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letters to the editor

Serious citizenry needed for republic to thrive

Posted 26 July 2017 at 9:07 am


After studying the United States Constitution under teachers such as Dr. Harold Rakov—and teaching about it for 34 years—it is hard for me to think I could appreciate it much more than I do.

But only time will tell whether the efforts by the “Founding Fathers” to create a foolproof republican system were successful.

To work as they intended, the Constitution—and the republic it bestowed upon us—require a serious commitment from our citizenry. Our country is not on auto-pilot as a result of the design put in place by men far more experienced with tyranny than we.

We are where we are 230 years later largely because WE haven’t done OUR “homework” and viewed OUR responsibilities with the gravity they deserve.  Without a renewed commitment to our duties as informed citizens, as well as a willingness to get engaged, we are headed for a national crisis to rival any we may have studied in American History.

Thomas Jefferson may not have had a crystal ball, but he was totally convinced that a free press was an absolutely essential prerequisite in a working republic that would be a lasting tribute to those who pledged our “lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor” to bring about.  Any persistent effort to discredit the press and silence critics of those in power is—wittingly or unwittingly—an attack on an institution vital to a representative democracy.

The existence of a concerted attempt to erode public confidence in the independent judiciary undermines yet another institution the public and a democratic society can ill afford to have subverted.

Convincing those who participate in elections that significant numbers of people vote illegally—even if it is not supported by fact—has the potential to build dangerous cynicism within the electorate. Once such disinformation raises public doubts about the validity of election outcomes, the decision not to bother voting becomes all the more likely. Roughly half the population seems to believe that nothing will change regardless of who gets elected as it is.

Who loves this stuff?  Those who wish the United States of America would go away, that’s who!

Presidential historians such as Douglas Brinkley and Michael Beschloss might suggest we take a long, hard, thoughtful look at Article 3 in the document The Founders labored so strenuously to provide for future generations.

Sincerely yours,

Gary F. Kent


Yates councilman questions Apex claims about turbines and their threat to bald eagles

Posted 21 July 2017 at 9:27 am


To continue my recent editorial: Apex Clean Energy attended the Clay County Iowa Supervisor’s Meeting on Tuesday, May 10, 2017 to discuss concerns raised regarding the Upland Prairie Wind Project currently proposed for Clay and Dickinson Counties in Iowa.

In addition to the presentation of Mr. Christopher Ollson, a presentation was also made by Mr. Dave Phillips, APEX Director of Wildlife and Environmental Permitting. You may remember Mr. Phillips as the person who has, many times, indicated there is no danger to the environment or to animals from the Lighthouse Wind Industrial Wind Turbine Emplacement Project. During his presentation to the Clay and Dickinson County Board of Supervisors, he indicated the following:

“There (are) very few bald eagle collision mortalities. In the course of the wind industry in the U.S. there’s only been 21 documented collision mortalities of bald eagles. … We have over 50,000 operating turbines in the U.S. so that’s really an astoundingly low number … and I’d rank eagles as a low risk species, simply because of their behavior. They tend to fly during the day, they’re not necessarily distracted when they’re flying around turbines, and the turbines are generally cited away from their preferred habitat, which in most parts involves open water. … The probability of eagles being killed is extremely low,” Phillips said.

Not sure where Mr. Phillips gets his data from. He does not give any reference to generally accepted data. As such, his indication that there have been only 21 confirmed eagle kills in the history of wind turbines is anecdotal at best. Trading anecdote for anecdote, I’ve personally seen pictures of more than 100 eagle kills and I didn’t really work that hard to get to the photos.  Many photos, taken by those that will trespass onto property in order to get to the truth that the wind industry is not owning up to; turbines are killing significantly more eagles than the Wind Industry would like for us to believe.

Turbines kill a massive number of eagles for one simple reason:  Unlike Mr. Phillips’ assertion that “They tend to fly during the day, they’re not necessarily distracted when they’re flying around turbines”, eagles do tend to fly during the day and the reason they are not distracted by turbines is that they never see their death coming. They fly with their eyes trained downward looking for prey and don’t see the turbine-blade coming to deal the death blow.

And then the coup-de-grace. Mr. Phillips stated the following in public when defending his data-less eagle soliloquy:

“…turbines are generally cited away from their preferred habitat, which in most parts involves open water. … The probability of eagles being killed is extremely low.”

Huh?!?!  Then if APEX is so concerned about eagle kills, why are they proposing to site this project along the shores of the one of the largest surface freshwater areas on Earth, Lake Ontario??!?!

Where is the truth from APEX and their people? It is nowhere to be found, because they say whatever they need to say to gain support for their Industrial Wind Turbine Emplacement Projects.

In closing, we must remember that APEX is a business that believes Governor Cuomo and the State are on their side. As such, they will say and do anything to get their way. This is why Governor Cuomo and the State Siting Board must support the Towns of Yates and Somerset in stopping this project in its tracks…NOW!

Governor Cuomo are you listening?!

John B. Riggi

Councilman, Town of Yates

Resident urges fact checking claims by turbine opponents

Posted 19 July 2017 at 8:48 pm


Reading Mr. Riggi’s recent Letter to the Editor reminds me of the importance to verify what you hear and read. We all must dig deeper for information and fact check often!

This is highlighted by Mr. Riggi’s inaccurate statements regarding noise levels. He says tractors and lawnmowers have a decibel level of 45; this is false.  I came upon this conclusion by talking with local farmers and researching credible online sources. After this research, I found that the decibel range of tractors and lawn mowers is closer to 90 dBa. He is off by 200 percent!

I encourage you to conduct your own research and fact check. Wind energy is one of the safest energy generation forms today. In 2016, the wind generated avoided the equivalent emissions of 33.7 million cars. It’s creating cleaner air and that means less adverse health effects from air pollution, like asthma and respiratory issues.

Linda Fisk


Public should be wary of friendly deer at Point Breeze

Posted 17 July 2017 at 7:54 am

This deer has become popular at Point Breeze, taking food from residents and allowing the public to pet it. Here it is pictured walking on a dock at one of the marinas.


I read with great interest about the yearling buck that has been hanging around the Point Breeze area following people, begging for food, allowing people (even children) to pet it and walking out on the cement pier.

This is very disturbing to me as with all the reporting on this deer not once has the tick problem that exists with the deer tick and Lyme disease been mentioned. This disease is very serious and if not identified early can lead to life crippling issues. The disease is carried by the deer tick which is very small as compared to the dog tick and can be difficult to notice until it is too late. And yes we have it in Orleans County and if you check with the Medina Veterinary Clinic there has been a lot of cases of it with pets this summer.

Anyone who spends time out side around vegetation (birders, hikers, bank fishermen, nature photographers, farmers, hunters and etc.) need to be aware of this problem. These ticks can even exist in your back yard if deer frequent that area. Checking yourself out for ticks, using tick repellent on pants and blousing pant cuffs are good defenses against having a problem with these ticks.

If you find a tick attached to you the damage may have already been done and you need to visit your doctor. Usually a “bulls eye” rash will develop where the tick had attached himself but this is not always true.

How the tick is removed after it has attached itself to you is also important. The head, which is the part that will carry the disease, can easily be broken off and left embedded in the skin which will still transfer the disease. One method for removal that is advised is to use a pair of tweezers to gently pull the tick out of the skin without breaking the head off put this can be tricky. A better way is to put liquid soap on a cotton ball and hold it on the tick and skin for about 30 seconds, the tick will let go and be tangled in the cotton ball.

Unfortunately this deer at Point Breeze has obviously been illegally raised by someone since it was a fawn and is so imprinted on people that it will need to be removed from the area. Folks don’t realize how powerful or quickly a deer can turn dangerous with those sharp hooves.

The other thing that is unbelievable to me is that the head of the wildlife department in the DEC office at Avon did not mention this Lyme disease problem when interviewed and stated that it was a doe when it is quite obvious is a button buck.

He is a year old now and will have sharp little spikes that can be very dangerous come September when they harden and mating season kicks in in October.

Wild animals, even when they seem to be tame, are still wild and can turn nasty at a drop of a hat and people need to realize it is not Disney World out there.

Douglas H. Domedion

Outdoor Columnist for the Lake Country Pennysaver

People, not monkeys, have rationale to not imitate bad behavior

Posted 13 July 2017 at 6:44 am


Twenty years ago I often asked my classes to reflect on how monkeys differed from people. The simplistic point I hoped would be thought provoking was that monkeys tend to imitate, whereas people—ideally—tend to differentiate between that which is worthy of imitation and that which is not.

Being more thoughtful than monkeys, one might hope people would not do what is dumb merely because they were aware that someone else had set a precedent for “dumb”.

When a person disrespects another based on anything superficial, it should not matter who has done the disrespecting. If an unemployed person, a junior high student, a U.S. Senator, a criminal, or a corporate C.E.O. mocks another person for their occupation, religion, race, social station, or whatever, it shouldn’t matter who has behaved badly. Bad behavior is bad behavior, and there is no excuse for imitating it the way a monkey arguably might.

When confronted by ignorant intolerance, we can imitate, or resolve to respond more thoughtfully and become determined to treat all targets of unreasoned disrespect more respectfully than we may have in the past.

This is possible even if we have always tried to treat people respectfully regardless of inconsequential differences such as the uniforms they may wear at work, the color of their skin, their accents, what they call the buildings they may worship in, or something else.

How we respond to bad behavior is a measure of our humanity.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent


Barre town supervisor responds to criticisms in recent letter to editor

Posted 12 July 2017 at 12:49 pm


In a recent letter to the editor, statements were made regarding items from a Town of Barre board meeting that need some clarification.

Solar energy installations intended for private use require only a proper building permit.  The Town has no interest in receiving any revenue from private installations. However, if a large commercial installation were proposed and constructed, it would be treated like any other commercial project such as wind farms, cell towers and the like.  The Town regularly receives fees from commercial installations in the Town e.g., National Grid.

Water meters belong to the customer and, as such, are the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain them. If the meter becomes inoperable or is damaged, the homeowner will need to replace it at their cost.

The Town received additional CHIPS funding in the amount of $64,454.  Any money received from the State of New York as CHIPS funds must be spent on road repair and cannot be used to offset any taxes. CHIPS funding accounts for the lion’s share of road repair funding in all towns of Orleans County. The State of New York requires towns to validate that CHIPS funds are spent on road repair


Mark Chamberlain

Supervisor, Barre

Contributors to Lyndonville fireworks get thanks

Posted 11 July 2017 at 11:15 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Young Explosives sends off fireworks on July 4 in a show that lasted about 40 minutes.


The Lyndonville Lions Club held its 43rd Annual Independence Day Celebration on Tuesday, July 4th. The fireworks display, which culminated the festivities, has become one of the largest shows in all of Western New York.

This fireworks display is the greatest expense by far for the Lions Club on this day. It is only due to the response and support of area businesses, organizations and the general public that a show of this magnitude is possible.

I would like to extend a sincere thank you to each of the nearly 50 businesses and organizations that made donations toward this year’s show. In addition, thanks to all those people who bought raffle tickets, who placed money in our Independence Day Firecracker Cans and who dropped money in the firecracker barrels along the parade route.

Again, without the tremendous community-minded support of each and every one of you, a display such as this would not be possible. With your continued support, I hope that displays like this may continue for many years to come.


Wes Bradley

Lyndonville Lions Club

Fireworks Fundraising Chairman

Retired county worker says divestment plan is bad idea

Posted 10 July 2017 at 10:58 pm


I’m now retired and worked for Orleans County for 30 years. I’ve been reading a little bit about the divestment plan, and I think it is terrible.

And the people in charge of managing our pension fund agree. Comptroller DiNapoli and others in the Comptroller’s office have publicly stood up against this plan. DiNapoli and others believe that this plan will mean billions in losses. You don’t have to be an expert to understand that a plan that is expected to lose billions is a bad one.

Why is this a bad idea? On paper it doesn’t sound bad, the idea is pensions would be required to pull all investments from any fossil fuel related company. But, this would require a lot of money to be moved (billions), and forcing this change will result in a pension portfolio that is less diversified and more dependent on riskier and lower-yielding investments. I’ve never been one to play the stock market, but I can tell you, that kind of move is not smart.

Having worked for Orleans County for 30 years, I’ve seen plenty of good ideas and some bad ones.  But this one, is one of the worst. I am going to be stuck footing the bill for this bad idea, either through tax hikes or spending cuts. For someone who’s on a fixed income, like me, this bad plan will have real consequences. New York can’t afford this plan, and neither can I.

Deb Sherk


Barre Town Board too quick to tax residents

Posted 10 July 2017 at 10:50 pm


Beware at the Town of Barre’s work meeting on June 7 another zoning law was to be proposed at the town meeting on June 14. If you want solar energy, for your own use – no tax to the town. However, if you want to sell the energy, then a tax must be paid to the town.

Why can farmers sell their farm products without a tax to the town? Why should this be any different? You already pay taxes on your property. Don’t we already have enough taxes and laws?

I spoke against this tax!!!!

At a recent work meeting, some of your board members were taking on trying to make every home owner buy a water meter and charge for repair or if they break make you buy another or pay for repairs.

I spoke against this tax!!!!

We already pay the highest water cost, $5.00 per 1,000 gallons, plus we have a $15.00 maintenance fee.

We were just awarded $64,454 from the state – for the highway department. Why is this money not being adjusted off the property tax or placed in a special project fund to better our community in case of problem down the line, with a road or other town problem expense – instead of raising taxes down the line, when a problem arises? We should maintain back up fund with a cap and cut taxes whenever possible.

It is time to stop this type of government where five people can just tax and place fees on us without our input!

Robin Nacca

Town of Barre supervisor candidate

Apex overstates support for wind energy projects locally and elsewhere

Posted 10 July 2017 at 10:39 pm


What does Apex Clean Energy really care about your health?  Read on…

APEX Clean Energy attended the Clay County Iowa Supervisor’s Meeting on Tuesday, May 10th in order to discuss concerns raised regarding the Upland Prairie Wind Project currently proposed for Clay and Dickinson Counties in Iowa.  Presenting to the Board of Supervisors was Mr. Christopher Ollson, PhD, Senior Environmental Health Scientist at Ollson Environmental Health Management.

Mr. Ollson, you may remember, is the person that presented the following position in a 2011 peer-reviewed paper published in the Environmental Health Journal:

“Conducting further research into the effects of wind turbines (and environmental change) on human health, emotional and physical, as well as the effect of public consultation with community groups in reducing preconstruction anxiety, is warranted. Such an undertaking should be initiated prior to public announcement of a project, and could involve baseline community health and attitude surveys …”.

The importance of effects on human health and the need for public consultation prior to the announcement of a project are common-sense goals that all can support.  However, this is the same Mr. Ollson that stated the following regarding health studies, as a paid consultant of Apex, in a meeting with the Niagara County Board of Health in December of 2015:

“The company doesn’t have to do such a study and if people are concerned, they should see their local physician.”

Mr. Ollson, in 2011, as much as requires baseline health studies, prior to the announcement of a project, but just a couple of years later turns 180 degrees and declares; “never mind”.

He further indicated that the Clay County Board of Supervisors must consider the State of Iowa’s experience, as a whole, before making a decision on the project.  The unstated, but clear intent is that Upland Prairie Wind Project should be considered regardless of their own constituent’s local wishes.  Sound familiar?  Mr. Ollson and APEX have learned from New York’s own Article 10 process that they can by-pass localities and go right to the State for project approvals because New York State requires its constituents to subjugate local needs to a state-determined ‘greater good’.  As such, those most impacted by industrial wind turbine emplacement projects don’t count when compared with the whole of New York, where localities have lost the right to self-govern.

During the meeting, a petition was presented to the Clay County Board of Supervisors supporting Apex’s Upland Prairie Wind Project, and Apex indicated signing almost 100 signatures from the citizens in the area. By contrast Apex is trying to do the same in Yates and Somerset as they’re trying to do in Iowa.  That is, convince local governments that massive support exists, when really, only 54 leaseholders (some who do not even live in Yates or Somerset) and a handful of others actually support the project.

Mr. Ollson then told the assembled Board of Supervisors that a good noise level for their constituents would be 45 decibels. Considering that a jet engine in takeoff mode produces 105 decibels, the suggested 45 decibel maximum is synonymous with the noise produced by a lawnmower or tractor – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  That level of noise is not quiet or even healthy for anyone living with this constant level of noise.

In closing, we must remember that Apex is a business that believes Governor Cuomo and the State are on their side.  As such, they will say and do anything to get their way.  Therefore, Governor Cuomo and the State Siting Board must support the Towns of Yates and Somerset in their opposition to the Lighthouse Wind Industrial Wind Turbine Emplacement Project.

Governor Cuomo are you listening?!

More to come.

John B. Riggi

Councilman, Town of Yates

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