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    Warren County Watch
     
     
    A column by Maury Thompson about economic development, business and quality of life in Warren County
     
    Legislative session opportunities
     
    "Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal for a state program to assist development of lodging facilities in the North Country could benefit northern Warren County communities such as North Creek," said EDC Warren County President Edward Bartholomew.
     
    The program, as Cuomo has proposed it, would provide "gap" funding to supplement bank financing and private investment, in order to make projects viable and draw additional tourism.
     
    "The proposal is one of several in the governor's 2018 legislative agenda that are of particular local interest," Bartholomew said in a presentation Jan. 16 to the EDC Warren County Board of Directors.
     
    Cuomo has proposed establishing a new Office of Workforce Development and a revamped strategy with more flexibility for grants outside the regional economic development council annual process.
     
    Cuomo has proposed that each county Department of Social Services develop a plan for outreach and services to the homeless.
     
    Other proposals of local interest involve infrastructure, broadband, renewable energy, youth jobs and bidding to host the 2023 World University Games in the Lake Placid region.
     
    "Olympic Regional Development Authority officials have suggested that some of the events be held at the state's Gore Mountain Ski Center in North Creek," said Jeffery Byrne, senior vice president of ORDA and an EDC Warren County board member.
     
    Earlier in January, Terri Egan, acting commissioner of the state Department of Motor Vehicles, said in a regional State of the State presentation that rural communities will be a priority in the upcoming third round of Cuomo's initiative to cover all of New York with broadband. 
     
    Egan said the state will reach 98 percent coverage this year, but that is a statewide figure and much of the territory left to cover is in rural areas such as northern Warren County.
     
    "You get to that point where that small percentage is the most difficult," she said, speaking Jan. 9 to an audience of more than 90 people at a forum that EDC Warren County hosted at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls.
     
    She said regional economic development councils, too, will remain a priority.
     
    "Looking at things from a regional perspective has been very helpful, and the governor intends to continue that," she said.
     
    Egan said optimism is the theme of Cuomo's 2018 legislative agenda.
     
    "The sky is the limit. ... We have all sorts of opportunities ahead of us in 2018," she said.
     
    Egan said Cuomo's legislative agenda includes a $250 state tax cut for the "average New Yorker," a "women's agenda," and an expansion of the state's Excelsior scholarship program for free tuition at state universities and community colleges.
     
    "That's what a lot of the State of the State this year was geared to - making a difference in people's lives," she said.
     
    New Glens Falls Mayor Dan Hall, state Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, and state Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, also spoke.
     
    "It's the beginning of a long discussion that's going to take place," Little said. "The final product isn't always like the beginning."
     
     
    In other Warren County economic development, quality of life and business news:
     
    Christmas train
     
    EDC Warren County President Edward Bartholomew praised the new owners of Stony Creek Ranch Resort for marketing and operating The Train to Christmas Town in collaboration with Saratoga and North Creek Railway in December.
     
    "The new theme train ride brought in overnight guests from outside the Glens Falls region," Bartholomew said.
     
    The resort owners will operate a snow train this winter pending repairs to the track as a result of the recent flooding. The owners are also planning an extensive marketing campaign for summer train excursions.
     
    Home-grown film production
     
    Queensbury filmmaker Caitlin Stedman said she's leaving it to viewers to decide if "Unattainable," her latest production, has a happy or sad ending.
     
    "You know it's kind of ambiguous. We leave it open ended," she said.
     
    You can view the 13-minute, 36-second romantic drama, and weigh in on final editing, at a free viewing party at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at Lake George Brew House, formerly Davidson Brothers brewery, on Route 9 in Queensbury.
    Stedman and her colleagues at Snarky Aardvark Films are pursuing a home-grown film venture even as the new Adirondack Film Commission is attracting out-of-the area filmmakers to Warren County.
     
    "A film maker, from a setting perspective, can't go wrong filming in Warren County," Stedman said.
     
    "You're kind of hard pressed to find something that doesn't look good on camera," she said.
     
    Stedman, who started Snarky Aardvark Films in 2012, said she hasn't yet reached the scale of production to benefit from state tax credits the film commission can help filmmakers apply for, but she hopes to eventually reach that level.
     
    She wants to prove that young entrepreneurs don't have to leave Warren County to be successful in the creative economy.
     
    "I don't see myself leaving," she said.
     
    Stedman attended Vancouver Film School and now works as a member services associate at The Hyde Collection art museum in Glens Falls. 
     
     
    So far, she and her colleagues have produced one full-length feature film, about a dozen short dramas and about two dozen short documentaries.
     
    "Unattainable," her latest production, has a $1,200 budget, of which more than 70 percent was raised through the crowdsourcing site IndieGoGo.
     
    Local businesses Just Water, Davidson Brothers restaurant and brewery, Advokate, Fresh ADK and Ramble Design & Goods provided donations of in-kind services or products for the filming.
     
    History note
     
    The "buy local" concept was in vogue in Warren County long before it became a contemporary cultural slogan.
     
    The Post-Star in 1918 published a daily notice on its editorial page: "The paper on which this edition of The Post-Star is printed is supplied by Finch, Pruyn & Co. paper manufacturers, Glens Falls, N.Y."
     
    Maurice Hoopes, president of Finch, Pruyn at the time, was elected vice president of the Newsprint Manufacturing Association, a national trade Group, in 1918.
     
    Finch, Pruyn, now known as Finch Paper, originally was a newsprint mill before converting its operation to manufacturing higher-quality grades of paper for printing and publishing.
     
    Finch Paper is the official paper of EDC.
     
    Maury Thompson covered the region for The Post-Star for 21 years before retiring in September. He keeps his finger on the pulse of economic development, business and quality of life in Warren County by writing a column for EDC Warren County.
     
     
     



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