Almanack Contributor Adirondack North Country Association

ANCA is building prosperity across northern New York. Our programs and partnerships focus in these areas: ANCA Center for Pandemic Response, Entrepreneurial Economy, Food Systems and Energy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Exploring the Meaning of Wilderness

As an Upstate Institute Research Fellow this summer I worked with the Adirondack Diversity Initiative (ADI), a program of the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA). ADI’s mission is to create an Adirondack Park and North Country region that are welcoming, safe, and inclusive for everyone. ADI works towards this by creating tools and strategies that diminish the impact of systemic racism in the Adirondack region. With my work this summer, some of the best ways I could help accomplish these goals were through being educated about the area and learning about the different experiences of visitors to the Adirondacks through community-based research. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

ANCA’s 2023 Annual Meeting

ANCA Annual Meeting

Lowville, NY – What is belonging, and what does it feel like to belong? How do businesses and communities benefit from prioritizing belonging in their work? Why does the ANCA team think belonging is critical for the future strength of our region?

You are invited to join ANCA’s 2023 Annual Meeting: Building Belonging in the New Economy. Together, we will engage in an interactive conversation exploring concepts, practices, and everyday actions we can each use to create inclusive spaces in our region where people truly belong. Our goal is for all attendees to leave with actionable ideas to incorporate principles of belonging in their business, organization, and community. » Continue Reading.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Small Business Reflections on Setbacks, Successes and Funding Partnerships

ribbon cutting with people in front of a building

by Danielle Delaini, ANCA Entrepreneurial Economy Program Director

ANCA’s Small Business Team’s focuses on the current and future needs of the entrepreneurs with whom we work. We experience and witness many emotions through the successes and disappointments of the people we serve.

Whether we’re helping owners transition their businesses to the next generation, or helping artisans reach wholesale markets with their products, or guiding businesses affected by COVID-19 and other economic challenges with resources to help them build resilience — it can all feel inconsequential in moments of disappointment.

My heart hurts when a business closes despite the support our organization and our partners provide. When a business transition has all the right ingredients for a successful transfer but just doesn’t come together, I feel deep empathy for the business owner who has worked so hard to reach that point only to have to start over. When a new vendor leaves our Adirondack Buyer Days trade show with new wholesaling experience and knowledge, but no new retailer clients, I feel their disappointment too.

» Continue Reading.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Launching a North Country Clean Energy Hub; and bringing back a Clean Energy Conference

group wearing red shirts

By Craig Basford, ANCA Clean Energy Communications Coordinator

Earth Day is a time for new beginnings, a chance to start fresh and make positive changes in our relationship with the planet. 

New beginnings can feel risky or uncertain as we venture into new habits, technologies and experiences, but they also offer new and exciting opportunities to learn and grow.

Can you remember the feeling of moving into your first new home or apartment? Of starting a new job? You tried to play it cool, but inside, you were buzzing with excitement.

That’s how our team feels right now — because ANCA is embarking on our own new beginnings. This Earth Week, ANCA and our clean energy partners are celebrating the launch of the new North Country Clean Energy Hub. And we are so excited to share it with you!

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Embracing Transitions as Opportunities

Dani Delaini

By Dani Delaini, ANCA Entrepreneurial Economy Program Director

On the first morning of the Small Communities. Big Opportunities. Conference, I braced myself.

I knew that my team and I would be speaking, making connections and moving from room to room — trying to ensure that all the materials and all the people would be in all the right places at all the right times. The mental and emotional energy  needed — event logistics to unexpected hiccups to keeping names straight for over 180 conference attendees — is somewhere over and in between a rainbow of both terror and excitement.

I braced myself. I took deep breaths and centered myself in the fact that whatever nervousness I felt was likely mild compared to how some sellers showcasing their businesses that day must be feeling.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, December 23, 2022

How to go green this holiday season

By ANCA Energy Circuit Riders Shawnea Hull and Carlie Leary

Incorporating sustainable practices into your holiday season doesn’t have to be difficult and can be a wonderful opportunity to create new traditions, start meaningful conversations, and reduce your impact on the environment. Below we offer some tips on how to cut down your energy use and expenses and reduce waste during the holidays.

Energy Use

Switch to LED this holiday season.

switch to led lights

On average, Americans use around 3.5 billion kWhs of electricity to light their holiday lights throughout the month of December. Using standard equipment (one 20-ft string of 100 incandescent bulbs using 40W of electricity x 9 such strings on average to light a Christmas tree and outdoor lights), for 6 hours a day means the typical household in the U.S. will use around 65 kWh of electricity in December — adding up to around $645 million spent by Americans this month running holiday lights.

One solution? LED lights. LEDs may have a higher upfront cost, but they ultimately provide savings on your electric bill and reduce your GHG emissions. When you use  LED bulbs for all your holiday lights, the amount of power you use drops by around 75%. Whether you strive for Clark Griswold-inspired lighting or a more modest holiday display, these holiday light calculators show you  how much switching to LED lights can save you!

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Rebuilding Thanksgiving for All


By Melanie Reding, Associate Director, Adirondack Diversity Initiative

Like many contemporary holidays and celebrations, Thanksgiving has become a holiday where oversimplification, misrepresentation and myths tend to dominate the narrative. The history and significance of the day is often overshadowed by commercialism and merry-making. Holiday shopping and Black Friday sales, which increasingly begin on Thanksgiving Day, have become a distraction from the celebration of family and togetherness.

Furthermore, when it comes to Thanksgiving, there is a deep and tragic history that for centuries Americans have refused to accept — choosing instead to perpetuate a harmful myth. Unlike the depiction in the 1912 painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, the relationship between the Wampanoag Tribe native to Massachusetts and the Pilgrims of that “First Thanksgiving” was anything but the school-taught myth of happy little Indians and Pilgrims sitting together enjoying a meal. In my school days, the lesson was taught with construction paper feathers, pilgrim hats and books where “I was for Indian” was accompanied by colorful images of smiling party guests.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, November 21, 2022

My house serves me well

anca/acw housing series logo

By Leslie Sittner

Dream Home #1

I designed my dream log home, made the drawings, supervised every detail of its construction, and lived in it with my husband for 13 years until he passed away. During that time, we added naturalized landscaping, terraced vegetable gardens, and a large barn for the boy-toys. Log homes require constant maintenance. Particularly when they’re large with three levels. Then there’s the 200 feet of beach and 2 ½ acres of sloped woods. I can no longer maintain this alone. Especially feeding the hungry mouths of the wood stoves all winter.

I need to downsize. Simplify. Purge.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Not quite homeless

anca/acw housing series logo

By Duane L Herrmann

I was not quite homeless, but there was a time, just after high school, when I was trying to be independent when I was largely living out of my car. I did this only because it was more convenient, but I wasn’t sleeping there. I was attending the local university and did not want to live at home, on the farm in the country. Before I had a car, I had had a job with a family with two little boys. Both parents worked and they needed child care at odd times of the day. They had only one car, but their work schedules did not mesh. I ended up being their driver and child care provider in the odd hours. I slept in a bed in a corner of their basement. It was a successful arrangement for all of us.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Dream Home Haikus

anca/acw housing series logo

Dream Home Haikus

By Audrey Schwartzberg

As a little girl
I always wanted a house
With a turret room

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Responding to the housing crisis: Thinking BIG

anca/acw housing series logo

By Melissa Butler

I’ve been playing the Powerball and Mega Millions the last few weeks: prizes are up near half a billion dollars, and the daydreams of how I would spend that money on my morning commute are well-worth the price of a ticket. The opportunity to spread random acts of kindness alongside organized philanthropy comprises most of these fantasies. A recent configuration involves giving cash offers to buy local houses at near asking price, and then selling them back at their true value to families who can’t match the inflated market or AirBnB offers.

For example, my family just paid over $300,000 for a home that, 2 years ago, would go for about $175,000, and it really isn’t worth much more than that, but we were desperate after a year-long fruitless search.

In this scenario, the imagined organization would buy the house for 300 grand, then turn and list it for 175. Now, this lottery–fueled fantasy means that my millions invested would be covering my losses quicker than I could buy houses, but, at the same time, it has me thinking about the possibility of those that have the means or the know-how coming together to create such an organization. Do we have regional community members who would be interested in some ideation of this (naive) plan? Are there government resources to help fund the gaps between purchasing and selling costs of each property? Even if this group purchased (or flipped) 2 houses per year, could families enter a lottery for the chance to buy them at the true assessed value? I mean, just in case I don’t win the lottery tonight.

Editor’s note: This was originally published by Adirondack Center for Writing as part of ANCA’s Dreaming of Home project. The prompt: Do you have ideas about programs or practices that might work to mitigate the housing crisis in the Adirondacks? Think as big or as small as you like.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Community Art Project invites public to share housing stories

ANCA and CDI partner with local arts organizations to promote cooperative housing
In an effort to promote affordable and sustainable housing alternatives for aspiring homeowners in the face of the region’s ongoing housing crisis, the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA), the Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) and local arts groups invite community members to participate in a multi-community art project that will explore housing, housing insecurity and cooperative housing solutions for our region.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

ANCA seeks new Adirondack Diversity Initiative director

nicky hylton-pattersonThe Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has announced that Nicole Hylton-Patterson is stepping down from her role as director of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative after nearly three years heading the program. ANCA will convene a hiring committee made up of members of the economic development organization’s board and staff, as well as ADI Core Team members, to conduct a search for a new director.
Hylton-Patterson’s final day as ADI Director is Friday, October 14, 2022. The open job position will be posted on the ANCA website and shared broadly later this month.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, September 9, 2022

The art of nonviolent conversation

nonviolent communication

by David Yisrael Epstein-HaLevi, Adirondack Diversity Initiative

“How are you feeling?” 

It’s such a seemingly simple question — yet research by professor, lecturer and author Brené Brown has revealed that the average American adult has the ability to name only three feelings. How many can you name? Can you guess what they are?  Maybe take a moment before reading further and see how many you can actually write down.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, May 9, 2022

How the Adirondack Folk School gained digital marketing skills

adirondack folk school digital marketingDigital marketing builds success for North Country small businesses and organizations

By Olivia Dwyer, ANCA CPR Program Navigator

A flooring factory seems an unlikely place to find a social media mastermind. But that’s exactly where Scott Hayden headed soon after he became the executive director of the Adirondack Folk School (AFS). It was June 2016, and Hayden wanted to meet Eric Matthison, the owner of Square Nail Rustics, and learn how he’d used Facebook to find customers and grow his business.

After Matthison cut the ribbon at the new site for his wide-plank flooring and rustic furniture business, Hayden asked if he could buy Matthison lunch and talk social media. In December 2015, Square Nail Rustics had 20,000 likes; that number would double by December 2016. In the midst of that growth Matthison said he was too busy for lunch breaks, but Hayden could bring lunch to the shop if he wanted to talk. Hayden did, and he still remembers what Matthison said. “He said focus on the who, not the what,” said Hayden. “That stuck with me.”

» Continue Reading.

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