Dear Chamber Supporters:
I hope your Thanksgiving was restful and you found plenty of blessings…in spite of COVID and all the craziness that is/has been 2020. Our Thanksgiving table was much smaller at our house than our usual affair…only 4 of us – my mom and son Todd joined us for a quiet and peaceful day. While missing everyone else we were plenty thankful…blessings abound in the midst of chaos. It’s good we have a day to stop and cause us to be remindful for our families, our lives and our community…I certainly count you among all the things I have to be thankful for.    
COVID Update:
The pandemic is still controlling our lives…while active cases are down from 229 to 181 (Wednesday to Wednesday), the County Health officer warns there is currently a tremendous backload of tests. Franklin County verifies positive tests by getting a second state test before a pronouncement of positive. I’m guessing because of all the testing to allow people to travel at Thanksgiving, the State is swamped…we haven’t received any testing results since last Monday. Right now there are 111 pending COVID tests and 6 hospitalizations. Sadly there have also been 2 more deaths. Here is the county report for Wednesday, November 25.
The Ottawa Chamber is supporting the Kansas Department of Commerce efforts for everyone to mask-up: Mask-up – Economy Strong! Hopefully this effort will be one more arrow in the heart of the beast to allow us to defeat this crazy thing. Here are a few of the graphics for the campaign…you will also begin seeing television ads encouraging everyone to mask-up. If you follow us on Facebook and Twitter we will be incorporating the graphics and posts for the next several weeks…we would appreciate it if you see them to like them and let all your friends know too. Also the City of Ottawa by way of the commission is making a push too…#maskupKansas.   
Lastly I’ll stop on this subject by letting you know your Chamber can get you, your business or family all the free masks you need – just call 785.242.1000.  
Mayor’s Lighting Ceremony:
The Mayor’s Lighting Ceremony is still on…we will throw the switch to officially begin the downtown shopping season tomorrow (Saturday, November 28) at 5:30 when we light the town for the holidays. The event will begin at 5:00 with cookies to be decorated…this year the cookies and decorations (sponsored by the Library) will be to take home and decorate. The Spotlight Dance Academy is dancing…and Phil Messenger will read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”. All this is happening in the intersection of 2nd and Main Streets. KOFO will be playing Christmas music and several other events going on too. The Ottawa Coop and Trendel Lumber are sponsoring this event…thanks to them we will be handing out free chamber currency to spend for Christmas shopping. As I said the lights go on at 5:30 and we are expecting Santa to make an appearance.
If you feel this spread-out outdoor event is safe come on down and get the holidays started. We haven’t had a lot to celebrate this year (except maybe the Super Bowl)…put on your best Christmas mask and join us downtown tomorrow. Hope to see you there!! 
Help buy Fireworks:
A reminder, the Chautauqua Festival Committee is sponsoring a couple raffles to raise money to purchase fireworks for our local Independence Day Celebration in 2021. The prizes are a $500.00 Price Chopper gift card or 1 case of CCI Blazer 9mm ammo…you can buy tickets for one or the other (or both). Here is the link to do just that…1 – ticket for $10.00 or 3 – tickets for $25.00. Additionally you can find this link on our webpage or you can buy tickets at the Chamber, The Gun Guys or Memorial Auditorium.
Blessings and Thanks to you!!:
It’s the day after Thanksgiving and I want to say how much, we at the Chamber, appreciate all of you. By being a member of the Chamber, you are a community investor…the work we do is for you and because of you. THANK YOU!! 
This community has long been resilient to challenging issues and COVID will be no different. We will soon have this in our rear-view mirror and be moving onto the next challenge. In the past there have been floods, other pandemics and challenging economic times…and we have met them all – we are Ottawa Strong!!
Let’s Mask-up and Keep the Economy Strong Ottawa…we simply cannot afford another shutdown! 
Talk to you next week…
Onward ~ John 
John Coen
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce