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Orleans County primary results: Belson holds narrow lead in Yates

YATES – The winds blowing across northwestern Orleans County appear to have not been strong enough to topple Yates Supervisor John Belson.

Belson, who along with the Yates Town Council have dealt with a gusty reception from residents concerned about a proposed industrial-scale wind energy project, is on track to win the Republican primary after holding a six-vote lead in the initial results.

GCC Associate Dean Jim Simon finished Thursday with 139 votes to 145 for Belson, with an unknown number of absentee ballots remaining to the be counted, the Orleans County Board of Elections announced Thursday.

Yates Republicans backed Wes Bradley, 177 votes, and John Riggi, 163 votes, for a pair of nominations to the town council; finishing ahead of Valerie Pratt, 122 votes.

Belson and town council members have asked residents for patience as they tried to work through the state’s new policies for the siting of power-generating projects.

He has pushed for the town to have a greater voice if Lighthouse Wind moves into the review phase.

Simon was among the most active residents in questioning town and Apex Clean Energy officials over the plans for the project, which could involve the siting of industrial-scale turbines in the northwest corner of the town and in neighboring Somerset.

He argued for the town to withhold approval for a meterological tower’s installation until more details about Lighthouse Wind’s layout were made public.

Apex is on track to release a public siting statement sometime this fall, according to the company, once more results of environmental studies are completed.

While the wind debate is one of the year’s largest political issues, voters across the southern end of the county weighed Thursday in on a position that will be become an essential part in their lives in just a few months.

Highway superintendents in three towns were challenged in primaries, with Shelby’s Mike Mike Fuller and Clarendon’s Larry Swanger taking the GOP nomination and Albion’s Jed Standish losing to challenger Michael Neidert.

In Clarendon, Swanger outpaced three opponents with 153 votes, followed by Tracy Bruce Chalker, 88 votes, Craig Nicosia, 46 votes, and Fred Seeman, 39 votes.

In Albion, Neidert, 256 votes, outpaced Standish, 168 votes, and Chistopher Kinter, 94 votes.

In Shelby, Fuller defeated Ed Houseknecht by a 243 to 172 margin. Both candidates held third-party lines for November – Independence for Fuller and Conservative for Houseknecht.

In Barre, an open seat as the head of highways contested by Dale Brooks and Bert Mathes was taken by Brooks by a 118 to 74 margin.