Dear Chamber Supporter:
Seems I spent most of this week catching up from being gone for 2 weeks…think I’m finally getting my head above water. I spent a little time driving around seeing what’s changed while I was in Greece…the hotel has really advanced (pictures here). They hope to be open and in business for graduation in May. I also popped into the PrimeTime Grille (pictures here) to check progress. It was in the afternoon and the bowling alley was full and busy…there was a senior league competing. It was fun hearing the familiar sounds of balls being fired down the alley and cracking the pins. I visited with Ken Frank later in the week and he reports the plan is to open the restaurant in the 2nd or 3rd week of December…I’m very anxious to get this space completed.
Franklin County Health Symposium:
I spent most of the Tuesday involved with many other local citizens discussing ways to make Franklin County a healthier place to live and work…about 70 participated. Midge Ransom, the Franklin County Health Director organized the symposium and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas sponsored the event…here are a couple of pictures from the day. The real focus of the conference was concentrating on policy development which causes us to change our habits or make healthier choices. 
This investment in Franklin County by Blue Cross is a culmination of the community receiving the BCBS Pathways Grant in 2016. Because of that $100,000.00 grant many have benefited locally…and, because of the original award, additional money has been invested by the company to help the community focus on healthy living. In addition to the dollars, BCBS provided technical assistance for planning, evaluation, communications and measurement through partnerships with Kansas Health Institute and the Community Engagement Institute at Wichita State University. A Pathways Committee was established locally and has been able to help fund sidewalks and trails in several of our smaller communities; several schools have benefited from health-focused curriculum and water bottle filling stations for students. The grant also helped to fund the (still to be built playground) at Legacy Square to encourage active living and playing. These are only a few of the local projects. Thanks really go to Midge for her causing us to focus on healthier lifestyles…outstanding job!!
FCDC Annual Meeting:
Franklin County Development Council held their annual meeting Tuesday evening…Patty Clark, the Deputy Director of the Kansas Department of Commerce was the speaker (pictures here). She confirmed that while once a leader in economic development, the State of Kansas has greatly underfunded this important aspect of advancing our state for several years now. The last statewide economic strategic plan was in 1986 and the department which once had over a $20 million budget now has less than $10 million spending authority. It’s absolutely imperative we continue to attract new jobs, business and industry into Kansas…and we must be deliberate and calculated in doing so. David Toland, Secretary of Commerce and Patty will do a good job of getting us back on track. 
The evening was also Paul Bean’s first big event. It is fun having Paul in the office…Franklin County has also been without economic development direction for almost a year now. With good leadership at the State and now also in the county I think it’s fair to say we can expect good things to happen. We stand ready with Proximity Park ready to go and great partnerships with local government.        
Legacy Square:
Legacy Square took a couple of big steps toward completion this week…pictures here. The benches are all installed now and the screen manufactured by Select Steel has been placed in front of the restrooms. Additionally the bronze Franklin County map has been placed at the NW corner of the Square. Work continues on the 2 bridges…the smaller bridge is complete but the longer bridge is still being built. Also left to install are bollards at the NW corner to keep large trucks from cutting the corner and driving on the large medallion. 
It’s still not too late to participate in the truck raffle…the drawing is December 14 and there are only 240 tickets left to sell. You can purchase single tickets here for $125.00 per ticket or 10 tickets here for $1,000.00…another way to buy a ticket is to stop by or call the Chamber (785.242.1000) for assistance to purchase tickets with a credit card or check. Additional locations to buy tickets include Beckman Motors in Garnett, Kansas State Bank, Bank Midwest, and Goppert State Service Bank.  Don’t wait too long!! 
Amazing Grace Baptist Camp:
Chamber members gathered this cold Friday morning at Calvary Baptist Church to hear about camping, swimming, canoeing and chasing fireflies. It already feels good to talk and think about summer. Amazing Grace Baptist Camp is in northern Franklin County and provides a great Christian camp experience to local youth…the local church is a big supporter of the camp. Josh Burkholder, camp director fundraises in order to hold community camp for local youth. For $220.00 you can sponsor a young person for a week of camp…many can’t afford or wouldn’t have the opportunity without generous support from local citizens. Josh shared several heartwarming stories of wayward kids finding direction in their lives as a result of spending a week at camp. As we enter the holiday season think about opportunities to give to our greater community…it makes our hometown more complete.
Save the Date:
Please mark your calendar for December 13 to have lunch at the Chamber office. FCDC and the Chamber will host our annual holiday open house from 11:00 until 1:30…not sure what the menu is at this point but it will be good and the conversation and fellowship will be better. I guarantee the weather will be warm inside! Looking forward to seeing most of you on this day to officially wish you Happy Holidays!!
KSU First-Time Attenders:
Kansas State is wrapping up their football season…and yes, we are bowl eligible again this year. Not bad for first-time coach Chris Klieman. Many know we have a family tailgate at all home games…last week we had a couple first-ever KSU football game attenders (pictures here). Heidi Jo Brown (now 2 months old) came to her first K-State game…also Ryland (272 months old) joined our family this last weekend. Sorry we didn’t win but it is always good to get new people indoctrinated to the Purple Pride.
Cherry and I celebrated 37 years of marriage on Wednesday this week…I know this is trite, but it really does seem like it was just yesterday. We enjoyed a very casual evening eating at the new Corner Market and getting home early…we did just return from Greece after all. We really enjoy our 4 kids and 8 grandkids…and being greatly involved in the life of Ottawa. I don’t think we could have planned it any better if we had tried!!
Talk to you next week…
Onward ~ John 
John Coen
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce