Barre firefighters participate in Recruit NY weekend to draw more members

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 April 2023 at 4:46 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

BARRE – Julius Dillard, 3, of Barre sprays a fire hose this afternoon during an open house at the Barre Volunteer Fire Company. His grandfather Josh Jurs is a lieutenant with the fire company, and great-grandfather John Jurs is a long-time member.

Barre held an open house with demonstrations as part of a state-wide Recruit NY outreach effort to try to attract more members and volunteers. Fire company leaders said about 60 people attended the open house and two people took applications to join the fire company.

This group of members welcomed people to learn more about the fire company which responded to 268 calls last year. From left include Barry Flansburg, Jerry Bentley, Terry Bentley, Kara Smith, Bert Mathes, Judy Kurtz, Doug Bentley, jay Kurtz and Mark Farone.

The fire company invited people to check out the fire trucks and try on turnout gear. The fire trucks include a 2010 pumper, 2022 pumper-tanker and 2019 pumper.

Barry Flansburg said the all departments would welcome more members, who can assist a fire company in many ways, whether responding to fire and emergency calls, and helping to run the organization, which could be with some of the office work.

Julius Dillard, left, gets some guidance in spraying the house from his great-grandfather John Jurs while Landon Flansburg, 4, of Barre gets a little help from his father, Ben, who is the Barre fire chief.c

Barre firefighters hosting open house Sunday as part of Recruit NY

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 April 2023 at 8:02 am

BARRE – The Barre Volunteer Fire Company is hosting an open house Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The community is welcome to get hands-on training, said Fire Chief Ben Flansburg.

The event is part of Recruit NY outreach efforts this weekend by many fire departments in New York State.

Barre will offer refreshments during the open house. People also can try on turn-out gear, learn how to spray water and check out the fire trucks and see how they are operated. Barre firefighters responded to 268 calls in 2022.

For more on Recruit NY, click here.

West Barre church planning spring gala on April 22

Provided photos: (Left) Shania and Adele Mathes dressed up for the West Barre Methodist Church’s spring gala last year. (Right) Rose English, left, and Kim Heiler, right, are joined by two friends at last year’s spring gala at the West Barre Methodist Church. This year’s event is April 22.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 April 2023 at 11:31 am

WEST BARRE – The West Barre Methodist Church is welcoming spring with a festive gala on April 22.

Prior to the pandemic, the church sponsored the spring event as a Mother/Daughter Banquet, but last year decided to try and involve more of the community, said Sharon Miller, who heads a planning committee and also chairs a basket raffle.

Theme for the event is “Earth is God’s Gift,” and featured speakers will present a program related to that theme.

The gala will run from 4 to 7 p.m., with a dinner catered by Vickie Scroger. Those wishing to buy tickets should contact Alice Mathes at (585) 738-2976 or Miller at (585) 813-4826 and indicate their choice of roast beef or chicken French. Cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children 10 and younger.

Speakers will be Dee Robinson, a historian and librarian, who will talk about the “Language of Flowers,” and Lenore Markle, who will share information about soil, trees and flowers.

The church’s men’s group will serve the meal and clean up, Miller said. Money from their events goes in the general fund.

The church’s Hospitality Committee has a busy schedule planned for the spring and summer. On May 7, special music at their 9:30 a.m. service will feature the Pine Ridge Boys.

Sundays in the Park will feature music, hot dogs and a beverage. They run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on July 16, July 30, Aug. 6 and Aug. 13. The church will accept donations for the Orleans Food Pantry and backpack program, as well as books for CareNet kids.

Albion students give ‘Kum Ba Yah’ historical marker a fresh coat of paint

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 March 2023 at 11:26 am

Provided photos

BARRE – Students in Mr. Tim Archer’s seventh grade Service Learning class at Albion Middle School recently helped Clarendon Historian Melissa Ierlan repaint a New York State historic marker commemorating the burial place of the Rev. Marvin Frey, composer of Kum Ba Yah and other popular spiritual songs.

The students included Sophia Bouchey, Maliyah Carithers, Sadie Money, Cameron Manacle and Tyler Sullivan.

The students are shown outside the chapel at Hillside Cemetery in Clarendon, working on the sign.

The sign is located on West Barre Road in the Town of Barre. Ierlan has repainted many of the historical markers in Orleans County in recent years.

Firefighters battle blaze at vacant trailer on Allis Road in Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 February 2023 at 8:30 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

BARRE – Firefighters were dispatched this morning to a fire at a vacant trailer at 13455 Allis Rd. in Barre.

A man who used to live in the trailer passed away about two years ago, a neighbor said.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 6:41 a.m. Barre, Albion, Medina and Elba responded as well as the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office and Orleans County Emergency Management Office.

The fire seemed to be concentrated on one side of the trailer.

Fire investigators are on scene to try to determine the cause of the fire.

UPDATE at 6:17 p.m.: Fire investigators have ruled the cause of the fire as accidental but the investigation is continuing.

Barre home destroyed in overnight fire on Hemlock Ridge Road

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 February 2023 at 11:31 am

BARRE – A late night fire at 13200 Hemlock Ridge Rd. has resulted in a total loss of the residence, said James Neal, assistant fire chief for ethe Barre Volunteer Fire Company.

Firefighters were dispatched to scene at 1:24 a.m. It was 2 degrees out and the temperatures would drop to minus degrees while firefighters were at the scene until about 6 a.m.

The one resident in the house got out safely and the Red Cross has been requested to assist that person with temporary housing, Neal said.

He estimated 30 to 40 firefighters assisted with the response with firefighters from Barre, Albion, Carlton, East Shelby, Elba, Oakfield and Medina.

They used water from a hydrant and also filled 11 tankers with water to try to put out the fire, Neal said.

“My guys and everyone did a great job,” he said.

The cause has been undetermined and remains under investigation.

Barre considers survey of town residents on several issues

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 December 2022 at 9:49 am

BARRE – The town may send out surveys to residents, gauging their opinions on many issues, from industrial wind turbines to tiny homes.

Town Council George McKenna presented a list of issues on he would like to hear from residents about, including whether they would support a dollar store, an electric charging station, term limits for Town Board members and other boards (Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals).

McKenna, speaking at Wednesday’s Town Board meeting, also wants to hear from residents on whether the town should pay for announcements in the local media, consolidation of justice courts in the county, marijuana dispensaries, the use of agriculture land for solar projects, and whether the town should adjust its zoning law to not allow industrial-sized turbines.

He would like the Planning Board to take the lead in crafting the survey, and that board could add more questions to the survey.

McKenna said it would make the Town Board’s job easier to know how residents feel about the many issues that could confront the board.

“We can start the ball rolling,” he said about getting a survey in motion.

Town Supervisor Sean Pogue said Planning Board could work on the survey with the Town Board getting a final look at the document before it’s sent out.

Pogue and the board members said residents may need more information on some of the issues, such as “tiny houses.” Pogue said those could be patio homes that are more affordable to senior citizens and younger families.

The Town Board voted to have the Planning Board begin work on the survey. McKenna also suggested an open-ended question for residents to offer ideas to improve the town and also to lower taxes.

In other action at Wednesday’s board meeting:

Supervisor Pogue said Verizon is looking for a site in Barre for a tower to improve coverage in the community. Pogue said the tower would likely be somewhere near the town hall. The town property at the town hall doesn’t have enough room for a “fall zone” for a tower, Pogue said.

Town employees are well aware of the struggles to get a strong signal.

“It should improve our reception so the guys in the highway don’t have to step out of the garage into the parking lot to talk to somebody,” Pogue said.

The board voted to advertise for a town attorney. Bridget O’Toole has worked the past year in the position, following Lance Mark who served the town for 37 years.

Board members said O’Toole has done a good job for Barre. However, the majority of the board wanted to give other attorneys a chance to apply for the position.

Councilman McKenna questioned spending the money to put out advertisements when the board is satisfied with O’Toole.

Councilwoman Kerri Richardson also said she didn’t think the advertisements were necessary, when the board is happy with O’Toole.

But Pogue said Richardson wasn’t being consistent with her thinking because she insisted the board advertise to fill vacancies on the Planning and Zoning boards. (There weren’t any new applications from the community for those positions and the board on Wednesday reappointed Tom Keeler to the Planning Board and Larry Gaylard to the Zoning Board of Appeals.)

Richardson said that was different because the Town Board was trying to reach out to community members to serve on those boards.

Councilwoman Margaret Swan said advertising for the attorney position may give someone in Orleans County a chance to apply for the post.

The board approved a modified contract for ambulance services with Monroe Ambulance. Barre was the first of seven towns in eastern and central Orleans to approve a contract with Monroe on Nov. 9, calling for Barre to pay $8,000 towards ambulance services.

The original contract called for seven towns to pay $200,000 to Monroe to have ambulances based in Albion and Holley in 2023. But the Kendall Town Board didn’t vote to be in the agreement, saying Kendall was already covered through a contract between Monroe and two fire districts.

The revised contract without Kendall is among six towns for $181,200. Barre’s share remains at $8,000.

Farm pride on display at Barre lighted tractor parade

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2022 at 10:09 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

BARRE – Santa Claus waves to people along Route 98 during the Barre lighted tractor parade this evening. There were more than 20 tractors, construction vehicles and other farm equipment in the parade.

Mike Van Lieshout leads off the parade with a sign proclaiming “A Barre Merry Christmas To All.”

The parade started at Van Lieshout’s farm on East Barre Road and then headed north on Route 98 to the barre Town Park.

This was the fourth Barre lighted parade. Last year’s parade was cancelled due to high winds. The event is organized by the Barre Betterment Committee.

Keeler Construction carried this sign wishing people a “Merry Christmas.”

Basinait Farms had a holiday display with a Christmas tree, Buddy the Elf and a festive M & M.

Here are some other photos from the parade.

2 lighted parades set for Saturday in Albion, Barre

Photos by Tom Rivers: Shaw Farms in Byron joined the lighted tractor parade on Dec. 12, 2020. The parade included trucks, tractors and smaller all-terrain vehicles.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 December 2022 at 1:34 pm

There are two lighted parades scheduled for the same time on Saturday – 5:30 p.m.

Organizers of the parades in Albion and Barre believed they put out sufficient notice to not have conflicting parades.

Cyndy Van Lieshout, one of the organizers of the Barre parade, said a lighted tractor parade is a celebration of the town’s agriculture and gravel businesses.

The parade starts near the Van Lieshout farm on East Barre Road and then heads north of Route 98 to the Barre Town Park, where cocoa and cookies will be served.

She said the first four tractor parades were scheduled for the second Saturday in December, although last year’s was cancelled due to powerful winds. Barre didn’t have a backup date in 2021 with the state Department of Transportation.

The Barre Betterment Committee this year applied for Sunday as a backup day in case of bad weather. But Van Lieshout said Saturday looks like ideal conditions with no snow and a high of 37.

The lighted tractor parade is the only one Van Lieshout knows of in this area. She heard about a similar one out west. There are usually at least 20 participants for the Barre procession.

No preregistration is needed. The tractors should show up by 5:15 p.m.

“It’s sad for the families that they can’t go to both,” Van Lieshout said about the two parades. “We pull a different crowd. We’re celebrating agriculture and gravel pits. It fits into our lifestyle.”

She is pleased the community looks forward to the tractor parade.

“Whatever it takes to get people involved in our town,” she said. “It’s supposed to be gorgeous weather.”

A participant in Albion’s debut light parade last Dec. 17 drives down Main Street. There were 30 vehicles decorated for the parade about a year ago.

Susan Oschmann is the main organizer of the Albion parade, which starts at 5:30 from the Arnold Gregory parking lot on South Main Street and then heads north to the downtown, turning right on East Bank Street.

Albion had its debut light parade last year on the third Saturday in December. There were 30 participants, including some tractors.

The parade this year is scheduled during Albion Hometown Holiday event, which includes many activities from morning through the evening.

Oschmann said 23 participants were signed up for “Santa’s Hometown Parade” as of Wednesday and more are welcome. She will accept them until midday Dec. 10 to be announced at the judges’ reviewing stand in the downtown. But last-minute participants can still show up for the parade. They are asked to start assembling in the Arnold Gregory lot at 4:30 p.m.

To register for the parade email for an application.

Oschmann said people who go to Barre’s parade are welcome to come to Albion afterwards for live music with the West Side Drive Band beginning at 6 p.m., pictures with Santa, a wine-tasting, hot cocoa, food from the Lions Club, and a petting zoo by the Christmas tree in Waterman Park.

“Whether people choose Barre or Albion for the parade you’ll have a wonderful time,” Oschmann said. “After either one, come down and enjoy the holiday at the square.”

Many of the activities will be in the closed off area on Main Street between Bank Street and Beaver Alley. The Main Street lift bridge was closed last month for an 18-month construction project.

Oschmann would like to see the event planners for the community festivals get together quarterly in the future to compare dates for their events.

Barre firefighters join ‘Santa Express’ to help deliver presents

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 December 2022 at 6:33 pm

Provided photos

BARRE – Santa Claus was escorted around town today, joined by Barre firefighters in delivering presents to 140 kids in the community.

The annual “Santa Express” visited 35 families this morning. This is the ninth year the fire company has helped Santa make the deliveries.

Santa stops by the Keeler residence to meet youngsters.

People drop off gift-wrapped presents at the firehall and those gifts are then delivered by firefighters and Santa.

The firefighters and Santa split into different groups and were out from about 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. making deliveries.

Barre firefighter John Egloff joins Santa in this stop.

Firefighters say the Santa Express gives them a chance to see families for a good reason, rather than an emergency. It also helps children to meet the firefighters, who act as Santa’s elves while delivering the gifts.

Here are a few other highlights from this morning’s deliveries.

Barre’s lighted tractor parade returns Dec. 10

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 December 2022 at 10:19 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: About 20 tractors and trucks were decorated in lights for the third annual Barre Lighted Tractor Parade in December 12, 2020. This group of tractors includes one driven by Kurt Dudley in center. Last year’s parade was cancelled due to high winds.

BARRE – The lighted tractor parade will be back on Dec. 10, heading down Route 98 at 5:30 p.m.

Last year’s 4th annual tractor parade was cancelled when there were high winds.

This year organizers at the Barre Betterment Committee applied for a second date, Dec. 11, in the permit with the state Department of Transportation. That’s just in case there is bad weather on Dec. 10. Last year the BBC didn’t have a backup date with the permit.

Tractors should show up near the Van Lieshout farm on East Barre Road by 5:15 p.m. They will then head north on Route 98 to the Barre Town Park. No RSVPs are needed.

Barre replacing 4 welcome signs at main town entrances

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 November 2022 at 11:10 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

BARRE – The Town of Barre will soon have new welcome signs at the main entrances of the community with two on Route 98 and two on Route 31A.

Terry’s Signs in Elba finished the first 5-foot-long sign that includes a barn and a message that Barre is “A Right-to-Farm Community.”

The current signs are looking worn out, said Town Supervisor Sean Pogue. Barre paid about $500 for each of the four new signs.

That doesn’t include the cost for new frames that will be built by the Highway Department.

The new signs are on a thin aluminum. They will be reflective at night with the letters of “BARRE.”

Barre first of 7 towns to sign contract with Monroe Ambulance

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 November 2022 at 10:00 pm

Monroe will be paid $8K by Barre, with 7 towns together paying $200K in one-year contract

BARRE – The Barre Town Board this evening unanimously approved a one-year contract with Monroe Ambulance to provide ambulance services in the community.

Barre will pay Monroe $8,000 in 2023 as part of the contract that is being negotiated from seven towns in central and eastern Orleans – Albion, Barre, Carlton, Clarendon, Gaines, Kendall and Murray.

The contract calls for the seven towns to collectively pay Monroe $200,000 for its service. Monroe will station an ambulance in Albion and Holley, said Sean Pogue, Barre town supervisor.

The share for each town is based on percentage of call volume. Towns with more calls will pay more in the contract with Monroe. The contract includes the following compensation from the towns: Albion, $84,400; Barre, $8,000; Carlton, $14,800; Clarendon, $18,800; Gaines, $24,600; Kendall, $18,000; and Murray, $30,600.

The new contract starts on Jan. 1 and Monroe is to receive its municipal payment by Feb. 15.

Monroe will still bill patients and insurance companies for services. The Rochester-based company currently is the main ambulance provider in Kendall, Clarendon and Murray, but Monroe doesn’t typically station an ambulance in Orleans County.

The seven towns have been meeting with Monroe regularly for at least two months, trying to secure an ambulance provider with COVA in Albion on the verge of going out of business.

COVA officials want Mercy Flight EMS to take over the service area. Mercy Flight said it would keep COVA medics and staff, and would work out of the COVA base.

Pogue said that situation with Mercy Flight is happening fast and Town Board isn’t sure of the details of a Mercy Flight takeover and the level of service to the community.

“There are too many changing factors,” Pogue said at this evening’s Town Board meeting. “There is too much unknown with Mercy Flight and COVA right now.”

The Town Board in a 5-0 vote approved a one-year agreement with Monroe Ambulance. The contract, which needs approval by all seven towns, will give the community a chance to see whether Monroe can provide satisfactory service to the seven towns. Mercy Flight could remain an option for mutual aid in 2023, and could be the main provider after that if the towns aren’t happy with Monroe, Pogue said.

“Let’s see how Monroe and Mercy Flight EMS do with their response times,” Pogue said. “Monroe is not going to have a monopoly.”

Town Councilman Dave Waters asked which ambulance provider will be called to a scene if both are operating in the town. Pogue said that will be up to a 911 dispatcher to see which ambulance can respond the fastest.

Barre is the first Town Board to approve the contract. Pogue said the other towns will meet this week and next week to vote on the agreement.

Apex approves 4 community grants for $8,500 total

Posted 7 October 2022 at 5:28 pm

Press Release, Apex Clean Energy

ALBION – Apex Clean Energy and Heritage Wind are pleased to announce that four organizations have been awarded grants as part of the Heritage Wind Community Grant Program.

The 2022 grant program invited local organizations to apply for funds supporting four types of activities: building healthy communities, promoting education, encouraging economic development, and sustaining the environment.

The grant recipients for this cycle are the Town of Barre, the Cobblestone Society & Museum, Orleans Koinonia Kitchen, and the Orleans County Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

“I’m so proud of the work we’ve done over the years to make Heritage Wind a part of the Orleans County community,” said Carmen O’Keefe, senior development manager for Heritage Wind. “As we get closer to this project and its many benefits becoming a reality, it’s great to find even more ways to support organizations doing critical work for this community.”

The grant awards include:

  • Town of Barre – $4,000
  • Orleans Koinonia Kitchen – $2,500
  • Cobblestone Society and Museum – $2,000
  • Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association – $2,000

“The Town of Barre is grateful for the continued support and generosity of Apex Clean Energy,” said Jason Foote, Town of Barre Park director. “This grant money will be used to help us achieve our goal of updating the existing playground equipment and making the Town of Barre Park more family friendly.”

“The Cobblestone Society & Museum is proud of its 60-year heritage of historic preservation in Orleans County and beyond. However, we are not stopping very long to look back because we have an exciting new plan laid out for the future,” said the museum’s director, Doug Farley. “With the purchase of the historic circa 1830 brick home (formerly known as Fair Haven Treasures) directly across from the Cobblestone Museum, we look forward to expanding our community engagement through the addition of a Cobblestone Welcome Center to our campus of historic buildings. A Media Center within the Welcome Center will provide visitors with video introductions to the museum campus buildings and exhibits, as well as general historic overviews of the immediate area, Orleans County, and the region.”

“We do what we do because there are people in this world who need a little help, and that’s where we come in, but we could never do it without the help and support of the community and donators like Heritage Wind,” said Faith Smith, director of Orleans Koinonia Kitchen.

“We are so grateful for the generous grant from Heritage Wind toward the Orleans County Walk to End Alzheimer’s,” said Lynn Westcott, senior director of development for the Western New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Heritage Wind’s support of the Walk will have a positive impact on the people in Orleans County who live with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia and those who care for them, as this event funds the many free support groups, education programs, and other services provided by the Alzheimer’s Association, such as our 24/7 helpline.” The helpline can be reached at (800) 272-3900.

These grant awardees join a list of other Orleans County organizations that have been approved for grants from Apex, including Orleans Community Health, the Albion Betterment Committee, the Town of Barre Historical Society, COVA, ARC of Genesee and Orleans, and many others.

State ORES approves 200 megawatt solar project in Barre, Shelby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 September 2022 at 1:35 pm

Map from Community Energy Solar: The proposed 200 megawatt solar project in Barre and Shelby would be along Crane, Townline and Burns roads near the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

BARRE – Gov. Kathy Hochul announced today that the state has approved a 200 megawatt solar project in the towns of Barre and Shelby. Hemlock Ridge Solar covers about 2,000 acres with 80 percent in Barre and about 20 percent in Shelby.

The State Office of Renewable Energy issued siting permits to Community Energy’s Hemlock Ridge Solar, LLC and also a 120-megawatt project – Boralex’s Greens Corners Solar, LLC. The latter project is in the Towns of Hounsfield and Watertown in Jefferson County.

The permits from ORES are to develop, design, construct, operate, maintain and decommission two major solar energy facilities. These projects will bring a combined 320 megawatts of clean energy to New York homes and businesses and bring over $54 million to local economies, Hochul said.

“My administration has significantly accelerated our development of renewable energy since last year, and today we are further cementing our position as a leader in climate action,” Hochul said in a statement. “We will continue to follow through on our commitment to develop green energy throughout the state, and these projects bring us closer to surpassing our ambitious climate goals, creating well-paying green jobs, and creating a clean, healthy New York for future generations.”

Hemlock Ridge Solar will generate enough power for over 36,000 households and will offset 282,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year, Community Energy officials said. The project will go along Crane, Townline and Burns roads, about 5 miles southeast of Medina.

With today’s decision, ORES has now issued seven permits since 2021, with a majority of the decisions coming within six months of applications being deemed complete.

The Hemlock Ridge and Greens Corners solar facilities are expected to generate enough clean energy to power over 62,000 New York homes for at least 20 years and reduce carbon emissions by over 476,000 metric tons annually, Hochul said.

“New York is rapidly accelerating its development of large-scale renewable energy projects as part of our all-encompassing approach to transforming the state’s electricity grid,” said New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris. “The approval of these two projects – Greens Corner Solar and Hemlock Ridge Solar – is a major milestone in their journey towards commercial operation and demonstrates the productive engagement between project developers, local host governments, and community stakeholders to site these projects responsibly in support of the state’s clean energy targets.”