Dear Chamber Supporters:


Hard to believe we are in the last few days of August…this year seems to be flying by!! Summer is definitely winding down at this point…the days are noticeably shorter; the school zone lights are flashing, warning motorists to slow down; and even the temps are beginning to cool with mornings and evenings being downright pleasant. I’m sure combines will be rolling in a week or two with farmers bringing trucks of grain into town. Don’t know if I have any real point here other than to wax philosophically…I guess the more things change the more they stay the same.


I’ll also mention this…I’m glad we are at the beginning of another football season! The Chief preseason is done, and real football begins in a couple of weeks! Next weekend is the first K-State home game…and yes, Cherry and I will be there! The Royals have been rather uninspiring most of the summer, but since the trade deadline when they traded away many veterans, they have been more fun to watch…their young rookies are playing inspired and with passion which bodes well for the future. Watching them learn how to win will be fun next year.  


Leadership Franklin County (LFC):


The Leadership 2022/23 class began meeting this week with what seems to be another great bunch of leaders! Their first session is always the leadership building course at Prairie Star Ranch south of Williamsburg. I am always honored to be both the first and last speaker the class hears from…here are a few pics of the group eating lunch at the Brand ‘n’ Iron in Princeton following their morning at Prairie Star. I always challenge them, as they participate in the class this year, to learn ways to engage in meaningful discussion and discover how to express their opinions and disagree in a professional manner. In my mind, what’s most frustrating about politics today is everyone’s unwillingness to compromise…it is either my way or no way. Ever since the beginning of democracy there have been divergent views…but, in what I’m sure is not the first time, but the first I’ve experienced, people are completely unwilling to engage in productive conversation and move to a middle ground. If these leaders learn nothing more than to do this, it will have been a productive and beneficial class. The Leadership groups always meld together, become great friends and create a network they will lean on for their professional careers and personal lives…in my mind, this is probably the most beneficial program the Chamber offers…produces long-term benefits to the community. It generates our community leadership for years to come!!




There were a couple of member events which I popped in on this week…the first was an open house hosted by Vyve…here are a few pics from their headquarters on West 15th Street. This summer, Vyve has invested heavily in our community…greatly enhancing their infrastructure to provide consistent and better service to Ottawa. They realized they had deficiencies and gaps in their services…they have bolstered everything. Vyve wants to be a terrific community partner…I appreciate this greatly. High-speed internet has become not only necessary, but an expectation of our society…as important as our other utilities such as electricity, water and sewer. While some will disagree with this statement, it is hard to disagree it is an absolute requirement to engage in business today. When the internet goes down, our office grinds to a halt…like it or not, most of our work is online these days. We also learned from the recent COVID period how essential internet is…true our society came to a standstill, but with the internet, we stayed connected and commerce learned to cope. There are usually good things which come from bad periods…the ability to be productive from home is now a valuable asset!!


Modern Woodmen:


Modern Woodmen is a fraternal financial services organization which provides financial planning, life insurance and annuities to its members. Dale Pearson is our local representative. Dale does a fantastic job in investing back into Franklin County. Through his organization, he has been a big supporter of Ottawa Memorial Auditorium, Hope House, the Chamber and Legacy Square, not to mention schools and local youth organizations. Wednesday this week, Modern Woodmen honored longtime physician and local Public Health Officer, Dr. Bud Ransom (pictures here) by giving him a Hometown Hero Award. Dr. Bud recently retired…parenthetically our new Public Health Officer will be Dr. Drew Nichols. Bud led our community through COVID…the most challenging health crisis we’ve experienced in many, many years. He is/was the Dr. Fauci of Franklin County!! The County Commission was on hand to thank Bud for his leadership…most of the administrative responsibilities of COVID fell to the County government. Bud shepherded the local leaders through uncharted waters. He had to make decisions which were not embraced by large portions of our populace…and he did it without blinking. Some don’t realize the debt of gratitude we owe to our hometown Dr. Ransom…this is not to mention the hundreds of lives he had saved, delivered and nursed to wellness over a 40-some-year career here. I can do nothing but say thank you and wish him a great retirement…he has more than earned it!!


Once Upon A Rose:


Chamber members cut the ribbon on another new business this morning…Once Upon a Rose at 206 S. Main Street (pictures here). Donna Fincher, owner, offers home décor, but there is so much more in the store. In total there are 6 vendors which share the space with Donna and their offerings include everything from clothing to jewelry…one vendor offers nothing but children’s clothes. The Finchers moved here from Georgia and her southern accent is very present…it really adds to the charm of the store. Her husband, Richard, pastors a church in Melvern. Downtown Ottawa is lucky she choose our community in which to open her store…it really adds another dimension to the ambiance of our downtown. The name, Once Upon A Rose, comes from Donna’s mother. Her mother’s nickname was Rose and when she passed away, she had over 500 pieces of jewelry…as Donna sorted, she began selling. She also began to restore furniture as therapy…it turned into a passion and now a business. Welcome to Ottawa Donna…we are glad you are here!    


Anyone for England:


Sherri, our office travel guru, was excited to announce recently the Chamber’s next year international travel will be to England to visit London and other famous sites of our former homeland (full brochure here). With 85 travelers confirmed for Egypt this November, she’s always looking for the next great location to travel to and expose our local travelers. You should consider one of these Chamber excursions…always an awesome time and guaranteed to develop new friendships and fabulous memories. They are also great learning experiences. These trips are always well organized, you stay in 5-star hotels and everything, including meals, is accounted for. Basically, you don’t have to do anything but pack your bags and show up…and of course have a great time!! Call or email Sherri (785.242.1000) if you want more information…she will be happy to help you with the signup and registration.


Cherry’s Birthday:


Last week I mentioned it was Cherry’s birthday…here are pictures of the celebration last Friday evening. The next morning, we took all 10 kids to Pome on the Range to pick apples…it is always a fun outing for kids. The older ones immediately remembered they have apple donuts and apple slushies…and yes, they all had some!! I remember they have a great wine selection…and yes, I got some! All in all, we got Cherry well celebrated another year.


I also mentioned last week that Max and Newt hadn’t started school yet so couldn’t include their first day of school pictures…here are pictures of the big 2nd grader and Kindergartener.


Got to run…headed to the Royals game this evening. Our lawnmower has been in the shop for a week, so even though the lawn isn’t growing fast it is getting kind of raggedy and needs to be mowed. Other than that, I hope to have a relaxing weekend…I hope you do too!


Talk to you next week…


Onward ~ John   


Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce

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