Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Weather-wise, it has been a very pleasant week…especially after the blazing heat spell for the 10 preceding days! Most have had several inches of rain now…I’m at just over 3.5 inches…some got more. Pretty awesome for July!! The cooler weather and rain have really inspired our garden…it’s going into hyperdrive producing cucumbers, peppers, green beans, and tomatoes! Sure is nice having fresh vegetables for dinner every day.
 
Ottawa University:
 
OU students come back to town beginning next week…football and fall sports athletes moving in Monday…new students are next with returning students coming at the end of the week. Every year, the Chamber teams with the OU Advancement Department to pass out welcome signs to downtown businesses (pictures here)…which we did Monday this week. On August 9, all are welcome at Legacy Square to officially welcome students…OU will serve a meal from 6:00-8:00. Anyone can buy a ticket…for students it is their evening meal. Many business, churches and organizations have booths or displays to let students know what is available in the community. Ottawa will be their surrogate home for the next 9-months…some will end up spending their whole lives here in this community. It’s good we welcome them and make them feel at home…put it on your calendar and come on down. There is always a lot of energy and excitement at this event…I look forward to it every year. Also, if you’d like a sign to welcome students for your yard or window, we have them in at the Chamber…stop by and pick one up!
 
KSN-TV:
 
KSN is a broadcast company in Wichita, Kansas…I was surprised when someone shared a Facebook post this week of them broadcasting from downtown Ottawa this week. I had no idea they were even in town…you can watch the video here. Colby Sharples-Terry with Kansas Tourism and Avery Osen who does Good Day Kansas, a lifestyle show on KSN, talked about Legacy Square, downtown businesses and what all is available in our community. Colby spoke about all our trails, Ottawa Bike and Trail, Ottawa Memorial Auditorium, Not Lost Brewery, Buck-U Distillery, the Plaza Cinema, and our historic downtown district. You can read her blog on our community here. Many times, we take for granted what we have here in Ottawa…if you read some of the posts on social media, there are always many negative comments…in my mind, nothing but whiners and complainers – you would think we are doing nothing right. It takes a visitor from out-of-town to really shine the spotlight and showcase Ottawa. I know we have our issues, as any community does…but the good things going on and happening right here far outweigh the bad!!
 
Chamber Blues:
 
Week one of the rollout of this potential group health insurance plan was phenomenal. Over 519 Kansas businesses filled out the survey representing over 8,500 employees so far…locally there have been over 15 businesses representing more than 100 employees. For those not up to speed on this, Chamber Blues is a BCBS of Kansas potential group health insurance plan available to all chamber members in Kansas…it will be a very large group for health insurance purposes. There are just under 50 Chambers in the state who have chosen to participate…the Ottawa Chamber being one. All businesses have until August 18 to complete the survey and you don’t have to be a Chamber member to complete the survey. You do need to be a member if you decide you want to take advantage of this opportunity. 
 
Here is all the information regarding this program…check out the Employer GuideBenefit Brochure, and Informational Webinar on the Chamber Blue of Kansas website. Here is the link to the Chamber Blues survey. It cost nothing to complete the survey. After August 18, the results will be compiled regarding all the Kansas employees in the survey and the plan underwritten by BCBS of Kansas. In September, the company will post the rates for the new group plan…in October and November, it will be time for you to decide if this plan can be advantageous for you and your employees. If you opt in, you will receive your paperwork in December and the plan will go into effect on January 1. 2023. Everyone who completes the survey is guaranteed to be accepted into the plan at the original rates quoted…no exceptions. If you don’t take the survey, you are not guaranteed the original rates, you will however, still be able to sign up to join the group in the future.
 
Porter – Spears & Bundy Insurance:
 
Porter – Spears has been a fixture in our downtown for 122-years…if your good at math, they opened in 1900. Charlie Porter and Sarah Porter-Oakleaf hosted Chamber members this morning (picture here) to introduce new staff and tell us about Porter-Spears & Bundy. Sarah is actually the 5-generation owner…Charlie’s great-grandfather started the company, followed by Charlie’s grandfather, also Charlie Porter! During this time period, 50 percent of the agency was sold to George Spears…later the two partners bought out the Bundy Agency – hence the name: Porter-Spears & Bundy. Sarah joined the agency 13-years ago. The Porters have been longtime community advocates and supporters! Casey Lytle…a longtime Franklin County resident recently joined the agency as a new agent. For those who don’t know Casey, he is from Wellsville and will be a good fit for the Porter-Spears agency. Charlie pontificates…and I have no reason to question this, that their agency has the longest membership of the Ottawa Chamber. He said there might be some who have been members just as long – but not any longer. The Ottawa Chamber has been a chartered organization for 93-years. I feel certain he is correct in this statement. Stop by and congratulate Charlie and Sarah…if you go today you might even get a donut! We appreciate so much longevity and commitment to community!   
 
Ryland & Makayla:
 
Ryland has been off this week…tomorrow (Saturday) he and his and fiancé, Makayla Hahn, are getting married!! Here is the pictures of their engagement from last fall…I’ll probably have a few pictures from the wedding next week. It’s a pretty exciting time in these two young people’s lives. We’re all anxious to share it with them!
 
Time for me to run…I’ll talk to you next week.
 
Onward ~ John 
 
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000