Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Hope you had a happy and safe Halloween…I enjoyed the warm weather and particularly the full moon – it was so bright last Saturday. For all the creative pictures you’ve seen depicting a witch, bats or a raven flying across the light of a Halloween full moon, know it’s rare. Full moons only happen on Halloween every 18-19 years. And this moon was even rarer in that it was seen around the globe…this hasn’t happened since 1944! It was a great night for those who ventured out for treats…or just look at the moon.
 
Main Street was full of goblins last Saturday when downtown businesses hosted the Spook Parade…pictures here. The event was organized by Ottawa Main Street Association and is an annual event. This year the costume contest was skipped because of COVID, but kids still had a fun and fortuitous time…as always, some go “all out” with their Halloween regalia. I’ll have a few pictures of my little ghosts and goblins at the end.
 
COVID Update:
 
The COVID numbers are on the rise this week…since last Wednesday there have been 87 new infections. The total active cases are up from 62 to 121…here is the November 4 Franklin County update. Currently there are 5 hospitalizations…Franklin County on their webpage, warns and reminds everyone to be vigilant going into winter and cold weather – protect yourself and others. Here is good information from the County webpage defining close contact…I know in both our home and office we’ve experienced exposer…but haven’t been certain of the definition of “close contact”.  
 
Crazy Week:
 
I think most were mentally prepared for this to be a crazy week with the elections returns. Locally nothing too exciting…but the national elections will be talked about for years – remember the “hanging chads” from 2000? Here are the positives from this last week:
  • WOW – the weather has been fabulous!! One last go-round with beautiful autumn weather…enjoy this.
  •  The nightly news is great theater…it includes suspense, emotion, and a cliff hanger (to be continued) each night!
  • My mailbox is no longer filled with campaign fliers and the political ads are gone from the TV!
I know many are fervent about the political landscape right now…I guarantee – it is not worth the energy. This will all get sorted out in the end and for the most part…life will continue pretty much unchanged. My prayer is we can go through this process peacefully!
 
Veterans & City Park:
 
Have you seen City Park this week and the tribute to our veterans…it is AMAZING!! It is way more awesome to park your car and walk through the displays…you don’t get the full effect from your car. Here are a few pictures, but even pictures don’t do this tribute justice. Somehow this seems particularly important right now given the internal strife our county is currently experiencing…always remember “all gave some – and some gave all”. It puts our petty current political wrangling into perspective. The Veterans Committee felt compelled to cancel the parade this year due to COVID…but it didn’t stop them from creating this fabulous display!! Also…there will be a special ceremony at 11:00 on November 11 at the Franklin County Veterans Memorial honoring those who served – be there if you can. There are other events going on the same day in City Park. A huge thank you to all Vets…because of your service we are allowed to live free in a democracy!!
 
OHS Bleachers:
 
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago the north gym at the high school is getting new bleachers…long overdue! This week they have been installing the new seating…here are a few pictures. My wife reports stress among teachers at the high school is running high…students return to full attendance in the building at OHS beginning Monday. She is glad to have students return…remote learning is a big challenge. There will still be students who are exposed or who simply choose to learn from home for their safety…but most will be in school Monday. 
 
Jensen Insurance: 
 
Jensen Insurance welcomed Chamber members this morning to “officially” cut the ribbon on their business (pictures here)…actually they have been in town 6 years having purchased longtime insurance business, Ottawa Insurance Group which was located on West 2nd Street. However recently they became Chamber members and moved to a new location…and because of COVID we haven’t had the opportunity to welcome them yet. Wally Jensen, the owner was in town this morning…he owns 5 insurance companies – El Dorado, Wichita, Lawrence, Osage City and now Ottawa. Kim Wample-Hill is the office manager here in Ottawa. The office is co-located with ReMax Connections Realty (also Chamber members) at 2025 Princeton Street. We really appreciate Wally keeping this Ottawa business running…we are looking forward to Kim becoming more involved in Chamber activities too. Welcome and thanks for being Chamber members!
 
Scam Warning:
 
Just a quick heads-up regarding a current unemployment scam…I’ve been among those who have been scammed. The scammers get your social security number and use your identity to capitalize on a flood of legitimate unemployment claims by sneaking in fraudulent claims. Nationwide the scam is estimated to attempt to swindle approximately $8 billion. Last week I received notice my claim was received…and in addition to this, the Chamber received notice of my false claim for unemployment. Imagine my surprise when I opened the letter and learned I was seeking unemployment from the Chamber.  Kansas Department of Labor has created a webpage to assist in reporting the fraud…click here to file a claim if you or others in your workplace have been scammed too. This page also walks you through the process of who all you need to notify of the fraud. I’ve heard of several local businesses dealing with this scam…be vigilant!
  
Family Matters:
 
I had a fun opportunity this week to read to grandson Newt’s 3- & 4-year-old preschool class…virtually. Newt’s class is in Dexter, Kansas where his mom teaches…here are pictures of me reading to the class. This is probably something which no one would have thought of pre-COVID…it definitely is not like being there, but I still had a good time engaging the kids. I read a Hanna-Barbera book which my grandparents had given to me…not sure the kids were familiar with the characters of Chopper Dog and Yakky Doodle – it is pretty much pre-Sesame Street and pre-Sponge Bob SquarePants.
 
Also…here are our little ghosts and goblins from Halloween…all the kids have much fun dreaming up their costume and making it come to life! In their minds-eye they are transformed!!
 
Here’s hoping the election will be resolve in a peaceable manner and soon…stay safe.
 
Talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000