August 23, 2021
News, Happenings & Collaborations
Included in this Issue ...
We are pleased to share the following news, happenings, and collaborations with you! The information contained in this week's newsletter was shared with the Chamber on or before noon on the Thursday before it was sent. To have your information considered for inclusion in future issues, please submit your information on or before noon on the Thursday before you'd like it published.

To stay in the know, visit the WGACC Digital Archives. For past NHCs and now our monthly Engager, which is only mailed to each Primary Contact at our members in good standing is also in the on-line library. While you are there please feel free to review The Chamber’s 2020 Annual Report as well.

In addition, we have heard that some messages are being delivered with a link that must be clicked to see the complete newsletter. We apologize for the inconvenience and have determined that this is related to the email service provider that you use to read the newsletter. We hope you will click the link!

Highlights include the following:
  • Planning for Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions
  • Finger Lakes orgs highlighted by Roam the Empire campaign
  • Best Foliage: Vote Daily
  • FDA approves vaccine
  • REDEC accepting loan apps
  • Get your walking shoes on
Visit Watkins Glen
& Schuyler County
Watkins Glen
Area Chamber
Pandemic Spotlight Updates

Vigilance is the word of the day. Continue to check the CDC and State web sites for updates. Scroll down for helpful information. We will do our best to keep you up-to-date, but it is likely that there will be new updates as soon as we hit send!
NY Forward & Other Government News

  • Vaccine clinics
  • Join your neighbors and VaxUp
  • $800 million in grants for small businesses available
  • FEMA funds
  • Funding opps: Congressman Reed's office
Chamber News
Chamber to attend Job Fair

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will attend a job fair at Hobart and William Smith Colleges on Thursday, August 26. If you are seeking part-time employees for the Fall season (and beyond), please forward a brief job description to Executive Director Michael Hardy ( by 4pm on Wednesday, August 25. He will pass on your information to those who attend the job fair.
Show your pride in our region! Bragging rights at stake.

The Finger Lakes is known for its natural beauty during every season, but especially during the Fall, when our rolling hills blaze with color. We are in contention for earning the distinction of Best Destination for Fall Foliage in USA Today's 10 Best Readers' Choice Awards for 2021. We have 7 days left to earn these bragging rights. Please bookmark this page on every device and click the blue "Vote" button. Vote every day on every device.
September schedule:
packed with networking opps!

We are thrilled with the positive comments we're hearing (and loving the socializing and networking we're seeing) at the Chamber mixers and socials. In September, please join us for these networking opps with fellow Chamber members and your community neighbors.

  • Cornhole Social (Sept. 2, 4:00pm to 7:00pm, at Toast Winery [formerly Pompous Ass Winery], Cash bar and nibbles, Chamber members $10; Non-Members $15; visit for details and to register)
  • An evening on the Seneca Legacy (Sept. 8, 5:00pm to 7:00pm; Chamber members free; Non-Members $15; visit for details and to register) Boat leaves at 5:15pm sharp.
  • Chemung Canal Trust Company Golf Tournament (Sept. 17, 9:00am to 5:00pm; visit for details and to register)
  • Tri-County Mixer at Lakewood Vineyards (Sept. 22, 5:00pm to 7:00pm; Chamber members free; Non-Members $15; visit for details and to register)

Thank you to our members who are supporting this year's Chemung Canal Trust Company 21st Annual Donald Brubaker Memorial Golf Tournament. Also, thanks to Alternatives Federal Credit Union, who is the Photo Sponsor, and Corning Credit Union and Visions Federal Credit Union, who are hole sponsors. Interested in becoming a sponsor? This is a great way to spotlight your products and services. Call or email Abby Lane for options!
Time to plan for the holidays

Watkins Glen and Schuyler County can be a four-season destination. With the Seneca Lake Wine Trail's recent cancellation of both Deck the Halls weekends, this event becomes as important -- if not more important -- than it was in 2020 to get guests here and to know Schuyler County is open for business during the holidays. The second annual Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions is an umbrella event and related activities that are planned to ensure prospective guests have a reason to visit Schuyler County during the winter season to enjoy the activities as well as Mother Nature's ice sculptures formed on our many road-side waterfalls. The Chamber has hosted one meeting with area leaders. A second meeting will be held on September 1, from 2pm to 4pm, at the Chamber (214 N. Franklin St.). Please start thinking of ways you and your organization can participate in Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions. We want to promote all events and activities.

This year's Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions will incorporate the snowflake competition (snowflakes/info have been shared monthly in the Engager) and Watkins Glen's traditional Village Christmas. The event starts with Small Business Saturday/Weekend (30 Days of Shopping Small), features a variety of holiday light activities (including the traditional Holiday Lights Schuyler Style competition), and concludes with anticipated Valentine's Day events and specials. We expect to celebrate Chinese New Year on 2/2/22.

Are you a Chamber member and will be hosting an event in November, December, January, or February? Tell us about it so we can include details in promotional materials: submit your event information here. For more information, contact Abby Lane, Events Manager.
Marketing Opportunities

The Visitors are here. Summer is in full swing. Share your message with several great marketing opportunities with the Chamber.
Window space at 214 N. Franklin Street: $125/month

Video segments at the State Park & at 214 N. Franklin: $130/month
Questions? Contact Executive Director Michael Hardy: or (607) 535-4300.
Exquisite views:
Roam the Empire campaign

Recently featured on Roam the Empire's social pages: "With towering waterfalls & rolling, vineyard-covered hillsides, Schuyler County is one of the most picturesque areas in the State. Snap the green heart in Watkins Glen State Park and/or enjoy a nice dinner overlooking the Pier House." (pictured here:
Let the Chamber know about
your events and late summer/early fall activities 

Let us help you celebrate traditions, holidays, and festivities! We want to share your events on our social media platforms and newsletters. Like us on all our social channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), and we’ll return the favor! Using this form, ( please submit your public event to notify the Chamber and its staff. Just a reminder ... the event calendar can be printed to share with future guests. Remember to print a few days ahead of their impending arrival and a few days after to encourage longer stays. Pending membership, the Chamber will assist in promoting the event to visitors and locals alike! 
Hints from Hardy

Business and hospitality hints
from Michael Hardy

HINT 1 Exit Strategies
With any luck, all of us will retire someday! Maybe you will be leaving corporate life; maybe you will put your entrepreneurial ventures in someone else’s hands. Either way, experts suggest planning for this time by developing an exit strategy. Joe Pulizzi offers thoughts and suggestions in this article presented by Crafting a Brand that I found helpful. Happy reading!
Check out the Events Calendar

Members are invited to submit events to the Chamber's online events calendar. The Chamber routinely pulls from this calendar for social posts and includes the link in appropriate news releases. Please bookmark the events page. Check it regularly for opportunities to enjoy, and remember to submit your organization's events (including a picture). If you don't have a relevant picture, upload a logo (designating it as an image, please). Want to talk this through? Call Abby (607-535-4300) or register for the next Simpleview training.
Local artist featured at
Franklin Street Gallery

View the work of Linda McIntyre at the Franklin Street Gallery through August 29. Linda's work is inspired by the natural environment we enjoy in the Finger Lakes. "I can think of nothing more beautiful than the mirror-like reflections on Seneca Lake on a calm, sunny day." Hear more from Linda on the Artist-in-Focus interview.
Explore the Erie Canal's Role in Shaping Social Justice Movements

Join a virtual panel discussion and viewing of the recently released documentary, Floating Ideas: How the Erie Canal Helped Shape America, on August 26 from 7-8:30pm via Zoom. The free program will examine the role of New York's canals, including the Chemung Canal, on various social movements and their continuing legacy today. The date marks the 201st Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, making it a timely day for reflecting on social movements past and present. To register and get the link to login, pre-register.
Alley Art Project Cut Ribbon

The Rockwell Museum held a ribbon cutting and celebration of a new Alley Art Project mural titled Life in a Tapestry. Students of the Corning-Painted Post High School Learning Center (HSLC) have been working throughout the year with Museum educators and Teaching Mural Artist, Betsy Casañas, to collaboratively design a mural inspired by the Museum’s collection. The project was approved for funding by the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as continued regional support from The Triangle Fund. The event was livestreamed on the Rockwell’s Facebook page and can be watched here.
Live entertainment in Clute Park

Mark your calendar: On August 24, enjoy the rhythms of Starlight Jazz Band. Please note the venue change to Clute Park (formerly held in Lafayette Park), where it's fun to cool down in the newly installed splash pad! Performances begin at 7:00pm. Share this news with family, friends, and visitors.
Member News & Collaborations
Updates all around

Does your organization have news to share? A promotion, a new service, a new product? New hours or location? Send us your news so we can help you share it. Looking for advertising opportunities? We have them too. If you'd like to encourage sales of your product line and/or service offerings, please contact Stephanie Specchio.
From community college to doctorate

An historic, three-way articulation agreement was signed at SUNY Corning Community College’s Spencer Hill Campus in Corning last week. The agreement establishes an affiliation between the institutions whereby the parties will define the criteria for SUNY CCC and SUNY Geneseo students to become eligible for early acceptance into LECOM’s School of Dental Medicine, leading to a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree and School of Medicine, leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree.
1 month & counting

We are just a month away from the 2021 Finger Lakes Clean Up event scheduled for September 18. Is your group ready? Have you picked the location you think needs some love? Let the Chamber know so we can share projects and teams already determined and locations that still need volunteers. Many thanks to S and R Underwater with their "tin turtle" for joining the event. More than a dozen divers, assisted by volunteers in kayaks, will be scouring Seneca Lake for garbage. This event, organized by Chamber member Bobby Kurz, will ensure that our region heads into the Fall Foliage season looking good! Stay up-to-date by checking the facebook page.
Grand Prix Festival on deck

More than 250 vehicles are registered for the Grand Prix Festival, presented by Chemung Canal on September 10, 2021. The community-wide festival is a collaborative partnership between many organizations, including Watkins Glen Promotions, Watkins Glen International, and the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association. It celebrates WGI’s Vintage Race, which is scheduled for September 9 through September 12. Roaring to town after a COVID-hiatus last year, this annual community favorite features the Alfa Romeo this year. Since 1993, the Grand Prix Festival of Watkins Glen has celebrated our community’s heritage and intimate connection to motor racing. As in previous years, the 2021 event will serve as a tribute to the Grand Prix races, with wrap-around events including the Walk of Fame award ceremony, a historical lecture called the Legends Speak, a pre-race Tech Inspection at Smalley’s Garage, as well as several rolling events and two car shows known as the Stone Bridge Driver events. As always, the highlight of this traditional fall event is the re-enactment of the original Grand Prix race, conducted on the original 6.6 mile road course that winds through open country side and village main streets. Details online.
Flashes of Brilliance

Break the Ice Media has created a three-part series featuring regional tourism experts who discuss "flashes of brilliance" that have transpired since March 2020. In this first installment, we hear from 8 leaders, including Valerie Knoblauch, President and CEO of Visit Finger Lakes.
Top 5 finish

Congratulations to Chamber member Laura Falk at Experience! The Finger Lakes®, based out of Ithaca NY, for earning a fourth-place finish in USA Today's Best Wine Tours in the United States competition. To learn more about Experience! The Finger Lakes®, visit her website.
HR requirements in focus

Thanks to Matthew Burr, from Burr Consulting, for this timely reminder: All employers must complete mandatory sexual harassment training for employees in October, per New York State. According to Matthew, the training must be offered to all employees, including governmental employees, interns, etc. This is an annual training requirement. The annual refresher training will soon be upon us. The State has broadened the laws regarding filing a claim of sexual harassment, making it easier for claims to be filed against an employer.
Pandemic precautions at Cayuga Health

In response to an increase of COVID-19 cases, increased COVID-19 related hospitalizations, and recent exposures in the region, Cayuga Health has issued new protocols to assist in providing a safe environment for both patients and staff. Beginning 8/23, Cayuga Health will now require mandatory COVID-19 testing for all patients, including those fully vaccinated, prior to any procedures such as all surgery, endoscopy, and invasive radiological procedures. In addition, beginning 8/19, Cayuga Medical Center changed its visitation policy and hours. Details here.
Loans available

REDEC is ready to issue small business loans of $1,000 to $15,000. Terms would be 3% for 6 years. These loans may be used for equipment, working capital, or related needs. For more information, contact REDEC directly
Best of the Twin Tiers

Voting is open to recognize the best our community has to offer. Only the top businesses in each category made it to the final voting stage. Many of our Chamber members are on the list! Rightfully so and we hope you get lots of votes! Please vote for your favorites in dozens of categories. If you vote in more than 25 categories, you'll be automatically entered for a chance to win a $250 Gift Card! Votes can be placed through August 25.
Walking Program kicks off

Schuyler Steps Out – the free community walking program presented by Schuyler Hospital – is back for its 15th year and will kick off in September. Open to anyone who works or lives in Schuyler County, teams must register with Schuyler Hospital by Tuesday, August 31, 2021. The program kicks off on Tuesday, September 2, 2021, with a virtual information session and will run September 6 through October 31, 2021. While many teams are workplace-based, service clubs, churches, and even scouts can form teams. All that’s required is walking daily for 8 weeks, logging steps walked, and reporting team steps to the Hospital weekly. At the end of the 8-week program, awards are given for most team steps, most valuable “players,” and most improved. 
August is Wine Month
August is Wine Month in the Finger Lakes. Specialty tastings, unique experiences, virtual tastings & events, & happy hours/special menus at restaurants highlighting everything NY’s largest wine region has to offer. Stay in the know here: This is a great opportunity to help encourage guests and visitors to choose the Finger Lakes as their destination. Please include in your messaging and social posts.
SCCUDD's Back to School tips

Schuyler County youth will be heading back to school soon. Please take a minute to consider the following guidance from the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD).

"There is no better time to talk to your child about preventing alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use. As your child heads back to school, they may be faced with new social situations and exposed to underage drinking or drugs. By taking time at the beginning of the school year to communicate openly and set expectations, you can reduce the likelihood of your child choosing to drink or use drugs".
SCCUDD shares the following back to school tips provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), for parents who want to encourage their child to stay substance-free this school year:
  • Talk early and talk often with children and teens about alcohol and marijuana. Teens who know their parents expect them not to use are less likely to.
  • Establish rules about alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use and be consistent when enforcing them.
  • Work with other parents to know where youth are hanging out and what they are doing. Being involved in your child’s life helps keep them safe.
  • Never provide alcohol or marijuana to young people under the age of 21. It is against the law.
Read additional information on how to plan “the talk” with your child.
Any and all accommodation members are welcome to share their food, entertainment, and packages with the Chamber. We will help spread the word here in our e-news and on our social media platforms and website. Please know that we do NOT have complete information on availability and openings. In most cases, we direct guests to, where they can find links to area lodgers. With this in mind, we hope you will keep your listings current and be sure to post your offers for the public and members on the WGACC Bulletin Board when you are checking out and/or updating your listing on the Simpleview Extranet.
Government News
FDA approves first COVID-19 vaccine

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. Read the full story.
Grants for small businesses

The successful recovery of small businesses is key to New York State's future. Empire State Development is happy to announce the New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program is open now. It was created to provide flexible grant assistance to currently viable small businesses, micro-businesses, and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations in the State of New York who have experienced economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grant awards will be calculated based on a business’ annual gross receipts for 2019:
•Annual gross receipts = $25,000-$49,999: $5,000/business;
•Annual gross receipts = $50,000-$99,999: $10,000/business; and
•Annual gross receipts = $100,000-$500,000: 10% of gross receipts (max grant is $50,000).

For eligibility requirements and more information regarding the New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Program, please visit The program is administered by ESD and powered by Lendistry. Questions? Call 877-721-0097.
Non-medical private non-profits: apply for FEMA funds

Because the pandemic was declared a Major Disaster and is ongoing, public assistance is authorized for Category B Emergency Protective Measures related to the COVID-19 response. To mitigate the pandemic’s impact on nonprofits, New York State is launching a targeted initiative to provide information and training to NON-MEDICAL Private Nonprofits (PNPs) and intermediary organizations applying for FEMA funding to reimburse costs incurred as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. PNPs and their umbrella organizations are invited to FEMA overview sessions, offering an overview of the FEMA public assistance process as well as a number of COVID-19 disaster-specific topics and policies that FEMA has implemented. For more details on the initiative and related resources, please access the Grants Gateway site. To register for the informational overview, see below for next steps or access the Grants Gateway for more information.
Vaccine clinic info
In the area?
The following options are offered by Arnot Health. Those wishing to be vaccinated can register online at, call 1-800-952-2662, or take advantage of walk-in service up to 30 minutes before the end of the clinic. 
  • Every Wednesday in August, there will be a clinic at the Arnot Mall Event Center on County Route 64 in Horseheads. It runs from 10am to 5pm, with walk-ins welcome until 4:30pm. This clinic will feature all three brands of vaccine: Moderna for those 18 and older, Pfizer for those 12 and older, and the one dose Johnson and Johnson. 
Stay informed:
Interested in tracking vaccine results? Bookmark this page:
For the latest updates on news and regulations, bookmark the New York Forward webpages.
$ $ Grant info from Congressman Reed's office $ $
Add your happenings to the Public Events Calendar on our website!
Add your event quickly, easily, and at no cost. Click here for the submission page.

We will gladly feature your upcoming events and news on our social media channels and in our newsletter.
Contact Michael at (585) 721-6032 or send him your news
at by noon on Thursdays.

Office Phone: (607) 535-4300
Katherine Jack, Visitor Center and Office Administrator email
Abby Lane, Events and Membership-Engagement Manager email
Stephanie Specchio, Director of Communications and Marketing email
Kate Fuller, Marketing Consultant (Part-Time contractor) email
Michael Hardy, Executive Director email and (585) 721-6032 (cell)