Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
On Tuesday, we officially slipped into fall…it’s easy to tell the days are shortening and leaves are turning. Most of the hummingbirds which fly around our deck and hummingbird feeder have headed south for the winter. It was a cool, fall evening last Friday at the Family Movie night…about 100 people brought lawn chairs and blankets to watch Disney’s Onward (here are a few pictures). Four organizations partnered to create the family fun night…OMA, ORC, the Library and the Chamber sponsored the evening. It seems most feel more comfortable congregating outdoors…and it is refreshing to see people gathering and enjoying the presence of others…even though it is a slightly different manner from which we use to meeting and exchange greetings and well-wishes. 
 
There has been an uptick in local COVID numbers this week…47 new positive cases since last Wednesday (here are the complete numbers). There are currently 46 active cases and 4 hospitalizations which have been reported.  There is a new term being bandied about…COVID fatigue. It doesn’t take too much definition…we are all growing weary from this disease we can’t see but has wreaked so much havoc not only into our lives, but our entire society. It is hard to talk or even think about recovery when the only opportunity we have is to practice prevention. Continue to stay safe and strong!!
 
Art Auction Wrap-up:
 
Last week I mentioned the silent auction of Dr. Reggies Wenyika’s paintings which began a week ago on Thursday evening with the proceeds benefitting Friends of COF…the auction raised almost 4,000.00. The pieces sold were the first ever offered by Reggies…I can envision his artwork continuing to grow in value as time moves forward and more people become familiar with his work. Thanks Reggies for your commitment to the community…in more ways than just serving as a leader. 
 
OU Greenhouse:
 
Ottawa University recently broke ground on a new project (pictures here)…at least the building stage – the fundraising has been going on for a while. Don and Carolyn Creed and the OU Class of 1969 raised the majority of funds to build the new facility…it will greatly enhance the science curriculum and other areas such as biology, botany and green chemistry. Many in the community know Dr. Steven Boese…recognized for his long and unique beard. Some of the funds raised came from an auction contest that came from a “save” or “shave” the beard contest…the “shave the beard” dominated!! He made good on his word…the beard is gone and the construction of the new project is underway. Local contractors, Loyd Builders are responsible for the construction.
 
Grill Raffle:
 
It was not a great turnout for our “mask”erade/raffle drawing for the grill…I think it reflects while people are anxious to return to normal there is a great hesitancy for indoor events. Only a few showed for the drawing (pictures here)…so few in fact we moved the drawing to our Friday Chamber coffee at Rock Creek Ottawa so as to have a larger crowd. The raffle itself was successful…raising over $4,000.00…thanks to Dale Pearson of Modern Woodmen for matching all dollars raised – essentially doubling the collections for Legacy Square. And the winner is…Lyndsi Oestmann, the Owner/Operator of Loma Vista Nursery. 
 
Rock Creek of Ottawa:
 
Rock Creek of Ottawa sponsored Chamber members at a coffee this morning…it was good to visit our local nursing home, rehab center and assisted living facility. With all the COVID news regarding nursing homes, I’ve been worried about all our elderly care facilities. Courtney Taylor, Community Liaison for the facility reported they have had zero COVID cases on their entire campus. Here are some pictures…you really get a sense of community when listening to the staff of Rock Creek…their mission is to make a difference in the life of those they serve – including the patient’s families too. This has been a challenging time for them and families with loved ones in assisted care… 
 
Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters:
 
Legacy Square will be lighted red at night all next week to honor fallen firefighters…every October, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation sponsors the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend. It is the official national tribute to those firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year. In 2017, the Foundation created Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters to recognize the 25th anniversary of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. We certainly have a great fire department here in Ottawa…they have challenged the community to respect and remember all fallen firefighters. 
 
 Ladies Day Downtown:
 
A reminder to come downtown next Friday afternoon (October 2)…the Chamber’s annual “Ladies Night Out” is doing a COVID year transition to “Ladies Day Downtown”!! We have a couple of sponsors: Rock Creek of Ottawa and Cosentino’s Price Chopper who have made it possible to give away $1,000.00 in free Chamber Currency which will be pink and only be good next Friday at the participating businesses. Pick it up at the Chamber next Friday while the supply lasts!! This year will be more of a sidewalk sale so social distancing can be maintained…and also will run longer (from 1:00-7:00) to allow participants to spread visits over an expanded period instead of a big wave all at once. Come join the fun and shop our downtown…maybe grab a drink or a meal – even an ice cream cone!! Hope to see you next Friday. 
 
Cherry and I have another one-year old birthday party this weekend…should be a lot of fun!! I’ll have a few pictures next week.
 
Stay safe…
 
Onward ~ John
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000