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letters to the editor

Yates residents are well within rights to be wary of wind turbine project

Posted 27 May 2017 at 10:25 am

Editor:

In response to some recent letters regarding the proposed wind turbine project in Somerset and Yates:

The “Town of Yates Moratorium on Wind Energy Facilities Law” enacted in April 2016 does not in any way shape or form prevent citizens from discussing wind turbines, writing about wind turbines, or demonstrating for or against wind turbines. Anyone who wants to read what the actual law contains can find it online in the Yates Town Board minutes.

Prior surveys have shown the majority of citizens of the towns of Somerset and Yates are opposed to an industrial wind facility in the proposed area. I am not sure why someone thinks this is “baloney” as it was well publicized at the time of the surveys. In addition, the last election was decidedly in favor of candidates who opposed the industrial wind turbine project.

An industrial wind facility will not bring any long term economic development to these towns. Nor will it bring any cheap electricity. It will bring concrete, noise, dust, road blockage and damage from heavy equipment. It will bring permanent blight in our rural setting. It will bring infrasound and shadow flicker to those living near these turbines. It will drive away potential residents. It will discourage tourism. Apex itself has said “possibly” 10 new jobs without any details at all. One of those jobs will be counting dead birds…. not exactly high paying and probably part-time. There is no guarantee from anyone that taxes will go down in any way. Any monies received must be divided between two towns, two counties, and two school boards.

Our school enrollment is on the decline because people are not moving into our towns now.

Having 60 to 70 700-foot tall wind turbines will not encourage new permanent residents. When property values decline because the wind turbines are constructed our tax base will be further eroded. Will the complainers about lake people be happy when their own taxes go up due to this erosion in our tax base?

I am tired of the insults to lake property owners, both year-round and summer residents, as if we are some alien scourge.  We pay our taxes like everyone else. We earn our living like everyone else. To my knowledge there are no money trees growing along Lake Ontario. We would like to see sustainable economic development in our town. As far as I am concerned Lyndonville is my home and I am offended by these repeated attacks just because we happen to own property on the lake. The disdain for ‘lake people’ coupled with the ludicrous assumption that SOS is only lake people and is backed by some big corporation is pathetic. The only big corporation in this scenario is APEX.

Those people requesting apologies from Town Board members should stand up at the next Town Board meeting and apologize for their insults to their fellow citizens who also worked hard all their lives and invested some of their earnings in Lyndonville because they want to live there.

Sincerely,

Susan Dudley

Tax-paying, lake-dwelling, Lyndonville-loving resident

No ‘accidental racists’ when it comes to displaying Confederate flag

Posted 27 May 2017 at 9:32 am

Editor:

In regards to Al Capurso’s letter on the Confederate Flag, the 1950s/60s saw a resurgence of Confederate emblems in southern states intended to underscore the case for segregation and draw a line in the sand barring intervention.

The Dixiecrats (states’ rights Democrats) were, perhaps, the first to revive Confederate flags on a large scale. State flags were reworked to include the Confederate battle flag. Georgia incorporated it in the state flag design in 1956. “Ole Miss” university ran it up the flagpole following the Brown Vs. Board of Education decision. It reappeared over the SC state house in 1962.

The revival of White Power groups that occurred in the 1990s transformed the Confederate battle flag which had devolved to a pop-culture emblem loosely embraced by fans of the TV show, “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Mingling the battle flag with Nazi emblems, the numbers 14 and 88, Nordic Heavy Metal, skinheads and other isolated hate groups sequestered in internet chatrooms and blogs; the Confederate battle flag came full-circle, realigned with its hateful, racist past.

In the wake of the terrorist attack in Charleston and the evident connection to white power groups and the Confederate battle flag’s prominent position in the perpetrators’ record, many cities and states in the south began removing divisive symbols and monuments from their public spaces. Still there is push-back as some resist efforts to eliminate symbols that for many are reminders that they don’t belong, that they remain second-class citizens.

Northern states do not have statues of Generals Lee, Beauregard or Jackson in public parks. It’s safe to say that no public building in New York State has flown the Confederate battle flag since the state’s Ku Klux Klan chapters waned in the 1930s. Who does fly the Confederate flag? …Civil War reenactors, NASCAR fans, southern rock fans – individuals invested in a harmless/sophomoric attachment to the Confederate flag? Outside the neutral context of History there is nothing benign about the Confederate battle flag as there is nothing benign about racism.

The Confederate flag is a symbol. Through common usage it means something. Despite exceptional arguments, the flag’s racist, segregationist, pro-slavery history is inextricably part of its fabric. In that respect there are no “accidental racists.”

C.M. Barons

Bergen

Legislature ignores Mother Nature’s role in high lake levels

Posted 25 May 2017 at 2:20 pm

Editor:

It looks like the Orleans County Legislature needs a reminder. As has been reported before, The International Joint Commission and Plan 2014 has had almost no impact on the current lake levels – it was all the precipitation.

If they would have bothered to look at some of the news from Canada they would have seen that the flooding along the Saint Lawrence River (which is mostly in Canada) has been much worse than around here. I guess that if they want the lake to be lower then they would be happy to have the flooding in Canada be even worse. Don’t the Canadians know that the world should revolve around us? Take 5 minutes and look at a map – if Canada wanted to they could build their own dam a little down river and cut the U.S. out of the equation completely.

A suspicious person might think that these politicians are not ignoring the truth for no reason. By twisting the facts and manufacturing an issue the local Republicans have another avenue to bash New York State and the Obama administration. They imply that the scientists and government officials who worked on a plan for over a decade are untrustworthy. And they seem to overlook the responsibility of people who own property right on the lake to assume some of the risks of nature.

Jason Dragon

Albion

Local Conservative Party snubs many Orleans residents by embracing Trump ideology

Posted 24 May 2017 at 1:03 pm

Editor:

It is truly disappointing to read our local Conservative Party quoting Donald Trump in an endorsement just days after the President has released a budget proposal that would so adversely affect so many of our Orleans County residents.

The cuts that President Trump is proposing would cut essential services to our neediest residents and over-burden the working class with exorbitant costs for medical care, all while continuing to allow minimum wage to fall far below what is needed to sustain oneself in the current economy. All of these are absolutely vital to many of the residents here in Orleans County and it is a shame that people calling themselves party and community leaders would endorse it.

In this same endorsement the party implores Orleans County voters to “reject the status quo,” but it is important that we are clear on what they are really asking of voters. Not a rejection of the status quo, but a turn back to a status quo rejected by Americans a generation ago. A status quo that overburdens the working class, prizes the wealthiest citizens above all others, and treats the poor as an inconvenient byproduct of poor personal choices that should be ignored.

Our forebears rejected this status quo as the Gilded Age came crashing down around us in a Depression unlike anything the world had ever seen before. It is important that we keep this in mind as we carefully consider not just who to vote for, but whether to vote. It seems to me that this party is endorsing these candidates while evoking these dangerous proposals because they are counting on the fact that so few of our working poor in Orleans County vote, especially in local elections.

More importantly, we must remember that this is not who we are in this community. We are a community that bands together in times of need made up of people that never hesitate to throw their change into a can at the grocery store in order to support a neighbor that is struggling, even if they weren’t positive they could pay for those groceries in the first place.

We are a community of people that dig each other out during snow storms and help our neighbors clean up after floods.  When we vote—and we all must vote—we need to send a resounding message: that we are better than this.

We are not a community based in negligent and dangerous individualism, but rather a community that thrives when these individuals come together to work toward a common good and support one another. We must reject the politics that this budget proposal is rooted in—a politics that keeps us separated and divided; a politics that keeps us focused on fear rather than community.  We, as a community, are better than the politics in Washington and we are better than the divisiveness of the current administration.

Jessica George

Albion

Retired State Police investigator announces campaign for Murray Town Supervisor

Posted 24 May 2017 at 12:33 pm

Editor:

My name is Robert Miller; my friends call me Bob. I am running for the position of Supervisor for the Town of Murray. For those not yet my friends, allow me to tell you about myself.

I have recently retired from service to New York State, where I served as Trooper, and then Investigator for almost 32 years. I loved my job. Every day was a new challenge, whether mentally, physically, emotionally, or all three at once.

While working full time, I returned to college to complete a life goal. I will admit, it was difficult at times, having to take a semester, or even an entire year off for different work commitments. What may take some individuals four years to complete, took me approximately twelve. I made the decision early on to see it through, and never quit. My blessing was that my Mother, my touchstone, was able to see me graduate with honors in 2007. Besides being a father of two wonderful sons, and a decorated Trooper, this was perhaps one of my proudest moments.

As a member of the State Police active efforts in community politics were not allowed. However, community service was not prohibited. I was honored to be asked to join the Holley Rotary Club by former Murray Town Supervisor Hank Lehning, a man who I respect a great deal. I remain active in the Holley Rotary Club, having served two terms as Club President, and currently serving as Secretary. I am proud of the positive influence our Club has in our community.

After my departure from State service, I was eager to participate in other aspects of community involvement. I served for a brief time as a Commissioner for the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Fire District. Witnessing firsthand the inner machinations of the District and the Department left me with a healthy respect for those who volunteer their time to protect their community. I left this post when I was appointed to the Town Board to fill a vacancy.

Why do I think I have what it takes to be Supervisor? I asked myself this question before taking on the challenge. I believe in doing what is right, right by the taxpayers, right by the communities, and right by my own conscience. It is a serious commitment, and one I accept with my eyes wide open.

I have spoken with some in the community who have expressed to me that they feel as though they are not being heard. They feel their taxes are too high, or that there is waste that needs to be addressed. Still others feel that the Town needs to do more, yet with less.

In light of all that I have heard to date, there is always room for improvement. However, I would be hard-pressed to find fault in the hard work and dedication of the outgoing Supervisor, John Morriss. Because of his efforts, much goes on, continually, to make things better, more efficient, and more accessible.

I consider myself a Republican by principle, a Conservative by conviction, but, first and foremost, an American by heritage. I will not ever back down from a fight, if the cause I am fighting for is right, and I believe in it fully.

I look forward to a spirited campaign, and to meeting as many of the residents of the Town of Murray as humanly possible. I look forward to your honest and frank opinions, and answering as many questions as you may have. I may not know every answer to every question, but I assure you, from someone who never quits, I will find the answers to what we both seek.

Respectfully,

Robert G. Miller

Murray

Confederate flag is divisive symbol opposing equality and unity

Posted 22 May 2017 at 1:26 pm

Editor:

Every now and then, the Confederate flag makes an appearance on the back of someone’s truck, or the front of someone’s house. We see it at KKK rallies. Lately it is being waved next to Nazi swastika flags.

As all flags are, this one is a symbol of something. Its history is in the south during the Civil War and had gone through many different configurations. It was the battle flag of the army of the Confederacy. Those states who chose to break away from the Union rather than comply with the law to eliminate enslaving human beings.

Certainly, the Confederate flag is a part of history, but it is on the wrong side of history. It stands for white supremacy. It is a divisive statement made in a country where most of us value equality and unity, diversity and tolerance.

This flag stands for none of those values. I often wonder what kind of person would display such a symbol? I am sure they think of themselves as “patriots”. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Al Capurso

Gaines

Holley praised for hosting author who shared refugee experiences

Posted 19 May 2017 at 9:06 am

Editor:

Holley Central School, the Holley Community Free Library and Holley Rotary Club deserve our appreciation for hosting Sandra Uwiringiyimana, author of “How Dare the Sun Rise”, yesterday at Holley Central.

According to the students quoted in Kristina Gabalski’s article, and adult participants in attendance, it was well worth our thoughtful reflection.  Ms. Uwiringiyimana made her family’s refugee experience relevant to everyone who heard her presentation. Unfortunately it is an experience that is repeated daily around the world.

Thanks as well to Kristina Gabalski and Orleans Hub for covering her appearance.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent

Albion

Medina BOE candidate congratulates 3 who were elected on May 16

Posted 18 May 2017 at 7:01 am

Editor:

I would like to extend my congratulations to William Keppler, Arlene Pawlaczyk, and David Sevenski for their successful races for Medina Board of Education. All my thoughts and prayers go with you as you enter into your new terms.

I would like to extend my gratitude to all those who encouraged, supported and voted for me. I would especially like to thank the people who allowed me to put up campaign signs.

With kindest regards,

Mary Eileen Hare

Barre property owner sees many positives with turbine projects in Orleans

Posted 18 May 2017 at 6:59 am

Editor:

For several decades, I have owned rural property in Orleans County.

During this time, I have seen my neighbors struggle with drought, flooding, falling markets, rising land prices, and foreign competition. The past few years have been especially harsh.

These industrious, hard-working landowners – most of whom possess mechanical, horticultural, veterinary, and financial skills – are facing tough economic and environmental times. It’s within this context that the concept of wind power comes to the lake plains region.

I support the Lighthouse Wind Project as a benefit to the people who produce our food and serve as stewards of our lands and water. There are no federal, state, or local programs that provide the needed cash flow to offset the current plight of the farming community like the wind power project does.

Additionally, New York State’s development history has been marked by wind- and water-borne pollutants. Clean wind power brings exactly none of these toxins – and has been shown to be an economically reliable industry in the U.S. as well as in Europe.

I intend to register my acreage for possible turbines, as have many of my fellow landowners. We are proud and honored to be beneficiaries and supporters of this clean, renewable energy resource.

Joe Weiss, Ph.D.

Clarence and Barre

Apex proposal has proven toxic to relationships in Yates, Somerset

Posted 15 May 2017 at 10:33 pm

Editor:

A number of people have asked about the recent assessment of Department of Public Service comments regarding the Lighthouse Wind Project.  Most of the questions received related to the percentage of comments opposed/in-support of the project when each submitter of comments was counted only once.  This type of assessment would give a picture of a 1:1 comment count instead of the simple arithmetic sum by which quarterly comments are assessed and communicated.

By way of review, the simple arithmetic sum method gave the following results at the end of Q1 2017:

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 following assessment counts each submitter only once and covers the time period from Q1-2015 to present (May 9, 2017):

Position on the Lighthouse Wind Project Number of Commentors – New Assessment (1:1) Percent Opposed/In-Support with New Assessment All Comments Counted Percent

All Comments Counted

Opposed 388 75% 806 83.7%
Support 126 25% 156 16.2%
Total 514 100% 962 100.0%

Clearly, there have been multiple comment submitters, on both sides of this issue.  As such, the percentages did shift, as expected.  However, even when submitters are counted only once, the conclusion is clear:

Massive and overwhelming opposition to the Lighthouse Wind Project continues.

Additionally, an assessment of multiple submitters was performed with the results as follows:

Position on the Lighthouse Wind Project Number of Multiple Submitters Percent of Multiple Submitters
Opposed 96 81%
Support 23 19%
Total 119 100%

Conclusion: Multiple submitters source from both sides of this issue.

A deeper dive into this data shows multiple submitters usually commented on more than one topic.  Timing of multiple submissions was sporadic, seeming to indicate additional submissions as more information came to light.  Multiple submissions from the opposed camp covered a myriad of issues to include:  Environment, Health, Wildlife, Property Value, Article 10/Home Rule, while submissions from the in-support camp covered:  Economics and retention of residents.

One thing is for certain, the Lighthouse Wind Project as proposed by APEX Clean Energy has succeeded in generating strong opinions.  It is also destroying human relationships developed over a lifetime and unraveled in a matter of months as a result of APEX’s proposed project.

My personal opinion is that the Lighthouse Wind Project has proven toxic to the Towns of Yates and Somerset.  We may never recover.  Governor Cuomo needs to stop this project now so that we have at least a small chance to recapture the relationships lost to the proposed APEX Project and to try and return our towns to a pre-APEX time.

Governor Cuomo, ARE YOU LISTENING?

John Riggi

Councilman, Town of Yates