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As the migration of New York City people to the Hudson Valley has continued — some would say intensified — a lot of traffic is going the other way, too, and not just young people exploring big-city life. The mid-Hudson area has been turning into a region of more and longer commutes. More residents than ever before have been commuting longer distances, many into New York City itself.

Two or three decades ago the dominant pattern was different. Back then, an increasing number of workers in Hudson Valley communities, unable to find good jobs in their home towns, commuted for work to nearby smaller cities. An increased proportion is now commuting more outside their home counties altogether, in many cases going further than the nearest adjacent counties.

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A “robohand” functional prosthetic for a boy with a missing hand. A plastic model of a recording studio designed by an architect. Models of clamps used to lock down helicopter blades for a Shokan manufacturer.

These were among the items printed out on 3D printers at SUNY New Paltz, where the digital fabrication lab at the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center is bringing together businesses and engineering students to localize the rapidly growing field of 3D printing.

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Given the robust number of New York City voices one hears on the streets of Ulster County even on winter weekends and the growing number of Hudson Valley residents who travel to make their living in the big city and its inner suburbs during the week, it was timely that Gotham’s leading civic planning organization held a meeting on the SUNY New Paltz campus last Wednesday morning in the throes of the preparation of a broad new 31-county regional plan. More than 50 people found themselves seated around a large U-shaped table in the Student Union Building asked to share their views of how the Hudson Valley was going to change in the next generation or so.

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“A regional cargo distribution hub will be established at Stewart Airport by growing its current cargo capacity, which will relieve JFK Airport of most cargo shipping facilities and create room to expand potential amenities and services for JFK Airport,” announced a press release from New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s office on October 20.

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“This is not the type of thing which a democratic society, a capitalist democratic society, can really accept without addressing.”

– Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chairman

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“Awkward” would be a kind word to use to describe the appearance of Zumtobel executive Bill Simoni at the Ulster County IDA county agency’s monthly meeting in Kingston last Wednesday morning.

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As large businesses continue to shrink, smaller ones become even more important to the American economy. Federal 2012 census statistics counted 4267 establishments in Ulster County with fewer than 20 employees each. In 2000, the same count of small establishments had shown 3950. That’s an average of about two and a quarter such small new enterprises a month. Not bad, though not great, either.

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