Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
A couple of interesting/fun days this week…“2’s-day” Tuesday was this week – 2/22/22. Nothing real special, just a cool and rare palindrome day. A palindrome is a word or phrase that reads exactly the same backward and forwards…February 22 was rare in that it was all the same number. Making the day even more uncommon was it happening on Tuesday…won’t happen again for 400 years. Couples who had twins made the news…with one woman claiming her babies were born at 2:22 p.m. another couple named their new daughter Tuesday (might be going a little overboard!).
 
And of course, Presidents’ Day was Monday. Originally celebrated on George Washington’s birthday on February 22, it was moved to the third Monday of February in 1971 as part of the Uniform Holiday Monday act…to intentionally create more 3-day weekends and now honor all presidents – not just George. Admittedly, the group of 46 in its entirety, is a pretty elite group… and down through history they have been a very eclectic group ranging from the intensely driven and motivated to the downright bizarre. There has been one gay president, James Buchanan, who lived with his partner in the White House; and one-woman president (more or less) as Woodrow Wilson’s wife, Edith, after her husband’s debilitating stroke essentially ran the executive branch for most of 2-years, which in her autobiography, she referred to as “stewardship”.
 
At the end of the day, the very select group and one that is to be greatly revered because of the power it wields…and to be honest, the prestige it deserves. Events of the day tend to define a particular presidency…certainly President Biden has had his term defined this week and the weeks leading up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
 
Ukraine Invasion:
 
Can you believe world events this week!?! Not particularly Ottawa news, yet it is a world event, which on some level, will affect absolutely everyone. Russian President, Vladimir Putin is attempting to redraw the map of Europe…which hasn’t happened in 80-years since the German invasion of Poland in 1939. He simply wants to take the land. The invasion is comprised of attack by land, sea, and air…and Russia has created 3-full fronts. Putin is serious about this! Originally Putin wanted to stop Ukraine from joining NATO…an organization he detests, does not believe in, and of which Russia is not a member. It has escalated from there. NATO will not defend a non-NATO nation with military action…of course originally we were not going to defend England, France and Eastern Europe (how did that turn out). All the major world players are together on the sanctions which will be created for this rogue invasion. The sanctions will hurt Russia…but Putin is in too deep to turn around now. The next several weeks on the world stage will be historic and interesting…it’s kind of taken COVID out of the news (at least one good thing!). Ukraine is a 90 percent Christian nation with the same mores and beliefs we hold dear in this republic. As fellow Christians, we need to pray for all lives and families who were just living life…and now have been forced into terrible uncertainty and harm. God be with them!
 
AdventHealth 400:
 
This week, the Kansas Speedway announced AdventHealth will be the official healthcare provider of the Kansas Speedway. As such, the marquee NASCAR race will be called the AdventHealth 400 – to be held May 14-15. The AdventHealth care centers on the speedway infield will be clearly marked and easily seen…and additionally there will be an AdventHealth car in the marquee event. This is fun, because this sponsorship, while officially the Multi-State Division of AdventHealth, includes our own local hospital. Our team will be included in activities and the branding will be well noticed by local fans. When watching the event with friends and family, be sure you mention this is our local hospital sponsoring this NASCAR event…pretty awesome!!
 
Two-fer Ribbon Cutting:
 
We cut the ribbon for 2 new businesses this morning (pictures here)…785 DÉCOR a new home décor store and B-Squared Properties, both located just north of the river (next to Bienne’s Garage if you’re familiar with that location) at 118 N. Poplar Street. 785 Décor got started with 2 friends, Laura Love and Megan McMahan, visiting over coffee about their love of home furnishing…and the retail location began shortly after. 785 DÉCOR strives to bring you affordable, on-trend home décor with a personal touch. Laura brings fine lines and modern edges, while Megan adds a rustic flair. Put the two together and you get a unique take on the modern farmhouse look.
 
Raymond Love is the owner (and the husband of Laura) of B-Squared Properties…which buys homes at the “speed of life”. When life changes, sudden job transfer, death, divorce, financial difficulties, B-Squared pays cash for your home and takes the stress and worry out of selling property…allowing their clients to focus on more imminent problems. Additionally, they renovate homes and sell to new home buyers, real estate investors and commercial investors…they also build on empty lots too. Really a great business to have in town!
 
Both of these new businesses are valuable and we appreciate them supporting the community by joining the Chamber. Be sure to drop in and see Megan and Laura…we already have some of their inspiration in our home!!
 
Prairie Paws Animal Shelter:
 
I had coffee this week with Vanessa Cowie (picture here), the relatively new director of Prairie Paws Animal Shelter. Most know longtime director, Melissa Reed, began work for the City of Ottawa as the City Clerk. All this took place during COVID, so Vanessa has not had the opportunity to be introduced to the community or get to know people. The Shelter is a private, non-profit shelter which does not euthanize animals to gain space and all animals are given a second chance at finding their perfect family. Vanessa has long experience in managing shelters and her skills include management, strategic planning, and leadership. We are lucky to have her here in Ottawa…she would love to meet you and even more, would like the chance to introduce your family to your perfect forever pet. The Chamber is having a coffee at Prairie Paws in the not too distant future, at which time we will learn about all the programming Prairie Paws provides our community…hope you can come, meet Vanessa and see all the changes being made in the Shelter. If you haven’t been there for a while, they are doing a big renovation. Hope to see you at the coffee and welcome to Ottawa Vanessa!! Looking forward to getting to know you better.
 
Legislative Coffee:
 
Heads-up…we have a Legislative Coffee tomorrow (Saturday, February 26) at City Hall from 10:00-11:00 a.m. Your chance to visit directly with our legislators…hope to see you there.
 
Well…another week where we experienced beautiful spring and bitter winter all in about 3-days, it sounds as if it will be warm again beginning Sunday…I’m all for the warm weather!! You can already tell the days are getting longer…daylight savings begins in 2-weeks from this weekend.
 
Jase Roger celebrated his 4th birthday this week (pictures here). Hard to believe how fast kids grow!
 
Talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000