Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
We have been in full annual banquet mode in the Chamber all week…tomorrow (Saturday) is the Chamber’s Annual Award Banquet and Foundation Auction. We always get great donations from our members to raise money for the Chamber and benefit many local agencies and youth organizations. Here are a few pictures of the board room this week…the Chamber Ambassadors have been in the office every day this week helping plan the banquet and organize the auction. Sherri is the captain…without her planning skills and the support of our Ambassador Team the event would never get off the ground. Special thanks to Sherri and all the ambassadors!!
 
I’ll have banquet pictures and full details of our annual award winners next week…we have over 200 RSVP’d for Saturday and will be gathered in the Bottle House again this year. I’m looking forward to greeting most of you Saturday evening…it’s going to be a party! Be sure to bid early and often on auction items…remember the proceeds benefit Ottawa organizations and youth. See you Saturday evening!!  
 
PrimeTime Grille:
 
Chamber members assembled on this cold, snowy January morning to officially open the PrimeTime Grille…the weather did not keep people away (pictures here). Many have been waiting for this new restaurant to open. Associated with the new Fusion Alley bowling alley, the location will quickly become a popular destination spot. Cherry and I participated in the soft opening this week…the food is great!! The bowling alley was full…mostly of people we know. We took my mom and son Todd and had an amazing meal and fun evening. This location is special because it was built by local investors…Dr. Ken and Shelly Frank, Bob and Pat Hayden, Betty Birzer, Deb Henningsen, Phil and Claudia Gibson, Jim and Linda Lewis, and Drs. Rod and Jo McCalla who all came together to create Elevate Ottawa, LLC – the official organization which built and owns this new facility. Perfect name…they really are elevating Ottawa. A BIG THANK YOU for your leadership, investment and many fun family times in the years ahead.  
 
AdventHealth Ottawa:
 
I haven’t reported back for a while on AdventHealth Ottawa and how the affiliation with the Adventist Health System is going…in a word outstanding!  This week the board officially named Dallas Purkeypile as the new CEO of the hospital (picture here)…last fall Dallas was thrust into the position and has served as interim CEO since November. This week we removed the interim tag…he is a great addition to our community. Dallas is from Eureka, Kansas where he grew up on a farm showing cattle in 4-H and FFA. He has been in the Adventist Health System since 2007 and is well-groomed for this new opportunity. Our board has been very impressed with this leadership the last several months…I’m anxious for you to meet him. He and his wife will be at the Chamber Annual Banquet Saturday evening…be sure to look them up. They have 2 young boys ages 1 and 3…help officially welcome them to Ottawa.
 
A couple more updates regarding the hospital…as part of our affiliation agreement with the Adventist Health System our local hospital will be getting a completely new electronic medical records system to match all the hospitals in the Adventist System. Our current system is very antiquated. The official switchover to the new computer upgrade will be this Sunday…there are bound to be glitches but once up and going will be a huge improvement from what is currently in place to track patient records and billing. As part of the conversion there will be 80 Adventist team members traveling and staying in Ottawa this week to assist in the system transfer and training our staff. It will be the equivalent of a mini convention…staying in our hotels and eating in local restaurants. Be good hosts if you have occasion to meet these guests in Ottawa.
 
And lastly…an update on the building at 9th and Main Streets (formerly the Briscoe Drug Building). Most know the hospital purchased this building and will renovate the space to become the new location of our Express Care service and additionally a health clinic for OU students. Express Care is currently sharing space in the hospital’s outpatient clinic. The new space will have better visibility and easy access for those needing the quick-care treatment…also the transition will free space in the main building. And…as part of the closer affiliation with Ottawa University, this new space will provide health services for students as well as entry into our system for local OU athletes with injuries or ailments. Local contractor Loyd Builders is handling the renovation which is expected to take 4-6 months. Always good to fill a vacant building!
 
Provence & the French Riviera:  
 
In November the Chamber announced our next international cultural experience program will be a trip to this French destination in November this year…full brochure here. Last night 20 local Ottawans gathered (pictures here) to learn more about the destination and consider traveling to this southeastern France region bordering Italy and the Mediterranean Sea. The excursion will also include travel to Cote d’Azur (or the French Riviera) where resort towns such as Monaco and Cannes line the coast. It will be a fabulous and safe international experience with organized itineraries chalked full of experiencing different cultures with fun people. If this is something you might consider contact Sherri or call the Chamber at 785.242.1000. 
 
First 2020 Legislative Coffee:
 
The first legislative coffee of this 2020 Kansas Legislative Session will be Saturday morning at 10:00 in the City Commission chambers…hope you can come. All our legislators (Senator Caryn Tyson, and Representatives Blaine Finch and Mark Samsel) will be there…it will allow you to access them personally with your questions and hear firsthand their impression of this new legislative session. Our own Blaine Finch, Speaker ProTem of the Kansas House introduced new legislation yesterday…Make Kansas Work. You can read the full press release here. I’m sure he would love to hear your impression of the legislation and all legislators will be anxious to learn what is on your mind. The coffees are sponsored by the Chamber, AT&T, Fr. Co. Farm Bureau and Local American Legion #60…refreshments will be provided.
 
Few Final Things:
 
In the words of Andy Reid…“How about those CHIEEEEFS!!!”  The entire region is at fever pitch about our local football team. It is hard not to be excited…first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years. It has sort of a poetic feel to it. Joe Montana was quoted as saying “I predict my former team will win.” Not exactly going out on a limb there…but clever. 
 
Daughter number 3, Chelsy had scheduled grandson’s Newt 3rd birthday party for Sunday, February 2…we convinced her to change it to Saturday afternoon. Newt will have a lot of birthdays…we might not have another Super Bowl for 50 years!!
 
Here are a few grandkid pictures which our kids have sent us this week…the Champlins had fun in the snow, our two newest babies turned 4 months and Evelyn showed in her first hog contest in Georgia.
 
Got to run now to help set up for the annual banquet! It will be warm at the Bottle House Saturday evening…hope to see you there.
 
Onward ~ John
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
john@ottawakansas.org
785-242-1000
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