Andes Works! organization initial session set for Nov. 15

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Andes — A new community organization in Andes, Andes Works!, will present the first in a series of conversations and interactive workshops on economic development on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at The Andes Hotel.

An informal happy hour will begin at 6 p.m. with a facilitated conversation beginning at 7 p.m. Andes resident Leigh Melander will act as the facilitator.

Do you have ideas about how to make Andes a better place to live, work, and play? Please join us for a conversation about Andes’ assets and needs, and begin to brainstorm about ways to work together to strengthen the local economy from the inside out.

Andes Works! is an informal group of Andes residents, both longtimers and newcomers, that first joined together to explore how to protect the community from the effects of gas hydrofracking, believing that the two current drivers of the local economy, sustainable agriculture and tourism, would be destroyed by the industrialization that would come with the gas companies.  Because Andes has legitimate economic challenges, the group quickly realized that the greatest opportunity to protect Andes would come in working to build a viable local economy that is not as vulnerable to outside interests.

As a result, Andes Works! is working to brainstorm with its neighbors to build out tangible, doable plans to support area businesses, farmers, entrepreneurs, and workforce; bring tangible projects to the community that meet local needs, build an economy that entices young families to move to the area while protecting all that is dear here, clean air, water, quiet rural landscape, and a small town. Find out more at: andesworks.com.

Leigh Melander is a new addition to the Andes community. She grew up in Pennsylvania and has lived in several areas of the country, most recently California. She was drawn to Andes both because of its extraordinary beauty and its strong sense of community.

Leigh has a doctorate in cultural mythology and psychology and has spent close to two decades helping communities and organizations see their strengths and challenges with a new sense of opportunity through visioning and strategic planning processes.