Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Well…the Kansas Legislature is adjourned, and the Chief’s first-round picks are in!! The House finished just before midnight and the Kansas Senate headed out at 2:30 in the morning…items of note: Kansans will get a sales tax reduction on food beginning in 2023, down to 4 percent, dropping to 2 percent in 2024 and completely eliminated in 2025; the House did not override two vetoes, so the controversial parents rights’ bill and high school sports transgender bills will not become state law…and the U.S. Congressional districting for the next ten years is still unsettled…but only because it is still in the Courts. The Legislature adjourned leaving time to settle the issue (if need be) at sine die (the official adjournment) and also to attempt any veto overrides (if they choose).
 
Possibly more on peoples’ “front of mind” were the Chief’s first-round 2022 NFL draft picks, which were a corner and defensive end…they did trade up in the first-round giving up 3 of their 12 draft picks to the New England Patriots and jumping from 29 to the 21st spot to get the corner they wanted. With the first-round complete, the rest of the draft becomes more anticlimactic…but still of interest to avid NFL fans. I’m sure I will keep an eye on what’s happening…albeit I won’t sit and watch the whole thing!
 
AdventHealth Volunteers:
 
Our hospital officially thanked all the volunteers with a walk-up brunch (couple pictures here). All volunteers were invited to pick up a box brunch and a small gift as a way to show appreciation for all they do for the hospital. AHO has 53 active volunteers with the longest-serving being Ginny Bromert who has dedicated her time for the last 35-years!! Carol Bauck was specifically honored this year for 4,000 total hours of service…WOW! She was honored more completely with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award! Here is a list of the milestone honorees…not a complete list – just indicating the volunteers reaching notable years and hours served. Personally, I’ll tell you from a board member’s perspective…the hospital couldn’t manage without all the gratis help they provide! They serve as receptionists, greet patients, manage the gift store and in addition to the hours donated, give thousands of dollars in monetary contributions! Their charitable efforts are irreplaceable!! Thank you to all the wonderful people in our community who help in this regard…if you are interested in serving in this capacity, call Jody Lancaster at 785.229.8231. She will get you signed up!
 
2021-22 Leadership Franklin County (LFC):
 
The Leadership Class graduated another 13 amazing Franklin County citizens this week (pictures here). I went to hear all their final presentations and was completely impressed with this group of graduates. They are committed to making our community better and each spoke of how the class helped them grow personally. I am familiar with almost all the classes, having been involved with LFC since the beginning (1985) in some capacity. This year is an impressive group!! You can tell they truly enjoy one another’s company and have a great respect for each other. The graduates of LFC have gone on to serve this community in many, many ways…including elected positions, leaders of local companies and industries, schools and volunteers. Again…another example of commitment individuals make to serve locally. Also big shout out to the 12 local individuals who serve on the LFC board…they spend many hours organizing the class. Donna Ferguson from Kalmar is the chair of this group! Thanks to all who have made this commitment (both to participate in the class and on the board)…if you are interested in the LFC, call the Chamber. Applications are sent in June and the class begins in late August or September. It is a great investment in yourself or your employees!!
 
Top 5 Percent Honors Program:
 
Another amazing Chamber event this week was the honoring of the top 5 percent of our scholastic achievers in Ottawa High School and Ottawa Middle School (pictures here). This is another event we do annually but blows me away every year. These local students are awesome!! The numbers always dwindle from 6th grade to Seniors…because the grades are cumulative. This year 14 seniors made it all the way on the list…really quite an accomplishment! All this and coming through a couple of years of COVID too. Here is the complete list of honorees…if you know any of these young Ottawa scholars, congratulate them. I told the group that evening how much we appreciate all our students and know some will choose to live and work here their whole life…they are all potential future community leaders. In fact…all of these young people will play some role in leading us to a more sane and safer society. Whether here or elsewhere, their potential leadership will eventually guide us all…it’s the way it has always been! The future generations stands on the shoulders of the present generation to do bigger and better things!
 
AdventHealth NASCAR 400:
 
Here is exciting news for NASCAR fans…the AdventHealth larger corporation is a sponsor of a NASCAR race car and also the AdventHealth NASCAR Race to be held at the Kansas Speedway this spring (May 15). Net result…our driver and NASCAR car are going to be at our local hospital!! The car will be in Ottawa on Friday, May 13 from 11:00-1:00 at the hospital…come get your picture taken with the car and driver Ross Chastain. This is an ancillary (and very neat) benefit of belonging to a larger organization…Ottawa is included in all the national and regional promotions!! Here is a picture of our car and driver. I’ve never been a huge fan of NASCAR, but the fact Ottawa has a small stake in it now makes it more interesting. I’m definitely going to the hospital see the car…mark your calendar – hope to see you there too!
 
MAKO:
 
MAKO stands for Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma and is the name of a conference for Chamber leaders. Ryland and I attended the event in Branson, Missouri this week…it’s a chance to hit the refresh button and network with others who are dealing with the same issues our community and Chamber deals with too. There are always good speakers and I also get new ideas for our Chamber every year. It is personally enriching too…there are always a couple of motivational speakers who (at least make me) reflect and look at things differently. Something we all know but many times fail to quantify is, we live in an unprecedented period of personal time hijacking. Since iPhones have entered most lives, our society is dedicated to them in one fashion or another. Did you know “hurry sickness” is a thing? You can follow the link to read about it…we all need to practice shutting our phones off an hour before bedtime – and according to one speaker, not turning them on for at least an hour after getting up in the morning. I’m passing her words on to you…the current will never stop – but you can. Make sure you are taking care of yourself…set time in your schedule to relax, focus on you, meditate – whatever helps you be in the present. And commit time to your significant other and family too…these are the things most important in all of our lives!
 
Weekend…
 
Weekends are full now with yard work and gardening…at least for Cherry and me. We also, once again have kid’s soccer games, now that our grandkids are getting old enough to compete. At least now we don’t have quite as much obligation to be there if it is rainy or cold…we get to skip out – which is a bonus of being grandparents instead of parents!!
 
We also have our first Royals tickets tonight…at least I hope so. We’ve had bad luck so far with one rainout and one snow-out. Pretty good chance of rain tonight…guess our tickets are really jinxed. April baseball is never as great as June, July and August!!
 
Hope you are planning something fun and/or relaxing this weekend…talk to you next week.
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000