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letters to the editor

Supervisor-elect urges community participation in Town of Murray

Posted 1 December 2017 at 7:03 pm

Editor:

Thank you to the residents of the Town of Murray!

You, the residents of Murray, have been very patient this election season! Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, and before we gear up for the Christmas season, allow me to thank you for supporting me in my campaign for your Supervisor.

I am truly humbled by the support you have shown me, as well as the confidence and trust you have placed in me. I assure you that I will do everything in my power to merit your confidence, and earn your trust.

As I have said during the campaign, no one person can do everything by themselves. I will be seeking your help to make this community as vibrant and open to everyone as it can be.

My desire is to get the community involved collectively to solve any issues that may arise, and to anticipate problems and issues that affect each one of us, either individually or as a whole community.

Thank you again for electing me as your Town Supervisor. I wish our outgoing Supervisor John Morriss all the best in his future endeavors, and thank him for his outstanding service and dedication to our community!

Respectfully,

Bob Miller

Supervisor-elect, Town of Murray

SAFE Act should be enforced even when violators are veterans

Posted 30 November 2017 at 10:32 am

Editor:

A local man was recently convicted of criminal possession of 3 high capacity magazines complete with 17 rounds of ammunition in each. The conviction was foreseeable under the laws of the state of NY.

After conviction the defendant was leniently sentenced to a conditional discharge by Niagara County Court Judge Matthew Murphy III. The judge noted that the sentence was not a commentary on the state law but rather recognition of the defendant’s exemplary military service. The defendant was supported by many like-minded gun owners who had been urged to attend his sentencing via social media.

It’s great that so many citizens showed up or wrote to support the veteran at his sentencing; however, true advocates would advise family and friends that there are foreseeable consequences to engaging in unlawful conduct. The right to bear arms comes with a concomitant obligation and responsibility to do so in a lawful manner, no matter your personal opinion of the SAFE Act or other such laws.

I applaud County Court Judge Murphy for showing compassion and leniency to the veteran and gratitude for his service. This should not, however, be seen as a free pass for others. The fact of the matter is that the SAFE Act has now been in effect for almost 5 years and has been upheld by every court that has heard it; further the US Supreme Court has refused to hear challenges to similar cases.

It is disingenuous to think that because one served in the military or that certain county sheriffs say that they will not enforce it – that it is OK to flagrantly violate the law. We thank you for your service in protecting our country which is founded on the rule of law, however that service does not entitle you to violate our laws with impunity.

Paul McQuillen

Upstate Coordinator

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence

Lighthouse Wind offers little benefit at too much cost to the community

Posted 30 November 2017 at 10:22 am

Editor:

As a supporter of Save Ontario Shores (SOS), I took special note of recent accusations about SOS information gathering and dissemination tactics, relating to Virginia based Apex Clean Energy’s Project Lighthouse Wind.

This project was proposed over 4 years ago, and will involve the installation of approximately 70 giant 600-foot Industrial Wind Turbines along a 12-mile stretch of Lake Ontario Shore in the towns of Somerset and Yates.

Apparently, the information being disseminated is having an effect not to the liking of Apex and their supporters. Rather than respond, SOS is labeled as “aggressive and the spreader of misinformation.” Trash the messenger and ignore the message is the response. SOS is accomplishing its stated goals by addressing the health, safety and welfare of those being affected by Apex. SOS is to be congratulated. They are doing an excellent job. All the facts are getting out!

A wealth of information is now available due to the good graces of SOS and others, relating to the physical and environmental impacts of industrial wind turbines. The noise, visual pollution, shadow flicker, degradation of property values, infrasound effects, bird and bat kill, disruption of normal farming operations, loss of property rights and construction damage are all well documented. The effects are real. People who are living among industrial wind turbines are speaking out. Clearly our quality of life is at issue!

Three independent surveys show public opposition by a factor of more than two to one. A recent online survey by Business First also reflects, by a similar margin, the negative attitude of the public toward industrial wind turbines. It is clear, our community does not want the noise, our community does not want the visual pollution, our community does not want to experience shadow flicker, our community does not want property values to drop, our community understands the negative health effects of infrasound, our community does not want indiscriminate bird and bat slaughter. The list goes on and on.

Supporters point to economic benefits. So far, much talk and very little in the way of specifics. Apex has generously volunteered to pay $1.6 million in local property taxes. How can it be that they decide how they shall be taxed? Do any of us have that opportunity? No!! This figure is to be divided among 6 taxing jurisdictions diminishing its impact.

Further, an estimate of the taxes that should be paid based on the full value of the investment in Lighthouse Wind shows this figure to low by a factor of 5 or more. So from the outset, we get short changed.

In addition, the hidden tax breaks such as feed in tariffs, production tax credits, power purchase agreements, accelerated write offs, and grants continue to quietly drain the public purse, thus erasing any financial gain that might have occurred.

Permanent employment by Apex’s own admission will only be a handful of individuals.

The construction period will employ transient personnel from outside our area. The majority of equipment will come from outside the area and even outside the country. Much physical and environmental impact will take place as these monstrous structures are brought in and assembled. There is no way this project will replace the tax base that has been lost by State energy policies that are forcing Somerset Station to close by 2020. Somerset Station was at one time, one of the largest taxpayers in the area. This facility should be converted to clean burning natural gas.

We hear about a Host Community Agreement with no inkling of what this might be or of what benefit it will be to our area. The lack of anything specific on this matter says much.

In summary, after four years in our community, what Apex Clean Energy is offering our community is not buying, and the opposition has grown. The issues are well understood.

The environmental and physical impacts are detrimental. The economic benefits are nil. The power is not needed. The power is not clean. The power is not reliable. There are other ways to save our planet. Project Lighthouse Wind is the wrong project in the wrong place. Apex should go home!!

James Hoffman

Somerset

Turbine project would provide many benefits for Yates and Somerset

Posted 27 November 2017 at 1:44 pm

Editor:

As a taxpaying resident of the Town of Yates, I am embarrassed that Yates Town Councilman speaks and writes in the way that he does. This continued poor behavior is not suitable for an elected official, and it is also not appropriate for him to sign letters as “Councilman, Town of Yates” when he acknowledges that he is writing about “my personal view.” His opinions and views are not the same as all town residents.

Yes, Apex Clean Energy has given out free hot dogs at local youth events, donated for the Lyndonville fireworks, given food and money to local food pantries and toy drives so that our less fortunate can have Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners and toys for children on Christmas morning. There are other examples of Apex helping out in the community, help and support that would not exist without them.

Not everyone in our towns of Somerset and Yates are as privileged as the lake people. I ask the question, “what has SOS done for our communities?” Many of these lakefront owners want their assessments lowered because of erosion (lower assessments means lower taxes) but at the last Somerset Town Board Meeting when told their taxes were going to go up 113 percent, they said that if it kept the turbines out so they didn’t have to look at them, that would be OK. You cannot have it both ways, SOS, and thank you for showing the real truth that you don’t want to look at them!

I am not a landowner with a signed lease, but would if I could. I have not been paid a penny by anyone, and I resent Riggi insinuating that only supporters of Lighthouse Wind are those “you (Apex) are paying to like you.” I have spent the last two years researching and finding out the truth about clean, green energy, including solar, wind and hydro. I have a large solar installation on my home, and I want to be a part of bettering the earth for my children and grandchildren.

But over and above that, there are many benefits of this project: lower taxes, better schools and roads, higher real estate values because of lower taxes, and a way to attract other businesses to come to our towns.

In my opinion – “It’s not Apex, but the privileged and snooty ones that think they are better than the rest of us, and they don’t care about us!”

Yours truly,

Howard Pierce

Lyndonville

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

Posted 24 November 2017 at 3:38 pm

Editor:

All over the United States, every year, nearly 1.4 million people faced with advanced and life limiting illnesses and their families are being supported by hospice and palliative care organizations.

In Western New York, patients and families can count on five skilled organizations who are standing ready to provide help and outstanding care. Last year, collectively, our organizations served more than 6,100 families in Orleans, Niagara, Erie, Genesee, Wyoming, Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua counties.

Our teams of dedicated, highly skilled and compassionate staff work alongside volunteers and caregivers through a collaborative, holistic model of care. Our physicians, registered nurses, home health aides, and other members of our clinical teams work together with our patients and families to develop a customized plan of care that helps to ensure that pain and symptoms are well managed, and emotional, spiritual, and relationship needs are addressed.

Ensuring that a person is in control of their journey is key to providing excellent quality of care during a time when facing a serious illness or the end of life. To accomplish this personalized support, each of our organizations provides individualized care that is tailored to meet the goals and desires of the patient and his/her family. Services may be offered at home, in a hospice residence, assisted living, skilled nursing facility, or an in-patient unit.

We encourage you to learn more about hospice and palliative care services in your community. You may find the comfort, peace, and help you are looking for if you or a family member are faced with a serious or life limiting illness. You may also find a place to share your time and talents or to make a financial gift that impacts hundreds of your neighbors every day.

Hospice and palliative care is about living…living each day to its fullest, spending time creating a journey that is uniquely yours.

Sincerely,

Kellie Spychalski, MHA, CEO – Supportive Care and Hospice of Orleans, Inc.

Shauna Anderson, RN, CEO – Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care

Chris Kerr, MD, CEO – Hospice Buffalo

John Lomeo, CEO – Niagara Hospice

Carol Mahoney, CEO – Home Care & Hospice (Genesee, Wyoming, Allegany & Cattaraugus Counties)

Wyoming County resident says people should be wary of tax savings with wind projects

Posted 24 November 2017 at 10:19 am

Editor:

This year the Orangeville town tax will be paid by Invenergy Wind. Sounds great and to be envied by other towns. Right?  Lets see.

I question if it’s a good deal? Let’s use an average priced home assessed at $100,000 and use round figures. The Orangeville town tax would be about $1,000. That is $1,000 per year savings to that home owner.

Suppose the owner of that house wants to sell that home. Using NYS Real Property Services sales figures that $100,000 home will sell for only $70,000 realizing a $30,000 loss. Some examples include a Syler Road property assessed for $91,500 sold for $30,000, a Rt. 238 property assessed for $107,800 sold for $62,700 and a Hermitage Road property assessed for $280,612  sold for $225,000.

One Syler Road property with 1,092 square feet was purchased in 2008 for $127,380.  The new owners built a barn, added an outdoor wood furnace and increased the house size to 1,260 square feet.  The assessment was increased to $127,100.

In 2015, after the wind project, the house with improvements sold for $125,000. Less than what it was worth in 2008 without the improvements. These are not rare sales but typical, in fact there are dozens of properties that lost values since the introduction of the wind project.

The Orangeville budget exceeded the tax cap limit as posted on September 22, 2017, raising the tax levy. The 2016 assessment increases gave the county, schools,  libraries and fire districts  more of taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

Now deduct the raises given to the county, schools, libraries and fire districts off the $1,000 town tax savings. Let’s not forget the tax deduction you’ll lose for town tax. Doesn’t look so good now does it?

Paul Jensen

Varysburg

Many obstacles for Apex, large-scale renewable energy projects in NY

Posted 21 November 2017 at 7:36 pm

Editor:

It is impossible to conceive of the necessity for the Apex Lighthouse Wind Project. WNY is blessed with the Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant at 2704 MW and the Somerset Power Plant at 675 MW. Together they total 3,379 MW.

APEX nameplate of 201 MW is incorrect. With NYS wind capacity factors of 26%, APEX is only 52 MW. Adding 52 MW to an existing 3,379 MW is meaningless.

Drawbacks to wind begin with transmission bottlenecks, the transmission interconnection process and inadequate transmission capacity. Without storage – use it or lose it – to connect towers, many miles of underground cable must be buried crossing streams, roads and farms, threat to bird wildlife, rotor blade frequency vibration noise, negative visual impact, Section 487 Real Property Tax Law, and, finally, wind plantations cannot be located near population centers where the power is consumed.

The Nature Conservancy and the Alliance for Clean Energy New York provided a chart which details subsidies ($ tax $ dollars) to 11 corporations.

Chart titled: “Subsidies and Loan Guarantees Received by Members of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York”

Federal Subsidies Received (Grants & Tax Credits)           $8,400,585,616

Federal Loans or Loan Guarantees                                     $6,528,257,588

State Subsidies Received                                                     $3,806,915,019  Billions

Grand Total                                                                        $18,735,758,223  Billions not Millions

Of the $18.735 Billion $5.509 Billion went to foreign corporations. None to Somerset and Yates.

Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard of 50% Renewable Sources by 2030 is beginning to unravel due to the number of large-scale renewable projects required to meet the goal 12 years hence and required new and upgraded transmission lines needed to transport the power hundreds of miles to high consumption regions of southeastern New York.

Search “ACENY_Member_Subsidy_Totals”   for Chart

Gregory G. Woodrich

Williamsville

High-speed chase wasn’t worth the risk after merchandise taken from clothing store

Posted 21 November 2017 at 7:23 pm

Editor:

Why would law enforcement do a high-speed chase from Batavia thru Elba and Barre for a robbery of some clothing from Kohl’s?

Surely they could of gotten enough info from the car and then backed off instead of chasing it through all of these towns and risking hurting someone. I had a sheriff’s deputy run a stop sign and pull out in front of me and this is not the first time this has happened.

Loria Nottingham

Albion

Villages should consolidate services with towns, county to bring down high village tax rates

Posted 21 November 2017 at 11:19 am

Editor:

For too long the villages of Orleans County have ignored the need to reinvent themselves. The fact that some villages need $18/$1000 tax rates to balance the books is an indicator that the current boundaries that we use to provide services no longer match up well to the tax base. The high village tax rates have severely depressed property values. It no longer makes economic sense to either build a new home or significantly renovate an existing home inside a village. The cost to do so would exceed what you would recoup when the property is sold.

Homes in the villages have been torn down without being replaced. New construction in the villages is mostly limited to: tax exempt organizations, businesses where a central location is important, and government subsidized projects. Homes are being rented out until falling into disrepair and then abandoned. Villages have no future if this continues.

There is one realistic path forward that leads to thriving villages: consolidation of basic services with that of the towns and county. The villages need to get out of policing, fire protection, water and highway services. These days nearly all of those services are common throughout the county and can be provided more efficiently and fairly through a smaller number of consolidated departments that everyone pays the same tax rate for.

Villages could instead focus on those services that are unique to villages: street lighting, neighborhood parks, brush pickup, sidewalk plowing, and the like. Village tax rates could be more in the neighborhood of $4 per thousand instead of $18 per thousand. Property values would increase inside the villages as more people are willing to move in.

Orleans County is in the same boat as most other rural counties – population is decreasing. We can no longer afford duplication and waste. By making our local governments as efficient as possible we will best position ourselves for whatever the future holds.

Jason Dragon

Village of Albion

Praise for Holley officials for efforts to rehab old high school building

Posted 20 November 2017 at 4:10 pm

Editor:

I was happy to see your November 15th article about the Village of Holley seeking grant funding to assist in the rehabilitation of the old Holley High School.

I have long hoped that this building would be transformed into something that would be an asset to Holley. The plans for Holley Gardens apartments and new Village offices are a great solution to what is currently a detriment to the Village.

I have toured another previously dilapidated building, the old Eastman Dental Dispensary, which was transformed by the same developer into a beautiful apartment building. I hope to see another such transformation take place in Holley.

Perhaps readers didn’t take note of the request for letters of support for RESTORE NY funding. When seeking grant funding, showing local support is vital and the way to do this is by including many letters of support with the grant application. I urge everyone to write to Mayor Brian Sorochty and express support for this funding. It is helpful if you include why the building is important to you and your hopes for its future.

I applaud the Village for pursuing a solution to the old Holley High School and urge local residents to add their voice by sending letters to the Mayor.

Sincerely,

Erin Anheier

Clarendon

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