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Great Lakes must be protected for our environment and economy

By TODD J. TRANUM

President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier have identified improving water quality and the health of our lakes as one of the highest priorities on our public policy agenda. For several years, lake water quality has been a high priority for our advocacy efforts, not only because of the environmental impact on our region, but because the quality of lake water is very directly related to our economic well-being, and now it is in jeopardy.

Just last year, Congress had bi-partisan support when it authorized an additional $300-million a year through 2021 for the GLRI. Now, we are deeply troubled to learn of a proposed plan by the President to gut the program.

Our economy in Chautauqua County depends upon clean and healthy waterways. Chautauqua County is fortunate to have not only a number of inland lakes for recreational and tourism uses, but a 35 mile stretch of shoreline along Lake Erie. Our gateway to the Great Lakes along that coast not only provides an economic engine for tourism-related businesses in fishing and boating, but is also a major driver for our property tax base.

The recently approved Chautauqua County 20/20 Comprehensive Plan shows our Lake Erie shoreline as one of the most significant natural amenities in the county. The climate along the Lake Erie escarpment in Chautauqua County is a prime spot for our vital grape growing and wine industry and clean water from Lake Erie makes our agricultural economy possible. Importantly, Lake Erie is a direct and essential source of drinking water for thousands of residents in Chautauqua County and for other parts of the country. Notably, Lake Erie is a source of water used in a variety of manufacturing and food processing applications in Chautauqua County and facilities all around the Great Lakes.

Funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been instrumental in maintaining and supporting the Cattaraugus Creek watershed region bordering the Town of Hanover and has made continued habitat improvement projects for fishing regions off of Dunkirk and Barcelona, among other projects. The Environmental Protection Agency has demonstrated that GLRI funding has leveraged a 3:1 return on investment and has contributed to thousands of jobs throughout the Great Lakes region. At a time when devastating algae blooms have affected Lake Erie and severely impacted the availability of drinking water, we urge extreme caution for future care of this crucial water source and call on Congress to reject these proposed cuts. It’s not just the right thing to do environmentally, it is fundamental to our economy.

Hanover Chamber Member Appreciation Luncheon April 20

The Hanover Community Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Member Appreciation Luncheon on Thursday, April 20. The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Colony Seafood and Steakhouse, 876 Main Road, Irving. Kelly Borrello, Hanover Community Chamber President, will give a brief introduction and opening remarks. Additional speakers will be announced soon.

The cost of the lunch is $22. You can register by calling the Chamber at 366-6200 or use our online registration at www.chautauquachamber.org/events. Please RSVP by April 13.

Chamber State Legislative Breakfast April 28

Each year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce provides opportunities for its members to have a direct conversation with elected officials from each level of government. This year, the State Legislative Breakfast will be held April 28 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club. Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell will provide their insights about legislation in Albany and be available for questioning from the audience.

This event is sponsored by Affinity One Federal Credit Union, Chautauqua Institution, Cummins Inc., DFT Communications, Fredonia College Foundation, Jamestown Mattress Company, Nestle Purina PetCare, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, Serta Mattress Company, UPMC Chautauqua WCA, and WJTN/WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX. The cost to attend is $18 per person for Chamber members and $21 for non-members. Advanced registration is requested. You can register online at www.chautauquachamber.org/events or call our offices at 366-6200 or 484-1101.

Smart Social Media for Small Business May 1

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and JCC Continuing Education will present our next Business Over Bagels workforce development training on Monday, May 1. Smart Social Media for Small Business is the topic, and the session will run from 8:30-10 a.m. at the JCC North Training Center, Bennett Road, Dunkirk.

We hear a lot about the value of social media marketing to a small business but for many business owners, social media marketing is confusing, time-consuming and difficult if not impossible to track. Some dive in, try to do too much and quickly become overwhelmed. Or perhaps they do too little, too sporadically, and become discouraged by the poor results. In this workshop, you will learn tools and techniques to become organized, focused and successful with social media strategies. By the end of the session you will have a full month of social media posts all planned out and a new confidence in your ability to create effective content that connects you with your customers online.

The presenter for this important topic is Kate Moody, Business Advisor and Project Manager for Social Media Marketing at the Small Business Development Center in Jamestown where she works with manufacturers helping them develop and implement strategic social media marketing plans. Working with the Continuing Education Center at JCC, Kate coordinated the launch of three new digital marketing certificate programs (Social Media Marketing, Video Marketing and Email Marketing) and this January launched the new Small Business Academy webpage, which delivers the Social Media Marketing Certificate curriculum online. She holds a Master’s Degree in Community Services Administration from Alfred University and a BA from Pitt-Bradford in Human Relations & Communications.

The cost of this program will be just $20 per person for Chamber member businesses or $25 for non-members. To register call JCC’s North County Center at (716) 363-6500 or pre-register online at www.sunyjcc.edu/ce.

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