Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
What a rainy week…my rain gauge had over 7 inches of rain (7.2 exactly) from last Saturday until this morning. The river dikes came in handy again for our community…once again we need to remember and thank the leaders who went before us, lobbied in Washington D.C. and were successful in having these structures built in the early 60s. Here are pictures of the Marias des Cygnes from the walk bridge on Tuesday…the day the river crested. There were several john boats in with all the debris which collected at both bridges.
 
While life and property saving, the traffic diversion from Main Street did cause a bit of disruption for drivers. The K-68 overpass bridge is undergoing repairs…the repairs will last all summer, into September or October. All north/south drivers were diverted to cross the river on the overpass which, because of the repairs, is one-lane metered by a traffic light. Some reported taking over 20-minutes to make the crossing – depending on time of day. On one occasion, I personally saw traffic backed from the traffic light back to Ash on Second Street and back to Beech on K-68.
 
Just to avoid a disaster in Ottawa’s northside, the fire department established a temporary headquarters at Wilson and Cherry Streets at the Cherry Street Wesleyan Church…firefighters slept in the church’s fellowship hall; and the church ladies made sure the team was well fed. Chief Tim Mathias reports they received such good care the team didn’t want to leave the temporary location once the gates reopened. Thanks to all City and County workers who put in many extra hours dealing with flooding issues and for the Fire Department for your foresightedness in the situation. We have great teams of public servants!!
 
Flea, Junk & Trunk:
 
It was a rainy morning (the theme for the week) last Saturday when vendors began arriving at 7:30 to setup their booths (here are a few pictures). Still…it was dry under the Legacy Square pavilion, for which everyone expressed gratefulness. By the time the event began at 9:00, while still cloudy, the rain was pretty much out of the area. Most sellers reported fantastic sales and were very pleased…most wanted to know when our next event is. Downtown was brisk too. Mark Cation (who tracks everything) reported in his store, Papa’s Attic, it was his highest foot traffic and revenue day for him since Ladies’ Night Out pre-COVID!! This is great news!! Ottawa Main Street organized the sidewalk sale…the Chamber did the Flea, Junk & Trunk – it was a good partnership and brought a lot of people to town. 
 
SummerFest:
 
Here is another activity which we are hoping gives everyone in the community something in which to participate…and additionally causes people to come downtown to shop. This time the event is a partnership with the Chamber, Ottawa Main Street Association (OMSA), the Library and Ottawa Recreation Commission (ORC). SummerFest (flier inserted) will take place on Saturday, June 5…here is a link to the Facebook event page where you can see all events scheduled.  Just a few highlights, there will be disc golf tournaments at Kanza and Forest Parks, free swimming for the day, a professional skateboard artist will perform and give tips at the Teen Park at 1:00. From noon to 6:00 in the evening, we are shutting down the Two Hundred block of Main Street to allow games, live bands, antique cars all to be performing and on display on the street. Also…you can visit Not Lost Brewery for their craft beer and carry your brew on the street as you enjoy all the outdoor activities. 
 
In the evening at Legacy Square, Neosho County Community College is holding a seafood boil open to everyone (here is the flier regarding this event). It is a fundraiser for the College, and they would appreciate an RSVP to this phone number: 620.432.0408. Following the seafood boil, at dusk (about 9:00 p.m.) the Chamber, Library, OMSA and ORC are hosting a free family movie night. Movie licensure doesn’t allow us to publish the exact name of the movie…but you can see a poster for the movie displayed in the Library…and I can say it is a very recent Disney release and it’s about a dragon and “takes place long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, when humans and dragons lived together in harmony. However, when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it’s up to a lone warrior to track down the last dragon and stop the Druun for good.” Hope that gives you a good hint!!   
 
All in all there is a lot going on June 5…plan to participate in as much as you can. All four hosting organizations are trying to create post-COVID activities to bring people out and to join together once again – and to have fun. As a society, we’ve been through a terrible ordeal…and dare I say everyone is just a little disoriented. It is time to start living our lives again…having fun! Please come join in.
 
Maggie’s Popcorn and Nuts:
 
Mary Raley and her mom Maggie and husband Kyle are celebrating big events today…to further commemorate and honor the day, they hosted Chamber members at the 4-year anniversary of Maggie’s Popcorn & Nuts and the grand opening of their ice cream parlor (pictures here). Also…another significant event in their family’s life was the tornado at Joplin, Missouri on May 22, 2011. Mary survived the storm, but was impaled by a 2×4 and also needed plastic surgery on her face. Here is an article featuring Mary from The Joplin Mag. Every year she commemorates this date in some manor…even she and Kyle were married on May 22 at the exact time of the tornado. Her survival played a major role in beginning her business in Ottawa and becoming a great destination business on Main Street. Mary is also a dynamic community leader…from day one of arriving in town Mary rolled up her sleeves and has been involved in the Chamber and the Ottawa Main Street Association. Be sure to stop in Maggie’s Popcorn & Nuts and thank the Raleys, and of course…have an ice cream cone!!
 
2021 Honor’s Ceremony:
 
Thursday evening, we honored students at Ottawa High School and Ottawa Middle School for high achieving scholastics…the students in each class from 6th grade through 12th grade whose grades represented the top 5 percent of their respective classes. It was a big turnout…both parents and students. Every year, the Chamber partners with USD 290, Ottawa University and Neosho County Community College to acknowledge and reward the students…usually with a banquet and ceremony. Still unable to do the banquet, we rewarded their efforts with a certificate and $5.00 of Chamber Currency. Here are pictures of the event…and here is a list of the students honored.
 
Family Milestones:
 
We had a big and long-overdue event in our family last Sunday…Heidi Jo Brown was baptized. Our church hasn’t performed baptisms in over a year…since COVID. Now, to get caught up they are performing private ceremonies by appointment…here are pictures from the family event and gathering
 
Another big event in the life of a child…Kindergarten promotion. Last year, Evie completed kindergarten from home…as all students did, and didn’t have a promotion. At Appanoose School this year, in West Franklin School District, they honored those students with a Kindergarten/1st Grade Promotion…pictures here. There is also one picture of Newt at his pre-school “graduation”.
 
Let’s hope the rain can subside in the week ahead…I saw one church in the Kansas City area posted on their sign in front of the Church, “Need an Ark…we Noah guy!!” I thought it was cute…hopefully it doesn’t come to that!!
 
Have a great weekend and week ahead…I’ll talk to you next week.
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000