Local community and business leaders have some interesting insights about the struggling national economy.
Most agree the Ticonderoga area has been fortunate and there's cause for optimism.
"I believe, as I think most people now do, that the national and international economies are in trouble," said Greg Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the Ticonderoga Federal Credit Union. "We have not yet seen similar job losses or business failures locally and it is my hope that the business cycle will experience its inevitable upturn before it happens here."
Jeremy Treadway, owner of Treadway Service Center in Ticonderoga, agrees.
"I don't think it (the economy) is that bad yet," Treadway said. "The ripple effects of things nationally always take longer to reach us. I'd like to believe we're sheltered and the national problems won't reach us, but that might be overly optimistic."
Not everyone sees it that way.
"I think the economy is the worst than I can ever recall," Ticonderoga Supervisor Bob Dedrick said. "I constantly think about the people who had trouble paying their bills before this recession. How are they possibly going to cope now? Add all those residents who were barely making it before the recession, now you have many more people who can't pay their bills. It is a downward cycle that puts many people at risk."
Regardless of their outlook, local leaders agree the tools are in place to spare our region from the national woes of bank failures, home foreclosures, job loses, business bailouts and more.
"What causes me to take heart is that I do not see complacency in the local marketplace," Johnson said. "Nobody is sitting on their hands in despair hoping life deals them a better hand of cards; I see experienced leadership being highly proactive in protecting their companies and protecting the interests of their workforce.
"I truly believe that we in the North Country will be fine," he said. "We are experiencing the pain that comes with any recession. If history is any guide, that will pass. We have been through these cycles before, but this time that pain is accompanied by fear that what is happening elsewhere could happen here. "
John Sharkey, owner of JP Sports in Ticonderoga, even sees economic opportunity. In bad times many companies are looking for greener pastures - places like Ticonderoga.
"Encourage our local leaders to invite companies to visit your town to take a look around the area. Seeing is believing," he said. "Why do college students visit college campuses? To see if they like the environment at a particular college, that's why. It's akin to squeezing the fruits and vegetables at a grocery store. Shoppers like to see and feel the product. So don't let mayors, supervisors and town boards sit by and wait for the phone to ring. Demand that they pick up the phone and start dialing prospective companies to locate in your community."
Certainly 2009 will present challenges - economic and otherwise. But common sense and a positive outlook can be key to helping us meet those tests. Luckily, both are in good supply in our area.
Fred Herbst is Times of Ti editor. He can be reached at email@example.com