Dear Chamber Supporters:


Happy Labor Day weekend! Many of us will be enjoying an extra day off work to celebrate the end of summer with family and friends at picnics, pool parties and BBQs. I’ve been looking forward to the weekend because it is the first K-State home football game. Really glad for football to return for the fall season. Labor Day has been celebrated since 1894 when 10,000 workers in New York City took unpaid leave to march uptown to enjoy a picnic, speeches, and a concert…today the official holiday is to acknowledge the contributions and achievements of the 155 million men and women who are in the U.S. workforce. Back in the late 1800s, the average laborer worked 12-hour days, 7-days a week…the 8-hour workday was established by the Federal Government in 1916. Certainly, things have changed greatly over the years…it’s good we acknowledge the workers and the productivity of our American labor force!!


Ottawa Main Street Association (OMSA):


The OMSA has a new director…this week, Olivia Kloster was introduced to the City Commission…here is her picture. I’m excited for her…she has a lot of energy and new ideas will be very good. Olivia is an OU student finishing her undergraduate and is also the editor-in-chief of the college newspaper, “The Campus”. In addition to this, she is the Marketing Manager of the Creed Family Greenhouse on the OU campus. We learned when she stopped by the Chamber, that the campus greenhouse grew all the flowers for our local downtown…this is a huge service. For now, she is trying to be in the office a couple of days a week…on Wednesdays and Saturdays or by appointment…here is her email and phone is 785.521.4178. Also new for OMSA, is a complete makeover of the board. The new board chair is Sara Stauffer, Kaci Brady is the vice chair, the secretary is Diana Staresinic-Deane, and treasurer is Tiffany Evans with several other new faces committing to serve on the board and refresh the organization. A strong downtown Main Street group is important to bringing people and groups of people into our central business district. I am wishing Olivia much success in her efforts!!  


City Sidewalks:


The City of Ottawa is committing to upgrading sidewalks throughout the whole community…this will be a multi-year project, but as City Manager, Richard Nienstedt told commissioners, if you don’t begin somewhere, it will never get done. Here is the initial list…it was created by City workers who identified bad areas which need repair. It was also stressed this list is not complete or exactly firm. Evaluation will be done to determine the worst sidewalks. If your sidewalk is not on this list and you feel it needs repair, you have a couple of options available to you. You can call the City of Ottawa and ask for your sidewalk to be added to the list of the areas being evaluated…or there is a longstanding practice locally for the City to pay for the concrete if the homeowner is willing to pay for labor and supplies. Here is a copy of the complete policy including an application if you don’t want to wait for your sidewalk to make the first list. Either way, as we recognize more walkers locally and, in an effort, to connect all neighborhoods to the local trail system, new sidewalks will be positive. Sidewalks are something which don’t get much attention or budget priority…committing resources is the first step of the upgrade.


George Brett Suite:


Remember I mentioned last week I was headed to the Royals game that evening…Cherry and I had a fantastic opportunity to sit in the George Brett suite at Kauffman Stadium. Wish I could say George had invited us – or had even been there this particular evening…but that would quite be accurate! It was actually through credit card points I was able to get this chance…and it came with the promise that a couple of “legacy” players would be in the suite as well. The 2 retired players were Jamie Bluma, who pitched for the Royals in 1996…I don’t remember him, but he was a 17-game winner that year. The other was catcher Mike MacFarlane who was a great player from 1987-1997 with the organization. I do remember him very well as someone who played with a lot of passion and was a good team leader…here are pictures from our evening in the suite. It was a fun time, with all food and drink provided…kind of one of those chances which don’t happen often and make the occasion special and memorable!  


It has been a quiet week here in the office…Sherri is busy making final plans for the Egypt trip in November and Ladies’ Night Out on October 7. Ryland is making final designs and changes for our new Chamber directory coming out first of the year and also a new webpage role out…more on this in future newsletters. We try not to schedule Chamber Coffees the day before a holiday weekend…so no coffee this morning. I say this to make the point, we are busy, but it’s the kind of effort which make for kind of a short newsletter this week. Hopefully it will get you started a little bit earlier on your long weekend!


Have a relaxing weekend…next week is the unofficial/official beginning of fall!!


Talk to you then…  


Onward ~ John 


Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce

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