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April 16, 2002

Let’s clean up some of the miscellaneous notes that have been accumulating in recent weeks. For one thing, I’ve been salivating excitedly about our town’s soon-to-be-operational Community Access Television channel. Can’t you just imagine how interesting life is going to be when that service, with all its possibilities, becomes available? (That assumes we will not have a Perry version of the asinine “Wayne’s World.”) Congratulations to city council member Jill Zimmer for getting this project off high center, where it has been perched for quite a while. I like the mission statement adopted by Perry Information Network, Inc. or “PIN” for short. Here it is: “PIN provides communication and freedom of expression to everyone through public access telecommunication for the Perry community.” Sounds like we’re headed in the right direction. Welcome to the 21st century.

The death of Margaret Dickson the other day came as a shock, even though I know her health had been precariously frail for quite some time, extending over a period of many years. I remember when she came to Perry after graduation from Red Rock high school, and then became an employee of the Exchange Bank. She was always cheerful and upbeat, even after her health began to fail. I haven’t known many people with such a bright outlook as hers in the face of the same kind of odds. The crowd of family and friends at her funeral was a testimony by this community to the high esteem in which she was held. Our condolences to Margaret’s family.

It appears we’ve been having a small epidemic of broken windows on large, street level buildings in the business district. You probably have noticed the plywood sheets covering buildings where large panes of glass have been struck and damaged. Some of the shopkeepers who have been victimized tell me that small steel ball bearings seem to have been used in devices like slingshots to break or crack the panes. Like all kinds of vandalism, this is senseless and malicious, and not the kind of thing you expect to see in Perry. Let’s hope the fad has run its course.

You may have read in this paper the other day about my nephew, Leigh Frederick Wade, who has just written his fourth book. The title is Careers in Private Security; How to Get Started, How to Get Ahead. The book is published by Paladin Press, and needless to say I’m very proud of Leigh. His three previous books were based on his experiences with the Army’s Special Forces during five tours of duty in Vietnam. Paladin has selected him as “author of the month” for April, and an interview with him is now on the internet. Leigh and his family lived in Perry several times during the 1940s and 1950s. He and his son, Thomas Frederick Wade, now live in Tucson, AZ, but Thomas is about to become a Military Policeman in the Army. Leigh’s mother, the late Jeanice Wade, was my big sister.

Guess you know Perry Rotarians are bringing the celebrated team of Burns Hargis and Mike Turpen to this little city on May 24 to help celebrate the local club’s 75th anniversary. Those two guys are very outspoken and witty on current topics and they have developed a large following through their TV appearances on “Flash Point.” If you want to see them in person, contact any Rotarian for tickets.

Last-minute reminder: The annual Progress Club benefit coffee to aid the Perry Carnegie Library will start at 9 a.m. Wednesday on the main floor of the library. Coffee and some goodies will be served, and at 10 a.m. Perry high school state speech contestants will speak. It’s a worthwhile event. We should all be there.