Outstanding recognition for Chautauqua by Smithsonian Magazine

Many of us who live here already know it and maybe even take it for granted: Chautauqua is a special place. Chautauqua, New York has just gained some spectacular national recognition that shows it off to the world. On its newly-released list of America’s Best Small Towns to Visit, Smithsonian Magazine has ranked Chautauqua at number one.

In developing this list, now in its third year, Smithsonian notes that it has “singled out communities for particular strengths in history, music, visual arts, learning, food, theater and science. It’s not solitude we’re seeking – the fruits of human creativity are best shared – but, rather, enrichments unbothered by the growl of our increasingly urban lives.” Smithsonian used data from Esri, a geographical information systems company, to find towns of fewer than 15,000 residents that are rich in cultural opportunities per capita.

In her article for Smithsonian, international travel writer Susan Spano focuses on Chautauqua Institution and its extraordinary offering of summer programming and learning opportunities. But she also mentions its peaceful, rural setting alongside Chautauqua Lake and how the community, by its very nature, causes residents and visitors to slow the pace of their life in order to soak in the scenery and culture.

The county is truly blessed that Chautauqua is both an integral part of the summer season and also a year-round destination. It is an economic driver for much of the tourist trade, and this recognition by Smithsonian will certainly cause others nationally and internationally to sit up and take notice.

ConAgra decision should be a wake-up call

ConAgra’s decision to close the former Carriage House facilities in Fredonia and Dunkirk is disappointing news for Chautauqua County. The loss of jobs is a huge blow to the local economy and the good, hard-working people of the community. The Chamber acknowledges and appreciates efforts by local management and employees to keep the company operating locally.

There is an opportunity for the state and community to take action, and this decision must serve as a wake-up call to elected officials that increasing taxes can no longer be an option. Municipalities need to focus on reducing the property tax burden through streamlining and consolidating services and continue working with New York state to provide mandate relief. New York state must continue to work toward creating a tax environment that is competitive with other states. Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Tranum spent two days in Albany with colleagues from across the state, meeting with legislators to advocate for several key issues that would help New York businesses reduce costs. The Chamber is advocating for the cancellation of the 18-A surcharge on electricity which is paid by both businesses and residential consumers; reforming the Scaffold Law to help reduce workers compensation costs; reduction in the corporate income tax so New York businesses can reinvest in job creation; reform of the estate tax to help family-owned businesses transfer their operations to family members; and implementation of the property tax credit so New York manufacturers can be competitive in a global market.

The ConAgra announcement points to the need for a consistent, reliable, regional water source in northern Chautauqua County, which is crucial to the development and operation of food processing businesses. The Chamber is encouraged by the progress of the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corporation and remain hopeful that the several municipalities that are working together remain engaged in the process and keep the momentum moving in a positive direction.

Business Over Bagels: Build relationships using LinkedIn

The Chamber’s upcoming Business Over Bagels session will focus on LinkedIn for building business relationships. Curt Anderson from the Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College will offer information on how LinkedIn can help your business. LinkedIn strategies discussed will include: How to create a profile that works, making quality connections, finding leads on business prospects and jobs, starting or joining a LinkedIn group and creating a LinkedIn company page. Bring your tablet or smart phone along to enhance the experience.

Anderson is a business advisor at SBDC and is an e-commerce and internet marketing consultant. He has been an entrepreneur for 23 years including 17 years in e-commerce. He is passionate about internet marketing and how it can help you reach out to new customers that you might not have reached through conventional marketing techniques.

This informative event will be held March 27 at 8:30 a.m. at the JCC North Training Center, Bennett Road, Dunkirk. It is being sponsored by the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, Jamestown Community College North Center, Jamestown Jammers Baseball and the Small Business Development Center. The cost for this special Chamber Business Over Bagels session is $10. To register call the JCC Center for Continuing Education at 363-6500.

Chamber State Legislative Breakfast April 11

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 11 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club, 433 E. Terrace Ave., Lakewood.

Senator Catharine Young and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell will provide their insights about legislation in Albany and be available for questions from the audience.

This event is sponsored by Chadwick Bay Broadcasting-WDOE/WBKX, DFT Communications, Double A Vineyards, Fredonia College Foundation, Jamestown Community College, Jamestown Mattress Company, KeyBank, Nestle Purina PetCare, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, Serta Mattress Company, SKF Aeroengine North America, WCA Hospital and WJTN/WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX WJTN. The cost to attend is $18 per person. To register call the Chamber at 484-1101 or 366-6200 or visit the Chamber website at www.chautauquachamber.org.