Like a true media professional, Daniel Lapham did not let his personal life get in the way of the story. When the preliminary map was revealed for the Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike last week, he interviewed a handful of neighbors outside of the meeting before he ever went inside to see whether the new high-speed toll road would plow through the land his family has owned since nearly statehood.
Some neighbors he interviewed cried as what they had feared was confirmed: the road would go through or near their land. Others were blindsided, as the proposed road went outside of the publicized study area east of Luther Road and over their land.
Once he got inside and looked at the map, Lapham learned his land was spared. The proposed route is just more than a mile from the homestead his family began farming in 1911.
He was interviewing neighbors because Lapham, owner, Idealist Creative Media LLC, and co-producer Aaron Edwards are creating videos chronicling the story of the turnpike and the unfolding drama. They also plan to roll the projects into a documentary.
At first, Lapham said he wasn’t really opposed to the turnpike. A consumer of roads as his free-lance business takes him around the region and the country, he appreciates interstates and turnpikes. But he said the more he started researching the project, the more concerned he became.
“First, there was the lack of information whatsoever, and then the lack of compassion or empathy for those of us who would be impacted. And the way OTA conducts business just rubs me the wrong way.
“I prayed about it, seeking whether to not do anything but also not to go in Rambo-style, so I decided to use my talents to do a documentary,” he said. He and Edwards say they are giving a voice to those who feel like they are not being heard.
Lapham returned to his family’s land less than a year ago after the sudden death of his father, David Lapham who ran Wooded Acres Auto Service for 40 years. “I couldn’t wait to get away from here when I was 18,” he said. But after living all over the country, he was ready to come back. “This is home.”
The first video posted this week. Lapham and Edwards also plan to be at the anti-turnpike rally at the State Capitol on Wednesday morning at 10 am.