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February 3, 1996

Disregard the current lousy weather. Baseball season is rushing this way headlong, and that means we may soon joyfully start immersing ourselves in yet another sport. Forget the recent combat of gridiron gladiators. Soon we'll be preoccupied with daily reports and images of summer heroes from the spring training camps. We'll listen for all the news about favorite players and teams and try to make sense of the early flood of statistical data. Looks like we may even have a complete season this year.

Some folks will be engrossed in baseball at other levels -- the collegians, high schools, American Legion teams, and, of course, the myriad pee-wee baseballers who battle just as furiously as their big league counterparts.

Word that the state AAA Legion tournament has been awarded to Perry this summer is good news and should stimulate even greater interest in schoolboy baseball here. The tournament will give us a chance to show off the excellent facilities at Joe Ripley Field, our brand new baseball park with its underground sprinkler system, sparkling green playing field, covered bleachers, and all the other classy things located there.

Perry will be entertaining hundreds of visitors when the Legion tournament time rolls around, and it will cost a few bucks to put that show on the road. In due time, an appeal will be made for funds to finance the tournament. If you're a baseball fan and/or a Perry booster, be ready to respond when the call comes. In the meantime, let the games begin everywhere!

Phil Albertson has a suggestion he believes would improve the flow of traffic around our downtown square. For several weeks traffic signals on the east side of the square have only been flashing red because the city is unable to find a replacement part and we're told there's nothing in the budget for new signals. The flashing light means ALL traffic must come to a halt at the intersection, then proceed cautiously ahead. So far, no fender benders have been reported. Pedestrians have to be aware of traffic movement from all directions as they dart across the street.

Over the weekend the signal lights at Sixth and Fir also were reduced to flashing red and so those battered barrels with stop signs mounted on them were rolled out again. Not exactly the positive image we like to project for visitors.

Phil suggests the city consider a system at each corner of the square like one commonly seen in England, Australia, many European countries and often in the U.S. It's called a "roundabout" in Europe, but we know it in this country as a traffic circle. There used to be one in Oklahoma City at the intersection of Classen and Northwest Highway. Lanes were clearly marked for through traffic and for vehicles wishing to make a turn around a central hub of some kind, and no other traffic signals were required. Motorists would need a short spell to understand the rules, but eventually they would manage and then we would no longer have to worry about hard to find parts for our traffic lights. Think it's worth a try? Or what other possible solutions do you have? Let us hear about them.