The Edmond Sun


December 4, 2013

Frederick eyes its future renovation

OKLA. CITY — Terence Malik is an American filmmaker who spent part of his youth in Bartlesville. He is perhaps best known for the critically acclaimed 1978 movie “Days of Heaven” that is set in the Texas Panhandle before the First World War during the harvest season. The late film critic Roger Ebert described “Days of Heaven” as “one of the most beautifully photographed films ever made” and praised Malik for evoking “the loneliness and beauty of the limitless Texas Prairie” Ebert wrote of how the characters in the film appeared to be on a land “to large for its inhabitants” and that they seemed to struggle with the “weight of the land.” And a visitor to Frederick, in Southwestern Oklahoma,  where the land has a topography comparable to the Texas prairie, encounters visual images that are similar to the ones contained in Malik’s movie.

From a distance, the structures in Frederick appear as small as the ones on  model train sets as they sit amidst sprawling fields and limitless skies that seem to be held in places by spackles of white clouds. But unlike the characters in Malik’s movie, the people of Frederick seem to be at peace with their land, and tell visitors of how the wheat fields turn different colors before the harvest season and the thin layer of frost that can be seen in the early morning on the land in the fall. Frederick, which is the county seat of Tillman County, produces wheat, cotton and other agricultural products. In the City of New Orleans there are many one room wide homes that are known as “shotgun houses” because a gun could be fired through the front door and go through every room in the structure.

Recent histories of that city have concluded that the design of those houses was brought to New Orleans from French refugees who fled the Slave Rebellion that took place in Haiti in the late 1700s. There are shotgun houses  found in several residential areas in Frederick, and it is reported that they were moved there from the town of Burkburnett, Texas, in the early decades of the last century by a local businessman. In 1904, a fire destroyed much of downtown Frederick, and the people of that community decided to rebuild it with bricks and mortar to ensure that it survived.   

And those structures, which include the Ramona Theater that is on the Department of the Interior’s list of historic buildings, reflect the architecture of that era. Like the downtowns of many Oklahoma communities, that area was deserted by retailers in the 1960s, and many of the structures there are not currently in use. Architect Ron Frantz, who formerly was part of the Main Street Program operated by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, that works to revitalize downtown areas in Oklahoma communities, has spoken about the architectural heritage embodied in Frederick’s downtown buildings, and the steps that could be taken to renovate and preserve them. And it is possible that the renovation of some of those structures will begin soon.

The Main Street organization plans to implement a new program that will assist communities seeking to reinvigorate their downtown areas but will not include all of the requirements for membership that are found in its current program.

The City of Frederick has indicated that it would like to participate in that  planned undertaking, and recently sent a representative to a regional Main Street gathering that was in Altus. And it is possible that downtown Frederick will be reborn in the 21st century just as it was in the 20th century.

WILLIAM F. O’BRIEN is an Oklahoma City attorney.

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    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

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    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

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    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014

  • The pessimist’s guide to grizzly bears and Earth Day

    This coming Friday, to “celebrate Earth Day,” the Walt Disney Co. will release one of those cutesy, fun-for-all-ages, nature documentaries. “Bears” is about grizzly bears.
    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
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    April 15, 2014

  • Los Angeles Times: Congress extend jobless benefits again

    How’s this for irony: Having allowed federal unemployment benefits to run out in December, some lawmakers are balking at a bill to renew them retroactively because it might be hard to figure out who should receive them. Congress made this task far harder than it should have been, but the technical challenges aren’t insurmountable. Lawmakers should restore the benefits now and leave them in place until the unemployment rate reaches a more reasonable level.

    April 14, 2014

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    Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yoram Ettinger recently spoke to a gathering at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City. The event began with a presentation by Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, who told the attendee that the  upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover was an occasion for them to embrace the children of God, which is all of humanity.

    April 14, 2014

  • Coming soon: More ways to get to know your doctor

    Last week, the federal government released a massive database capable of providing patients with much more information about their doctors.
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs Medicare, is posting on its website detailed information about how many visits and procedures individual health professionals billed the program for in 2012, and how much they were paid.
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    April 14, 2014

  • HEY HINK: Hateful bullies attempt to muffle free speech

    Hopefully we agree it should be a fundamental right to voice criticism of any religion you wish. And you should have the right to sing the praises of any religion you choose. If criticism of religion is unjust, feel free to make your best argument to prove it. If criticism is just, don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace it. If songs of praise are merited, feel free to join in. If not, feel free to ignore them. But no American should participate in curbing free speech just because expression of religious views makes someone uncomfortable.

    April 11, 2014


Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

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