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February 10, 2004

Seems to me there are too many award shows on television. I mean, when this time of year rolls around we've already had the Grammys, Golden Globes and some other less publicized shows, like the Screen Actors Guild awards. The Oscars, which most people regard as the Holy Grail of the performers' art, are yet to come but loud huzzahs attended the recent announcement of nominations, accompanied by great fanfare and the beams of make-believes Klieg lights.

These things are as disappointing as the Presidential debates, or is it the other way around? Only a few really care. And, will someone please explain to me how a well-crafted show like Law and Order can be left off the list of nominations while a bunch of cheap and cheesy rip-offs win major prizes. See, I'm about ready to name my own prize winners, but I don't think you'll be reading about them on the Entertainment Pages. For one thing, there would be no performers like Janet Jackson to liven things up.

There was just a touch of deja vu the other night as our city councillors debated some of their priorities. One issue concerned a cleanup to beautify the city. Another was all about street projects. In a 1980 survey, citizens declared a "cleaner community" was one of the city's principal needs. Since then city officials, the Chamber of Commerce, Perry Main Street and others have worked hard to achieve that goal. It's an annual project involving many people.

Another No. 1 topic in the 1980 survey was the need for a movie theater in Perry. The council has no bargaining chips to bring movies back to town, but a general cleanup can be handled with the council and the public working in tandem. It may take more than one day to complete. Should the council focus on new streets for residences inside the city limits or the additions just outside the boundaries? Both sides have their merits, but it brought to mind a similar discussion 'way back there in January of 1981.

The starting point at that time was similar. In the latter part of 1980, the Chamber of Commerce had just conducted a public opinion survey to determine citizens' concern for the continued growth of this little city. The survey showed that most folks believed steps should be taken to beautify Perry by holding a methodical cleanup of eyesores and other trash. The other top, priority dealt with bringing movies back to town.

The council has no obvious chips to play in luring a motion picture theater to Perry, but they do have the power and authority to clean up the surroundings. That survey was conducted about a quarter century ago. If the same survey were to be conducted now, what are the odds that the top topics would still be the same?