Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Did you see the lunar eclipse last night…I couldn’t help stepping outside a couple of times to view the astrological phenomenon. You know men my age are up several times a night anyway, right…and, even though I’ve seen eclipses before, I’m kind of a nut for rare occurrences like this. What made this eclipse even more extraordinary is the fact that it’s the longest lunar eclipse in over a 1000-years. It hasn’t happened since February 1440 and won’t happen again until February 2669! Here’s an article about it if you like reading this type of stuff. 
 
It was the perfect night to view the almost complete covering of the moon (97 percent) by the Earth’s shadow…albeit just a little chilly. The Native Americans referred to the November moon as the Beaver Moon…it signified the beginning of winter and time to harvest beaver for their pelts to stay warm in the cold days ahead. I tried to take a couple of pictures of the eclipse but they didn’t turn out too well…same thing happens again in 648 years. You can catch it then if you missed it last night!
 
A Couple Nice Honors for our Hospital:
 
Our local AdventHealth Ottawa received an “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for fall 2021…the nation’s most prestigious honor for patient safety. This national distinction recognizes achievements in protecting patients from harm and error in the hospital…this is a significant recognition and one we should be proud of our local provider. The hospital’s entire team is committed to providing high-quality, compassionate, whole-person care to our community. We learned at our hospital board meeting this week patient caregivers are wearing out…as all healthcare workers are everywhere in the nation. The COVID thing is pulling at their seams…but as evidenced by this recognition, they continue to provide exceptional care.  You can read the complete press release here. The second honor was for the AdventHealth Ottawa Family Birth Place…our local obstetrics ward was recognized for achieving the highly prestigious international Baby-Friendly Designation…this recognition came after a rigorous review process conducted by Baby-Friendly USA. One of the great qualities of our community is the fabulous healthcare available in Ottawa. Here’s a big Whoo-Hoo to the entire team at AHO…thanks for all you do!!
 
Kansas’ Redistricting:
 
Every 10-years following the completion of the decennial census, all states are required to review and redraw voting district lines to assure our Constitutional rights are all represented equally. It tends to become an extremely political process and where we get the word gerrymandering – or the drawing of the lines to benefit a particular party or class. If you want to, voters get to weigh in…in fact, the remote hearing board will be live in Ottawa next Monday evening from 5:30-7:30 at the City Commission Chambers in City Hall. Anyone can attend, hear the conversation and participate if you feel compelled. In Kansas in 2000 and in 2010 the remap became extremely contentious…and in fact in 2010, the Courts had to intervene and complete the process. In Kansas, the responsibility begins in the Legislature…which the governor can veto. If the Legislators and Governor can’t come to a consensus, it falls to the Courts.  The process is different in every state. Some States have Redistricting Commissions that are either appointed or elected…it’s not a perfect process anywhere – it’s usually a product of politics. But it is how we protect our one person – one vote Republic. Here’s an interesting article published in The Kansas Journal regarding redistricting. Come Monday to City Hall to see for yourselves.
 
Ottawa Sanitation Plant:
 
Ottawa Rotarians took a field trip this week to see what Ottawans flush down their toilets…and subsequently how it is all cleaned and reclaimed (pictures here). Maybe not pleasant to think about…but it’s actually a very clean and of course necessary process. Several years ago, Ottawa invested $10,000,000.00 to upgrade the plant and double the capacity. The process begins by sifting the effluent to remove all foreign matter…diapers, sanitary napkins, baby wipes, and even rocks – anything that has been flushed down a toilet. This matter is compressed, baled and the resulting trash is delivered to the transfer station. The remaining human waste then begins a sanitation process, cleaned by ultraviolet light. Eventually the effluent is moved to an anaerobic digester where the water is squeezed from the solids and released to the river. The solids at this point are cleaned and the equivalent of dirt…which is delivered and spread on agriculture ground. The process takes 2-days and produces on an average of 1 million gallons a day. Sometimes we fail to remember what a complicated process it is to provide amenities to a City…water taken from the river, waste clean and released in an environmentally safe manner, getting power to everyone’s house. We understand turning on the faucet to get a drink, flipping the light switch for lights and flushing the toilet…but a big thanks to all Ottawa utility workers who make this process work so seamlessly!!  
 
OU Football:
 
Big announcement from our University this week…after 18-years, head football coach Kent Kessinger is hanging up his cleats. He is not leaving Ottawa…just the football field. He will remain in a full-time faculty role in the College of Education. Kent will go down as one of the longest-tenured coaches in the NAIA at a single school, where in his 18-year coaching stint, he compiled a record of 108-85, four KCAC Championships and six NAIA Football Championship Series appearances…at OU he is the second-winningest coach in school history, shadowed only by the legendary NAIA Hall of Famer Dick Peters. The University announced the new coach will be Defensive Coordinator, Nick Davis (press release here). Nick returned to OU last year after a 10-year hiatus and now assumes the reins as head coach. Congrats to both Coach Kessinger and Coach Davis. Hope you can get some rest Kent…and best of luck Nick!!
 
Neosho County Community College:
 
The Franklin County Development Council board met at NCCC this week (pictures here)…we are so lucky to have these 2 fabulous post-secondary schools in our community. Both with different focuses…but each with a mission to educate and train our youth. NCCC works with local high schools so high school students can take Career and Technical Education (CTE) in high school for college credit…the tuition is paid by the State…and NCCC waives all student fees. The student is responsible only for textbooks and required supplies…what an amazing opportunity for kids. And this last year, the Kansas Legislature passed the Kansas Promise Act which allows any Kansas high school graduate (or anyone who has lived in Kansas 3-years) to receive CTE training all expenses paid with the caveat they must live and work in Kansas for 2-years following their certification. Getting trained or receiving education which allows you to advance to a 4-year degree should be attainable for anyone…all these advantages will eventually grow our local workforce. Thanks to NCCC!!
 
Arrowhead Nutrition:
 
We cut the ribbon on another new downtown business this morning…Arrowhead Nutrition (picture here). This is another unique shop opening…they sell high protein, meal replacement shakes, high-energy tea (you burn 100 calories with one serving), ice protein coffee drinks and protein bites. I sampled a tea…very tasty!! You can check out their webpage for their complete menu. Owner Sarah Culie said she began using the products to have a healthier diet…she became so hooked she decided to open a store. So glad she choose Ottawa. This is Sarah’s second venture…she owns a third of a store in Oklahoma City, but this is her first venture of her own. Be sure you stop by and welcome Sarah to Ottawa and try some of her nutritious selections…you won’t be disappointed. 
 
Thanksgiving:
 
Let me be the first to wish you Happy Thanksgiving!! I’ll say I’m so thankful for this community and all of you…I’m am proud and thankful the way this community pulls together to make an amazing, awesome place to live, work, and play!!
 
Be sure to plan on coming downtown next Saturday (November 27) for small business Saturday. Come midafternoon to shop then stay for the Christmas Parade at 4:30…the Mayor’s Holiday Lighting begins after the parade when the downtown is officially lit for the Holiday Season…Christmas is officially on at this point! And why not have a meal at a downtown restaurant? Our downtown businesses support our community in so many ways…do what you can this shopping season to help them. It makes us a great community.
 
I had to babysit one day this week…Jase (4-years) and Patton (10-months) (pictures here). I was pooped at the end of the day. Don’t eat too much turkey this week…talk to you next week.
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000