Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Seven more shopping days left…Christmas is one week from today!! Seems like it’s getting here fast this year…maybe because of (for the most part), all the good December weather. Still (and I’m speaking to the guys here)…our number of shopping days are dwindling rather quickly at this point.
 
Before it completely slips my mind…congrats to the winners of the 4th of July at Christmas drawing to support buying fireworks for next summer. County Commissioner Ianne Dickinson won the $500.00 Price Chopper card…Mary Raley, won the ammo. You can watch the Facebook Live video on our Facebook page…or click here to see the actual drawing which took place last Friday afternoon at Pizza Village. Thanks to all who purchased tickets to help make our summer show great!!
 
Chamber Board:
 
 And staying with housekeeping items in which to keep you up to date…December is when we select new board members to serve the next 3-years on our Chamber board.  Retiring this year from service are Brian Goudreau from Kalmar Industries, Brett Staneslow from American Eagle, and Sharon Geiss who owns the Painted Lady bed & breakfast…much thanks to them for their service. Replacing their spots on the board will be Jeff Carroll owner of Ottawa Bike and Trail, Steven Hasty owner of Hasty awards, and Donald Anderson who is the Assistant Dean of Student Engagement at Ottawa University. Kevin James, owner of James Automotive will step onto the Executive Committee to eventually become the Chair of the board in 2023. Serving as Chair for 2021 will be Terry Chartier, Director of the Ottawa Library. I greatly appreciate it when capable leaders step up to serve the community and the Chamber…your organization is in good and capable hands. 
 
Bicycle Friendly Community: 
 
Ottawa received another national recognition this last week. Every year, the League of American Bicyclists officially designates U.S. Cities as a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC). While we didn’t quite receive the BFC designation this year, Ottawa was recognized as one of the 16 runners up for the title…you can see the list and read the letter here. We will continue to try to gain this designation…bicyclists review the BFC Cities when mapping future outings and routes to travel. Congrats to the new 51 BFC designees…soon enough Ottawa will be among those honored as being a bike-friendly community. Still… runner-up for a national designation is not bad…sometimes we fail to appreciate what we have right here at home!!
 
Ottawa Library:
 
One of our stronger community partners, the Ottawa Library, hosted Chamber members this morning (pictures here) to announce the O-Town Reads book selection for 2021. For 5-years now, our library has selected a book which they encourage all local citizens to read. It is challenging to identify a book which will be enjoyed by both youth and adults…and have a compelling subject matter in order to engage the community in hard conversations…discussions which sometimes are hard to foster otherwise. The goal is to create change…or at least better awareness on a topic which affects everyone and is uncomfortable or difficult to discuss. And this year’s winner is…A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – you can pick up your free copy of the book at the library (read a review of the book here). Watch the Library’s Facebook page regarding future events creating community discussions of this book. Typically done in person, this year’s conversations will be virtual. 
 
The library has also recently purchased property on West 15th Street and is advancing toward a building project to construct a new library. Here is a picture of the rendering and suggested architectural design. This will be a huge community undertaking. Stay tuned for more information regarding this project coming in the future.
 
Kansas Attorney General – Derek Schmidt: 
 
I had a surprise this morning at about 7:00…Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt called to see if I had time to grab a cup of coffee this morning. I told him…as a matter of fact – I’m going to a coffee this morning…at the Ottawa Library. I invited him to join us which he did…picture here. Most know I use to work for Derek when he was the Kansas Senate Majority Leader…from Independence, Kansas, he is a great guy and the ultimate statesman. He was going through town, had a minute and wanted to catch up. After the library I gave him a quick tour of our downtown and we visited at the Corner Market. Our state is in good hands with Derek…he is definitely someone to watch for the future!!      
 
COVID Report:
 
The active number of COVID patients continued to tick down this week from 191 to 176…our positivity rate is also trending downward to 11.83% (no new deaths – still 17). While these numbers are not great, we are at least going in the right direction now. At our hospital board meeting this week, CEO Dallas Purkeypile reported our hospital received 190 doses of the Pfizer vaccine drug on Wednesday afternoon…on rather short notice I might add. Hospital staff has been preparing for the arrival and deployment of the vaccine for about a month now. AdventistHealth Ottawa (AHO) began vaccinating front-line patient caregivers on Thursday. If Moderna’s vaccine receives official approval today, it will only speed things up as the second drug is mobilized and sent around the country. Caregivers are expressing relief to finally be going on offense instead of only playing defense. Hopefully the end of the pandemic is in sight!! Here is the Wednesday, December 16 report.  
 
Chamber 2020 Annual Banquet:
 
Invitations were emailed yesterday for the Chamber’s 2020 Annual Banquet…which is not going to look at all like previous years. Our annual meeting is always one of our largest fundraisers…not wanting to pass on the fundraising, we tried to be innovative and create an evening out which can be done with family or friends. And…you can eat &/or bowl!! Everyone purchasing a ticket to the banquet will receive an “Ottawa Strong” neck-gaiter, stainless steel tumbler, hand sanitizer plus a $25.00 gift card to PrimeTime Grille and Fusion Alley…where we will have all our annual auction items displayed in a party room. Bidding on auction items will be done on an app with your phone (we have bid by app for the last 2 years already). I hope you will support this event…our 2021 budget can use the assistance. Here is a link to the invitation where you can RSVP
 
Few Grandkid Pics:
 
Here are a few pics of my kids getting ready for Christmas…our grandkids are all between the ages of 1 and 6. This is really an exciting time of year for kids this age…in spite of COVID and all the crazy things that adults have dealt with in 2020.
 
It is awesome news we have started vaccinating local citizens this week…hang in there Ottawa – we are going to beat this pandemic. Stay safe…talk to you next week!
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000