Letter to Italy Town Clerk

Dear Ms. Trischler:

Please share this with the members of the Town Board, and please confirm receipt of this email.

My husband and I are in escrow for the purchase of 5100 Sunnyside Road in Italy. We also have owned, for 15 years, 110 acres of wild land on Lent Hill in Cohocton. We dearly love the Finger Lakes region, and hope some day to retire there. At present, due to jobs, we must live elsewhere, and so cannot attend the September 19 meeting in person to express our concerns about the wind projects proposed for Italy township.

My husband works for an environmental consulting company that is world-renowned (see www.esri.com). We are both very eager to support sustainable, renewable resource management and energy production. We were initially supportive of the wind project planned for Cohocton, but as we researched it and got more informed about it, we became very concerned that it would turn out to be a disaster--both for the town and also for us personally.

It is turning out to be exactly that. The turbines are badly engineered and break down constantly. The crews ruined the roads putting them in, and the town has had a terrible job and has generated a lot of pollution rebuilding them. The town inhabitants have divided along pro and con lines and many don't speak to each other any more. The people who live within earshot of the turbines hate them with a passion, and that includes many people who were very supportive at first. The wind isn't consistent, and the turbines are usually not producing at "capacity" although they are still very noisy. I could go on and on.

We have a small cabin and we spend many weeks there each year, contributing to wildlife management and also to the local economy with our groceries and other purchases. We also pay taxes! So even though we don't live there year-round, we are not just absentee vacationers who don't care about the community.

The turbines often keep us awake at night. The blades make the sound of a jet engine, and the gears and machinery (that turns the turbine into the wind) are very loud, making loud crashing booms and creaking and grinding noises. You can't just learn to tune the noise out, because it changes all the time. The red night lights and the flicker caused by the sun through the blades are annoying, but the noise is just torture.

Ecogen does not care about the citizens or the quality of life in Italy. They are just using you, counting on your naïveté and ignorance. PLEASE don't make the same mistake that Cohocton made!

Carolyn Morehouse

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Loud Turbines in Cohocton

Residents: Turbines too loud

Atlanta, NY - Several Cohocton town residents want to know why they have to call wind developer First Wind to complain about noise from wind turbines instead of town officials.

Residents packed the town board meeting Monday night, hoping to hear how the complaints will be handled.

According to Joe Bob, one of the town’s code enforcement officers, the town’s wind law specifies exactly how much noise can be made at a certain range.

Bob said the town law states the noise cannot reach higher than 50 decibels at the closest non-participating property line. According to town law, no turbines are allowed within 1,500 feet of a property line without a variance.

The law also sets lower limits for some sounds. Any “pure tone” noise, as defined by the law, is limited to 45 decibels. “It’s in-depth, very methodical, very thorough,” Bob said.

With several residents offering complaints to the town, First Wind and the media, Bob set out how the complaint system works.

First, the town needs to determine the sound levels put out by the turbines. Right now, the town’s wind noise monitoring firm, Massachusetts-based firm Tech Environmental, is trying to monitor 10 turbines around Cohocton for noise at peak operating time.

Bob said the town’s noise monitoring firm tests for noise several ways, including shutting off turbines to check background noise, sheltering the meters from the wind and repeating tests over a period of time. “The problem is, they’re not done yet,” Bob said, adding until a baseline of how much noise is being created, it will be hard to determine what is above the legal noise limit and what is not.

Once that baseline is set, he said, residents can call a toll-free telephone number to lodge a complaint, which rings into the First Wind office in Cohocton. The town code enforcement office, a First Wind representative and monitoring firms hired by both the town and First Wind — but both paid for by First Wind — will set up at the complainant’s residence and monitor the noise. If the noise is over the limit, the turbine will be shut down at peak noise production.

Residents spoke out against the process, saying the noise now is too great to wait for a long study to be undertaken.

“They’re making so much noise, I can’t sleep at night,” Graham said. “The thing is reading 82-110 decibels at some times.”

Graham said he thinks he was lied to when First Wind, then called UPC Wind, offered to place turbines on his property. “They told us we wouldn’t hear anything at 900 feet,” he said. “The noise is so great that my windows are vibrating.”

Graham added he has hired an attorney to pursue the complaint process if needed. “If you’re the code officer, you should be able to monitor these things and enforce this,” Graham said.

Zigenfus said there is little the town can do but follow the procedure it agreed to. “We’re bound by what the law is,” he said. “If we violate their rights under a contract, we could end up in even more trouble.

Steve Trude, one of the heads of Cohocton Wind Watch and co-plaintiff in three lawsuits against the town over the development, said he feels the system should not go through First Wind. “We don’t feel well calling Jane (Towner, a Cohocton-based First Wind official),” Trude said. “The protections need to be tweaked.”

By Bob Clark, The Hornell Evening Tribune

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Cohocton project online?

Project online despite report from grid operator

Cohocton, NY - Despite reports from the operator of the state’s power grid, the 50-turbine project in Cohocton is online.

The New York Independent System Operator, the not-for-profit organization that runs the state’s power grid, stated Friday the 125 megawatt project in Cohocton was not operational, a claim refuted by town officials and later by NYISO itself.

Kenneth M. Klapp, the senior communications and media relations specialist with NYISO, Monday said the information provided by his own agency Friday was incorrect.

“Unfortunately, you were given information on the status of another wind project in Steuben County, which has been proposed for interconnection to the grid,” he said. “In answer to your original question, both phases of the 125 MW wind project in Steuben County (known as Cohocton Wind and operated by First Wind) are currently in service.”

That comes in contrast to what officials at the organization had said previously.

Richard Barlette, manager of government affairs for NYISO, said Friday no power generated at the site has been sold for consumption. “They’re currently under the connection process,” he said at the time. “As far as ‘flipping the switch,’ a ball park figure is December 2010.”

Others contacting NYISO had received similar information, including U.S. Rep. Eric Massa, D-29, who responded to the mistake during a press conference call this morning. “What you’re saying is it’s hard to get a straight answer out of anybody,” Massa said. “There is a lot of misinformation out there.” Massa added much work is left to do on the project, including sound studies that were the topic of discussion at a Cohocton town board meeting Monday night.

Jack Zigenfus, town supervisor in Cohocton, provided The Evening Tribune with a spreadsheet from NYISO showing the project was in service as of the most-recent update of the document, recorded as Feb. 5.

Cohocton officials applauded First Wind for “throwing the switch” on the 50-turbine wind energy development in December, while according to John Lamontagne, director of corporate communications for First Wind, the project was believed to be up and running in 2008. “The time frame was to be by the end of the year,” he said in a Dec. 16, 2008 phone interview.

According to company officials in 2007 — when the company was known as UPC Wind — the project was expected to be up and running about a year after construction began.

Dirt first started moving on the project Sept. 18, 2007, with tower construction commencing in November. Work on the first two towers, complete with turbine blades, was finished Jan. 3. Of the 50 towers, 47 are spread across Lent, Pine and Dutch hills, dominating much of the view around Cohocton, North Cohocton and Atlanta. The three remaining turbines are on Brown Hill to the south of the village, where the project connects to the regional energy grid.

First Wind officials did not immediately return a call requesting a comment.

By Bob Clark, The Hornell Evening Tribune

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Cohocton Noise Warning

Prattsburgh residents get warning on wind turbines

By Mary Perham, Gatehouse News Service

Wind turbines will disturb your peace and quiet, neighboring town residents warned the Prattsburgh town board last week.

"It's like a jet engine landing right behind you," Hal Graham, of Cohocton, said. "It's constant noise."

Graham leased land to First Wind for its 50-turbine wind farm in the town of Cohocton. Tuesday, he spoke during the Prattsburgh board's public hearing on a wind energy facilities permit there. The permit will stipulate certain terms and charge a building permit fee for any wind facilities in the town.

The only wind project currently being considered in Prattsburgh is EcoGen, an East Aurora-based developer. In December, First Wind announced a year's hiatus in its plan to put up a 36-turbine wind farm in Prattsburgh and recently closed its office.
However, FirstWind did complete its larger project in Cohocton, beginning operations there earlier this year.

Graham said he was a strong supporter of wind energy and studied any potential noise problems extensively by observing other wind farms in the state and asking questions.

Both he and a neighbor each have a turbine on their properties, he said.

"When I signed the contract, I was assured there was no noise," he said. "Well, people can't sleep at night, in the winter, with the windows closed. As the wind speed increases, the noise level rises. It rattles our windows ... It's like a jet engine going full blast."

The noise can be heard in neighboring hamlets of Ingleside, Atlanta and North Cohocton, according to Graham and other Cohocton residents at the meeting. Other residents complained about a lack of sleep and disturbed animals.

Click here to read the full Steuben Courier report.

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No Power from Cohocton?

Power grid operator: no power so far to state grid from Cohocton

Cohocton, NY - After years of development, construction, anxiety and lawsuits, the hills surrounding Cohocton have sprouted 50 commercial wind turbines.

Now that First Wind has wrapped up its construction in Cohocton and the turbines are now spinning in the breeze, is that energy being sold?

According to the grid operator, no. And that’s not expected to change anytime soon.

Richard Barlette, manager of government affairs for the New York Independent System Operator — the not-for-profit company that moderates the state’s power grid and gives all power projects the green light — said no power generated at the site has been sold for consumption.

“They’re currently under the connection process,” he said. “As far as ‘flipping the switch,’ a ball park figure is December 2010.”

That connection process contains several steps, Barlette said, which are long and complicated.

“It’s not just sticking a turbine in the ground one day and producing electricity,” he said. “Every plant you build goes through the process.”

The biggest test, he said, is seeing if the grid can handle the extra power — 125 megawatts, in Cohocton’s case.

“We need to know the impact and reliability on the grid. We need to make sure it doesn’t negatively affect the grid.”

NYISO’s word comes in contrast to what town officials have heard from First Wind in the past.

Jack Zigenfus, Cohocton town supervisor, was last told by First Wind that the project was ready to transmit power and he thought it was.

“I received a letter that it had met all the criteria from all the regulatory agencies,” Zigenfus said. “They have to be operating to be obligated to pay the town.”

Zigenfus said the town has received at least $1.81 million from the project so far. The first payment — of $725,000 — came to the town in 2007 from the project as part of the community host agreement, with an additional $937,500 entering the town’s coffers by the end of 2008. First Wind also transfered to the town $150,000 for historical remediation, which the town and village boards hope to put towards renovating the Larrowe House, which currently houses the town and village clerk offices.

He also said he heard from officials at the Wayland-Cohocton Central School District it received the first Payment in Lieu of Taxes check from First Wind.

Cohocton officials applauded First Wind for “throwing the switch” on the 50-turbine wind energy development in December, while according to John Lamontagne, director of corporate communications for First Wind, the project was believed to be up and running in 2008.

"The time frame was to be by the end of the year,” he said in a Dec. 16, 2008 phone interview.

According to company officials in 2007 — when the company was known as UPC Wind — the project was expected to be up and running about a year after construction began.

Dirt first started moving on the project Sept. 18, 2007, with tower construction commencing in November. Work on the first two towers, complete with turbine blades, was finished Jan. 3. Of the 50 towers, 47 are spread across Lent, Pine and Dutch hills, dominating much of the view around Cohocton, North Cohocton and Atlanta. The three remaining turbines are on Brown Hill to the south of the village, where the project connects to the regional energy grid.

First Wind officials did not immediately return messages for comment.

By Bob Clark, The Hornell Evening Tribune

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Night Noise in Cohocton


Says he has trouble sleeping due to the noise.

A Town of Cohocton man tells us that he has a turbine on his property and that there is a wind turbine next door, and because of the turbines, he has trouble sleeping at night. He says he has asked the wind companies to turn the wind turbine off, and he says they won't.

That wind farmer now describes having a wind turbine as the biggest mistake of his life. His complaint about noise is not uncommon. All over the state where the giant turbines are installed, people complain of the noise as well as the fact that shadows often cause problems. The turbines also tend to ruin any beauty on the countryside.

For clues about who this mystery man might be, read the article below. [Ed.]

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Update from Prattsburgh

Dear Folks,

It seems that some of us missed an interesting meeting in Prattsburgh last night. I have spoken to several people who attended and am passing along comments from Arnold Palmer, a landowner in Prattsburgh, who sent me this email.

Just to give you some basics - Prior to the regularly scheduled town board meeting there was a public hearing on the "wind law." Once there is a wind law the town is legally allowed to receive money for building permits from wind companies. They did not vote on the wind law last night - rather they agreed to have a workshop in a couple of weeks to discuss setbacks.

The following is from Arnold:

The meeting was standing room only.

A fellow from Cohocton - Lent Hill Road, [Judge Hal Graham] spoke eloquently about the noise resulting from a 2.3 turbine on his property, how strongly he supported the wind farm concept before they became operational, how completely frustrated he was with the noise level which is so different from what he was promised when he signed a lease, his complete lack of results in trying, now after the fact, to do something about it, how badly he felt about what he'd wrought on his neighbors, and urging the Board to act prudently.

He made the excellent point that, rather than relying on Ecogen or whomever to provide theoretical DB prognostications, the Prattsburgh Board had the option to simply come to Cohocton and listen. He urged them to visit his home and to do so on windy days without giving the wind company a heads up in that, whenever visitors were anticipated, the turbine speeds are slowed down so that visitors are treated to noise levels at 25% or less of what the residents are subjected to on a daily basis. Good discussion about what sorts of setbacks were necessary and what point from which the setbacks should be measured.

The overall tenor of the Hearing and Board Meeting was substantially different that any I've attended in recent memory.

However some things don't change:

The Town Attorney was his usual self, yelling at Al to keep quiet and bristling whenever his posture was questioned by attendees or the Board. Stacy got in a few "you people" epithets in a lengthy self-serving statement describing what a privilege it had been to direct the Comprehensive Plan initiative and remind everyone she was pleased with the Plan and couldn't care less whether anyone else liked the plan, or the people who worked on it or the process under which it was prepared.

When Judge Graham was speaking, the room was silent and he was given the courtesy of speaking when his allotted three minutes were up.

The star of the evening was Steve Kula. He was extremely even-handed on wind related issues, got Harold and the Town Attorney squirming on whether bills (attorney fees and engineering company bills, among others) were being paid properly and transparently or whether they were being sent directly to Harold rather than to the Town who had approved the bills and had them paid. He brought up a number of other equally lightning rod issues about propriety, including asking for an executive session at the end to present a 'legal solution' to end the issues of condemnation and Harold's vote.

So folks, the good news is that the wind law in its present form was not voted upon, and the Board appears to be taking the issue of setbacks seriously. Thanks to everyone who attended last night - the support from this group continues to stay solid, and it is appreciated.


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Naples Appeals to PSC

Naples: Don’t get too close with those windmills

By Emily McFaul, correspondent

Naples, NY — The Town Board says wind turbines planned for neighboring Prattsburgh come too close to the Naples town line. Board members agreed this month to send a letter asking the state Public Service Commission to intervene and order a developer to move the towers further from town line.

“I think the board has made clear, we’re not against wind turbines, but we are against the improper siting of towers,” Supervisor Frank Duserick said.

This is not the first letter of protest the town has issued regarding the location of towers in neighboring townships. In July, the town appealed to the state Attorney General’s Office, arguing that Naples landowners’ property rights and safety are threatened by the placement of the towers. While a date has yet to be set, the Attorney General’s Office has expressed interest in meeting with the town.

At issue are turbines planned for Knapp Hill in Prattsburgh, part of the Ecogen project. Five turbines are scheduled to go up in the area, with the closest only 489 feet from Naples landowner John Servo’s property line. Servo is president of the group Advocates for Prattsburgh, which has opposed this project.

Technically, the setbacks meet project guidelines established for Ecogen through an environmental study headed up by the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency. But both Servo and the Naples Town Board say the setbacks are not enough.

The neighboring town of Cohocton passed a zoning law prohibiting the placement of turbines closer than 1,500 feet from a residence, a step that Duserick points out to the PSC as precedent that another town has acknowledged the undesirability of building within that range.

By placing turbines less than 500 feet from the Naples property line, Duserick and Servo argue that the project is creating “reverse zoning” that effectively limits Naples landowners from full use of their property for safety reasons. “The safety zone is 1,500 feet,” Duserick later said. “There should be a 1,500 feet setback, and actually it’s not enough. That’s for the smaller turbines.”

At a hearing last month, the Steuben County IDA outlined Ecogen’s new plans to install larger 2.3-megawatt turbines instead of the originally planned 1.5-megawatt model, but Naples received no advance notice of the hearing.

The increase in the turbine size means that only 36 towers will be placed instead of the 53 originally planned, but the towers will be 26 feet taller to generate the increased output. Ecogen project manager Thomas Hagner said contrary to what some project critics have suggested, no new environmental study is required.

And despite the number of towers being scaled back, with the site earmarked a prime wind resource, the Knapp Hill towers are still planned. Technically, Ecogen is within its rights to do so, said Hagner. “The turbines meet the permitting requirements of the government agency with jurisdiction on this issue,” he said.

For Duserick, frustration goes back to initial planning phases for the wind project, when the IDA notified the village but not the town of the impending development, leaving the town out of the loop in the environmental review process.

“It’s inappropriate and unethical to place towers so close to the town line without even talking to (us),” said Duserick. “I clearly question the ethics of what’s happening in Steuben County.”
In the letter to the PSC, the town also asks for setbacks of five miles from designated historic sites in Naples like the Memorial Town Hall, in order to protect the town’s scenic views and tourism trade.

The environmental review process for wind developments evaluates the visual impacts of turbines for a radius of 5 miles; for the Ecogen project, the determination recorded in the environmental impact statement is that there would not be “significant adverse impact for distant views (greater than approximately 2 miles).”

But there is some precedent in the PSC limiting turbines from being built in sites where they could be visually and economically detrimental. Last year, the PSC required Jordanville Wind to eliminate 19 of the 68 turbines planned for its Herkimer County project, since they would be visible from the Glimmerglass Historic District. Though the district fell outside of the 5-mile radius, the PSC acknowledged the district as a “nationally significant” historic resource, and a key factor in a regional economic plan developed around heritage-based tourism.

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Letter to the Editor

Environmentalists holding U.S. back

To those with an open mind on wind power, I suggest a ride down Interstate 390 between Cohocton and Avoca. On the horizon are endless windmill generators that scar thousands of acres and ruin what was an outstanding natural vista. Exit at Cohocton and drive into the hills in the vicinity of these monstrosities. They are huge and grotesque. In a rural sense, they are in people's backyards. By contrast, a single nuclear plant would occupy 1 percent of the acreage and generate more power on a consistent basis. What happens to wind power when the wind dies? Conventional power is still needed for backup.

I cannot believe that environmentalists are sincere when they are willing to mar our scenic and inhabited landscape while opposing drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — a totally barren, flat and unoccupied space of a mere 2,000 acres out of 19 million acres in the Alaskan preserve. This leads me to conclude that the alternate energy movement is not about energy, but about forcing on us government control of our national productivity.

by Arnold Petralia, Greece

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Lawsuits blown away

Steuben judge dismisses CWW efforts to halt $230 million First Wind project

Bath, N.Y. - Cohocton town officials are breathing a sigh of relief today after three legal challenges to the $230 million wind turbine development in the town have been dismissed.

Steuben County Supreme Court Judge Marianne Furfure sided with Cohocton town officials, developer First Wind and leaseholders Tuesday morning, dismissing three lawsuits filed by local advocacy group Cohocton Wind Watch to halt work on the 50-turbine wind development in the town.

According to Cohocton town Supervisor Jack Zigenfus, Furfure made her ruling from the bench. No written copy of the decision was available Tuesday afternoon, according to employees at the Steuben County Supreme Court Clerk’s office. “She just dismissed it without comment,” he said.

Click here to read Bob Clark' entire Hornell Evening Tribune article.

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VN 5/13 - WCCS Taxpayers

The Wayland-Cohocton School Board needs to hear from you. Attend the Wayland-Cohocton Central School District Budget Hearing in the LGI Auditorium at WCCS in Wayland on Tuesday, May 13th from 7–9 pm.

This public hearing is important because your real estate tax bill is facing a dramatic increase this coming year. Meanwhile, UPC/First Wind refuses to pay their fair share to the WCCS. The PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) arranged by SCIDA is a pittance compared to the $2,000,000 plus a year in school taxes that would be assessed on the real value of the development if the owners of the industrial wind factory in Cohocton were to pay based on their assessment and current tax rate, like the rest of us folks.

And who are the owners of this privileged project? That’s a well-kept secret, but you can be pretty sure that the real equity owners are the super-rich who invest in these projects as tax shelters, not residents of rural upstate New York.

The Town of Naples and the Town of Prattsburgh have filed legal actions against SCIDA PILOTS and are now in court. These school districts stand to reap big dividends. But the Wayland-Cohocton School Board has refused to file its own suit so far. You, the hard pressed taxpayer, will be told to pay a large tax increase this coming year, but UPC/First Wind will get a huge tax exemption that will last for twenty years. Some school board members may even have vested family benefit putting their profit above your interest.

Attend the public hearing on May 13th and demand that the Wayland-Cohocton School Board file a legal action on all of our behalf. If Naples and Prattsburgh School Boards are fighting for their property owners, our Board should do the same. If they refuse to respond to the fiscal welfare of taxpayers, send a loud and clear message and VOTE DOWN the proposed WCCS Budget at the annual school budget vote to be held in the LGI Auditorium on Tuesday, May 20th. Polls open at 10 am and close at 8 pm. Thank you for getting the word out to your friends!

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Windmills Save Poor Farmer?

Innovative Dairy Attracts International Visitors

Lancaster Farming ran an article this week extolling the virtues of Paul Walcott's farm in Cohocton, noting that “windmills and a rotary dairy parlor set [his] farm apart.”

Long known locally as “the King of Lent Hill”, Paul was an early advocate of wind power in Cohocton and, according to the article, has 13 or just over 25% of UPC Wind's 50 Cohocton turbines on his property. At an annual leasehold rate of somewhere in the vicinity of $3,000 to $10,000 apiece (the terms are confidential because the industrial wind developer is a private corporation), Paul stands to make anywhere from $40,000 to upwards of $100,000 a year just for “hosting” the turbines on his land.

What effect will this financial windfall have on a the future of farmers like Paul? Lancaster Farming reports: “Depending on the size of the windmill and how much wind blows, Wolcott points out that a small dairy operation might be able to lease its land to a wind farm and retire on the profits. However, it isn’t quite the same for a large operation. 'It’s an additional source of income, but it won’t save our farm if we don’t do a good job with the dairy,' said Wolcott.”

Money apparently isn't the only motivator, however. Saving the country from dependence on foreign oil is also: “I think it’s obvious to most people that we need to do something about energy in this country and it seems like it’s better than sending our money to the Middle East for oil,” the article quotes Wolcott as saying.

The article goes on to note that there are those who disagree: “However, there still remains a minority of people who are against the wind farm. Wolcott believes even with sound science and facts to back up the process, it remains an emotional issue with some.”

Unfortunately, the “sound science and facts” Paul has been relying on to are deeply flawed, and the “emotional issue with some” that he points out may grow as Cohocton residents begin to cope with the total industrial desecration of their once scenic and tranquil hills that Paul's industrial installation has brought.

For one thing, the intermittent and unreliable electrical power that onshore wind turbines provide (estimated to be 10-25% of their rated capacity), will do absolutely nothing to diminish our reliance on foreign oil, whether it be from the controversial Middle East or elsewhere, because of one simple fact: less than 3% of the electricity generated in the U.S. comes from petroleum and most of that is from waste disposal. And the specious argument that it will cut down our emission of CO2 is even more debatable.

What is incontrovertible, however, is that the turbines Paul so eagerly invited into Cohocton have destroyed the natural beauty of Lent Hill Farm's “1,850 acres of rolling hills overlooking the countryside below" as well as it's boast that the surrounding area remains "free from development and urban pressure.”

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Current Cohocton Realities

1) Intermittent and unpredictable wind to produce reliability electric generation, according to Iberdrola's brief in the PSC - Energy East acquisition hearings. "As a result, energy from these wind projects cannot reasonably be sold in NYISO's day-ahead market, in which the substantial majority of New York electricity is bought and sold."

2) Clipper Wind C26, 2.5 MW turbines used at Steelwinds have gear box and blade failures, requiring replacement. Cohocton turbines blades need re-engineering.

3) SEQR disclosures claim transmission lines less than 10 miles. Reality is over that limit which requires more rigorous PSC regulations for projects.

4) Industrial turbine siting from residents vastly inadequate. Smaller Vestas turbine safety regulations warn of a danger zone.

5 Low frequency noise UPC claims vastly underestimate the reality at Tug Hill.

6) Significant farm land area taken out of production, contrary to UPC claims.

7) Road damage from construction severe and restoration not funded by UPC.

8) Decommissioning letter of credit on a foreign bank for $1,084,000. Cost to take down a single turbine is well in excess of $1,000,000 each.

9) PILOT tax exemption wholly inadequate as fair compensation from an industrial project that alters the fundamental character of the community.

10) UPC HOST Agreement is not enforceable and developer can void terms with no penalties. Contract can be terminated by 9/1/08 with no additional payments.

11) Planning Board members and family now employed by contractor and suppliers.

12) Transmission leases lacking to complete the project, as construction proceeds.

13) Proper permitting, insurances and guarantees lacking, as construction proceeds.

14) Active legal actions pending in court that may require abandonment of project.

15) Family turmoil and neighbor discontent among Cohocton citizens.

16) Significant reduction in property values as a consequence of industrial spot zoning has already occurred with specific documentation from sales.

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VN 12/31 - What Tax Cut?


Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas and the associated evenings of those twelve days (Twelve-tide), are the festive days beginning the evening of Christmas Day (December 25) through the morning of Epiphany (January 6). The associated evenings of the twelve days begin on the evening before the specified day. Thus, the first night of Christmas is December 24–25, and Twelfth Night is January 5–6. This period is also known as Christmastide.

Over the centuries, differing churches and sects of Christianity have changed the actual traditions, time frame, and their interpretations. Residents of Cohocton, NY, began a new tradition of celebrating the season in 2007, as chronicled in their version of the popular carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Click here to enjoy our updated lyrics.

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VN 12/24 - 'Twas the Night


VN 12/18 - Deck the Hills


VN 12/11 - Herald Turbines

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VN 12/3 - What Advantage?



Cohocton construction continues

An article in this Tuesday's Hornell Evening Tribune reports:

Despite snow, rain and mud, wind turbine towers are starting to go up on top of Dutch Hill... Work on the sites began Sept. 18. Despite progress on the project and limited delays since the project began, there is no firm date for the completion of the work. “Everybody asks that question,” Towner said, “and I have no date.” The unpredictability of weather slows down construction, Towner said, adding high winds make it impossible to install rotors and upper tower sections. “The plan is to continue all through winter,” Towner said.

Click here to read the entire article.



VN 11/27 - "Huge Tax Cut"?

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VN 11/13 - Proof of the Pudding

The proof of any recipe is what it tastes like when it’s all done. Did it turn out the way the cook intended? Does everyone think it’s a success? After last week’s election, it seems virtually inevitable that Cohocton’s hills will be covered with industrial wind turbines by next year in accordance with the controversial “recipe for success” UPC Wind and our elected officials are cooking up for all of us. Now that the majority of our Town’s voters have officially ignored the warnings of critics, the last remaining critic will be the project’s outcome itself.

There’s little doubt that UPC Wind will reap a handsome profit, but will Cohocton get what it bargained for?
- Will the turbines and towers be quiet and unobtrusive, as advertised, or disturbingly noisy (but technically legal) and ugly?
- Whose property values will go up, and whose will go down?
- Will our property taxes actually drop significantly, or have projected tax savings been falsely inflated, only to be minimized by increased costs, lowered school tax subsidies and other factors?
- And, ultimately, will onshore industrial wind power installations like this lower greenhouse gas production or turn out to be scams that are enormously costly to taxpayers and energy consumers?

Frankly, we think the whole wind power scheme is a painfully flawed boondoggle for investors that will end up damaging our Town. We’re grateful for the encouragement many of you have shown in supporting our well-researched concerns over the past 18 months privately, at public meetings, and at the polls. Thank you for your support!

We’ll be taking a low profile from now on but will still be available to talk with anyone in town as things develop. Once UPC’s recipe has been followed and Cohocton’s goose pudding is cooked, we think the lights are going to start coming on, one at a time, in the minds of many formerly ardent wind supporters. In the meantime, please visit us at www.cohoctonfree.com, keep up with our Updates, and let us know what you discover as you begin to taste the pudding.

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Incumbents Retain Positions

This week's elections returned Cohocton's incumbents to office by a 2 to 1 margin, disappointing but not surprising results for Reform Cohocton supporters. Click here to read Bob Clark's report in the Hornell Evening Tribune.

We would like to thank all of you who have been such an encouragement over the past year as we have sought to bring some balance to the wind power controversy locally. Although industrial wind development seems now to be a foregone conclusion in Cohocton, the ongoing process and consequences of this development remain to be seen. Some of our most important work may remain ahead.

In Howard the outcome of Tuesday's election was similar. However, in many other elections around the state, wind power critics won office as listed below:

Brandon: “We won!”
Burke: “Appears to have our majority now.”
Hartsville: “Steve Dombert won Town Supervisor.”
Malone: “Appears to have stayed in good shape.”
Meredith: “Keitha Capouya is Supervisor-Elect and will have a majority on the Town Council to ban industrial wind. We estimate the final margin of Keitha’s victory will be about 66% to 34% — a LANDSLIDE! And a crushing defeat for industrial wind in Meredith. The four other candidates on our slate all won.”
Perry: “One of our two candidates for the Town Board won the election. Congratulations, Tracy Rozanski! Our candidate for Town Supervisor lost by only about 100 votes to an incumbent who was cross-endorsed by both the Democrat and the Republican Parties. To say that this town is divided over the industrial wind issue is an understatement, but the citizens are waking up!”
Sardinia: “Win. We now have a majority board who will support a strict ordinance and will vote on it early next year when it’s ready.”
Sheldon (Wyoming County): “We lost: town supervisor and two council seats– now three seats are filled with “poor farmers” getting turbines. Same supervisor (Knab); new council member Kirsch, dem chair & getting many turbines.”
Springwater: “Good News for Springwater! Norb Buckley, one of “the good guys”, is our new town supervisor. John Curtiss, another great guy, town council. And Katherine Bush, town council.”

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VN 11/6 - Big Time Spenders

And you thought 2 full pages was a lot? Last week’s Valley News had over 3 full pages of advertising for the Cohocton incumbents, including 1 full-page color ad with their obscure “Adopted Budget for 2008” (before the election, no less), another full-page color hatchet job on Judi Hall, and several smaller ads for UPC Wind, etc. After spending more than $15,000 in Valley News ads over the past 18 months, our UPC team is blazing toward the finish line by spending another $800 last week alone. And what do the incumbents want us to know about? How they propose to spend our money next year!

Do our incumbents have anything but spending money on their minds?
- Well, yes, they have wind turbines. Getting them up as fast as possible before the court can act and even before a valid PILOT agreement is in place. Can you believe that all this spending and talk about more spending is still just based on promises?
- What can an ordinary citizen do?
Come out on November 6 and vote Row E for the
Reform Cohocton Slate:

Judith Hall, Town Supervisor
Cesare Taccone, Town Councilman
Stephen H. Trude, Town Councilman
Dr. Frank "Stoner" Clark, Town Justice
Bonnie Palmiter, Town Assessor
Rebecca Conard, Town Assessor
Blair Hall, Town Clerk

This Tuesday Cohocton voters have the opportunity to elect a team of leaders who haven't been bought by UPC Wind, a group of men and women who are prepared to ask the tough questions and get our Town back on track again. Review the Reform Cohocton platform and slate of candidates at www.cohocton.net and then go to the polls and vote for leaders who aren’t dazzled by UPC’s money.

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No Tower Up Yet?

Pre Election

Why hasn't UPC Wind
put up a turbine
before the election
on November 6
for all of us to see?

Click here
to take
our survey.



What UPC Pays For

Jane Towner greeted me outside the UPC office yesterday afternoon as I was leaving the Post Office:

"Dr. Morehouse, I want you to know that we don't pay for political ads or Wayne Hunt's articles in the Valley News. I know you have concerns."

For those who don't know, Jane Towner was designated UPC's "Project Community Relations Representative" in August. Her statement begs the following questions and comments:

Who is "we"? Canandaigua Power Partners I? Canandaigua Power Partners II? Cohocton Wind? Dutch Hill Wind? The UPC Community Relations office? The UPC Construction office? UPC Wind Partners LLC in Massachusetts? Some other branch of UPC?

Who pays for the YES Wind Power group's expenses, including its Valley News ads?

Were Gerald Moore's and "Gramps" Drum's half-page, full color ads (and numerous others like them) "political" or paid for by the YES group or UPC directly?

If UPC (out of one or more of its many pockets) financially supports the YES group and donates to the incumbents' reelection campaign - none of which is presumably illegal - and then these groups run ads in the Valley News, like Wayne Hunt's ads, who has actually "paid" for them?

How have pro-wind people in Cohocton consistently been able to outspend their critics 3 to 1 for over a year and a half, when these critics are supposed to be so rich?

When the glove moves, it's the hand behind it doing the moving, Jane.

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VN 10/30 - Bought, Paid For

It’s amazing how money talks. Last week’s Valley News contained nearly 2 full pages of slick ads promoting the Cohocton wind projects, almost all of it in full color. There were 3 half-page color ads, one with a picture of “Gramps” Drum on his tractor, another with the Larrowe House, and a third flag-draped political ad for the incumbent slate. In addition, UPC had its usual office notice, and Wayne Hunt sounded forth again. Who do you think paid the $500+ that these ads cost? “Gramps”? Wayne? Jack? Cohocton citizens?

Has UPC bought the entire Town with its cash and promises?
- Only a court case and one small election stand between UPC’s supporters and the unobstructed fulfillment of their plans.
- Fortunately for all of us there is still a glimmer of hope that sound reason and prudence will win out in the end.
- Pray for wisdom for Judge Marianne Furfure and come out on November 6 to vote Row E for the Reform Cohocton Slate:

Judith Hall, Town Supervisor
Stephen H. Trude, Town Councilman
Cesare Taccone, Town Councilman
Dr. Frank "Stoner" Clark, Town Justice
Bonnie Palmiter, Town Assessor
Rebecca Conard, Town Assessor
Blair Hall, Town Clerk

Next Tuesday Cohocton voters will have the opportunity to elect a team of leaders who haven't been dazzled by UPC Wind's sales pitch, a group of men and women who are prepared to ask UPC the tough questions and negotiate a deal that makes better sense for all of us. Browse our "Updates," review the Reform Cohocton platform and slate of candidates, and help us get out the vote for leaders that UPC’s money hasn’t swayed.

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VN 10/23 - Money Matters

A major factor that members of the Cohocton YES Wind Power group point to when they proclaim that supporting UPC's project is a "no-brainer" is how much money they and the Town have been promised by the developer. Two kinds of money are promised: leasehold payments (private) and PILOT or Payments In Lieu Of Taxes to the Town (public). The project proposed 1.5 MW turbines when leases were first signed, then 2.0 MW turbines last year, and now 2.5 MW turbines. UPC Wind stands to make 67% more money from each of the larger turbines. Is this increase being shared with leaseholders? Each leaseholder knows the deal they got, leaving the rest of us in the dark.

But what about the proposed public PILOT money?
- First, even though we have a preliminary "Host Agreement" in place, the PILOT agreement apparently remains unfinished, so we really don't have anything but words in the air.
- Has anyone in our current Town administration even thought about computing how much UPC Wind would pay if they were taxed straight out as an electric utility? How can we judge any proposed PILOT without knowing what to compare it with?
- The school tax problem: we've just gotten a report from UPC's project in Mars Hill, Maine, indicating that half of their PILOT money has been lost through reductions in school tax subsidy. Have we computed this loss locally?
- The City Council in Lackawanna (Buffalo) has just discovered that it can tax future “phases” of UPC Wind's "Steel Winds" turbine project at the full rate, and last week they unanimously passed a law that would authorize them to do so.

In two weeks Cohocton voters will have the opportunity to elect a team of leaders who haven't been dazzled by UPC Wind's sales pitch, a group of men and women who are prepared to ask UPC the tough questions and negotiate a deal that makes better sense for all of us. Browse our Updates, visit our main site, review the Reform Cohocton platform and slate of candidates, and come out on November 6 to vote for leaders that count.

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VN 10/16 - Hand in the Glove

Week by week, UPC Wind’s involvement in Cohocton becomes more blatantly evident in The Valley News. Last week they took out nearly 2 full pages of ads under several guises in their continuing effort to promote their project before next month’s election. One was a half-page color ad by UPC pledging to “Save our town!” and extolling the “beauty” of its promised “new jobs!” “prosperity!” and “opportunity!” Another was a 3/4-page ad by Wayne Hunt with quotes from Judge Furfure’s recent court decision. Apparently the Judge felt that “Local Law #2… was not the first step of a larger project” nor were “changes made by Local Law #2… made at the request of project applicants as a preliminary step to this project.”

Where was Judge Furfure when Local Law #2 was made?
- Obviously nowhere near Cohocton where the picture was quite different. Without UPC there would have been no Local Law #1 or #2. Our Comprehensive Plan has no place for wind turbines at all.
- Throughout the entire process it’s been clear that our elected and appointed officials have had one goal in mind – working with UPC to craft a legal framework that would permit their project.
- UPC’s enormous Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) came on the heels of Local Law #1, and its even bigger SDEIS came almost instantly after Local Law #2 was passed and, oddly enough, fit its provisions precisely the way a hand fits into a carefully tailored glove. “Hearings?” Who were our leaders listening to?
- One reading of Local Law #2 should convince any sceptic that it was written by attorneys, not local politicians. And who paid the attorneys who wrote it? Hello? Is anyone home?

When a glove moves, it’s the hand behind it that makes it move. Unfortunately, Judge Furfure just looked at the glove and ignored the hand. We still have a chance in this fall’s elections, however, to turn the tide of deception that’s been overtaking our town. Browse through our “Updates,” review the Reform Cohocton platform and slate of candidates, and then help us get out the vote for people who can see through this whole ruse.

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A Crucial Tax Issue

Steve Trude, Reform Cohocton candidate for Town Board, has raised a serious question with our Town Assessors about the tax status of the UPC Wind project. A copy of his letter follows:

Dear Ms. Damboise, Mr. Densmore, and Mr. Domm:

SCIDA has not approved a PILOT for the UPC/CPP/CPPII Projects. The developer has taken the risk of starting construction without building permits. As with any building construction that does not have “special exemption”, the value of the entire project is subject to industrial tax assessment.

These UPC industrial machines, if built, reside on land of several Cohocton property owners, who supposedly have lease agreements with UPC. A host agreement between the Town of Cohocton and the UPC developer does not cover the independent tax jurisdiction of the Cohocton - Wayland School District and the County of Steuben.

Without a valid PILOT, it is legally required that such a project must be assessed at full value and applied to each of the individual property accounts where any portion of the project is erected.

Every tax payer in the Town of Cohocton has a financial interest in the consequences of the proper tax assessment that your board will assign to each of the leaseholders property. Your board has a fiduciary responsibility to compute a market cost value for assessment of this industrial project, publish your determination and adjust the tax rolls accordingly.

A PILOT exemption cannot be approved after the fact. It has been publicly acknowledged by UPC that the entire project has a cost in excess of $150,000,000. There is no agricultural exemption for an electric utility, which UPC was granted by the Public Service Commission. NYSEG and Frontier are taxed in this manner, so must UPC.

Although it is recognized that the aforementioned circumstances are perhaps unusual as a normal course of business for your office, never-the-less it falls well within the realm of your responsibility and mandate. How you knowingly and intentionally go forward at this point with required and necessary decisions is now the question and will be monitored closely in and for the public interest.

In the interest of full disclosure, the Cohocton Assessment Board should release their full tax value assessment for the UPC Project before the 11/06/07 election.

Click here to view a PDF copy of Mr. Trude's letter.

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VN 10/9 - Gone With the Wind

As excavation proceeds on Dutch Hill, Cohocton’s air is starting to fill with the crowing sound of YES supporters. How wonderful UPC’s out-of town workers are, we’re told. How marvelously things will “stay the same” (while they change dramatically) UPC trumpets in The Valley News over a picture of Larrowe House, the Town Hall they’ve just bought with their PSC mitigation money and promises. In spite of increasing opposition, both locally and regionally, the obstacles seem to be falling one by one. Only a court case and an election stand in the way of what might be a triumphant victory for leaseholders.

But if UPC succeeds, who will the winners and losers be?

- UPC Wind and its investors will clearly be the biggest winners. They’ll be able to take their entire $250,000,000 project as a tax write-off, account for another half of that in tax credits, and rake in over $13,000,000 a year in energy sales while rewarding our Town with remarkably low payments in lieu of taxes.
- NYS energy consumers will clearly be losers because they (we) will be paying an additional $134,000,000+ in energy surcharges over the next 20 years for the inflated cost of wind energy.
- Leaseholders will be winners and losers. They’re being promised fairly small annual lease payments (anything may be better than nothing), but they’re going to be surprised at how much of the scenery, peace and quiet, and integrity of their land they’ll lose.
- Non-leaseholders probably stand to lose the most: in property values, beauty, tranquility, social standing, and the total eclipse of local politics by a well-financed outside industial developer.

Truth stands in the balance. Is wind energy the wave of the future or a passing fad and economic scam? Only time will tell the whole story. In the meantime, YES people are ready to cast our Town to the wind. We desperately need some checks and balances in local government - people who will take a fresh look at everything that’s been done and make sure it’s right. Browse our
“Updates,” check out our main site, review some alternatives at Reform Cohocton, and then help us take back our Town this November.



VN 10/2 - Parade of Lies

The Ironworkers’ Business Agent in Rochester, Mike Altonberg, is one of the latest people locally to have his eyes opened up to the deceptive business practices of UPC Wind. Many of us have been seeing their lies quite clearly over the past 18 months, while others continue to swallow lie after lie without even blinking their eyes. They continue to believe that UPC Wind is a company who will hold to their word, even when they have violated it over and over; that Chris Swartley is a man of ethics, even a prophet, not an industrial salesman of con-man proportions; and that UPC’s promised PILOT payments are fair and just, not thinly disguised political bribery.

What lies are we talking about?
- That their turbine projects are agricultural enterprises (“farms” not industrial installations), built by a private firm that would never claim to be a public utility (unless it was to their advantage).
- That they are entitled to bribe our town with depreciated PILOT payments because their projects are supposedly “green” instead of paying taxes proportionate to the projects’ earnings.
- That their projects will be quiet (based on patently fraudulent noise studies by Hessler, et al), not disruptive to the environment, and visually unobtrusive.
- That they will seek and obtain individual building permits for each tower before starting any construction, giving landowners the right to work out siting problems unit by unit.
- That their projects will be constructed by local workers, etc…

How can local people be so blind? Unfortunately, at least one Finger Lakes town will probably have to fall prey to this kind of corporate deception so that everyone in the region can see the results and keep the wind developers out of their area. It’s sad that Cohocton may prove to be the “forerunner” in this way. Can’t we wait and let someone else take the fall? Our hills, sky, and wind won’t go away. Let’s take back our Town this November. Browse through our "Updates," check out our main website, visit Reform Cohocton to review your options, and then help us recall Cohocton from the brink.

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VN 9/26 - Thank You, Friends!

Last week Cohocton Republicans came out to the primary polls in record numbers to vote for this fall’s Republican ticket. For the first time in years voters were given an alternative, and a slate of seasoned and well-financed incumbents was opposed by a group of fellow-citizens with a different vision for Cohocton’s future. Prior to the election, wind power enthusiasts derided Reform Cohocton supporters as a small fringe group, a “dedicated dozen” of negative souls. Thank you, voters, for demonstrating that serious opposition to doing business the “YES” way exists, even in Republican circles.

What did our incumbents do to lose your support?

- They grossly twisted the facts about recent lawsuits and tried to shift the blame for our current legal liability from themselves to those who are working hard to hold them accountable.
- They hurried the timetable of negotiations with UPC Wind and then tried to make us all believe that everything was done and in order when, in fact, the deal isn’t really closed yet.
- They tried to falsely malign the reputations of fellow citizens.
- They even resorted to thinly veiled bribery by waving promises of unearned money in our faces and then prematurely offering estimated property tax reductions just prior to the primary.

Fortunately, a couple of serious court cases, unfinished negotiations with SCIDA and UPC, permit issues, and a general election in November still stand between the incumbents and their plans to sell our wind resources for a song and let UPC rip up our woods and farmland as they turn our entire town into an industrial wind power plant.

Our current leaders are sadly mistaken. We need people leading us who can tell the difference between right and wrong. Now is the time for citizens of all political persuasions to wake up, come forward, and help us correct a process that’s gotten completely out of order. Please visit us online, pray with us for wisdom and justice to prevail, and join the struggle. It’s not too late!



Vote in Republican Primary

A reminder from Reform Cohocton:

Be sure to vote in the Republican Primary at your normal voting place - Town Hall, Cohocton and Court Office, Atlanta - NOON to 9:00 PM Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007.

  • Robert C. Strasburg II – Town Supervisor
  • Steven M. Sick – Town Council
  • Cesare F. Taccone – Town Council
  • Blair Hall – Town Clerk
  • Dr. F. Stoner Clark – Town Justice
  • Christina Brautigam - Town Assessor
  • Rebecca Conard - Town Assessor
Sweep clean past failures!
A bright future demands new leadership.



VN 9/18 - A Town Divided

UPC Wind arrived in Cohocton 5 years ago with a bright new idea: “Let’s help save the planet from global warming and make a boodle of money in the process.” Quietly and privately they went about signing up interested leaseholders and local politicians until they had the makings of a wind farm. Then in April 2006 they sprung their project, almost full-blown, on our unsuspecting community, precipitating a struggle for truth and loyalty that has divided our once-peaceful town into bitterly opposed camps. This is the legacy our current leadership is leaving us - division, not prosperity.

How did we get this way, and what can we do now?
- Jack Zigenfus showed us how we got here in his Valley News ad last week: he took his cues from powers above him, not from the electorate below, revealing a seriously misplaced sense of loyalty.
- Our current leaders decided what to do before bringing it to the general public, then steadfastly refused to receive any input.
- Reconciliation, compromise, mediation, and preserving the social integrity of our community have consistently been sacrificed in favor of perceived economic benefit – money, in other words.
- Contrary to their public claims, this is not “REAL” leadership; this is painfully divisive, willful pride and arrogance.

This fall we have our chance to elect a team that’s committed to the entire community, not just wind power supporters. These are folks like you and me that would like to see Cohocton come to a united decision.

Examine the qualified slate of candidates being put forward by Reform Cohocton. Then cast your vote in today’s Republican primary (polls will be open Tuesday, September 18th, from noon to 9 pm). Help us elect a team this fall that’s dedicated to the principle of unity our hearts are all pledged to: One Town, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!



UPC Lies to Us All?

On August 22 UPC Wind sent out a letter from John Pelczar, Construction Manager, to all the citizens of Cohocton which started out by saying, "UPC Wind has been working with the Cohocton community for almost five years to develop the Cohocton and Dutch Hill Wind Farms. We are happy to announce that the design and approval process has come to an end." (emphasis added)

Mr. Pelczar went on to claim that "Over the past few weeks the Town Board approved its agreements with UPC Wind, the Planning Board approved the Cohocton and Dutch Hill Wind site plans, and the Code Enforcement officer issued our building permits. These agreements guarantee the Town of Cohocton $11.5 million dollars over the next 20 years, $3.85 million of which will come to the town in the first four years. Our agreements also guarantee $150,000 for the renovation of the Larrowe house." He concluded by introducing Jane Towner as UPC's Project Community Relations Representative.

What's the problem here? Well, 1) the agreements aren't complete; 2) promises should never be confused with guarantees; 3) nobody in Town seems to be able to come up copies of the building permits; and so 4) the process really hasn't "come to an end" yet. All of this is just UPC filling the pre-election air with more self-serving wishful talk, talk that resembles lying.

A parting question: if the incumbents regain political office and Jane Towner is UPC's "Project Community Relations Representative," who will look out for the interests of citizens who run into problems with UPC? Talk about putting a group of foxes in charge of the hen house!

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Report on Candidate Night

Today's Hornell Evening Tribune ran an excellent article by Bob Clark reporting on last night's Reform Cohocton candidate night that starts out

Wind power topped a Reform Cohocton town hall-style forum Tuesday night.Congressional candidate Eric Massa and Reform Cohocton candidates answered questions from a crowd of more than 60 Cohocton residents at Cohocton Elementary School. Wind power and turbines dominated the meeting, with every candidate and Massa speaking about the issue.

Bob goes on to quote Jack Zigenfus' empty excuses for why the incumbents boycotted the event. Click here to read the entire article.



VN 9/11 - Taxes Going Up?

By now we’re all reading glowing reports from Cohocton’s current leaders about how much they’ve been doing for all of us these past several years. But have you taken time to watch your tax bill lately? Some of us have been noticing pretty dramatic annual increases, even 10% or more, but nothing quite like what’s just come in the mail. With the new “reassessment” our tax bill has just gone up 31% since last year! What about yours? Maybe your family is on a favored list, and your taxes have actually gone down. But what about the rest of us?

What is going to happen to our taxes?
- Will they go down under the current administration if we get promised cash infusions from UPC Wind? No guarantees here.
- Who will review the recent reassessment, noting carefully whose taxes went up, whose went down, and why? The same people who were in charge of the reassessment process? Not on your life.
- If a chunk of cash rolls into our coffers in 2008, who’s likely to vote themselves a handsome pay raise? New folks, or some proud incumbents who think they’re worth a hearty pat on the back?
- Who will have the courage to tackle the thorny fiscal problems we’re facing? The people who created them? Highly unlikely.

Right now we have a painfully polarized group of leaders that can only think about rewarding windmill supporters and making life difficult for the rest of us. We need new people in office who can examine our tax situation fairly, not the same YES folks who, perhaps sincerely, keep misleading us deeper and deeper into liability.

Elections in Cohocton have often been decided in the Republican primary races, coming up on September 18th, but this year may be different. Review the qualified slate of Reform Cohocton candidates online at www.cohocton.net. Then come to the Cohocton Elementary School on September 11th at 7 pm for the Public Candidate Forum, pray with us for wisdom and justice, and let your voice be heard!



VN 9/4 - It's Election Year!

This fall Cohocton voters will have their first chance to express their opinion about UPC Wind’s $250,000,000 windmill project at the polls, even if it’s indirectly. So far, our incumbents have carefully kept the whole matter out of the hands of the electorate, refusing even a nonbinding referendum. Local leaders in Webster, NY, on the other hand, recently put their town’s proposed $15 million community center proposal before the voters, only to see it defeated. Webster Town Supervisor Ron Nesbitt responded to the vote by saying, “Scaling down the project may be the best bet to gain the public's approval.”

Do our incumbents want the public’s approval?
- They sure do! But their tactic is to say YES first and then wave money at us all without even giving us a chance to look at the carefully crafted promises that are behind all this supposed money.
- In the meantime, we’ve been told that construction is going to proceed, even though valid building permits haven’t been issued, fees haven’t been paid, bonds haven’t been secured, the PILOT agreement hasn’t been ratified in Bath, etc., etc.
- Yes, they would like you to approve a project after they’ve gotten us all so deep into the building process that there isn’t any way out but to try to clean up the mess. This is the YES way.

Even if cleaning up the mess is all we’re left with, however, it’s a task that’s going to need new leadership, people who will trust and respond to the electorate. We need a new group of people who can ask UPC Wind the tough questions and hold the line with them, not the same YES folks that got us into this pickle in the first place.

Elections in Cohocton have been traditionally decided in September’s Republican primary races, which are coming up very soon. Examine the qualified slate of candidates being put forward by Reform Cohocton, come out to the Public Meeting being held on September 11 from 7-9 pm at the Cohocton Elementary School, then pray with us for wisdom and justice to prevail and let your voice be heard!