Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
We are officially living in the “dog days of summer” right now…from July 3 to August 11 are the actual dates of the “dog days”. Most use the term to refer to hot, sultry days not fit for a dog…but it really refers to the period between the dates above when the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of the Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.
 
On July 23 (today), Sirius specifically, is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as dies caniculārēs, or…the “dog days”. Well…regardless – it’s hot and sultry…not fit for a dog…or us!!
 
Back to School:
 
School enrollment begins week after next on August 2…hard to believe summer is almost over. This year returning students registration is all online – click here for forms and procedures. Unfortunately, it sounds as if there could be need for certain amounts of COVID protocol in schools again this fall. This Delta variant and hesitation of 64% of our local population to be vaccinated is allowing a virus resurgence (locally and nationally) which is once again becoming serious. In Franklin County, there are currently 65 active cases from the 95 positive July tests…also 2 hospitalizations and another COVID death locally this week. You can see the full report here…but nationwide, 95% of the current COVID infections are unvaccinated people – and there is yet to be a reported death from COVID of an individual who has received the vaccine. The numbers are pretty staggering…if you are not vaccinated, you owe it to yourself and the people you love to get the shot and encourage others to do the same.  We need to get this pandemic stopped before a variant comes along that is resistant to the vaccination!
 
New Welcome Sign:
 
There is a new welcome sign placed this week. Southbound travelers have been welcomed to the downtown for over a year by the marker on the southeast corner of the intersection of First and Main Streets…now northbound drivers are greeted with a similar marker on the northeast corner of the Fifth and Main Street intersection (picture here). The new rock monument was paid for by the Ottawa Main Street Association and it sits in the corner sponsored and maintained by American Eagle Outfitters whose employees’ plant and weed the flowerbed at this intersection. It looks nice and adds amenity and definition to our downtown. Each individual corner gives our downtown a uniqueness. Thanks to all who keep the corners and flowers beautiful…all the landscaping makes a great impression on visitors to our community…and it’s very pleasant to all of us too!!
 
Legacy Market:
 
We had a very successful first Legacy Market Thursday evening. I’m calling it the “first” to draw clear definition between the Farmer’s Market which sells in the Orscheln parking lot (and who has come and sold produce at Legacy Square on several occasions)…and our new market which we are calling Legacy Market. There was an enjoyable breeze under the pavilion at Legacy Square making it very pleasant…people gathered, had a meal from Simonelli’s – a new local food truck, made purchases from vendors and enjoyed visiting with one another. It was a very enjoyable evening.
 
There were 19 venders who participated with outstanding selections (pictures here)…there were crafters and bakers and several garden growers. Sweet corn and tomatoes were most popular, but also available was summer squash, cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, beets, watermelon (just to name some)…quite a wide selection of locally grown crops. Also, NightHawk Winery from Paola participated with their regionally produced wine. They provide tasting of all their different selections…and you could purchase a bottle (or two) of your favorite. Going forward, plans are to have Legacy Market every Thursday evening through August from 4:00-7:00. This will be a good gauge of interest and availability of both vendors and shoppers. I hope you will stop by a future Legacy Market…especially if you are an advocate of having a downtown market available. You are bound to see your friends and co-workers. Help us get the word out…this is a good opportunity for downtown!!
 
National Recognition:
 
Franklin County was once again featured recently in a national publication…our local Franklin County Conservation District (FCCD) board partnered with the Ottawa Coop in a pilot program, with a grant from the National Resources Conservation Services (NRCS). The proceeds of the grant allowed FCCD to hire a conservation agronomist – Kaitlin Gibbons (picture and article here). Kaitlin works with Ottawa Coop growers to find preservation solutions and improve conservation methods to make growers land more valuable and productive. She says her favorite part of the job is working directly with farmers to help them improve their land. Additionally, she is knowledgeable with Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and can help growers with nutrient management and cover crop planting. This is a good program…farmers are the original environmentalists and work every day at improving our environment and the land – so they are able to feed us and the world.             
 
Meet Jacob Boyd & Angela VanDeBerghe:
 
Jacob and Angela are Edward Jones Financial Advisors who office together at 1st and Main Streets…together they hosted chamber members this morning for coffee and networking (pictures here). Jacob really isn’t new to our community at this point…but, as COVID has done the last 18-months, it has prevented us from officially welcoming him and his business on Main Street, Edward Jones Investments. Angela came shortly after. Edward D. Jones opened his original office in St. Louis in 1922 with the goal of providing appropriate quality investments…soon after his son took the company over, the new goal became opening 300 neighborhood offices. Today the company has over 49,000 associates and 1.7 billion clients managing $1.6 trillion in assets. We are lucky to have 3 great advisors in Ottawa…Ryan Henningsen (at 5th and Cedar Streets) is the third. All 3 testify to a great working partnership and helping each other…also all 3 have involved themselves in the life of the community. Welcome to Jacob and Angela…thanks to you and Ryan for all you do to make Ottawa a great place to live and work (and invest!).
 
Travis Marvin:
 
Just a reminder…a free Travis Marvin concert is coming to Legacy Square on August 13…mark your calendars. There will be food and drink selections available…the concert will be from 7:30-10:30 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs, family and friends and enjoy the evening!!
 
Here is a picture of Lucy and Anna putting make-up on Heidi and me before church Sunday morning…yes – it all washed off!!
 
Have a relaxing weekend…talk to you next week.
 
Onward ~ John  
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000