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Sheriff’s deputies grateful for kind gestures from community

Posted 12 December 2018 at 11:34 am

Editor:

The Orleans County Deputy Sheriff’s Association wanted to write a letter to just express how lucky we, as police officers, are to be in this community. It is a great feeling when you’re walking out of a store after a call and someone thanks you for your service or smiles and tells you to be safe. The amount of respect and caring that is shown to us by Orleans County residents is nothing short of wonderful.

That being said, we thought that it was especially important to share something that has been happening more often, especially as the Christmas season approaches. Multiple times now, our officers have finished a meal or pulled up to pay for their coffee and sandwich and someone has already covered the bill and continued on without saying a word.

We wanted to just let those people know that a handshake or a hello/thank you alone makes our day; to have someone spend their hard earned money to buy us dinner or coffee is unnecessary, but truly appreciated. Some days in law enforcement can be tough, given the types of calls we respond to or the volume of calls that keeps us away from dinner until well after others have gone to bed.

The selfless acts of kindness by the members of the community we serve need to be recognized. Since we didn’t have the chance to tell most of these people in person, a heartfelt thank you to you all for your kind words and deeds.

We appreciate all the community does for us and we would like to wish everyone the happiest of holidays.

Sincerely,

The Orleans County Deputy Sheriff’s Association

Our Letters Policy

Posted 12 December 2018 at 7:30 am

We appreciate input from our readers, and we publish letters to the editor without charge. While open speech and responsibility are encouraged, comments may be rejected if they are purely a personal attack, offensive or repetitive. Comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Orleans Hub. Although care is taken to moderate comments, we have no control over how they are interpreted and we are unable to guarantee the accuracy of comments and the rationality of the opinions expressed. We reserve the right to edit letters for content and brevity. Please limit letters to no more than 500 words and provide your name, telephone number, mailing address and a verifiable email address for verification purposes. Letters should be emailed to info@orleanshub.com.

Speak up while Gaines looks to revise zoning and land use

Posted 9 December 2018 at 9:33 am

Editor:

The real danger in the Town of Gaines of “intrusion” is the resident’s future! The people that live in Gaines gave their vision for their Town’s future and that was put into a legal foundation called a Comprehensive Plan.

That “vision” or “Comprehensive Plan” provides guidance for land use and zoning in the Town of Gaines. Zoning must be changed to match it. For a period of 18 months that was happening with another committee; but now that  has been altered. All of that hard work was ignored and the present Gaines town supervisor has hired an outside firm and hand-selected an 11-person “Steering Committee” to be your voice or should I say their voice.

The firm and Steering Committee seem more interested in changing the community’s vision to their own vision so future land use and zoning matches their own personal desires. Some of the changes include bringing back the “Planning Board,” changing farm labor housing outside of agricultural districts, and allowing solar farms without public input or information. With this firm and committee anything seems to go.

It is time for all the people to that live in Gaines to stand up for your vision and speak up before it is too late. The next Gaines Steering Committee meeting is on December 17th at the Gaines Town Hall at 7 p.m. The next Town Board meeting is Dec. 10th at 7 p.m.

Oh…and that other committee I mentioned? Not only did that committee follow the vision Gaines residents said they wanted in their town’s future, they also  protected historical buildings and promoted travel and tourism per the peoples wishes. How do I know? I served on that committee as liaison to the Board. It needs to be looked at.

Sincerely,

Sue Smith

Gaines

Former Town of Gaines Councilperson and former AD-HOC Committee liaison

Apex needs oversight for proposed turbines in sensitive area near Lake Ontario

Posted 6 December 2018 at 9:14 pm

Editor:

Apex, which is proposing 39 towering industrial wind turbines in the Town of Somerset and an additional eight in the Town of Yates for its Lighthouse Wind project, has a well-documented history of attempting to place industrial wind projects in environmentally sensitive areas.  Citizen oversight of this out-of-state developer is essential to protect our environment, economy and our health.

In Maryland, citizens discovered potential environmental and tourism impacts of a proposed Apex project in Kent County. Citizen concerns and persistence led Apex to pull the project and instead develop a smaller solar project in that area.

In Nevada, citizens and environmental groups discovered that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) studies regarding eagles were inadequate for an Apex project proposed on public lands. A lower court sided with the citizens. Instead of working with USFWS to get the studies done properly, Apex appealed. The lower court decision was upheld, and Apex, likely not willing to pay for new studies, withdrew the project.

More recently and much closer to home, citizen vigilance showed that Apex is not to be trusted when it comes to providing relevant data. The Apex project proposed on Galloo Island in eastern Lake Ontario is located in a bird, bat and raptor flyway, just like our southern shore of Lake Ontario. Residents know the volume of birds in these areas.

New York State requires that the developer conduct studies to determine the appropriate placement of these huge turbines. Apex failed to tell the appropriate State agencies that its studies revealed a bald eagle nest!

On October 26, administrative law judges for the Department of Public Service (DPS) ruled that Apex should not have withheld information about an eagle’s nest in the Galloo project area.  Administrative Law Judge Michael Caruso stated that this withholding of relevant information “raises serious questions about the applicant’s character and fitness.”

Also related to the Galloo Island wind project, the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency (JCIDA) strongly challenged Apex’s statements regarding a potential PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement as indicating that the process is farther along than it is. David Converse, board chairman of JCIDA, stated that the “Applicant (Apex) infers that the status is far more advanced” than it is and “that the PILOT agreement is almost guaranteed,” which it isn’t.

Developers like Apex are lured into New York State by tax incentives and subsidies. They anticipate large profits by placing these industrial wind turbines at bargain rates on inexpensive land. No thought is given to whether the site is environmentally appropriate, or whether the community impacts would be tolerable.

Apex withheld critical information in the Galloo Island Wind project. What are they withholding in the Lighthouse Wind project in Somerset and Yates? No one should believe their self-serving statements about benefits and lack of harm. We demand assurance that all the needed studies were completed by reputable third parties and that relevant data is publicly available.

The fact remain that Lighthouse Wind is proposed in an environmentally sensitive area. The project has been met with unprecedented opposition on many fronts – locally, statewide and nationally. Apex should walk away, just as they’ve done with other projects.

Kate Kremer

Yates

Vice President of Save Ontario Shores, Inc.

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George Bush showed wisdom and humility in serving the country so well

Posted 3 December 2018 at 7:56 am

Editor:

This piece is meant to convey genuine appreciation for a truly great American who embodied the best of what makes this country what it is.

George Herbert Walker Bush should be revered as a role model for a nation that benefited from his life in ways difficult to comprehend. The facts speak for themselves in terms of his service, incredible modesty, restrained leadership, concern for the well-being of others, commitment to the environment, respect for the Presidency, and willingness and wisdom to craft a post-Cold War order based on dignity even for our bitter adversaries.

Dismiss these words as nostalgic sentimentality if you choose, but we would be wise to reflect on what our 41st President’s life has to teach us.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent

Albion

Sierra Club should push for hydro power, not industrial wind turbines

Posted 29 November 2018 at 9:00 am

Editor:

The recent endorsement of Apex’s proposed Lighthouse Wind by the Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter, is ill-timed, ill-conceived, self-serving, highly biased and smacks of elitism.

The Sierra Club has clearly joined the Apex propaganda blitz in the hope forcing the Somerset-Yates community to accept a project that has already been resoundingly rejected by those that must live among the proposed industrial wind turbines. This endorsement was not unexpected, however it was exceptionally premature as the information presented at the October “forum” upon which the endorsement was based, was preliminary in nature, and by Apex own admission, left much yet to be disclosed.

It is also at variance with what was presented to the Yates Town Board on October 11 in a written statement from the Sierra Niagara group, which read in part “Sierra Club will not endorse or approve any large-scale project until a site plan is finalized presented and can be reviewed.” Apparently, this decision is not as unanimous as we were led to believe.

With respect to the project itself, the power is not needed. Western New York is not short of power. The Niagara hydroelectric power plant is under-utilized. An examination of the record reveals this. With a source of clean renewable power at our door step, why is Lighthouse Wind and other industrial wind turbine projects even being considered?

It seems as though the Sierra Club with its historically deep involvement in environmental issues would be aware of this underutilization of a clean renewable power source and promote its full use. Sadly, the Sierra Club has aligned with Big Wind and Big Government, a convenient alignment that will assure them of financial and political support in the future.

Sierra Club!! Rethink your support for Lighthouse Wind. The proposed 47 industrial wind turbines at 590 feet in height would be scattered along 12 miles of the pristine Lake Ontario and be an environmental disaster.

In addition, those most affected are being neglected. Help promote the clean renewable energy we are blessed with in Western New York. Sierra Club! Regroup! Help us in Yates and Somerset reject proposed Lighthouse Wind and send  Apex “Clean Energy” home.

James C. Hoffman

Somerset

Dollar General would diminish Historic District, nationally recognized cobblestone buildings

Posted 23 November 2018 at 9:30 am

Editor:

When people embark on a vacation to New England, their destination is not a Dollar General store. Rather, the road trip is to quaint, charming, historic towns and villages with well-preserved architecture of the 19th century.

In travelling the Ridge Road (Route 104) from Greece to Lewiston, the best-looking, best-preserved and most historic hamlet is Childs, at the intersection of routes 104 and 98.

Since 1960 the Cobblestone Society, through its not-for-profit efforts, has made every attempt to preserve historic architecture. The society has not only saved original buildings in the community, but also moved in structures that would have otherwise been destroyed.

Likewise, Tillman’s Village Inn has maintained its historic character. More recently, Ray Burke has established Fairhaven Treasures. It utilizes an historic dwelling, this upgrading its aesthetic appeal. It’s also obvious that home owners in this community take pride in their property. This is progress!

In 1993, the United States Department of Interior designated the Cobblestone Church, the Cobblestone Ward House and the Cobblestone Schoolhouse as a National Historic Landmark.

The aforementioned properties are all located in a commercial/historic district. Certain “powers that be” feel the code is too stringent and inhibits business. In my opinion, a box store, no matter how it is disguised, is not the right fit.

If Dollar General is allowed to build in this district it will only allow for other similar corporations to also come in and take up residence. This creeping sprawl is consequently going to lead to a strip mall across the road from a National Historic Landmark.

This is not progress, but rather an intrusion. As a former Cobblestone Museum director and retired Orleans County historian, I certainly hate to see real progress and preservation, sometimes through government grants, diminished by a huge corporation that doesn’t understand the quaint, charming and historic value of this district.

C.W. Lattin

Gaines

Holy Family’s Social Justice Committee supports criminal justice reform

Posted 22 November 2018 at 10:11 am

Editor:

Holy Family Social Justice Committee voted unanimously on Nov. 21 to support a bi-partisan Congressional and Presidential proposal for a beginning of criminal justice reform.

The First Step Act will reduce sentences for non-violent drug offenders, for thousands of 183,000 in federal prisons, and future offenders.

It also gives earlier release incentives for those who successfully participate in treatment, educational and vocational training and increases funding for those.

The experiences of 22 states, 10 of which are fully Republican-controlled, have been convincing. Even though they reduced sentencing terms, reduced prison populations, their crime rates went down. The conclusion: lengthly sentences had little impact as crime deterrence.

They’re tagging this as “Smart (rather than “tough”) on Crime.” They also point out that it’s “Smart” on taxpayers’ pocketbooks. (Interestingly the Reagan administration had Rand Corp. do a study of those in prison. They concluded that 90 percent of those in prison should serve shorter sentences. They suggested that quick and certain punishment was more effective than long sentences. For the 10 percent they pegged as “violent predators” – longer sentences. Our society and politicians didn’t pay attention then. They are now and we should encourage them.)

Recent national studies show that 90 percent of US drug users are white and 74 percent of drug dealers of white. Yet minorities represent about 90 percent of those imprisoned for drug offenses. Numerous earlier studies, including by the American Bar Association and Monroe BA, came to similar conclusions.

Given the prejudiced way we enforce crime, primarily against the poor and minorities, and especially with drug crimes, it’s a matter of justice as well.

Bob Golden

Waterport

Mr. Golden is a retired Probation director in Orleans County, and chairman of the Holy Family Social Justice Committee in Albion. Golden also served on former Bishop Kmiec’s Peace and Justice Commission. Several members of the Social Justice Committee worked in the criminal justice, health and social works fields.

Wind turbines don’t look like green energy compared to environmental toll from construction

Posted 20 November 2018 at 7:24 pm

Editor:

Heritage Wind LLC/Apex Clean Energy is not-so-green energy for our towns of Barre, Yates and Somerset.

Do you know it takes tons of copper, steel, electric wires, underground cables, over-head cables, high-voltage tension towers made from steel, tons of concrete, steel mesh for the base of the wind turbine, access roads made of stone that have to be trucked in by the huge dump trucks that burn fossil fuel and heavy equipment to grade the areas of the wind project?

And please do not forget about the incidental permits that Heritage Wind/Apex Clean Energy need for construction and operation of wind turbine projects in New York State. Two of their permits will make it okay for Heritage Wind/Apex Clean Energy to kill endangered, threatened, migratory birds including eagles, owls, blue herons, bats, ducks, gulls, crows, hawks and more. Is that green energy?

It is time to call our elected town officials and tell them it is time to stand up for the health of our residents and wild life before the money of Heritage Wind/Apex Clean Energy.

Thank you.

William Nacca

Barre

No do-overs in marring historic district, clearing woodlots

Posted 18 November 2018 at 7:52 am

Editor:

At first, clearing woodlots to make way for wind turbines in Barre seems unrelated to erecting a convenience store within what amounts to an historic district in the Town of Gaines.

But how different are they?

First, in different ways, each threatens something that makes Orleans County special. We collectively possess considerable habitat diversity. Is destroying it to allow today’s version of what will eventually become the abandoned oil derricks of the future wise? Why would we want to make the lush landscape of the Town of Barre look more like Roscoe, Texas? This ironically comes as we approach 2020! Many of us will be gone before the “chickens” come home to roost, but future generations will be left with the consequences.

History is another extremely valuable asset in Orleans County.

We won’t get any “do-overs” where the de facto Cobblestone Historic District is concerned either. Convenience store ventures in the midst of numerous quaint, historically significant, 1830’s Greek Revival vernacular-style buildings, constructed, in part, with lake-washed cobbles doesn’t make sense to me. How wise was it to build the ghastly Orleans County Jail on the otherwise magnificent Courthouse Square in Albion?  Modern, it was; appropriate, it was not—at least as I see it.

When we have a choice, why not allow history to help us avoid repeating the mistakes made by earlier generations? After all, this is not a dress rehearsal. It is “the show”. We won’t get any second chances.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent

Albion