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Clear Skies says it’s committed sharing information about proposed wind project in Barre

Posted 3 November 2019 at 8:26 am


Clear Skies Above Barre, in response to a postcard recently sent out to the residents of Barre which contained inaccurate information in direct regard to our organization, makes the following statements:

Firstly, we must express that Clear Skies Above Barre is not running for a position in the Town of Barre. The members of our organization have come from all party affiliations and beliefs; we will continue to respect members’ discretion.

Clear Skies Above Barre is and has been devoted and zealous in sharing the truth and spreading knowledge about the industrial wind turbine project, Heritage Wind LLC, proposed in the Town of Barre. Current proposal: 33 turbines in the Town of Barre at 680’. We reject claims that we have misinformed or mislead the public in anyway.

There is no “scheme.” Clear Skies Above Barre is out front in declaring the make-up of our Town Board needs to change to represent and express the concerns and values of all of the residents in Barre. This is evident in Town Board members being listed on Heritage Wind LLC’s list of conflicted individuals.

We support our community voice in Barre and the essential need for transparency specifically concerning industrial wind turbines. We cannot uphold CSAB’s mission “to protect the community of Barre, NY from Industrial Wind in a productive manner that values a sense of community and neighborhood relations,” if our concerns are not represented and residents are intentionally being kept from information.

It is with fervor for our community that we needed to address and correct the false claims made against Clear Skies Above Barre. We openly welcome discussion. Any further questions please send to

Barbara Verburg

Vice President – Clear Skies Above Barre


Conservative Party chairman states support for candidates

Posted 2 November 2019 at 2:17 pm


Please vote for the candidates on the Conservative Party line on Nov. 5 and here’s why. For sheriff, I am convinced Chris Bourke knows what’s going on and what is the best way to deal with it for our county and our great Orleans County law enforcement officers.

For the Highway Superintendent races: In Clarendon, Tracy Chalker will do a great job for you and watch the spending. For Shelby, Dale Root couldn’t be a better choice. My story is Dale’s story. As a small businessman many of us and our families go without just to keep the doors open. Dale will bring common sense and precious value to your tax dollars much better than a comfortable 40-year career politician. Please invoke term limits in Shelby.

For the Town Supervisor races:  In Murray, Joe Sidonio is a rare gem. He’s actually going into government to reduce taxes, reduce the regulatory burden and work for the people. All of the people. Joe is a leader of men and a rare candidate. A fighter for ethics. He has done much to change Murray Town government from the outside. Imagine what he can do on the inside. He has never given up on what is right so now send him to victory with your help on the conservative line.

For Ridgeway, David Stalker is desperately needed. On the outside the current supervisor would make you think his long overstay is a road paved with roses. On the inside, a long history of excessive regulation. Targeting businesses he doesn’t like. Regularly raising your taxes. Now allowing an industrial solar farm into your town and playing into Cuomo’s green scheme of dumping these projects into rural NY with no gain to you.

For the Town Council Races: For Murray, Dirk Lammes is going into government for the same reasons Joe Sidonio is. Cut your taxes, reduce the regulatory burden, and be a fierce watch dog of your tax dollars and unethical practices that plague town governments in this county. Please send Dirk to that seat. Joe will need him as an ally against a machine that wants to continue the “Status Quo.”

For Barre, Kerri Richardson a registered Conservative bringing all the conservative values abandoned by the Republicans in this county to the table. She wants to cut taxes and reduce the regulatory burden on the town residents. Bring common sense and ethics back to government. She will also protect Barre from becoming Governor Cuomo’s next dumping grounds for the Industrial Wind Scam that is being sold as a savior to the planet and gold in the coffers for all. A scam is scam is a scam. Don’t fall for it people of Barre. Vote on the Conservative Line for Kerri.

For Gaines, Dr. Mary Neilans will also bring proven conservative principals to her job as councilwoman. Watching your tax dollars with hawk eyes. Saying no to excessive purchases and spending. Using common sense in her voting. Mary resided over many years of tax cuts in the past. She is fearless and I trust her to always do the right thing for the taxpayers. Send Dr. Mary back for another term on the conservative line.

For Shelby Town Justice, please vote for registered Conservative Mark Wambach. Mark will bring his conservative values and wisdom to the bench and implement the law fairly. The politicians will never vote for term limits. It’s up to the voters. Mark will do a great job.

Get up, get out, go vote, early or on election day.

Thank you.

Paul Lauricella


Orleans County Conservative Party Chairman

Local churches offer great music, art and hope

Posted 2 November 2019 at 12:32 pm


This past Sunday, we joined 60 others in a bus tour of four area churches. The tour included an appreciation of the architecture, art or history of each church, plus a demonstration of the antique organ at St. Mary’s in Medina and the Bell Choir at St. Joseph’s, Holy Family Parish, Albion.

The Bell Choir was amazing, a wonderful demonstration of agility, skill and thrilling music.

Holy Family is blessed with this Bell Choir, 15 members, vocal choir—20 members of nearly equal number of men and women, many of whom are musically trained.

They are conducted by the creative choir director and virtuoso orgainst, Harriet Greaser. She knows the skills of her musicians/singers and utilizes them to their maximum: Six-part harmonies, wonderful duets, most remarkably,  Shannon Vanderlaan and Joe Condulucci recently.

The choir’s tonality, especially on complex harmonies is top-flight and thrilling. St. Joseph’s Church fortuitously, projects music beautifully. We also attended 8 a.m. Sunday Mass recently.  Kelly Kovaleski and the Folk Group were likewise thrilling.

We are big music (and art) lovers. We’re out at night a lot, hearing great classical and jazz, in Rochester, Buffalo and Myrtle Beach. But we’re often wowed by the quality of church music and the art and architecture of churches.

Also, at Holy Family, the sermons/homilies of Fathers Dick and Patryk and Deacon Jim are enlightening and entertaining.

We recommend church as a source of hope, love and music and art!

Marg and Bob Golden


3 candidates would work for a better Barre where everyone benefits

Posted 2 November 2019 at 12:24 pm


Vote for people who will sort through what the industrial wind turbine developers want us to believe and get us the truth! When Heritage Wind LLC talks about ridiculous sums of money and jobs that will come to the town, know that it is not reality.

Vote for people who will diligently and aggressively negotiate for  what is best for our town in all matters. If the turbines do come the best interests of all the community members will be served.

Vote for people who will keep everyone in the community informed. How many of you actually knew that they are currently proposing 680 feet (Vesta 5.6 MW)?

Vote for people who know about other ways to help with taxes that will not lower our property values, be a health threat, or harm wildlife.

Vote for people who know that there are health problems associated with them. Do you need something more to disrupt your sleep (to name just one!)?

Vote for people who are willing to recommend what is best for our community’s health and how far the proposed turbines should be away from homes and property lines.

Vote for people who are concerned with all aspects of our community and looking to a positive, strong future for the Town of Barre.

Vote for people who are well informed about the Article 10 process. Vote for people who have the best interests of everyone in the community.

You do have an opportunity to be represented in Barre. Please vote Jerry Solazzo – Supervisor, Cindy (Delemarter) Burnside – Council person, and Kerri (McKenna) Richardson – Council person.

If built as proposed, did you know Barre would have more structures over 650 feet than NYCity per square mile!

Iva McKenna


Support candidates who respect property rights, welcome investment in community

Posted 2 November 2019 at 12:19 pm


I have seen a pattern emerging in the county and across our towns during local elections. Election interference, officials wielding influence to discriminate against those who do not favor the candidates they prefer and more one-note candidates running for office for the sole purpose of opposing projects, over-regulating taxpayers and restricting citizens’ property rights.

Like those of us in Shelby, our neighbors in Barre, Yates and even Somerset in Niagara County are suffering at the hands of individual candidates and special interest groups backed by lobbyists and big-city law firms making a mint sucking the life and hope out of our rural towns.

Their goal is to ban everything, ban it all and not look back – no new business or industry (unless it’s a farm stand, storefront or manufacturing), no telecom towers to give us better phone reception and no tall structures of any kind. They implement unjustifiable setbacks or acreage restrictions that make other uses prohibitive so there can be no widespread tax relief for our communities as a whole – and less potential for individual landowners to secure telecom or commercial energy leases to offset their own taxes.

These new candidates and officials running for re-election are bent on banning or unreasonably restricting growth and development here. In doing so, they are restricting our freedoms and the right to use and enjoy our property. They’re also setting the county back decades.

Our neighbors in Yates were subjected to similar legislative restrictions developed by the special counsel who mapped out Shelby’s restrictive zoning laws. These laws robbed many of us of technological advances, telecom towers and over 20 land uses. The lawyer and his firm really know how to cash in on taxpayer dollars, creating administrative and procedural chaos, unnecessary delays and obfuscating the facts in a legal proceeding which typically takes under 12 months to resolve – we’re going on 22.

More alarming to see was Yates now using the law firm that represents the Town of Somerset.  Taxes in Somerset went up 150 percent as a result of legal fees incurred to oppose a windmill project. It practically took a citizens’ revolt in Yates to reverse the vote to split legal fees with Somerset “50/50” when the majority of the turbines were to be located in Somerset. It’s not rocket science but the “antis” in the majority couldn’t rework the math on one issue one vote for the good of all their constituents.

When Somerset taxpayers requested public documents under Freedom of Information law what they received was chock full of improper redactions. The redactions could have been challenged in court, but at the time residents did not know their rights. The same thing happened to us and other landowners in Shelby.  It’s an abuse of power when our tax dollars pay for elected officials to work hand in glove with lawyers to conceal information that should be made available to the public.

One of those attorneys also represents a special interest group in Barre opposing another renewable energy project. The attorney reps Clear Skies Above Barre, a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation that receives intervener funding from the state for the Article 10 process.

Clear Skies’ president is also running for Barre’s Town council on the “Citizens for Change” line. The “Citizens for Change” ticket includes three anti-wind candidates that Clear Skies publicly supports. All three candidates are pictured together online and in ads, including a large outdoor billboard which leases for thousands. For a non-profit group that gets funds from the state, Clear Skies Above Barre is actively electioneering.

This is no small thing. Special interest groups and some of the same legal consultants worked to get “anti” candidates elected in Orleans County before. A multi-year review showed registration patterns equivalent to rigging.

I’m not supporting people running for office just to oppose a project and over-regulate me, my neighbors and other landowners. Candidates should have a platform more substantial than angrily opposing something. They should have progressive ideas and show regard for our tax dollars and not deliberately disregard potential tax relief for every property owner. Orleans County is losing population. There’s little hope for revitalization with a huge digital divide and deluge of regulations sure to deter future investment.

Whether or not you support or oppose renewable energy, mining, telecom, or the other banned and heavily regulated uses around here, everyone should support a person’s right to use and enjoy their property. Something will eventually have to be located on somebody’s land, maybe near your house, or right in your view in order for our towns to survive.

Those of us fighting for our property rights in one way or another should stand together on this. My family, neighbors and I will continue the fight in the courts and at the ballot box to regain our property rights, constitutional rights and the modern conveniences we have been deprived of.  And we’ll show up every Election Day to support uncompromised candidates with open minds who run a fair and honest race and will work to advance us all.  I hope you will too.

Edward Zelazny

Zelazny Family Enterprises


Yates town supervisor wants to keep building on successes, remains opposed to turbine project

Posted 2 November 2019 at 8:36 am


I encourage all readers to exercise one of the most powerful rights we have as Americans and get out and vote on November 5th.

I was truly surprised how much each vote matters when I was elected on a write-in campaign four years ago with a thin margin.

Since that election, and another one two years ago, I have tried to serve all residents in the Town of Yates – whether they voted for me or not. I have also tried, alongside my colleagues on the town board (those who agree with me and those who don’t) to chart a course for the future that is inclusive and takes into account all of the blessings we have in Yates: prime agricultural land, a beautiful lakeshore, quiet rural neighborhoods and world-renowned migratory bird pathways and habitats (just to name a few).

Unfortunately, I must report that we have yet to convince Apex Clean Energy to leave town.  The overwhelming majority of Yates residents are against this ill-conceived industrial wind turbine proposal, and yet Apex continues to divide us with their presence. In fact, we are consistently treated as second-class citizens. I co-wrote a letter with Somerset Town Supervisor Dan Engert to Apex CEO Mark Goodwin dated July 24, 2019, asking him to cancel the Lighthouse Wind project. No reply as of the 1st of November. This is indefensible hubris.  Citizens of Barre beware.

Meanwhile, these past few years have been exciting! We expanded the water district, updated the Employee Handbook, revised the Western Orleans Comprehensive Plan and updated our union contract and several town policies.5

We are also in the process of stabilizing the town park from lakeshore flooding. We are grateful recipients of $2.5 million from the state to enhance the town park. We formed a task force comprised of Yates citizens from all walks of life to help us design our new park in a way that best serves the needs of the public.

I ask for your vote, and please vote for John Riggi and Susan Hrovat for Yates Town Councilpersons.

Very respectfully,

Jim Simon


Be wary of pro-turbine pitches from leaseholders, who stand to gain financially from projects

Posted 1 November 2019 at 9:22 am


It is not surprising that a leaseholder would attack my cautionary letter to Barre as there can be very large sums of money involved for leaseholder residents. They are well paid for the impact that the turbines will have on their property.

Our experience from Apex in Somerset and Yates is that they consider leaseholders as project “participants,” have special meetings with them, and give them information others do not have.  This included information that Apex did not give to our town boards and town supervisors. The information that the PILOT Apex is seeking is 20 years actually makes my case stronger because that means that there is a far less financial benefit each year.

Notice that the Heritage Wind website mentions 30 years of benefits to leaseholders and a vague 25-year benefit to the region. It’s lack of clarity is not reassuring. And there is no guarantee as to how long these industrial wind turbines will actually operate.

The leaseholder made a great deal about the host community agreement but that is also included in the total dollar value Apex advertised. If Apex is planning to make a large settlement with the town that means they are planning on a smaller PILOT and there will be far less for the school. So, cut back on plans for the school items listed in the Apex ad.

Relying on the Apex website for Heritage Wind isn’t a thorough information source. Believing that the PILOT will increase over time does not take into account what has happened in Cazenovia with Fenner Wind or the Tug Hill Plateau with Maple Ridge. Those wind companies wanted to cut the value of their projects to a small fraction of their true value – a 97% reduction in the Maple Ridge case.

Maple Ridge is still pending and Fenner has settled for half of taxes the town expected after their original 15-year PILOT ended. This is happening with wind projects across the U.S. – California, Texas, Iowa – to lower the amount of money paid to the towns. Don’t hold your breath that your PILOT payments will increase. They may actually decrease over time.

The leaseholder advised people to visit the Apex website for Heritage Wind. If you are going to take the time to do that take a look at other Apex projects and you will see that each project’s website is a cookie cutter format of all the rest. Any site will do – just substitute the title Heritage Wind on any site.

After that viewing, visit the opposition websites and read about both sides of the issue – not just the Apex sales pitch. Read about sleep deprivation, infrasound, light flicker, turbine fires, ice throw, blade breakage and tower collapses (component liberation is the spin on that one), view one of the movies created by people who have the horror of living too near turbines, or read about the wholesale killing of eagles, bats, and migrating birds. Then remember that the turbines they are proposing for Barre are hundreds of feet taller (with substantially longer blades) than most in the United States.

I wrote my letter of caution because Apex has stated that they plan to build wind turbines from one end of Lake Ontario to the other. I do not want Western New York to be turned into an industrialized nightmare.

Industrial wind turbines produce only a tiny fraction of the electricity that they claim to and it is a highly subsidized product that cannot get to New York City where it is needed. There is much to be lost and not enough to be gained in either electricity or money. Leaseholders and shareholders will benefit, the rest will suffer. Beware of advice given by a leaseholder.

Elizabeth Wolanyk


Oppose cronyism in Sheriff’s Office, and support Sobieraski

Posted 1 November 2019 at 9:12 am


The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office recently promoted two deputies to the rank of Sergeant.  The #1 candidate on the Civil Service Sergeant’s list supported Brett Sobieraski in the June Primary and was therefore denied the promotion.

The two candidates who scored much lower on the exam but supported Brett’s opponent and attended political fundraisers for him were each promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Although Civil Service Law allows for this type of cronyism, does it make this right?

In a Facebook post after the June Primary, dated July 1st, Brett’s opponent stated in his post “there will be no retaliation for supporting another candidate.” I guess he forgot he posted this when the promotions were made.

Leadership is not a position or a title. It is action and example. Let’s elect a sheriff who will take the politics and cronyism out of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office. Let Brett Sobieraski be the example of what leadership looks like. It’s time to restore morale for the individuals who we, as a community, rely on each and every day to protect us.

Please write in your vote for Brett Sobieraski on Nov. 5.

Martin J. Stirk, Sr.


Anti-wind group in Yates, Somerset shouldn’t meddle with Barre project

Posted 1 November 2019 at 9:05 am


Dear Save Ontario Shores, as a lifetime resident of the town of Barre, I ask that your organization stops meddling in our town’s business. Your fight against wind turbines is not welcome in our town.

In the early days of Heritage Wind, SOS came to one of our board meetings, and our town board let them know they are not welcome. I am curious as to why they continue to insert themselves in Barre, and pay hundreds of dollars for a full page ad in the Pennysaver. Barre does not want to end up like Somerset and Yates.

For those who do not know, Save Ontario Shores had a nasty battle fighting Lighthouse Wind in Somerset and Yates. Let’s talk about how great things are going for those towns. The town of Somerset basked in the glory of a hefty PILOT from their coal plant for many years. That coal plant will be shut down in the next year, and the PILOT has been decreasing drastically over the past few years.

Since 2017, their town taxes have doubled. Instead of inviting new business in to make up for the increasing taxes, the town of Somerset spent $400,000 of taxpayer dollars fighting the wind project.

Now, they are begging the state to give them subsidized money to develop a data center that will cost $65 million to create 165 jobs. Each of those jobs would cost about $515,000 of taxpayer money. The Yates Town Board was so concerned with fighting the wind project that they weren’t able to keep track of their books, and were reprimanded by the state comptroller.

I don’t know about you, but this is not what I want in my town. SOS, please stop trying to involve yourselves in the Heritage Wind project and the town of Barre. Our residents are not interested in your tactics. Your towns will continue collapsing as ours flourishes with the money from Heritage Wind.

Kirk, Alice and Charles Mathes


Nursing home gets praise for hosting trick-or-treating

Posted 31 October 2019 at 9:14 pm


I would like to thank the Villages of Orleans Nursing Home for hosting trick and treating for the children.

My grandsons loved visiting and seeing the residents. The residents all had smiles on their faces as they greeted each child. It was a win-win for the children and the residents.

Marie Snyder