Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Another crazy spring week of weather in Kansas…I’m sure I don’t ever remember ever getting 3 inches of snow as late as April 20!! This day was our daughter’s wedding day 8-years ago…now she’ll forever be able to say, “we’ve seen large snows on our anniversary before!” I dare say I’d be surprised if it happened again…but then, our weather is really doing weird things in recent years.
 
Let me say too…this weather is rough on gardeners. All our plants have been really thriving…for the predicted 3 mornings of frost, we covered all tomatoes and peppers and left broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts to fend on their own. Here are pictures of our raised beds on Wednesday morning. And if you look at the next picture you will also see our garden Thursday morning when 3 deer were enjoying a vegetable breakfast. Oh well…it is never easy!! And by the way…everything still looks pretty good after all said and done.
 
Library Seed & Plant Swap:
 
The Ottawa Library used April 22, Earth Day to emphasize making our earth beautiful by hosting a seed and plant swap…what a good idea. Cherry and I enjoy sharing our landscaping plants…they need to be divided on a regular basis anyway. Trouble is, having just moved, we are more in the dynamic of establishing more landscaping. We brought, to our new home many things from the farm, such as Lilies of the Valley, Hostas, Iris, Lilac and Yuca plants…but didn’t get any Peonies, Black-eyed Susans, or several other favorites. We enjoyed this opportunity to get several plants to add to our spring and summer enjoyment. Here are pictures of the library parking lot Thursday afternoon when gardeners and landscapers visited and exchanged plant starts. 
 
Hospital Volunteer Recognition:
 
This past week was also National Volunteer Week…AdventHealth Ottawa used the opportunity to recognize all their many and valuable volunteers (pictures here). Of course it’s been a crazy year when volunteers couldn’t be in the hospital providing services…this is something else which is starting to change as the world begins to reemerge from COVID. The gift shop is now open and local supporters are lending their helping hand and services inside the hospital…directing patients, checking people in, helping in the cafeteria and providing any service possible to help caregivers lighten their load. Jody Lancaster is the Director of Volunteer Services and does an amazing job…if you would like to help at the hospital you can call her at 785.229.8231. Here is the list of all the volunteers specifically recognized in a year in which no Volunteer of the Year was named…only because of no volunteering allowed. 
 
Donuts for Do-Gooders:
 
Here is a chance for you to say thank you to someone or give them the recognition they deserve for being that “unsung hero”…Donuts for Do-Gooders!! We have many in Ottawa who give of themselves selflessly and often go unrecognized…Betty Birzer, local realtor, is taking care of this. Weekly she is giving 2 dozen Daylight Donuts to someone who serves for the greater good…maybe it’s a Walmart checker who is always pleasant and helpful; or, maybe someone who checks in when you aren’t feeling well. There are so many who serve without thanks. Want to nominate someone…go to Daylight Donuts Facebook page. Be sure to include a paragraph about why they deserve to be recognized. Thanks Betty…you are an unsung hero in our community. This is a wonderful promotion…someone should give you donuts too…thanks for your commitment to making Ottawa better!!
 
2020 Chamber Award Recognition:
 
Speaking of unsung heroes…every year, the Chamber recognizes several, specifically for making Ottawa and Franklin County a better place to live and work. The community’s highest recognition is the Russel Crites award for service above and beyond self to help the greater good of the community…there were several of those in the most recent COVID challenge!! Usually we do this at our annual meeting in January…of course, we weren’t able to do that this year – but, we absolutely do not want to forget recognizing the individuals who have stepped up to the plate. So…this year we are holding the Chamber’s annual award banquet on May 26 at the ORC Goppert Center. Invitations to attend will be out soon…but here are the nomination forms. The awards recognized every year (in addition to the Russel Crites Award) are: the Community Builder Award, the Horizon Award, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the Smile of the Year Award. You can read on the nomination forms the qualities used to determine each recipient. Please nominate the person in your organization who you see making significant contributions to Ottawa and Franklin County…we need to say thank you to all who sacrifice to make this a better community.   
 
Legislative Coffee:
 
It was a small, socially-distance crowd in Memorial Auditorium last Saturday to participate in the last Legislative Coffee of the year…but many more viewed the question/answer session on Facebook live (you can still watch the entire Coffee here). Senator Caryn Tyson and Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch (pictures here) were asked about the wrap-up leading to the Legislature’s first adjournment of the 2021 Session…and what to expect in the wrap-up session to take place later in May. Legislators were queried regarding K-12 spending, their opinion of establishing a Senior Task Force, the Gadsden Flag, the transgender athlete’s bill (vetoed this week by the governor), shortage of housing, COVID vaccinations and more. This community so appreciates the service of our legislators and willingness to come home and give us first-hand impressions of how it plays out in the State House. Thanks Blaine and Caryn for your service…much appreciated!!
 
Week Ahead:
 
I’m going to take some time off this week…spending a week on the beach with our daughter Whitney and her family. I will have some beach pictures for you next week. Speaking of the next newsletter…Sherri and Ryland will be the main contributors to the news about town (since I will not be). I’m sure they will have much to share – I am looking forward to their insight…probably a welcome relief for many!!
 
I am positive Sherri will have pictures of her new granddaughter!! Berklee Rae Dankenbring made it here today just in time for me to tell you about Sherri and Dan’s exciting news…but not with any details like pictures, length, and weight. Sherri is ecstatic beyond words…I am so happy for them and their daughter Jessica and husband Chris. Berklee is Sherri and Dan’s second grandchild…can’t wait to meet her!!   
 
Here is a picture of me last Saturday afternoon…what made this even better…there was a Royals game on TV!! It doesn’t get any better than this!!
 
Be safe Ottawa…
 
Onward ~ John                               
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000