By Todd Tranum
President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
NRG is still seeking public support for the proposed conversion of its Dunkirk power plant from coal to natural gas. With the state Public Service Commission expected to make a decision on the plan early in 2014, PowerUpWNY is collecting signatures in its online petition in order to encourage approval.
PowerUp WNY is a non-partisan coalition made up of regional businesses, labor, residents and community leaders who want to see this project approved. There are many benefits for Chautauqua County from the $500 million project: maintaining a stable tax base countywide, especially for the city of Dunkirk and Dunkirk Public Schools; reducing air emissions from the plant by 99 percent; maintaining a reliable, local source for energy generation; and creating good paying jobs. Repowering the 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 project has broad support across the political spectrum. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer favors the NRG plan, as do Congressman Tom Reed, State Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell.
This past July, thousands of people packed the Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia to make their voices heard during a PSC public hearing on the proposal. Everyone from students to senior citizens turned out to support the project.
If you did not submit comments through the PSC website earlier, or even if you did, you can sign on now to the PowerUp WNY web site and make your voice heard. It's easy to do - just go to www.powerupwny.org and click the link to help/join powerup. You will be asked to submit your zip code and email address, and your signature will be recorded in support of the NRG repowering plan. By signing the message, you'll join the coalition and send a message to Governor Cuomo, asking him to support the Dunkirk project. Local jobs, our tax base, lower energy costs, a cleaner environment and a more reliable electrical system in Western New York depend on it.
Duckworth to keynote Chamber meeting
The new president of Jamestown Community College will be the keynote speaker for the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce 2013 Annual Meeting. Dr. Cory Duckworth was inaugurated as the eighth president of JCC during a ceremony at the Jamestown campus on November first.
Prior to his August appointment to JCC he was Vice President of Student Affairs and Strategic Planning at Utah Valley University and Vice President for University Advancement and Marketing at Ferris State University. He is a graduate of the University of Utah College of Law. He worked as a political science instructor and pre-law advisor at Southern Utah University where he was later Assistant Director of Development. He later worked at Minot State University in North Dakota as Executive Assistant to the President for Planning and Development, Director of the St. Cloud State University Foundation in Minnesota, and Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement at UVU.
This is a tremendous opportunity for the community to hear from Dr. Duckworth about his goals for Jamestown Community College and its important role in Chautauqua County.
The Chamber's Annual Meeting will be held at noon on Friday, Dec. 6 at Shorewood Country Club, 4958 West Lake Road, Dunkirk. This event is sponsored by Artone, ConAgra Private Brands, Jamestown Community College, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and Serta Mattress Company. The cost for lunch is $18 for Chamber members or $21 for non-members. You can make reservations through on the Chamber's web site or by calling the Chamber offices at 366-6200 or 484-1101.
Shop Small. Shop Local. Win Chamber Gift Checks!
The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce works to help drive foot traffic into local businesses, and has added a new initiative this year to improve those efforts! On Small Business Saturday - Nov. 30 - you have a chance to win $300 in Shoptauqua Gift Checks just by visiting local Chamber member businesses.
Entry forms will be printed in local newspapers and can be downloaded from the Chamber's web site at www.chautauquachamber.org. There is no purchase necessary, but you must be 18 to enter. Shoppers simply need to take the form in to a small Chamber member business on Saturday, Nov. 30, and have it signed and dated by an employee of that business. You can find a full list of Chamber members in the Business Directory on our web site. The business must be SMALL and must be open on Small Business Saturday to qualify. Forms must then be returned to the Chamber either by mail or in person at one of the following addresses: 10785 Bennett Road, Dunkirk or 512 Falconer St., Jamestown. You can enter more than once, as long as each entry form is signed by a different Chamber member business! The prize drawing will be held Thursday, Dec. 19 at the Chamber's Experience Chautauqua Holiday Networking Event at Webb's Year Round Resort.
Since its inception, the Chamber's Shoptauqua Gift Check program has had a more than $2 million impact on the local economy. Gift Checks are good at more than 75 businesses countywide including stores, restaurants, spas, and much more!
Support our local business, support local jobs and support our local economy, buy local this holiday season!