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Chamber honors Youth Center

A record crowd — some 340 members of the business community — turned out Thursday night for the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County’s 68th annual dinner meeting.
Outgoing president Martin F. Bachman chose Furthering Youth Inc. and its Gerdon Youth Center in Corydon to receive the President’s Award for Community Service.
After a brief summary of the movement that led to the organization of the youth group and its fast-forward pace, Bachman congratulated the organizers, volunteers and staff for the youth center’s contribution to the youth of today.
“It’s difficult to measure the success of an operation like the Gerdon Youth Center,” Bachman said. “It is improving the qualify of life one child at a time.”
He presented the award to FYI Youth Council president Tina Whitaker and member Mike Zink, who accepted to cheers and a standing ovation.
An Above and Beyond Award was introduced this year to recognize volunteer service to the Chamber.
Bachman presented the award to Julie Bliss of Corydon, administrative assistant for the Harrison County Community Foundation.
“She is an individual who works behind the scenes at Chamber functions, spending countless hours,” Bachman said. “She is a very enthusiastic team player, and she goes the extra mile to get the job done.”
The Chamber crowd was the largest since 1988, when 308 people attended the event at the new Lobdell-Emery automotive plant in Corydon.
“I think this is fantastic,” Bachman said. “The mission of the Chamber is to improve the quality of life in Harrison County, and the key word is ‘involvement.’
“The Chamber now has over 450 members,” he added. “This is almost unheard of in a county our size.”
Bachman handed the gavel to incoming president Paul Beckort, who spoke of immediate “dreams” for Harrison County.
Those include many plans, including the YMCA, Caesars’ golf course set to open this fall, a possible new location for Harrison County Hospital and a new surgical center, interstate highway intersection studies at Lanesville and Corydon, ground-breaking for Lucas Oil Co., and Harrison County Leadership’s team visioning for the future.
“2002 will be challenging for all of us,” he said.
Chamber director Darrell Voelker credited Sarah Turpin’s organizational skills for the successful turnout.
“I must say, she did an outstanding job,” Voelker said.
“I think it’s because we have gotten active in so many different things and people are showing a greater interest in participating in Chamber events,” said Turpin, vice president of membership and public relations for the Chamber.
The festivities were held in the Colosseum at Caesars Indiana, where a loaded buffet offered a selection of main courses, salads, vegetables, rolls, and tasty desserts.
In his usual caustic but thought-provoking style, keynote speaker Morton J. Marcus had the audience alternately gasping and laughing throughout his talk.
Marcus, executive director of the Indiana Business Research Center, Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, chided Caesars for its black and gold decor (who else but a Purdue fan would notice?), Indiana’s politicians for several reasons, including not having the courage to rescind earlier tax cuts that he said led in part to the disappearance of the state’s budget surplus, the legislature’s plan to shift the tax burden from business to homeowners, and newspapers in general.
“Don’t believe anything you read in the local newspaper except my column,” Marcus said.
One of the most important issues facing Indiana and its counties is land use, he said, urging leaders to take the necessary steps to determine the best way to use land, a non-renewable resource. “You can have responsible development,” he said. “I think that’s a local decision you can make, and you can be deeply involved with.”
Harrison County’s future, 20 to 30 to 40 years from now, depends “very much” on the land use decisions made today.
He also urged elected leaders to think in terms of the future, not the past. For instance, preservation of buildings, he said, is fine for the private sector, but public funds shouldn’t be used for that purpose. Instead, buildings should be constructed to meet the needs of the future, so that people 20 years from now will marvel at the forward-thinking leaders of today.
Workforce development, he said, is important, “but it’s more important to develop a community people want to live in.
“Develop the kind of place you want to live in in the future, not the past,” he said.