eNews: July 2023

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Dear eNews Reader,

Well, it feels like July just flew by. I was able to take a little time off for vacation, but I’m back in action again. There are summer activities to attend and meetings focused on the many pressing issues facing our community and state. Please enjoy the rest of your summer.


1. Housing Remains Top Priority

I’ve been participating in meetings to discuss the many housing needs in our community. We are waiting for details to be released on a comprehensive housing study conducted by Broome County, which should be very helpful.

We do know that there is a general lack of housing across all demographics in Broome County; from affordable rental housing to different home ownership opportunities. We are also confronting a homelessness crisis that is stretching the capacity of our local social and human service organizations like the United Way.


2. Welcoming SUNY Broome’s 8th President

In early July, SUNY Broome Community College welcomed new President Dr. Tony D. Hawkins. Prior to this position, he served for eight years as the Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, Continuing Education, and Workforce Development at Frederick Community College in Maryland. I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Hawkins to discuss how we can continue partnering on various initiatives. I was especially impressed with his approach to addressing our community’s workforce needs and very much look forward to working with him. I was also impressed by his cooking abilities as an entrant in the Celebrity Division of the Spiedie Fest Cooking Contest this year. As a judge I got to try his delicious lamb spiedies.


3. Local Farmers Markets In Full Swing

As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture & Food, I am very happy about the many active farmer markets we have in the area. The Broome County Regional Market is open 9am-1pm on Saturdays year-round, and is definitely worth visiting if you haven’t already been there. It’s always buzzing with activity with vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, baked goods and other locally produced products.

Other seasonal markets in the area include:

  • Vestal Farmers Market at the Vestal Public Library Upper Parking Lot, 320 Vestal Parkway E., Vestal – Wednesdays and Saturdays 9am-1pm
  • Downtown Courtyard Market at the Metrocenter Courtyard, Downtown Binghamton – Tuesdays from 4-7pm through October 2023
  • Little Italy Endicott’s Farmers Market at the George W Johnson Park Parking Lot, Oak Hill Ave Endicott – Thursdays from 4-7pm through August 2023


4. Celebrating Community Carousels

I spent a weekend celebrating Greater Binghamton’s designation as the Carousel Capital of the World. I presented a Citation in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the CFJ Carousel in Johnson City at their annual Carousel Festival and also enjoyed the Rotary’s “Carousel and Organ Band Rally” at Highland Park. They had an amazing assortment of band and crank organs on display.

I ran into one couple visiting from out of town, who were here specifically to visit the Rec Park Carousel featured in The Twilight Zone episode “Walking Distance.” They wound up staying all weekend to visit all the other carousels.


5. Sacred Bloom Opens in Vestal

I joined owner Todd Hartman for the grand opening of Sacred Bloom in Vestal, Broome County’s third legal adult-use cannabis dispensary. Licensed NYS dispensaries like Sacred Bloom can only sell NY-grown and tested cannabis products, which benefits local growers. For example, the store is featuring products grown by Pete Shafer, and the team at Nanticoke Gardens.