, a chair and an amateur barber.
“We started out our first week with four people, and we were really scared [thinking] that, ‘This is all we’re going to reach for the next three months,’” Sheehy said.
With food enough for 25 people, the men returned to campus, refrigerated what wasn’t eaten and returned the next to find 10 new faces greeting them.
“That next week we had 14, so that was exciting, but literally the week after that we came back and there were 45 plus people that showed up,” Sheehy said. “It was just amazing to see how many people were in need, how many people couldn’t feed themselves that even, that wouldn’t have gotten a meal without us being out there.”
For the next month, the Good Samaritan Project continued to serve upwards of 45 people every Thursday night.
“They continuously told us, ‘This is not all of us. There’s twice what you’ve see here. They’re just busy or at some other place eating right now,” Sheehy said.
Only one group among many who serve free dinners for the homeless in Shawnee, Sheehy, Stewart, Creasy and Gonzalez aimed to do more than just provide free food.
One way they achieved this was through the free haircuts Jordan offered.
“I realized that one of the easiest ways for me to serve them is by giving them something they [normally] have to pay for for free,” Sheehy said. “A haircut’s always just something that makes you feel fresh, makes you feel new [and] puts a smile on your face, so I wanted to take my gifts and utilize those to bring enjoyment to people’s lives.”
These haircuts, and the meal, were part of the larger goal to “live life” with the homeless people in Shawnee.
Much of the inspiration for their ultimate goal came from Stewart’s sociology class.
He remembers reading through a portion of his textbook, “Generous Justice,” that highlighted the emphasis in the Old Testament on the Israelites’ responsibility to treat the downtrodden with dignity and compassion.
“Another thing in that book was that, instead of just giving tokens, like, ‘Here’s some money. Go buy some food,’ build them back up,” Stewart said. “Help them get jobs again. Help them find a home.”
One way Stewart and the others hope to achieve the long-term goal of building the homeless up is to pair with local churches to establish permanent involvement with the homeless community downtown.
“We want to provide a church for these families in need to go to that’s in their area, that they don’t have to drive across town for, that are welcoming and wanting them to come as well,” Sheehy said.
“We want them to not just fund us, but also make appearance[s] sometimes and introduce themselves to the families around them because it’s so much easier to go into a church when you already know someone than to just walk into a door.
“We want them to not just fund us but also make appearance[s] sometimes and introduce themselves to the families around them because it’s so much easier to go into a church when you already know someone than to just walk into a door,” Sheely said.
This type of community involvement would ensure the continuation of this ministry even as students have to leave.
However, this wouldn’t necessitate that graduating students cease helping.
Creasy, who’s taking a semester to work back home, has continued to support the group financially in anticipation of his physical absence this semester.
He also hopes to take part again when he returns to campus in the spring.
For him, the experience was more than a class project.
“[I learned] how fortunate I am to have what I have,” Creasy said, “and how many people there are that feel like they aren’t worth anything and feel like people have given up
on them, that need someone to show them how valued they are by Christ.”
At this point, it’s undetermined when the weekly meals will take place.
However, Sheehy, Stewart and Creasy all agree that it should continue, despite schedule conflicts and new responsibilities.
(The Bison was unable to successfully reach Gonzalez.)
“It’s still one of the things the Lord is convicting me of,” Stewart said. “And, just the other day, I went to that Momentum conference that lasted the whole night. We sang that song ‘Great Are You Lord,’ and I was just thinking, ‘Everyone doesn’t know how great the Lord is.’
“That got me thinking about the homeless ministry again, and so we need to keep on sharing the Gospel and telling others how great the Lord is and that he loves them.”
This is another goal that is yet to be realized.
Last year the four men sought to build relationships.
This year they hope to move into explicitly religious conversations that will lend themselves to outright Gospel presentations.
For now, Sheehy said that the group, now called Purpose 50, plans to hang up flyers Tuesday, Sept. 18th after deciding on a time to meet.
Any students interested in learning about the project further, or even donating, can visit purposeforthepoor.com

Mabee-Gerrer to host annual Arts Trek

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor  (Courtesy photos/The Bison)

Despite the recent closure of St. Gregory’s University, Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, located on the St. Gregory’s campus is alive and thriving even though it’s nearly 100 years old.

Although located on the St. Gregory’s campus, the Museum operates separately and has remained open despite the college’s recent closure, according to NewsOK.

Now, the museum is gearing up to host its largest event of the year: Arts Trek, which is a free, public arts festival April 14 from10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

According to Mabee-Gerrer curator of education and Arts Trek event coordinator, Donna Merkt, “Arts Trek promotes the arts in Shawnee and Oklahoma. It is an educational, entertaining activity for adults, students, and families and it encourages community collaboration. Annually, an estimated 3,000-4,000 people attended Arts Trek.”

The festival is one of the most popular arts events in Pottawattamie County and spans a large expanse of art styles and forms.

Started in 2010, Arts Trek has included numerous performances and demonstrations both inside the museum, in the neighboring Sarkeys Performing Arts Center and on the surrounding grassy and shaded lawns.

The events webpage lists some of the vendors and performances that the festival offers, including the ever-favorite face painting booth, or booths, that appear almost every year.

Throughout the festival, children can be seen with their faces covered in decorative butterflies, flowers, or animal faces – displaying the handiwork of these booths.

One of the most unique regular participants of Arts Trek is Knights of Canterbury/OKC Joust Club. The Joust Club sets up a tent and displays full reenactment equipment.

They also frequently cordon off a small jousting area at past Arts Treks.

This year, the Arts Trek performances will include several dance groups.

All About Irish School of Dance will return to the festival again this year.

Diana Rodgers directs this school of dance, teaching traditional Irish step dance to youth in Meeker, Okla.

The group’s past performances at Arts Trek have been highly received and displayed a
variety of levels of experience and training, from young beginning students to more advanced teen performers.

Another dance group, A Mirage Dance Company, will perform as well.

A Mirage Dance Company features elements of modern Egyptian dance, Turkish sword dancing and veil dances, among other styles.

Also a returning act, having been featured in several previous Arts Treks, A Mirage Dance Company’s performances combine highly specific specialized movements with
smooth, steady rhythms and great control of movement.

The festival’s musical performances will include contemporary Christian music group CrossWalk 316 performing original music; and a performance from the Grey Wolves Jazz Band.

Festival goers will also have the opportunity to watching Joel M. Carmichael perform painting to music.

Perhaps most wellknown to the OBU community, the 2018 Arts Trek will include a
performance by OBU’s very own Dr. Benjamin Shute, who will perform on violin, continuing a longstanding relationship between members of the OBU community and the Mabee-Gerrer Museum event.

“OBU faculty, staff, and students have served as volunteers or performers,” Merkt said.

“Julie Blackstone has shared her weaving talents, helping introduce patrons to the art form, each year at Arts Trek. This year, Benjamin Shute is playing the violin in the gallery. OBU students have also had art booths at the festival. In the past, OBU theater and music students have also performed, and I’d love to see that happen next year.”

OBU community members can register to participate in next year’s Arts Trek as a vendor, performer, sponsor or volunteer by visiting the Arts Trek website at artstrek.org.

Yet, the museum can provide OBU students educational opportunities outside of the festival as well.

“The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art offers internships to college students in a variety of areas, including museum collections, museum education, event planning, and graphic
design,” Merkt said.

“Many OBU faculty bring their classes to the museum, where their admission is provided
for by scholarship funds donated by community members. OBU students who are working on projects for class are allowed free admission at any time.”

To learn more about internships and other academic opportunities at the museum visit mgmoa.org.

Shawnee: A small town Gotham City

Jason Burger, Contributing Writer

If you have been a student at OBU for any reasonable amount of time, you probably have realized that not a whole lot of people hang out in the downtown Shawnee area.  Sure, there’s not much to do, and unless you want Hamburger King or Boomerang Diner for lunch, or head to Canterbury on Thursday nights, there’s not much of a reason to go down there.

The lack of businesses in the downtown district of Shawnee is very noticeable, and according to professional photographer and small business owner Ed Bolt, business is just not good.

“We handed out coupons during Welcome Week last year at OBU to get kids to come down [to the studio and coffee shop] and get a free cup of coffee, as a way to try to get the college crowd in the door,” Bolt said.  “We maybe had one or two people come in, so now I just use my building space as my photography studio.”

So why is it so hard for businesses in the downtown district?  All signs point to crime.  As shown on the map provided by the Shawnee Police Department’s web site, the majority of the crime that happens in the city is in or around the south side, right where the downtown area is.  Its worth noting that the map only reports crimes that have happened in the last 30 days.

While the majority of the crimes committed in Shawnee seem to be heavily property related, meaning burglary or theft of physical items, what is alarming is that the violent crime rate statistics in our school’s city are much higher than the state of Oklahoma’s average.  Oklahoma’s violent crime rate averages at 4.22 incidents per 1000 people, while the city of Shawnee’s rate is 9.11 violent crimes per 1000 people on average.

That might not seem that alarming, but those numbers mean that out of the 31,280 people that live in the Shawnee area, for every 110 people, roughly one will be the victim of a violent crime. Take a look around next time you are in chapel on a Wednesday, because out of the people you see in there, at least a few could be victims.

Going back to the bulk of the crimes being property related, the property crime statistics could also explain why operating a business in downtown Shawnee is not so favorable.

According to crime report statistics from the city, 55.33 property crimes on average are committed per 1000 people.  Again, that might not seem that alarming, but the chances of someone being a victim of this kind of crime are way higher than a violent crime.

Business owners and property owners in general have to deal with a one in 18 chance of being hit by a burglar in Shawnee, so it makes sense that businesses would want to stay out of the south side of town, where the chances of their business being robbed or vandalized are the highest.  Granted, the property crime statistics factor in burglaries of private houses and vehicles too, not just businesses, but the concern is still obvious.

Its no secret that some sketchy stuff goes down in Shawnee.  Ask any local, and they won’t hold back.  Drugs are a problem, and overall crime in the city is higher than the state’s averages.

But before anyone freaks out and gets up to deadbolt their dorm room door or heads to Lowes to buy a Brinks Home Security System, take a deep breath.  There are neighborhoods that barely see any criminal activity at all.  In fact, if you look back at the map, OBU is basically untouched by the outside crime that goes on.  For whatever reason, the university seems to be a very safe place.  It might simply be because it is on the north side of town.  Or, it might be because our campus police officers are certified and trained the exact same way as city officers before they are hired here, and the Shawnee Police Department is not far away at all.

It is obvious from the crime map that OBU continues to be a university that acts as a light in the town’s darkness, and it will probably stay that way.

Colonne: Laissons-nous dirige par les universe du Maestro de l’univers

The tour of the choir was a success, but it was thanks to an agreement between us, the students, and the maestro: He told us what to do and we only obey. So must be our relationship with God, always and every day. In Proverbs 16:20 it is written, “He who is attentive to instruction will find happiness. Blessed is he who trusts in Jehovah.”

Let us learn to be attentive to the greatest maestro who is our God, the maestro of the whole universe.

By Jude Balthazar, Contributing Writer

On est samedi, le 1er avril 2017, et c’est le départ de la Chorale de l’Université en tournée au Texas pour performer dans six villes différentes : cinq églises baptistes et une école secondaire.

Le moment est arrivé de partager notre répertoire ailleurs, et notre retour à l’université est fixé pour jeudi, le 6 avril à 1h00 du matin.

On a performé dans tous les lieux prévus, beaucoup d’âmes sont édifiées et à cœur joie on est retourné à l’université.

Tout a bien commencé et finit bien, grâce à la bonne planification de notre cher musicien et maestro, Dr. Brent Ballweg, surnommé « Dr. B. ».

On n’avait rien à craindre tout au long du parcourt, il nous fallait juste suivre les instructions de notre talentueux maestro. Littéralement nous n’avions aucune raison de nous plaindre : la nourriture était prête quand il le faillait et notre esprit était bien disposé à chanter lors de chaque prestation.

Ce fut un grand succès.

Le succès de cette tournée me pousse à réfléchir d’avantage sur notre relation avec notre Père céleste.

Combien de fois nous arrive-t-il de suivre les instructions de Dieu comme Il le demande ? Combien de fois nous rappelons-nous que Dieu a déjà tout planifié pour nous ? Dieu nous parle à travers Sa parole dans Proverbes 8 :33 et nous dit : « Écoutez l’instruction, pour devenir sages, ne la rejetez pas. » Souvent Il nous arrive de faire ce que nous voulons et non pas la volonté de Dieu.

Dans une interview avec Dr. B autour de la planification de la tournée, il m’a dit : « D’habitude il me faut un an d’avance. Je commence à contacter les églises à propos de leurs disponibilités durant la fin du printemps, et une fois que j’ai leurs confirmations, le reste est beaucoup plus facile à gérer. » Dieu nous a aussi fait savoir dans Jérémie 29 :11 ce qui suit : « Car Je connais les projets que J’ai formés sur vous, dit l’Éternel, projets de paix et non de malheur… » Nous serions épargnés de nombreuses expériences amères seulement en nous rappelant que Dieu a un plan pour nous.

C’est évident que Dr. B. connait le processus qui mènera au succès d’une tournée de la chorale, mais le cher maestro se base aussi de son expérience de planification pour rendre chaque tournée meilleure que la précédente. J’ai aussi eu un moment d’interview avec Dr. James Vernon qui fut le maestro du 43ème Concerto Aria de cette année. Le concert avait été un succès inoubliable, et concernant sa planification il m’a dit : « J’ai été en charge pendant plusieurs années, donc je sais à quoi m’attendre… il me fallait seulement un mois et demi pour être prêt. » Il en est de même pour Dieu, et encore mieux de sa part envers nous. Dans Psaumes 127 : 1, Dieu dit : “Si l’Éternel ne bâtit la maison, ceux qui la bâtissent travaillent en vain…”

Cela signifie que nous devons toujours nous confier en Dieu quoi qu’il en soit. Dieu a son plan pour chacun de nous, nous n’avons qu’à Lui faire confiance.

Comme je l’ai dit, la tournée de la chorale fut une réussite, mais ce fut grâce à un accord entre nous, les étudiants, et le maestro : Il nous disait ce qu’il fallait faire et nous ne faisons qu’obéir.  Ainsi doit être notre relation avec Dieu, toujours et chaque jour.  Dans Proverbes 16 : 20 il est écrit : « Celui qui est attentif à l’instruction trouvera la bonheur.  Heureux celui qui met sa confiance en l’Eternel ! » Apprenons à être attentif au plus grand des maestros qui est notre Dieu, le maestro de tout l’univers.

Profs and students participate in Nerf gun “assassin” game for Blitz Week 

The Nerf gun war heats up on campus as Bible professors try to defeat students in Blitz Week game of “assassin.”

By Emma Patton, Online Content Editor 

Theology professors Dr. Alan Bandy and Dr. Matthew Emerson were seen sprinting towards students on campus in a Nerf gun war today. 

While the Blitz Week tradition may be a game, the players’ mindsets are serious. 
After paying to participate in an “assassin” style game–all the money will support this year’s charity, the Beautiful Dream society–the players try to get one another out of the game by hitting each other with Nerf bullets.

As of this afternoon, Bandy and Emerson are still going strong. They can be seen taunting students with their Nerf guns in the following video: