Below are the Top 5 items from the month of December 2017.
1. AGRICULTURE CENTER OPENS AT CCE:
On December 5th, I joined Commissioner of Agriculture & Markets Richard Ball for the official opening of our Agriculture Development Center and Taste NY store at Cornell Cooperative Extension. I was happy to secure a $750,000 grant for this important resource for farmers and producers in our community. Agriculture has long been under-appreciated across the region, but through strong advocacy from local farmers, producers, and consumers, this industry has become a central component of our regional economic development strategy. CCE surprised me at the grand opening by naming the kitchen inside the Taste NY store in my honor. Thanks to all who helped make this dream a reality. To read more about this project, click here.
CCE Broome Executive Director Victoria Giarratano presents Assemblywoman Lupardo with a sign that hangs outside the kitchen inside the Taste NY store recognizing her work on behalf of local agriculture.
2. COUNTY LEGISLATURE ACCEPTS STATE FUNDING FOR TREATMENT CENTER AT BDC:
After months of working together with my colleagues at the state and local level, the Broome County Legislature finally decided to accept state funding for a new treatment facility at the former Broome Developmental Center. Over the past few years, we’ve worked to increase access to treatment, provide new prevention and intervention services, and support for recovery. However, detox has been a crucial option missing from local treatment. Our NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse recognized this and provided nearly $3 million to convert part of BDC. While we wish it could have happened sooner, the Legislature finally accepted the funding on December 27th with an 11-4 vote. This was truly a team effort and a sincere thank you to everyone involved, especially the advocates who helped us understand the depth of the problem. This facility will undoubtedly save the lives of many struggling with addiction. Click here to read a guest viewpoint written by Senator Akshar about this treatment facility.
3. REDC AWARDS FUND IMPORTANT LOCAL PROJECTS:
On December 13th, the Governor announced the annual Regional Economic Development Council Awards; this year, our region was awarded $67.3 million. Since the inception of this regional approach to growing the economy, the Southern Tier has done very well in securing state funding for important projects throughout the community. Required matching funds from private entities ensures that economic growth locally is not reliant solely on public dollars.
There are a number of great projects being funded this year to build on the progress we’ve made throughout the region. Some of these include a hemp processing facility, expanding the LUMA Projection Arts Festival, a bottling plant for Little Venice’s pasta sauce, and refurbishing the historic George W. Johnson Carousel in Endicott. Click here to find a complete list of awardees.
4. KEEPING A FOCUS ON SENIOR ISSUES:
As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging, one of my top priorities is advocating for programs and services important to seniors. On December 18th, the Governor signed a bill I introduced creating a Senior Tourism Attractions Program. This will expand the reach of NY tourism by specifically targeting seniors; the signing of this bill came on the heels of New York being named the first age-friendly state in the nation by AARP & the World Health Organization. More tourism dollars will stay in the state while NY seniors will enjoy all that our state has to offer. I was excited to share this news with members of the Broome West Senior Center when I visited on December 20th, and many of them commented that they were looking forward to taking advantage of this new program.
I continue to be focused on these issues as we move into our new legislative session. In preparation for our return to the Capitol, I convened a budget hearing on December 6th about the importance of community based, non-medical services for seniors. At a time when we’re looking to save state resources, in-home services reduce the need for more expensive residential care allowing seniors to stay at home. This is just one of the many senior issues I’ll be working on during budget negotiations.
5. NEW BUSINESS BOOMS AT REGIONAL FARMERS MARKET:
With the closure of the local sheltered workshop, many developmentally disabled workers have been looking for meaningful employment. Angela Tallman of Endicott has taken matters in to her own hands by starting her own baking business. Originally Angela wanted to open her own cafe, but I encouraged her to start off with a stand at the Broome County Regional Farmers Market; this setting would allow her to gain experience running her business, while at the same time providing the support and resources necessary to succeed. Succeed she did. In her first weekend at the market on December 23rd, Angela sold out of her apple-cranberrry pies and took orders for 85 more. Due to this success Angela is bringing on another employee, her friend Lisa. To read more about Angela’s story, click here.
Assemblywoman Lupardo with Angela Tallman, left, and her friend Lisa.