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Lighthouse Wind sponsoring free hot dogs at soccer games  

Lighthouse Wind is a controversial 70-turbine wind energy installation Apex Clean Energy LLC is trying to develop in the Barker-Somerset-Lyndonville area. The sometimes contentious debate between Apex supporters and opponents of the installation continues.

Credit:  COMMUNITY: No turbine talk allowed on soccer fields | By Lauren D'Avolio | Lockport Union-Sun & Journal | www.lockportjournal.com ~~

Like it has done all this season and last year, Lighthouse Wind is sponsoring free hot dogs at all the Lighthouse Optimist Soccer League games.

There is one game left – tonight. It starts at 6:30 p.m. at Barker Central School, 1628 Quaker Road in Barker.

A local dairy farming family, the Atwaters, are sponsoring free milk.

The organizer of the Lighthouse Optimist Soccer League is Cheryl Chunco. About 18 months ago, Lighthouse Wind approached her with an offer to donate funds to their recreational soccer league to be used to give away free hotdogs to every player, parent, volunteer and beyond.

“Wind energy is a very volatile topic (here), so this offer took time to consider,” she said. “On the one hand, many of our league sponsors were supporters of wind energy, while others were opponents. As league coordinator at the time, I risked significant sponsorship funds if I made the wrong decision.”

Lighthouse Wind is a controversial 70-turbine wind energy installation Apex Clean Energy LLC is trying to develop in the Barker-Somerset-Lyndonville area. The sometimes contentious debate between Apex supporters and opponents of the installation continues.

In the end, though, Chunco decided to accept the donation with one stipulation – the athletic fields would remain neutral. No political agenda would be tolerated.

“We would treat Lighthouse Wind the same way we treated any other sponsor donation,” Chunco said. “This remains so today. We respect Lighthouse Wind as a generous sponsor just like any other sponsor. However, we keep all talk of wind energy off the athletic fields. That topic belongs in another arena, not in our children’s soccer games.”

Before their donation in 2016, the Lighthouse Optimist Soccer League sold Sahlen hot dogs at the snack bar facility during every game for $1 with a recent price increase to $1.25. Sales averaged about 40 to 50 hot dogs per night, unless it rained, Chunco said.

In 2016, the first year that Lighthouse Wind donated funds so that they could provide free hotdogs to everyone, they were cooking 100 to 120 hot dogs per night. This year, they’ve doubled those numbers, and now average 240 to 250 hot dogs per night.

“The hot dogs have become so popular that we have now limited hot dogs to one per person,” Chunco said.

The games begin at 6:30 p.m., with children and parents arriving at the fields as early as 6.

“This start time leaves very little time for any parent to get home from work, grab the kids from the sitter’s and make sure they’re fed before a game,” Chunco said. “Hot dogs are quick, easy and almost every child likes them.”

This year, Atwater Farms and Chaffee Farms – two of their sponsors – contacted Chunco with a very similar offer: They wanted to provide a free carton of milk to every player after every soccer game (chocolate or white). There were some distribution issues to work through in getting the milk out to the fields, but now most of the kids are excited and anxiously want to know “Where’s my milk?” Chunco said.

“We are a small recreational soccer league sponsored by the Lighthouse Optimists in Barker. We average 210 to 220 children each year registered to play in our league,” she said. “This year, we have 19 teams that take to the Barker Central School athletic fields every Tuesday and Thursday nights for five weeks beginning the last week of June and lasting through July.”

Players come not only from Barker, but also from Newfane, Lockport, Middleport and many of the surrounding areas, Chunco said.

But they are transitioning this year, Chunco said. After 19 years of service (first as coach and then as league coordinator), Chunco is retiring and Mark Wilson is stepping up as league coordinator.

“We have been working closely this year to ensure the transition is seamless to our parents, our children and our volunteers,” Chunco said.

Cat Mosley, public affairs manager for Apex Clean Energy, said the idea came from one of their supporters whose children play for the league. The idea was to give away free hot dogs at every game. And they have.

Mosley declined to give the sponsorship amount for the hot dogs.

“The amount of hot dogs that has been given away has grown exponentially,” Mosley said. “We’re thrilled that both last year and this year we’ve had to spend additional sponsorship monies so the free hot dog nights can continue for every game. At Apex, we’re very concerned about our future generations. We’re very focused on kids who are our next generation.”

Mosley attended a game last year and quietly watched – and was “very pleased to see the kids and their families enjoying the game as well as a good meal.”

“We just want to be part of the community,” Mosley said. “We want to support it. Sponsorships are just the tip of the iceberg as far as what we can do for the community.”

Source:  COMMUNITY: No turbine talk allowed on soccer fields | By Lauren D'Avolio | Lockport Union-Sun & Journal | www.lockportjournal.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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