Dear Chamber Supporters:
It has been a busy week in the Chamber office…preparing for the Friends and Family Fun Night Outing…which begins today at 11:00 a.m. and lasts until next Thursday, evening (January 28) at 9:00 p.m. Most of the effort is organizing the annual auction. Our business members have made some amazing donations this year which will help bunches in supporting the Chamber in our efforts to support the community. Examples of just a few items are a 55” Visio Television, a drone with camera, a trip to a resort on the beach in Mexico…this is only a sampling. Here are pictures of the auction room at PrimeTime Grille/Fusion Alley where the Ambassador Committee has everything ready to go. You can sign up and register here to view all the donations…and be one of the first bidders of the auction. If you have any problems figuring out how to sign in or using the auction site, call the Chamber (785.242.1000)…we will be glad to walk you through it. Remember – anyone can bid…you don’t have to be registered for the banquet or even be a Chamber member. All that is required is to get registered on the webpage and bid…early and often!!
When you go to PrimeTime Grille to eat and view the auction items, send us a picture or video…we’d love to have pictures for our Facebook page of you participating in our annual banquet/event. Also…here is a quick “how to” on using QR codes. When you see the auction items you can go quickly to the auction site by scanning the QR code in front of each item…or if you want to practice here is a QR code which will take you to the auction site (same as clicking the link above).  
COVID Numbers:
Our local COVID numbers are definitely trending in the right direction this week…here is the report from Wednesday, January 20. Our totals are down by 68 from 142 last week to 74 active cases this week with no new deaths…and that’s down 126 from 2-weeks ago. Maybe most importantly we are in Phase 2 of the vaccination process and actually seeing Franklin County citizens receiving the vaccination (pictures here). The Franklin County Health Department has successfully administered 200 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to County residents over the age of 83. The vaccination clinic took place at the Ottawa Middle School Gymnasium. Vaccines were administered by appointment only and given to those who had already signed-up through the Health Department. So far locally, there have been over 900 which have received the COVID serum. You can still call and get on the list by calling 785.229.3531…do it today!!
Elizabeth Maxwell:
We learned this week Elizabeth Maxwell (picture here) is retiring next week from her long-time position as Director of the East Central Kansas Area Agency on Aging. Elizabeth has done amazing work at the agency…for the last 29-years she’s been dedicated to coordinating and providing various programs and services to older persons and caregivers in order to improve their quality of life and celebrate their independence, health and dignity. This community has much to thank her for…I ran into Elizabeth and Jack recently and asked what her plans for retirement are. Without hesitating she said spend more time with grandkids. Good for her…Elizabeth will be in her office all next week if you want to send her a note or wish her well. Thanks Elizabeth…enjoy a well earned retirement.
First Legislative Coffee:
Tomorrow, Saturday, January 23 is our first Legislative Coffee for the year…albeit only virtually. The Facebook live event will begin at 10:00 a.m. hosted on the City of Ottawa’s Facebook page (click here)…all 3 of our local legislators are committed to participating. You will be able to join live or after the event we will have a copy of the video on the Chamber’s Facebook page too. You will be able to ask questions (either beforehand or during) by emailing the Chamber. I’m surprised how many have already emailed questions…citizens seem to be really invested in the political process right now. The rest of the Coffees will be February 27, March 27, and April 17…all at 10:00 a.m. I suspect these will be only virtual as well…we’ll see how the COVID fight evolves going forward and if regulations are relaxed as to how many are allowed to congregate inside at one time. 
Power Transfers Quietly:
Thankfully, we witnessed the peaceful transfer of leadership of our country this last Wednesday…as we have every Presidential change since our first in 1789. Prayers and best wishes to our new President, Joe Biden…he has a herculean task in front of him. I’ve heard many say this is the worst it’s ever been in this county…this isn’t necessarily true – it’s just freshest in our minds. John Adams didn’t attend the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson because he felt the election was stolen from him (sound familiar). They eventually reconciled and, in the end, became great friends again. His son, John Quincy Adams would not attend the inauguration of Andrew Jackson…again it was a bitter election – historians say the worst in history (even worse than our most recent). And lastly Andrew Johnson didn’t attend the swearing in of Ulysses Grant…they hated each other – and Johnson, like Trump had also been impeached. Democracy has been challenged on different levels throughout our storied history…it was during the Civil War and during the 1960s. These challenging times remind us of how fragile our freedoms can be. Now is a time for healing and moving forward…we have plenty of challenges to tackle. I say let’s get to it!!
All our grandkids were at our house last weekend…it really keeps the place jumping. Our 8 kids range from age 6 (almost 7) to 15-months (pictures here). Number 9 is due this week…maybe I’ll have big news next Friday. I know his momma is ready for him to make an appearance.
Remain vigilant against COVID and be safe – talk to you next week.
Onward ~ John 
John Coen
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce