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May 13, 1996

Here's a music alert for all you lovers of that wonderful big band sound: Sandy Hentges has loaded up the program for Tuesday night's jazz band concert with some classic arrangements reminiscent of Glenn Miller, Harry James, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and others. It all starts at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. This is one you don't want to miss. Attire will be casual.

A town that doesn't grow becomes stagnant and dies. That's why last week's news about some major happenings on Perry's horizon should excite all of us who call this area our home. Perry Memorial Hospital's proposal for expansion and new construction stirs the imagination with its portent of improved health care facilities for this community. Perry and Noble county residents have shown their concern and support in that area for years. Now it's time to take another step forward in a reasonably painless way. More on this subject will be forthcoming as time goes on.

And thanks to a joint effort by several elements of this community, Perry has been awarded an $80,000 grant for a cutting edge telecommunications center. Only 33 of these will be located in Oklahoma. The successful effort to bring the center here was a model of community cooperation. Working on the project were the Perry Development Coalition, the city school system, Perry Carnegie Library, the county assessor's office, the city of Perry and the Noble county OSU extension service agents. Thanks to them, and to other individuals who were called on for assistance and advice, Perry young people and adults will have access to a network linking school districts, vo-tech districts, universities, state agencies and local government through a fiber optic web capable of transmitting both video and audio messages.

The heart of the center will be located at Perry Carnegie Library and it will be available to the public. Equipment sites also are planned at Perry high, mid-high, middle and elementary schools, plus the assessor's office and the OSU extension center. Perry will be a local gateway to the information superhighway as a result of this grant. We owe a big thank you to all those who made it possible.

Other things are going on here. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has just awarded a $1.8 million contract for the resurfacing of a seven-mile section of U.S. 64/412 from the Garfield/Noble county line east to I-35. Frequent travelers along that stretch of highway can attest to the need. Work will be started in a month or so and the job will be finished in about six and a half months.

Speaking of road projects, Noble county is in line for a total of something like $5.5 million in highway improvements over a five-year period, if the legislature provides funding. The U.S. 64 rehabilitation in western Noble county is part of the overall plan. The complete list was detailed in this newspaper last week.

Several new businesses have just been formally welcomed to the Perry area by the Chamber of Commerce. These include CeAnna Leslie's Kozy Kountry Crafts on the south side of the square, Mike Price's new Total Service Station on Fir avenue, and Glenda and Ted Riddle's Homestead Bed & Breakfast north of Perry near the intersection of U.S. 77 and SH 15. Best wishes to all of them.

Congratulations to Carl Hamm upon his induction into the Oklahoma Bankers Association 50-year club. Carl looks too young for such an honor. Besides his career in banking, Carl earned a reputation as a tough but fair-minded member of the Oklahoma pardon and parole board over a period of several years' service. He is a valuable member of this community.

Faye O'Dell, former Perry high school football coach, athletic director and counselor, was presented the Distinguished American Award last week by the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Football Foundation. A more worthy recipient you could not find. Faye has been a motivator and an inspiration to young men of this state for many years. He was introduced at the presentation dinner last week by former OCU basketball coach Abe Lemons, who received the award last year. Abe and Faye both are battling Parkinson's disease. The award was presented at the 12th annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Dinner in Oklahoma City, when 25 graduating high school seniors from throughout the state were honored for their achievements on the football field and in the classroom. One of the 25 honorees was Evan Luttrell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Luttrell of Midwest City. Mrs. Luttrell (Cindy) is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gene Dauman of Perry; Bill is the son of Mrs. Edna Luttrell and the late Gene Luttrell of this city. Evan will be attending Southwestern Oklahoma State next fall.

Surviving members of the University of Oklahoma medical school class of 1941 held a reunion last weekend in Oklahoma City. Of the original 58-member class, 25 are still living, and among them is Dr. Edwin Fair of Perry. Classmates are scattered to Florida, Alaska and Hawaii, but their advancing years has served to bring them closer together, Dr. Fair said. Many of them, like Dr. Fair, are battling major health problems of their own. Dr. Fair was Oklahoma's first thoracic surgeon before his health forced a change of specialities to psychiatry. He practiced in Ponca City for 35 years but moved to Perry after marrying the former Gloria Bluethman. The Fairs are two of our favorite people.