Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Win #1…the Chiefs looked good last night! Maybe a little rust but not much…for the most part they resumed play from their last game on February 2 (the Super Bowl!!) playing at a high level! For me it was a great respite in the middle of all the craziness…I got chills as they unveiled the new Championship Banner in Arrowhead Stadium. I’ve said before – schools opening and restarting sports will lead us back to a reality. Obviously they will not cure COVID…but they might help us learn how to live with the disease in a safe manner.
 
Here is the weekly pandemic update from Wednesday, September 9…positive tests are down!! Only 9 new cases from a week ago (total 274) with only 28 active cases (1 hospitalization). Franklin County continues to trend down in the number of positive tests…hovering just below 4% – far better than the state which is still trending upwards and is now in the neighborhood of 18% positivity testing. I’m not suggesting for a minute you let your guard down…this is still not over, but as I said previously…we are learning to re-enter life safely – albeit different. 
 
Holiday Inn Express:  
 
This is long awaited big news…the Holiday Inn Express on the south end of Ottawa is opening Monday with a soft opening!! Kelly Murphy, the regional manager, was in town this week for final touches and called to give me a tour of the new facility on Tuesday. Here are a few pictures…more than anything I was impressed with how fresh and clean it all looks (prior to having guests) and their use of bright colors. The hotel will have 82 rooms available with a full breakfast, workout center, pool and the Ottawa Room…a conference room available for meetings of 60-70 people. Kelly gave the grand tour and also introduced us to Nancy Johnson who will be the local manager. It was refreshing to visit with her regarding Holiday Inn becoming involved and a part of the life of Franklin County…they don’t just want to open – they want to immerse into the community looking for ways they can make a positive difference. We visited about a ribbon cutting and grand opening but have not set a date yet. Look for the event to be scheduled in mid-October. Welcome to Ottawa…it is uplifting to look forward to a new ribbon cutting – another sign the economy is ticking in the right direction.     
 
The Canopy Project:
 
More good news…congratulations to the Ottawa High School! Dr. Ryan Cobbs announced to his staff this week USD 290’s OHS was selected as the only school in Kansas to participate in The Canopy Project. The Project is a select group of 235 schools from across the nation chosen to recognize exemplary models of innovation schools to work and build off one another. The Canopy is a collaborative effort to surface a more diverse set of innovative schools and develop an index of approaches linked to student-centered learning. We always knew we had great schools locally…now we have national recognition to back up the claim. Great job OHS…thanks Ryan and OHS Principal, Kelly Whittaker, for your leadership!!
 
Soccer and Football Fields:
 
The new soccer and football fields at OHS were inaugurated this week with the beginning of fall sports…here are pictures. I think they look amazing…what a great place to welcome visitors to Ottawa! Many parents following their kid’s sports will come from out-of-town and this is what they will see representing Ottawa and our community. Not a bad way to showcase our local investment and efforts. The fields will be great for our young athletes to play on as well…much safer. Of course the big item is not mowing…one less thing!! These fields are great upgrades…now if we can get to the place where we can allow spectators to come and watch the kids play – all in good time!!
 
Neosho County Community College:
 
Our community college is in the process of beginning the fall semester too. This week, Kelly Colter, the new Director of Development and Marketing stopped by the office to introduce herself. She is filling the shoes of Claudia Christiansen who recently retired…here is Kelly’s picture. She too is anxious (as we all are) to return to a place where she can meet local citizens and integrate the life of the NCCC campus with the life of the Ottawa community. She brought longtime community leader, Jerry Thompson with her – Jerry is the local chairperson of the NCCC Foundation. They would like to do a couple local events, possibly this spring, to raise money for local scholarships and raise awareness of the community college…I said the Chamber will be happy to help. They are thinking of a Corn Hole tournament and a Shrimp Boil…sounds fun doesn’t it. I’ll keep you posted. 
 
Labor Day Weekend:
 
Cherry and my Labor Day weekend was full…but still very fun and relaxing. First we celebrated Codie Cherry’s 1-year old birthday (pictures here). First birthdays are the best…all the cousins were there to create the full ceremonial luster…not that Codie will remember being the center of attraction. Actually she just kind of expects to be the center of attraction…especially with 2 big brothers!!
 
In the evening we went to the Cedar Vale Rodeo…It’s been several years since I attended a rodeo – it was fun. Here are a few pictures…Max (who is 5 and started kindergarten this week) thought it sounded fun to participate in the Mutton Busting – where kids try to ride a sheep for 8 seconds. If you looked at the pictures you can see the results. He, by the way, loves this picture…said it makes him look like a real cowboy!! Good luck to his momma as he grows older!
 
I’ll close with 1st day of school pictures (here)…one first grader, two kindergarteners and a preschooler. They were all anxious to get started. It’s great to be this young and so full of optimism!!
 
I’ve got to run…Senator Jerry Moran is in town today and I’m meeting with him shortly. I’ll have a report and pictures for you next week. Talk to you then…stay safe! 
 
Onward ~ John
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000

Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Win #1…the Chiefs looked good last night! Maybe a little rust but not much…for the most part they resumed play from their last game on February 2 (the Super Bowl!!) playing at a high level! For me it was a great respite in the middle of all the craziness…I got chills as they unveiled the new Championship Banner in Arrowhead Stadium. I’ve said before – schools opening and restarting sports will lead us back to a reality. Obviously they will not cure COVID…but they might help us learn how to live with the disease in a safe manner.
 
Here is the weekly pandemic update from Wednesday, September 9…positive tests are down!! Only 9 new cases from a week ago (total 274) with only 28 active cases (1 hospitalization). Franklin County continues to trend down in the number of positive tests…hovering just below 4% – far better than the state which is still trending upwards and is now in the neighborhood of 18% positivity testing. I’m not suggesting for a minute you let your guard down…this is still not over, but as I said previously…we are learning to re-enter life safely – albeit different. 
 
Holiday Inn Express:   
 
This is long awaited big news…the Holiday Inn Express on the south end of Ottawa is opening Monday with a soft opening!! Kelly Murphy, the regional manager, was in town this week for final touches and called to give me a tour of the new facility on Tuesday. Here are a few pictures…more than anything I was impressed with how fresh and clean it all looks (prior to having guests) and their use of bright colors. The hotel will have 82 rooms available with a full breakfast, workout center, pool and the Ottawa Room…a conference room available for meetings of 60-70 people. Kelly gave the grand tour and also introduced us to Nancy Johnson who will be the local manager. It was refreshing to visit with her regarding Holiday Inn becoming involved and a part of the life of Franklin County…they don’t just want to open – they want to immerse into the community looking for ways they can make a positive difference. We visited about a ribbon cutting and grand opening but have not set a date yet. Look for the event to be scheduled in mid-October. Welcome to Ottawa…it is uplifting to look forward to a new ribbon cutting – another sign the economy is ticking in the right direction.     
 
The Canopy Project:
 
More good news…congratulations to the Ottawa High School! Dr. Ryan Cobbs announced to his staff this week USD 290’s OHS was selected as the only school in Kansas to participate in The Canopy Project. The Project is a select group of 235 schools from across the nation chosen to recognize exemplary models of innovation schools to work and build off one another. The Canopy is a collaborative effort to surface a more diverse set of innovative schools and develop an index of approaches linked to student-centered learning. We always knew we had great schools locally…now we have national recognition to back up the claim. Great job OHS…thanks Ryan and OHS Principal, Kelly Whittaker, for your leadership!!
 
Soccer and Football Fields:
 
The new soccer and football fields at OHS were inaugurated this week with the beginning of fall sports…here are pictures. I think they look amazing…what a great place to welcome visitors to Ottawa! Many parents following their kid’s sports will come from out-of-town and this is what they will see representing Ottawa and our community. Not a bad way to showcase our local investment and efforts. The fields will be great for our young athletes to play on as well…much safer. Of course the big item is not mowing…one less thing!! These fields are great upgrades…now if we can get to the place where we can allow spectators to come and watch the kids play – all in good time!!
 
Neosho County Community College:
 
Our community college is in the process of beginning the fall semester too. This week, Kelly Colter, the new Director of Development and Marketing stopped by the office to introduce herself. She is filling the shoes of Claudia Christiansen who recently retired…here is Kelly’s picture. She too is anxious (as we all are) to return to a place where she can meet local citizens and integrate the life of the NCCC campus with the life of the Ottawa community. She brought longtime community leader, Jerry Thompson with her – Jerry is the local chairperson of the NCCC Foundation. They would like to do a couple local events, possibly this spring, to raise money for local scholarships and raise awareness of the community college…I said the Chamber will be happy to help. They are thinking of a Corn Hole tournament and a Shrimp Boil…sounds fun doesn’t it. I’ll keep you posted. 
 
Labor Day Weekend:
 
Cherry and my Labor Day weekend was full…but still very fun and relaxing. First we celebrated Codie Cherry’s 1-year old birthday (pictures here). First birthdays are the best…all the cousins were there to create the full ceremonial luster…not that Codie will remember being the center of attraction. Actually she just kind of expects to be the center of attraction…especially with 2 big brothers!!
 
In the evening we went to the Cedar Vale Rodeo…It’s been several years since I attended a rodeo – it was fun. Here are a few pictures…Max (who is 5 and started kindergarten this week) thought it sounded fun to participate in the Mutton Busting – where kids try to ride a sheep for 8 seconds. If you looked at the pictures you can see the results. He, by the way, loves this picture…said it makes him look like a real cowboy!! Good luck to his momma as he grows older!
 
I’ll close with 1st day of school pictures (here)…one first grader, two kindergarteners and a preschooler. They were all anxious to get started. It’s great to be this young and so full of optimism!!
 
I’ve got to run…Senator Jerry Moran is in town today and I’m meeting with him shortly. I’ll have a report and pictures for you next week. Talk to you then…stay safe! 
 
Onward ~ John
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000