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Barre Town Board recognizes Eagle Scout

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 April 2019 at 9:59 pm

Provided photo

BARRE – The Town Board on Wednesday issued a proclamation and plaque recognizing Eli Pask for earning the rank as Eagle Scout. Eli is a member of Troop 175 in West Barre.

He is pictured with Barre Town Councilman Tom McCabe, left, and Town Supervisor Sean Pogue.

For his Eagle project, Eli fixed gravestones at the East Shelby Cemetery that had toppled over. Eli led Scouts in digging to level out the ground so the gravestones could be reset. Some other gravestones from the 1830s didn’t have a concrete base. Eli made the concrete bases and set in the gravestones.

Eli, a sophomore at Albion High School, put down a brick patio area and made two concrete benches. He made the forms and poured in the concrete and then added the wooden slats.

He also put a new roof on a cemetery outbuilding.

“The Town of Barre not only recognizes Eli’s accomplishments but also for his public service and exemplary moral character,” according to the proclamation from the Town Board.

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DEC says expansion of mine in Barre won’t have negative environmental impact

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2019 at 8:29 am

BARRE – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has determined that the proposed Keeler Wilson Quarry Expansion will not have a significant adverse environmental impact.

The DEC announced the decision on Wednesday. The public can comment on the mine’s expansion until May 3.

Keeler Construction has applied to expand an existing dolomite quarry by 23.9 acres at 14120 West Lee Rd.

The life-of-mine area would increase to 341.8 acres and the Permit Term area to 192.9 acres. No changes to the current mining methods or production equipment are proposed, the DEC said.

Based on information provided in the survey report, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has determined that the proposed activity will have no adverse impact on registered or eligible archaeological sites or historic structures, according to the DEC report.

Comments on this project must be submitted in writing to the contact person no later than May 3. The contact person is Robert B. Call, NYSDEC Region 8 Headquarters, 6274 E Avon-Lima Rd., Avon, NY 14414, or by phone (585) 226-2466, and email

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Apex posts more answers to questions asked at Feb. 28 forum about Barre project

Posted 31 March 2019 at 8:20 pm

Press Release, Apex Clean Energy/Heritage Wind

ALBION – Heritage Wind has posted the information from its February 28 Community Forum at the Carl I. Bergerson Middle School Auditorium.

The PowerPoint, Video, Transcript and Full Question and Answer Document can be found at at the Heritage Wind  Power website.

The information session introduced further information on Heritage Wind’s proposed project in the Town of Barre in Orleans County. The program was conducted by a professional moderator and included a panel of professionals comprising Apex Clean Energy development team members and experts speaking on the topics of wildlife, sound, infrastructure, shadow flicker, and the permitting process.

A Q&A session was led by the moderator after the panel presentation. Audience members had the opportunity to submit their questions before and during the program for the moderator to pose to panel members about the project. Questions that went unanswered due to time constraints are part of what has been posted.

“Our intent with the forum and this extensive follow-up is to be as transparent as possible and to give residents and stakeholders the facts and data they need,” said Apex Director of Northeast Development Neil Habig. “We look forward to continued outreach to the community of Barre.”

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Barre Fire Company presents annual awards at banquet

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 17 March 2019 at 9:54 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Karl Driesel, left, president of Barre Fire Company, is shown with Barry Flansburg after choosing him as Firefighter of the Year at the annual installation dinner Saturday night.

EAST SHELBY – Barre Fire Company held its annual installation banquet Saturday night at East Shelby Fire Hall, where new officers were installed and members were recognized for dedicated service.

Longtime member Barry Flansburg served as master of ceremonies and was honored for 40 years as a member of the fire company. He also received proclamations from Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and Senator Robert Ortt.

Flansburg introduced Fran Spohr and her daughter Nicole of Carlton, who volunteered their help during the December search for a missing man. Fran said she heard on the news about the search and called her son-in-law who is a Barre fireman.

“I asked if there was anything we could do,” Fran said.

The two ladies came to Barre and cooked for two days, feeding more than 200 people, Flansburg said.

Barre Fire Chief James Neal chose Kara Bentley for his “Chief’s Award,” which was presented at the annual installation banquet.

Officers for 2019 were installed by Dale Banker, director of Orleans County Emergency Management.

Department officers are president, Karl Driesel; vice president, Jesse Babcock; secretary, Terry Bentley; and treasurer, Edgar Morton.

Firematic officers are chief, James Neal; assistant chief, Ben Flansburg; 1st lieutenant, Bert Mathes; 2nd lieutenant, Brian Bentley; 3rd lieutenant, John Egloff; 4th lieutenant, Barry Flansburg; EMS captain, Andrew Faskel; fire police captain, Judy Kurtz; chief mechanic, Doug Bentley; and assistant mechanic, John Egloff.

Directors are Mark Farone, Patrick Lamka, Bill Basinait, Bert Mathes, Gary Mufford and Austin Zobel.

Fire commissioners are Mark Farone, Bill Basinait, Gary Mufford and Doug Bentley.

Andrew Faskel, right, chose Brianna Caldwell as EMS Person of the Year. She was recognized at Barre Fire Company’s installation banquet Saturday night. She also had the most training hours.

James Neal and Ben Flansburg handed out certificates for years of membership. Several have five years, while Cindy Newlands and Karl Driesel were recognized for 20 years; Jesse Babcock for 30 years; and Barry Flansburg, 40 years.

Brianna Caldwell had the most training hours, with 251. EMS captain Andrew Faskel chose her as the “EMS Person of the Year,” saying she is also the newest EMT in the department.

Neal chose Kara Bentley for his “Chief’s Award,” saying she is his secretary and volunteers to do anything which is needed.

Barry Flansburg received the honor of being named “Firefighter of the Year,” not only for his 40 years of dedicated service, but for discovering a fire at the fire hall last summer and preventing more severe damage.

Driesel presented his “President’s Award” to Bert Mathes.

A tribute was paid to Paul Gillette, a member who died during the past year.

Betty Hazel, president of the Ladies Auxiliary, presented a check for $500 to the fire company, which Driesel said will be used to purchase personal protective equipment.

Officers of the Barre Fire Company for 2019 were sworn in by Orleans Emergency Management director Dale Banker during the annual banquet Saturday night at East Shelby Fire Hall.

Ben Flansburg, left, assistant chief of Barre Fire Company, poses with Bert Mathes, who was recipient of the President’s Award.

Barre Fire Department president Karl Driesel, left, was presented with a certificate for 20 years of membership in the fire department by Ben Flansburg, assistant chief, and James Neal, chief.

Gary Mufford received recognition at Barre Fire Company’s installation banquet Saturday night for years of membership and helping to organize the banquet.

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Part of 98 in Barre to be repaved following harsh winter weather

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 March 2019 at 2:39 pm

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $128 million in new state funding for repaving projects on state roads, including a portion of Route 98 in the Town of Barre.

The governor’s announcement said the roads were all impacted by this year’s harsh winter weather.

Funding will support 91 paving projects and the renewal of approximately 1,000 lane miles of pavement across the state, including at least one project in every county and the City of New York.

The new funding, provided through the PAVE NY Initiative, complements $100 million previously committed earlier this year for local projects that renew approximately 3,700 lane miles of road across New York State. This unprecedented infrastructure investment will make state highways safer and more efficient, while encouraging local commerce and tourism, the governor said. The projects announced today will begin this spring and will be completed later this year.

“A thriving transportation network is critical to supporting New York’s regional economic growth and local economies,” Governor Cuomo said. “While New York continues its nation leading investments in transportation infrastructure, harsh winter weather is the new normal and it impacts thousands of lane miles each year. This funding will help rejuvenate dozens of roads across New York and make traveling smoother while supporting local economies.”

In the Finger Lakes region – Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Yates and Seneca counties – the projects include approximately $12.8 million to renew 118 lane miles of the following roads:

• $980,000 to resurface Route 98 from Puzzey Road to Route 31A in Orleans County.

• $1.8 million to resurface Route 237 from Route 33 to the Genesee/Orleans County Line in Genesee County.

• $1.3 million to resurface Route 436 from the Wyoming/Livingston County Line to the Village of Nunda (West Village Line) in Livingston County.

• $1.3 million to resurface Route 253 (Lehigh Station Road) from Route 15A to Route 65 in Monroe County.

• $730,000 to resurface Route 19 from Route 104 to Route 18 in Monroe County.

• $1.0 million to resurface Route 64 from Route 21 to Dugway Road in Ontario County.

• $2.0 million to resurface Route 88 from Pearl Street to the Village of Sodus (South Village Line) in Wayne County.

• $1.4 million to resurface Route 19 from Route 39 to Route 78 in Wyoming County.

• $1.0 million to resurface Route 96A from Route 96 (Village of Interlaken) to Route 414 in Seneca County.

• $1.3 million to resurface Route 14A from Lake Street to the Windmill Farm in Yates County.

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Apex intends to apply in May-June to build 33 wind turbines in Barre

Photos by Tom Rivers: Tracy Butler, director of civil engineering for Apex, discusses how 33 turbines would be constructed in Barre. He is speaking at a community forum on Thursday evening about the proposed Heritage Wind project in Barre. The meeting was at the Albion Middle School Auditorium.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 March 2019 at 12:01 pm

Company will propose turbines at 655 feet at highest tip height

ALBION – Apex Clean Energy intends to file an application with the state in May or June to build 33 wind turbines with a top tip height at 655 feet, making them some of the tallest structures in Western New York. (One Seneca Tower in downtown Buffalo is the tallest building in WNY at 529 feet.)

The turbines that Apex wants to build in Barre would each generate 4.8 megawatts of power or 158.4 MWs for the entire project. Apex had discussed for turbines with a 600-foot tip height for Barre that would have generated 4.2 MWs.

Getting taller turbines means they can produce more power. That also means the company won’t need to build as many. Apex was considering 47 turbines in Barre as part of Heritage Wind.

Neil Habig (left), is director of project development for Apex Clean Energy’s northeast renewable energy projects. He is joined on the panel by Ben Yaman (center), Heritage Wind project development manager; and Gregory Liberman, senior environmental project manager with Environmental Design & Research in Syracuse. He is working with Apex on many of the environmental studies.

The company held a community forum on Thursday evening at the Albion Middle School Auditorium and company officials discussed different aspects of the project for more than 2 hours. About 50 people attended the forum.

Apex would like to have the wind turbines operational in 2021, said Ben Yazman, project manager for Heritage Wind.

The project is expected to provide about $7,500 per MW to the community to offset taxes, about $1.2 million total. Lease holders also stand to receive at least $5,000 per MW, which would be about $800,000 at the minimum.

Yazman also said at least eight full-time jobs would be created with the project once construction is done.

Building the 33 turbines, running underground cables, constructing electric substations and all the other work on the project will top $200 million, said Neil Habig, director of project development for Apex Clean Energy’s northeast renewable energy projects.

Apex released this layout of the turbine locations, with most of the eastern side of town. Click on map to see it larger.

The company had a panel of experts available at the forum. They were asked many questions about the impact of the turbines on property values, shadow flicker, noise, town roads and wildlife.

Habig said numerous studies have shown turbines don’t depress property values. Because the turbines reduce town taxes, they often result in a community that is in more demand by residents, he said.

“The data shows no negative correlation,” he said. “It’s been studied extensively.”

New York is now home to about 25 wind projects, and Habig said they haven’t reduced property values in their communities.

The turbines will need a minimum wind speed of about 7 miles per hour to turn the blades and generate electricity. Habig said new technology and the taller heights allow the turbines to be financially feasible in areas that previously were thought to not have enough consistent and strong winds.

“The turbines blades are longer and don’t need as much wind to be viable,” he said.

Robert O’Neal, a managing principal at Epsilon Associates in Maynard, Mass., discussed sound impacts from turbines. He said the turbines won’t make enough noise to disrupt neighbors’ sleep.

Robert O’Neal, a sound expert for Apex, said the turbines won’t be louder than 45 decibels to the neighboring homes. That is below the threshold for when outside noise can affect a resident’s sleep, he said.

O’Neal said he has been involved with assessing noise at about 150 wind turbine projects. He said the low-frequency noise known as infrasound won’t be loud enough to cause headaches or affect health.

“Infrasound is in our homes,” he said. “It’s everywhere.”

Apex needs to provide detailed reports to the state as part of the application on many topics about health and safety, wildlife, a construction plan and other issues.

Marcel Minus is a senior energy analyst for Apex. He said shadow flicker is typically an issue for a few minutes each day, and only when it’s sunny outside. He focuses on wind flow modelling, layout design and energy production estimates for Apex. The taller turbines will produce longer shadows.

The company will be building access roads and will have to widen some town roads and increase turning radiuses. Apex will work with Barre town officials to make an assessment of the town roads before the project and then do an inventory of the condition after construction.

“We will leave them in the same or better condition that we found them,” Yazman said about the roads.

These Apex experts include Tracy Butler, construction; Robert O’Neal, sound; and James Muscato, a lawyer who focuses on the Article 10 application process through the state.

Apex also needs to have a decommissioning plan for the turbines. They are expected to last 25 to 30 years. The company needs to provide a financial security for the turbines’ removal as part of the decommissioning plan.

Tracy Butler, director of civil engineering for Apex, said the turbines would be taken down piece by piece. The top 4 feet of the concrete foundations would be jack-hammered out and soil would be put in. Access roads would also be removed and soil de-compacted so it could again be used for crops, if desired.

If Apex is sold, the project would transfer to the new owner. However, the Satte Siting Board would need to vote on transferring the project to the new owner. The same conditions for operating the project would apply to a new owner, said James Muscato, an attorney for Apex.

A video of the presentation will be available at The company will also provide more answers to questions not answered at the meeting. Those answers will be on the Heritage Wind website and also posted to NYS Department of Public Service website that details correspondence and filings about the project in Barre.

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Apex on Thursday will give update on project proposed for Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 February 2019 at 2:07 pm

Officials will be at forum to discuss environmental issues, siting and construction

ALBION – Apex Clean Energy will have a community forum from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday to provide an update on its Heritage Wind project proposed for the town of Barre.

The meeting is at the Albion Middle School Auditorium, 254 East Ave. Doors open at 7 p.m.

This information session will offer a project update and presentations from experts to address topics including environmental, project design and siting, construction, decommissioning, shadow flicker and sound, Apex officials said.

Project information will be on display in the lobby prior to the start of the program, and an agenda for the forum will be provided for all in attendance. The program will be conducted by a moderator and include a panel comprising Apex staff and credentialed experts.

A Q&A session will be led by the moderator after the panel presentation. Audience members will have the opportunity to submit their questions before and during the program for the moderator to pose to panelists about the project. Questions that go unanswered due to time constraints will be answered and posted to after March 28.

“We would like our panelists to be able to communicate about Heritage Wind in a professional manner to enable everyone in attendance to learn more about the project specifics,” Apex said in a news release. “Signs, banners, and disruptive behavior will not be permitted. Security will be present.”

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State approves $204K grant for Pine Hill Airport in Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2019 at 8:27 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: This picture from September 2013 shows Darin Kenney of Brockport standing in a hangar at Pine Hill Airport with several vintage military airplanes, including an air ambulance from 1944 at right.

BARRE – Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $23.6 million in funding for 31 airports in upstate on Wednesday, including $204,000 for the Pine Hill Airport in Barre.

The Pine Hill grant will go towards construction of an aircraft fuel storage and dispensing system. Pine Hill is the only airport with a hard-surface runway in Orleans County.

The state funding for airports was awarded to support safety enhancements, modernization of facilities, operational improvements and local business development, Cuomo said. These projects are funded through the Governor’s State Aviation Capital Grant Program initiative and complement the Governor’s Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, which has provided $200 million to modernize airports across Upstate.

“New York’s airports represent the front door to our local communities and are critical to facilitating tourism and business development,” Cuomo said. “A world-class airport is crucial to regional economic growth, and by investing in the modernization of our local airports we are creating vibrant communities where people want to live, work and play.”

Other airports to receive funding in the Finger Lakes Region include:

• $656,000 to construct a new aircraft hangar at the Genesee County Airport

• $559,000 to construct a deicing containment system and emergency equipment at the Penn Yan-Yates County Airport

• $499,000 to deploy a new start-of-the-art garage parking guidance system at the Greater Rochester International Airport

• $369,000 to renovate an aircraft hangar at the Dansville Municipal Airport in Livingston County

• $336,000 for the installation of a new Jet-A fuel tank and associated equipment at the Williamson-Sodus Airport in Wayne County

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Triple G named ‘Conservation Farm of the Year’ in Orleans County

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District on Thursday presented Triple G Farms with the “Conservation Farm of the Year” in Orleans County for 2018. Pictured form left include: Megan McAnn, a technician for Soil & Water; Guy Smith, Triple G co-owner; and Katie Sommerfeldt, Soil & Water district manager.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 February 2019 at 9:32 am

ALBION – A muck farm that started in 1925 was named the 2018 “Conservation Farm of the Year” in Orleans County. Triple G Farms is now run by brothers Guy and Greg Smith, and their nephew Pete Smith.

They grow potatoes and onions on 645 acres of muckland in Barre, Clarendon and Elba.

Megan McAnn, the Soil & Water technician, holds the Ag Environmental Management sign that Triple G can display for its conservation work. Guy Smith, Triple G co-owner, holds the trophy for the award.

Triple G has worked hard to preserve the soil and improve the soil health, putting I many miles of drainage tile, and putting in cover crops and wind breaks. They have also reduced chemical usage through Integrated Pest Management, including field scouting and targeted application of pesticides, the Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District said on Thursday when it presented the farm with the award.

Triple G also has installed an agrichemical handling and mixing facility which prevents pesticides and chemicals from spilling onto the soil.

“Triple G Farms takes pride in packing a quality product to be enjoyed by consumers while proving their excellent stewardship of the land and desire to protect our natural resources,” Sil & Water leaders said in presenting the award at the agency’s annual meeting at Tillman’s Village Inn.

Guy Smith, one of the farm co-owners, thanked Soil & Water staff for their work in helping the farm implement many of the initiatives at the farm.

“The mucklands are highly erodible and we need to preserve it so it’s there for the next generation,” said Smith, who was worked at the farm full-time since 1981.

The farm continuously is focused on drainage tile, putting in new drainage or replacing tile from decades ago that has deteriorated. The tile helps move water off the muck. Smith said the big rain storms used to be an inch, but now they are 2 inches. That water can flood fields and submerge crops without proper drainage.

The cover crops help hold down the soil after a planting or when a field is plowed. Triple G tends to plant barley as a cover crop for onions and rye in its field of potatoes.

“I just want to thank the Soil & Water staff,” Smith said. “Without the staff we wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

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Tax payment deadline extended to Feb. 21 for Barre and Murray

Staff Reports Posted 14 February 2019 at 5:53 pm

Property owners in the Orleans County towns of Barre and Murray have been given three extra weeks to pay their property taxes, due to the rough winter weather that closed government buildings and slowed the Postal Service leading up to the Jan. 31 deadline.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued an executive order extending the property tax payment due date in municipalities impacted by recent winter storms. This extension allows residents to pay their taxes without interest or penalty for an additional 21 days past the final date taxes are due.

The executive order is in direct response to requests by several municipalities whose property tax due dates fell during or shortly after recent storms, but whose residents were unable to make the payments on time due to the disruption of public transportation, utility service and postal operations.

“With several recent winter storms impeding the ability of residents across the state to pay their property taxes on time, I am extending the due date for these payments to ensure New Yorkers are not penalized as a result of Mother Nature’s unpredictability,” Cuomo said. “Dealing with winter weather events is stressful enough, and residents in communities especially hard hit can rest assured they will not be further impacted by these storms.”

The extension was granted to Cayuga, Chautauqua, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence counties, as well as towns in 40 other counties. In addition to Barre and Murray in Orleans, other towns in nearby counties in the extension include: Darien in Genesee, Hartland, Niagara and Pendleton in Niagara County; and Arcade and Covington in Wyoming County.

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