Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
July has been fairly quiet…at least for us here at the Chamber. Still…hard to believe we are about to begin the last week and moving into August – which means the beginning of school and fall activities! Summer is just flying by! Events will be ratcheting up…with back to school for students August 15 (teachers report August 9), OU Fusion on August 9, and our last summer concert on August 12 with the Sons of Sterling. August at least portends to be busier than July…I imagine this is true for everyone. 
 
Early voting has begun…so I know it’s not quiet at the County Clerk’s office! Janet Paddock told me she had 90 voters on the first day of the advanced voting and said the office is averaging 78-80 voters a day…which she called unprecedented for a primary. Normally they expect around 10 early voters a day…she said the office is “busy”! It must be the vote on the abortion constitutional question which is triggering the exceptional turnout. I read this week that over $13 million had been spent between the Vote Yes and Vote No campaigns…pretty much evenly split with both sides spending more than $6 million! The amount of dollars spent on political campaigns of issues and candidates to win elections is the issue I most disdain regarding our democratic system. It seems there surely should be a better way to approach elections…such as simply presenting your views and/or stating the issue, then letting voters vote their beliefs. That is probably way too simple!!
 
Candidates:
 
The fair wrapped up last weekend…Governor candidate (and current Attorney General) Derek Schmidt came to Ottawa looked around the fair and eat barbeque (pictures here). The fair presents a good opportunity for candidates to meet a lot of people in one place. Just to be clear…the Chamber is happy to host any candidate – no matter political views or party. We don’t reach out, but if campaigns contact us, we are more than willing to meet, visit and show any contender our community. Derek is a very recognizable commodity in Franklin County, having represented the southwest portion of our community in the Kansas Senate for a number of years. At that time, he was a regular participant in the Chamber’s legislative coffees and candidate forums. It is easy to host someone whom many recognize…people approach him just to reminisce or ask how it’s going. Official election day is August 2…I always do my research and vote early…and have already done so for this election.  It puts me in the position now that I can ignore campaigning, mailers and television ads – it all doesn’t pertain to me…I just ignore them. It allows me to have a bit of peace of mind!
 
Arrowhead Nutrition: 
 
A year ago, we held a ribbon cutting for a new local business…entrepreneur Sarah Culie came to town and started her power shakes and nutritious teas, Arrowhead Nutrition – located at 107 E. First Street. Yesterday she celebrated her 1-year anniversary. She had specials, had a face painter, and made it a very celebratory day. We went down from the Chamber to congratulate her on 1-year…and also to get a cold drink on a steamy hot day (few pictures here). There were a lot of people there to celebrate with her…I did not however get a face painting – but many kids did! Good job Sarah…you are part of what makes Ottawa’s downtown continue to be fun, interesting and a destination!!
 
Ottawa Police Foundation:
 
Our local Police Foundation hosted Chamber members this morning at the Corner Market (pictures here). This is the week before D.A.R.E. camp begins…D.A.R.E. stands for drug abuse resistance education and the Foundation makes it possible for every 5th grader in Ottawa and Wellsville school districts to attend. It is a great program and has been a local summer event for 35 years…my own kids all attended. Held just south of town at Prairie Star Ranch, it is a fun week for kids and adults. The Foundation has many purposes and exists to promote public safety by supporting and providing additional resources for the community. They do this through outreach programs such as advanced professional development of Ottawa’s law enforcement members; acquisition of advanced technology to improve crime fighting; and by creating community partnerships that encourage citizen participation to enhance the safety of Ottawa. Besides D.A.R.E. Camp they also support community outreach, such as Coffee with a Cop, the Cadet Program, employee development, and accreditation. I have heard many officers say that most time, they meet people on their worst day or in confrontational situations…the Foundation provides ways and means for officers to meet and greet in casual and friendly settings. This is especially true for D.A.R.E. Camp…kids get to have fun and see police officers and their friends. You can make donations to the worthwhile foundation by mailing or dropping a check off at the local police station at 715 W. 2nd Street…it definitely goes to a great cause!!
 
SizeUp Franklin County:
 
FCDC is kicking off a new program to provide our local retail and commercial businesses with an online tool with information regarding:
  • Where are potential suppliers located
  • Where and who is my competition
  • What does my competition pay their employees
  • Where is my target demographic is located
  •  And Much More!
You can read the full press release here or you can go and explore the tool by clicking here…it’s pretty neat – you should check it out and see how it works. It will be valuable to check out your competition or if you are considering adding a new line or service, you can see if it is something missing in the community or already available locally somewhere. Also there is a webinar you can watch to learn more information about what all SizeUp can do.  
 
Fair Wrap-up:
 
For our family, the fair has always been exhausting…first when our kids were showing and now, this year our oldest granddaughter began showing. Also our daughter Jessica is the Frontier Extension District 4-H Youth Development Agent. Because their daughter Evie was showing a pig and because of her many responsibilities at the fair for 4-H (and also the high price of gas), they moved in with us for the week…so our house was bustling with fair activities all week (few last fair pictures here).
 
Cherry and I felt we needed a break so on Sunday, after church we visited the Van Gogh Immersive Experience at Zona Rosa…very neat – we highly recommend it. Kids would love it too. Following this, we went to the New Theater and Restaurant to watch “Freaky Friday”…we thought it was hilarious (our date day pictures here). If you would like to go, KOFO is organizing an Ottawa trip on September 7…make your reservation by calling KOFO at 785.242.1220.
 
The forecast is still hot and no rain in the near future…do what you can to stay cool! Talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John 
 
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000