Dear Chamber Supporters:
It seems like July has just flown by this year…it’s hard to believe we are at the end of the month already! Personally, I have enjoyed watching the Neowise Comet in the night sky during July…here’s a picture if you haven’t ventured out about 10:00 to see it yourself. You must be in a very dark location and let your eyes adjust to the night sky. There are still a few more nights to view the comet…about a week. I am able to see it standing on our deck without binoculars…you definitely get a better view if you have a pair of binoculars or telescope. Neowise is not anywhere as bright as the Hale-Bopp Comet which graced the sky in 1997. Here is a webpage giving more detail on how to locate and view Neowise in the night sky…don’t wait too long – by the end of July it will be pretty much gone. 
Here’s this week’s local COVID update…we now have 123 COVID cases confirmed positive – 91 have recovered, one death. That’s up 21 cases from a week ago. With the governor’s executive order having been rejected by the state school board, it is now up to local boards of education on when and how to begin school this year. Some Kansas City schools are already announcing they are going to continue remote education for the fall semester. Life continues to remain interesting and uncertain…really can’t quite find the words which appropriately describe how life is different. I will say it somehow feels like we have lost something significant, and while we are not mourning, we are left feeling empty or wanting. Take care of yourself…mentally and physically.
Movie Night:
Speaking of night viewing…we had a fantastic turn-out for movie night in Legacy Square last Friday. Over 100 people of all ages came to watch the Disney movie, Abominable…pictures here. It was a beautiful evening…the Chamber, Library, OMA and ORC partnered to bring the show…the movie and the popcorn were free! Collectively we’ve already decided to do another movie night before summer’s end…once the start of school gets defined more certain we will set a date and let everyone know. Cherry and I had 2 of our grandkids at the show…pictures here. As in the days of drive-in movies, the flick couldn’t start until about 9:20…so it was 11:00 when the show was over. We had tired kids, as I’m sure others did too. Luckily they slept in good Saturday morning!
Candidate Forum:
There was also a big turnout for our candidate forum sponsored by AT&T, the Chamber and Franklin County Farm Bureau…here are a few pictures. The election this year has many ramifications…it is essential voters become informed. Early voting has already begun…I have already taken advantage of the opportunity by stopping by the County Clerk’s office at the Courthouse to vote. This will be particularly convenient for those worrying about being in crowds to vote on election day. If you weren’t able to come to the forum you can still watch it here…or on the local government access channel if you have local cable. Between people in attendance, our Facebook Live recording and the local government access channel we estimate it will be seen by a couple of thousand people…that’s good. This is a year we need to be informed about those asking to represent us at all levels of government.  
Ottawa Bike Share:
This is kind of big…Ottawa is starting a new bike share program. Beginning this next week, you will be able to check out a bicycle from the Ottawa Library…here is the press release. The program will start with 5 bicycles…if it is popular hopefully it can grow. The funding came from a grant written by our local First United Methodist church to the United Methodist Ministry Fund…thanks to First Church!! You must be 18 with valid ID to check out a bike…which you can do for 24-hours (or over a weekend) before it must be returned. The program is free and the bikes were purchased from our local Ottawa Bike and Trail store on Main Street.  Now there are no excuses…right!?!
Bank Midwest:
Bank Midwest recently announced that on October 16 they will be closing their south banking location at 15th and Main Streets. It stands to reason…with mobile banking, COVID and the change in the way we access banking these days, additional locations are less necessary. The main bank at 5th and Main Streets will remain open and even more committed to providing convenience to customers and even more advanced technology services. Community President Margie Hinderliter says no employees will lose their jobs with the downsizing and she doesn’t know what the bank will do with the location going forward. The 15th and Main intersection is one of the busiest traffic intersections in the City of Ottawa…good location for something new at some point in time.
We have had multiple sleepovers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in the last couple of weeks…here are the pictures. Trying to get all the kids here for several days before school starts again. We are heading to Cedar Vale this afternoon to take Max and Newt home. They are pretty worn out here at the end of the week…the bedtime rules at grandma and grandpa’s tend to be more lacking. They stayed out riding bikes until dark and then watching the comet. After a week of grandma’s baking and staying up late it’s time to send them home to mom and dad!!
Got to run – stay safe…talk to you next week…
Onward ~ John  
John Coen
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce