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March 8, 1995

Bart Brorsen, one of Noble county's outstanding farmers, became familiar with bureaucratic ways during his years as state director of the ASCS (Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service), an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He left that position with the advent of the Bill Clinton administration. Since his departure, the ASCS has been renamed "Consolidated Farm Service Agency," or CFSA, and other Agriculture Departments have been similarly renamed. In recognition of the current trend toward a more modern phraseology, Bart has started giving new names to his farm tools. For example, his post hole digger is now a "vertical excavator." It's good to see that the Will Rogers-esque Brorsen sense of humor remains intact. Bart was a mighty good director of the state ASCS, too.

Whatever the outcome may be in the U.S. attempt to bail out Mexico's struggling economy, the situation will be watched with great interest in this area. NAFTA has inspired a new awareness of I-35's vital relationship to the entire country, and we here in Perry are practically sitting astride that important highway.

What does that mean? Well, Larry Tipps, a 1964 Billings high school graduate, now serves as executive director of NODA, the Northern Oklahoma Development Association, with headquarters in Enid. He recently told members of the Perry Chamber of Commerce that our close proximity to I-35 is again proving extremely favorable. A 35 percent increase in truck traffic has been tallied on that major north-south artery since Congress approved NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Freight haulers are shuttling goods and raw materials into and out of Mexico at a steadily increasing rate. As a result, an effort is being made to have I-35 designated a "corridor" route, which would qualify it for special consideration in upgrading, maintenance and in other ways.

Larry told the chamber that trucks are frequently reported lined up five miles deep at U.S. borders, awaiting inspection clearance for entry into Mexico or the U.S. Mayor Bud Hollingsworth personally confirmed the veracity of that report after a recent first-hand look at one of the border crossing points. He added that the trucks were three abreast in the line that he saw. Freight volume like that through this area surely makes Perry strategically well situated, especially when you add our close proximity to the east-west Cimarron Turnpike. Something good should come from all that.

Incidentally, the quarterly Chamber of Commerce luncheon where Tipps spoke was sparsely attended. Surely we have more people than that interested in supporting the positive things in our community. Exciting developments are now taking place and others are in the mill for this community. Write yourself a memo now and be sure to attend the next of these functions when the time, place and speaker are announced. Look for it during the first two weeks of. May.

How about a pat on the back for one of those organizations working to improve the looks of some of the vacant buildings around the square. A good example is being set by Delta Theta chapter of Beta Sigma Phi with their bright and artful displays in a building on the west side of the square.

Others interested in joining this program can contact the Perry Development Coalition at 336-1212 for details. It's all part of the general renewal effort being encouraged by the Coalition's hard-working City Beautification Committee. Other organizations are welcome to emulate the Delta Theta chapter's example. You and your club also can adopt a window and help dress up the square. A little imagination and creativity can turn some of those empty spaces into eye-catching and interesting displays.