Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Happy hot Friday!! It seems early in the summer to have such hot temperatures…not even officially summer yet. Cherry and I are going to need to start watering our garden. I know it hasn’t even been a month since I was complaining about too much rain…now here we are facing a hot dry spell. I’ve always heard you are never a week away from a drought in Kansas. I guess it’s fair to say just typical weather in Kansas…and typical to complain too!!
 
City Commission & School Board:
 
There’s quite a bit of interest in these two boards for the fall elections. The filing deadline was a couple of weeks ago…9 candidates filed for 3 vacant seats on the City Commission and 6 candidates filed for 3 positions on USD 290 Board of Education (BOE). Also…on each the City Commission and BOE there are incumbents running and one person deciding to resign. From the City Commission, longtime commissioner Blake Jorgensen says it’s time for someone else to step up and from the school board, Shanda Olmsted has chosen not to run…so there will be some new blood on both these boards. Even with all these candidates, it will not be necessary to have a primary in August…so the slates are fixed for the November elections. Here is the complete list of candidates from both races…some familiar names and many newcomers. The Chamber will host a candidate forum in the fall to give all a chance to hear and meet the candidates…should be an interesting fall election.
 
Rotary:
 
Our local Rotary Club is celebrating their centennial year in 2021…originally chartered on March 5, 1921. And…as is typical of Rotarians, they are giving something to the community to commemorate their 100-years of service to Ottawa. This morning Chamber members helped dedicated a new shelter house at Kansa Park, paid for by the Ottawa Rotary Club (pictures here). Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million members all uniting to affect positive change and community growth. Their mission is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. We have several strong service organizations locally which all work hard to serve the community…we are a stronger community because of them.
 
Many former Rotarians of the Ottawa Club attended the event this morning…people I hadn’t seen in a long while. Each month of 2021, in honor of their 100th birthday, the Ottawa Club are doing a random act of kindness. One month they paid the utilities for 5 families in need…one month they gave succulents to everyone living at Rock Creek; simple things that mean an awful lot to the recipients of the deed. Thanks to all Rotarians for the service you provide to Ottawa!!
 
Big Announcements:
 
Here are a couple of big announcements from this last week. Hope House has signed a contract on a new building and is planning to move!! They are purchasing the former bottling plant on 17th Street (most recently the Thrift Store). This will allow the organization to have more room and also expand services. This is another group which makes our community better. Providing not only a food pantry but helping the homeless and families down on their luck. The building they currently occupy at 3rd & Walnut Streets is over 100-years old…and costing the organization many dollars in maintenance costs. This will be a very beneficial move for Hope House!!
 
The second big announcement this week from Franklin County is Brenda Pfizenmaier is leaving AdventHealth and beginning July 1 will be the new Director of the Franklin County Health Department. Brenda has worked at our local hospital for years…she will leave a huge vacancy there. But I can’t imagine anyone better to be the Director of Franklin County Health Department…and how great for us she is remaining local and will continue with her valuable service to Franklin County.
 
Dr. Bill Tsutsui:
 
I mentioned last week I was in an Ottawa University board meeting all day…here is a picture of new OU President/CEO, Dr. Bill Tsutsui with longtime Chancellor Kevin Eichner. Bill is very excited to be coming to Ottawa…he and his wife are preparing to move into the Granger House across from the campus. He is planning to get an apartment in Surprise, Arizona for when he is working on the Surprise campus. Dr. Bill will begin his service to Ottawa University on July 1…welcome to Ottawa – we are looking forward to getting to know you.
 
Busy Week Ahead:
 
Cherry and I have been ships passing in the night for a couple of weeks…this last week she was in Colorado vacationing with her sisters. This week ahead I will be in the nation’s capital attending the National Association of Workforce Boards. Hopefully I have something interesting to report from D.C. next week.
 
Here are a few pictures of kids having summer fun!! Even though the weather is hot it doesn’t slow them down much. Hope all you dads are planning a relaxing weekend to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday…let me be the first to say Happy Father Day!!
 
Talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000