Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
After enduring a few days of winter this last week the forecast going forward looks beautiful…I was hoping we’d get one last stretch of autumn before winter sets in for good. It certainly was a cold day last Saturday for Ottawa Main Street Association’s (OMSA) Fall Harvest craft show…the cold did not scare people off however. Thirty-eight vendors brought crafts and baked goods to share with the 300-400 people who came to begin early Christmas shopping…pictures here. There was also a pumpkin decorating contest…which I got to help judge. Other judges, Terry Chartier and Kathie Hathaway and I were looking for the scariest, most original and most unique. There were a lot of entries…so sorting down to a few was a hard job. The cold encouraged our expediency! Thanks to OMSA for giving us a fun day in what felt like a pre-COVID event…it was good to be outside and among other people.
 
Congrats to OHS Volleyball:
 
Our OHS girls volleyball team earned the right to represent Ottawa at the State 4A volleyball tournament in Hutchinson this weekend…here are a few pictures of their send off yesterday. The ladies beat Chanute in the final sub-set to punch their ticket to the State 4A finals to compete against 7 other schools for the championship. You can go to the Chamber Facebook page to view the parade down Main Street yesterday. They begin play today…congratulations to Coaches Laura Meyer, Renee Crenshaw and Chrissy Jeannin plus – all the athletes who competed…you are making us proud!  
 
COVID Update:
 
The numbers this week are fairly unchanged from last week…the total active cases is down to 62 from 66 last week and we have added 53 new positive tests growing our total number to 559…492 have recovered. Sadly there were 2 deaths this week to add to the now total of 5 who have passed from the disease. I think it fair to mention one of those who died was a longtime downtown businessman – Joel Nordeen. Joel owned and operated OK Photo (a camera shop) and later Radio Shack from the early 50s until he retired in 1996. He formerly was an active downtown business leader who will be missed. Here is this week’s report from Franklin County
 
New ORC Director:
 
The Ottawa Recreation Commission announced the hiring of a new executive director this week, Levi Meyer…picture here. Levi most recently served as the Operations Coordinator at the University of Kansas in the Recreation Services Department and earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Florida Atlantic University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Central Missouri. He is however a Kansas boy, having been born and raised in Wichita…now he and his wife have moved to Ottawa. Oh…and here’s a fun fact – his wife is Laura, the head coach of the girls volleyball team competing in Hutchinson this weekend. This young couple is getting well ingrained into the life of the community!!
 
Levi has already set several goals for the future of the ORC:
1)    Increase ORC involvement within the community.
2)    Increase community involvement within ORC programs.
3)    Provide a service and experience that is available to all families within our community.
Welcome to Ottawa Levi…looking forward to getting to know you better!!
 
VOTE:
 
If you haven’t already – don’t forget Tuesday is the day. We are seeing unprecedented early voting across the nation. Kansas Secretary of State, Scott Schwab, is predicting 1.35 million people will cast votes in Kansas this year…this is 100,000 more than have ever voted in a Presidential election in Kansas before. If you want some early numbers…290,908 have already voted in person in Kansas. Of those advance in-person ballots cast, Schwab said 126,240 were by registered Republicans, 52,946 by registered Democrats, 1,824 by registered Libertarians and 39,898 by unaffiliated voters. I don’t know if this tells us anything…other than voters are already engaging this year. You can still vote early this weekend…the county clerk’s office is open until 4:30 today and from 1:00-9:00 tomorrow (Saturday). This has been an ugly election by most standards…at this point I think we will all be glad when it’s over – regardless of who wins! Here’s hoping your candidates all win!!
 
Legacy Square Playground:
 
While not complete (we still have some benches to add and the Kalmar Truck), the playground is done and open for kids to play on. This post was on the City of Ottawa’s Facebook page this morning describing the play surface and the grant which was received to build it. The surface is made of recycled tires and is intended to stimulate the market for recycled tires…there are over 3 million used tires generated a year in Kansas alone. The surface is a poured-in-place rubber surface. The Waste Tire grant from KDHE, a grant from the BCBS Pathways for a Healthier Kansas, the Goppert Foundation plus in-kind City labor made the play park possible. Be sure to check it out when you are going in that direction.
 
Family Wedding:
 
I mentioned in closing last week my nephew was getting married…I was honored beyond words to be asked to officiate the ceremony. Here are a few family pictures from the event.
 
Short report this week…the number of events still going on is still greatly limited. 
 
Stay safe…talk to you next week.
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000