Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Our COVID-dominated lives continue…for the most part we get up, go to work and come home. For all practical purposes most autumn festivals and events which fill our spare time in a normal fall have been cancelled. Ottawa Main Street Association (OMSA) and the Chamber both have events coming up in the near future which might fill some of your pent-up desire for activity. On October 24, OMSA is hosting a fall craft show…called Ottawa Fall Festival Craft Show. Main Street Director, Kelsie Eads is having a great response for craft booths…they will be under the Legacy Square pavilion. Additionally there will be food trucks and other activities for the day…mark it on the calendar – Saturday, October 24 from 9:00-4:00 at Legacy Square.
 
On the following Monday (October 26) the Chamber is hosting our final Farmer’s Market for the summer…this market is sponsored by Trendel Lumber and the Ottawa Coop (thanks to both). In addition to food trucks and live music there will be a costume contest (all the details here). I should also mention we will be passing out $400.00 of free Chamber Currency which will be good only at the farmer’s market on Monday…still not to late too get fresh apples or your Halloween pumpkin!!
 
Election & Forum:
 
The most contentious Presidential election in recent history drones on…for what it’s worth, the Andrew Jackson versus John Quincy Adams was at least just as vicious if not more so (you can read about it here if this sort of thing interests you). For our part locally the Chamber is hosting a Candidate Forum in Legacy Square next Tuesday, October 20. Most local candidates will participate and some of the state races will also take part. Early voting began this week at the Court House in the clerk’s office. I’ve come to the point where I always vote early…I know which candidates I want to back and after I vote it kind of feels like all the menagerie regarding the election doesn’t apply to me anymore. Here is the official website for our local elections…you can learn times and locations of all the early voting opportunities in Franklin County.
 
COVID:
 
Nothing new or exciting to report on this front locally…the pandemic continues. Schools are seeing a few cases, but for the most part things are going well – maybe better than expected. The elementary schools will go to fulltime school beginning on October 26, the Middle School will follow on November 2 and High School will all be in school on November 9. Superintendent Dr. Ryan Cobbs is spacing them out to give administration time and opportunity to react to situations which inevitably will arise as all students come together for the first time this year. The schools are doing a great job handling the crazy challenge of a hybrid schedule and remote learning…what a nightmare. 
 
Here is this week’s local report (as of October 14)…there are currently 73 local active cases (471 total positive cases) and 6 hospitalizations. Our Franklin County positivity of 6.2% remains much lower than the 17+% the State of Kansas is experiencing. I remind you all to get a flu shot this winter…it can’t hurt and it will keep you safe. You can get your shot at the Fr. Co. Health Department, your pharmacy or the doctor’s office…in this pandemic year there is too much at stake to not get vaccinated! 
 
Legacy Square Playground:
 
While not near complete yet (we still have benches to add and the Kalmar Truck), kids can begin playing on the new play equipment…pictures here. Many organizations and individuals came together to make this playground a reality…here is a picture of Dale Pearson of Modern Woodmen delivering a check for the project this week. The BCBS Pathways grant and Goppert Foundation were the lead donors on the playground project. We continue to raise funds to add amenities and make Legacy Square an even more awesome space.
 
Washington D.C.:
 
Have you ever been to Washington D.C.? Here is your chance…the Chamber is sponsoring a trip to D.C. to attend the President Inauguration (full information here)!! The experience will be 4 days and 3 nights (January 18-21) with plenty of sightseeing added in. This opportunity will only be available for a short timeframe…registration due by November 4 (registration form here). Even if your candidate isn’t the one being inaugurated it will still be a fantastic opportunity…D.C. is always fun and especially festive during the inauguration week. I encourage you to consider this…it’s time to start venturing out just a little.
 
Halloween Trick or Treating:
 
We are fielding calls in the office asking whether Trick or Treating is called off this year…the short answer is no – albeit there needs to be more caution than normal. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment sent this press release this week regarding Halloween and Trick or Treating and the proper cautions to employ…I’m providing it to you for your information. Bottom line is let kids have fun…but be more vigilant this year about social distancing and keeping them safe.
 
I’m in Ottawa University board meetings all day today…stay safe and I’ll talk to you next week… 
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000