McCOOK, Nebraska -- McCook's civic, tourism and historical officials will gather Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, to discuss how best to tell the world about McCook's most famous citizen, George William Norris.
The gathering, which is being hailed as the "Norris Summit," will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on the second Friday of January in the Keystone Business Center banquet room. Since January weather is unpredictable, a snow date of Friday, Jan. 18, has also been arranged.
Meeting in special session Tuesday evening at the Ben Hormel Business Center at McCook Community College, Norris Institute members gave Cloyd Clark the go-ahead to spearhead the planning and presentation of the Norris session.
The summit was inspired by Mike Smith, the president of the Nebraska State Historical Society. After meeting with Norris Foundation and High Plains Historical Society members in August, Smith declared:
"My personal view is that Sen. George Norris -- in his vision, leadership, courage, and ability to work across the political spectrum -- is very much a man that today's people should learn about and emulate." Smith added: "We want to assure you that we remain committed to telling his story and highlighting the lessons that he taught us concerning civic life, governing and doing good for the people."
Norris, who moved to McCook from Beaver City to serve as the district judge, went on to serve for 40 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Norris is heralded as the legislative leader for the Rural Electrification Administration and the Tennessee Valley Authority, and as one of the leading advocates of the non-partisan Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.
Ideas for telling the Norris story in exciting ways will be explored at the Jan. 11 summit, with an REA eternal light display among the possibilities. The Norris brainstorming session will also look at ways to:
* Galvanize support for the Norris Home;
* Identify partners for funding and promotion; and:
* Develop a partnership with the Nebraska Historical Society.
"We want all of McCook's core groups at the table," Clark said, with plans to extend invitations to the Norris House staff and board members; the Norris Institute; the Norris Foundation; the High Plains Historical Society; the Heritage Square Committee; the Red Willow County Visitors Bureau; the Downtown Planning group; the McCook Planning Commission; the McCook City Council; the Red Willow County Commission; the McCook Chamber of Commerce; and the McCook Economic Development Corp.
"In the months to come we will be seeking support for the Norris effort from throughout the state and nation," Clark said, "but we feel it's important to start the initiative here at home. That's the reason for the Jan. 11 Summit and for our determination to let everyone know about one of the great legislators in American history: George W. Norris."