Dear Chamber Supporters:


I couldn’t help but smile when I walked in the Walmart last Friday (September 23) and this is what greeted me (picture here)…Christmas is in full swing in all its glory. We are not even to October…it seemed when I was growing up Christmas never broke into the stores until after Thanksgiving…now we aren’t even to Halloween. Look out Labor Day…our most sacred holiday is coming for you next. But…in all my duplicity, I did make a purchase of replacement Christmas lights for our tree and a decoration for the house I knew Cherry would especially like. Can’t believe I succumbed to modern marketing hyperbole…guess I’m credulous – obviously early promotion works and that’s why they do it! 


Bad Astra wrap-up:


Our community’s last big September event was again another successful weekend. I realize we need rain…but no rain – and now cooler temps, make for perfect weather to entertain company for all the outdoor events we host in September. The Bad Astra 100-mile gravel bicycle ride grew by 20 riders this year…up to 160 participants (pictures here). Local organizers Jeremiah Walters and Josh Giambalvo were pleased with the event and happy it grew some from last year. Their goal is to eventually have 500 riders participate annually…I think they will too. They run a well-organized event…and the sport of biking is growing quickly as our society continues to explore healthy living activities which can be participated in outdoors. I’m glad they choose Ottawa…if I had a stronger back and was 10 years younger I would take up the sport of bike riding. It occurs to me that getting lost in your thoughts on a long ride on our beautiful trails is a great way to spend a day…perfect to unwind, reduce stress, relax and exercise all at the same time!  


Bank Midwest:


It was a little cool and rainy last Friday, but it didn’t stop Bank MidWest from inviting bank customers to stop by for lunch and enjoy Maria’s burritos with sides. Local Bank president, Katie Butts, greeted all comers with her warm smile and big hello (pictures here). They served clientele on the south side of the bank on 5th Street…at times the line was pretty long. I always appreciate an event where there are no expectations, I can enjoy good conversation, and…they feed me! Thank you Bank MidWest for being a great community partner…and thanks for lunch too!  


2022 Wall of Honor:


Always one of our community’s classier events, there were 3 new inductees into the Ottawa High School Wall of Honor this week (pictures here). For about the 3rd or 4th year straight, I had a familiarity with all the inductees. From the class of 1959, Sandra “Sandi” Staneart was inducted for her work in caring for Ottawa patients. She had a longstanding career being the nurse for USD 290, then for Ottawa University, and eventually the head nurse at Ransom Memorial Hospital. Following this, in the early days of this career option, she pioneered the field of Nurse Practitioner and eventually opened a clinic, Women Plus, in downtown Ottawa. A lifelong Ottawan, she has given to the community in multiple ways besides her health-giving skills. Congratulations to Sandi, whose family was on hand to help her celebrate. 


Next was Wanda Shumway Temm…I remember Wanda for being a year ahead of me in school…and also for the fact her mom, Bettie Sue was one of my former teachers. Additionally, I knew here dad Keith who taught and eventually became Dean of Ottawa University. Together with Wanda, there were 4 siblings…all within a year or two of me – so I am familiar with all of them. Wanda was very active in high school, especially coral. Professionally, she went on to become a Juris Doctorate, teaches law students, and writes books for law classes, which have won wide acclaim. Especially known for helping first-year law students with her class, Lawyering 101…and then again as they are preparing to graduate, she teaches a class on passing the bar, with a book she has penned, “Clearing the Last Hurdle”. Before she developed the syllabus and wrote her book, passage of the bar was 60-some percent on the first try. Now that rate is an amazing 98 percent. Congratulations to Wanda…I know your parents would have been very proud. Both being educators themselves, placed high value on teaching and helping others.


The third initiate was Dr. Greg Unruh…also just one year ahead of me in school (and coincidently Wanda’s partner in Cytones), who went on to become a physician and an Anesthesiologist. Through his short biography read at the presentation, we learned of his great magnanimity he has for the community in which he lives and helping and serving others. In high school, Greg was always a comedian…he had the crowd laughing last night too with his remarks, remembering “fondly” school lunches and some of the funnier episodes which occurred while he was in Ottawa schools. Many in town will remember his dad, Alan Unruh who was a teacher and eventually longtime principal of Eugene Field Grade School. It was good to see all 3 and connect with each.   Congratulations to all…here are their complete biographies which were read at the presentation ceremony. 


Being inducted to the Wall is the highest honor which can be bestowed upon an OHS graduate…after last evening, there are now 81 members of the Wall, which since the building of the Performing Arts Center, have a permanent location in which they are all displayed on the north wall of the PAC. Many will remember longtime math teacher Gary Kuntz, whose idea and energy it was to begin the Wall to honor OHS graduates back in 1997. Also…here is a list of the first 78 from years past. It’s quite a distinguished list!!  


Ottawa Optimists:


The Ottawa Optimists hosted Chamber members for coffee and conversation this morning at the Corner Market…big crowd attended (pictures here). Optimist International is a worldwide volunteer organization made up of more than 2,500 local Clubs whose members work each day to make the future brighter by bringing out the best in children, in their communities…and in themselves. Our local club was originally founded in 1974 as the Ottawa Optimist Club but changed their name in 2017 to the Franklin County Optimist Club because they serve the entire area with their outreach and youth projects (list here). Long been known as the “Ottawa’s Breakfast Club” because they meet at 6:30 in the morning (Richard said most are there by 6:00 however), COVID has changed their modus of operation. Now they still meet twice a month at the 6:30 a.m. time but once a month they meet at 6:30 p.m. in Wellsville to incorporate members from the Wellsville area, and once a month at 6:30 p.m. here in Ottawa…all with the idea more times and locations accommodates different groups of people. If you are interested in the work and projects they do, reach out to the group…they would love to have you join. If you call the Chamber at 785.242.1000 we will be happy to put you in touch!! I should also mention photographer Josie Alexander recently joined the Chamber and offered, when available, she would provide pictures of Chamber events, including coffees…her photography business is North 40. So the event pictures will be a lot better with a professional picture taker! 


Another 3-year-old Birthday Party:


Heidi Jo turned 3 last weekend and all the cousins came to the celebration (pictures here). Before the party, we watched Anna and Lucy play soccer…it’s pretty amazing to me how quickly young children begin catching on and understanding the nuances of the sport. It is still not watching Sporting KC…but it is fun and entertaining.


On Sunday, Cherry and I went to hear Anna and Lucy sing in the church youth choir. Not exactly opera…and actually…not exactly good – but when it is your granddaughters, it is music to your ears…so to speak! Here is a group picture of all the cousins and of choristers. 


Several options for activities in Ottawa this weekend…the biggest being the Twitty & Lynn concert at Memorial Auditorium. Better check before you just head that way…last I knew it was almost sold out. Sounds as if the Chiefs game is going to be played in Tampa Bay…it has been in flux most of the week because of Storm Ian. Prayers to all Floridians affected by the devastation and loss (but no prayers for their football team!!).


Enjoy the beautiful fall weather this weekend…the only thing I hate about fall is winter is just around the corner – ugh!


Talk to you next week…


Onward ~ John 


Onward ~ John  


Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce

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