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letters to the editor

Murray resident says town mismanaging water districts, perhaps more

Posted 19 April 2017 at 6:16 pm

Editor:

The Town of Murray Water Department is in financial trouble. They have been kicking the can of mismanagement down the road far too long and water district residents are left holding the bag.

Each water district contract is clear. Operation and Maintenance is already included in your water bill and should not be included in your property taxes. Water district tax is specifically levied to pay long-term bond principal and interest for construction, nothing else.  When the bond is paid off, the water tax should go away and residents left with only a water bill, no tax.

However, the Murray Town Board has not been applying all your payments towards your long-term bond debt by diverting a portion for unintended purposes including operation and maintenance. Consequently our water districts are not being managed as they were designed resulting in an unsustainable department which relies on a tax-and-spend philosophy.

A major contributing factor to the financial shortfall in our water department is water loss. Water District #2 extends along Ridge Road and has an alleged water leak beginning in 2014 of approximately 15 million gallons at a cost of $50,000. The Town Board has budgeted for a continued water loss in that district this year. Why is the Town Board not proceeding full steam ahead to locate and stop that leak? Where’s the puddle? Where’s the sink hole? Where’s the water going? Questions loom.

The Town Board just approved raising our water rates .25/1000 gallons. Raising our rates is merely kicking the can down the road. Although the town adopted a revised policy for water users it neglected to comprehensively address the operational funding shortfalls of the water department. It never mentioned water loss.

At the April meeting the town board was provided with a resolution adopted by the Town of Gaines in which Gaines refunded to its water district residents their water district taxes used for unintended purposes. The exact same scenario we are experiencing.  I look forward to the Murray Town Board’s response and subsequent refund.

Solutions can be found in better management. Management of the town’s water department is fairly simple. Basic water district policy is commonly used throughout the state. If our town board can’t properly account for our water department, what else are they mismanaging?

Joe Sidonio

Murray

So far in 2017, all comments on DPS website show opposition to Lighthouse Wind

Posted 19 April 2017 at 12:46 pm

Editor:

The table below shows the results of an analysis of public comments made to the DPS website in relation to the Lighthouse Wind Project as proposed for the Towns of Yates and Somerset by APEX Energy.

A total of 915 comments submitted were assessed by quarter with comments tabulated and organized by support (in-favor) and opposition (opposed) to the project.

All comments made to the DPS site regarding the Lighthouse Wind Project were included in the assessment and as stated, cover the time period from Q1-2015 through Q1-2017. All comments were read fully in order to ascertain position regarding the wind project. The positions were tabulated as in favor or opposed to the project.

The results are as follows:

DPS Comments
Date For Against % For % Against
Q1-2015 0 43 0% 100%
Q2-2015 0 76 0% 100%
Q3-2015 35 157 18% 82%
Q4-2015 58 137 30% 70%
Q1-2016 31 165 16% 84%
Q2-2016 5 29 15% 85%
Q3-2016 21 67 24% 76%
Q4-2016 5 59 8% 92%
Q1-2017 0 25 0% 100%
Total 156 759 17% 83%

The overall results for the time period December 2016 to January 2017 are as follows:

Comments in favor of Lighthouse Wind Project = 0

Comments opposed to Lighthouse Wind Project = 25

Percent of comments in favor of Lighthouse Wind Project = 0%

Percent of comments opposed to Lighthouse Wind Project = 100%

The overall results for the past two years (Q1 2015 to Q1 2017) are as follows:

Comments in favor of Lighthouse Wind Project = 156

Comments opposed to Lighthouse Wind Project = 759

Percent of comments in favor of Lighthouse Wind Project = 17%

Percent of comments opposed to Lighthouse Wind Project = 83%

The results of DPS comment analysis show a clear, ongoing and massive opposition to this project. Interestingly, these results show a greater level of opposition than have all previous surveys performed by: The Town of Somerset, Save Ontario Shores (SOS), The Town of Yates, The Buffalo News, The Batavia Daily News and Buffalo Business First Magazine.

These surveys only averaged a 70% Opposed/30% In-Favor breakdown of survey results.

In an effort to assist all in monitoring and trending these results, an analysis will be performed at the end of each quarter to show these same statistics. The quarterly analysis will continue until this issue is resolved.

To close, DPS comments and multiple surveys show the truth. The will of the people is clear. This project must not move forward.  Article 10 must not be allowed to suppress the Home Rule and the will of the people.

Thank You.

John B. Riggi

Councilman, Town of Yates

Collins shows courage fighting liberal agenda

Posted 18 April 2017 at 4:53 pm

Editor:

I’m amused by the article requesting Democrats, (the party of “free everything” and “boycott everyone who supports President Trump”) find someone, ANYONE who will run against Chris Collins in the next election.

The Democratic Party today is NOT your daddy’s Democratic Party, but instead a band of ideological purists who will do anything to undermine our way of life.

Collins has great courage, defending our way of life, our district and has been fearless in his position to support and defend our president, our constitution and our rights as Americans.

Any liberal (there is no other) democrat running in opposition to him belongs in la la land California, Seattle, Hawaii etc… if he or she thinks they have a snowballs chance in hell of unseating Chris Collins.

I say God bless Collins for standing up to the liberal leftists, who are trying to undermine everything American; they are sick, ignorant people who need help.

Kimberly Kennedy

Medina

Better utilizing Niagara hydroelectric plant makes more sense than building ‘wind plantations’

Posted 18 April 2017 at 1:29 pm

Editor:

The current crop of NYS wind mills generate no power 74 percent of time over a year. So out of 8,760 hours in a year these unwanted, unsightly monstrosities take up space and accomplish nothing for 6,482 hours.

In a 24-hour day, one’s power would be off for 17.76 hours and on for 6.24 hours. Think about your power being off for nearly 18 hours of every day. No sump pump, no heat, no lights, no refrigeration, no television and no power tools to operate.  Homeowners would need to purchase home generators.

Try operating an electricity grid system with a 74 percent unreliability factor. No one looks forward to that.

Meanwhile, years ago the NYPA with great strategic vision began a “Life Extension Modernization” program at Niagara Hydro Power. The Niagara Switchyard and transmission line circuits are receiving a similar modernization program. Expenditures of hundreds of millions of dollars will elevate this world-class jewel into a clean power generating machine that can no longer be disregarded.

Information and data used here was gleaned from NYPA 2013, 2014 and 2015 Annual Reports.

For 2013 “Net Dependable Capacity” was 2,441 megawatts with net generation at 13,000,000 MWH which equates to a 60.80% capacity factor.

For 2014 “Net Dependable Capacity” was 2,680MW with net generation at 13,680,000MWH which equates to a 58.27% capacity factor.

For 2015 “Net Dependable Capacity” was 2,682MW with net generation at 14,320,000MWH which equates to a 60.95% capacity factor.

With the expenditures outlined above one can assume that the NYPA is not satisfied with 60% capacity factors.  If the Niagara Hydro Power could move to an 80% capacity factor this would go a long way in meeting NYS CES goals and completely negate the need for the unwanted APEX Lighthouse Wind.

A 20% increase at Niagara Power would generate 2682MW x 8760 hours x .20= 4,698,864MWH/year. APEX’s Application for an unreliable, expensive 201MW x 8760 hours x .26 =   457,800MWH/year.

Moving from 60% capacity to 80% capacity indicates the  Niagara Hydro Power would generate over 10 times as much power EVERY YEAR as the APEX folly.  (4,698,864MWH/457,800MWH = 10.26)

Again 80% at Niagara Power eliminates the need for APEX and nine more wind plantations similar to APEX. Niagara Power generates around 2 cents/kwh. APEX cost to generate is TOP SECRET.

From the above the APEX application should be denied and objectors compensated for the APEX farce.

Gregory G. Woodrich

Williamsville

Resident says SOS has promoted conflict in community over wind energy project

Posted 17 April 2017 at 12:05 pm

Editor:

Again I read Mr. Riggi’s letter and realize that he’s expressing his own personal opinion, not the opinion of my Yates Town Board. Again I would ask him to sign his letters accordingly.

It’s very obvious to me and others that SOS’s new talking points are twisting Apex Clean Energy’s words once again. SOS is a political organization that has its own PR counsel. And, thank you John Riggi for opening a big can of worms with your most recent letter.

I ask the question, who is harvesting bank accounts with lawsuits? I’d say SOS and ambulance-chasing attorneys.  When a town board unethically denies a permit for two MET towers due to false information, I’d say the town board is at fault as well. The judge’s ruling in this case proves my point.

I find it very amusing that Mr. Riggi can quote Winston Churchill, but can’t remember that on July 6, 2015 there was a lawsuit filed against Mrs. Donna Bane and my Town Board over a MET tower. That lawsuit was filed by SOS and signed Mr. John Riggi, President. That frivolous lawsuit cost my Town Board $15,000 to defend against. Again the judge’s ruling proved Mr. Riggi and SOS wrong.

Your assertions of “continued and massive 70 percent opposition” is just baloney. There’s no way you can justify that figure. For that reason I give you two “Pinocchios.” You and SOS are the ones that have forced our towns into the “gut-wrenching conflict” that you call it. You are the ones that continuously spread fear and insults. It is you that silences others with fear tactics and call Apex the enemy, even comparing them to Nazis.  You should be ashamed of yourself to even mention Apex and Nazis in the same letter. The Apex people I know are good people.

Lighthouse Wind will bring desperately needed economic development and new funds into our towns.  As it has been shown in towns across New York and the United States, wind brings economic development in more ways than one. Case in point, the Town of Sheldon, NY has no town taxes due to their wind farm. Wind energy supports job growth and local businesses during construction and operations. With dropping enrollments at our schools and budget cuts, Lighthouse Wind can strengthen our schools and lower taxes for hard working citizens who don’t have the luxury of living on the lake.

You want to talk about enemies? Representatives that govern for their own benefit, twist information spun by a PR person and SOS has one, and don’t represent all their constitutes – now there is the enemy! John, if you worked as hard to bring sources of revenue into our town as you have against the Lighthouse Wind Project, we would be the least taxed town in the state.

Respectively,

Howard Pierce

Lyndonville

Residents urged to keep open mind about Lighthouse Wind, and not be swayed by ‘alternative facts’

Posted 17 April 2017 at 11:58 am

Editor:

Alternative facts are alive and well in the towns of Yates and Somerset. What is an alternative fact? It’s when someone tells a bold-faced lie to get their way.

I ask my neighbors and fellow citizens to wake up and realize that false information is being spread by people that will do anything to get their way of destroying Lighthouse Wind. If you have questions or concerns about Lighthouse Wind, you need to go straight to the source.

Lighthouse Wind has an office that has been open for two years in Barker. I would ask that you take a moment out of your day to visit and ask questions. Carmen and Taylor will take the time to address any concerns you have.

Why not take the time to educate yourself on both sides of the issue? Don’t let the opportunity that Lighthouse Wind brings pass us by without fully educating yourself. You can talk to me and to other supporters as well. There are a lot of us.

Mr. Riggi’s recent letter to the Orleans Hub talks about lawsuits and blames Lighthouse Wind for money spent by the towns on legal fees. This is an alternative fact.

If the Town of Somerset had treated the met tower application fairly, there would not have been a need for a lawsuit. Mr. Riggi was not concerned about the towns spening money when he signed a lawsuit against the Town of Yates on behalf of SOS when he was their president! Does anyone else remember SOS’s old brochures that suggested that people sue their neighbors about the turbines?

I am available to talk to anyone that has concerns. There are always two sides to every issue.

And by the way, why is the wind moratorium not being enforced in Yates? There isn’t supposed to be any discussions about the turbines but Mr. Riggi allows SOS to talk about them all the time.

Moratorium: 1. (Law) A legally authorized postponement of the fulfilment of an obligation. 2. An agreed suspension of activity.

I ask you to keep an open mind and educate yourself.

Harvey Campbell

Lyndonville

Yates, Somerset need to be resolute and not yield in opposing wind energy project

Posted 12 April 2017 at 10:09 pm

Editor:

No Quarter.

Recent APEX-sponsored billboards state: “Wind is a cash crop, let’s harvest”.

While APEX exhorts Yates, Somerset and lease holders to cash in on the wind, APEX’s true goal may be to “harvest” the cash that Article 10 is so freely allowing via the bank accounts of Somerset, Yates and the lives of its people. By “harvesting” these bank accounts with lawsuits filed when they don’t get their way, APEX attempts to bankrupt our towns and our people’s spirit.

When they can’t accomplish this goal, as is evidenced by the continued and massive opposition to this project, APEX forces our towns into a gut-wrenching conflict, all under the auspices of Article 10, where we pick the battles in defense of town funds and constituents’ lives.  While Article 10 may have been envisioned as a way to allow public input into the industrial turbine siting process, the elimination of Home Rule via the installation of a Siting Board is the perfect shield for APEX to herd this process to what they believe are the safe harbors of Albany. In my personal opinion APEX believes New York State Government in Albany will give them their project regardless of the opposition of 70 percent of Yates and Somerset constituency. I believe that our representatives in Albany are deeply concerned with the health and well-being of their constituents and will not allow this project to move forward.

However and until then, this fight is a “no-quarter” game of attrition that APEX and Article 10 are forcing us to play and we will be prepared to give “no-quarter” in return.

Winston Churchill said it best during an address on October 29, 1941, at London’s Harrow School just after the Nazi Blitz:

“This is the lesson, never give in, never give in, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty.  Never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.  Never yield to force, never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

No quarter shall be given in this fight.

Governor Cuomo:  ARE YOU LISTENING?

John B. Riggi

Councilman, Town of Yates

Loving both cats and birds can be a delicate balancing act

Posted 12 April 2017 at 10:02 pm

Editor:

In case you didn’t realize it, Orleans County has a cat problem one might expect in an area with a high poverty rate.

One of our “country neighbors” inherited a cat rescue “business” from the previous owner of her house. At one point, we counted 33 cats in the yard outside her front door.  It wouldn’t surprise me if there were more.  Needless to say, the “business” isn’t too profitable.

People like our “country neighbor” are good hearted and do what they can. Over the past several years we have even had numerous cats “gifted” to us. Our “benefactor” usually drops virile males at our place. The last one was an orange tiger with a worm problem. His initial vet bill was $270. At least five others were less costly.

But what harm could come from a few stray cats?

Anyone vaguely aware of how blessed Orleans County is with birds likely knows. Cats are particularly attracted to birds that spend a lot of time on the ground, or that nest within six feet of the ground. That includes about thirty different types of native sparrows, as well as bluebirds, tree swallows and chickadees using boxes and innumerable other birds. Bird baths can have a big downside when cats are loose.

What can be done?  Loving both cats and birds can be a delicate balancing act. Spaying and neutering are a must, even though kittens are cute. If you have bluebirds nesting in a box within six feet of the ground, consider fencing off the area immediately around it. Keeping cats inside as much as possible during nesting would help.

It would be great if our State and County leaders would recognize such realities and act to address the problem.  Why not require cats be licensed like dogs? Charge a token amount for spayed/neutered animals and, say, five times as much for those allowed to reproduce? Doing so might set an example for others.

The bottom line is that good outcomes often come at a cost. As someone who pays a lot of attention to birds, I can assure the reader that failure to adequately address Orleans County’s cat population comes at a considerable cost.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent

Albion

Steps can be taken to fight bed bugs

Posted 12 April 2017 at 8:38 am

Editor:

Bed bugs are becoming quite the presence in Orleans County. We have seen the articles concerning the growing problem; case workers have seen the numerous afflicted families; schools are scrambling to protect their students and families.

Bed bugs can affect anyone, regardless of cleanliness or income. Most of us cannot help but cringe at the thought of an infestation in our own homes. It is imperative that we take steps to prevent and treat this problem quickly to prevent that fear from becoming a reality. There are things we can do to prevent the spread of bed bugs.

I am campaigning toward a bed-bug free future for Orleans County. It is my goal to provide mattress encasements to several low-income residents via local agencies and to promote the public to purchase mattress encasements for their own homes. Mattress encasements can make it easier to identify bed bugs due to the light color, but also to prevent infestation of the mattress.

Many people are quick to dispose of a mattress that has been infested with bed bugs; however, it is possible to utilize a mattress encasement to save the mattress. Additionally, simply throwing out the infested mattress, leads to the spread of bugs during the removal of the mattress and potentially could be picked up by an unsuspecting person intending to use this item in their own home. It is understandable that one would not want to sleep on a mattress that is now trapping an unknown number of pests; however, for many this may be the only option to keep from sleeping on the floor and to assist in the treatment of an infestation.

A major component of this initiative is to provide education to the community on bed bug prevention and treatment. The more we know about this problem, the better chance we have at stopping it. There was a time when head lice posed a similar threat, but we learned how to deal with it and hear about it less and less. Together, we can do the same in the battle against bed bugs.

Any donations received will be used for the direct purchase of mattress encasements. Mattress encasements and education material will be distributed by two human service agencies: The Eastern Orleans Community Center and Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern. Individuals can donate purchased encasements to these locations to support the initiative or can make a monetary donation at either agency. Find great tips and information on Facebook at Bed Bug Free Orleans!

Thank you in advance for your support.

Andrea Skowneski

Medina

Businesses should consider hiring people with disabilities

Posted 11 April 2017 at 1:57 pm

Editor:

I would like to extend a word of thanks to the many businesses and organizations who create opportunities that welcome individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Employment is a critical component of community living for most adults, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Having a job is empowering and puts structure in a person’s life. It is tied to better health, longer life and greater satisfaction with life.  People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are struggling to access employment opportunities.

Employers can help in reducing barriers for those with disabilities. One example might be hiring for a single task job. There was a time when the role of stockperson meant you handled stock only. Currently many stores/employers expect an employee to know how to both manage stocking shelves and run the cash register.

A person with autism may stock shelves in a manner more efficient than the average employee does yet struggle as the cashier not being able to interact well verbally with customers.

Many businesses and organizations have stepped up eliminating various barriers that might exclude employing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  With appropriate strategies successful employment, internship or a volunteer opportunity can be a reality for those with disabilities.

Opportunities exist so that we can increase employment for people with disabilities. Improving employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities improves communities. Most importantly, they feel good about themselves as a contributing member of society. They are ready to work every shift with a smile and a great attitude. As with all people, they walk away with a paycheck and a sense of self-worth – not to mention paying taxes.

Consider, supporting unique abilities individuals with disabilities if given the opportunity. Identify solutions to increase the employment participation of individuals with disabilities.

With sincere appreciation,

Barbara Vreeland

Medina