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After cancellation of swim marathon and women's expo, officials reallocate grants

QUEENSBURY Warren Countys Occupancy Tax Committee reviewed applications Wednesday from various organizations for tourism-related grants and pledged money to assist their various projects. In their decision-making process, it was announced that several prominent area events had been cancelled, allowing some money previously reserved for some groups to be reallocated to other tourism-stimulating endeavors. The Womens Wish Retreat and Expo planned for the Lake George Forum this fall has been cancelled, supervisors said, so the organizers at the Forum are forfeiting a previously-pledged grant of $20,000 for the event. Likewise, this summers Lake George Open Water Swim Marathon was cancelled, forfeiting its funding of $10,000 from county Occupancy Tax receipts and $5,000 from the Town of Hague. In its debut last year, the Lake George Open Swim Marathon attracted professional swimmers from around the globe plus several hundred amateur swimmers across North America, organizer Graham Bailey of Hague said Thursday. He said the 2008 event was cancelled because sanctioning had not been lined up quickly enough by a national swimming organization, and this step was necessary to obtain mandated liability insurance. Its a real shame, because we have at least several hundred swimmers who have expressed strong interest in competing this year, he said. Bailey said he had also been trying to line up several major sponsors to augment the generous donors who had put up seed money for last years marathon. He also said he hoped someone would come forward and take over the reins of organizing the environmentally-compatible event, which observers said enjoyed considerable success in 2007. Other funding cuts enacted Wednesday by the countys Occupancy Tax committee include axing $5,000 previously pledged to Lake George Winter Carnival, because the organizers hadnt lined up liability insurance as required. Supervisors said theyd heard the group was going through a change of leadership. In determining grants, they pledged $3,500 to the Adirondack Triathlon, $2,000 to Cornell Cooperative Extensions Warren County Youth Fair, and $4,000 to the Lake George Arts Project for its Lake George Jazz Weekend although the group had asked for $15,000. That event is expected to fill 400 motel rooms, the Arts Project estimated. In 2007, the Arts Project received no funding from the county for the Jazz Weekend. Also allocated was $3,500 for the Lake George Blues Blast -- for which organizers estimated 1,400 to 1,600 motel rooms would be filled by their event. Also receiving funding was Hagues North Country Triathlon for $5,000, Lake George Community Band for $2,000, the Marcella Sembrich Museum for $3,000, and the Lake George Tow Show for an unspecified amount. Lake George Supervisor Lou Tessier commented that the taxpayers money allocated for these events are not to be used for anything other than promotional purposes in order to draw more tourists into the county.

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