Chamber of commerce honors former president
The Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce had a reason to celebrate at its annual meeting last week the city is growing.
"We had more building permits issued for Tonganoxie in 1999 than in our history," said Pat Albert, Chamber of Commerce outgoing president.
Albert mentioned the year's events, which included the city's recovery from a May 11 tornado, the changeovers of personnel in city administration, including city administrator, city clerk and police chief, and the renovated downtown.
"It's been a very success year for Tonganoxie, and we can look forward to this next year," Albert said.
Albert introduced the night's guest speaker, Harold Stone.
Stone, special projects director for U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, said he drove through Tonganoxie on May 12, the day after the tornado. He praised residents for the subsequent cleanup.
"From that day to today, with the exception of the trees, I wouldn't know you'd had the storm," Stone said.
Stone said there are two basic responsibilities of American government.
"To provide a common defense from enemies and to provide a stable monetary system and national defense," Stone said. "If we don't have the adequate defense, the rest of the responsibility of our government doesn't mean a lot we've got to have adequate defense."
To help the state of Kansas remain strong, Stone said, it's imperative to push toward making an increase in the availability of high-tech jobs in the areas of scientific technology, agriculture and the environment, aviation, biotechnology and energy, information technology and computers and manufacturing.
"The end results can and should be an increase in the high-tech job base in this state so that down the road the young men and young women can stay in this state and we'll not see so many young people leave," Stone said.
He said one way would be to build on the database technology at Fort Leavenworth and couple that with information technology at the University of Kansas and Sprint.
"There's a three-legged triangle of what could be one of the best information technology resource centers in the world," Stone said.
It's up to Kansans to work to promote economic development, Stone said.
"Economic development depends 100 percent on local communities and leadership, without question," Stone said, praising Tonganoxie citizens for working together.
"There is nothing in the world that Washington, D.C., can do for a community that lacks local cooperative leadership," Stone said. "I look around Tonganoxie and it looks like you've got it in pretty good supply."
Following Stone's talk, Bill Grant presented the Citizen of the Year award to Pat Albert.
"He's really put the chamber on the map," Grant said.
Albert serves as a volunteer firefighter, holds a seat on the city council, and acts as a "softball coach extraordinaire," Grant said.
"He's really played an important role in our city," Grant said. "And I haven't seen anyone else who is as involved as Pat."
Albert in turn thanked others for support.
"You don't do anything without the help of everybody else," Albert said. "The chamber is based on what all of you people are doing. It isn't just one person."
The chamber recognized outgoing board member Larry Shepek.
New officers, Bill Grant, president, Kevin Gallagher, vice president, John Evans II, treasurer, and Chris Donnelly, board member, also were installed.