Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Veteran’s Day is almost here. The actual Veteran’s Day is November 11 when the Armistice was signed…November 11 – the eleventh day of the eleventh, month, at the eleventh hour. Locally, we’re celebrating this weekend with a parade and reenactment following. The parade Saturday morning at 11:00 is one of the largest in the area with over 200 entries…be sure to come downtown and check it out. I can’t help every year but to walk around City Park and take pictures of all the exhibits honoring our local soldiers who have fought and died in all our nation’s wars…here are a few pictures, but you really need to walk around in the park yourself to feel to full effect. A big thank you to all who help organize this for the community each year…special thanks to Sherry Wright and Ray Shumate. For them it’s year-round planning. 
 
Fall 2021 Election:
 
Probably most have heard by now the results of the election last Tuesday…on the City Commission election, Mike Skidmore and Eric Crowley were re-elected and will join Sara Caylor and Tom Weigand on the current commission. Emily Graves will be added as the fifth commissioner…Emily was previously on the commission and resigned when her family moved from the community. Now back in Ottawa, she appreciated her time on the Commission and feels she still has work to complete there…it will be a high functioning, experienced commission.
 
The school board did more of a refresh…voters did return Chris Cunningham but added newcomers Glendy Spigle and Kelli Graves. Long-timer Lynda Alderman missed re-election by 3 votes…very close. These three will join Julie Dandreo, Malydia Payne, Susan Ward and Harold Wingert to complete the 7-member board. You can see all the results, including other elections in Franklin County, by clicking here.  
 
Overpass Bridge K-68 By-pass Project:
 
This Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) project seems like it’s taking forever to complete and causing disruption for many. Well…brace for this – it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Beginning Monday, November 8, the bridge will be completely closed for a full week, reopening on November 15. The positive in this is they are pouring the floor of the second half…after a week the bridge will reopen to, once again, one lane of traffic. This is to allow concrete to cure…once cured the bridge should be reopened. Don’t expect it to be completely re-opened until early December…concrete cures slowly this time of year. The bridge undoubtedly needed work and it will be good to have the structure open and safe. Remember to take alternative routes next week…truck traffic will be re-routed to I-35 to get from east K-68 to west K-68. I haven’t heard it for sure, but I expect the Ottawa Fire Department will once again set up a temporary location in North Ottawa as they did when the bridge shut down a week last summer. Previously they were located at the Wesleyan Cherry Street Church to allow for appropriate response times in North Ottawa.
 
Congrats to OHS Ladies Volleyball Team:
 
Our Lady Cyclones represented the Ottawa Community well last week in Hutchinson at the State 4-A volleyball tournament…finishing as the State runner’s up. Here are pictures of their sendoff last Friday and then accepting the trophy. Coached by Laura Meyer, the team had to beat the 3 and 4 seeds to make it to the final game with Andale…and they made the match close for the number one seed. Good job Ladies…number 2 in the State!! We appreciate your hard work and commitment…you represent Ottawa first rate…thank you!!
 
Ireland Travelers:
 
The Ottawa Chamber travelers are in Ireland now and it sounds as if they are having an amazing time. Here are just a few pictures they have sent back home. Getting left was a nightmare. Ireland, only recently having reopened to foreign travel and has many COVID restrictions…and they kept moving the target, so to speak. All our travelers had to be vaccinated and must carry their vaccination cards with them at all times…just like your passport. Additionally they all were required to have a negative COVID test 72-hours prior to arriving in Ireland. Because of the long travel and the necessary time to get the results of tests, it meant all had to be tested on Saturday morning prior to leaving. Thanks to Brenda Pfizenmaier and her team for opening up the Franklin County Health Department on Saturday morning just to accommodate these 30-travelers. I can’t wait to hear the full story of their adventure…already they’ve enjoyed going to the Blarney Castle, the Blarney Woolen Mills, the Jameson Distillery, and much sightseeing and learning how much of our own history began in Ireland. If you have never done one of these Chamber trips, you should consider it. You make many friends and see and have experiences most never have the opportunity to encounter. Next November we are traveling to Egypt…brochure and application here. What a great Christmas gift for spouses or friends to give each other!! 
 
Chamber Award Nominations:
 
It is time once again to begin thinking of our community leaders we need to recognize and honor for their service in the last year…there are always more to honor than we have awards. Annually we award the Favorite Smile Award, the Horizon Award, the Entrepreneur of the Year, the Community Builder Award and our community’s highest honor, the Russel Crites Award (click here for nomination forms). Last year we weren’t able to honor our leaders until May because of COVID…we will be timelier this year, already having scheduled the event for January 27, 2022 at Ottawa University. OU has agreed to not only host but sponsor the event. And…because the community enjoyed our annual celebration at PrimeTime Grille and Fusion Alley with the auction and opportunity to bowl…we are going to repeat this event too. The dates have not been set but look for the celebration to take place in February. 
 
Scary Halloweener’s!!:
 
Did you have many Trick or Treaters? Cherry and I are remote enough, all we had was our grandkids…pictures here. Last weekend we enjoyed a beautiful fall day at Bill Snider Stadium watching the Wildcats decimate TCU…and a good day Sunday of going to church and seeing all our little ghosts and goblins. I think most would agree…Halloween is a way bigger deal than it was when I was growing up – but all in fun!
 
Probably a good weekend to rake leaves…or let them blow to the neighbor’s yard!?! Don’t forget to change your clocks…fall back one hour! Take time to relax…talk to you next week.
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000