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Family makes sign thanking people for working onsite during pandemic

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 April 2020 at 10:16 am

Provided photo

BARRE – Jodi Antsey and her family made this sign thanking people in different careers for continuing to go to work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The family displayed the sign in front of their house on Johnny Cake Lane in Barre on Wednesday.

Antsey said people are invited to drop thank you notes in a tote box by the sign for people in the different occupations. When the pandemic is over, she will deliver the cards.

Antsey is a school bus driver who currently isn’t driving a bus because schools have been closed.

She asked her friends on Facebook to list some of the occupations where people still need to show up for work. So far, the sign includes firefighters, police officers, farmers, Postal Service employees and mail carriers, outpatient and inpatient treatment facilities, school bus drivers delivery food and schoolwork for students, grocery store workers, doctors and nurses, mechanics, retail store workers, garbage pick-up workers, nurses, military, dispatchers, Fed Ex and UPS delivery, electric/water/gas employees, daycare staff, state troopers, teachers and school employees, pharmacists and staff, hospital workers, corrections officers, social workers, drug and alcohol treatment staff, EMS staff, home health aides, assisted living caregivers, CNAs, gas station employees, warehouse employees, medical supply companies and restaurants providing takeout and delivery. (She also just added news reporters.)

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Country Lane Veterinary Services will celebrate 30 years in June

Posted 3 April 2020 at 8:36 am

Press Release, Country Lane Veterinary Services

Provided photos: George and Iva McKenna have worked together at Country Lane Veterinary Services the past 30 years. The business is located at 15202 East Barre Rd. Country Lane in 2018 was named the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year.

BARRE – What do Seinfeld, Family Matters, Polly Pockets, the GameBoy, The Little Mermaid and Country Lane Veterinary Services all have in common? They all got their start in the year 1990!

That year on April 1 Dr. George and Iva McKenna opened the doors of Country Lane Veterinary Services. God has blessed the business with successes and challenges, going from a two-person operation to currently having eight employees (and continuing to grow).

George and Iva are excited to be celebrating their 30th year in business, and are looking towards a bright future. Dr. George McKenna shared, “30 years! Feels like 5; and no, I am not going to retire.”

Iva says, “We have been so blessed to get to know the clients, and their wonderful pets. It is so much more than just a business.”

Country Lane Veterinary Services would like to say a sincere thank you to all of their clients, staff (current and past) and the wonderful community that provides the chance to grow and serve!

The past 30 years have gone by quickly, and the Country Lane team really enjoys the opportunity to take care of your pets. Everyday the team at Country Lane strives to live out our motto of “Healthy pets live happier longer lives which makes the pets’ lives, the owners’ lives, and our lives better!”

To celebrate their 30 years of business, Dr. George and Iva McKenna would like to invite you to a celebration on June 20 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. with delicious food, ice cream, raffles and more. Kids will be able to perform teddy bear surgeries, a great photo opportunity.

In addition, the animal hospital will be open for tours, and our team will happily answer questions about our equipment, and our practice, Dr. McKenna and Iva may share a few stories. Should this event have to be cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, we will look forward to still celebrating in an online/social media format.

George and Iva McKenna are shown in the early years of Country Lane with three of their four daughters. This photo is from around 1993. The three daughters from left include Caton (Conde), Kerri (Richardson) and Betsey (Cunningham). The youngest daughter, Jenny, wasn’t born yet.

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Apex making grants available for community efforts in Barre, Orleans County

Posted 31 March 2020 at 8:42 am

Press Release, Apex Clean Energy 

ALBION – Apex Clean Energy is announcing the launch of the Heritage Wind Community Grant Program. The program will award funds to organizations and projects in the Town of Barre and Orleans County.

One of Heritage Wind’s primary goals is to be a strong community partner and establish long-term relationships with local residents. At a time when community organizations may see an increased need for supportive services, the Community Grant Program will enable Heritage Wind to contribute towards pressing community needs and make a meaningful impact.

“This is a difficult time for all New Yorkers and we want to step up and do what we can to support both short-term needs and long-term investments in Barre and Orleans County,” said Carmen O’Keefe, Project Developer for Heritage Wind, and a Western New York native. “This grant program gives us a meaningful way to support the things that this community decides it needs most.”

Grants will be available to any individual, group, or organization working within the Town of Barre and Orleans County to make a positive difference in one or more of four key areas that align with the core values of Apex Clean Energy:

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) 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.

When filling out your application, please be as detailed as grants will be awarded on a quarterly basis for the remainder of 2020, with $4,000 in grants available per funding cycle. Applicants should be non-profit organizations that are making an impact in the listed areas of focus.

The application period for the first round of community grants will close on April 30, though grants may be awarded prior to that date based on need. While not all applicants will receive support in the program’s first cycle, priority will be given to grants that demonstrate meaningful ways of achieving their stated objective and make a positive difference in the lives of the greatest number of area residents.

For more information on how to apply, click here.

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Heritage Wind submits application to state for 33 turbines in Barre

Posted 14 March 2020 at 11:19 am

Press Release, Apex Clean Energy (Heritage Wind)

BARRE– After an extensive period of public outreach and engagement, project engineering, and numerous studies, Apex Clean Energy’s Heritage Wind project filed its Article 10 permit application with the New York State Board on Electric Generating Siting and the Environment.

The first project to file an Article 10 application this year, Heritage Wind would consist of 33 wind turbines located within the Town of Barre in Orleans County. (Click here to see the layout for the proposed turbines in the town.)

If approved and built, the 184.8 megawatt project would connect to the New York State electrical grid via an interconnection substation that would be constructed within the town along the existing National Grid Lockport-to-Mortimer 115 kV power line.

“We are excited to be formally submitting our application, bringing Heritage Wind one step closer to becoming a reality and helping New York reach its clean energy goals,” said Karlis Povisils, senior vice president of development with Apex Clean Energy. “We have worked closely with community members and stakeholders for several years to bring this major economic development opportunity to Orleans County and look forward to a long-term partnership with the local community for years to come.”

Heritage Wind was awarded a 20-year contract for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in the New York State Energy & Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) 2018 REC Solicitation and is currently working to secure buyers for the energy generated by the project.

In addition to generating enough clean, homegrown New York energy to power over 45,000 homes, Heritage Wind would create millions of dollars in economic activity for the Town of Barre and Orleans County, including an estimated $50 million in Host Community and PILOT Agreement payments to the town, county, and local school districts. The project would also support over 100 construction jobs and 12 local full-time jobs once the project is operational.

“Heritage Wind is one of the biggest economic development projects to come to Orleans County in memory,” said Larry Gaylard, a lifelong Barre resident and former Barre Town councilman of 18 years. “If approved, the project would invest millions of dollars in our communities throughout the construction process and life of the project. Permanent clean energy jobs and payments to local governments will be a benefit for decades. Congratulations to Apex Clean Energy and the entire Heritage Wind team on this major project milestone.”

In addition to the construction investment and payments to local governments, area farmers and landowners stand to benefit from the project through landowner lease payments totaling $50 million over the life of the project.

“It has been a tough couple of years for farmers, causing many young people to move out of rural farming communities” said Kirk Mathes, a sixth-generation farmer in Barre who will host a turbine on his property if Heritage Wind is approved by the New York Siting Board. “The revenue provided by harvesting the wind will help stabilize farm incomes and allow family farms to continue on for generations to come.”

With the application formally submitted, Heritage Wind developers expect a response from the Siting Board in the next three to six months requesting additional information before the application is deemed complete. Once it is deemed complete, the Siting Board must decide on whether to approve the application within 12 months.

For more on the project, click here to be directed to the Heritage Wind website.

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Barre removes merry-go-round from park due to insurance company concerns

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 March 2020 at 6:31 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

BARRE – The merry-go-round at the Barre Town Park was removed today by the highway department.

The town’s insurance provider, New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal, said the merry-go-round posed a safety risk and considered its removal a high priority. A merry-go-round can be dangerous to get on or off while it is rotating.

The Town Board on Wednesday authorized Dale Brooks, highway superintendent, to take out the merry-go-round at the park on Route 98.

The town last year put in two loads of wood chips near the merry-go-round so children would be less likely to slide underneath it. But Pogue said that wasn’t enough to ease the concerns of NYMIR, the insurance provider.

NYMIR also urged the town to put concrete barriers on the edge of the parking lot so vehicles can’t drive on the playground. Pogue said those barriers are at the park and will be put in place soon by the highway department.

(The highway department also is repairing the backstop fence at the Little League field. Those repairs weren’t identified as an action item for the town by the insurance company but town officials want the fence in good shape for the upcoming baseball season.)

NYMIR also suggested the town clerk have a panic button that would alert law enforcement if there was a safety concern or emergency at the town hall. Pogue said the town officials are discussing installing a panic button.

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Barre opposes Cuomo’s proposal for more state control with large-scale energy projects

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Barre Town Board met Wednesday evening and voted unanimously to oppose Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed Article 23, which would accelerate the siting of renewable energy projects in the state. Pictured from left include Town Board members Lynn Hill, Margaret Swan and Kerri Richardson, Town Supervisor Sean Pogue and Town Clerk Maureen Beach.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 March 2020 at 9:20 am

‘We don’t want the governor to take over eminent domain and what goes on in this town.’ – Town Supervisor Sean Pogue

BARRE – The Barre Town Board went on the record Wednesday to oppose Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to speed up review of large-scale energy projects, with the state taking more control of the process.

The governor introduced Article 23 as part of a budget amendment last month. He acknowledged large-scale solar and wind projects often are encountering resistance around the state. And the review process is often taking three years or more.

He wants to ensure that complete applications are acted upon within one year, except in the case of certain former commercial and industrial sites, which will be reviewed within six months.

Cuomo proposed creating a new Office of Renewable Energy Permitting to improve and streamline the process for siting of large-scale renewable energy projects. The governor said the projects deliver significant benefits to local communities.

Barre town officials see the proposal as taking local control away from towns.

“The Article 23 Amendment, if passed, would greatly limit the role of local zoning laws, avoid critical reviews of local environmental conditions requiring mitigation, allow the State to take certain lands through eminent domain and make them available to developers for construction of power plants, and limit a town’s taxation and assessment powers,” according to the resolution unanimously adopted by the Town Board.

If the project is acted on by the state within a year, the application would be deemed approved by default.

The resolution approved by Barre says the governor’s proposal would reduce public participation, limiting voices of opposition or disagreement to a project.

Barre, in the resolution, also states if Article 23 becomes law the town “will not provide any local resources or cooperation towards approval, administration and/or enforcement of any permits.”

The town already has two applications for large-scale renewable energy projects. Apex Clean Energy is proposing 33 wind turbines with a capacity for 185 megawatts as part of Heritage Wind.

Community Energy also wants to build a 200-megawatt project – Orleans Solar LLC – on 1,800 acres of land in Barre and Shelby near Townline Road by the wildlife refuge.

Sean Pogue, Barre town supervisor, said he expects most of the municipalities to pass similar resolutions. He is concerned the governor’s proposal could become law as part of the next state budget which is due to be passed by April 1.

“We don’t want the governor to take over eminent domain and what goes on in this town,” Pogue said.

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Barre accepts $945K bid to construct Water District No. 9

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 March 2020 at 8:20 am

BARRE – The Town Board on Wednesday accepted a $945,633 construction bid to build Water District No. 9.

Sergi Construction of East Aurora will install the water district. The project will extend public water service to 42 residential users and one commercial user on sections of Kams Road, Maple Street, Pine Hill Road, Gray Road, Eagle Harbor Road and Hemlock Ridge Road.

Barre has been approved for $1.3 million in federal funding – $708,000 in a low-interest loan and $493,000 in a grant – for Water District No. 9.

Town Supervisor Sean Pogue said he expects construction will start in the next four to six weeks.

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1,800-acre solar project proposed for Barre, Shelby

Photos by Tom Rivers: Joseph Green, director of development for Community Energy, discusses a plan for a 200-megawatt solar project in Barre and Shelby. He is shown speaking during the Barre Town Board meeting.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 March 2020 at 11:42 pm

BARRE – A major solar energy project has been proposed for Barre and Shelby.  Community Energy wants to build a 200-megawatt project – Orleans Solar LLC – on 1,800 acres of land in the two towns, with the project close to the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

The big array of panels is not expected to have an significant environmental impact on the wildlife or wetlands, Joseph Green, director of development for Community Energy, said at tonight’s Barre Town Board meeting.

The project, if it passes local and state approvals, is expected to generate $750,000 annually in revenue for local governments.

“This is going to have a big impact on local taxes,” Green told residents at the meeting tonight.

National Grid transmission lines run right through the project area. Community Energy is seeking permission for an interconnection to get the power on the grid. Community Energy says it will generate enough electricity for 36,000 homes.

This map from Community Evergreen shows a preliminary layout for the project which would be near Townline Road in Barre and Shelby. The green in the lower left corner represents the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. The solar panels would be south of Hemlock Ridge Road with nearly all of them east of East Shelby Road.

The project is eyed for a sparsely populated area near Townline Road. The project would go on land that is currently mostly used for farming.

The project is listed as utilizing 1,800 acres, but Green said the solar panels and substation would take up about 1,200 acres. The company also needs to provide a buffer for setbacks near property lines and wetlands.

Among the solar array, about two-thirds of the land also will be open spaces, he said.

The company will put up a fence around the project, and will have “a robust planting plan” that is friendly to pollinators, Green said.

Residents and town officials can share their views on the project during many upcoming public meetings. The project also needs to go through the state’s Article 10 process for reviewing energy projects that are more than 25 megawatts.

Tom Tuffey, one of the co-owners of Community Energy, said solar will be more popular as an energy source as coal-fired plants are decommissioned.

Green said the entire process would likely take about three years before there would be construction. He told residents at the Barre meeting the proposal is in the preliminary stage.

He wants to hear from residents and local officials throughout the process.

“We try our best,” he said. “You can’t please everyone but we try our best.”

Community Energy has projects in 20 states. The company was founded in 2009 and has developed 1,700 megawatts of solar and wind energy.

Green and Tom Tuffey, one of the co-owners of the company, said Community Energy has a proven record of working to minimize impacts of the projects through its site selection process and then through screening with plantings.

“We are not the kind of company that would just thrust something in front of someone’s home,” Green said.

The project doesn’t have the visual impacts of wind turbines. Heritage Wind is proposing 33 turbines that are about

From a distance the arrays of solar panels look like a lake, Green said.

The state’s goals for more renewable energy also is a factor in the project, and a push for renewable energy projects is good for the planet.

“We as a society have to do this,” Green said about the large-scale solar and other renewable energy.

Tuffey said solar is now much more affordable now and can compete with other electricity sources.

Green said Community Energy’s staff will become known to local residents as the company goes through the process.

He said the company would share more details as it finetunes to the application after hearing from regulators, residents and local officials.

“This is a preliminary project so I can’t give you the exact details,” he said.

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Dispatcher honored for help with baby’s birth

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 8 March 2020 at 5:41 pm

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Sheriff Chris Bourke, left, and Undersheriff Mike Mele, right, congratulate Jerry Bentley after the sheriff announced he had nominated Bentley as the February Employee of the Month in Orleans County for assisting in the delivery of a baby while working as a dispatcher.

BARRE – A Barre firefighter and Orleans County dispatcher has been named the county’s Employee of the Month in February for what turned out to be a historic delivery of a baby.

Jerry Bentley was on duty as an Orleans County dispatcher at the 911 emergency communications center on Feb. 28 when a call came in at 3:23 in the morning from a man who said his wife was going to have a baby.

He requested an ambulance and Bentley proceeded to get the pertinent information.

“I told him I was going to get him some help and just as I was going to hang up, the man said, ‘She’s going to have the baby right now,’” Bentley said. “I asked if her water had broken, and he said no, but he could already see the baby’s hair. I snapped my fingers to my partner, which is the signal to dispatch, and I stayed on the phone as he dispatched the ambulance and East Shelby Fire Company.”

Bentley, a past Barre fire chief, began to tell the father what to do. He instructed him how to clamp the umbilical cord and told him to wipe the baby’s nose and mouth. Then he asked if the baby was breathing. Finally, Bentley heard the baby cry, and it was pure joy, he said.

Only four minutes elapsed from the time Bentley took the call until the baby was born, he said. East Shelby was on the scene seven minutes after the call, followed right behind by COVA and Orleans County Sheriff’s deputy Dave Martek.

Responding for East Shelby was president Mike Fuller, Dave Green and Scott Barber.

“When we walked in, the father was down on his knees holding the baby,” Green said.

Green has been a volunteer firefighter with East Shelby for 59 years, served nine years as Orleans County Fire Coordinator and Emergency Management director and then spent 20 years as sheriff, and this was the first time he was involved in the delivery of a baby, he said.

Bentley added he has been in the fire service 30 years and this was his first experience in the delivery of a baby.

“I may never get an opportunity like that again,” he said.

The delivery will also go down in history as the first birth certificate which has been issued in the town of Barre in more than 30 years.

As an added note, Sheriff Bourke stated there is pending legislation currently in the works to designate dispatchers as first responders. The sheriff emphasized that this incident is a perfect example of how dispatchers can be called upon to act as a first responder.

Bentley said passing the law would provide added benefits to dispatchers, and the public is urged to contact their local legislators and tell them they are in favor of passing of the law.

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Barre will host Founder’s Day today at Town Hall

Staff Reports Posted 6 March 2020 at 7:28 am

BARRE – The Barre Betterment Committee today will celebrate Founder’s Day at the Barre Town Hall in honor of the town’s 202nd birthday.

The event will kick off at 10 a.m. with bingo, popcorn and a historical talk from the town historian. At 5:30 p.m. there will be children’s activities and stories.

The Founder’s Day celebration will close out the event with cake, milk and a “Toast to Barre” at 7 p.m.

All the events are at the Town Hall, 14317 West Barre Rd.

The Barre Betterment Committee works to promote, united, improve and enhance the quality of life for the common good in Barre. The group formed two years ago to help organize the town’s bicentennial. It has continued to organized events in barre, including the lighted tractor parade in December and other activities.

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