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Folk school to stay open

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QUEENSBURY  Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne has raised enough money through an emergency appeal to keep the school open through the summer.

“In less than three weeks, we raised $38,250,” Rand Condell, president of the school’s board, announced Tuesday at a Queensbury Town Board workshop meeting. “It was absolutely gratifying.”

The total will be even higher once his personal contribution, which was just mailed, reaches the school, said Queensbury Supervisor John Strough.

Condell and the school board’s vice president, Dan Green, attended the Queensbury Town Board meeting as a first stop in a series of presentations to all of the town boards in Warren County about the regional significance of the school, which teaches Adirondack folk crafts and heritage.

Queensbury Town Board members said they would be open to the folk school applying to the town for occupancy tax funding, even though the school is located outside the town.

Lake Luzerne does not have much lodging, so many of the people who take courses at the school stay at hotels in Queensbury, Strough said.

EDC Warren County officials are discussing options with the school board for short-term loans, said Edward Bartholomew, the economic development group’s president, who also attended the Town Board meeting.

Lodging, restaurant and retail shopping revenue isn’t the only regional impact, Green said.

Many of the materials and supplies for classes are purchased in Warren County.

Lumber for the school’s timber-framing classes, for example, is purchased from a mill in Chestertown, he said.

The school offers short-term courses on skills such as woodworking, basket-making, blacksmithing, quilting, spinning, fly-tying and other traditional Adirondack skills.

“When you come to the Adirondacks, you come to something that is iconic. … We feel it is very important to keep that alive and educate people about the heritage and how important it is,” Green said.

Between 80 and 100 instructors from around the United States and as far away as Russia come to teach at the school.

Students come from near and far.

The nonprofit school announced earlier this month it had a $40,000 deficit in its $200,000 operating budget and would be forced to close unless it received an immediate influx of contributions.

Contributions came in from as far away as Ohio, Florida and California after a Jan. 6 Post-Star story circulated on the Internet and through social networking, Condell said.

“We had over a third of the states that people sent contributions from,” he said.

“It’s given us enough to guarantee our existence for now, probably through September. But we still have a lot of work to do,” Green said.

Follow staff writer Maury Thompson at All Politics is Local blog, at PS_Politics on Twitter and at Maury Thompson Post-Star on Facebook.


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