Save the Pine Bush

Save the Pine Bush

By Daniel Van Riper

Karner Blue Conspiracy Recently some crank (who deserves to remain nameless) wrote a letter to the independent weekly newspaper The Altamont Enterprise claiming that the Karner Blue Butterfly is not native to the Pine Bush, and was planted there by environmentalists, government agents and other liberal conspirators conspiring to “take” land away from the rightful owners. In response, the Enterprise was flooded with letters from all sorts of folks who wanted to set this dingaling straight about the butterfly, and explain why the Pine Bush is important to the community. Save the Pine Bush’s Chuck Reilly weighed in with a good one, as did the Westmere Elementary School Earthlets environmental club, who demonstrated that they payed close attention to SPB president Rezsin Adams’ recent presentation to their group. Apparently most folks are smarter than is generally believed.

Poor Farmer Angelo State Supreme Court justice Joseph Harris tossed out the so-called Farmer’s Lawsuit brought by rapacious developer Angelo Serafini and some of his business friends, filed against the Albany Pine Bush Commission. These so-called “Farmers” were trying to have the Commission’s management plan thrown out on the grounds that the Commission has no right to manage the Pine Bush. Even Judge Harris, who is no friend of Pine Bush preservation, couldn’t find a reason to continue this frivolous suit. Farmer Angelo and his friends engaged the services of the notorious lawyer Paul Wein, who, through various maneuvers, managed to jack up the price the Nature Conservancy paid for Michael Giavanone’s property, the proposed go-cart track. Last we heard, by the way, Paul Wein was fending off a sexual harassment suit brought by one of his former employees.

Lining The Dump The Pine Bush Dump is composed of two mountains of garbage and toxic ash known as Mt. Trashmore and Mt. Jorling (after the former DEC Commissioner who created it), which are the highest points of elevation in the Pine Bush. Since the City of Albany and State of New York have been ground to a standstill in court by Save the Pine Bush, they can’t use any more Pine Bush Preserve for their dumping than they already have. So until they find a way to force the folks down in Coeymans to smile and accept a new dump on one their local farms, they have to throw their garbage somewhere.

Their solution? Throw garbage in the trough between the two mountains, which will raise the dump to record heights. According to the Albany City Record sealed bids are being solicited for laying a plastic liner over the old garbage so that the new garbage will not leak onto the old garbage. This new liner, which is called a “composite lined expansion cell,” will cover eight acres of elevated garbage. The project includes a collection and detection system for dealing with “leachate” which is toxic liquids that threaten to trickle down to the Pine Bush sand and join the water table. What the engineers do with this poison water is unclear, they probably just pump it into a nearby ditch. The city hopes to have the work done by mid-August, and don’t ask how much it’s going to cost, they don’t want you to know.

No More Record? The City of Albany is starting to shut down its very own little publication called The Albany City Record (quoted in the item above) partly because the folks who currently run the city have forgotten why it’s published in the first place. By law, many of the actions of city government must be announced three times, and most municipalities take out public notice ads in local papers to meet this requirement. Here in Albany, we are stuck with a miserable rag owned by the Hearst Corporation called the Times Union, which is unreliable and charges outrageous rates for ads. So some time back the city started self-publishing notices, but now too many neighborhood groups and citizen activists have caught on to what a wealth of vital information passes through this little sheet. Already the City has stopped it from announcing decisions of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Several Alderpersons who should know better were quoted in the Times Union as saying it should cease publication, naturally the Hearst Corporation would like to tighten its monopoly on printed information in Albany. Once upon a time the City Record could be purchased at Coulson’s News and other places, now it is subscription only. At SPB we feel the City Record should expand to include all city decisions, especially those of the Planning Board.

Award For Getting Old Save the Pine Bush president Rezsin Adams was one of a dozen or so recipients of the 1st annual “The Third Age Achievement Awards” this past December for doing exactly what she has been doing all of her life while getting older. At the awards ceremony, which was attended by plenty of local movers and shakers, Rezsin stood out in her red stretch slacks and “Serve Albany Day” sweatshirt. In her short acceptance speech she told the crowd that she almost wore her Save the Pine Bush sweatshirt, but thought “Serve Albany” was more fitting to the occasion. She now has one more decoration for her mantelpiece.

Printed Feb/Mar 97

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