The Edmond Sun


January 28, 2014

Perry polishing up downtown

Perry — In the British capital of London, small blue plaques adorn many structures  where prominent people once lived. Those plaques tell visitors where diverse figures including Sir Thomas More, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and American guitarist Jimi Hendrix resided in London.

Travelers who come to Perry have a somewhat similar experience as they encounter signs on buildings that on the town square that tell of the  structure’s origins and history. Those signs were put in place by the Perry Main Street organization.  

It would seem that the plaque that adorns the Kumback Café in Perry probably gets the most attention from travelers due to the fame of that eatery. The Kumback, which has been in continuous operation since 1926, has hosted people such as bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd, former Gov. Henry Bellmon and more recently New York Times columnist Roger Cohen. Its walls are festooned with memorabilia from Perry’s past. Generations of Perry High School’s athletes — especially it’s wrestlers — smile down on the Kumback’s patrons in photos from yearbooks and newspapers as waitresses deliver plates of food and pour steaming coffee into cups.

Listeners to the National Public Radio presentation, “The Splendid Table” were told of the Kumback’s charm and good food several years ago after two traveling food critics devoted a segment to it. It has also been featured on travel segments on Oklahoma City and Tulsa television stations .

Alert visitors may become alarmed when they notice what appears to be three gunslingers   looking down at them from the second-floor windows in a building that is adjacent to the Kumback. But a closer examination will reveal that they are in fact cardboard cutouts of gunslingers and are only decorative in nature.     

The notation on one stately red brick building with a circular window that resembles a porthole tells of how it was designed by pioneer architect Joseph Foucart. That structure is now on the List of Historic Buildings that is maintained by the U.S. Department of the Interior and is also featured on several websites that are devoted to historic buildings with unique architecture.  

Architect Ron Frantz of the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture has spoken of how circular windows were one of Foucart’s trademarks and are found on both commercial and residential buildings that he designed in Perry and Guthrie. The plaque located on one building that was at one time a blacksmith shop tells of how its owners, the Malzahn Brothers, went on to found the Charles Machine Works. That entity is also known as “Ditch Witch” and is in operation around the world and is Perry’s largest employer.  

Some of the downtown Perry buildings whose facades have been refurbished by  volunteers under the auspices of the local Main Street association are now home to new businesses. Several of those that are still vacant, whose second floor windows were adorned with swirls of frost on one recent gray morning, appear to be waiting patiently to be called into service once again.

William F. O’Brien is an Oklahoma City attorney.

Text Only
  • Welfare state grows as self-sufficiency declines

    For the past 50 years, the government’s annual poverty rate has hardly changed at all. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of Americans still live in poverty, roughly the same rate as the mid-1960s when the War on Poverty was just starting.
    After adjusting for inflation, federal and state welfare spending today is 16 times greater than it was when President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty. If converted into cash, current means-tested spending is five times the amount needed to eliminate all official poverty in the U.S.
    How can the government spend so much while poverty remains unchanged? The answer is simple: The Census Bureau’s “poverty” figures are woefully incomplete.

    August 1, 2014

  • Let laughter reign in Turkey

    This week, Bulent Arinc, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, verbally chastised Turkish women for laughing in public. Before we take a closer look at these remarks — in the interest of full disclosure — I need to confess a personal bias. I love to hear my wife’s laughter. Sometimes, when I review the day’s highlights, the most pleasant thing that comes to mind is her laugh — it’s frequent, genuine, pleasantly-pitched, melodious, appropriately timed, infectious and charming.

    August 1, 2014

  • Is English getting dissed?

    Is the English language being massacred by the young, the linguistically untidy and anyone who uses the Internet? Absolutely.
    Is that anything new? Hardly.
    Many words and expressions in common parlance today would have raised the hackles of language scolds in the not-so-distant past. For evidence, let’s look at some examples from recent newspaper articles.

    July 31, 2014

  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014


The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
     View Results