Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
That was quite a snow we had last Sunday…it was the day our family was all together to celebrate Christmas as well…so it had the feel of a Christmas snow – especially to the kids. They were all excited when they woke up and snow was covering the ground outside…some things never change however. After spending 15 minutes getting them geared up with hats, coats and mittens they played outside for 5 minutes. It was too bitter cold…especially with the allure of presents and grandma’s pancakes in the house. Still, it added to the atmosphere to have Christmas music playing and big snowflakes falling outside. 
 
That afternoon it was fun to sit in a warm house and watch the Chiefs play in the accumulating snow…I spent many years feeding cattle, caring for calves and milking in weather like that. Sitting inside with a good football game was very satisfying. Good job to city and county crews…they didn’t get to sit inside. Here are a couple of pictures of our local city workers cleaning the roads so everyone could resume their travel Monday morning. thank you to City and County crews for keeping us safe and moving.
 
Ottawa Christmas Parade:
 
It was chilly and windy last Saturday for Ottawa’s annual Christmas parade but there was still a good turnout…kids anxious to get candy and see Santa Claus. The Ottawa Library served hot chocolate at Haley Park along with Christmas cookies which Cherry’s culinary classes had baked for the event. KOFO broadcast live from the corner of 2nd and Main Streets. There were over 30 entries in the parade this year…largest parade in several years. Here are pictures of some of the entries…the theme was A Christmas Legacy. Diane and Bud Ransom had the winning entry. We had 5 of our grandkids at the parade…here are the cold snapshots. It was a good job by Ottawa Main Street Association to organize the festive holiday event…all kids had an awesome time.      
 
Raffle Drawing:
 
After the parade about 50 gathered to see if they would be driving the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado from Beckman Motors…also in play were other great prizes. To keep the drawing completely fair, we had Santa Claus do the honors of pulling the names from the ticket wheel. The first ticket drawn was for the truck and that ticket was sealed in an envelope to be opened last. The first prize announced was the $1,000.00 cash prize donated by Onward Ottawa – Jerry Thompson won the cash prize. Second drawing was the gun (donated by The Gun Guys) paired with the gun safe (donated by Orscheln’s Farm and Home) won by Kristie Poe. Third ticket pulled was for the barbeque grill donated by Trendel Lumber and…wouldn’t you know – Jerry Thompson’s name was pulled again. Lonnie King was the winner of the large Yeti cooler donated by Rod and Pam Harris. After the smaller prizes were revealed, the envelope was opened for the truck and the Bob Hayden family was the winner (pictures here)…Bob and Pat are giving the truck to their daughter Brenda who also bought tickets in the raffle. Congratulations to all the winners…this project and your support and the support of the prize donors helped us raise several thousand dollars for Legacy Square. Oh…and the lucky Jerry Thompson – he is donating the grill back to us to sell at the Chamber Annual Banquet. Thanks to all who bought tickets…your support means a lot (sorry everyone couldn’t win)!
 
Santa at the Bank:
 
I stopped in Kansas State Bank last Friday to do the end-of-week banking and, lo and behold, Santa was in the bank…here are a couple of pictures. KOFO was also in the bank broadcasting live, but the most interesting scene was Bank President Roger Maxwell. Roger was wearing a special Christmas suit…I didn’t think anyone could upstage Santa Claus but Roger was coming close. Still…Santa was the bigger attraction and kids were all smiles. Spoiler alert…this Santa might moonlight at the Ottawa Fire Department and could be the Chief (initials TM)!
 
Ottawa Main Street Association:
 
The Ottawa Main Street Association (OMSA) is undergoing a huge reorganization which is going to be very positive for Ottawa and particularly downtown. This week the final presentation was made and approved by the Ottawa City Commission (picture here) to receive funding in 2020…part of the presentation involves partnering with the Chamber. The Commission expressed confidence and praise for the pairing of 2 major community partners. This is a natural coupling and will greatly benefit the community. The goal going forward is to hire a Main Street Director which will promote Main Street but also be in charge of promoting Legacy Square and cultivating events which can and will take place in the downtown. Stay tuned for more good news on this partnership going into 2020.
 
Kansas Dept. of Commerce:
 
I spent most of Thursday in Topeka at the Kansas Department of Commerce…I serve as chair of the Area II Workforce Development Board. The chairs from each of the 5 area boards convene quarterly in Topeka to get updates and hear from Secretary Toland. Commerce is gearing up (as is all Topeka) for the start of the 2020 Legislative Session on January 13…but more importantly they are working on a strategic plan to lead Kansas to once again be a top economic development state in the country. The plan is called “Framework for Growth” and is delving into 4 major calculated areas:
  • Kansas needs to win the talent war (keep our best and brightest here)
  • Build an innovation ecosystem
  • Invent a Rural Playbook to improve infrastructure and jobs in rural communities
  • Promote place-making & livability
The planning is being led by the McKinsey Consulting Firm and is the first strategic plan produced by Commerce since 1986…it is well past time to reevaluate how we do economic development and best ways forward for Kansas. I’ll keep you posted going on progress.
 
Edward D. Jones – Jason Berve:
 
Jason hosted Chamber members at his Edward Jones business at 1st & Main Street this morning (pictures here). Edward Jones financial advisers want to understand what’s most important to you and use an established process to build your own personal strategy in order to help everyone reach their financial goals…I wish someone had made this clearer to me when I was in my 20s. Jason is highly invested personally in this process with all his clients. Additionally he has stepped up as a community leader too…he is an investor in Legacy Square and recently become involved in the Main Street organization working with the Chamber to help both of our organizations work closer together. Thanks Jason…continue to lead!   
 
Appanoose Grade School:
 
Wednesday evening we went to the Appanoose Grade School Christmas program to watch our big kindergartner, Evelyn perform…it was really too cute. Here are a couple of pictures. Appanoose is a great little community in the northeast part of Franklin County…I had cousins who grew up in the area so I’ve been familiar with the community all my life. There was a huge turnout for the school program and I saw many people from Ottawa who, as we were, there to watch grandkids. In browsing around the halls I came across Rex Browning’s senior picture…I should have snapped a picture but failed to do so. It is a much younger version of the Rex we all know today. I’m sure I’ll be back for more school programs in the future.
 
Family Christmas:
 
I mentioned we had our family Christmas last weekend…we had all 18 of us at our house (plus a couple of dogs). Here are a few pictures of the organized pandemonium. We have 2 new babies this year (pictures here) born 11 days apart on September 11 and September 22…both baby girls. The 2 newest additions give Cherry and me 8 grandkids. We have a sign in our family room…”Grandpa and Grandma’s House is where Cousins go to become Friends.” It’s a true statement…here are some cousin pictures. We had a great time together…all my family extends the warmest Christmas Blessing to you and your family. Here is my special blessing to all of you: Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
 
Merry Christmas from the Office:
 
I hope everyone has a relaxing and blessed Christmas…here is a holiday greeting from all of us at the Chamber and FCDC: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
 
If you’re interested in some Christmas entertainment sit back and take a look at this video
 
Onward ~ John   
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000