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September 18th Board Meeting

Next board meeting will be September 18th, 2018 at the Town of Wilna, starting at 6pm.  The board will be getting NY Alerts training at this meeting.  An agenda will be coming soon.

June 19, 2018 Board Meeting – Ronald Trottier

Ronald Trottier, Chief Executive Officer for Railstar Corporation spoke at the June 19th RACOG board meeting about his vision and ideas for the railroad bed between Lowville and Carthage, plus Lowville to Croghan.  He also shared his ideas on utilizing the Black River for kayaking and pontoon boats.  Mr. Trottier said he is hopeful that by the end of summer, that pedal cars will be in operation for a small portion of the railroad bed in Lowville.  He currently has crews working to clear brush and has also placed an order for the pedal cars.  While the focus right now is on the railroad bed near Lowville, he has plans to expand into the Castorland and Carthage area.

Mr. Trottier is also very interested in the Black River for recreation opportunities for kayaking and pontoon boats.  At this meeting, Mickey Dietrich, RACOG Municipal Management Consultant for the Tug Hill Commission, presented a preliminary navigation hazard map from Lowville to Castorland.  He, along with the summer EFC (Environmental Finance Center) intern, Seth Lapp, mapped out the navigation hazards along the Black River, including depths.  They will be looking to finish up this mapping in the next couple of weeks, once they have collected the last stretch from Castorland to Carthage.

Mr. Trottier is also looking to form a group of partner businesses to help to bring people to the area and create a place for multiple activities for people.  He talked about partnering with local restaurants and other establishments.

Click here to see the newspaper article on the meeting.

RACOG Board Meeting May 15, 2018 “Intern Night”

Kelsey Hurley from Monroe Community College presented to the RACOG board about her RACOG Community Resource Map that she worked on as part of a remote internship with the Tug Hill Commission. Her project is on the RACOG website and will also be available through the Tug Hill Commission’s map portal (www.tughill.giscloud.com). Kelsey is looking to continue to assist as she can with the project moving forward and was grateful for the opportunity. Also, Seth Lapp was at the board meeting to introduce himself to the board. He will be working as an intern this summer with the Tug Hill Commission through funding from the Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University and RACOG. His work will have him helping out communities with data collection and mapping projects.

LED Lighting Conversion – National Grid

Jerry Haenlin, Mike Lammey, and Jennifer Kellish represented National Grid at the RACOG meeting on April 17, 2018.  Mike Lammey  presentated to the board about the process of converting to LEDs for municipalities.  Municipalities have the options to do a conversion, where the customer pays for the un-depreciated value of the existing lighting and equipment associated with it, but is a one time thing to get most if not all of their lights converted at one time.  The other option they a municipality can do, is what is called their opt-in option.  With this option, as National Grid needs to do replacements, they will convert over to LEDs.   This process would take a bit longer to convert all street lights over to LED, but wouldn’t cost the municipality anything.  In order for a municipality to opt-in, they need to send a written request to National Grid.  National Grid won’t automatically replaced with an LED without this letter.  It was a very informative presentation.

Wilna-Champion Transportation Association

Heather Tanner, Executive Director for the Wilna-Champion Transportation Association (WCTA), presented to the RACOG board about the current status of the organization from a fiscal and operational standpoint.  The non-profit operates on a limited schedule for the seniors and disabled in the area, providing a valuable service within the community. The program operates on a tight budget, which she mentioned was made more difficult when the area was designated under the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).  She stated that being under the MPO makes the WCTA non-eligible for rural transport funding opportunities making it more difficult for a small organization like them to be competitive in getting grant funding for a new shuttle bus.  Their current shuttle bus is a 2008 Ford E450 and is need of being replaced.

Mrs. Tanner stated that she rides the bus, so that she can give the riders the care and assistance they need.  She helps them carry their groceries and assists them in many ways, that they otherwise would not get if WCTA was not around.  She is very passionate about helping the elderly and disabled.  WTCA continues to look for ways to upgrade their shuttle bus and hope they can find a solution.  They want to continue providing this valuable service to their community.

Composting Presentation – March 20, 2018 RACOG Board Meeting

Todd Burker a teacher at Carthage Central High School and who also oversees the Sustainability Corp student group there, presented at the RACOG board meeting last night. He talked about the efforts that the Carthage Central School District has undertaken with their high school and middle school in composting food waste. In one year they composted around 17,000 pounds of food waste. The compost is used in a garden at the school to help grow tomatoes and peppers for the school cafeteria. He mentioned other benefits that could be tapped into, like heat extraction from the compost pile and capturing the methane gas.

Mr. Burker talked with the board about ways that local governments can get involved with composting and using it as a way to help with protecting against climate change, be recycling food waste and tapping into the energy that is given off during the composting process. It was mentioned about communities in Vermont that currently do this type of thing. He did note that the villages of Carthage and West Carthage do provide leaves and woody debris needed to the school for their composting when they do their roadside pickup of this type of material. He said it takes 2 parts of brown material (wood chips, leaves, etc.) to 1 part of green material (food waste) to have a good formula for composting. Having a potential voluntary citizen program for collecting food waste was discussed as a potential starting point to see how a community composting project might work and what the pitfalls might be.

It was also mentioned that there would be a Climate Change Forum on March 21, 2018 from 7pm to 8pm at Carthage Central High School.