Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
It was a short work week following the holiday celebrations last weekend…albeit it was plenty hot!! In my mind, if Memorial Day and Labor Day are the front and back of summer… 4th of July is the halfway point. Cherry pointed out she will be back at school in just one month. My, but it seems like this summer has flown by! Still…a lot of good outdoor time to be had and enjoyed. The yards will begin slowing down some…and the garden definitely doesn’t take as much time as it did when planting and getting things started. 
 
Did you know we officially entered the “dog days” of summer on July 3? For many, the “dog days,” evoke those summer days that are so devastatingly hot that even dogs would lie around, panting…these punishingly hot summer days actually get their name from an ancient belief regarding the brightest star in the sky – not from dogs’ tendency to laze about in the heat. When Sirius appears in the sky just before the sun it marks the beginning of the very hottest days of the year. The Romans referred to this period as “days of the dog star,” which was eventually translated as just “dog days”.
 
Grub & Chug:
 
Ryland and I officially began the holiday weekend by eating at the new downtown restaurant, “Grub & Chug”. Located at 306 S. Main Street, the head chef and owner, Wendy Shultz, joined the Chamber last week (picture here). We thought it appropriate to officially welcome her and present her with a Chamber membership plaque…and while there, enjoyed a great meal of wings and fries! It’s actually the second time I’ve eaten there, and I’ve never been disappointed in the food. We visited with Wendy about having a Ribbon Cutting scheduled in the future so all Chamber members can meet and welcome the new business…it will probably be sometime in August. It is so great having so many eating options in the downtown…I remember when there were not many choices. All the culinary options give people another reason to come downtown and enjoy our community!
 
Congressional Visits:
 
Congress is out of session for the 4th of July holiday break…a couple national representatives took advantage of the break to visit Ottawa this week. Senator Jerry Moran has represented Kansas, first in the House of Representatives for 14 years and for the last 12 years as the senior senator from Kansas. On Tuesday, Jerry toured our local hospital (pictures here)…here is what he posted on social media, “I had the opportunity to visit AdventHealth in Ottawa for a tour of their facility. During the visit, I saw firsthand the efforts of the staff at AdventHealth to provide quality health and wellness care for the surrounding community. This center offers a wide variety of services for nearby Kansans, including senior and children’s care, diabetes treatment, a full spectrum of cancer care, emergency and urgent care services, occupational medicine, neurology and neurosurgical care, orthopedic services and lab testing. Thank you to AdventHealth CEO Dallas Purkeypile, Ottawa Mayor Eric Crowley, Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO John Coen, Ottawa City Manager Richard Nienstedt, Kansas Hospital Association President Chad Austin and all of the health care providers at AdventHealth for hosting me during my visit.” Jerry is a native Kansan and has represented us extremely well the last 26 years…it’s always good to welcome him and his team to Ottawa. 
 
On Wednesday, Congresswoman Sherice Davids made her first visit to Ottawa and Franklin County. Here are pictures of Sherice visiting the Chamber and Grandpa Barry’s Guitar and here are pictures from the Goat Milk Store, Roasted Café and the Library…at the library they were serving summer Harvester Lunches to kids. Currently she represents Johnson and Wyandotte Counties to our north…but redistricting has changed her territory considerably. She has served the Kansas 3rd District for 4-years and is running again for another term. Now her district will become (beginning in January if re-elected) south Johnson County plus Miami, Franklin and Osage Counties…a much different look. She knows it’s necessary to get to know and understand the territory. I gave her a tour of downtown Ottawa and had a chance to visit with her for a couple of hours. She is very well informed, congenial and a very pleasant person…I look forward to getting to know her better – especially if she is elected to represent this area. 
 
Kansas Financial Numbers:
 
The state fiscal year officially ends every June 30 at midnight…Kansas ended Fiscal Year 2022 Friday with about $2 billion in the State General Fund (SGF) in the bank to begin Fiscal Year 2023 – the biggest ending balance I can ever remember. Plus, a record $969 million was placed in an account tabbed “the Rainy Day” fund…to be held for unforeseen emergencies. The surplus funds occurred because of rising income and sales taxes, federal budget assistance, and rising income taxes due to boosts in wages for many Kansans. Franklin County is experiencing record sales tax collections too…which is fabulous. The more people purchase locally, the more our dollars stay here to help this community. There are many philosophies regarding the financing of government…many feel surpluses shouldn’t exist and excess money should go back to the taxpayers in the form of tax relief. Of course, this way of thinking requires raising taxes in a shortfall…always hard and unpopular for politicians to accomplish. This windfall was a little unforeseen…partly because of all the one-time federal money pumped into the economy for COVID relief. These economic times we are living in are causing many economists to make wrong predictions. Still…better to have money in the bank than be broke. I’m sure Kansas representatives will figure out a way to spend the funds going forward. 
 
Louis Reed:
 
Speaking of Kansas Representative, our own Louis Reed threw his hat in the ring to run for the Kansas 59th District…which represents mostly Franklin County (all but Wellsville). The position is an open seat because of Speaker Pro Tem, Blaine Finch retiring from the Kansas House of Reps. Local voters will have several choices for the new representative. First in the primary on August 2 between two Republicans, the choices will be Rebecca Schmoe and Louis. The winner of this contest will next face Democrat Darrell McCune in the fall to officially represent our area. Louis hosted Chamber members this morning to officially announce his candidacy. To be clear…the Chamber does not endorse any candidates for any political office – but every member is allowed to host a Chamber coffee. Louis is a longstanding Chamber member and also the chairperson of our Legislative Action Committee. Goppert State Service Bank invited us to meet Louis and get to know him better and ask him questions regarding his positions (pictures here). I wish all the candidates the best of luck…it is a huge commitment of your life and family to represent a community on this level. We should all greatly appreciate everyone who steps up and raises their hand…willing to do the job!
 
Sporting KC:
 
Most know I’m a huge baseball and football fan…go Royals and Chiefs!! I’ve always enjoyed soccer and especially after my kids played in high school which allowed me to better understand the game. Ryland, the Chamber’s Community Liaison, on the other hand is the most avid of soccer fans. He came to Ottawa University on a soccer scholarship, still plays in an adult league and follows the sport closely. He and his fiancé, Makayla Hahn hosted Cherry and me last weekend at a Sporting KC game (pictures here). I’ve only been to a few games in Children’s Mercy Park…mostly with my son-in-law (another avid soccer fan). It was a great evening and very enjoyable…for me, it is always relaxing to be in a sporting venue – especially with friends. Who knows…maybe I’ll start following the sport more closely going forward!
 
The next couple of weeks will be big for Franklin County 4-Hers with the opening of the Franklin County Fair on July 18…really the fair begins this week with preparation and putting the final touches on projects. Cherry and I went to the Fashion Review last evening to watch the 4-Hers model the clothes they have either made or purchased. Evelyn is a first year 4-Her and completed her first sewing project (pictures here). We were very proud of her outfit and modeling performance…in fact she won a championship ribbon!!
 
Try to stay cool this weekend…not always an easy accomplishment. Talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John 
 
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-100