Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Cinco de Mayo was Thursday…Ryland and I went and had a Margarita after work. It was quickly evident that many had the same idea. Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s equivalent of the 4th of July on which date, Mexico won its independence over the second French Empire at the Battle of Pueblo in 1862. In America, we treat it a little like St. Patrick’s Day…but instead of green beer, we drink Margaritas!! Still…it’s nice to remember and honor a significant moment for our neighbors…however, for many I think it’s an excuse to eat Mexican cuisine and enjoy a drink with friends – which is all okay too!!
 
Wayne Duderstadt:
 
Kansas State Bank officially recognized and retired Wayne Duderstadt as the bank cashier last Friday…Wayne tells me however he still plans to work at the bank around 30-hours a month on a few special assignments. We’ve known each other for a long time…here’s a picture of when we both received a Young Ottawan award presented by the Ottawa Jaycees!! We aren’t certain, but the picture would have been taken sometime around 1984-1986…in that timeframe at least. How young those guys look…and with hair too – especially compared to present day. Time marches on! Wayne has been dedicated to this community for years. Through time, we have served together on the Hospital Board and also the Ottawa University Board of Trustees. I have a lot of respect for Wayne…he’s a great guy!! Congratulations…and all my best on a fantastic retirement – you deserve it!!
 
City Safety Award:
 
The City of Ottawa workers were recognized with a nice and unique distinction this week…they were awarded the Kansas Municipal Utilities (KMU) 2022 Safe City Award (you can read the full release here). This award is given annually to only one city in Kansas that best exemplifies the philosophy that one injury is too many and every injury is preventable. Formed in 1928, KMU is the statewide association representing Kansas cities and other public or not-for-profit agencies involved in the ownership and operation of municipal utilities. Here is a picture of City of Ottawa Human Resource Director, Michelle Wapp receiving the award on behalf of all City workers. Congrats to all our City workers for making our community safer…as well as lit and moving about. Many times our utility workers are out on the coldest nights and in the worst storms keeping everything going…we owe them a big debt of gratitude for all their efforts. I’m glad KMU formally recognized their efforts!!
 
Coffey, Osage & Franklin Counties (COF) – Developmental Disability Services:
 
COF made an official “changing of the guard” this morning, introducing Patrick Gardner as the new Director and CEO to follow retired CEO Chris Patton (pictures here). Patrick has been with COF and in the surrounding community since 2013 when he joined the team as a targeted case manager over the Coffey and Osage areas. This morning, COF hosted a Chamber Coffee to formally introduce Patrick and let the Ottawa community get to know him better. Going forward, Patrick will help lead the management team in all three counties to ensure individuals who receive their day, residential and supported living services are receiving quality care and being well integrated within their local community. His work focuses on building strong relationships with individuals, staff, and community. It is a great job and he does it well…he gets to support and assist people to dream, plan, believe, and achieve. Thanks to Patrick for leading a capable team and for being here…the work they all perform is extremely important. As a society and a community, we have an obligation to take care of individuals who can’t completely care for themselves. Thanks to all the COF team!!    
 
Department of Commerce, Craig VanWey:
 
Craig is the Manager of Kansas In-State Business Development for the Kansas Department of Commerce…he was in Ottawa this week visiting with the Lake Region RC&D Council. RC&D stands for Resource conservation & Development…the Lake Region serves a 6-county area which includes Franklin County and the President of the Council is our own County Commissioner, Don Stottlemire. One focus of Lake Region is creating a better environment for attracting industry and increasing recreation opportunities while beautifying the countryside. The organization brought Craig to town today to visit about local opportunities for new industry and also tell how he focuses on his job. The Kansas Dept. of Commerce is a 3-legged stool which is challenged with in-state business development; business retention; and international trade and export. In discussing the current labor shortage, Craig said the DOC is focusing on establishing more registered apprenticeships so individuals can earn while they learn. He gave Ottawa credit for doing a good job of “placemaking” by improving local amenities and a sense of community. It is always good to hear we are doing some things right from others outside of Franklin County.
 
Royals:
 
I mentioned last week I had Royals tickets for the weekend…Cherry and I actually made it to 2 games this week – albeit they were wet and cold. Monday night we were lucky to go to the one game where they scored 7-runs and Bobby Witt, Jr. hit his first major league home run. We had tickets to sit on the Pepsi Porch Monday evening…which is an interesting perspective (here are a few pictures). If something doesn’t change, it will be a long season for our local boys in blue!!
 
What a wet week it was…my rain gauge had a total of 3.36 inches! Won’t be much mowing or gardening this weekend…albeit the lawn is really getting tall and weeks are beginning to grow in the garden. It feels good to live on top of a hill now…as opposed to a valley where we lived most of our lives. It just doesn’t flood up this high!!
 
Don’t forget Mom on Sunday…I have brunch reservations for after church with my mom and the mother of my kids! Sounds like the weather is going to be beautiful for the annual celebration of mothers! It should be a relaxing day and weekend.
 
Hope you do something fun…talk to you next week.
 
Onward ~ John
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000