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Two open houses scheduled for wind energy project in Barre

Staff Reports Posted 6 April 2018 at 3:29 pm

ALBION – Heritage Wind will have two open houses at its Albion office for community members to learn about a proposed project in Barre. Apex Clean Energy is proposing to build a 200-megawatt wind energy facility in Barre.

Community members learn more about the project, meet members of the team, ask questions, and share feedback during open houses from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday. The sessions will be held at the Apex office, 49 North Main St., Albion.

“Apex has been working in the town of Barre for two years,” Project Developer Ben Yazman said. “During that time, we have held conversations with the Town Board, residents, landowners, state agencies, and other stakeholders to inform our development work. We are eager to share what we’ve learned and to answer questions, particularly regarding the community benefits this wind project can bring to Barre and Orleans County.”

Project staff invite the public to stop by if they have questions or wish to schedule a more formal meeting or presentation. Heritage Wind team members can be reached at 585-563-5137 or Office hours are also posted at

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Barre has photo contest showcasing the town and its people

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2018 at 7:53 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Jack Ludwick heads for home plate for the Barre Cubs in last July’s championship game. The Barre Cubs won, 9-8, vs. Sandstone Park. The Barre Cubs have been fixtures in the Albion Midget League since 1956, when the league started.

BARRE – The Barre Bicentennial Committee wants your best photos of the town and its residents for the upcoming 200th anniversary celebration of the town.

Barre is having a photo contest for youth (up to 18 years old) and adults. There are four categories: landscape, architecture, people and farm life.

Photos entered in the competition should be 8-by-10 prints. They need to be at the Town Hall by June 15-16. Judging will be on June 22, just ahead of the big bicentennial bash on June 29-July 1.

The best in show winner will receive $100. Other prizes include: first place, $40; second, $20; and third, $10.

The photos must be taken in Barre during 2017 or 2018, but aren’t limited to entries by Barre residents.

For more on the competition, click here.

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Apex files preliminary scoping statement for Heritage Wind in Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 March 2018 at 5:30 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Ben Yazman, Heritage Wind project developer, is pictured by the Barre water tower on Route 98 behind the firehall in this photo from May 2016.

BARRE – Apex Clean Energy today filed a preliminary scoping statement with the state Department of Public Service. The company seeks to build a 200-megawatt wind energy facility in Barre.

The PSS filing opens a 21-day public comment period for community members to submit comments on the scoping statement.

Apex calls its proposed Barre project, “Heritage Wind.” The company will compile and respond to the PSS comments, “and will make any necessary adjustments to the studies it proposes in connection with the project,” Project Development Manager Ben Yazman said in letter today to the Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary of the Public Service Commission.

Apex has been working in Barre for about two years. It has held several public meetings and has secured leases for 30 of the turbine sites. The company continues to discuss leases with landowners. Apex wants to have 47 sites under contract, Yazman told Orleans Hub.

The project would generate about $1.5 million in annual tax revenue for the town, county, school district and other public services, in addition to about $1 million annually to the landowners, Yazman said.

The company hopes to submit a full application later this year that would detail a preliminary layout of the turbine locations. That would likely be in the central to eastern part of the town, away from Pine Hill Airport. The company intends to apply for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need from the state’s Board on Electric Generating Siting and Environment.

Filing the PSS marks the beginning of a formal public scoping process. The document to follow will describe the environmental setting in the project area, and identify potential environmental and health impacts from the construction and operation of the turbines.

“There will be a bevy of studies,” Yazman said at the company Albion office, 49 North Main St.

The scoping document will outline proposed benefits of the project, proposed studies on potential impacts to birds and bats, and proposals to minimize environmental impacts and reasonable alternatives.

The PSS will detail the environmental impact analysis that Apex will conduct with the project, including potential impacts to land use, public health and safety, terrestrial ecology — including birds, bats and wetlands, water resources, aquatic ecology, communications systems, transportation and utilities, and cultural, historical and recreational resources.

Visual impacts to be studied include the potential for shadow flicker, should with electromagnetic fields, and the impact on the statewide electrical system.

“Importantly, the PSS document will not yet include specific details regarding the proposed facility or its potential impacts on and benefits to the environment and the community — that information will be developed through the studies and commitments outlined in the PSS, and submitted in the formal Article 10 Application later in this process,” Yasman wrote to Burgess today.

Feedback in the PSS will play an important role in the development of the project, he said.

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With proclamations and citations, Barre marks 200th anniversary

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 March 2018 at 6:37 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

BARRE – The Town of Barre celebrated its bicentennial on Saturday with an open house at the Town Hall and several proclamations and citations on the milestone anniversary.

The top photos shows Town Supervisor Sean Pogue, left, listening to State Sen. Robert Ortt, center, and Assemblyman Steve Hawley read a proclamation from the state about Barre’s 200th anniversary.

They are pictured in front of a 10-by-17-foot flag that was donated to the town by the DeZetter family. The flag was made in 1886 when there were 38 states. Ortt said he would like to find some state funding to better preserve and display the large flag.

The town was founded in 1818. Barre officially formed on March 6, 1818. There will be another open house at the Town Hall on West Barre Road on Tuesday from noon to 6 p.m. There are many historical displays in the Town Hall in honor of the town’s bicentennial.

There will be a bigger celebration on June 29-30 at the Town Park on Route 98.

Orleans County legislators Lynne Johnson and John DeFilipps read a proclamation from the County Legislature about Barre’s 200th anniversary. The town also received proclamations and citations from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, and Congressman Chris Collins.

Sean Pogue, the town supervisor, invited barre residents to be active in the community and help write the next chapter of the town’s history.

“As a community, let’s put our thoughts together and create that sense of family and community that we will celebrate 25 years from now,” he said.

The proclamation from State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and State Senator Robert Ortt states the following:

Whereas, the State of New York takes great pride in recognizing and celebrating important milestones in the history of communities in the Empire States; and

Whereas, as New York State Legislators, we congratulate and honor those municipalities which were influential in the growth and development of our state and have greatly contributed to the economic and social prestige of the Empire State; and

Whereas, Barre can trace its founding back to the pioneer days of the Holland Purchase and the original four million acre “farm” known as the Morris Purchase, which was bought from Massachusetts in 1791; and

Whereas, the first settlers to reach the Town of Barre are Stephen Paine in 1816, who traveled on Ridge Road from Rochester, and Judge John Lee in 1818, who officially settled the area on March 6, naming it after his hometown of Barre, Massachusetts; the first Town Supervisor was Nathan Whitney in 1818; and

Whereas, Barre, the Massachusetts’ town namesake, was originally a colonel and member of the British Parliament during the American Revolution but was also a staunch friend of the early American colonies; and

Whereas, many of Barre’s early settlers were Revolutionary War veterans who came in ox-drawn wagons; pioneers eventually built crude log cabins without floors, chimneys or windows transforming the wilderness into productive farms and comfortable homes; and

Whereas, the agriculture industry has been an integral part of Barre’s economy since its inception, with open land yielding plenty of buckwheat, corn, rye, oats, wheat and dry beans, while its 2,000 cows make Barre the hub of Orleans County’s dairy industry; and

Whereas, Barre is currently home to more than 2,000 residents who embody the sheer determination, grit, and perseverance of early settlers who pushed through uncut wilderness and forest to start a new, more promising life on the fertile farmlands of what is now the Town of Barre; and

Whereas, may the Town of Barre and its good citizens stand as shining examples for all other localities to emulate, and may the town flourish and grow now and forever in the future; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Senator Robert Ortt in conjunction with the citizens of the 139th Assembly District and 62nd Senate District, offer congratulations and best wishes for continued success to the Town of Barre.”

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Church seeks variances for former Barre Grange to make site more attractive for reuse

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 January 2018 at 10:29 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: David Snell, owner of Snell Realtors in Albion, urges the Orleans County Planning Board to support setback variances for the former Barre Grange. Without the variances, Snell said the building is unlikely to find a new use.

ALBION – The former Barre Grange doesn’t have much space for vehicles to park. That makes it difficult for the building to find a new use, even if it’s just for storage, Orleans County Panning Board members were told on Thursday.

The building at the corner of Route 98 and Maple Street in Barre is owned by the Barre Presbyterian Church. The church wants to sell the former grange, but it will be a tough sell without the variances.

The Barre ordinance requires 15 feet for side setbacks but the former grange only has 1 foot for a setback. The ordinance also requires a minimum lot width of 200 feet, but the old grange only has 53 feet.

The Orleans County Planning Board voted against the variances on Thursday in an advisory recommendation to the Town of Barre. The County Planning Board said allowing such substantial variances would undermine Barre’s zoning regulations.

Peter Snell, owner of Snell Realtors in Albion, said the board should consider the future of the building without variances.

“What’s the alternative?” Snell asked the board. “If you can’t use it, who will level it? The congregation? It would be nice instead if it was collecting taxes.”

Snell said there was a potential buyer interested in the building for storage.

The lack of a setback from the building to the property line leaves no potential for a septic system, severely limiting future options at the site. But Snell said a storage business would be ideal, not requiring septic. Snell said he thinks there is room on the site for holding tanks.

Brian Napoli, the County Planning Board chairman, said the board makes recommendations based on the town ordinances. He suggested Barre revise its ordinance for the hamlet if it wants to facilitate reuse of the former grange.

Gary Daum, another board member, said the grange is one of the few buildings left in Barre’s hamlet that hasn’t been changed over the years. He thinks it’s an important building historically for the community.

Sarah Gatti, a planner for the county, said the variances could be denied but that doesn’t seal the building’s fate. Uses for the site could still be considered on a case by case basis and the town could approve them.

“It’s not a lost cause,” she said.

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Barre planning bicentennial bash from June 29-July 1

Posted 23 January 2018 at 5:51 pm

Press Release, Barre Bicentennial Committee

BARRE – The Town of Barre will celebrate its Bicentennial June 29-July 1, with events primarily at the Barre Town Park on Route 98. A full weekend of entertainment is planned including an antique car and tractor show, game booths, a parade, contests, fireworks and live music.  A delicious array of food will also be available all weekend long.

History will be on display with photos, recipes, and stories from Barre’s past highlighted throughout the weekend. Many organizers will be in period dress and attendees are encouraged to dress in historical costume as well.

Historical exhibits will highlight notable residents such as former US Congressmen Lorenzo Burrows and John G. Sawyer, American anthropologist and ethnologist Frank Hamilton Cushing, and Marvin V. Frey, an evangelical minister and writer of the well-known spiritual song “Kum-Ba-Yah.”

The event’s planning committee is looking for historical contributions from the public. If you have a story or item of significance from Barre’s history, or would like to be involved with the planning or fundraising for the event, please contact one of the committee members or the Town Hall.

Several fundraisers are planned, including can/bottle drive bins available for returnables located at the Town Hall and the Barre Deli. Several fundraiser dinners are planned with the next one, a spaghetti dinner, on Feb. 3 at the West Barre United Methodist Church. Tickets will be available at the door. Any monetary donations would be gladly accepted as well.

There will be contests for residents to participate in including beard growing and photography. Participants can start growing their beards now.

In addition to the weekend-long celebration at the end of June, the town will officially mark its 200-year anniversary on March 6, 2018. There will be a recognition ceremony at the Barre Town Hall on that date and another ceremony on March 3, 2018 at 1 p.m. with local politicians and press invited.

About Barre:

The Town of Barre was founded in 1818 and was named after the birthplace of an early settler, Judge John Lee. The town, at 55.1 square miles, forms the southern border of Orleans County. In the quiet Town of Barre, there are country roads, small churches, friendly neighbors, and some of the best chicken barbecues around.

The Town of Barre remains much the same today as when it was founded; it is still a friendly agricultural community. The farms in the town are small family owned operations and among these are several century farms.

The town also contains approximately 4,000 acres of muck land. Along with the farms are some small businesses and other community services including two churches, a volunteer fire company, and an airport. There are also two sportsmen clubs in town and many acres of wide-open spaces providing countless opportunities for outdoor fun, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and trail riding.

For further information, please contact the Town of Barre Bicentennial Planning Committee:

Sean Pogue (585) 589-5100, ext. 6

Maureen Beach (585) 589-5100, ext. 1

Adrienne Daniels (585) 589-5100, ext. 1

Kathy Klein (585) 409-5635

Kelly Dudley (585) 746-1677

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Retiring town supervisor praised for 18 years of service to Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 January 2018 at 11:43 am

Photos courtesy of Maureen Beach

BARRE – The Town of Barre held a party on Saturday for Mark Chamberlain, who retired on Dec. 31 after 18 years as town supervisor. In the top photo he is shown cutting a cake with his wife Lois by his side.

The celebration was held at the Barre Town Hall. During Chamberlain’s tenure as town supervisor, Barre built a new town hall, a new salt storage facility, a new town park and also created four new water districts. Construction of the fourth water district starts today.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley presents a proclamation to Chamberlain from the State Assembly for his 18 years as town supervisor.

Chamberlain, a retired chemistry teacher at Albion Central School, served as Barre town supervisor following his career as a teacher.

Chamberlain chats with town residents, including Bill Basinait at left.

Sean Pogue, the new Barre town supervisor, reads a citation for Chamberlain, thanking him for his service. Chamberlain didn’t seek re-election in November. Pogue won a three-way race for town supervisor and took office on Jan. 1.

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Barre town supervisor’s retirement party set for Saturday

Staff Reports Posted 14 January 2018 at 8:45 am

BARRE – The retirement party Mark Chamberlain is now set for Saturday, Jan. 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Barre Town Hall.

The celebration was planned for last Saturday but was cancelled due to the temperatures at about 0 degrees.

Chamberlain, a retired chemistry teacher at Albion Central School, served as Barre town supervisor following his career as a teacher.

He was influential in expanding and modernizing the town hall, creating new water districts, and developing a new town park on Route 98.

Chamberlain didn’t seek re-election in November. Sean Pogue won a three-way race for town supervisor and took office on Jan. 1.

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Retirement party for Barre town supervisor postponed

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 January 2018 at 5:33 pm

Mark Chamberlain

BARRE – The retirement party planned for Saturday for Mark Chamberlain has been postponed due to the very cold temperatures.

The event was planned for 3 to 6 p.m. at the Barre Town Hall. A new date hasn’t been determined yet.

Chamberlain, a retired chemistry teacher at Albion Central School, served as Barre town supervisor following his retirement as a teacher.

He was influential in expanding and modernizing the town hall, creating new water districts, and developing a new town park on Route 98.

Chamberlain didn’t seek re-election in November. Sean Pogue won a three-way race for town supervisor and took office on Jan. 1.

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Barre couple thankful to be in new home after explosion destroyed house on Christmas 2016

Photo by Tom Rivers: Fonda and Don Carr are pictured in their home on Wednesday on Wilkens Road in Barre. They moved into the house on Dec. 21. Their old farmhouse was destroyed in an explosion and fire on Christmas Day about a year ago.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 January 2018 at 10:36 am

Don and Fonda Carr appreciate community’s help the past year

BARRE – It was just over a year ago when Fonda and Don Carr crawled through a window at 4 in the morning, escaping with their lives while their home on Wilkens Road was engulfed in flames.

The Carrs lost nearly everything in the fire on Dec. 25, 2016. They are thankful to be alive. They consider it a “Christmas miracle” that they survived that night.

Since then the community has responded in a big way, donating $26,000 through a GoFundMe and additional funds at a benefit raffle.

“The people of Orleans County have just been wonderful to us,” Mrs. Carr said on Wednesday evening at the new house. “We’re very grateful and we’ll never forget them.”

People from outside the county also donated to help them recover from the fire.

File photo: The Carr house was destroyed in an explosion and fire on Christmas about a year ago.

The Carrs have been married for 44 years. They lived in an apartment in the Village of Albion for much of 2017. A contractor, Geoff Christian, worked to build them a new house on Wilkens Road. On Dec. 21, four days before Christmas, the Carrs moved into the new house.

“It’s beautiful,” Mrs. Carr said about the one-story, two-bedroom home.

They miss their old farm house, where the Carrs said they have strong memories of raising their two children there.

The couple also feared all of their family photos were lost in the fire, but their son Donny found some pictures that survived. Wet towels and clothes landed on a box of photos and that protected the batch from the fire. Those photos include Mrs. Carr when she was a baby and her parents’ wedding album.

The Carrs are grateful to be back in their neighborhood. Mrs. Carr grew up down the road and Don is a life-long West Barre resident. The road is named for Mrs. Carr’s grandfather, John Wilkins, who was a farmer, just like Mrs. Carr’s father, Arthur Wilkins.

‘The people of Orleans County have just been wonderful to us. We’re very grateful and we’ll never forget them.’ – Fonda Carr

Mrs. Carr worked as a substitute teacher in Albion and Medina. Many of the donations came from her former students.

Mr. Carr is retired as a mechanic and operator from Iroquois Rock Products, a quarry in Brockport. He also is a long-time member of the Barre Sportsmen’s Club. One of the members, Nick Salvatore, organized a benefit for the Carrs. His band, Eagle Creek Band, was one of four bands to play at the benefit.

The Carrs are proud people who have tried to help others and aren’t accustomed to being on the receiving end.

But they said the help, as well as encouraging words throughout the year, have been appreciated.

They recalled fleeing from their burning home about a year ago.

Don Carr heard the ice slide off the roof at about 4 a.m. Then he heard a loud hissing.

Carr happened to be up at that hour going to the bathroom. He thinks the ice severed the propane line. Soon his house was filling with gas. Carr yelled to his wife Fonda to get up.

Carr suspects the well pump turned on in his basement, and that spark ignited an explosion with the house turning into an inferno.

“It was the loudest boom I’ve ever heard in my life,” Mrs. Carr told the Orleans Hub about a year ago. “The house was filling with flames. There was a series of explosions and the wall was buckling.”

The house was rocked by the first explosion, and more followed as the Carrs frantically tried to get out. The front door was jammed and wouldn’t open from the house shifting. The Carrs opened a kitchen window leading to the porch – and got out, barely. As they were scrambling to get away, the house became fully engulfed in flames.

“Your adrenaline is pumping,” Mrs. Carr said. “We just wanted to get out. We didn’t get anything out of the house, because we just knew we had to get out.”

The Carrs made it out wearing their pajamas. Everything else was destroyed including the Christmas presents they had for their family.

Their neighbor, Tom Keeler, heard the explosion and called 911. (Keeler, one of the owners of Keeler Construction, donated gravel and money to help the Carrs rebuild.)

The Carrs escaped the house without any burns. Mrs. Carr was hit in the back of the head by her “Jesus clock” in the living room. She needed one stitch after being taken to Strong Memorial Hospital. After getting hit with the clock, she said she realized how urgently she and her husband needed to get out.

“Jesus was watching out for us,” she said on Wednesday. “Without that I don’t think we would have made it.”

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