Almanack Contributor Adirondack North Country Association

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.


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Rebuilding Thanksgiving for All

thanksgiving

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

housing
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Dumping milk while people go hungry

 

Co-written with ANCA Executive Director Kate Fish

This April, shoppers throughout the country faced empty milk shelves in their grocery stores, while at the same time, North Country dairy farmers dumped tens of thousands of gallons of their herds’ daily production down the drain. 

Why did this happen? Why are farmers dumping milk when store shelves just a few miles away are empty? 

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