Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
It was different waking up to thunder and lightning this morning and temperatures in the 30’s…especially after a near 90-degree day on Thursday. Generally I think we expect fast changing weather this time a year…I guess one last day of summer did feel good before a rather “wintery” forecast for most of next week. 
 
After all the events we’ve had to call off because of COVID…next week we are cancelling our last farmer’s market due to the weather forecast. Monday is a predicted high of 30-degrees and a better than even chance for snow…not exactly fun outdoor event weather. Normally we would have waited to see if the forecast fills in but in this instance we had to let food trucks know as well as the growers and the performing artist who was planning a concert. I look forward to hopefully have farmer’s market events in Legacy Square next summer.  
 
The two sponsors for the event, the Ottawa Coop and Trendel Lumber have both agreed to move their sponsorship to the Holiday Lighting ceremony on November 28…stay tuned for details of plans to turn on the Christmas lights and local shopping opportunities. Probably not going to sit on Santa’s knee this year…we still might be able to get him to make an appearance in Ottawa!
 
The Ottawa Main Street is still hosting the Ottawa Fall Festival Craft Show tomorrow (October 24)…it runs from 9:00-4:00 at Legacy Square and along with great crafts, includes a pumpkin carving contest. Dress warm and come start your Christmas shopping!!
 
COVID Update:
 
Franklin County cases are trending down again this week…only 66 active cases with one hospitalization compared to 73 active cases and six hospitalizations last week. The total number of positive cases since the beginning is 506. Our percent positive is trending down again and head and shoulders better than the State percent positive numbers. There have been a total of 437 recoveries and total deaths due to coronavirus remains at 3. Here is the report from Franklin County
 
Here are details regarding the Kansas eviction program recently implemented by the Kelly administration. It allows tenants or landlords to apply for up to $5,000 of delinquent rent relief payments per household.  Pass this along to any tenant or landlord which might benefit from these relief dollars…the program is funded through the Federal CARES Act.  
 
Candidate Form:
 
It was a cool evening and a poorly attended fall candidate forum last Tuesday…pictures here. There were about 30 people present in person, but many have watched the online version…you can do so here. Last I checked over 500 people have taken advantage of a warmer climate and comfortable chair to view the local forum…I’m glad we have the ability to provide this. Thanks to Paul Sommer at the City for his IT assistance. Most candidates participated and the debate was spirited…only 11-days until the election. Hang in there Ottawa…this too shall pass. I know my mailman is going to be greatly relieved. Also…early voting at the Court House is available every day.  You can verify the times the clerk’s office is open for voting here
 
Heartland Design Build:
 
Local developer Kyle Thurman gave community leaders a tour this week of the new housing he is developing on the old Lincoln School site (pictures here)…boy – this changes this neighborhood. When he’s done there will be 18 new houses. All are single family with either 2 or 3 bedrooms…and are available to rent only. The development will be maintained property meaning you won’t have to mow the grass. Consider how this property has been in the public domain collecting no taxes for the last 100 years…and now, soon will have 18 new houses all on the tax rolls. This is an excellent example of how our county appraised value continues to rise…there are more properties to tax, spreading the funding burden to more properties. This benefits all citizens. If you are interested in one of these new houses you can reach Kyle by calling 785.418.4837. 
 
Washington D.C. President Inauguration:
 
I announced last week the Chamber is trying something different…Sherri is organizing an opportunity to see the president inauguration…it will be an amazing trip no matter which candidate is being inaugurated. The trip is 4-days and 3-nights from January 18-21, 2021. Here is the registration form if you are interested in attending the festivities. D.C. is and amazing town…if you have never been, you should consider this opportunity. Call the office at 785.242.1000 or email Sherri for more complete information. 
 
Several things from the Schools:
 
Here are a couple of interesting things from USD 290 and Dr. Ryan Cobbs. Since we don’t really get out or go into the schools right now, few know the north gym of the high school is getting new bleachers…picture here. The new bleachers will be handicapped accessible and a much needed upgrade. I will try to get another picture when the new bleachers are in place.
 
Ottawa elementary schools go back to regular fulltime school next week…you can opt to have your student continue to study remotely as well. The middle school will follow on November 2 and the high school November 9.
 
Also reported by Ryan, he expects a 90 percent graduation rate from this senior class. Maybe that doesn’t impress everyone…but for those that have been involved with it, for years we have hovered around a 70-75 percent rate. Ninety is a fantastic tribute to Ryan and his whole team…including teachers. A high school diploma gives these kids an advantage starting out with whatever they decide to do!! Thanks Ryan…and thanks to your team. Also…don’t diminish your own role in this too…our community has provided great facilities to encourage learning…it is paying off.
 
Kid’s Soccer:
 
Last weekend I went to watch Anna and Lucy play soccer…Anna is 5 and Lucy is 3 (pictures here). Some might describe it as organized confusion…at times the kids don’t even know which way the ball is supposed to be going. But when it’s your grandkids it is as exciting as the World Cup!! 
 
My nephew has asked me to officiate his wedding…which is happening this evening. I’m greatly honored to be asked. Seems anyone can be ordained to perform the service these days…for $40.00 bucks on the internet. It should be a fun family weekend…I’ll have a picture of the new couple for you next week.
 
Stay safe…talk to you next week.
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000