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Town of Wheatfield email system hacked

Thu, Oct 19th 2017 01:00 pm
The Wheatfield Town Board. (Photo by David Yarger)
The Wheatfield Town Board. (Photo by David Yarger)
Helwig: Hack tracks back as early as Sept. 19
By David Yarger
Tribune Editor
During the Town of Wheatfield Town Board meeting Monday, agenda motions were approved as normal. After the agenda motions, the board went into  member items. Here, councilman Larry Helwig announced to the crowd that if the board or town officials hadn't responded to a citizen email, there was a reason. 
Helwig said, "People have probably noticed that town employees and departments haven't been too talkative on email lately. There's a reason for that; our email was broken into and we've since covered mostly everything, but you have to be so certain about these things before you can re-enable all users. You have to make sure the infection is really gone, because if you turn things back on too quickly, they'll just re-infect everything again."
Helwig added the hack was noticed as early as Sept. 19, when weird transactions came to the board's eyes. Whoever hacked the accounts changed phone numbers, log-ins and more. Helwig said the town didn't lose data or money, just time dealing with the issue. Helwig added, the FBI is currently on the case to get to the bottom of the hacking. Helwig used the time to remind town citizens to always be cautious with what they do on the internet. 
In other news, the board moved to approve a motion from  David Britton, PE, GHD Engineers to accept the completed improvements to five residential water services and sanitary sewer services associated with the Shawnee Klemer subdivision. 
The Town Board approved a motion from Wendel, the town engineers, to schedule a public hearing on the re-zone request on approximately 46 acres of land in the Woodland Corporate Center Expansion. Supervisor Robert Cliffe said this motion will take time to develop. 
"What they want to do (Wendel) is take this 'big-U' and they want to turn it into a planning unit development and rezone the property to a PUD, so they can put 48 homes around that U in an M-1 zone. In order to do that, we have to hold a public hearing. So, the two things we did tonight; one, to approve the SEQR motion so the town is going to be in charge of gathering the data and doing the notifications for SEQR, and secondly was approve the public hearing to be presented to the public. It's available, its gone through the Planning Board's intial phase.
"The next step is whether or not the Town Board accepts it as a PUD, so we have to go through that process. If we accept the PUD, it goes back to the Planning Board to see if it meets the rules of a PUD, because right now it's an M-1. It's a long drawn out process. They'd like to be working on it next year, but it'll take a while," Cliffe said. 
In the motion, the board approved the hearing to be held at the regular Town Board meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 20. 
The Town Board moved to schedule the next public hearing on the 2018 preliminary budget during the next regular Town Board meeting at 7:15 p.m. Nov. 6. 
The board approved the Independent Health "iDirect Silver Copay HSAQ" insurance plan, effective Dec. 1 for eligible employees. Cliffe said this plan gives employees options if they want to upgrade from a  silver plan to gold plan. There is a slight increase with the insurance that gets paid to the town, but Cliffe said it's normal to see an increase like this. 
Cliffe was not in approval of a late motion that cut almost $39,000 from the general fund, but the vote was 4-1 and approved by the board. 
The Town Board also approved to work towards a motion after the recent incident at "The Maize." On Sunday, an inflatable flew almost 50 feet with children on board and injuring a woman, due to high winds. Cliffe said regulations could be from simply saying "if the winds are over 20 mph, you must deflate them." Cliffe noted how close "The Maize" is to Niagara Falls Boulevard, and if the inflatable would've flown into the boulevard, it could've been a disaster, so regulations can protect the town. 
The next Town of Wheatfield Town Board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 6. at 7 p.m. At this meeting, a budget could be approved. The last day for the budget approval is Nov. 20. 

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