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County planners support mining expansion in Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 May 2019 at 11:41 am

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board is backing the expansion of a quarry in Barre.

Keeler Construction/Barre Stone Products has acquired land to expand its quarry by 24 acres at 14120 West Lee Rd. The parcel is surrounded on three sides by Keeler’s existing quarry.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation holds jurisdiction over mining and excavating activities. However, local communities retain control over where there should be quarries, the County Planning Board said.

The Keeler expansion “is the next logical step in the life of the quarry,” planners said.

Keeler could start mining from the site later this year. It plans to go down about 30 feet to the mine the high-quality dolomite.

The final reclamation plan includes the entire quarry and will result in a 220-acre freshwater lake, varying 20 to 70 feet in depth.

In other action, the Planning Board:

• Recommended the Town of Ridgeway approve the site plan for a pool services and supply business at 3932 Salt Words Rd., which is in the Light Industrial district.

Sarah and Joshua Ferguson are running a business, Express Pool and Spa, from the site. They sell pool supplies, covers, chemicals and parts, heaters, filters and pumps, as well as in-ground and above-ground pools. Joshua also operates JKF Services, for which he performs handyman services.

• Recommended the Town of Yates approve the site plan for a 40-by-80-foot storage building at 10708 Millers Rd. This property was rezoned on April 11 from Agricultural/Residential to Industrial.

The building will serve the Medina Window business, which is owned by Merle Yoder. The addition will allow Yoder to store windows and window materials.

• Recommended the Town of Shelby approve the site plan and special use permit for an aesthetic pond at 10500 West Shelby Rd. in an Agricultural/Residential District.

Tim Winters is seeking approval for the pond. The town requires 100-foot side and rear setbacks for ponds. Winters is requesting variances of 80 feet for the setbacks. If the town insists on the setbacks at 100 feet, Winters won’t be able to have the pond in the most poorly drained area of the property, planners said.

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Repaving of 98 in Barre will continue next week

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 May 2019 at 11:01 am

BARRE – Motorists should expect some delays on Route 98 in Barre through next week while a section of the state road, from Route 31A to Puzzey Road, is repaved.

The $980,000 project is being funded through the PAVE NY Initiative, which includes $128 million in repaving of state roads, including about 1,000 lane miles with at least one project in every county.

The repaving started on Tuesday in Barre and is expected to be complete later next week, with a break for the construction crew during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

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3 anti-turbine candidates running in Barre as independents

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 May 2019 at 12:00 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: These three candidates are running together under the “Citizens for Change” party in Barre in the upcoming November election. From left include Kerri Richardson for town councilwoman, Jerry Solazzo for town supervisor and Cindy Burnside for town councilwoman.

BARRE – Three candidates for the Barre Town Board are running together under the independent “Citizens for Change” party with a goal to change the dynamics on the Town Board and keep out a proposed wind turbine project.

Jerry Solazzo, a former town zoning and code enforcement officer, will run as town supervisor against incumbent Sean Pogue, who has been endorsed by the Republican Party.

Kerri Richardson, leader of Clear Skies Above Barre, is running for town councilwoman along with Cindy Burnside, a local real estate agent.

The three candidates held an open house last week at Hoag Library. They stated their opposition to Apex Clean Energy’s proposal for 33 wind turbines in Barre. Heritage Wind would include turbines that peak at over 650 feet high.

“People feel it’s a done deal and it’s not,” Solazzo, a retired Medina technology teacher, said at the open house. “It’s going to be a long hard fight, but we’re up for it. We have good people running. We need to change the makeup of the board.”

Solazzo said many of the town officials have conflicts of interest with the project, either having a lease with Apex or having other family and friends that stand to benefit from leases.

Richardson, in her role with Clear Skies, has asked the state attorney general’s office to look into the issue to see if the town officials have conflicts of interest and should remove themselves from any discussion or review of the project.

The candidates said the Town Board needs to better communicate with residents, give them ample time to speak during meetings, and work on other pressing community issues, including the need for high-speed Internet.

“We want to make sure everybody knows what’s going on,” said Richardson, who works as an agriculture teacher in Batavia for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. “We’re running on better communication with the residents.”

Richardson also has been endorsed by the Conservative Party. Solazzo is a registered Democrat and Burnside is a registered Republican.

Richardson said the three candidates have put aside party differences for a focus on a better Barre.

Solazzo said he supports the Barre Fire Company’s push for a new firehall, which has been rejected three times in a public referendum. He believes the community would support the new firehall if they fully understood the challenges with the current firehall and the benefits of a new building. Barre residents last voted on the firehall on Sept. 12, 2017,  with the Barre Fire District seeking permission to borrow $2.52 million for a new firehall with a community center on Route 98. The proposition was voted down, 217-212.

“Truthfully, I’m all in favor of it,” Solazzo said about the project. “It’s just a matter of working things out to get it.”

The candidates say Barre’s distinction with the highest town tax rate in Orleans County at $9.18 per $1,000 is a deterrent to attracting more residents, and strains the wallets of residents, especially elderly on fixed incomes.

Solazzo said he sees the large turbines as making the situation worse, depressing property values.

Burnside, the real estate agent, said she turned down a lease to have two turbines on her property. She said the rural landscape is an asset for many people who want to live in the country.

The town, however, needs to work to make the community more appealing for younger families, and she said high-speed Internet is needed.

While Richardson is opposed to the turbines, she said the town needs to negotiating for significant revenue with the project, with the majority of the funds going to Barre and not being diluted in a shared agreement with the school district and Orleans County.

Richardson said she opposes the state takeover of having the final say in large-scale turbine and solar projects. A state siting board will give the final decision. However, Richardson said Barre can pass its own local laws to ensure protections for residents and the environment.

“I truly love Barre and the right-to-farm environment we have,” she said.

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Boy Scout in Barre earns his Eagle

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 May 2019 at 8:01 am

Photos courtesy of Jeff Andrews

EAST SHELBY – Eli Pask had his Court of Honor ceremony on April 27 when he was recognized as an Eagle Scout. Pask, a member of Troop 175 in West Barre, is pictured with his parents, Kevin and Heidi Pask, left. Mike Schreiner served as master of ceremonies. Karl Driesel, in back, is Scoutmaster for the troop.

The ceremony was held at the East Shelby Community Bible Church, where Eli’s grandfather, Erik Olsen, is the pastor.

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.

Frank Berger (right), an Eagle Scout and representative from the American Legion, recites the Eagle Scout Oath with his fellow Eagle Scouts.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley also attended the ceremony and presented Eli with an Eagle Scout Citation on behalf of the New York State Assembly.

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Triple G Farms presented Empire Award by State Senate

Staff Reports Posted 29 April 2019 at 7:55 pm

Photo courtesy of State Sen. Rob Ortt: Guy Smith, co-owner of Triple G Farms in Barre, is presented an Empire Award by State Sen. Rob Ortt.

BARRE – Triple G Farms, which is based in Barre, was presented with an Empire Award last week by State Sen. Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda. Ortt also serves on the State Senate’s Agriclutre Committee.

“Triple G Farms is a shining example of the monumental impact a family-owned farm can have on a local community,” said Sen. Ortt. “Their work with local conservation groups and farm service agencies has helped transform community farming practices, while work with environmental quality programs has helped establish new agrichemical handling plans. I’m proud to honor such a wonderful community partner and look forward to the incredible work they will continue to do for the agriculture community in the future.”

Triple G in February was honored as Orleans County’s “Conservation Farm of the Year.” Triple G started as a muck farm in 1925. Triple G Farms is 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.

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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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