By Todd J. Tranum
President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
U. S. Senator Charles Schumer's appearance in Chautauqua County this past week was emblematic of the type of bipartisan, across the board support we have been seeking for the proposed repowering of the NRG plant in Dunkirk. Speaking to a crowd along the Dunkirk Pier, Senator Schumer called the project a "win, win, win. Win - more affordable. Win - more reliable. Win - more environmentally sound." We agree and greatly appreciate the Senator's support for repowering NRG Dunkirk.
Now it's up to the rest of us to demonstrate our support before the state Public Service Commission comment period closes on Aug. 16. There are many reasons to support this proposal. Turning the old coal-fired plant into a natural gas fired plant will create and preserve jobs, substantially improve air quality by reducing emissions and sustain our critically important tax base, which provides municipal and school district services. At the same time, it will preserve power production in New York State. Repowering the NRG plant in Dunkirk is crucial for achieving energy sufficiency and cost-competitiveness. It is critical that New York State maintain the ability to generate electrical power and identify efficient ways to transmit that power. Without this plant, providers will be importing electricity into our state from facilities that may not be as environmentally friendly or as cost-competitive.
The NRG proposal is the single-largest economic development issue facing Chautauqua County at this time. Because the decision to move forward with this now rests with the state Public Service Commission, you have a chance to make your voice heard. Thousands of people turned out for a public hearing in Fredonia last month. You can still provide comments in support of the plan by writing to this address: Chairman Garry A. Brown & Acting Secretary Jeffrey Cohen, NYS Public Service Commission, Agency Bldg. 3, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223. Please reference Case # 12-E-0577. In addition, you may send comments and concerns to Hon. Andrew Cuomo, Governor, New York State, Executive Chamber, NYS Capitol, Albany, NY 12224. Or, if you prefer, you can find a link directly to the PSC's online comment page for this case through the Chamber's website at www.chautauquachamber.org.
The deadline is Friday. Don't miss the boat to support this crucial project and repower NRG.
The ACA Effect on Your
The effect of the Affordable Care Act on you and your business will be the topic of two upcoming seminars presented by the Community Chamber Development Corporation in the next two weeks. These sessions will be held Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce office in the MTI Building at JCC, 512 Falconer Street, Jamestown; and on Wednesday, Aug. 21 at the Lakeshore Assembly of God Church, 252 East Main St., Westfield. Both sessions will start at 7:30 a.m.
Both employers and employees will need to make important health insurance decisions before the end of the year. These sessions are part of the Small Business Assistance Program series being offered by the CCDC, a subsidiary of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. CCDC and Chamber staff is well-versed in the challenges and opportunities presented by the ACA and can provide an overview of access, rates and programs in the New York State Health Insurance Exchange which will be available Jan. 1.
In addition, there will be a brief presentation on the CCDC's new strategic partnership with Client Solutions Group to offer discounted business services to its members. This presentation is open to anyone associated with a small business, regardless of your membership in the Chamber of Commerce. A continental breakfast will be served. If you have concerns or questions about health insurance needs for your business or your employees, please call us at 484-1101 or 366-6200.
Let's Do Business Scheduled for Downtown Jamestown
"Let's Do Business" is the focus of a presentation set for Tuesday, Aug. 13 by the Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce. Scheduled for 8:00 a.m. at the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, Jamestown Community Chamber Coordinator Justin Hanft will focus on how the Chamber can help you improve your business, providing an in-depth look at Chamber services especially for downtown Jamestown businesses. Any Chamber member or non-member is invited to attend.
Randy Graham at Entertainment in the Park Series
Local performer Randy Graham will perform Thursday evening, Aug. 15 as part of the Entertainment in the Park Summer Concert Series in Mayville. Sponsored by the Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce, the Village of Mayville, and the Town of Chautauqua, each concert is held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Lakeside Park and is free to the public. Bring your own chair for outdoor concerts. In case of rain it will be held at the Carlson Community Center.
Randy Graham is a solo performer who uses wireless equipment to sing and play the guitar while wandering through the crowd. He has a huge repertoire and brings along song lists for the audience to pick their favorite tunes. Rainbow the Clown (Jerry Stimson) will also be on hand to entertain the children with face painting and creative balloon sculptures.
Dunkirk Farmers and Artisans Market
The Dunkirk Farmers and Artisans Market is offering special events throughout the season during its regular hours, 3-7 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. The Market is held at the beautiful Memorial Park and is sponsored by the Dunkirk Community Chamber of Commerce. In addition, the Market now accepts Chamber Gift Checks. For more information call 366-6200.