August 10, 2007


‘All a part of that Brockway feel’

Aficionados roll into town for 8th annual show


Bob Ellis/staff photographer       
Dan Schaefer, left, of Ohio, Hugh Riehlman, center, of Homer, and Jim Porteus of Montana chat about Brockway trucks next to Porteus’ 1929 Brockway 1 1/2-ton truck

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — Saturday will mark the fourth time Jim Porteus has displayed his 1929 Brockway truck at the annual Brockway Truck Show on Main Street.
Having worked at restoring the truck for a number of years — “I work on it in the winter, I play with it in the summer,” he says — Porteus longs for the day when he can shed the flatbed truck he brought his Brockway on, and make the four-day drive from Columbia Falls, Mont., to Cortland in the antique truck that has been in his family for 40 years.
“Yeah, that’d be something to drive it all the way back here sometime,” Porteus said Thursday as he prepped the truck for Saturday’s 8th annual Brockway show. “It’ll be a couple more years still before it’s ready, but I intend to go for it one of these years.”
Porteus, who will double as auctioneer for a Brockway trucks, parts and memorabilia auction at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Cortland County Junior Fairgrounds, is one of a dedicated breed of truck aficionados who have made Cortland and its Brockway show a landmark event on the truck show circuit. The trucks were built in the Cortland area for nearly 70 years until the city factory closed in 1977.
“I like the Brockways because they’re not made anymore, they’re unique, they’re collectors’ trucks,” said Porteus, who guessed that, because Brockway trucks are primarily found on the East Coast, he had the only Brockway in Montana. “I really enjoy coming out here and seeing all the Brockway owners, talking about the trucks and the history.”
Hugh Riehlman of Homer, who is vice president of the Brockway Truck Association, said there is a definite fraternity among truck owners, and that word is spreading about Cortland’s show.
“We’ve made friends all over the country,” Riehlman said.
In fact, Riehlman and his wife, Judy, met Dan and Marti Schaefer at a truck show in Colorado Springs earlier this year, and were able to convince them to make the trip from Youngstown, Ohio, to Cortland for this weekend’s show.
“Hugh was passing out fliers for the Brockway Show, and we said, ‘That’s not too far from home, maybe we should get over there,’” Dan Schaefer said, noting the trip to Cortland also allows him to display his Mack truck at the Antique Truck Historical Society show being held Sunday at the fairgrounds.
On Thursday at Riehlman’s home on Route 11, Riehlman and Porteus were giving Schaefer a hard time about his Mack, putting pressure on him to buy a Brockway, and Schaefer said he was enticed.
“They may have converted me,” Schaefer said.
“We might yet end up selling that Mack of yours at auction,” Porteus joked.
While the tone was light, Riehlman said he is always looking for potential Brockway owners.
“I try to encourage people to buy them because we’ve got to keep them from the scrap yard,” Riehlman said.
Ed Eminson, from Dubbo, Australia, is a full-fledged Brockway convert, having missed only one Brockway Show, in 2003, in the last eight years.
“Back when I first bought a Brockway in Australia, I couldn’t get any information, so I jumped on the Internet and what do you know, I found Cortland, Brockway Truck Show, 2000,” Eminson said. “I figured I’d come out and check it out, and it impressed me so much, I keep coming back year after year.”
Eminson, who now owns a half dozen Brockways, said he modeled a recent truck show he held in Dubbo on Cortland’s event.
“When I organized that show, I looked at what was going on here, what they did well and I put it into ours and it worked brilliantly,” he said.
Bob Mudge, of Cortlandville, a member of the Brockway Association with whom Eminson is staying, traveled to Australia to attend Eminson’s show and, as Eminson is in Cortland, Mudge was a hit with the local press.
“He got in the newspaper, they interviewed him on television, it was brilliant,” Eminson said.
Mudge said he enjoyed the experience, and that it was not all that different from Cortland’s truck show.
“It was very similar, owners sharing stories about their trucks, it was quite interesting,” Mudge said.
The opportunity to swap Brockway stories is the main draw of Cortland’s event, Eminson said.
“There’s so much history you can draw back on here,” he said. “And it’s a living history, you can talk to people that worked in the factories, talk to people who’ve owned them, it’s all a part of that Brockway feel.”

The 8th Annual Brockway Truck Show

The show will be from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.on Main Street in Cortland.
A chicken barbecue (reservations are required) will follow the show at the County Junior Fairgrounds at 5:30 p.m., and an auction of Brockway trucks and truck-related items will be held at the Junior Fairgrounds at 7 p.m.
The Brockway Parade will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and will follow a different route from previous years due to North Main Street being closed.
The route:
South on Homer Avenue, east on Arthur Avenue, east on Grant Street, south on North Church Street, south on Church Street, west on Huntington Street, north on Main Street onto the one-way southbound section of Main Street, where the show will be held.
City police said there will be no overnight parking on Main Street or the parade route, and Main Street will be closed starting at 6 a.m. on Saturday.





Wal-Mart project gets final town OK

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — The Town Board approved the aquifer protection permit for a Wal-Mart Supercenter on Route 13 Thursday night, but not before members of the public took the board to task for perceived flaws in the approval process.
Wal-Mart is awaiting a ruling on a pending lawsuit before soliciting a contractor and beginning construction, which should take about a year, according to an e-mail from Wal-Mart Public Affairs Senior Manager Phillip Serghini.
With about 50 members of the public in attendance, nine people spoke against granting the permit and two spoke in favor of it during a public hearing on the permit application.
At the end of nearly two hours, the board essentially gave its rebuttal and subsequently granted the aquifer permit.
Although Thursday night signaled the last of the town’s required actions, state Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Conservation approvals have yet to be granted, and a lawsuit against the town and Wal-Mart seeking a halt to the project has yet to be resolved.
The common thread throughout the public hearing was that there was no way to guarantee the area’s aquifer would not be damaged by a 33.7-acre parcel, housing a 205,000-square-foot store, adjoining parking and further development of the outparcels.
Wal-Mart has decided it will develop the outparcels despite town requests to leave them as greens space for aquifer protection and as a buffer for the neighboring Walden Place assisted living community.
Town Board members countered during the special meeting by emphasizing the acceptance of the project by engineers and regulatory officials at the town, state, county, and federal levels, saying there was no valid reason to deny the permit.
Many of the speakers during the public hearing pointed out that no amount of technology could ever fully guarantee the aquifer would not be seriously damaged by the development, nor could the stormwater management system filter out the pesticides and herbicides sold in the Supercenter’s garden center and capture all the runoff from the parking lot.
“During the long months of the review process … we have yet to hear anything on your part that justifies the risk, I repeat, the risk, of this project which could presumably destroy the future supply of clean water for Cortlandville and the city of Cortland,” said city Planning Commission member Jo Schaffer, reading from a prepared statement.
During the hearing, town Planning Board member Nick Renzi acknowledged the expertise and thoroughness of the engineering firms working for the town and Wal-Mart, respectively, and the efforts of himself and the rest of the Planning Board.
Renzi then laid the blame for the project’s “downside” at the feet of the Town Board, saying its efforts were “minimal and shallow and without the public interest as a priority.”
“The Town Board has failed miserably in that they never insisted on other location alternatives that would have had virtually no significant environmental impacts. In addition they failed to take a hard stand on the interpretation of the town code with regard to the definition of a Planned Unit Development,” Renzi said, also reading from a prepared statement. “The Town Board has done a great disservice to this community by taking the path of least resistance and by not being the least proactive in securing the (former) polo field years ago.”
Renzi’s concerns echoed those in the Article 78 lawsuit filed by the local environmental group Citizens for Aquifer Protection and Employment, commonly knows as CAPE, alleging problems with the State Environmental Quality Review process and the town’s Planned Unit Development zoning designation.
After the public hearing, Town Board member Ron Rocco said he was upset Renzi had chosen to vilify the Town Board, whose members have also spent countless hours reviewing the proposal.
Founding member and CAPE treasurer Jamie Dangler concentrated on the conditions attached to the project’s approval by the town Planning Board, which she said have not been met.
She also pointed out that the town’s engineering firm, Clough Harbour & Associates, had made recommendations regarding maintenance and testing of the stormwater management system, and suggested Wal-Mart be held financially liable for any pollution that results from the development.
These were included in the Town Board’s resolution, read aloud by Folmer before the permit’s unanimous approval, Town Supervisor Dick Tupper said after the meeting.
Tupper said those who spoke out against the project’s environmental impact overemphasized the importance of the site in relation to the aquifer. He also stressed the importance of development to the community.
“Nobody has given us any resistance to the aquifer protection in this plan except the group of citizens who call themselves CAPE,” Tupper said. “How does 34 acres become the most valuable piece of land in the world? This is a tiny little piece of land — you’re not looking at the big picture.”


Citizens group questions board on REROB project

CORTLANDVILLE — At Thursday’s public hearing, a citizens group asked if the Town Board and Wal-Mart guaranteed the total effectiveness of the proposed Supercenter’s storm water management system, as it had requested of another (unapproved) project several years ago.
That was the same guarantee the town had seen lacking in 2003 when it denied an Aquifer Protection Permit for a proposed gas station less than a mile to the north of the Supercenter site on Route 13.
Reading from a prepared statement, Citizens for Aquifer Protection and Employment member Robert Rhodes of Cortland detailed the 2003 lawsuit.
“When did you lose your concern — even insistence — on 100 percent aquifer protection? Or did you just lose your nerve?” Rhodes asked the board.
Town Board members said the two situations weren’t comparable.
According to a Nov. 29, 2003, article in the Cortland Standard, a lawsuit accusing the Town Board of acting improperly in denying its request for an aquifer protection permit was filed by REROB LLC, a gas station-convenient store developer, in May 2003.
On Sept. 20, 2000, REROB, of DeWitt, requested a site plan review and zoning change from industrial to general business to develop an ExpressMart, consisting of a gas station, car wash and mini-mart, on the corner of Lime Hollow Road and Route 13.
The Town Board denied the permit for the final plan on April 22, 2003. REROB subsequently sued the town over the denial of an aquifer permit.
The company claimed the town’s decision to reject the request based on a potential threat to the water supply was arbitrary and did not follow proper procedure.
Town board members defended themselves at the time by saying the project plans did not minimize effects to the environment and the requirements of the state-mandated local environmental review had not been met.
One of the town’s main concerns was that none of the measures proposed to guard against contamination of the sole-source aquifer could be guaranteed 100 percent effective.
The Article 78 lawsuit against the town was dismissed by the state Supreme Court in November 2003, at the same time the Wal-Mart Supercenter was proposed.
After the public hearing and during the special Town Board meeting that encompassed approval of the Aquifer Protection Permit, board member Ron Rocco said he believed the gas station proposal would have included 18 petroleum pumps as well as a restaurant, and that the board did not want to see a massive gas station and restaurant in the area.
Rocco pointed out that a tire and lube express as well as an in-store restaurant that had originally been included in Wal-Mart’s proposal were both eliminated at the insistence of the Town Board and town Planning Board.
He also said that 100 percent guarantees in such matters are not possible.
Town Supervisor Dick Tupper questioned the comparison.
“You’re sitting here trying to tell me that oil dripping off of a car is going to have the same effect as 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel in the ground?” Tupper asked.