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Sheriff’s Office will check car seats at Barre Bicentennial

Staff Reports Posted 25 June 2018 at 11:16 am

BARRE – Orleans County Sheriff Randall Bower announced that the Barre Town Park will host a Child Car Seat Check Point Event from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday during Barre’s Bicentennial Celebration.

According to data, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ranging from 1 to 13 years of age. Preventative measures, such as proper installation of car seats, boosters and seat belts can lower many deaths and injuries. Informing and instructing parents and caregivers on child safety and proper installation of car seats is critical to saving young lives, Bower said.

The Sheriff’s Office will have certified child passenger safety technicians available to inspect car/booster seats to assure that children are in the correct seat for their size and age. If you have any questions, please contact Sgt. Kevin Colonna at 585-589-5527 or

The Barre Town Park is located at 4594 Oak Orchard Rd.

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Barre has survey for residents’ input on wind turbine project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 June 2018 at 5:36 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: This photo shows some of the wind turbines in the Town of Sheldon in Wyoming County which are about 400 feet high from the top of the blade.

BARRE – The Town of Barre is seeking resident’s input on a proposed wind energy project from Apex Clean Energy.

The proposed Heritage Wind would have up to 47 utility-scale turbines. This project is currently being reviewed under “Article 10,” a review process led by the New York State Public Service Commission for large electricity generation facilities, Barre officials state on the survey.

“Unlike other projects, the Town Board has no authority to approve or disapprove the Heritage Wind project, because it falls under the Article 10 process,” the Town says on the survey. “That decision-making power lies solely with the Public Service Commission ‘Siting Board’ composed of State officials and appointed community members. The Article 10 process also coordinates the environmental impact analysis – leaving the Town with little direct control over the environmental review process, unlike the familiar procedure of State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR).”

Residents are asked to complete the survey by July 27. The survey can be picked up and dropped off at the Barre Town Hall, 14317 West Barre Rd. or completed online by clicking here.

Although Barre doesn’t have any official vote in the project, town officials can contribute to the Article 10 evaluation “by identifying unique or vulnerable environmental resources that require special attention in our community. The Town can also request additional information or improvements to the studies planned by the wind developer to address our most pressing concerns.”

A community forum will be held at the Town Hall at 6 p.m. on July 18.

Some of the questions on the survey include:

• What is your attitude towards the Heritage Wind project in Barre? – supportive, neutral, opposed or needs more information.

• Identify locally valuable resources that may be impacted while constructing or operating wind turbines. Please be specific by including location, name (if applicable) and reason(s).

• Which of the following concerns could be significant in the Town of Barre and require a careful evaluation of potential local impacts?

This question asks to rank the level of the importance – minimal concern, less important, top priority or no opinion/don’t know – for the following: noise from wind turbines, change in rural character, change in views from height of turbines, shadow flicker, loss of agricultural resources or farming inconvenience, negative impact on property value, roadway deterioration, setbacks from property lines and buildings, possibility of health effects due to living near turbines, public safety (due to fire, blade/ice throw, tower collapse, etc.), wildlife impacts (loss of bird and bats, etc.), impacts to TV, cell phone or radio reception, complaint procedure – how the developer will respond and resolve issues, decommissioning and the eventual removal of turbines, and other (please specify).

The last question asks the respondents to share any additional comments.

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

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2,300-mile Great Race passes through Barre

Staff Reports Posted 23 June 2018 at 9:31 pm

Photos courtesy of Patty Andrews

BARRE – Participants in the Great Race passed through the Town of Barre today after the 9-day competition started in Buffalo with the cars headed to Rochester.

Patty Andrews took these photos of cars at the corner of Bragg Schoolhouse Road and West Barre Road.

The race started at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum. The competition ends 2,300 miles later in Nova Scotia, Canada. This is the 35th annual Hemmings Motor News Great Race and the first time the event started in Buffalo.

The race offers more than $150,000 in prizes to participants. There are about 150 drivers of antique cars (built in 1972 or earlier). The participants are given their daily route navigation map only 30 minutes prior to the start each day.

For more on the Great Race, click here.

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Firefighters put out fire in soybean field in Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 June 2018 at 2:32 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

BARRE – Albion firefighters Charlie Monacelli uses a leaf blower to push back a fire to try to keep it from spreading in a soybean field on Long Bridge Road this afternoon. Monacelli was trying hold back the fire until trucks arrived with water.

Firefighters were called to the field owned by Hugh Dudley at 12:55 p.m. today. A neighbor had a small brush fire this morning near a creek by the field. The neighbor thought it was extinguished but the fire about three hours later spread to the soybean field. Barre Fire Chief James Neal said about 1 ½ acres of soybeans were damaged by the fire. Neal said there is a chance some of the plants could bounce back later this growing season.

Albion and Barre firefighters, including Jerry Bentley at left, stamp out some of the fire.

Charlie Monacelli of Albion, left, and James Neal, the Barre fire chief, are in the field on fire.

Barre firefighters Brian Bentley and Amanda Dixon hose down the perimeter of the field.

Barre firefighters Kara Bentley, left, and Brianna Caldwell try to smother some of the hot spots in the field.

Doug Bentley, a long-time Barre firefighter, spent part of his Father’s Day watching his son Jerry and grandchildren, Kara and Brian Bentley, work to put out the fire while temperatures were in the high 80s.

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Barre approves two meteorological towers for Apex

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2018 at 11:22 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Town Supervisor Sean Pogue, right, leads the Town Board meeting on Wednesday evening at the Barre Town Hall. Tom McCabe, left, is a Barre town councilman.

BARRE – The Town Board voted 4-0 on Wednesday to allow two meteorological towers for Apex Clean Energy, despite requests from some residents to take more time to consider the issue before voting.

Town Supervisor Sean Pogue joined Town Board members Richard Bennett, Tom McCabe and Lynn Hill in approving a special use permit for the two met towers. Town Councilman Larry Gaylard abstained due to a conflict of interest.

Pogue asked the board members how many were ready to vote at the meeting, and they were all affirmative, except for Gaylard who didn’t participate in the discussion.

“We got to make a decision,” Bennett said. “We’re not going to make everybody happy.”

The board held a public hearing on the met towers last week. Apex is seeking special use permits to have a 262.5-foot-high met tower at 5140 Angevine Rd., on land owned by Jon and James Peglow, and a 196-foot-high tower on Root Road, on land owned by Richard Miller.

Apex is the developer of the proposed Heritage Wind, which would include 47 much-larger wind turbines. Pogue, the town supervisor, said the turbine project would be dealt with through the Article 10 process, with a state siting board having the final say.

Pogue urged the residents who attended Wednesday’s meeting to focus on the met towers, and not the potential larger turbine project.

Resident MaryAnn Donnelly told the board she worries the met towers will lead to the wind towers. She asked the board to consider “environmental justice” with the turbines, how she said a few landowners with leases stand to gain far more the other town residents.

“Look at the bigger picture for people who will not profit from this but will see a loss of their property values,” she said.

Pogue said he wouldn’t support a project that favors only a few.

“As I’ve said before I want every taxpayer to benefit in the town,” Pogue said.

Apex has an existing met tower on Thorpe Road and wants the two additional towers to determine the wind strength and consistency, and discover other data that could be useful in possibly siting a project.

Kerri Richardson, president of Clear Skies Above Barre, asked the board to delay a vote on the met towers until an environmental impact study could be done, especially for the tower on Root Road which she said is in a sensitive area near wetlands, ponds and the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

Richardson said the met towers with their guy-wires have been destructive to birds, bats and other wildlife.

“I just ask that diligence be done,” she said.

Resident John Metzler said he was concerned that some Barre town officials with ties to Apex were not abstaining and being impartial as the company courts the town.

Metzler quoted the April 11 Town Board minutes where the board identified the following officials as “conflicted” with Apex: Larry Gaylord on the Town Board; Planning Board members Jean Peglow, Paul Gillette and Kirk Mathes; and Richard Miller on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Those officials are not to vote on any applications from Apex, or lobby on behalf of the company, according to the minutes.

Metzler wanted the town to investigate whether those officials have abstained and refrained from lobbying to advance the Apex project.

“I am asking for a cooling-off period to determine conflicts of interest,” he said.

The Town Board should also consider if family members of the town officials stand to gain from the Apex project, Metzler said.

He asked the board members if they have conflicts of interest with Apex. McCabe said he was approached about signing a lease but did not. Hill doesn’t have enough land so he wasn’t considered. Bennett and Pogue both live near Pine Hill Airport in a buffer zone where there won’t be any turbines under consideration.

Bennett said he would have signed a lease if his property was out of the buffer zone. He said he supports the project for the town.

Mathes presented a letter from a local ATV club, signed by nine board members, stating their support for landowners’ rights to lease land to Apex.

That prompted Metzler to say Mathes should either be removed from the Planning Board or be fined for violating the town’s ethics code for officials. Mathes was identified as having a conflict of interest because he has a lease with Apex.

“I ask for your resignation,” Metzler told Mathes, who responded, “No.”

George McKenna asked the board to hold off on the met tower vote until a survey could be taken of the town, to get a sense if the town supports the Apex project.

“I don’t think there is a rush on,” McKenna said. “I think we should slow down because this is a lifetime decision.”

Pogue said a survey is being developed and should be available soon with results to be tabulated in late July.

The survey will likely be mailed to residents, and also be available on the town website, at the Hoag Library and the Barre Town Hall, Pogue said.

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Firefighters battle bale blaze in Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 June 2018 at 12:33 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

BARRE – Firefighters have been working since about 11 a.m. to put on soybean bales that caught on fire at Kirk Mathes’ beef farm on Mathes Road.

Mathes was burning a pile of brush. The wind shifted this morning and a spark from the fire caught the bales of soybean on fire, said James Neal, Barre fire chief.

Barre firefighter Chris Flansburg directs water on the bales.

A public water line doesn’t go by the farm so tankers needed to be brought in for water to fight the fire.

Mathes uses the soybean bales for bedding. “Luckily this year we have a lot of it,” he said. “It will be a mess to clean up.”

Barre Fire Chief James Neal walks by some of the bales that are burning. He said the big piles of bales would have to be torn apart to make sure the fire is put out.

Firefighters wait for water to put on the fire. A pond tank was set up so firefighters could direct water on the fire.

A spark from this brush fire caused the bales to ignite.

A member of the farm watches the bales burn.

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Residents have mixed views on allowing met towers in Barre

Photos By Tom Rivers: Barre resident George McKenna urged the Town Board to delay a decision on two meteorological towers in Barre to see if a deal for revenue can be struck. McKenna said he has concerns about a proposed wind energy project for the town.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 June 2018 at 10:43 pm

Apex will pay $70K to have town, citizens’ group review preliminary scoping statement

BARRE – It was a packed town hall this evening with the Barre Town Board holding a public hearing about two proposed meteorological towers.

Apex Clean Energy, developer of the proposed Heritage Wind in Barre, wants to have a 262.5 foot high met tower at 5140 Angevine Rd., on land owned by Jon and James Peglow. Apex also wants a met tower that would be 196 feet high on Root Road, on land owned by Richard Miller.

Both towers would be temporary and sited in an residential/agricultural district. Apex last year constructed a met tower on Thorpe Road.

The towers provide important meteorological information, as well as data on wind strength and consistency.

“Let’s allow the met tower and see the data,” said resident Tom Hicks. “Maybe it’s data we all need to know.”

Tom Hicks, a Barre resident, urged the town to approve a special use permit for the met towers so the company, Apex Clean Energy, can determine the wind strength and consistency, and discover other data that could be useful in siting a project – or not siting one if the wind isn’t strong enough.

Iva McKenna, a member of the Clear Skies Above Barre citizens’ group, said Apex hasn’t shared any data from the first met tower. She said the company has been a divisive presence in town, securing leases when information about the project isn’t fully available to the community.

She didn’t blame residents for signing leases, when she said $15,000 to $25,000 is offered for each year.

She urged the Town Board to look out for the good of the entire town.

Her husband, George McKenna, also addressed the board. He said the town should be aware of the full scope of the proposed project, and Barre should be getting surveys of all residents to gauge their opinion.

He worries only a small percentage would benefit from the project to the detriment of many.

Town Supervisor Sean Pogue said the Town Board is considering a survey. If the project moves forward, Barre will negotiate a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) arrangement where Apex pays local governments.

McKenna said the Town of Arkwright received $30,000 from a wind developer for having a met tower go up. He said Barre should be paid as well.

Pogue said he wasn’t aware of any towns being paid for met towers. He wanted to check with Arkwright officials on that revenue.

The Town Board will meet again at 7 p.m. on June 13 to vote on whether the met towers will be given special use permits.

Apex wants to ultimately wants to construct a 200-megawatt project in Barre. The company has submitted a preliminary scoping statement for the project.

As part of the PSS, the company has to provide $350 for each proposed megawatt to have the project reviewed by the host municipality and other citizens’ groups.

A judge determined Barre would receive $40,000 in intervenor funds and Clear Skies Above Barre would have $30,000. That will allow the groups to hire environmental attorneys and experts to review the Apex submission.

Kerri Richardson, Clear Skies president, said the group will contract with an environmental law firm and other experts. Pogue said Barre will hire Alan Knauf, a Rochester attorney who specializes in environmental issues, and environmental scientists and engineers from LaBella Associates. Barre will meet with its team on July 18 to discuss how it will review the PSS.

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Pine Hill continues fly-in tradition at Barre

Posted 3 June 2018 at 3:29 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf

BARRE – Skydiver Troy Fallon of Buffalo is silhouetted over the trees as he comes in for a landing Sunday at Pine Hill Airport today. Fallon has made 350 jumps.

Hundreds of people attended Pine Hill Airport ’s fly-in breakfast this morning. The semi-annual event started in 1979.

Karl and Susan Driesel, members of Barre Volunteer Fire Department, brought one of the department’s fire trucks to Pine Hill Airport ’s fly-in breakfast this morning.

Wendy Sanders of Barre, right, shows her grandchildren Michael McElwain, 6, and Paysen Sanders, 3, the Stearman biplane based at Pine Hill Airport. The plane is available for rides.

Alice Mathes, a member of the West Barre Methodist Church , sells baked good s at the fly-in breakfast. The church has had a baked goods booth at the annual fly-in breakfast every year for as long as Mathes can remember.

Ace Caldwell of Albion serves eggs to Dick Williams of Royalton at the fly-in breakfast. Caldwell has been cooking eggs for the airport’s fly-in breakfasts every June and September for nearly 40 years. He also cooks eggs every Sunday morning in the hangar for anyone who shows up. He figures he has cooked more than two million.

Pete Nesbitt, left, one of the original owners of Pine Hill Airport, cooks pancakes while new owner Tim Allen of Alden looks on.

John Keding of Albion cooks sausage at the fly-in breakfast.

Shelby Gray of Derby, a member of the Western New York Skydiving Club at Pine Hill Airport, volunteered for the dunk tank. The dunk tank was one of several new attractions at the airport designed to get kids interested in aviation.

Chance Wright of Rochester lands safely after a jump Sunday at Pine Hill Airport, during the fly-in breakfast. Wright, a member of the Western New York Skydiving Club, has 185 jumps to his credit.

Skydivers Chance Wright, left, and Troy Fallon give a high-five after their successful jump during the fly-in breakfast Sunday at Pine Hill Airport.

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Banners celebrate Barre’s 200th anniversary

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 May 2018 at 4:24 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: New banners were installed about a week ago on Route 98 in the Barre Center hamlet to promote the town’s bicentennial.

Barre will celebrate its 200th anniversary from June 29 to July 1. There will be a Bicentennial Festival on June 29-30 at the Barre Town Park on Route 98. Friday hours will be from 2 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. There will be a parade on Saturday, June 30, starting at 10 a.m. The parade route will be from East Barre Road north to the Town Park. There will be games, dances, music and food both days. There will be fireworks on Saturday, June 30.

In addition the Town Hall,  Fire Hall, Barre Center Church, West Barre Church, Pine Hill School House and the Pine Hill Airport will also be open for tours. Barre Center Presbyterian Church will be hosting a chicken barbecue on June 30 starting at 4 p.m. Tickets are pre-sale only and are available at the Barre Deli and the Town Hall. West Barre Church will be hosting a quilt show.

This banner celebrates the town’s agricultural roots.

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Barre will dedicate new flagpole, monument for veterans on June 30

Staff Reports Posted 23 May 2018 at 8:24 am

BARRE — The Town of Barre will dedicate a new flagpole and monument for veterans at 9:30 a.m. on June 30 at the Barre Town Hall.

The family of the late Fred Daniels is donating the flagpole and plaque. The stone for the monument is being donated by Keeler Construction.

Mr. Daniels was 75 when he passed away on Oct. 22, 2014. He was a member of the Honor Guard in Orleans County for many years, and a member of the American Legion in Albion and the VFW. He also served on the Orleans County Joint Veterans Council.

Adrienne Daniels, wife of Fred Daniels, is Barre’s town historian. She welcomes the community and the Honor Guard to attend the dedication program. Don Allport, an Orleans County legislator, is Fred’s nephew. He will speak at the dedication.

A parade will follow the service. The Orleans Veterans Van Service will have vehicles available to transport veterans who want to be in the parade.

The dedication on June 30 is part of the town’s 200th anniversary celebration.

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