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January 24, 1995

Random thoughts while rummaging through a growing pile of notes atop my desk....

Congratulations to our city street department for taking advantage of the recent unseasonable warm weather and attacking some of those fearsome potholes around town. Among the worst of them were two huge ones on Eleventh street, just north of North Brookwood. They were nearly big enough to hold a Volkswagen, some say. But now they are neatly leveled travel surfaces with asphalt covering and you can drive over them without fear of breaking an axle or losing a muffler.

Also, thanks to the Perry Business Women's club and the park department for continuing work on Brookwood Park in north-central Perry. This neat little area has been adopted by the business women as a continuing project. Thus far they have purchased a teeter-totter, swing set and basketball backboard, plus two sturdy concrete and wood benches, and these things have made the park a more enjoyable place for children as well as adults.

The new playground equipment was made locally by Art Wise in the shop at his home on West Fir, and the benches were purchased from Perry Stone & Statuary on East Fir. Jim Branscum is the owner and artisan there, and he installed the new benches. Another area has been cleared by city park department workers on the same park to make way for a new sand box, in a shaded area near one of the benches. This small park is not far from our house and I know our grandchildren who visit here from Kansas City will be thrilled to see the work that's been going on there. Not to mention the Perry youngsters who enjoy that location on a regular basis.

Back to potholes for just a moment. A chronic problem seems to exist on the west side of the elementary school property in the vicinity of the city's water storage tank. Apparently a culvert was crushed there some time ago and drainage has been impeded. As a result, a large mudhole stands near the area where parents pick up their children after school. Is there some way that could be fixed?

Another drug store that could have been included in my recent column about the depression era was one operated by the Laird brothers, Paul and Carl, on the east side of the square. It was in the middle of the block, south of the Roxy Theatre, near Henry Loeffelholz' barber shop and Billy Reckert's Palace Club. I didn't mention it in my original reflections on this subject the other day because it came and went in a relatively short span, whereas the others were here for a much longer period of time.

Nevertheless, the Laird Drug Store did open here in the mid-1930s, during the depression, and I remember it well. Carl Laird once was a pharmacist at my dad's store, the City Drug. After Carl and Paul closed their own store, Carl was employed at Brownie Drug and Paul took a position with the state highway department.

The Laird family played an important part in the early development of Perry but none of them live here now. Beside Paul and Carl, there were three Laird sisters, Mrs. LeOhea Donley, Mrs. Kathryn McQuiston and Mrs. Marjorie Bowles. Al, the brothers and sisters are now deceased. Their parents, Mr. and Mrs. S. E. Laird, were prominent Noble county citizens and were highly regarded in the early days.

Gov. Keating is getting a lot of pats on the back for his selection of Wes Watkins to head up the state's new international trade program. The former sixth district congressman ran for governor himself as an independent candidate last fall, and even though he finished third in a three-way race he was impressive. In his new role as head of the state's international trade effort he just might seek some advice from his son, Wade, a Perry resident who is in the Ditch Witch international marketing department. He calls regularly on dealers and equipment users in the Far East.

Wade and his new bride, the former Diana Morris, daughter of Roy and Ann Morris, are getting settled in their home here after their marriage last month. Many Perry people got acquainted with the Watkins family during the campaign last year, and I will have to say that all of those that I have met are mighty fine people. So here's another pat on the back, Gov. Keating. You made a good choice.p>

My friend, Brian Anderson, is leaving Perry to return to his hometown, Guymon, as an officer in a bank trust department there. Just as I was getting his name straight, too. Well, Guymon is one of the state's hottest economic spots right now and we wish Brian well in his new career.

Attorney Royce Hobbs has moved his law office from the old Masonic building to the west side of the square, 319 Seventh street, where Brian's Edward D. Jones offices were located until he moved to the Executive Suites building on the north side of the square. No word yet on who will take over the Jones accounts here.