The Norman Transcript

October 27, 2013

Here’s to a chicken in everyone’s yard

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma City could finally catch up to we progressive Norman residents in allowing chickens in their backyards.

The city’s Planning Commission recently signed off on rules to allow up to six chickens in backyards of less than an acre in size. (Norman puts the limit at four, but we’ve seen some backyards with a few extras.) It’ll now have to go before the Oklahoma City Council.

Norman began allowing the chickens many months ago, and we’ve heard not one peep from neighboring residents. It’s part of the new urban agriculture movement with victory gardens, farmers markets and home-grown goods.

We heard from one local lawyer who wondered aloud why you couldn’t also slaughter those birds and give the neighborhoods the full urban agriculture experience.


We note the past week’s death of former OU professor and Norman City Councilman Sam Chapman at age 84 in Reno, Nev. He served as a professor of political science at OU from 1967 until his retirement in 1991.

He served 11 years on the city council beginning in 1971. He served as mayor pro-tem for the last six years.

A former California police officer, Chapman taught in the area of criminal justice and was considered an expert in police use of deadly force and in the use of police service dogs.

He was always a great resource for reporters looking to find out why police departments acted as they did.

“All decisions are not always rational,” he once told me. “Remember, police officers are humans.”


Jerry Coleman was close to quitting his five-year volunteer stint as leader of the Little Axe Drill Team. He has trouble recruiting members, and they’re always trying to get enough money to fund their expenses.

But recently, he received 250 uniforms for the drill team. They came available when the military changed material types.

“I felt like this is a calling and this was my sign to keep going,” said Coleman, 79. “We’ll never have to buy any more uniforms.”

Coleman, 79, is a U.S. Army veteran from the Korean War and a U.S. Air Force veteran from the Vietnam War. He served on a drill team during his Army days. The Little Axe squad is not an official Army program.

He has about 10 members, and they plan to march in the Norman Christmas Parade. They train each day at the last hour of school. Students are from Little Axe Middle School and Little Axe High School.

One young graduate joined the Marines this past year and visited Coleman on leave.

“He’s doing quite well. He said the training he got here gave him the confidence to be a good Marine.”

Andy Rieger