Save the Pine BushTurns 30

by Lynne Jackson

ALBANY: Save the Pine Bush turned 30 and celebrated with a big party at the First Presbyterian Church. What was served? Lasagna, of course!

Over 100 people attended the bash. “Looking Forward, Looking Back 30 Years of Advocacy for the Pine Bush.” The first order of business was the “Looking Forward” part. For that, 10-year old Karine Franke gave an update of her work for the Karner Blue (please see page 3 for details). Everyone decided that with Karnina Franke as an advocate, looking forward was looking pretty good!

Next order of buisness was to say “thank you!” to all of the many supporters of Save the Pine Bush. When we decided we had to have a party for our 30th anniversary, we started to think about all the people we wanted to thank. The more we thought, the longer the list got. The list of people to thank became so long, we just gave up. We thought, what if we left someone out?

Most importantly, how could we thank the people who month after month after month after month, came to this church (or in the early years, other churches) in all kinds of weather and ate lasagna and pie?

How important are the lasagna dinners to the success of Save the Pine Bush?

Rezsin and I have been discussing the role of these dinners. Rezsin is correct when she says that this “obligation” of making dinner every month has kept up going through all these years.

Knowing that every month, we need to find a speaker, write a newsletter or announcement, and make lasagna and pies has kept up going.

Seeing you, the people who want to see the Pine Bush preserved, every month, has kept us motivated.

When we have been so unpopular with City officials and government workers, and people in power, it was always great to see every month that so many people who really cared.

Thank YOU for eating all this lasagna for the Pine Bush!!!

The next order of business was to recognize the Honorable Dominick Calsolaro, Ward 1, of the Albany City Council, and thank him for all of his advocacy for the Pine Bush.

Then, Save the Pine Bush lawyer, Peter Henner, was thanked for his work on the current proposed landfill, the Crossgates salt case, and our never-ending battle in Clifton Park. Our only pro bono lawyer, Steve Downs, was thanked for his work on the proposed hotel in the Pine Bush.

At this point, Steve Downs was asked to come to the microphone and give “A Tribute to Lew Oliver” (for full text, see page 4). Lew Oliver, the Save the Pine Bush lawyer for 25 years, graciously was in attendance for our 30th anniversary party. We gave him a standing ovation, and a framed, Karner Blue butterfly photo emblazoned with the words “Thank you Lew Oliver, from Save the Pine Bush”. How could we ever thank Lew for all of the work he has done on behalf of the Pine Bush? Would there be any Pine Bush left today without Lew?

Without further ado, I launched into stories about Save the Pine Bush’s history. Of course, I began with how it all started on February 6, 1978 in the middle of one of the worst snow storms Albany had ever seen. But, despite the six inches of snow in Washington Avenue, the Planning Board held a hearing on four proposed developments in the Pine Bush.

I told stories, and then I opened up the microphone that evening everyone to share stories. So many good ones were told! But, one of my favorites was told by Steve Downs. He spoke about our hotel case, and how one of the judges wanted to hold a hearing. So, Steve went to DEC to serve a subpoena on one of the DEC scientists. He was met at the door by a DEC lawyer who ripped up the subpoena. Steve goes back home and calls the DEC lawyer and asks what is going on, why was the subpoena ripped up? The lawyer said, oh, sorry about that! The DEC scientist really does want to testify, so we are taping the subpoena back together. The moral of the story, according to Steve, is that Save the Pine Bush gives government officials the opportunity to do the right thing!