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September 3, 1996

If you've been wondering just how effective our new curfew law has proven, listen to this: Burglaries in Perry have declined by 46 percent and vandalism is down by 82 percent, according to Police Chief Fred LeValley. That's definitely good news.

The curfew law was enacted by the mayor and city council late last year at the urging of LeValley and his officers, and they are well pleased with the results. Burglaries and vandalism are never going to disappear completely, but those reductions are welcomed by the whole community.

Speaking to a Rotary club meeting the other day, Officer Wesley Layton was asked about the local drug problem. Specifically, someone wanted to know which drugs are most heavily used by our young people. Mr. Layton replied that alcohol is No. l on the list, followed by marijuana, methamphetamines and crack cocaine. Some may have been surprised to hear that alcohol is regarded as a drug. As a matter of fact, alcohol was not included in news releases about the recent federal report on drug uses among American teenagers.

According to that report, marijuana use among kids ages 12-17 increased 150 percent from 1992 to 1995, and cocaine use jumped 166 percent. Eleven million U.S. teenagers are using drugs. This upsurge occurred after years of decline among American teenagers. Alcohol is addictive and physically harmful. It should be included in the federal report on drugs, but apparently it is not.

Plans are going forward for major improvements to our courthouse square as announced last year. You can't see any of the work being done right now because it's all in the realm of handling preliminary details -- like scale drawings to indicate placement of the new period street lights and the precise width of the new sidewalks.

At a presentation to the Perry Carnegie Library board last week, Street Commissioner Jim Davis estimated construction probably will be starting in March next year. Some of the work may have to be done in the wee small hours of the morning to avoid interference with heavier daytime traffic around the square.

The new street lights will look like those now in use on the YMCA parking lot on south Seventh street. Jim said the lights had been stored for some time in the city's old power generating building in southeast Perry, but vandals broke in and caused a great deal of damage. All the light bulbs were broken along with some of the globes, and other components of the system were totally ruined. The poles have now been moved to a secure storage area to prevent further loss. If you want to see what the new lights look like, one is on display at the Perry Chamber of Commerce office in the Foucart Building. Drop by and check it out.

Dr. Eugene Swearingen, one of our local sons, recently published a new edition of a book he wrote nine years ago, and it's drawing favorable reviews. Titled Success and Beyond: 50 Keys, the book is designed to serve as a guide whether you manage yourself, a corporation or a household, according to a recent piece in The Tulsa World. The article, written by Dean Sims, an author and public relations counselor, calls Dr. Swearingen a "truly great educator." He earned that kind of respect while serving as president of the University of Tulsa, vice president of Oklahoma State University and now professor and chairman of free enterprise at Oral Roberts University. Along the way, he also has been a Boy Scout executive and chairman of the Bank of Oklahoma.

"Like all educators from kindergarten to graduate school, Swearingen makes it clear that he was put on earth to help people improve themselves, and society, through education and its application," the article states. "Swearingen puts plenty of self-motivation messages in this updated edition," the piece continues. Look for the revised version of Success and Beyond next time you're in a book store. The price is $15.