Friday, November 2, 2007

Here's an idea that needs doing ... and the sooner the better.

The suggestion is this: Why not use the face design on the McCook Quasquicentennial throw as the centerpiece for billboards placed on all four highway entrances to McCook?

Yes, we know, there are many, many ideas out there, and all have merit. But, in our opinion, McCook's main claim to fame is that it has produced so many notable statesmen.

It all started with U.S. Congressman and U.S. Senator George W. Norris, who represented Nebraska in the U.S. House and Senate for 40 years. During those four decades, he compiled a record which ranks him among the greatest American legislators of all time. His accomplishments include legislation to create the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). He also spearheaded the drive to create Nebraska's one-house (unicameral) form of government.

Sen. Norris, who was described as the "Gentle Knight of Progressive Ideals" by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the single biggest inspiration to the first three men from McCook who became Nebraska governors: Ralph G. Brooks, Frank B. Morrison and Ben Nelson. And, now, Ben Nelson is serving in the U.S. Senate, using the same desk that Norris once used, and Dave Heineman, also a one-time resident of McCook, is serving as Nebraska's current governor.

Not only that, but McCook also has produced many other outstanding leaders, including Raymond McCarl, who served as America's only Comptroller General, and Gene Budig, who was president of the American League of baseball.

Michelle Lytle and Connie Kleckner did the sketches you see above. Connie did the one of Gov. Brooks, while Michelle drew Sen. (and Gov.) Nelson, Gov. Morrison and Sen. Norris.

The face sketches are reminiscent of Mt. Rushmore, but -- the difference is -- they characterize great leaders from one town in the middle of America: McCook, Nebraska.

You can still buy the McCook leaders' likenesses from the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce. Throws are on sale for $50 and plates are available for $18. They're excellent collectibles.

But we need to do more with Michelle and Connie's sketches. We need to erect them in prominent, permanent places to proclaim McCook as the "Home of Statesmen."

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