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Photos of Trunk or Treat at Barre Town Park

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2020 at 7:08 pm

Provided photos

BARRE – The Barre Betterment Committee hosted a safe Trunk or Treat at the Barre Town Park today with about 100 kids coming out from 2 to 4 p.m.

This is the first time the Betterment Committee hosted the event. There were 12 trunks with candy and treats.

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Barre will discuss zoning changes for turbines on Oct. 14

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 October 2020 at 9:04 am

BARRE – The Barre Town Board is reinstating its workshop for 5 p.n. on Oct. 14 at the Town Hall to discuss proposed changes in for wind energy regulations.

The town scheduled a public hearing on Sept. 28 about the changes but cancelled that so neighboring towns and counties could be notified that Barre was considering changes in the zoning.

Barre is expected to set a new date for the public hearing at the Oct. 14 meeting.

Among the revisions proposed include increasing the maximum height of a wind turbine, from tip height, to 700 feet. The town currently sets the limit at 500 feet.

Apex Clean Energy is proposing wind turbines that would be a maximum 680 feet high as part of a 33-turbine Heritage Wind project in Barre.

The zoning amendments also would set the setbacks from property lines to be at least 1.5 times the tip height of a turbine, and that is for non-participating land owners or those without leases for a turbine.

The zoning changes also would revise standards for noise levels for wind turbines, shadow flicker and construction hours. The town also is looking to add requirements for aircraft detection lighting and for decommissioning of the turbines.

The meeting on Oct. 14 will be limited to nine individuals or resident groups (husband and wife) to allow for social distancing, said Sean Pogue, the Barre town supervisor.

People can also call (585) 589-5100 to listen in on the discussion. Callers should press 5 and when asked then press 4321.

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Barre cancels public hearing on Wednesday for zoning changes on wind turbines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 September 2020 at 3:53 pm

BARRE — The town has canceled a public hearing scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Barre town highway garage, 14317 West Barre Rd.

Town Supervisor Sean Pogue said the hearing will instead be in late October. That date will be set at the Oct. 14 Town Board meeting.

Pogue said the hearing needed to be pushed back so neighboring towns and counties could be notified that Barre was considering changes in the zoning.

Among the revisions proposed include increasing the maximum height of a wind turbine, from tip height, to 700 feet. The town currently sets the limit at 500 feet.

Apex Clean Energy is proposing wind turbines that would be a maximum 680 feet high as part of a 33-turbine Heritage Wind project in Barre.

The zoning amendments also would set the setbacks from property lines to be at least 1.5 times the tip height of a turbine, and that is for non-participating land owners or those without leases for a turbine.

The zoning changes also would revise standards for noise levels for wind turbines, shadow flicker and construction hours.

The town also is looking to add requirements for aircraft detection lighting and for decommissioning of the turbines.

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Heritage Wind approves grants for 8 community groups

Posted 23 September 2020 at 8:17 am

Press Release, Apex Clean Energy, Heritage Wind

BARRE – Heritage Wind and Apex Clean Energy are pleased to announce eight Orleans County-based organizations as the recipients of Heritage Wind Community Grant Program funds from the program’s Summer 2020 grant cycle.

These grants, which ranged from $250 to $3,500, are designed to support community organizations in the following areas: Building Healthy Communities, Economic Development, Environmental Sustainability, and Promoting Education.

“These local organizations are doing amazing work. We are both thankful and proud to support them as they provide important services to the community during these challenging times,” said Carmen O’Keefe, Development Manager with Apex Clean Energy.

Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance received a grant to help improve the health and well-being of their emergency responders and staff through upgrades to the living quarters within their base in Albion.

“On behalf of Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance, we would like to thank Apex Clean Energy for the generous grant funding. This grant will allow COVA to update our ambulance base to a more suitable space for our pre-hospital providers serving this community,” said Brandi Fisher, Finance Manager for COVA EMS.

The Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension received grants to support both the construction of the Orleans County STEM Hub, which will be dedicated to year-round STEM activities for Orleans County youth, as well as ongoing 4-H programming.

“We are extremely grateful for the support,” said Robert Batt, Executive Director of the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension. “This is a tough year for many reasons, and we have some amazing projects that have been years in the making. In a time of unknowns, support from our community is how we can keep our favorite traditional programs strong and grow into new areas.”

Both the Hospice of Orleans and the Medina Central School District received grants to assist with the purchase of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for their front-line staff.

“The MCSD is grateful for the grant from Heritage Wind for the purchase of clear masks to assist our teachers in their challenging role this fall. We value your community support and thank you for your help,” said MCSD Superintendent Mark Kruzynski.

Other grantees include the Barre Volunteer Fire Company for investing in new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) emergency response technology, Christ Church Community Kitchen to help with the purchase of a new freezer and refrigerator to meet increased needs, The Arc of Genesee Orleans to support their Orleans Enterprises vocational program, and the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum to help offset revenue losses due to Covid-19.

One of Heritage Wind’s long-standing priorities is to be a strong community partner, working with local governments, area businesses, and non-profits to improve people’s lives across the region. Our community grant program is one way that we can contribute to pressing community needs and make a meaningful impact at the local level.

Heritage Wind and Apex Clean Energy intend to open an additional round of grant funding this Fall to be awarded before the end of the year. Click here for more information.

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Sierra Club states its support for Heritage Wind project in Barre

Posted 20 September 2020 at 3:15 pm

Press Release, Apex Clean Energy/Heritage Wind

BARRE – After an extensive review of the project’s public benefits and impacts, New York’s largest environmental advocacy organization has announced its support for Apex Clean Energy’s Heritage Wind project.

The Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, representing 46,000 members in NY state, gave the 184.8-megawatt wind farm proposed for the Town of Barre its stamp of approval after an evaluation by the Chapter’s local committee covering Orleans County.

The evaluation looked at several aspects of the project including any impacts on wetlands, forested areas, birds, and wildlife as well as community benefits and the project’s effect on agriculture and food production. Heritage Wind scored 14 out of 16 possible points in the evaluation, earning the project a strong endorsement from the group.

“The Sierra Club supports clean renewable energy,” said Ellen Cardone Banks, Conservation Chair for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “We must phase out all burning of fossil fuels to hold off the worst effects of the climate crisis and to avoid further damage to our air and water. Burning coal, gas and oil to generate electricity degrades our soil and waterways, harms wildlife, including damage to habitats, and increases the suffering and costs of respiratory illness, besides fueling climate change.”

Heritage Wind submitted its Article 10 permit application earlier this year. If approved, the project would be expected to enter construction in 2022 and be operational by the end of 2023.

“We expect high standards of environmental protection and community benefits from renewable energy projects, and we examine concerns through the lens of scientific evidence rather than scare tactics and unsubstantiated rumors,” Banks said. “Before endorsing any specific utility-scale wind or solar project, we review all available evidence of wildlife protection, impacts on forests and food production, and provisions for community engagement, benefits, and available information on labor standards that provide family-supporting jobs. Applying these criteria to Heritage Wind, the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter endorses the project plan and will be continuing to monitor the project on these standards as it goes forward.”

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Safe left in farm field will be donated to Barre Historical Committee

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 August 2020 at 10:25 am

Provided photo: This safe was left in a farm field last week. It will be donated to the Barre Historical Committee to be displayed in a future town museum.

BARRE – A safe left in a farm field on East Barre Road will be donated to the Barre Historical Committee and will likely be displayed in a future Barre museum.

The safe was left in a field owned by Kirk Mathes last Thursday. Many have tried to get the safe opened to no avail. Mathes will give the closed safe to the Historical Committee.

That group would like to have the note returned that was attached to safe: “If you can open you can have what’s inside.”

That note was removed when the safe was in the field, and so was a dial that was knocked off the safe. The Barre Historical Committee would like the note and dial to be part of a display with the safe.

That message was shared this morning on the Town of Barre community Facebook page.

The Barre Historical Committee has had a barn donated to display Barre relics. Many of artifacts are currently displayed in the Town Hall but there isn’t enough space for the items, especially as there are more donations to the Historical Committee.

News about the mysterious safe quickly spread through town by word of mouth and social media last week. A group showed up with crowbars and sledgehammers and tried to pry it open in the field, but was unsuccessful.

The safe, which weighs about 500 to 600 pounds, was brought to the Mathes farm, but owner Kirk Mathes has since put it in an undisclosed location.

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Mystery safe plopped in Barre field so far can’t be opened

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 August 2020 at 6:19 pm

Provided photo: This safe was left in a field on East Barre Road but hasn’t been able to be opened. It had a message on it: “If you can open you can have what’s inside.”

BARRE – A mysterious safe was discovered Thursday morning in a field owned by Barre farmer Kirk Mathes on East Barre Road, near Route 31A.

The safe included a note: “If you can open you can have what’s inside.”

News of the safe quickly spread through town by word of mouth and social media. A group showed up with crowbars and sledgehammers and tried to pry it open in the field, but to no avail.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office showed up Thursday and urged the crowd to go away.

The Mathes farm hauled the safe back to the home farm with a Skid Steer. Mathes estimated the safe weighs 500 to 600 pounds.

They tried at the farm to get it open but haven’t had any success.

“I don’t know how the thing will get opened,” Mathes said today. “I expect it’s empty.”

Mathes has no idea why the safe was put in his field, if it’s a practical joke or what the reasoning is behind it.

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Barre survey results have nearly 70% ‘totally opposed’ to turbines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 August 2020 at 1:38 pm

Supporters of project expect turbine revenue will reduce town taxes significantly

BARRE — A survey of Barre households paid for by George McKenna, a local veterinarian, shows nearly 70 percent of the respondents are “totally opposed” to turbines in the town.

McKenna sent surveys last month to 735 households in Barre. He received 258 responses. (Five were returned by Postal Service because no one lives at house.)

That is a 35 percent response rate for the 735 surveys. McKenna has been vocal in his opposition to the turbine project proposed by Apex Clean Energy. The company wants to build 33 turbines in Barre that would top 650 feet.

McKenna had a group of local residents, including a lease holder for a turbine, open the surveys and compile the results.

“I was expecting 40 to 50 percent to be opposed,” McKenna said. “But they are overwhelmingly opposed at 70 percent.”

In the survey, residents are asked to consider 11 scenarios and to check only one box that they most strongly agree with.

The first option — “We don’t want the wind turbines” — was the most popular answer, by far. It was checked by 176 of the 258 surveys or 68 percent.

Other responses asked if residents would support turbines, with responses varying on whether the turbines are not more than 500 feet high or not more than 700 feet tall.

Other responses varied whether the setbacks were from property lines at a distance in compliance with World Health Organization recommendations or another response was a distance of 1,500 feet from property lines.

The survey also offered responses for residents to state their support for turbines whether the revenue from the project would wipe out town taxes fully, at 50 percent or at 25 percent.

McKenna acknowledged in a letter accompanying the survey that the turbines could lower the town’s property taxes.

“Who doesn’t like lower taxes?” he wrote in the letter. “If your family views this as an opportunity that can sustain you for the foreseeable future, I respect that decision, and no one can fault you for making it as long as the neighbors are protected from any loss, being health and property value.”

Among the surveys that showed support for turbines, 35 of the 78 (45 percent) said they would support the project only in town taxes were completely offset by the wind energy project.

Those surveys in support also showed that 58 percent or 45 of the 78 want the town to require setbacks at the WHO length, which is more than 1,500 feet from property lines.

One response on the survey allowed people to check, “We want them no matter the consequences.” That was checked by 22 people or 9 percent of the responses, which represents 28 percent of the people who said they would support the project.

Another 4 respondents said they were “undecided” about the project.

McKenna is on the Town Board’s agenda for the meeting this Wednesday at 7 p.m. where he will present the survey results to town officials.

“I want the Town Board to know how people really feel about this,” McKenna said. “The Town Board assumes most people are for it.”

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Barre shows love to Beth Nesbitt on her 100th birthday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 August 2020 at 9:08 am

Photos courtesy of Kelly Dudley

BARRE — The Barre community showed Elizabeth “Beth” Nesbitt lots of love on Saturday, during a celebration for her 100th birthday.

Many people stopped by her house to honk in support of her reaching the milestone birthday (which is actually Aug. 7). It was a steady parade of people throughout the day.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Barre Town Supervisor Sean Pogue present citations and proclamations to Nesbitt in honor of birthday and her many years of community service.

Nesbitt has lived in Barre for 70 years. She married Bob Nesbitt, a three-time Navy Cross recipient from World War II. They had eight children.

During WWII, Nesbitt worked at an ammunitions plant, sighting scopes for aircraft and volunteered with the Red Cross. She was a teacher at Head Start for 35 years, from 1965 until her retirement in 2010 at age 90.

She was active in many ways serving the community. She was an EMT until age 84 and served on the COVA board of directors. She also was on the board at for the visitors center at the Albion Correctional Facility, where she volunteered to teach inmates how to knit.

She also was on the Habitat for Humanity board of directors.

“Elizabeth accomplished all of this while raising her children, returning to college and being an involved parishioner of the Barre Presbyterian Church, serving in numerous capacities,” State Assemblyman Steve Hawley said in presenting her with a citation on Saturday.

Barre Town Supervisor Sean Pogue also presented Nesbitt with a proclamation in honor of her 100th birthday and decades of good works in the community.

Earlier this year Barre also threw a 100th birthday party for Don Ross on May 21.

This group from Head Start joined the celebration. Nesbitt was a Head Start teacher for 35 years.

COVA also stopped by to thank Nesbitt for her service. She was an EMT and served on the COVA board of directors.

Many community members stopped by to congratulate Nesbitt, including this group on horseback. The Nesbitt Farm also turned 100 years old this spring.

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Heritage Wind offers grants for community projects

Posted 18 July 2020 at 5:40 pm

Press Release, Heritage Wind/Apex Clean Energy

BARRE – Apex Clean Energy and Heritage Wind are pleased to announce the opening of the Summer 2020 grant cycle for the Heritage Wind Community Grant Program.

The program was launched this past spring to help small businesses and nonprofits in the Town of Barre and Orleans County. During the Spring 2020 grant cycle the program supported a number of programs including:

  • A $4,000 grant to the Orleans Community Health Foundation for the purchase of PPE sterilization equipment at Medina Memorial Hospital.
  • A $2,500 grant that was matched by $2,000 in donations from area landowners to the United Way of Orleans County for their “United We Help” program.
  • A $1,000 grant to the Barre Historical Committee for establishing a permanent home for the town’s historical artifacts.

The goals of the grant program are to support projects and programs that build healthy communities, create economic opportunity, encourage environmental sustainability, and promote education.

  • Building Healthy Communities – Programs that support public health, good government, open communication, citizen resources, and/or enhance the quality of life in the community. Applicants must demonstrate how the program or event contributes to these social goals.
  • Economic Development – Apex Clean Energy supports and encourages the entrepreneurial spirit. It is part of our mission to serve as a catalyst for economic opportunity and development within the communities where we operate.
  • Environmental Sustainability – Programs that possess a strong link to environmental revitalization, sustainability, or education thereof, empower residents to be stewards of the environment, and/or encourage partnerships to address environmental concerns and sustainability. Participating organizations must have a credible record of success in environmental performance.
  • Promoting Education – Programs that support educational institutions, the advancement of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and training programs for careers in the wind industry. This may include curriculum development, literacy, school readiness, and other initiatives that help students grow into young leaders. Vocational training institutions that help build a skilled workforce are also included and encouraged to apply.

Grants are typically awarded in $250 to $4,000 increments, with priority given to grants that demonstrate meaningful impacts to the greatest number of area residents. We will be accepting applications until August 14, 2020 on our website (click here).

If you have any questions about the grant program, please contact Brian O’Shea at brian.oshea@apexcleanenergy.com or by phone at (952) 393-2986.

West Barre church’s chicken barbecue is a sell-out

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 July 2020 at 4:50 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

KNOWLESVILLE – Jesse Farwell, left, and Kurt Dudley cook chickens this afternoon at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The barbecue is for the West Barre United Methodist Church. The chickens were headed back to the church after being cooked.

The church was hoping to sell 500 pre-sale tickets and quickly surpassed that, reaching 800. The meals are takeout and drive-in only.

The chickens cook in the pits at the fairgrounds. The church had about 10 volunteers working on the chickens for several hours today in 90-degree heat.

Dan Shuler checks the temperatures of the chicken.

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