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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Preview Of Stories In This Week's Potter Leader-Enterprise

By Donald Gilliland
This week’s Leader-Enterprise will include a special
focus on the Maple Festival with profiles of all the
candidates for Maple Sweetheart, a complete listing of
all the events planned for the weekend and a story
about the local maple industry and the 2008 sugar
season. The Maple Festival represents the conjunction
of Potter County’s two largest industries: agriculture
and tourism. And it's not a new invention - we've been
doing our own form of eco-tourism around the maple
industry here for over 40 years!

On the hard-news side, we'll be looking at how the
recent downturn in the stock market could have a
direct negative impact on the county budget and local
taxes. I'm still gathering the historical data, but
there's no question the first quarter of 2008 was the
worst in years for the county's retirement fund, which
lost nearly half a million dollars in just the last
three months. Why is that important? If the fund does
not meet its actuarial goals, the county is required
to pay the difference. If the downturn continues, that
could put a major unanticipated dent in the county
budget, in turn making a tax increase more likely. At
the very least it could eliminate the "surplus" left
from the previous board in one fell swoop, putting the
county back onto a shoe-string.

We will also have an interview with the county's
newly-appointed Assistant District Attorney, an
outline of the commissioners' plans for the new annex
building and an analysis of the primary election
results.

And of course, we'll have the most comprehensive
coverage of local high school sports of any newspaper
in the area. Neil Linderman does yeoman's work at our
sports desk every week, and all our local high school
athletes benefit. Ten years ago this week, we had one
page of sports and one page of outdoor news. This week
there will be four pages of local sports and five of
outdoor news.

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