Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Greetings again as we continue to “shelter in place” another week…at least it is possible to go outdoors and enjoy spring weather (most of the week it was)! I mowed our lawn the first time and appreciated the smell of fresh cut grass. We are seeing many great stories of neighborhoods and friends coming together while remaining socially distant. Our family has held several Zoom meetings to keep in touch with one another…here are pictures of our grandkids our own kids shared with us. I hope you are finding a way to reach out to find the connections you need to keep your sanity.
 
CARES Act:
 
None of us could have imagined something which would have ground our community, economy and way of life to a halt…it is challenging for everyone. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed by President Trump will help to provide some financial stability and relief for individuals and businesses. You can read a highlighted and condensed version here. Below is more specific relief within the CARES Act.  
 
Valuable Relief Resources:
 
The links below are new and updated resources the U.S. Chamber has developed to assist businesses access resources created under the CARES Act (Phase III bill). 
 
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued additional guidance yesterday regarding the Paycheck Protection Program. Links to the resources provided by Treasury can be found below, or on their webpage.
  • A top-line overview of the program can be found here.
  • If you’re a lender, more information can be found here.
  • If you’re a borrower, more information can be found here.
  • The application for borrowers can be found here.
 
I recommend acting quickly on these opportunities. 
 
Social Distancing:
 
This is interesting…the State of Kansas is tracking the movement of Kansans by their cell phones. The information can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the State’s stay-at-home order and can help predict the spread of the virus. The information is provided free by Unacast, a tech company which grades the overall Kansas performance of social distancing as a C-…Franklin County received a D-! You can go to their website and see any county in Kansas or the United States by clicking here.   
 
I-35 Project:
 
The long awaited and much needed replacement of the bridge over I-35 at Montana Road began this week (pictures here)…the bridge was in bad repair. This work will go on for most of the summer…traffic on I-35 for the most part will only be slowed for the construction but not stopped or detoured. Montana Road however is closed and will be for the duration of the project…if you are going for a drive in the country to get out of the house avoid Montana Road. In the future this will be an important thoroughfare…once we have new business in Proximity Park. Anticipations are it will be a main road for workers and employees but not truck traffic.
 
Mobile Food Pantry:
 
Here is a good idea put into action by a Leadership Franklin County graduate Amanda Stinebaugh. Currently a teacher at Ottawa High School…when she participated in LFC she was a teacher at Central Heights HS. She saw a need for food availability for elderly and disabled in the south part of Franklin County because of the lack of grocery stores in the southern region of the county. She pitched her idea to the Franklin County Food Policy Council and the Connect Fr. Co. Mobile Food Pantry was created. Mostly a service project, students at OHS and community volunteers help stock the pantry with supplies by holding food drives and getting donations from various food vendors…including Harvesters. The Coronavirus has caused the service to take a twist…they are now preparing meals instead of just supplies.  Here is a picture of 3 volunteers working at de-boning turkeys to take as meals to homebound residents.    
 
Ottawa Strong:
 
We continue to add resources to our Ottawa Strong page. Last week we included the restaurant page…this week you can access most Ottawa businesses by clicking here. By hovering over “Get Connected” on the Ottawa Strong page and clicking “Directory” you will be taken to a page that serves as a comprehensive business directory. We want to remember all our local businesses during this trying time      
 
On The Move:
 
I mentioned a couple weeks ago Cherry and I are moving…today we are making the leap. On Thursday we spent our last night in our farm home of the last 36 years…not quite our entire married life but almost. For the last month we have been packing boxes, cleaning closets and throwing away much accumulation…there has been some disagreement over what stays and what goes but so far it hasn’t been too bad. I’ll have some pictures next week of our actual moving. 
 
I wish I could offer something inspiring to keep everyone cheered up…my grandmother used to say, “I’d cry if it would do any good…so I just as well laugh.” It’s about all we can do! Continue to support others when and where possible and take care of yourself.   
 
Talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000