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May 14, 2002

If the proposed new county jail becomes a reality, letís hope it wonít be built in the courthouse park. For more than a century, local folks have worked hard to preserve the beauty of that green space in the downtown area and all of us can be rightfully proud of it. Placing a jail building anywhere in the park would seem to be almost a sacrilege. Please, letís find another location for the jail.

Laura and I tagged along with a group from the Noble County Family YMCA the other day for a trip to Norman. Our primary sites were the fantastic Oklahoma Museum of Natural History on the University of Oklahoma campus and the Crucible Gallery and Foundry, a privately operated business in downtown Norman. The museum was endowed principally by the Samuel Noble family and it is truly something to see. Dinosaurs and other critters from the pre-Ice Age era are shown in skeletal stages, and their relationship to modern times was carefully explained by our guide, with the help of information posted at each location. The museum also has a pleasant deli for lunch and a gift shop with items relating to the history of this state, dating back millions of years.

The Crucible Foundry also includes a sculpture garden with notable examples from the hands of artists and the firmís workshop. Incidentally, the foundry is in the historic Carey Lumber building which also served as a cotton gin at one time. While we were there, secrecy shrouded the heroic bronze statue created by State Sen. Kelly Haney to top the dome now being added to the state Capitol in Oklahoma City. Because of that, we were not able to tour the foundry itself, but peeking through some small windows we managed to get an idea of that part of the business. All in all, it was a day well spent with a group of friends from our local Y.

It was good to see Travis Brorsen here for a few days last week while he was in town for a short visit. Since he earned his degree at mid-term last year from Oklahoma State University, Travis has been trying his luck as an actor in the Los Angeles area and he has made some key contacts. If training, talent and a winning personality have anything to do with it, he should make the grade. You also can catch him locally as the TV pitchman for one of Jack Griffithís stations on west Fir. Travis is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Verl Brorsen. Good luck to him.

Congratulations to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for starting the exterior improvement on the east side of their two-story building on the north side of the square. It is one of the old Triton Insurance Co. buildings. The IOOF now has its state headquarters in that historic building. The huge Oklahoma map painted on the east exterior wall has been fading badly for some time, and chunks of the stucco-like plaster covering the wall have been breaking off. New covering has been applied to the wall where needed and the map will be renovated to show the various land run areas in Oklahoma. Naturally, our own Cherokee Outlet graces the top of the map. Many visitors have commented favorably on this king-size state map.

The street on Fir avenue between 7th and 8th streets has a new surface. Thatís nice, but does anyone else think it now feels like driving over a block-long chatter bar?