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January 2, 1998

A couple of statistical studies made the news in a low-scale way the other day, and I found them mildly interesting. One of them dealt with the amazing and continuing growth of Edmond as a burgeoning suburb on Oklahoma City's north side. The two cities now share a common border and the general area between them is being converted from farm land and patches of blackjacks into possibly the fastest-growing residential and business developments in the state. That's not really news, but get this: Edmond's economy is growing at a 9 percent annual rate. In 1975 retail sales there amounted to $52 million; this year the total will exceed $592 million.

There's more. Edmond had a population of less than 35,000 in 1980, compared with nearly 68,000 today. The projection for the next decade is 100,000. Those figures are phenomenal, but here's one comparison the study failed to include: In the late 1940s, Perry High School was still scheduling football games with Edmond High School to start the season because Edmond was considerably smaller than Perry and the Maroons usually won easily. Today Edmond has three high schools and all of them are in classes higher than Perry's because of their much larger enrollment. Yes, that was approximately 50 years ago, but at that time no one could have predicted the flight of thousands of Oklahoma City residents to their much smaller neighbor on the north. We don't try to schedule them in football nowadays.

Another survey showed the musical preferences of Americans as determined by a nationally distributed trade magazine. Their findings were based on the number of radio stations with various kinds of program formats. In all, the U.S. has 10,351 commercial stations. Next in line were 1,508 stations which play adult contemporary music. The survey noted that "adult contemporary" is becoming an increasingly nebulous term. (I think of it as background music.) Third in popularity was the news/talk/sports/business format, with 1,331 stations choosing that for their programming. Religious stations, with a total of 1,063, came in fourth. Fifth place went to stations playing oldies and classic hits, and I guess that includes my favorite, the big band sounds of the 1930s and 1940s. Some 927 stations offer that format.

I have no special comment to offer on all this, except to wistfully wish that more listeners opted for my kind of music so that more stations would feature it. And as an aside to my friends, I recently discovered AM-1280 which plays some wonderful selections with an actual "live" disc jockey person introducing each number and sometimes providing an interesting commentary. You may want to tune in.

A recent Gallup poll showed that pharmacists are the most respected professionals in the U.S. these days. Car salesmen were at the other extreme, and journalists were somewhere near the middle. I don't know if anyone from Perry had a chance to participate in that poll, so I don't think the results necessarily reflect the opinions of those from this part of the heartland of America. Small towners, which is what we are, tend to grade by a different set of standards based on our more intimate knowledge of the ethics and morality of those who serve us, and our criteria might not be the same as those of folks in the big cities. I guess we know each other pretty well and thus we would not use the same grade cards as our friends in the various metropolises surveyed by the Gallup pollsters. I think we would still give our pharmacists high marks, but I'm not sure we would agree with all of the results the poll provided.

Somebody was asking the other day for the year our Santa Fe depot on East Delaware was built. At the time I had no information on the subject and I was told that the Burlington Northern line, which now owns the old Santa Fe tracks and its real estate, could not answer the question. Since then I've come across an old copy of The Perry Republican which states the station was built in 1913. I hope the inquirer is reading this.