The start of a new year ­­— a time to look back over the past year and reflect on the mistakes and successes, while turning forward toward the opportunities of the new year.
The Shawnee community is certainly at that crossroads. It is one of the most important crossroads that the Shawnee community has reached in many years. The community can explode into the new year with optimism and a vision for greater things for the Shawnee community or fall back and stay in the bickering fights and agendas of different factions of this community.
I am an eternal optimist. It is my hope and prayer that the citizens of Shawnee see how close we are to moving into high gear. I hope the different factions will drop agendas and instead, of “me,” it will be what can “we” do to better the Shawnee community.
For the first time in many years, change has occurred at the first of a new year. The Shawnee community has a chance to start with a clean slate. We have a new mayor, several new city commissioners, a new police chief, a new city planner and very soon a new city manager.
The Shawnee Economic Development Foundation has a new chief executive. New people bring new ideas and new visions to the future of Shawnee. The downtown organization is strong and working hard for our city. The Shawnee Convention and Visitor Bureau is in the process of planning a visitor center near I-40. The Shawnee Chamber of Commerce has just completed a fantastic year. Membership is at an all time high along with exceptional membership retention and the chamber is looking forward to an even better performance next year. The chamber is going to concentrate on quality of life issues. This year our motto is  “Our commitment to nurturing a first-class business environment goes beyond strictly business.”  The Shawnee school system has completed the Early Childhood Center and a new gymnasium. The Shawnee airport is in the process of building a new terminal and may be get some stimulus money to improve the runways.
Having said all of the above, let’s all commit to looking forward and vow to help the Shawnee community grow, not only in numbers but also in quality of life.
Editor’s Note: This guest editorial is offered by Ron Hendereson, a member of the News-Star’s editorial advisory board. He also owns and operates Demco Printing in Shawnee The views expressed by our guest editorialists and guest columnists are theirs, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the News-Star’s management.