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Shelby honors firefighter for 50 years of service

Staff Reports Posted 7 January 2018 at 8:20 pm

Photos courtesy of Stacey Benz

SHELBY – The Shelby Volunteer Fire Company held its annual installation banquet on Saturday and presented several awards, including a citation for Dave Hellert in recognition of his 50 years of service as a Shelby firefighter. Hellert, center, is pictured with Fire Chief Andy Benz, left, and President Tim Petry, right.

Hellert also received citations from the US House of Representatives, State Senate, State Assembly, County Legisature, Town of Shelby and the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York.

Other honorees at the banquet include Zach Petry with the Chief’s Award and Jason Watts, who received the President’s Award.

The 2018 officers were installed by past Chief Howard Watts.

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Skip Draper praised for 24 years of service as Shelby town supervisor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 December 2017 at 10:53 am

Photos courtesy of Darlene Rich

SHELBY – Skip Draper, center, was the focus of a celebration on Friday for his 24 years of service as town supervisor. Draper didn’t seek re-election in November to town supervisor. He instead ran unopposed for a county legislator position. He starts as legislator on Jan. 1.

Draper is pictured with several local and state elected officials at the Town Hall, including from left: County Legislator Bill Eick (a former Shelby town councilman); Assemblyman Steve Hawley (whose district used to include Shelby), Assemblyman Michael Norris (whose district includes Shelby); Skip Draper; State Sen. Robert Ortt; Michael Kracker, deputy chief of staff for Congressman Chris Collins; and John DeFilipps, chairman of the Orleans County Legislature.

Draper received several certificates of appreciation and citations. Bill Eick and John DeFilipps presented Draper with a certificate from the County Legislature.

Draper was praised for working to establish new water districts in the town and pushing through infrastructure projects that assisted with economic development, especially along Maple Ridge Road and Bates Road. Draper is a member of the board of directors for the Orleans Economic Development Agency.

He also supported the effort to move the town hall to a former Niagara Mohawk building on Salt Works Road. That building is also used for some Medina Village Board meetings and has a satellite office for the Orleans EDA.

Draper is pictured with his mother, Barb, during the celebration on Friday.

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Shelby approves revised overlay district that is 2,000-foot buffer by wildlife refuge

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 November 2017 at 9:52 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Shelby Town Supervisor Merle “Skip” Draper said the town has made some revision to the overlay district after getting more feedback from residents.

SHELBY – The Town Board unanimously approved a revised Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District on Monday following a public hearing where the board heard support and opposition for the district.

The town in June had approved a 3,000-foot buffer north of the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. That buffer is now 2,000.

Town Supervisor Merle “Skip” Draper said the town has received more feedback from residents who wanted a reduced buffer. The revised district also includes more uses that were originally prohibited in the district.

Frontier Stone has a state permit to open a mine in Shelby near the refuge. The new overlay district also prohibits mining.

If there wasn’t an overlay district, Frontier wouldn’t have a green light on the project, anyway, Draper said after the hearing. Shelby doesn’t allow mining in a residential/agricultural district. Frontier would need a variance or change in zoning to operate a 215-acre quarry on Fletcher Chapel Road. The land is owned by  Zelazny Family Enterprises, LLC – Chester, Jim and Ed Zelazny.

Frontier last month filed an Article 78, a legal challenge against the town with a focus on the overlay district. The company cited many procedural errors by Shelby in passing the overlay district in June. The town failed to get opinions from the Town and County Planning Boards on the district, and also didn’t properly notify neighboring municipalities about the district, according to the lawsuit.

Joe Piccotti, an attorney for Frontier Stone, said the company has satisfied the state Department of Environmental Conservation after a nine-year application process for a mining permit.

Frontier also says the town didn’t properly account for the positives with the proposed quarry, including supplying water to the refuge during a drought and other mitigation efforts that would help the refuge.

Joe Piccotti, an attorney for Frontier, spoke during the public hearing on Monday. He said the overlay district violates the town zoning law and comprehensive plan.

He said Frontier has worked tirelessly on the project to meet the state’s standards for a mining permit. That application took nine years.

“The DEC’s findings couldn’t be clearer: the mine will not result in a significant negative impact,” Piccotti said during the hearing.

The town is violating the state law by proposing an additional mining setback, he said. He also criticized Shelby for having the public hearing on a Monday at 5 p.m., just a few days after Thanksgiving. That didn’t allow for adequate review from the public, he said.

Dan Spitzer, a land use attorney working for Shelby, didn’t agree that the town had been deficient in the procedural shortcomings cited by Frontier. But rather than duke those issues out in court, Spitzer said it’s easier to redo some of the notifications and send the overlay district to the Planning Boards for their input. (Both the Town and County Planning Boards approved resolutions supporting the revised overlay district.)

Dan Spitzer (left), an attorney for Shelby, said the town is well within its right to restrict land uses. Town Councilman Dale Stalker is at right.

Spitzer said a town is well within its right to set restrictions on land use and to pinpoint locations in towns for those restrictions.

Two residents voiced their concern that the town is headed for an expensive legal fight.

“It was inevitable that litigation would be the result of this local law,” said Todd Roberts, a farmer with land in the overlay district. “Is that really the best use of our tax dollars in the Town of Shelby?”

Roberts was also concerned the district would restrict his rights as a farmer and reduce his property values.

Thurston Dale tells the Shelby Town Board he worries the overlay district will result in protracted and costly litigation for the town.

The overlay district will prohibit “incompatible” uses with a refuge, such as mining, blasting for non-agricultural purposes, junkyards, telecommunication facilities, airports and airstrips, motor vehicle repair shops that aren’t home businesses and some other uses, according to the town.

Spitzer said the overlay district doesn’t put any restrictions on farming activities. He said keeping away a quarry should improve property values.

“This is about protecting the agricultural land and open space,” Spitzer said.

The overlay district will allow blasting if it is for an agricultural purpose, and will allow motor vehicle repair shops if they are home businesses. The overlay district also has been amended to allow motels/hotels if they have 24 units or less. The amended district will also allow commercial campground and recreational vehicle parks if they do not exceed 10 acres.

Three uses that had been prohibited in the overlay district – agricultural product processing facilities, agricultural product distribution centers, and kennels – have been removed and will be allowed uses in the amended district.

Local resident Thurston Dale chastised the Shelby officials for doing the process “a– backwards.”

“The lawyers will have a picnic,” he said. “I for one don’t want to pay for it.”

Karen Jones, a member of Citizens for Shelby Preservation, said she supports the town’s efforts to keep a quarry from opening near the wildlife refuge.

Other residents thanked the Town Board for pushing forward with the overlay district and seeking to protect the wildlife refuge and quiet neighborhood for residents near the refuge.

“We all knew the time would come when the Town Board would have to stand strong, listen to their attorneys and their constituents, and do the right thing for the residents of Shelby and for the Wildlife Refuge,” said Karen Jones, a member of Citizens for Shelby Preservation. “In this effort, we wholeheartedly support you, and trust you will continue to protect the valuable asset that is the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.”

Brian McCarty of Dunlap Road said a quarry in that area would be very disruptive to residents.

“We’re not just protecting the wildlife refuge,” he said. “We’re protecting the people who live in those areas. I didn’t move out here to be near a quarry.”

The Town Board also approved a negative declaration for the State Environmental Quality Review Act, saying the overlay district would not have a negative impact on the environment. The lack of a SEQRA declaration was one of the issues cited by Frontier in the Article 78.

The SEQRA vote and the establishment of the overlay district were both unanimous votes by Town Supervisor Merle “Skip Draper, and board members Steve Seitz Sr., Dale Stalker, William Bacon and Ken Schaal.

Shelby and Frontier have their first court date for the Article 78 proceeding on Dec. 15 in State Supreme Court.

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County Planning Board backs amended Wildlife Protection Overlay District proposed in Shelby

Photos by Tom Rivers: This slide shows the proposed Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District in Shelby.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 November 2017 at 9:03 am

Town shrinks buffer from 3,000 feet to 2,000 near refuge

SHELBY – The Orleans County Planning Board on Thursday supported the Town of Shelby’s Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District, which provides a 2,000-foot buffer north of the refuge.

That overlay district would prohibit “incompatible” uses with a refuge, such as mining, blasting for non-agricultural purposes, junkyards, telecommunication facilities, airports and airstrips, motor vehicle repair shops that aren’t home businesses and some other uses.

Members of the Orleans County Planning Board were unanimous on Thursday in supporting the Overlay District. Brian Napoli of Ridgeway, far end at left, is chairman of the board. Wes Miller of Barre is at front right.

The town approved the overlay district in June and established it as a 3,000-foot buffer to the north of the refuge. The town is now amending the district to 2,000 feet and is allowing some uses that were prohibited in the initial district.

The revised overlay district would allow blasting if it is for an agricultural purpose, and would allow motor vehicle repair shops if they are home businesses. The overlay district also has been amended to allow motels/hotels if they have 24 units or less. The amended district will also allow commercial campground and recreational vehicle parks if they do not exceed 10 acres.

Three uses that had been prohibited in the overlay district – agricultural product processing facilities, agricultural product distribution centers, and kennels – have been removed and will be allowed uses in the amended district.

Frontier Stone has secured state mining permits to operate a 215-acre quarry on Fletcher Chapel Road. The company needs town approval for the project and a change in zoning for the land owned by  Zelazny Family Enterprises, LLC – Chester, Jim and Ed Zelazny.

Frontier last month filed an Article 78 legal proceeding against the town, challenging the Overlay District.

The state Department of Environmental Consrvation has been the lead agency on the environmental review of the proposed quarry. Scott Sheeley, regional permit administrator for the DEC, notified Frontier on Oct. 3 that the company had satisfied the DEC on a range of issues, including blasting and vibration, mining setbacks, cultural resources and Indian nation consultation, mine dewatering and off-site discharges, transportation and other potential impacts.

Shelby has been resistant to giving the local approvals for the project. The Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District is another level of protection in maintaining a residential/agricultural land use near the refuge.

The Orleans County Department of Planning and Development, in reviewing the Overlay District, commended the Town of Shelby for its “admirable cause” in trying to protect the Wildlife Refuge with the Overlay District.

Frontier has said its studies show the quarry won’t have a negative impact on the refuge.

The Town of Shelby will have a public hearing on the amended Overlay District at 5 p.m. on Nov. 27 at the Shelby Town Hall, 4062 Salt Works Rd.

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Shelby firefighters rescue dog from swamp

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 November 2017 at 2:36 pm

Provided photo

SHELBY – Firefighters from the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company rescue a dog from the swamp along Route 63 at about 12:15 p.m. today.

Firefighters were dispatched at about 11:45 a.m. when a motorist saw the beagle in the swamp. Firefighters put on wets suits in went into the swap to get the dog.

The photo shows Zach Petry, Crystal Petry and Captain Scott Perry. Crystal is the one holding the dog.

The are shown in the swamp just south of Oak Orchard Ridge Road. The dog’s owner is from Rochester and was heading to Shelby to get the beagle, said Tim Petry, president of the fire company.

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Shelby firefighters will have open house on Saturday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 October 2017 at 5:53 pm

SHELBY – As a show of appreciation for the community, the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company will have an open house with activities on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event will be at the fire hall at 4677 South Gravel Rd. and includes the county’s new fire prevention trailer, which has a focus on developing a fire escape plan for families.

Shelby firefighters will also do an extrication demonstration cutting up cars with tools.

“We want to spotlight our fire company and also say thank you to the community,” said Tim Petry, president of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. “Everybody donates year-round to us so this is a thank you.”

The open house includes a bounce house, an obstacle course for children, a chance to take a ride in a fire truck, tour the fire station, meet some of the firefighters, and receive helmets and goodie bags for kids.

There will also be food, refreshments and a basket raffle.

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DEC approves final environmental study for Frontier to operate quarry in Shelby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 October 2017 at 6:08 pm

Shelby, however, created overlay district near refuge that bans mining

SHELBY – The State Department of Environmental Conservation has approved a final environmental impact statement for a proposed quarry on Fletcher Chapel Road near the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

Frontier Stone has now resolved all DEC concerns with the dolomite/limestone project, and is expected to receive a mining permit soon from the state, the company said.

Frontier, however, still needs to satisfy the Shelby Town Board, which on June 19 created the Wildlife Protection Overlay District. That establishes a 2,000-foot buffer from the refuge that doesn’t allow mining and other uses “consistent with other wildlife refuges around the country.”

Frontier filed an Article 78 against Shelby on Tuesday and the town was served today. Frontier is challenging the overlay district. If the district is stricken, Frontier would go before the Shelby Planning Board which would make a recommendation to the Town Board on the project, said Andina Barone, spokeswoman for the company.

The DEC has been the lead agency on the environmental review of the proposed project. Scott Sheeley, regional permit administrator for the DEC, notified Frontier on Oct. 3 that the company had satisfied the DEC on a range of issues, including blasting and vibration, mining setbacks, cultural resources and Indian nation consultation, mine dewatering and off-site discharges, transportation and other potential impacts.

The DEC accepted the draft environmental impact statement on March 28, 2014. Frontier then did additional work to address some environmental concerns with the project, a 215-acre quarry on the south side of Fletcher Chapel Road, on land owned by  Zelazny Family Enterprises, LLC – Chester, Jim and Ed Zelazny.

Frontier applied for a mining permit with the DEC on March 10, 2006, and has worked almost 12 years to get to this point, having the FEIS accepted by the DEC.

Frontier wants to excavate 172 acres over 75 years, with the mining divided into four phases. Quarrying would be done by standard drill and blast technology with front-end loaders and excavators feeding a primary crusher with shot rock, according to the Frontier application.

Mining will go below the water table and includes a maximum water withdrawal of 554,264 gallons a day (and approximately 280,000 gallons daily during drier months). That water would be discharged to the southwest corner of the site to a drainage ditch. Frontier’s reclamation plan includes open space with two lakes for recreation and wildlife habitat. The lakes would be 35 acres and 156 acres.

Regarding the blasting, Frontier completed studies about the potential impact of the vibrations on the STAMP project, an industrial manufacturing site 4.5 miles away in the Town of Alabama. Frontier’s studies were acceptable to the low-ground vibration standards for STAMP, as well as to wildlife and neighbors, the DEC said.

Frontier has proposed accessing the site from Sour Springs Road, about a 1/3 mile from Fletcher Chapel. Trucks would reach the quarry by using Route 63, which already carries heavy truck traffic, the DEC said. From Route 63, trucks would use Fletcher Chapel Road as the primary access.

(Editor’s Note: This article was updated from an earlier version which stated truck traffic would be on Sour Springs and Oak Orchard Ridge Road. Fletcher Chapel Road is the primary access to the quarry. The land for the quarry is also owned by Zelazny Family Enterprises, LLC. The earlier version of the article said Frontier today filed an Article 78 proceeding against Shelby. That was filed on Tuesday.)

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East Shelby Church draws big crowd for old-fashioned fun

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 July 2017 at 6:09 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

EAST SHELBY – Alex Ledger, 8, of Albion rides one of the ponies today during Old Tyme Day at the East Shelby Community Bible Church, an annual event where activities and food are offered for a penny. About 2,000 people attend the event.

Abby Allen and Ethan Leonard, center, are part of a group doing a reel dance.

These suffragists promoted women’s right to vote. The suffrage movement is marking the 100th anniversary of women securing the right to vote in New York. Amy Joyner, left, and Shawna Baldwin were both “Citizens for Civility” and “Sister Suffragists.”

Eli Pask and Evan Allen play their instruments to “When the Saints Go Marching In” as part of a parade through West Jackson Corners, a hamlet created by the church.

The old-fashioned fun included foot races. Logan Monska, William Trembley and Evan London were among the competitors.

Jahbari Laurence, 6, of Buffalo makes a candle at one of the activity stops at Olde Tyme Day.

Jeff Thomas of Holley and his son Zachary, 8, have fun with woodworking.

Nathaniel Trembley is Dr. Roberts, the showman of the popular Flea Circus.

Gavin McNerney,8, of Greece peers through a cutout of a strongman.

Charlie Silvernail was elected mayor of Jackson Corners today. He also demonstrated a corn sheller from more than a century ago.

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500-plus attend benefit to support Shelby firefighter

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 May 2017 at 11:02 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – Karen Mix, a member of the East Shelby Community Bible Church, serves up a plate of spaghetti during a benefit today at the Shelby fire hall for John Seefeldt.

More than 500 people attended the dinner and basket raffle to benefit Seefeldt, who is battling a rare lung condition known as CTEPH, or chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension.

Seefeldt, 42, missed the benefit because he is in Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He is hoping he can go to a hospital in San Diego to be treated for the rare condition.

The benefit for Seefeldt was put on by the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company, the East Shelby Community Bible Church and the Masonic Lodge in Gasport. Seefeldt is a member of all three organizations.

“This is amazing,” said Amy Seefeldt, John’s wife. “It’s overwhelming.”

Her husband was diagnosed with CTEPH in 2010. “He’s a fighter,” Mrs. Seefeldt said about her husband. “We take it one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, but we get through it.”

There were about 200 baskets and items up for raffle. Bob Kelly, Seefeldt’s uncle and a member of the Masonic lodge in Gasport, calls out the winning tickets in the raffle.

Rob Robinson plays the keyboards for the crowd at the Shelby fire hall. Robinson in 2014 started “A” Blues Band. Robinson at the time was fighting cancer. The Medina resident lined up four bands for today’s benefit. Besides his band, the Boone’s Farm Band from Spencerport, the Dave Viterna Group from Medina and Creative Spirit all performed.

This group performs “I’ll Fly Away.” The bass guitarist is Nick Goodwin from Medina, a member of “A” Blues Band, and John and Carol Ralicki of Olcott, members of Creative Spirit.

Many local businesses contributed to the basket raffle.

Tim Petry, president of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company, was pleased to see so many people come out on a rainy day.

He said Seefeldt, a life member of the Fire Company, is well liked by many in the community.

“Anytime a fireman has an issue, people step up,” Petry said. “John also has support from his church and the Masons.”

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Neighbors, firefighters rescue cow that fell through ice

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 March 2017 at 3:06 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – A beef farmer’s neighbors and Shelby firefighters rescued a steer that had fallen through the ice today just after noon.

The top photo shows Shelby firefighter John Miller II holding a pet rescue mask on the steer so the animal could get oxygen. The Shelby Volunteer Fire Company has the mask for dogs and cats, but it worked for the steer and helped the animal with its recovery.

The steer is owned by Jack Farrell of Dunlop Road. He was thankful the animal was able to be pulled out of the water. The steer is 7 months old and about 900 pounds. Farrell said the steer was holding its head up and bellowing, good signs it would be OK. The steer hadn’t been able to get on its feet after getting pulled out of the water.

Photos courtesy of Russ Peters

Firefighters put a shelter of hay bales around the animal and the other steer gathered around it.

“It might take a couple hours before it can get back on its feet,” said Jason Watts, a Shelby firefighter.

Russ Peters, pastor of the Alabama Full Gospel Church, was driving on Dunlop Road just after noon when he saw the steer’s head sticking out of a pond. Peters pulled over and called his wife. Another neighbor, Connie Murray, also came over. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 12:11 with the message a cow had fallen through the ice.

Peters, Murray and another neighbor, Justin Gray, found Jack Farrell and they tried to get the steer out. Peters went in the water which was up to his waist. He put a rope around the steer’s neck and they were going to use a tractor to pull the animal out, except the tractor was out of gas. Murray ran to her house and got some gas. While she did that, Peters knocked some of the ice loose, creating a channel for the cow to get out.

Photos by Tom Rivers

The tractor, once it had gas, was used to pull out the steer, which by then was no longer breathing.

Shelby firefighters arrived on the scene and then helped revive the steer, giving it oxygen through a pet rescue mask and thumping on its back to get out fluids.

The steer bellowed and showed signs of life. But he wasn’t ready to get up. Firefighters put a warm blanket on him, and made a shelter with hay bales.

Farrell was optimistic the steer would be OK. He thanked his neighbors and the firefighters.

“It’s a good deal,” he said.

The rescued steer sits on the ground and recovers after its ordeal in the cold pond water. Jack Farrell, owner of the farm, expects the steer will recover and get back on its feet.

Firefighters don’t recommend people go on thin ice to make a rescue.

Peters said he knew the animal meant a lot of Farrell, and the pastor didn’t want to watch it die.

“It is my honor to help,”  Peters wrote in a message to the Orleans Hub. “I thank God for helping me to act despite my fear!”

(Updated at 4:58 p.m.: Shelby firefighters say the steer died at about 4 p.m. The animal may have had hypothermia or fluid in its lungs.)

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