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.”

Shelby residents voice concerns over 2 tall turbines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 September 2022 at 11:29 am

Shadow flicker, noise and impact on birds among concerns

Photos by Tom Rivers: Shelby residents Brian McCarty and Karen Jones spoke against two wind turbines that would peak at 633 feet along Route 63, south of the village of Medina. Jones said the town needs to do more rigorous environmental impact studies.

SHELBY – The Town Board heard from several residents that they don’t think an orchard on Route 63, just south of the Village of Medina, is a good spot for two wind turbines that would peak at 633 feet.

The turbines proposed by Borrego Solar System Inc. would alter the landscape visually, and also potentially harm residents with shadow flicker, noise, lower property values and other impacts, residents said. They also worry the turbines are in a major migratory bird path.

The Town Board was asked to hold off on approving an environmental impact assessment of the project until a more detailed analysis can be done. The board started going through that assessment on Tuesday night but tabled it after the meeting went on for three hours and neared 10 p.m.

Ryan Wilkins, the deputy town supervisor, said the town is going through the process and no decision has been made.

“We are going to get all the information we can and make the decision after that,” he said.

In the environmental assessment that will be reviewed by the town, Shelby officials will identify if there are any issues that warrant more study or information.

The board already said it wants more information on a water runoff plan and mitigation strategies. It wants to know how the towers would be anchored into the ground.

Dan Koneski said the two turbines are too big to be so close to the village and many other residential properties.

The assessment considers the project’s impact on the land, geological features, surface water, groundwater, flooding, air, plants and animals, agricultural resources, aesthetic resources, historic and archeological resources, open space and recreation, critical environmental areas, transportation, energy, noise, odor and light, human health, community plans and community character.

Shelby resident Wendi Pencille said the Town Board isn’t qualified to make those determinations, especially with the potential harm to human health. The shadow flicker, noise and vibrations can disrupt sleep, cognitive function and could lead to debilitating headaches and depression.

Sherman Gittens, the town engineer from the MRB Group, goes over the environmental impact assessment. That process will continue. “This is a continuing review,” he said.

Pencille said she doesn’t oppose wind energy but said the location of Route 63, on land owned by the Smith family, is not a good spot. (Town Supervisor Jeff Smith has recused himself from voting and discussions about the project because his family owns the land.)

“There are places where wind turbines will do less damage,” she said.

Resident Barbara Hoffman said the turbines would be an eyesore. She also fears the two turbines will lead to more turbines in the town and around the county. She said solar panels would be a better option for the land.

Resident Alana Koneski said the turbines at nearly 650 feet high are way out of scale, especially in populated areas near the village and Maple Ridge Road.

“Please consider all the neighbors out here,” she said.

Dan Koneski said the turbines in Wyoming county are about 400 feet high. The ones proposed for Shelby would be among the tallest in the country. He called the turbines “a nuisance.”

“You won’t be able to hear the deer with the swoosh, swoosh, swoosh all day long,” he said.

Jim Heminway, another resident, said the town has done a poor job of notifying the public about the proposed project. He compared that to when the Village of Medina had a vote to dissolve the village government in January 2015. In that case, the town paid for mailers and advertisements, urging people to oppose dissolution. The issue was voted down, 949 to 527.

Jim Heminway said the town hasn’t done enough to make people aware of the project.

“Many residents are not aware of this project and it impacts a lot of people,” Heminway said. “There is nothing built like it in New York State.”

Resident Karen Jones asked the town for a six-month moratorium on the environmental assessment to allow residents and experts more time to review the potential impacts.

She is concerned about the turbines’ impact on birds and wildlife, the shadow flicker for nearby residents,

She questioned the accuracy of Borrego’s report that put the flicker impact at 19 hours over a full year. She believes it will be longer.

Jones also said the turbines are close to the Shelby Earthworks, an ancient Indian Fort on Salt Works Road in Medina. The environmental assessment doesn’t mention this site in the report.

“I ask for a moratorium,” she said. “It is a moral imperative.”

Resident Craig Slater faulted the Town Board for trying to fast track the project with little public input.

“This is a horrible location (for turbines),” he said. “It’s near a historic village on the main route to and from town.”

Linda Limina also asked for a six-month moratorium to give residents and the town officials more time “to educate themselves and be more aware of the project.”

Mike Zelazny doesn’t want to see good farmland lost to turbines and solar panels.

Resident Brian McCarty said it was “an absolute betrayal of trust” to consider the project in that area.

Anne Smith of Lakeshore Road in Yates has opposed a turbine project in Yates and Somerset. She said the two in Shelby is a different approach from wind energy companies. Rather than propose a larger project with 30 or more turbines, Borrego is going for two in Shelby. She sees that as a way to avoid a more through environmental study from the state. If Borrego is successful, she expects more developers will put up turbine projects, two or four a time.

“Those two turbines will develop into 2, 4, 6, 8 – 30,” she said. “The whole of Orleans County will be covered in wind turbines.”

She urged Shelby officials to do a survey of the town residents and property owners, gauging their opinions on the matter. She said Yates did three community surveys.

Mike Zelazny said he is concerned about the long-term effect not only of the turbines, but solar panels and batteries. He wonders how the units and equipment will be disposed. The projects seem to be targeted to rural communities.

“There are better places for it rather than residential communities and good farmland,” Zelazny said.

East Shelby firefighter remains in recovery from bacteria infection

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 2 August 2022 at 9:05 am

Benefit planned at fire hall on Aug. 13 for Joe Newton

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Ayriel George has issued an update on the condition of her father, Joe Newton of Medina, who remains in a rehab facility in Ohio. She holds a flyer promoting a benefit in his honor Aug. 13 at East Shelby Fire Hall.

EAST SHELBY – An East Shelby firefighter remains in rehab at a facility in Ohio, while support continues to grow for a fundraiser for the family, according to his daughter Ayriel George.

Joe Newton was hospitalized in March with necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh eating bacteria, which caused damage to all his organs. He underwent several surgical procedures and ended up on a ventilator. He was eventually transferred to a facility in Erie, Pa., the only one available which took patients on a ventilator, then was transferred to Andover, Ohio for further rehab, where he remains today.

He was close to being removed from the ventilator two weeks ago, until he had to be hospitalized for little more than a week when his wound became infected again. George said they have figured out the right antibiotic for him and are now working with him again to regain the momentum he lost while in the hospital. In an effort to get him off the ventilator.

George said she, her mother and her two boys visited him a few weeks ago.

“It was the first time my boys had seen their grandpa in more than four months, and I think they were a good dose of medicine for him,” George said.

George also shared an update on the benefit planned for him from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 13 at the East Shelby Fire Hall. Support for the event has been incredible, according to George.

Several large items have been donated for the raffle, including a patio set with a fire pit, a cooler filled with liquor, a griddle grill with accessories, a lottery tree and a television.

Anyone wishing to donate a basket can drop them off at the fire hall the day before the event between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Coffee and donuts will be served in the morning of the fundraiser and hot dogs and chips will be available during the afternoon.

County planners back two 633-foot-high turbines in Shelby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 July 2022 at 5:06 pm

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board on Thursday voted in favor of two 633-foot-high turbines in Shelby.

Borrego Solar System Inc. is proposing the two turbines on South Gravel Road in an apple orchard owned by the Smith family. Town Supervisor Jeff Smith recently retired as an apple grower. His family’s property is proposed for the two turbines. He is recusing himself from any votes or official discussion about the project.

The County Planning Board recommended that Shelby approve a special use permit for the project and also OK the site plan.

The two turbines would each have a capacity to generate 5 megawatts of power. The turbines would disturb 11 acres of land. The turbines would peak at 633 feet in height, and that is from the ground to the top tip of the blade. The ground to the main hub is 363.7 feet with the blades at a total diameter of 479 feet. Because of the height of the turbines, they will need to be lighted for Federal Aviation Administration standards.

The project includes a 20-foot wide access road, and that road will need to cross a stream. A battery storage system isn’t part of the project.

Borrego, the project developer, plans to keep existing trees around the edge of the property to act as a noise and visual buffer. Borrego presented visual studies that show the turbines would be very prominent on Route 63, and also would be visible from the Oak Orchard Elementary School and Glenwood Avenue canal bridge near Main Street.

A shadow flicker study was conducted at 166 locations. Borrego said the maximum light flicker will be 19 hours, 34 minutes a year, or just over 3 minutes a day on average.

Borrego in a noise analysis report said the sound decibels will range from 28 to 43 dBA, which falls within the sound category for quiet rural nighttime to small town residence.

The County Planning Board recommended that Shelby submit the proposal to the U.S. Department of Interior for its review about whether the turbines pose a risk to migratory birds and bats. The project would be close to the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

County planning officials said construction of the project would result in some traffic delays when the long blades are being delivered. Once the project is constructed, there will be minimal traffic to the site, planners said.

East Shelby church offers old-fashioned fun and food for only a penny

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 July 2022 at 7:04 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

EAST SHELBY – Evan Manson, 8, of Clarence aims a sling shot with a gumball at a target of Goliath. It was one of many activities today during Old Tyme Day at the East Shelby Community Bible Church.

The Goliath target made many pings throughout the day as it was pelted by gumballs.

Rose Baker serves hot dogs for only a penny. The church expected to go through 2,400 hot dogs on the day. They were already at about 2,000 served at 3 o’clock with two more hours to go.

The pie stand was a busy place. The church prepared 300 pies for the big day.

Norm Atwater of Barker brought a team of horses for carriage rides.

Ellen Eaton serves cups of lemonade and iced tea on a hot day. About 2,000 people usually attend the event.

Erik Olsen, the church pastor at right, leads the choir in singing church songs, including the spiritual, “Wade in the Water.”

Becca Nigro, left, leads this group in making corn husk dolls. She is joined by Susanne Keryk (second from left), and Brittany Dix, right, and her daughter Lilah.

The church created the hamlet of West Jackson Corners, across from the church. Among the many buildings included a general store.

Charlie Silvernail serves as the honorary mayor of West Jackson Corners. He also dispensed advice and words of wisdom. Sid Eick is in back doing a woodworking exhibition.

Canal Corp. will work to mitigate seepage next week in Shelby near Jeddo Creek

Posted 14 July 2022 at 11:48 am

Press Release, NYS Canal Corp.

SHELBY – The New York State Canal Corporation today announced a seepage mitigation project along the Erie Canal in the town of Shelby, Orleans County will begin the week of July 18,.

The Canal Corporation and its contractor will be pumping grout into the canal’s southern embankment near the Jeddo Creek culvert to mitigate water that is seeping through the embankment at this location.

Throughout the duration of the project, residents will notice contractors, wearing hard hats and high-visibility vests, as well as heavy equipment operating at and near the construction site.

The seep being mitigated through this project is one of more than 200 known seeps on canal earthen embankments, which comprise approximately 125-miles of the Canal system. The Canal Corporation continuously monitors and inspects these earthen dams on foot via daily monitoring with our staff, as well as using advanced technologies like drones and thermal imaging.

The work being performed along the Erie Canal in Shelby has been reviewed under a project specific State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) evaluation and is not part of the Canal Corporation’s proposed Earthen Embankment Integrity Program.

It is anticipated that this work will be completed in approximately one week and will not impact the Empire State Trail.

The Canal Corporation appreciates the public’s patience while this work is completed.

Fundraiser planned for long-time East Shelby firefighter battling serious infection

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 5 July 2022 at 1:41 pm

EAST SHELBY – Joe Newton has been an active member of the East Shelby Volunteer Company for 35 years, where he has always been ready to help any way he can.

Joe Newton

Now the fire company and Newton’s family and friends are stepping up to help him.

After not feeling well for some time, Newton was rushed to Rochester General Hospital on March 5, where he underwent emergency surgery for necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating infection.

During the first week in Rochester, Newton underwent surgery daily to remove the dead tissue, in hopes it would stop spreading. Although they caught it just in time, he is now left with several damaged organs, said his daughter Ayriel George. His kidneys, bladder and bowels have all been affected, leaving him to rely on medical devices to survive.

He has had six blood transfusions and now has a tracheostomy, a catheter, is on a ventilator and had to undergo a colostomy. He was on a feeding tube, which doctors were recently able to remove.

When Newton was able to leave Rochester General, he was transferred to a rehab facility in Erie, Pa., the only facility in the region who can care for patients in that condition on a ventilator. The family was told he would most likely be moved to a facility in Ohio to continue his rehab. And now George has reported her dad has been moved to Andover, Ohio.

All this is creating a monetary hardship on the family, and moving him further away to Ohio will just increase their challenge.

That’s when George got the idea to have a basket raffle, and the fire company agreed to let them use the fire hall. The benefit is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 13.

Provided photo: Ayriel George holds a poster promoting a fundraiser for her father, Joe Newton, who has been hospitalized since March with an infection. A basket raffle is planned for Aug. 13 at East Shelby Fire Hall, where Newton has been a member for 35 years.

Newton has been a member of the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company for 35 years, said Dave Green, a longtime member.

“Joe has been assistant chief and is currently vice president,” Green said. “He is always willing to help at any of our events and he loved to come and play cards.”

Green said Newton’s late twin brother Jim and their father were also longtime members of the fire company.

Joe has been a lifelong farmer, first working for his father Rich Newton Sr. and then for Alvin Smith. Joe, 64, retired in 2018 when Smith stopped farming.

George said her dad still has a long road ahead of him from being in a hospital bed and unable to walk, talk or eat for four months. He will also need several series of skin grafts to fully close the wound caused by the large amount of flesh the necrotizing fasciitis took.

Newton’s wife Elaine had been by his side until he was moved to Erie, and then she has had to stay home to go to work at the Arc.

“As you can imagine, they have a huge financial burden, from medical bills, gas and travel expenses and time Mom has had to take off work,” George said.

George said everyone is generously supporting the basket raffle. She already has a grill and fire pit donated. There will also be a 50/50 drawing and food and refreshments will be available to purchase.

Anyone wishing to help in any way – with a basket, an item to be raffled or cash donation can call or text George at (585) 813-9506.

Sheriff’s Office identifies victim in fatal fire at Shelby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 June 2022 at 3:50 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Firefighters are on the roof at 10307 Freeman Rd., trying to ventilate a house filled with smoke on Tuesday afternoon.

SHELBY – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office has identified the victim of a fire on Tuesday afternoon in Shelby.

Michael Cherry, 22, was found dead in the upstairs of the house he shared with his father, aunt, uncle and brother, said Chief Deputy Rob Reimer of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

Cherry was disabled and sometimes used a wheelchair and a cane. He was in his bedroom upstairs, Reimer said.

Firefighters were dispatched to 10307 Freeman Rd. at about 3:45 p.m. The fire started in the kitchen and was caused by cooking in close proximity to combustible items, said Justin Niederhofer, deputy director of the Orleans County Emergency Management Office.

Michael’s brother Daniel suffered smoke inhalation and other serious injuries. He was taken by Mercy Flight helicopter to the Erie County Medical Center. He attempted to help his brother get out of the house, Reimer said.

1 person dies in Shelby fire, another taken by Mercy Flight

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 June 2022 at 6:16 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – Firefighters cut into the roof of a house on Freeman Road in Shelby this afternoon, trying to vent smoke from the structure.

One person died in the fire and another was transported to the Erie County Medical Center by Mercy Flight helicopter. Two other people also were able to safely make it out of the house.

The Mercy Flight helicopter came from Olean to make the transport to ECMC.

Firefighters were dispatched to 10307 Freeman Rd. at about 3:45 p.m. Shelby Fire Chief Jason Watts said it appears the fire started in the kitchen.

Orleans County fire investigators as well as staff with the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control will work to determine the cause of the fire.

More information is expected to be released later by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

Shelby was assisted at the scene by firefighters from Medina, East Shelby and Ridgeway.

This is the first fatality in a fire in Shelby since 1978.

Shelby residents share concerns over two 650-foot-high turbines on Route 63

Photos by Tom Rivers: Representatives for Borrego Solar System Inc. discuss the company’s proposal for two 650-foot-high turbines on South Gravel Road. David Strong is the senior project developer for Borrego and Lydia Lake is an engineer with Borrego. They are speaking during a public hearing Tuesday evening at the Shelby Town Hall.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 June 2022 at 5:06 pm

SHELBY – Residents shared concerns that two proposed wind turbines, that would peak at 650 feet high from the top tip height, don’t fit in with a rural area and would be the beginning of more of the oversized structures for the town.

The Town of Shelby held a public hearing on Tuesday evening about a special use permit and the site plan for the turbines proposed by Borrego Solar System Inc. They are planned for South Gravel Road in an apple orchard owned by the Smith family.

Town Supervisor Jeff Smith recently retired as an apple grower. His family’s property is proposed for the two turbines. He is recusing himself from any votes or official discussion about the project.

Borrego already has completed a big energy project in Orleans County. in 2019 it developed an 8.5 megawatt solar project in the Town of Ridgeway on Allis and Beals roads on land owned by Ken Baker.

The two turbines were presented as a “community wind project” by David Strong, senior project developer for Borrego. He said the turbines could provide enough electricity for 2,000 homes. He said residents could be eligible for 10 percent off their electricity costs through the project.

Several residents spoke during the hearing, including from left: Kathy Colley, Karen Jones and David Reese.

Residents during a public hearing had many questions. Kathy Colley wondered where the parts for the turbines would be manufactured. She wants assurance the two turbines would be properly maintained for years to come. She worries the turbines would have a negative impact on the Oak Orchard River through vibrations.

Others shared concerns that Borrego is using the two turbines to get a foothold in the town, with a bigger project to come. The project, at 10 megawatts, is below the 25 megawatt minimum for a renewable energy project to obtain a siting permit from the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES).

“The two will turn into 20,” said David Reese. “It’s small little bites at the apple. It’sd a domino effect. We’re chipping away slowly of our backyard.”

Reese said the turbines will be disruptive with their enormous size on a rural landscape.

The two Vesta V150 turbines would have a capacity to generate 10 megawatts of power. The hub height is 393 feet with a rotor diameter of 493 feet. With shadow flicker, Borrego officials said in the worst-case scenario the residences and businesses along Maple Ridge Road, Salt Works Road and South Gravel Road will see 19 hours and 34 minutes of shadow flicker a year, or an average of just over 3 minutes a day.

Patti Bushover also is concerned the two-turbine project could lead to more. The public hearing was attended by about 50 people, but there were few younger adults in the room.

“There aren’t young people here,” Bushover said. “You guys are deciding the future and it’s not our future. It’s the future for the young people.”

About 50 people attended the public hearing about whether Borrego should be issued a special use permit and have the site plan approved.

Michael O’Keefe said he supports the project if it stays at two turbines and doesn’t lead to more. He said the community should do as much as it can to meet local energy needs and be less dependent on others.

Phil Keppler, a local beef farmer on South Gravel Road, said he supports the project but would like to see Borrego pay more than the $500,000 it is offering the community to provide more tax relief and help the town keep up with road maintenance.

Wendi Pencille sought clarification on that $500,000, whether it was a one-time payment or if it would be spread over the life of the project, an estimated 15 to 30 years. She also asked if the 10 percent discount on electricity would be based on electricity from renewable energy, which is billed at a higher rate. In that case, the residents might not see a reduction in their electric bills, Pencille said.

Ryan Wilkins, the deputy town supervisor, said Borrego would be responding to questions in writing and wouldn’t give answers during the public hearing.

Resident Jim Zelazny also said Borrego should be paying more to the community.  He said the Town of Sheldon in Wyoming County received $936,000 from the wind energy developer in 2018 for 112 megawatts of wind energy. That is about $8,300 per megawatt annually.

With Borrego, if the $500,000 is over 15 years that would be an average of about $33,000 a year or about $3,300 per megawatt annually, Zelazny said, advocating for more money for Shelby.

These residents also spoke during the hearing. They include Judy Smith, Michael O’Keefe and Wendi Pencille.

Judy Smith spoke during the hearing. The turbines would be on her family’s property. She said she has been to the Sheldon wind farms. The two in Shelby would be set farther back from the road than most in Sheldon, she said.

“After seeing it, I felt OK with it,” she said about seeing the Sheldon turbines. “It’s part of the solution, bringing power. Russia has every one over a barrel. I think this is part of the solution. It’s a way for us to be ourselves – to be free.”

Karen Jones of South Gravel Road said the turbines are out of scale for a rural area. She presented a model showing her home at 22 feet high, her barn at 70 feet in height and the turbines at more than 630 feet.

“This turbine will be visible from so much of Orleans County,” she said.

She also said Borrego may sell off the project to a different developer or operator. The company last month announced a sale of over 8.4 GW of solar and 6.4 GW/25 GWh of energy storage to ECP. Borrego officials said it is selling its development arm, including projects in the pipeline, but not the company itself.

“Who are dealing with?” Jones said.

Georgette Stockman also submitted a comment online during the hearing. She said the area has bald eagles and other wildlife with the refuge so close by. She worries the two turbines could be a menace to the eagles and wildlife.

“They are so out of character with a rural area,” she said about the turbines.

Village of Medina, Town of Shelby urge residents to sign up for notification system

Staff Reports Posted 14 June 2022 at 8:27 pm

MEDINA – The Village of Medina and Town of Shelby are urging their residents to sign up for a new emergency alert system for rapid notification of hazardous and urgent situations using a mix of telephone calls, text and email messages, and even TTY/TDD service for the hearing impaired.

Medina and Shelby contracted with Hyper-Reach to provide a mass emergency notification system designed specifically for public safety.  The municipalities expect to have the service fully operational by the end of June.

The system sends thousands of these messages to geographically targeted households in seconds, and can simultaneously deliver them to an even broader audience via social media, as well as sending broadcast messages to most current mobile telephones (made since 2011) in an affected area by providing access to FEMA’s Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system.

“Our job is to protect the citizens of the Village of Medina as effectively and cost-effectively as possible,” said Jess Marciano, trustee for the Village of Medina. “We reviewed all the major vendors for emergency notification service, and Hyper-Reach gave us everything we needed at half of the price of its competitors.  We’re really excited about this new capability.”

The Village plans to use the service primarily for alerts about hazards, criminal activity and missing persons. Community and weather alerts to VoIP phones, mobile phones, and email addresses are only included when people enroll.

Residents and people who work in the Village of Medina and Town of Shelby are encouraged to enroll now (using a village or town address) either by calling or texting “Alert” to (585)318-8831 or by going to this website.

Citizens can get emergency alerts via their Alexa-enabled smart speakers just by saying “Alexa, enable Hyper-Reach” and following the Alexa-provided instructions. With more than 50 million US households using Alexa devices, there are obviously hundreds of local residents with Alexa units.

Citizens can also download the Hyper-Reach Anywhere app on their smartphone.  Hyper-Reach Anywhere is a free smartphone app that allows individual citizens to manage and monitor the alerts they receive, both for their home and office addresses and for other addresses they care about such as those of elderly relatives or friends.

“We’re honored to have been selected by the Village of Medina NY and the Town of Shelby NY to provide their emergency alerts,” said Sam Asher, President of Hyper-Reach. “It’s gratifying to be part of an effort to save lives and protect property and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

The village is paying $2,600 and the town $1,300 for the community mass alert system.

About Hyper-Reach

Hyper-Reach ( is a mass notification system with over 15 years of experience in emergency messaging.  Hyper-Reach sends messages via automated telephone calls, text messaging (SMS), email, and social media, such as Twitter.  Other uses of Hyper-Reach include Amber alerts, toxic chemical warnings, and armed shooter alerts. In addition to 911 centers, Hyper-Reach is used by law enforcement, educational institutions and corporations.

Engineer’s report says local creek in Shelby can accommodate STAMP site

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 March 2022 at 4:26 pm

SHELBY – An engineer’s report says discharges from the STAMP manufacturing site can be handled by Oak Orchard Creek, although some revisions are needed to protect from erosion near the outlet of a 24-inch pipe from STAMP to Oak Orchard Creek on Route 63.

Wendel, an engineering firm, did an independent review of designs and engineering from Clark Patterson Lee and JM Davidson Engineering, analyzing the plan for a force main project from the STAMP site about 8 miles north to Shelby.

Wendel reviewed the designs for having up to 6 million gallons of water discharged daily into the creek. The Genesee County Economic Development Center paid for the review, Shelby town officials said.

The GCEDC is having the force main designed and permitted for up to 6 million gallons of discharge into the creek. If STAMP needs more than 6 million, Shelby Town Supervisor Jeff Smith said the town should ask GCEDC and the state Department of Environmental Conservation to have additional analysis on the impact in Shelby on those discharges.

Wendel agrees with JM Davidson that STAMP discharges “will not have a noticeable impact on the 100-year elevations downstream nor will it have an impact on the stream velocity or water levels,” according to the Wendel report dated Feb. 22.

The Town Board accepted the report during its meeting on Thursday. Smith said the report should ease concerns from economic development officials that the water from STAMP could overtax the local creek and not leave much capacity for other businesses that may come to Shelby in the future.

Wendel did say the current design should be improved to better mitigate erosion where the force main discharges into Oak Orchard Creek. Wendel said there should be more stone protection to help prevent erosion. The current design is too thin with rip-rap, Wendel said.

The firm also said more detail is needed in the design of the outlet structure’s shape in determining the flow characteristics exiting the outlet. And, Wendel said, there is an existing ditch near where the force main will send water. The engineers should explain how the discharges could impact water flows to that ditch.

Shelby approves demolition of ‘unsafe’ house on 63

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 March 2022 at 1:43 pm

SHELBY – The Town Board approved demolition of an abandoned house at 5063 South Gravel Rd., next to the Oak Orchard Creek.

The house on Route 63 is “unsafe and dangerous” and the owner has not responded to notices from the town, said Code Enforcement Officer Dan Wolfe. The building cannot be safely repaired, he said during a Town Board meeting on Thursday.

Shelby officials will attempt to work with the highway department to knock down the structure and have those materials buried onsite. Or the building could be used for a training exercise by the fire department, Wolfe said.

He will try to get the structure removed in the cheapest way possible. Those expenses will then be put on the tax bill for the property.

Wolfe said he is making a push to focus on property maintenance violations around town, especially “junk properties” that are an eyesore and a blight for neighbors.

In his 13 years as the town’s code enforcement officer, Wolfe said Shelby has gone through the process of having four or five houses removed due to an unsafe condition.

In other action, the Town Board:

• Approved a $3,000 raise for Town Clerk Darlene Rich to set her base salary at $37,827, despite objections from Councilman Ryan Wilkins. Rich hasn’t received a raise in two-plus years, like other elected officials.

Wilkins said the town should treat all elected officials the same and not give raises to some and not others.

The other board members – Supervisor Jeff Smith, and council members John Pratt, Ed Zelazny and Steve Seitz – approved the raise for Rich. She recently came off the town’s health insurance policy.

• Appointed Dorothy Nolan as deputy town clerk and Lori Myhill as water clerk.

• Approved spending $1,300 to be part of an emergency notification system with the Village of Medina and Town of Ridgeway. That system will allow residents who sign up to be notified by text, email or phone calls of road closures, watermain breaks and other pressing matters.

East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company honors outstanding members during annual banquet

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 6 March 2022 at 8:12 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Dennis MacDonald was named Firefighter of the Year by East Shelby Fire Chief Debbie Taylor at their installation banquet on Saturday night.

EAST SHELBY – Members and officers of the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company were happy to be back to normal after dealing with two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, they announced at their Installation of Officers Banquet Saturday night.

Firefighters and guests packed the fire company recreation hall for dinner, installation of officers, recognition of firefighters and entertainment.

Dave Green was master of ceremonies for the evening, which began with a welcome from Fire Company President Mike Fuller and Ladies Auxiliary President Bronwyn Green. It was noted the fire company is 69 years old this year.

Mike Fuller, right, presents the President’s Award to Devin Taylor at the East Shelby Firemen’s Banquet Saturday night.

The loss of three members during the past year was acknowledged. They are Herb Oberther Sr., Jim Newton and Laverne “Jiggs” Green, who was one of the 13 original members of the fire company.

After introduction of guests, new fire company officers were sworn in by Orleans County Legislator Bill Eick. They are president, Mike Fuller; vice president, Joe Newton; secretary, Karen Bracey; treasurer, Allen Turner; trustees, Ken Printup, Norm Behrend, Gordon Reigle and Alan Lonnen; steward, Dave Green; chief, Debbie Taylor; 1st assistant chief, Devin Taylor; 2nd assistant chief, Andy Beach; 3rd assistant chief, Dennis MacDonald; captain, Jeff Taylor; lieutenant, Mike Hinkley; fire police chief, Laura Fields; EMS officers, Sue Berend and Mike Fuller; and safety/training officer, Todd Ralph.

Officers of the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company are sworn in by Orleans County Legislator Bill Eick Saturday night at East Shelby Firemen’s Recreation Hall.

Officers of the Ladies Auxiliary sworn in by Orleans County Clerk Nadine Hanlon are president, Bronwyn Green; vice president, Debbie Green; secretary, Sawyer Green; treasurer, Sharlene Pratt; co-chaplains, Rose Allen and Carol Lonnen; and trustees, Cassidy Oliver (three years); Shirley Printup (two years); and Sue Green (one year). Jessie Green is Sunshine chair and Wanda Dingman is historian.

Mike Fuller chose Devin Taylor as recipient of his President’s Award. Fuller said Taylor was a person who helps him day to day whenever he needs help.

As a captain of the EMS program, Fuller also shared what a challenge it has been during the Covid pandemic to do the required training while still meeting Department of Health protocol. He said EMS personnel are required to be re-certified every three years. He said this was a challenge because of the number of hours required. When he started in 1986, it took about 80 hours to become and EMT, and now the requirement is 180. Fuller acknowledged the work by instructors Norm and Sue Behrend.

Debbie Taylor, Orleans’s County’s first woman to serve as fire chief, hugs her husband Jeff after presenting him with the Chief’s Award at the East Shelby Firehall Saturday night.

Debbie Taylor and Fuller handed out certificates for years of service to Gretchen Carr, Nathan London and Shawn Perkins, five years; Brian Zinkievich, 10 years; Katie Crooks, 20 years; Walter Dingman, 30 years; Scott Green and Joe Newton, 35 years; and Jeff Green, 40 years.

Debbie Taylor said she didn’t have to do much thinking when making her choice for the Chief’s Award.

“This person supported me in my run for chief and is always there for me, whether it’s cleaning up a truck or doing an errand at home,” she said.

Her award went to her husband Jeff. Debbie also noted he has bragging rights that he is the only man in the county whose wife is a fire chief.

Awards continued with Debbie naming Dennis MacDonald as Firefighter of the Year.

“You can always depend on him and he is dedicated to the fire company,” she said. “He always shows up for a work detail or to help a crew.”

Dave Green hugs Sue Green after presenting her with the Steward’s Award.

The Steward’s Award was presented by Dave Green to Sue Green. Sue is always willing to help the fire company and is known for her baked goods.

Carol Lonnen, center, receives a gift from East Shelby Ladies Auxiliary vice president Debbie Green, left, and president Bronwyn Green for her four years of service as Auxiliary treasurer.

As president of the Ladies Auxiliary, Bronwyn Green acknowledged Carol Lonnen as the Auxiliary’s only outgoing officer. Lonnen has been treasurer for four years, and was very supportive of Bronwyn when she became president.

In return, Lonnen commended Bronwyn for her ingenuity in coming up with creative ways to raise money for the Auxiliary when the pandemic shut down all fundraisers. Brownyn came up with the idea for an online basket raffle, which turned out to be very successful and helped raise cash which the Auxiliary donates every year to the fire company. This year

Bronwyn presented a check for $5,000 to Fuller and Debbie Taylor.

From left, East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company president Mike Fuller and chief Debbie Taylor are presented with a check for $5,000 from Auxiliary president Bronwyn Green at their banquet Saturday night.

The East Shelby Firemen’s Auxiliary officers greet the audience after being sworn in by Orleans County Clerk Nadine Hanlon. From left are Carol Lonnen, chaplain; Bronwyn Green, president; Debbie Green, vice president; Sawyer Green, secretary; Sharlene Pratt, treasurer; Rose Allen, chaplain; and Sue Green and Cassidy Oliver, trustees.

Auxiliary members were also presented with service awards for years of service, as follows:

Mary Lonnen, five years; Sharlene Pratt, 10 years; Mindy Kenward and Carol Lonnen, 15 years; Meaghan Boice-Green, 20 years; Becky Fruehauf, 20 years; Shirley Printup, 25 years; and Sue Squires, 30 years.

Bronwyn chose Shirley Printup as recipient of her President’s Award.

“You are always able to count on her,” Bronwyn said. “She has been a hard worker for the fire company for 25 years. She started the craft fair the year she joined and has chaired the show and gun raffle. She has given up timeless knowledge, respect and friendship.”

The evening concluded with a performance by juggler and entertainer Nels Ross.

Job Corps names Career Transition Readiness instructor as employee of the year

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 20 January 2022 at 11:56 am

Photo courtesy of Iroquois Job Corps: Dennis Essom, left, Iroquois Job Corps Center director, and Luke Kantor, Center manager, pose with Christi Horanburg, Career Transition Readiness instructor, who was recognized as Employee of the Year for 2021.

MEDINA – The Iroquois Job Corps Center manager Education and Training Resources has announced that Christi Horanburg, Career Transition Readiness instructor, has been chosen as the Center Director’s Employee of the Year for 2021.

According to Center Director Dennis Essom, Horanburg has been a key staff member at Iroquois Job Corps Center for the past 8 1/2 years. Her role in the program is to work with their young adults to ensure they have the career transition readiness skills that will assist them in future pursuits of employment.

“Teaching our students about career success standards, core values of ETR, assisting with resume writing, job searches, relocation efforts for apartment finding, tutoring/assistance for ASVAB military testing and placements and promotion of Job Corps Advanced Trade opportunities are just a few of her many tasks here at the Iroquois Job Corps Center,” Essom said. “Ms. Horanburg’s classroom is in many ways a final step for our graduates to get ready for life after the program. Countless numbers of students have benefited into their early careers due to her dedication, hard work and perseverance.”

The Iroquois Job Corps located south of Medina is a federally funded vocational and academic training program. At Job Corps, young adults between the ages of 16 to 24 work on bettering themselves through career technical training and high school equivalency programs.

“Our residential, college style center allows students to live on campus and take advantage of meals, recreation activities, clubs and organizations, leadership opportunities, drivers’ education programs, work-based learning internships and more at no cost to eligible students,” Essom added.

After shutting down due to the pandemic, Essom said Iroquois Job Corps is now open for business. Having been approved for traditional enrollment, they are starting to bring back students for normal classes.

More information about the Job Corps program can be found by clicking here or by calling the Center at (585) 344-6700.