Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Where were you 20-years ago on 9|11? It was one of those life-changing events for which you remember the day and what you were doing when you heard the news of the Twin Towers being bombed, the plane crashing in a field in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon being flown into by yet another plane. We cried as we watched, captivated by the scenes we witnessed on television…everything up until that moment seemed unimportant. American patriotism was at an all-time high…we were ready to go to war – ready to make someone, some county pay for the attack. Now after 20-years of war and over 6,000 Americans dead, I’m not sure what we accomplished. 
 
Now we find ourselves in another war on our home soil…certainly a different type of war – but people are dying all the same. The casualties are way higher…worldwide we are approaching 6 million deaths – 52 in Franklin County. And conversely with the 9|11 bombings, patriotism is at an all-time low. It seems the country (and our county) are near evenly split with 50 percent vaccinated. Some are willing to fight over wearing masks and if not fight…they certainly aren’t mincing their words. Words which are hurled in public and on social media at friends, neighbors…people who are trying to serve and just do the right thing. For those who remember 9|11 and the feelings of nationalism and the common bond we felt with our neighbors and all citizens on that day…everyone told someone they were loved. Our sense of nationalism was innate and intense…I wish we could return to that sense of public duty to combat this pandemic!   
 
Here is the Franklin County report for this week. Local cases continue to rise with 129 current active cases…our percent positive has ticked down a little from the 14 & 15 percent in July and August, to around 10 percent currently. USD 290 has kept going…there has been some COVID in the district, but up to now has been managed well and the infected students are quarantined and school has been allowed to continue. This certainly is not the case for all schools. If you have made the decision to get vaccinated, you must make an appointment – 785.229.3630.
 
Power of the Past:
 
Forest Park was teeming with activity Thursday afternoon…I walked around watching all the exhibitors setting up their booths and displays (here are a few pictures). Literally, it is a walk down memory lane…these tractors and machinery were the tractors and the farming methods of our grandfathers and fathers. There is so much more than just old tractors on display. The Power of the Past weekend represents a time gone-by, hard work, and a slower pace of life…here is the complete list of events and times. This year’s show is specifically featuring Minneapolis Moline tractors…but almost every kind of tractor will be represented. The activities get fully underway today and go through Sunday. There are plenty of food trucks and opportunities for a meal…be sure you swing by and enjoy this awesome event which…we missed last year. It cost $3.00 at the gate, but the minimal admission gets you access all 3-days.    
 
Personal Growth and Development Day:
 
Sound interesting…every Wednesday morning is Personal Growth and Development Day for Ottawa University students. Ottawa University is committed to the notion that students should develop work-ready and practical life skills…and to this end, has eliminated standard classes on Wednesday mornings of each 8-week term. These mornings are centered on students’ personal development…the University believes by doing so, it will lead to personal and professional success skills that will last a lifetime. During OU’s unique “Personal Growth Days”, Wednesday mornings are set aside for advising, tutoring, skill development workshops and private study. This last Wednesday, the University brought John Hudson to visit with the students (pictures here). Mr. Hudson was the Commissioner of the Sooner Athletic Conference for 38-years…made up of small colleges in Oklahoma. He had good advice for the students regarding hard work and attention to detail…but he told students the most important character trait is to be gracious in both winning and losing. John has been honored with the Small College Basketball Lifetime Achievement Award. He has a good message for young students…for all of us really! A day for personal growth is a fantastic concept…wish we had done this when I was in school!
 
Ladies’ Night Out:
 
The Chamber’s annual Ladies’ Night Out is fast approaching – Friday, October 1. The office has been busy in preparation for this year’s activities. The event has changed some over the years…historically held from 4:00-8:00 in the evening, participants would go to downtown businesses to shop and enjoy the camaraderie and hustle and bustle of a busy evening and fun in the downtown. Participating businesses provided refreshments, and on this one evening a year, are allowed to offer adult beverages to shoppers (no alcohol allowed on streets…only in the business offering the drink). Last year, because of COVID, not wanting to cancel the event entirely, we stretched the event beginning at 1:00 and ending at 7:00 and no refreshments served…the thought being, it spread the participants out and there wouldn’t be as great of numbers in the same store all at once. This year we are staying with the 1:00-7:00 timeframe, but once again are allowing refreshments. I bring this all up now because Chamber members gathered this morning (pictures here) to promote the activity, and different this year, for the first time, you can pre-order a LNO T-shirt. You can still call the office to order, but today is the last day before the order is turned in. Plan on coming downtown 3-weeks from today…even men have fun with all the activity. In addition to all this…it’s a good time to support our local downtown businesses. They can use a boost during the pandemic.
 
Cedar Vale Rodeo:
 
I mentioned last week we were headed to Cedar Vale to celebrate Codie’s second birthday and go to the rodeo. Both were a great time. Kids and rodeos are fun!! We also had one more “first-day” of Pre-K. Here are rodeo pictures…here are birthday & 1st day pics… 
 
Time to start enjoying college football once again…and of course the CHIEFS!! Sunday afternoon is the first game. GO CHIEFS!! Even the temp has cooled a little.
 
Have a good weekend and I’ll talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000