By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 January 2017 at 7:51 am
Steve Hawley speaks during Friday’s Legislative Luncheon.
GAINES – State Assemblyman Steve Hawley was invited to Donald Trump’s Inauguration on Friday, but the state legislator had several local commitments, so he passed on going to Washington, D.C.
Hawley was at the Legislative Luncheon on Friday at Tillman’s Village Inn. That event was organized by the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce.
Today he is attending two fire department installation dinners and on Sunday he has a commitment at his church.
Hawley told the group at the Legislative Luncheon that constituents come first. He said he is the employee of the people in the district.
“I think my place is here today,” Hawley said. “I know the peaceful transition of power in Washington will happen without me.”
Hawley said he attended George W. Bush’s Inauguration. Other local state legislators, State Sen. Robert Ortt and Assemblyman Michael Norris, were in D.C. for Trump’s inauguration.
Hawley said New York and the local area should benefit from the current leadership of the federal government. Trump is a New Yorker, the Senate Democrat leader is Chuck Schumer of New York, and Chris Collins, the local Congressman, has an elevated status after being the first in the House to back Trump.
Schumer and Collins both have “a direct line to the President,” Hawley said.
Hawley updated the nearly 100 people at the Legislative Luncheon about the state budget. Hawley said he was disappointed with the governor’s process in presenting the budget to state legislators. The governor chose to have six budget events around the state, but only met with some select state legislators to go over the spending plan.
“It was an interesting saga of noncommunication,” Hawley said.
He was critical of the governor for not being more transparent in the process.
Hawley was pleased with the governor for including a provision in the budget to allow charities, such as fire departments and Rotary clubs, to sell raffle tickets online and receive payments through credit cards or debit cards.
The state hasn’t updated that law and it forced the cancellation of popular car raffles last year by the Stafford and Elba fire departments.
By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 21 January 2017 at 7:25 am
“Overlooked Orleans” – Volume 3, Issue 4
We often wonder how streets received their names throughout Orleans County, so it is important to recall those stories that we know to be true concerning those origins. Platt Street in Albion was named for Elizur Platt, a native of New Haven, Connecticut.
Born to John and Abiah Foote Platt around 1803, Elizur came to Clarendon in the late 1820s. Having married his wife, Lydia Merriman of Bristol, Connecticut in 1825, the couple ventured west to start a new life in the wilderness that was Western New York.
Following Elizur were his sisters, Henrietta, Eunice (who married Asahel Merriman), and Melissa (who married William Bates) who all settled in the Clarendon area, all succumbing to the rigors of pioneer life shortly after their arrival. Henrietta was the first to pass in 1838, then Melissa in 1846, and Eunice in 1849.
While living in Clarendon, Elizur engaged in the mercantile business, operating a store for several years before David Sturges bought out his inventory. For a very short period starting in 1837, he operated a hotel in Clarendon before selling that interest and relocating to Albion.
Upon his arrival in Albion, Platt purchased the Mansion House located along the north side of the Erie Canal on Main Street; he operated that business until the building burned. While engaging in this venture he operated the Red Line Packet Company, running packet boats between Troy and Lockport, with each trip providing passengers with meals and lodging. Shortly after the family’s relocation, he constructed a beautiful Greek Revival home on Canal Street which still stands today.
Platt had built quite the reputation for himself and relocated his business to the corner of Canal and Market Streets (now Platt and Bank Streets) where he constructed a new hotel, which he would call the Platt House. With livery stables located around the corner, Platt managed a stagecoach line that transported passengers between Albion and Rochester; one of the few of its kind in the area at that time. A respected resident of the village, Platt became a trustee of the Albion Baptist Church and was one of the founding directors of the Bank of Orleans when it was incorporated in 1834.
Selling his business in 1859, Platt relocated to Wheaton, Illinois where he operated a hotel livery stable, also called the Platt House, until his death in 1875. Elizur Platt was active in Democratic politics and was a participant in state conventions during the 1840s.
Although his marriage brought four sons and one daughter into the world, only two of his sons and his daughter survived childhood. Following the death of his mother and sisters, he erected a monument in the Maplewood Cemetery to their memory; a testament to his loving nature and connection to family. His niece, Adeline Bates, was nine years old when her mother died; he cared for her until she reached adulthood.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2017 at 9:37 pm
Photo from White House: Donald Trump takes the oath of office while his wife, Melania, holds The Bible today during the inauguration ceremony.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – It was a proud moment for Ed Morgan today at about noon. Donald J. Trump took the oath of office as president of the United States, a rise to the presidency that shocked the political establishment.
Morgan was there to witness history in person today. Morgan, the Orleans County Republican Party chairman, was at the inauguration with his wife, Dorothy. They were guests of Congressman Chris Collins.
“It’s a great time for America,” Morgan said by phone this afternoon while watching the parade processional. “It’s a change, a good change.”
Morgan welcomed Trump, a New York City real estate magnate, into politics. Morgan and other Republican leaders were at the Trump Tower trying to get Trump to run for governor against Andrew Cuomo about three years ago.
Trump mulled it over, but decided against that race. He had his sights on the country’s highest office.
Morgan and the Orleans County Republican Committee were the first county committee in New York to endorse Trump for president back in February, when Trump was still in a heated Republican Primary.
Morgan said Trump’s focus is on a stronger United States.
“It’s all for America,” Morgan said.
Trump showed his persistence and ability to stave off attacks, whether from the media, the Democratic Party or other political rivals, Morgan said.
The local GOP leader was in New York City on Election Night when Trump clinched the presidency. The new president wants a country where all Americans have a chance for success, Morgan said.
Morgan watched the inauguration in a good spot, between the reflecting pool and the U.S. Capitol. He has spent two days hanging out with State Sen. Robert Ortt, former Congress Tom Reynolds, and other Republican leaders from Western New York.
This evening he is attending one of the inaugural balls.
“Two years ago, Donald Trump was just a businessman,” Morgan said. “A year ago he was a businessman running for the U.S. president. Now, today, he is president.”
Morgan said he has spoken with Trump several times in person or by phone. Trump asks about rural New York, and what the government could do to help the small towns and farming communities.
Morgan said he doesn’t doubt Trump’s sincerity.
“Once you know him personally you see that he truly is a gentleman.”
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2017 at 6:56 pm
Photo from New York State Department of Health: Bed bugs are small, flat wingless insects that are reddish-brown in color and approximately one-quarter inch long. They don’t fly but can crawl rapidly.
Holley Central School isn’t alone in battling bed bugs. The district has been in the news today after discovering bed bugs in two elementary school classrooms.
The district brought in an exterminator to treat the classroom, as well as the hallway and neighboring classrooms.
Bed bugs have a growing problem throughout Orleans County, said Paul Pettit, public health director.
“It’s definitely on the increase,” Pettit said today. “Year by year we’re getting more calls and complaints.”
The bed bugs don’t carry disease but they are a nuisance, and difficult to get rid of, Pettit said.
They are “hitch hikers” attaching themselves to clothing, backpacks, coats, sofas and suitcases.
When they are in a house, they often hide in cracks and crevices in couches, or behind beds. They feed on blood and some people may wake up with bite marks. That’s a sign they should look closer to see if there are bed bugs in their home, Pettit said.
People are transient, going to movie theaters, hotels and other public places. It ‘s no surprise the bed bug complaints are on the rise, Pettit said.
He advised people to get rid of clutter, and try to keep a clean house, regularly washing bed sheets and pillow cases.
He urged people not to pick up discarded furniture by the curb. That furniture might be infested.
“This is an issue people need to be aware of,” Pettit said. “Anybody can get them.”
The New York State Department of Health issued these recommendations to avoid bringing bed bugs into your home:
• When staying in a hotel, place your bag on a suitcase stand rather than on the bed or floor. Keep the rack away from walls or furniture. When returning home, wash the clothes from your trip and put them in a hot dryer.
• Inspect new and used furniture before bringing it inside. Look in seams, tufts and under cushions.
If you have bed bugs, the Health Department recommends these actions:
• Clean and get rid of clutter, especially in your bedroom.
• Move your bed away from walls or furniture.
• Vacuum molding, windows and floors every day. Vacuum sides and seams of mattresses, box springs and furniture. Empty the vacuum or the bag immediately and dispose of outside in a sealed container or bag.
• Wash sheets, pillow cases, blankets and bed skirts and put them in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes. Consider using mattress and box spring covers –the kind used for dust mite control–and put duct tape over the zippers.
• Seal cracks and crevices and any openings where pipes or wires come into the home.
ROCHESTER – A former Holley teacher pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and could face up to 10 years in prison.
Steven Choi, 41, of Rochester pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. He was an English teacher at Holley but no longer works for the district.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Marangola, who is handling the case, stated that the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force identified the defendant accessing child pornography online. A forensic examination of that computer recovered sexually explicit photographs of prepubescent girls, according to a news release from Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 15, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. before Judge Wolford.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation by Special Agents of Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in- Charge Adam S. Cohen. The task force includes the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Rochester Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, and the Greece Police Department.
KENDALL – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is investigating several credit/debit card frauds after numerous complaints were made today.
A credit card “skimmer” was located in the gas pumps at the Kendall Crosby’s gas station, 16825 Roosevelt Highway.
The Sheriff’s Office is advising anyone who used a credit or debit card to pay at the pumps at the Kendall Crosby’s to check their statements or contact their bank to see if they have been a victim of fraud.
Anyone who notices any fraudulent activity should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 585-589-5527.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2017 at 10:55 am
The Orleans County Courthouse is an iconic building in Albion.
Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office today as 45th president of the United States of America. Trump was elected with a slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
That message resonated with many who feel economic uncertainty, fear terrorism, and worry the U.S. isn’t the powerhouse it once was.
The country has been eagerly waiting to hear Trump’s plan to achieve his goals.
Orleans Hub certainly wishes Trump well and we hope he will be a successful president, keeping Americans safe and implementing policies that foster economic growth, reaching even the poorest residents.
But the Hub likes to take a local approach on the issues and news. Sure, the President has an impact on the local affairs. But ambitious people in a small town can have a big influence on their community, regardless of whom is in the Oval Office.
We live in a struggling county. Data from the U.S. Bureau from 2010 to 2015 shows Orleans County’s population down by 1,301 residents in those five years, a 3.03 percent decline, one of the biggest declines in the state.
People vote with their feet and the county’s population has been trending downward. Chain stores have pushed out many locally owned companies.
We see neighborhoods in decline, shrinking school enrollments, shuttered buildings, and the list goes on.
I don’t expect Orleans County under a Trump Presidency will see the return of Fisher-Price, Liptons or Duffy Motts. I don’t expect Landauers, Jubilee, and many other locally owned stores to return to the business landscape.
I don’t think Trump, or any political leader, is going to a make a community great again, by themselves.
But how to make Orleans County great again?
• It will take all of our efforts. People say “there’s nothing downtown” or bemoan how few shops or manufacturers there are. But if you want more businesses in your community, try extra hard to spend money with the existing ones.
Develop a cult of community support. You see this in Medina. The community shows up big to support businesses on Main Street. When businesses survive and succeed, it encourages more to open. That cluster of locally owned businesses becomes a bigger draw, with customers from the different businesses visiting other local shops.
Medina isn’t the norm. Many small towns resemble ghost towns in their historic downtowns. Residents voted with their wallets on how they wanted their communities to look, and often that was a community dominated by chain stores and Wal-Mart.
To make Albion, Holley and Lyndonville great again, make sure you spend money with the local businesses.
• We could use more entrepreneurs – risk takers – to open businesses. If they knew the community “had their back” and would support them as loyal customers, we would see more people open in the downtowns.
The Orleans Economic Development Agency has a small business class that offers helpful pointers and low-interest loans. Money is also available through several local banks. But do we have people who will to invest their time, talent and money in businesses? Some people have taken that chance on Orleans County, but we could use more, and we need to back them when the doors open.
• We need to improve our skills and strive to be healthy so businesses have the dedicated and skilled workforce they need to succeed in such a competitive marketplace.
That may mean gaining more technical and professional skills. The employees also need to be in their right minds and need to resist drugs and other addictions.
• Last year the Holley-Murray community festival was cancelled in June. All of our organizations and community events could use more volunteers. If you want more activities in your town, consider volunteering or donating funds to make it happen.
Here are so other thoughts on how to make Orleans County great again:
• Volunteer to be a mentor with the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern.
• Coach a youth sports team or help make the team a success.
• Join a service club in your community.
• Keep your property looking good, which will encourage your neighbors to do the same.
• Be a generous tipper.
• Pay your taxes.
• Take a daily walk.
• Plant flowers, and donate to having flowers on Main Street in your community.
• Donate blood if you’re able.
• Focus on facts and “data-driven” analysis.
Orleans County gave Trump strong support in the election. We had the third highest percentage (67.9 percent) of support of the 62 counties in New York.
But in building a strong community and country, let’s not forget to look in the mirror.
It was 56 years ago when John F. Kennedy delivered his famous inaugural address.
“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2017 at 9:59 am
HOLLEY – The school district has found bed bugs in two elementary school classrooms recently. It brought in an exterminator to treat the classroom, as well as adjacent rooms and the hallway.
“We’re staying on top of it,” said Robert D’Angelo, the school district superintendent. “At this point it looks like we’re in good shape.”
Karri Schiavone, the elementary school principal, sent a notice to parents urging them to be on the look out for the bugs.
They are “hitch hikers” and can attach to student backpacks, coats and clothes, and move from one location to another, D’Angelo said.
The district has advised people to wash and dry clothes on the highest heat for 60 minutes. That heat is effective at killing bed bugs and their eggs.
Clothing, linens and other items that cannot be washed should be dried on high heat for 20 to 30 minutes, the district suggested.
Schiavone told parents in a letter that two live bed bugs and two dead ones were discovered. D’Angelo said district staff continue to be looking closely for any of the bugs. He urged the community to also take precautions.
ALABAMA – Contracts for the first phase of infrastructure construction for the STAMP site just across the Orleans County border in Alabama was approved on Thursday by the Genesee County Economic Development Center.
STAMP, a high-tech manufacturing site, has moved froma concept a decade ago to a 1,250-acre site for the emerging advanced manufacturing industry.
The GCEDC board approved a contract for $380,000 to the engineering firm, Clark Patterson Lee, to prepare bids and handle construction inspection for Phase 1 and Phase II work for water infrastructure, including enhancements to the town of Alabama water system.
The board also approved a second contract for $165,000 to Clark Patterson Lee to prepare bids and handle construction inspection on roadways within the STAMP site and the main entrance off of Route 77. The firm will oversee the drafting, issuance and review of the various bids for the road and water infrastructure work.
The first phase of infrastructure funding is part of the $33 million allocated to STAMP from the Buffalo Billion.
“This is a watershed moment for STAMP,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “We are finally going to start putting shovels in the ground to begin the process of building a next-generation site to bring advanced manufacturing companies to our region.”
It is anticipated that the bidding documents for the water and roadway will work be released in mid-February with actual work to begin on site in late spring.
“It’s one thing to say to corporate site selectors and economic development officials that you have a site for potential development as opposed to having a site that is shovel ready with road and utility infrastructure already built,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “Our site immediately rises to the top of the list among those making decisions about where they are going to build the next new advanced manufacturing facility.”
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2017 at 8:01 am
Photos courtesy of Ed Morgan
The nation’s capital is ready for today’s inauguration ceremonies. Ed Morgan, the Orleans County Republican Party chairman, sent these photos from Thursday. He attended several inaugural events with State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, and State Assemblyman Michael Norris, R-Lockport.
President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Michael Pence will be sworn in to office at about 11:30 a.m. today on the west front of the U.S. Capitol.
Following the inauguration ceremony, Trump and Pence will lead a parade at 3 p.m. from the Capitol building to the White House. Inaugural Balls will follow at 7 p.m.
Morgan, second from left, is pictured here with former Gov. George Pataki; John Cahill, Pataki’s former chief of staff and former commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation; and Tom Reynolds, the area’s former congressman.
Morgan attended a session featuring former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who is now an advisor to Trump.
Photos by Tom Rivers: This group includes, from left: Bears Playgrounds supervising foreman James Macwhorter, Tyler Angarano from Bears, Jon Langfitt from Make-A-Wish, Beth Webb, Elaina Webb, Kyle Webb, Lori Lund from Make-A-Wish, and James Dersam from Bears.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 January 2017 at 7:46 pm
Elaina Webb is thrilled to head down the slide with her father, Kyle.
ALBION – A 2-year-old girl fighting cancer in Albion was beaming with joy today as a new playground took shape in her backyard. The Make-A-Wish Foundation worked with Bears Playgrounds in Lima to give Elaina Webb her wish.
“It’s incredible,” said Beth Webb, Elaina’s mother. “It’s great to see her smile.”
Elaina is fighting cancer. On Sunday, her family was asked by the Make-A-Wish Foundation what the organization could do for Elaina.
She is too sick to travel. The family wants to cherish their time together. Beth Webb suggested a playground for Elaina to have fun with her four siblings – 11-month-old twins, Elias and Wyatt, and 10-year-old twins, Colin and Keara.
Make-A-Wish sent an email to Bears Playgrounds in Lima on Sunday. By Monday, the company switched from what it was working on to make a playground for Elaina.
It put together many of the pieces at its shop in Lima. Today a crew of three arrived at 11 a.m. and had the entire playground, made with northern cider white logs, together by 4 p.m.
“This is the fastest wish we’ve granted,” said Jon Langfitt, a wish granter for Make-A-Wish.
Elaina Webb, 2 ½, is shown with her father Kyle Webb and older brother Colin after a new playground was opened at about 4 p.m. today in the family’s backyard on Herrick Street in Albion.
Langfitt praised Bears Playgrounds for making it a reality.
“Our goal is to give them hope and strength,” said Lori Lund, a wish granter for Make-A-Wish. “It helps the family get through an ugly time.”
Kyle and Beth Webb snuggle with their daughter Elaina at “Elaina’s Tree Fort.”
Elaina was a happy-go-lucky kid until getting a head cold last April. She then developed a lump in her sinus cavity that was pushing her left eye shut and also giving her a crooked nose.
Elaina’s parents, Kyle and Beth Webb, took her to the doctor and an MRI on May 11 confirmed Elaina had cancer – acute myeloid leukemia. She would receive three rounds of chemo which shrunk the lump by her nose.
On June 11, she was declared to be in remission, but the cancer was back on Sept. 2. Elaina would have a bone marrow transplant on Nov. 16 and her immune system quickly improved. However, she would have a relapse on Dec. 21, when a biopsy showed cancer was spreading into most of her bones.
She is currently on trial medication that is allowing her to stay home while she continues to receive treatments at Golisano Children’s Hospital, but doctors aren’t optimistic Elaina will get better.
The news has been devastating for the Webb family, who are focused on easing Elaina’s pain and allowing her to have quality time with loved ones.
Mrs. Webb appreciates the playground.
“She will have something fun to do with her siblings,” she said.
Elaina has a bowl a cereal before heading out to try the new playground. Her parents are Kyle and Beth Webb.
Mrs. Webb, 31, is well known in Albion. She taught dance for 10 years at Gotta Dance by Miss Amy. She now works for Woodroe Realty in Medina. She is currently on a sabbatical.
Her husband Kyle, 30, works as a driver for Foodlink, making deliveries in Monroe County. The couple has known each other since they were kids.
The Webbs attended a news conference on Jan. 6 at Golisano Children’s Hospital, encouraging people to donate blood. Beth and Kyle said frequent transfusions have been critical for their daughter.
A benefit concert is being planned for 3 p.m. on Feb. 18 at First Baptist Church in Albion. Gary Simboli, Marcy Downey, the high school select choruses and other performers are scheduled to be part of that event to assist the Webb family.
Photo by Tom Rivers: Vehicles for first responders are parked along Eagle Harbor on Jan. 3 when firefighters, ambulance workers and police responded to a fire in Gaines.
Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the expansion of New York’s “Move Over” law protecting volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers is now in effect.
The law, which the Governor signed last year, requires drivers to slow down and move over a lane when approaching a vehicle displaying blue or green lights that are operated by volunteer firefighters or ambulance workers involved in a roadside emergency.
“Every day, these firefighters and ambulance workers put their wellbeing on the line to help their neighbors and their communities,” Cuomo said. “This new law and outreach campaign will offer these brave New Yorkers additional protections that will help ensure they are able to carry out their critically important jobs, while cracking down on avoidable and reckless hazards.”
The “Move Over” law requires drivers to use care, slow down and safely move over when approaching law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks, construction, maintenance vehicles, and now volunteer firefighters or ambulance workers displaying blue or green lights stopped along the roadway. Since the “Move Over” law took effect in 2011, it has been expanded three times to include a wider range of vehicles, and has resulted in more than 79,000 tickets issued to motorists in violation of the law.
In November 2016, in the wake of two crashes that took the lives of a tow truck driver and a Thruway Authority employee, traffic safety and transportation agencies across New York collaborated on the first-ever “Move Over” enforcement and education campaign.
• State Police issued 230 tickets for a violation of the “Move Over” law during a five-day enforcement period – four times the norm for a typical one-week span.
• A new Public Service Announcement developed by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee which stresses the importance of New York’s “Move Over” law, has already begun playing on cable and broadcast stations across New York.
• Thruway staff, New York State Police Troop T, and tow truck operators engaged in conversations with thousands of customers at service areas along the Thruway and handed out more than 10,000 educational flyers to raise awareness of the “Move Over” law.
• Variable message signs across the state displayed reminders beginning Monday, November 14 at 7 a.m. until Friday, November 18 at 8 p.m. and posters were shown inside all 27 Thruway service areas in support of the campaign.
Terri Egan, DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting GTSC Chair said, “The ‘Move Over’ law is making New York’s highways safer and saving lives. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s recent expansion of the law, even more of our first responders will be protected while doing their selfless service on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers.”
State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “The State Police will continue to aggressively enforce the provisions of the Move Over law. All those who work on our highways, from first responders to maintenance workers, put themselves in danger each day to assist the public. We urge motorists to use extreme caution when you see activity on the side of the highway, slow down, and move over.”
For more information on traffic safety in New York, please visit safeny.ny.gov.
By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 19 January 2017 at 3:30 pm
Provided photo: Students received a limo ride on Wednesday as a reward for leading their grade levels in reading.
HOLLEY – Winners of the Holley Elementary Pick A Reading Partner (PARP) program were treated to a very special lunch Wednesday – a chauffeured limo ride to the Brockport McDonald’s.
The PARP program is designed to encourage kids to read with their parents on a regular basis.
This year’s program began Dec. 5 with students reading either on their own or with a partner. Minutes spent reading were tracked through Jan. 6 and two winners from each grade level were announced during an assembly Jan. 13.
This year’s winners are Ian Bannister, Jayden Rivera, Julianna Church, Caiden Murray, Kaitlyn Dodson, Felicity Virgilio, Dylan Warner, Brianna Pellegrino, Addison Probst, Parker Tower, Dawson Arnold, Hailey Gonzalez, Alyssa Armstrong, Allison Merle, Kayla Neale, Matthew Bull, Sarah Kelly and Casey Onisk.
The annual event is sponsored by the PTSA to encourage students to enjoy reading.
The students were recognized during an assembly on Jan. 13.
Photos by Tom Rivers: Taylor Quarles, development manager for Apex, speaks with local dairy farmer Richard Miller about the Apex proposed project for the Town of Barre.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 January 2017 at 10:48 am
BARRE – Apex Clean Energy held the first of two public meetings on Wednesday about its proposed project in Barre. The Barre Town Hall was crowded as residents asked questions and looked for more information on the project.
Apex is in the public outreach phase for “Heritage Wind.” It hasn’t submitted a preliminary scoping statement for the project. After the PSS is submitted, the community and state agencies can comment on the document and Apex may have to provide more detailed information.
Apex Clean Energy handed out pens that resembled windmills.
Residents also will have opportunities to comment on a final application if Apex moves to that phase.
Apex wants to build a 200-megawatt project in Barre with about 70 turbines. The town ordinance limits the height of turbines to 500 feet from the top tip of the blade.
Apex is considering turbines throughout the town except for a 2-mile buffer around the Pine Hill Airport. Ben Yazman, project manager for Apex, said the company has leases for 2,500 acres and wants to sign up more land. He is pleased with the reception from residents and landowners.
“The town has been very hospitable,” Yazman said. “The farmers see it as a drought-resistant crop.”
Albert Davis, a retired dairy who lives on Maple Avenue, attended the meeting Wednesday and said he supports the project. Davis said his sister lives in Texas amidst a wind farm.
“She doesn’t have an issue with them,” Davis said.
Barre residents Mark Farone, left, and Mike Van Lieshout discuss the project.
He lives close to the 2-mile buffer with Pine Hill and hasn’t been approached to lease land. Davis said the project would reduce town taxes and provide revenue for many landowners.
“I think it would be a good thing,” Davis said. “Barre has nothing but high taxes.”
Town Supervisor Mark Chamberlain said most residents tell him they support the project, but he has heard from some people who oppose it in Barre.
Joe Grabowski is one of the residents who opposes the turbines. Grabowski lives on Culver Road. He said he wouldn’t receive any lease payments for having turbines near his property.
“If I have to look at it 365 days, I should be compensated,” Grabowski said.
He also worries Apex will site the turbines on “Grade A farmland.” The company, if it builds in Barre, shouldn’t pick prime farmland, he said.
Grabowski said he’s heard from several residents against the project. He thinks it’s 50-50 for those in favor or against it.
“The farmers want it because they have the land,” Grabowski said.
Apex is planning another open house from 2 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 11 at the Heritage Wind office at 49 N. Main St. in Albion. There will also be a public hearing on the application of the meteorological tower at 7 p.m. on Feb. 8 in the Barre Town Hall.
Apex wants to put up three met towers, at the corner of Culver and Thorp roads, on Oak Orchard Road (Old 98), and on Route 31A across from Keeler Construction. Those towers will gather information on wind strength and consistency.
Apex has been pushing another project in Yates and Somerset, but has encountered strong resistance from Save Ontario Shores, a citizens group. The Yates and Somerset town boards, and county legislatures in Orleans, Niagara and Erie counties have also opposed that project along the lake. Those officials have been critical of the Article 10 process, which gives a state-appointed siting board the final say on the project, rather than the local community.
Pam Atwater, president of Save Ontario Shores, attended the Barre meeting and urged residents to research Apex and the wind industry.
“Our goal is education,” Atwater said. “There should be information that isn’t just coming from a corporation. I think it’s important for people to know what they’re getting themselves in for.”
State Sen. Robert Ortt said he will be attending Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said this about the historic occasion:
“I’m extremely honored to be traveling to our nation’s capital for the inaugural ceremonies and the swearing in of our 45th president, President Donald Trump,” Ortt said. “I’m looking forward to hearing his vision as he lays out his path for the future of our nation. Specifically, in regards to strengthening our economy, creating jobs and uniting these United States of America. I think it’s certainly time for people to come together, to unite behind our president. I hope he will offer a vision of hope and touch on the themes that he touched on during the campaign. It’s certainly a very exciting time for our country, for me, and I look forward to the next four years.”