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May 6, 1995

You see a lot of things being done to stir the pot in and around Perry these days. Many homes are being spruced up and we're about to welcome back the Dollar General Store in the old Safeway-Otasco-Salvation Army Thrift Store building on Seventh street, just off the northwest corner of the square. Some other interests also were vying for that building, so most likely they'll be setting up shop elsewhere around town in days to come. Les Horner's new Apple Market in the old Homeland location at Seventh and Fir and the C. R. & Co. store in Perry Plaza also promise to be bright new additions to the community. Neal's Place, a family fun center, and Second Time Around Upholstery, both operated by Butch and Sandy Ellis, opened just a few days ago in a previously vacant building on the north side of the square. I'm probably overlooking some others.

The folks at the Charles Machine Works, Inc. are completing another addition to the Ditch Witch factory with a greatly enlarged shop area for the product development center where research and development are constantly underway, along with design improvements on existing products.

In the residential area, Don Brengle's house on Seventh street has just been repainted and new white vinyl siding has been installed. The house on the north side of Don, where Elmer and Minnie Davis once lived, also has new vinyl siding, and the house on the south side, where Don's late grandfather, pioneer Dr. D. D. Brengle, once had an office, was brightened with a new exterior paint job a few months ago. So, the entire half block now looks shiny and well cared for as a result of all this.

Up the street from there, Helen Irwin also has had some exterior painting done on her house. A major improvement has been completed at the Dave Williams home on North Brookwood Drive with the addition of a very attractive brick veneer. In the 600 block on Jackson street, Ed and Betty Felts have maintained a Victorian architectural flavor while renovating their charming white frame home, which once was the residence of Dr. and Mrs. A. C. Lamb and son, Charles. My indefatigable neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Otis Shelley, have just repainted the trim on their attractive home across the street from us. East of there, on North Tenth street, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Shahan have changed the color of the trim on their comfortable gray brick home from black to white, with a very nice result.

Mike and Glenda Smith on North Seventh street have converted a flat, three-foot slab of shale stone into a unique stand for their curbside mailbox. It has a hollowed out space in the middle to let the Oklahoma wind sail through.

Out east of town on U.S. 64, George and Jo McGuire have been very busy since last August with a major makeover of an older two story frame farm house. Originally a 900-square foot home, it has been enlarged to about 1,900 square feet of living space. A front porch spreads across the front, new windows have been installed, and white siding replaces the dark, natural finish previously covering the original portion. It is a really neat looking traditional style, which happens to appeal to me. Interior work is still going on, but the exterior portion has been finished. You should drive out that way to view their home one of these fine spring evenings. Chip Yerbic, a grandson of Mrs. Chet Speer, did the remodeling work.

The McGuires also have several head of Texas Longhorn cattle for breeding stock on their property. The animals were moved here from Arizona where lack of water and pasture were threatening their survival. George is a product manager for the Subsite division of the Charles Machine Works in Perry. He and his wife, Jo, and their five children moved here from Dallas about two years ago, but both of his grandfathers made the Cherokee Strip run in 1893 and he has deep roots here.

Of course you know this is just a sampling of the kind of work going on all over town and in the surrounding area, showing the keen pride of ownership in our community. Numerous others could be listed if I just knew all of them.

In the downtown area, Mike and Janet Shannon have had the wraparound neon sign above the awning at the Foster Corner Drug Store completely rebuilt so that it now glows once again as brightly as it did years ago. It's not easy these days to find people who work on neon signs, so congratulations to the Shannons for getting it done. They are among the most enthusiastic supporters of the Main Street revitalization program just getting cranked up here.

Out at Perry Plaza, the Daylight Donut Shop has replaced a mobile marquee with an attractive new pole-mounted sign which is a definite improvement in that vicinity and one that merits commendation. Downtown, the Old South coffee shop on the south side of the square is trying extended hours and an expanded menu to serve its patrons.

Many other homes and businesses around town are doing things to make our little city even better than it is. The Beautification Committee of the Perry Development Coalition welcomes such projects and encourages other property owners to undertake them on their own initiative. We mustn't sit back and wait for the committee to do it all. That's neither their job nor their purpose. Their manpower is extremely limited and it was never intended that the committee members should do all the work themselves. They merely serve as a catalyst for spurring each of us into action and inspiring us to get with the program. Look around your neighborhood or your own house and see if there aren't some things to be done to improve appearances. One bad spot can spoil an entire block. Show the world you're glad to be a resident of Perry.

The people of this town are rightfully proud of our pioneer founders and frontier heritage, but at the same time we are a truly forward-looking, progressive city, with an agenda of things to be done as we march toward the next century. If everybody works at it, we'll make it there just fine.