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letters to the editor

Medina Board of Education candidate details professional history

Posted 8 May 2017 at 10:44 pm


My name is Mary Eileen Hare, and as some of you may know, I am running for the Medina School Board. While reading the Mustang Journal introducing the candidates, I noted that my occupation history was somehow cut short. In order for the voters to make an informed decision, I would like to add what was in my original submission:

Professional/Employment (title, company, years, etc):

• ARC of Orleans County and Project Head Start, 1979-1985, Transportation, Trainer and Coordinator.

• Kilworth’s Fashions, 1985-1989, Clerk.

• Cypress-Fairbanks College, Division  One/Student  Services Department, 2003-2008, Administered and interpreted all tests and entered data. Administered exams for students approved for ADA accommodations. Worked in conjunction with professors and administration regarding all student issues.

• Division Four/Health and Behavioral Sciences Departments: Administrative assistant to the Director of Nursing: Acted  as  liaison between the department, administration and students; Conducted informational seminars. Recorded HESI results for student placement. Worked with the Academic Advising Department to assist students in their curriculum. Part of the Student Retention team.

• H&R Block, 2016-2017, Receptionist/Office Co-Coordinator.

I hope this clears up any confusion.  Thank you all so much for your time and attention in this matter.  I would sincerely appreciate your vote on May 16th.

Mary Eileen Hare


Collins, Trump show little concern for constituents

Posted 8 May 2017 at 7:07 am


In response to Kimberly Kennedy’s letter on the Orleans Hub, 18 April, 2017.

When only 40% of the American public approve of Donald Trump and the job he is not doing as President, it is somewhat confounding to see someone defend Congressman Chris Collins. Mr. Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump, despite the female genital grabbing, the lies about releasing his tax returns, the treason he committed with Russia in hacking our election, the promises to do away with Affordable Health Care, the EPA, the Department of Energy, Education and Meals on Wheels.

Mr. Collins said Trump was going to make America great. Trump has gathered the most corrupt cabinet in US history, who are hell bent on destroying the very agencies they direct. Big money ties influence every decision they make.

Massive tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the middle class are looming again. Collins is in the hip pocket of big oil, coal and big pharma. So, you won’t see him advocating for fair drug prices, and renewable energy.

Collins has been a strong advocate of destroying our national wildlife refuges in the pursuit of fossil fuels so his corporate buddies can get rich. A living wage? You won’t see Collins pushing for that either. Collins is part and parcel of the do-nothing Congress. An elected body which has done nothing to help middle class Americans.

As conservatives like to do when they run out of quasi-arguments, they resort to bashing Liberals, leftists and Democrats, as if they are the same thing. The historian in me cannot resist educating folks like Kimberly Kennedy:

  1. Liberal means possessing or manifesting a free and generous heart; bountiful. Appropriate and fitting for a broad and enlightened mind. Free from narrowness, bigotry or bondage to authority or creed. Any person who advocates liberty of thought, speech or action.
  2. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are Liberal concepts.
  3. A Liberal wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.
  4. Jesus healed the sick and helped the poor, for free.
  5. Reagan raised taxes eleven times as President, legalized abortion as Governor of California, and supported gun control.
  6. Nixon created the EPA.

And one more thing about Chris Collins. If he is so brave, why doesn’t he come to the town halls and speak directly to his constituents? Why is he hiding? Maybe he dreads answering to why he supports a President who is under FBI investigation for colluding with Russia to fix an election.

Thank you for your attention.

Al Capurso


Humans aren’t helping to protect bees, creatures critical for pollination

Posted 4 May 2017 at 9:48 pm


This past winter the honeybee population had a severe massive die off. Statewide, beekeepers are reporting 50%-70% percent loss of beehives.

The warm, cold, warm, cold weather pattern wrought havoc on beehives. Last summer’s drought caused massive losses for commercial beekeepers. I’m sure the few remaining native honeybee colonies didn’t fare much better.

Pollinators (honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies …) need our help to survive. There are no longer hedgerows of wild flowers and plants for them to feed off of. You don’t see fields of Monarch Butterflies anymore.

The local surrounding fields and lawns no longer have dandelions and flowers growing in them because everyone wants green manicured lawns, and weed-free gardens and fields without doing any work.

Modern culture and science has made life easy, use this pesticide, use this herbicide to quick fix your problem. Buy the new coated seeds that kill insects and save time on your garden. Buy the convenient trees and plants from the Big Box stores that use treated seed and trees. Many of these pesticides are illegal in NYS, but if the seeds are coated out of state and then brought in, it is perfectly legal.

Some of these pesticides and insecticides used on our fruit and vegetables have a half-life up to 1,000 days in the ground. That means even after the crops are gone, those chemicals will remain in the ground, and leach into the ground water for years and years, and have the potential to keep on killing pollinators. What are we doing to ourselves and future generations, not to mention the environment?

Does anyone think it’s kind of funny that last year during New York’s pollinator protection week, (big press release by the Governor), New York State employees were mowing fields of wild flowers over on Route 63? During the fall when golden rod was blooming, NYS again started mowing fields, instead of waiting 1 or 2 extra weeks so the pollinators could obtain and store their winter food supply.

It’s hard enough trying to keep bees alive with all that nature throws at them, let alone mankind and all of his modern chemistry.

Scott Wengewicz


SOS posts facts, testimonials from other communities battling ‘Big Wind’

Posted 4 May 2017 at 11:29 am


What’s in SOS Facebook page? According to one Apex supporter it is a collection of fear-mongering designed to misinform local citizens and scare them away from the financial savior that will be Lighthouse Wind, if it is permitted.

But really, what is SOS Facebook?

At the top of the page for the last ten days is a link to the New York Independent Operator System real-time Fuel Mix. It is the state’s report that shows minute-by-minute the fuel being used by New York State. It was first posted April 23 and has been viewed by 8,179 people so far, a very popular post. Why? The NYISO pie chart indicated that the fuel mix showed that wind energy was supplying 0.19% of wind that morning, as compared to the other 99% from hydro, nuclear, natural gas, and dual fuel.

Is this post scary? Only if you are paying taxes in NYS and realize that our utility surcharges and state taxes are heavily funding Big Wind companies for their tiny contribution.  Hydropower is clean, renewable, dependable (not intermittent like wind) and easily supplies at least one-third of New York’s energy on any given day.  By the way, SOS supports this kind of renewable energy, which does not need government subsidies.

The next post is a report of an election in Huron County, Michigan, that voted down by an overwhelming margin two wind projects, DTE Energy and NextEra Energy. Huron County leads the state in wind development. Maybe that’s the reason these people voted 130 IWTs down by 36-63%. They know something. Does this post strike fear? Only if you fear for the future of Apex in our towns.

Following that is an editorial by Annette Smith, president of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.  She provides a short tutorial on dBA (audible noise) and dBC (low-frequency noise).  Industrial wind turbines produce both, which is why Vermont public service agencies need to account for both kinds in establishing setbacks to protect nearby residents. Does information from Vermont strike fear in you?

After that is the Batavia Daily News 17-minute live coverage (from 5/1) of the Batavia Town Planning Board’s meeting with EWT Direct Wind, proposing a project in the town.  Interestingly, the EWT rep addressing Batavia’s planning board tries to set their fears aside when he says, “Just so you know, we’re not one of these companies who want to come in an railroad it. In Somerset, a big wind company tried to come in and push the whole agenda.” (Indeed, even fellow wind company representatives know when a small town is being railroaded into submission.)

The post after that is the latest article from energy author Robert Bryce, who covers the wind industry nationwide. His article is about the wind industry’s trend to sue small communities to get their way. His article focuses on NextEra’s five lawsuits against rural communities that stand between them and millions in tax subsidies. Bryce didn’t even mention Apex’s lawsuit against the Town of Somerset.

It might be easy criticism of SOS to say that it uses fear as a tactic to fight Apex. SOS has included testimony of people living too close to wind turbines, who have health issues from them. SOS had shared a post two weeks ago about the Irish High Court in Dublin that will be deciding precedent-setting punitive damages against a wind company. That’s scary if you’re a wind company. Seven families in rural Ireland had to abandon their homes due to their horrible experiences near the wind turbines.  Somerset and Yates residents fear that for themselves.

We encourage the public to continue to visit the SOS Facebook page for real information. What’s really scary? An uninformed public.

Christine Bronson


Wind project supporter questions councilman’s analysis

Posted 4 May 2017 at 8:30 am


Once again I feel obligated to write a response to John Riggi’s questionable statistics in his most recent Letter to the Editor on PSC comments. For those who take a closer look at the data, you have a small number of opponents submitting numerous PSC comments. In the meantime, you have those same opponents and others using scare tactics and fear mongering to quiet anyone else from commenting publicly.

A quick review of SOS’s Facebook page shows several recent calls for more comments on the PSC site along with fear-mongering posts. The only reason I visit SOS’s Facebook page is to keep track of my opponents. Their Facebook tactics are quite transparent.

And again, I will remind Hub readers – when considering Mr. Riggi’s numbers, consider the number of hours normal folks work in a day, a week, or in a season. We are all given the opportunity to comment, but commenting at such a mind-bending rate requires a lot of time, a luxury many of us cannot afford.

After studying the PSC comments, yes John I too look at the comments, by my count, there are at least 10 opposition folks who have commented on the PSC website over 10 times. The most prolific poster has commented nearly 40 times – a collection that reads more like a private diary versus a public discourse. Over 50 percent of the comments have been submitted by a mere 40 households!

Using your own words John, all comments made to the PSC website 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.”

I assume that you, John, did the reading and tabulating.  After reviewing your letter posted to the Hub, 18 Oct. 2016 and the letter posted 19 Apr. 2017, I find several numbers for and against have changed which changed the percentages! How can these numbers change when reviewing the same data?

Mr. John Riggi, I would like to remind you that you are new to this area. Many Lighthouse supporters have lived in this area for many years, raised their children here, and want to see our home towns thrive again. In reference to your letter of 12 April 2017, where you quoted Winston Churchill and referenced Nazi Germany to Apex employees and supporters, I want you to know that that type of rhetoric does not serve our community well.  Because you signed that letter, John Riggi Councilman, Town of Yates, I demand a public apology to your town constituents at the next Town Board Meeting. I respectfully call for a return to civil discourse.


Howard Pierce


Medina woman who served in Peace Corps says US should continue to fund service programs

Posted 3 May 2017 at 6:52 am


I had the opportunity in March to meet with Congressman Chris Collins and aides from Senators Gillibrand and Schumers’ offices in our nation’s capital. I shared with them a bit about my experience in the Peace Corps in Mali, and asked them to continue to support service programs in the upcoming budget process.

After college, I spent two years living in a town in Mali, West Africa. I worked closely with the local health center staff to raise awareness about maternal and child health. I organized two large events to improve HIV/AIDS awareness, started a girls’ group, and helped secure funding to build a well.

I collaborated with an American-based non-profit that did medical missions to repair facial deformities like cleft lips. I became a part of the community, forging friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. National service is humbling. I left with the feeling that I had been given more than I could ever reciprocate. And that hunger has driven me – and many others – to continue to serve. I believe that now more than ever, we need to make a paid service year accessible for all Americans.

As much as we need people to serve and protect us in the armed forces, it isn’t for everyone. The Defense Department estimates that 71% of the roughly 34 million 17-24 year olds in the U.S. would fail to qualify to enlist in the military if they wanted to serve. General McChrystal, a committed advocate of national service, has said, “A system of voluntary universal national service is an opportunity to shape Americans today so we can solve big national problems tomorrow. I believe that the next step in the American experiment is the expectation of a year or more of service.”

In New York state, there are over 5,200 AmeriCorps members serving every year. They work to close critical gaps, fight poverty, and provide much-needed services to communities across the state. In Orleans County, last year AmeriCorps members taught children and adults about improving their health through better nutrition.

I hope that with increased funding, Orleans County can have more locals serving. This would provide people of all ages with the opportunity to build valuable skills while serving their communities, and cement in them a lifelong commitment to making their communities stronger. For young people, this could be a way to get valuable work experience after completing high school or college. It could help middle-aged people segue to new careers or give individuals in retirement a renewed sense of purpose.

A service year doesn’t just benefit those who are served — it transforms the individuals who serve, deepening their commitment to help others. They become more active citizens, doing community service or working in public service.

Service year opportunities are necessary for a strong democracy. National service programs like AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, and YouthBuild should be expanded, not eliminated. Please join me in asking our elected officials to protect national service in the upcoming budget and create more opportunities for Western New Yorkers to serve our country.

Amanda Joy Misiti


People can help boost the bird population, which would help farmers and local quality of life

Posted 1 May 2017 at 8:23 am


The Orleans Bluebird Society concentrates not only on its namesake but cavity nesting birds in general. Cavity nesting birds require holes of varying sizes to permit them to reproduce. Without hollow places in which to lay their eggs, they cannot succeed.

For chickadees the hollows are quite small. For birds such as pileated woodpeckers, barred owls, American kestrels and wood ducks, the cavities must be much larger.  Competition from squirrels and raccoons make the search for available cavities even more problematic.

A primary cavity nester such as a pileated woodpecker typically excavates its own basketball-sized hollow nest in a dead tree large enough to accommodate it.

Most cavity nesters depend on woodpeckers or natural rotting to provide them with the holes they need.  Kingfishers excavate cavities in creek banks and mounds of dirt.

Due, in part, to the elimination of many hedgerows, American kestrels have declined throughout the northeast.  They tend to leave areas where our actions might suggest we do not appreciate the hundreds of rodents, and many more grasshoppers, each of them eliminates in a year.  Not having them around is detrimental to farmers and, ultimately, to the people they feed.

Orleans County is a place where American kestrels can still be found—and seen. They provide another reason for people to visit.

Another terrific, beneficial, and gorgeous, cavity nester—the wood duck—is affected by a shortage of cavities as well. Its cavity requirements are even harder to locate than those of the smaller American kestrel.  Recommended entrance holes for wood ducks are 3” by 4” ellipses, and the space they require is considerable. (We had one killed by a mink the day before her 15 eggs hatched.) Without human intervention, their ability to successfully reproduce, delight—and serve—the people of any area is limited to a great degree by how many boxes we construct and erect in an abundance of otherwise ideal habitat in Orleans County.

Most of Orleans County’s best American kestrel and wood duck habitat lacks the cavities these two avian delights require. Where cavities are found, they are often occupied by squirrels and raccoons that are not being effectively controlled by hunting and trapping. Natural cavities that get used by kestrels and wood ducks lack predator baffles and invite our considerable population of mink and other natural enemies to access nesting birds and their young.

By supporting local outdoor sporting groups and organizations like Ducks Unlimited, each person can help.  You can make a difference. In the process, you benefit literally hundreds of other bird species—including ducks and songbirds—that do not require cavities to reproduce.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent


Marty Phelps made a big difference for Medina with Train Museum

Posted 28 April 2017 at 10:43 pm


I’m devastated from the passing of Medina’s favorite railroad engineer, Marty Phelps, who dedicated his life to the children of Western NY.

I learned of Marty’s illness last week, and hoping that he wasn’t as sick as I was told, went to the train museum for an explanation; or better yet, an affirmation that he would be OK after his cancer diagnosis! When I was told that he was incurable and dying, the rest of my day deteriorated.

I drove around for hours praying, denying, furious with the reality that my friend was dying from the most vicious disease on earth: CANCER.

It comes like a thief in the night, stealing friends, family and, in our case, an irreplaceable man who was responsible for helping with the revitalization of Medina, NY.

Marty was the hero of our town, bringing thousands of people to WNY for his train events, from Thomas the Train to the Polar Express. Marty cared about our children, and was one of the most generous people I’ve ever met.

To say he will be missed is an understatement; and he will never be forgotten.

Godspeed, my friend.

Kimberly Kennedy


Sixth-graders urge people to spay and neuter their pets

Posted 27 April 2017 at 10:25 pm


According to the Humane Society of the United States, for every person that is born in the United States, 45 cats and 15 dogs will be born. There are more than 70 million homeless cats and dogs in our country. People should spay and neuter their pets.

About 3.7 million pets in shelters are euthanized each year because homes cannot be found for them. It costs taxpayers more than a billion dollars in a year to capture, feed and euthanize dogs and cats that can’t be taken care of. Overpopulation costs lives and lots of money.

Spayed and neutered pets are less likely to bite or wander away from home. In addition, pets that are spayed or neutered are often healthier. They have a smaller chance of getting some kinds of cancer.

Some people say that it costs too much to spay or neuter their pets and spaying and neutering is painful to dogs and cats. However, the cost for spaying or neutering a dog or cat is less than taking care of a single kitten or a puppy for a year. Furthermore, serious harm as a result of spay/neuter surgery is rare. After surgery, some animals feel some discomfort, but it usually disappears in a few days.

So you see, people should spay or neuter their pets. Animals that are spayed and neutered are healthier. Spaying and neutering pets can help with cat and dog overpopulation and can save money, too.


Albion Middle School Grade 6 Literacy Class:

Brayden Cassidy

Breanna Drake

Jaquies Johnson

Wendy Lagunas Perez

Iris Rosario Reyes

Perla Santiago Franco

SOS analysis distorted by vacationers who own summer homes in Yates, Somerset

Posted 27 April 2017 at 9:40 am


Once again Mr. Riggi is spewing alternative facts!

His theory is a manipulation of the facts and a massive campaign of misinformation. He speaks of all the comments against the wind turbines that are on the PSC website but fails to mention that with all those comments a great majority of them have been submitted by the same 11 people. (Their comments made up 220 of the comments.)

There are also many comments that speak against the turbines that came from people who are not residents of Yates or Somerset – much like many of the voters that we had voting in the Town of Yates election when Mr. Riggi ran that were not from the Town of Yates.

This is just one more example of the the way that SOS will manipulate the facts to make you think that the turbines coming here is a bad thing. And make no mistake, Mr. Riggi speaks for SOS and the conglomerates that fund them and the other groups like them that are against the turbines and other renewable energy sources

He wants to speak about home rule? The majority of the people who are writing to the PSC and in fact the majority of the people who are speaking out against the turbines at the Yates Town Board meetings are not even from the Town of Yates.

Many of them are cottagers who are here only during the summer months and actually live somewhere else – somewhere where economical advantages are already available. Most of them in their “home towns” have more than one store in their their area, they have a grocery store they can get their groceries from that would not be considered a “convenience store.” They have more than one gas station that they can choose from to buy their gas. They have a variety of places that they can go out to eat.

The majority of the people who actually live here and not just vacation here in their summer homes would also like to have some of these choices.

The turbines coming here will be our opportunity to have some economic growth. I work two jobs and my husband is disabled and we would love to have something that helped lower our taxes and brought revenue into our town as well as money for our school and fire department.

Many, many, many people in this town can’t afford to go on a vacation, let alone own a vacation home!

Home rule?? More like I can afford to own two homes…therefore I should rule!

Susan Campbell