Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
With Thanksgiving in our rearview mirrors and the town officially lit for Christmas we are definitely into winter and the Holiday Season at this point…albeit I’ll take highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s all winter long if we can get it. From the extended forecast is sounds as if we get this weather for at least the next week.
 
I hope your Thanksgiving was blest and you got some much-needed rest and relaxation. Our Thanksgiving Day was very quiet…only my mom and son Todd. But all our kids and grandkids came on Saturday…it is quite a house-full – few pictures here.
 
Mayor’s Lighting Ceremony:
 
It was a beautiful evening last Saturday when about 200 people came downtown to welcome Santa and see the lights go on…and officially start the Christmas Season…here are a few pictures of the beginning of the event. The weather was warm for late November…just the right amount of chill in the air. It was so awesome to see so many people gather with holiday cheer…it is the first, what felt like a “normal” event, since last January. Once all our volunteers were in place and the sun faded, the switch was turned on. The Spotlight Dance Academy performed, Phil Messenger read “T’was the Night Before Christmas”, and when the crowd began singing…Santa Clause showed up!! Let me be the first to wish you Merry Christmas…one of which I hope we all find a COVID vaccine in our stockings and life starts migrating back to pre-pandemic days!!
 
COVID-19 Update:
 
I wish I had better news on the COVID front but November’s numbers are the worst yet. The month ended with just short of 500 positive tests…more than the 3 previous months combined. Active cases increased to 192, up from 181 (Wednesday to Wednesday) with 4 more local deaths bringing our local death total to 17. Since the very beginning of the pandemic…sometime around last March, we have had a total of 1,144 positive cases. Here is this week’s report for Wednesday, December 2
 
The good news on the national front is the vaccines are showing great promise and effectiveness with expectations that by next summer all who want the inoculation will have the opportunity. Yesterday Franklin County endorsed the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new recommendation for shortening the quarantine requirement to people who are directly exposed to COVID but show no symptoms. Previously 14 days…the CDC is now saying with a negative test and no symptoms you should quarantine 7-days; if you have no test and no symptoms you should quarantine for 10-days. Full press release here.
 
Chautauqua Festival fundraiser:
 
Time is growing short to get in the raffle to raise money to purchase fireworks for next summer’s celebration. You have a choice to buy a chance to get either free groceries or free ammo…it is an easy way to help make this summer’s fireworks show be a big success.  Here is the link to make your purchase for either $10.00 for 1 ticket or $25.00 for 3 tickets. 
 
30th-Birthday:
 
Our baby boy turns 30 today…it’s a stark realization when your youngest is now 30-years old!! Many of his friends gathered at our house for a bonfire and surprise party…pictures here. It was fun seeing all his friends which, like him, are now all adults! We can tell they are all adults because the party broke up by 11:00…we remember well when the parties would go on all night. 
 
Playground Benches:
 
Last weekend before our Thanksgiving celebration began, I took Anna and Lucy downtown. They played at the new playground at Legacy Square, walked up on the river dike and enjoyed ice cream from Maggie’s Popcorn…pictures here. This week, City crews installed the benches at the park…they are a great addition. I wish they had been there last Saturday!!
 
I want to encourage you to do as much of your holiday shopping here in town as possible. Our local businesses do a fantastic job in supporting this community…we need to, in turn, support them. If you are thinking of giving money as a gift, consider giving Chamber Currency…this way you will know the dollars will go to support our local economy. We have already had a number of people do just that. Call the office (785.242.1000) to order your currency.
 
Talk to you next week…stay safe!
 
Onward ~ John  
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000