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    EDC hosts forum on minority and women-owned businesses
    "New York State, at 27.2 percent, is closing in on its goal of utilizing businesses owned by minorities and women for 30 percent of contracts with state agencies and authorities," said Lourdes Zapata, executive vice president and executive director of the state Division of Minority and Women's Development.
    "This is tremendous progress from about 10 percent in 2011," she said, speaking Oct. 26 at a forum EDC Warren County organized at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls.
    As the state edges closer to the goal, a push is on to certify more minority and women-owned businesses for the program.
    Zapata's office documents eligibility, enrolls certified businesses in a state database and provides technical and other assistance.
    The state's overall goal is 30 percent, but goals for each specific contract are based on region and industry statistics.
    "It's just a goal, not a mandate," said State Senator Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, referring to the 30 percent figure. "It's a lot harder to reach in the North Country."
    "The certification is advantageous to businesses seeking funding through the state Regional Economic Development Council grant process,"said Edward Bartholomew, president of EDC Warren County.
    To be eligible, women or minorities must have at least a 51 percent interest in the business, not just in stock shares, but also in decision-making and control of the business.
    "I encourage you to look at your corporate structure," before filing a formal application, Zapata said.
    Information on the program is available at esd.ny.gov.
    Bartholomew praised Empire State Development Corporation because its staff comes to Warren County and meets to discuss minority and woman-owned business status for grant programs in person, instead of just conversing via email.
    He suggested other state agencies do so too.
    Little said her Senate office staff is available to assist with the application process.
    Zapata, who grew up in the New York City area
    and now lives in the Hudson Valley, said she was impressed with the character of downtown Glens Falls.
    "I ate, I relaxed, I read a book," she said, about arriving early before the forum. "It was amazing." 
    In other Warren County economic development, business and quality-of-life news:
    -- StoredTech buys North Carolina firm
    StoredTech, an IT service and consulting firm headquartered in Queensbury, has purchased the assets of Sabre Networks of Raleigh, North Carolina.
    "The purchase increases StoredTech's market in the booming Raleigh, North Carolina area and expands the array of services that Sabre Networks previously offered there," said Mark Shaw, chief executive officer of StoredTech.
    "We're always in acquisition mode. ... The most important thing is really trying to find the comfortable fit," Shaw said.
    Tony Haden, former owner of Sabre Networks, and Hayden's four employees now work for StoredTech, which has 40 other employees at StoredTech offices in Queensbury, Albany and Plattsburgh.
    "StoredTech, established in 2010, did $86,000 in business its first year," Shaw said.
    "We'll be at about $8 million to $10 million in the next year," he said.
    -- Coming to fruition
    The fruition of two projects recommended in the 2013 Glens Falls Downtown Vision and Development Strategy will be celebrated at the annual Hometown Holiday festival in Glens Falls, extended to a two-day festival this year.
    14 Hudson, the new mixed-use complex that developer Sonny Bonacio and The Galesi Group built next to Glens Falls Hospital, will host a Spirits Tasting event at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 2.
    The event includes tasting of local brews for adults and craft projects for children.
    The event is free for adults. There is a small charge for materials for children's crafts offered by The Creative Chameleon.
    From noon to 3 p.m. on Dec. 2, the Glens Falls Arts District will offer a tour of homes in the Broadacres neighborhood.
    Cost is $20, which goes toward matching funds for Arts District initiatives to be funded from the Glens Falls Downtown Revitalization Initiative state grant.
    The complex on Hudson Avenue and the Arts District both were recommendations in the 2013 development strategy.
    Other Hometown Holiday events include the Glens Falls holiday tree lighting at City Park at 5 p.m. Dec. 1, with an array of activities from 5-8 p.m. Dec. 1 at 20 downtown locations.
    The Glens Falls Symphony Children's Chorus and the SUNY Adirondack Mountainaires will perform a family concert at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at The Hyde Collection art museum.
    Concert admission is by donation.
    The Glens Falls Collaborative organizes the Hometown Holiday festival.
    -- Bikes on trains
    "In conjunction with the state's Empire State Trail plan, officials will make another push for Amtrak to accommodate bringing bicycles on passenger trains on the line between New York City and Montreal," Andy Beers, director of the Empire State Trail, said Oct. 25 at the annual meeting of Lakes to Locks Passage at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls.
    "There will be another big effort to achieve that. We can't say whether it will be successful," he said.
    U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and state Senator Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, have been advocating for several years for Amtrak to accommodate bikes on trains as a way to boost tourism in the region.
    -- Sapphire anniversary
    Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce celebrated its sapphire anniversary with a gala Nov. 4 at The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing.
    The organization was incorporated in 1952.
    -- Winter market
    The Glens Falls Winter Farmers Market at Sanford Street School in Glens Falls opened Nov. 4 with 25 vendors, "the biggest winter market ever."
    The market is open weekly through the winter from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
    One of the initiatives in the Glens Falls Downtown Revitalization Initiative is to develop a year-round farmer's market space in downtown Glens Falls, to be part of a new retail, agri-business education, and test kitchen complex on South Street.
    -- Maury's musing
    I pulled a notebook from my pocket and jotted down a line from the closing song of the concert by the band Honeysuckle at Crandall Public Library on Oct. 26. : "And I'm gonna' do it anyway, even if it doesn't pay."
    I have a line of my own I often recite: "They say, 'Do what you love, and the money will follow.' My money must have taken the wrong exit off the Northway."
    One more -- that a friend in Ticonderoga often said: "Art for art's sake. But money for God's sake."
    I loved attending college.  I probably was the only student on campus that got depressed after final exams were done. I never wanted a semester to end.
    Living in Glens Falls and reporting and writing about Warren County since 1999 has enabled me to do what I love -- in depth learning -- and still get paid.
    "In college I majored in English. In life I majored in Glens Falls."
    Glens Falls is like college without exams.
    Crandall Public Library, the Chapman Historical Museum, The Hyde Collection art museum, World Awareness Children's Museum, Charles R Wood Theater, Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council and, the soon to open Park Street Theater, offer numerous cultural programs, many of them free.
    Glens Falls is home of the Adirondack Thunder ECHL hockey team, Glens Falls Dragons summer collegiate level baseball team and Glens Falls Green Jackets semi-professional football team.
    And Glens Falls is close to many great hiking trails in Warren County that I enjoy.
    Maury Thompson is a newspaper reporter who retired from The Post-Star after 21 years of covering the region.
    He keeps his finger on the pulse of economic development, business and quality of life in the area by writing a twice-a-month column for EDC Warren County. 

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