Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
This has been a hot dry week…hope you’ve been able to stay cool. A high-pressure ridge formed over the Midwest sending all the cool weather and rain north…it’s finally supposed to break up next week and cooler weather returns…hopefully and thankfully. I think most are ready to be done with summer!
 
COVID Update:
 
COVID cases continue to increase in Franklin County. The county updates the numbers every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:00…therefore when I give an update of a week’s numbers it is from Wednesday-to-Wednesday. Here are the official numbers as of August 26. There have been 102 total positive cases in the month of August…12 new cases in the last week. Of those 102 positive…32 remain active and 69 have recovered. The total for Franklin County is 221 total recovered cases out of 253 positive tests (2 deaths). The CDC reports the national death rate of coronavirus patients has dropped to less than .5%…this is great. Even without a vaccination we are learning how to treat patients in an effective manner to allow recovery. We all need to continue to pray for a vaccine which will be effective in stopping the spread!
 
Ottawa University:
 
This somehow seems a little counterintuitive, all 6 of the OU campuses are experiencing increased enrollment…Surprise, Phoenix, Ottawa, Overland Park, Wisconsin, and Online each with increases. Here in Ottawa, Dr. Reggies reports 784 students…breaking down the numbers it is 333 new students, 451 returning students and 57 graduate students. All college living facilities are at capacity…including the downtown Halloran Building which houses 38 upperclassmen. Reggies gets a lot of kudos for the increased recruiting numbers locally.
 
The new OU campus in Surprise has 843 students in just it’s 3rd year. As a board member for OU, these numbers are great…it’s always easier to make budgets with full enrollment. Locally it is also very positive. For the next 9 months our community has been infused with over 750 new residents making purchases and participating in local activities. The university is a much larger economic engine for our local economy than we imagine sometimes…good job to the entire OU admin team!
 
Congressman Roger Marshall:
 
The Congressman from the Kansas 1st Congressional district campaigned in Ottawa Tuesday evening…pictures hereRoger Marshall is running for the Kansas US Senate seat being vacated by retiring US Senator Pat Roberts. The Republican candidate met with voters in Legacy Square and visited for about 45 minutes…approximately 20 local citizens asked questions regarding the handling of the national pandemic to racism and the riots we are seeing in some US communities. Mr. Marshall shared his views on taxes and how we become better at compromising in national politics. Barbara Bollier, currently a State Senator, is the Democrat candidate opposing the congressman…I hope we have the opportunity to meet her and hear directly from her as well sometime this fall.   
 
Grill Raffle: 
 
The Onward Ottawa board is hosting another raffle this summer…this time for a Blackstone 4-burner, 36 inch, griddle cooking station…picture here. If you are interested in helping out and buying a chance or two to own the grill, you can click here to purchase tickets. Single tickets are only $10.00…or you can get 3 tickets for $25.00. You could also help by either liking or sharing this Facebook post with your friends. The proceeds from the raffle go to support Legacy Square. As a bonus…Dale Pearson of Modern Woodman has agreed to match all income from the sale of raffle tickets. Therefore you are doubling your support for every dollar you spend on tickets. Thanks Dale…and thanks to all who have already purchased tickets. Come by the office if you don’t want to purchase online…we’ll get you hooked up!
 
The drawing will be at The Corner Market on September 22 at 6:15…you won’t need to be present to win…but if you are, there will be other door prizes. Plan on coming by the Market on the 22nd…have a drink or evening meal and join in the fun of giving away prizes and the grill…it should be a pleasant evening out! 
 
SPARK Funding:
 
The federal CARES Act is providing millions of dollars to all states to help recover from the unprecedented financial crisis caused by the COVID pandemic…in turn, Kansas formed the SPARK (Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas) Task Force to oversee the passing of the federal dollars to the Kansas economy. Here is the link to the relief funding grant page. Kansas is focusing CARES funding efforts on four broad areas: Health, Education, Economic Development, and Connectivity. This second round of SPARK funding is $130 million and is the economic development and connectivity portion of the grant funding. Every business should go to the link and look at the grants available…you certainly don’t want to pass on an opportunity for funding which can help your business in challenging economic times.
 
The link has been live for a couple of weeks now, but as long as it is still open the State still has money to give away. The grant awards are first come…first served. Please take a look at the opportunity. If you have already applied, the Department of Commerce is working with the SPARK committee to let you know your application’s status by Labor Day…quick turn around time!
 
Apple Picking & Birthday Party:
 
I mentioned in closing last week we were headed to Cherry’s birthday party…hosted by our son, Todd. Here are the pictures. Cherry turned 61 last Saturday and her biggest gift was being surrounded by all her grandkids…not to mention her son cooking for her and the family!!
 
They all stayed overnight Friday at our house and we took the whole crew apple picking on Saturday morning…here are the pictures. That was quite the ordeal…we all had fun at Pome on the Range just off the interstate near Homewood. Mike Gerhardt has a playground, ducks and a duck pond, picnic area and plenty to occupy young children. Picking apples is fun too…it doesn’t take long to get all you want. We all enjoyed apple slushies before heading home.
 
Time to run now…I’m hoping for a quiet weekend. Cherry and I haven’t had one of those for a while. Continue to be safe – I’ll talk to you next week…
    
Onward ~ John  
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000