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Neil Gifford – Good News about the Pine Bush

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: “I would not be standing here without the work Save the Pine Bush has done to hold people accountable,” said Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission (APBPC or commission) Director Neil Gifford, as he began his presentation at the May 18 SPB dinner. Neil spoke at length about the Karner Blue Butterfly (KBB). Lynne Jackson introduced him saying APBPC sustains the Pine Bush and Neil has been with the commission for 19 years. Neil said the…

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Neil Gifford Brings Good News

by Lynne Jackson   ALBANY: Neil Gifford, conservation director of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, spoke at the Save the Pine Bush Earth Day dinner on April 22. He brought good news. Neil began by describing “young forest management.” Young forests are dominated by shrubs and saplings, and are often found where old farm fields and pastures used to be, in places regenerating from timber and in pine barrens. Many species of greatest conservation need live in these young…

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Researcher: Coyote is Part Wolf

by Stephen Williams, The Daily Gazette It’s one of the great animal kingdom migrations of the last century — the arrival and flourishing of the coyote in the eastern United States. The thick-furred canine and its high-pitched, ethereal yips and howls have become commonplace across the Capital Region over the last 30 years. Even suburbanites hear them. The eastern coyote is a bigger and more aggressive beast than its western counterpart — capable of taking down deer, rather than living…

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From a key observer of life: a plea to save biodiversity

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.: In Edward O. Wilson’s office at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, bugs – and other diminutive creatures – are a big theme. Artwork depicting ants and other insects adorns the walls, alongside a photograph of a snail endangered in the southern Appalachians. Size has never mattered to this champion of biodiversity, who says his weakness is that “every endangered species that I encounter, I fall in love with.” One of his two Pulitzer prizes was for his seminal…

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The Deer Crisis – No Easy Answers

The Deer Crisis – No Easy Answers   The Deer Crisis No Easy Answers By Daniel Van Riper The Pine Bush ecosystem is in great danger from many enemies, particularly greedy developers and ignorant politicians. Invasive plant species, pesticides, runoff from the dump and highways, fire suppression and general abuse by humans have all hurt the Pine Bush. There is one more enemy, white-tailed deer, which may in the end completely destroy the Pine Bush and make all of our…

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Save the Pine Bush

Karner Blue Butterfly eggs are being cut open and eaten, and still no culprit has been found. The ants, however, have not been ruled out as suspects. Dr. Peter Spoor gave an update on his investigations into the lifestyle and habits of the friendly butterfly at the Sept. 26 dinner at the Unitarian Church. Stunning slides of their eggs under an electron microscope failed to reveal what sort of creature is leaving it’s marks along the broken edges. Other excellent…

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Extinction Rebellion Capital Region

ALBANY, NY: Christian Grigoraskos of the Extinction Rebellion Capital Region spoke at the February 19th SPB dinner on the topic of Climate Change: Heading for Extinction (And What to Do About It). Before he began, Lynne Jackson provided an update on the various proposals Crossgates has pending in the Town of Guilderland. Lynne said the PACE Environmental Litigation Clinic is representing SPB. Attorney Steve Downs added that SPB is the community organization that expanded the legal concept of standing by…

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FORCE Fights Pyramid – Guilderland Citizens Organize   FORCE Fights Pyramid Guilderland Citizens Organize By Daniel Van Riper Citizens and taxpayers of Guilderland, courageously opposed to the rape and ruination of their town by the vicious and sleazy Pyramid Corporation, have chosen a name for themselves and gotten down to the task of organizing. Friends Organized to Reject Crossgates Expansion (FORCE) has chosen officers and appointed committees, and is ready for a long war. “We have the force of will…

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Save the Pine Bush Enjoys Another Victory – Adventure Park Parcel Added to the Preserve

Save the Pine Bush Enjoys Another Victory – Adventure Park Parcel Added to the Preserve Save the Pine Bush Enjoys Another Victory Adventure Park Parcel Added to the Preserve by Lynne Jackson The Albany Pine Bush Management Commission purchased 34 acres of land on September 24, 1996. Included in this purchase a key parcel that had been slated to become an adventure park consisting of go carts and miniature golf until Save the Pine Bush stepped in and filed suit…

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Albany Common Council Votes Against Pine Bush Approves Charlie Touhey’s Office Complex  Second Time within 6 Weeks – Albany Common Council Votes Against Pine Bush Approves Charlie Touhey’s Office Complex by Lynne Jackson The Common Council, against the wishes of its constituents, residents, and Save the Pine Bush, approved the re-zoning of 12 acres of Pine Bush from residential to commercial on Monday, May 3. The vote was 3 for the Pine Bush and 12 for asphalt. Charlie Touhey first…

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The Federal Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Plan

by Sandy Sheridan What are we going to do about these butterflies? What the US Fish and Wildlife Service thinks should be done has been specifically outlined in the “Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Plan” (October 2001). This 239-page plan comprehensively describes the Karner Blue, its plight and the plan of action to perpetuate its populations in the 13 recovery units (RU’s) identified. The Pine Bush is one of the 13 RU’s examined. Lycaeides melissa samuelis, the Karner Blue Butterfly, is…

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Land Crunch in the Pine Bush

Land Crunch in the Pine Bush Land Crunch in the Pine Bush by John Wolcott We’d Rather Have Been Wrong Save the Pine Bush knew that unresolved difference between development desires and acquisition wish lists were heading toward a major clash in the Pine Bush. Even so the present situation of 85 "hot spots" has taken us by surprise in its extent and immediacy. It proves us more right than we thought we were, whereas we’d rather have been wrong…

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How fares the Karner Blue?

by Lynne Jackson ALBANY: Neil Gifford, Conservation Director of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission shared hopeful news with Save the Pine Bush at the October veggie/vegan lasagna dinner. The Karner Blue butterfly feeds on wild blue lupine. There are two broods a year, the first brood comes out in late May/early June, and the second in July. The butterflies come out, lay eggs. Those eggs become butterflies which come out in July, at which point, the cycle starts all…

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The Solution to the Garbage Problem

by Lynne Jackson ALBANY: Resa Dimino, Special Assistant in the DEC Commissioner’s Policy Office spoke about Solid Waste Management Planning at the July SPB dinner at the First Presbyterian Church. Resa Dimino is leading the effort to develop a new State Solid Waste Management Plan in New York State. Her talk focused on the planning the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is doing on the state level and what DEC will be asking of local planning units as they revise…

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Son of Mountains – Virtual Book Signing

by Lynne Jackson ALBANY: A virtual book signing for Son of Mountains by Yassin Aref was the topic for the May Save the Pine Bush vegetarian/vegan lasagna dinner. Yassin, along with Mohammed Hossain, were subject of an FBI sting operation and were sent to prison for 15 years each. During the five months Yassin was awaiting sentencing, he wrote Son of Mountains in the Rensselaer County Jail. Carl Strock, Daily Gazette columnist said “Incredibly, Yassin Aref has written a book,…

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Save the Pine Bush Sues Albany Common Council Over Illegal Office Complex

Save the Pine Bush Sues Albany Common Council Over Illegal Office Complex   The Portland Plan – A Better Way To Grow By Daniel Van Riper Back in 1979, the City of Portland, Oregon and some nearby municipalities drew a line around their developed areas. They mandated that all new construction must take place inside this line and all undeveloped land outside must remain farmland, greenspace or preserve. Twenty years later, planners Martin Hull and Marian Hull traveled all the…

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After 12-Year Battle, the Pine Bush Losses

ALBANY, NY: On March 22, the Supreme Court — Appellate Division, Third Department turned down Save the Pine BushÕs appeal of Supreme Court Judge Joseph TeresiÕs decision against Save the Pine BushÕs lawsuit over 300 Washington Avenue Extension. The land in question is owned by Charles Touhey, and is located on Washington Avenue Extension in front of the Dunes housing project. Touhey originally proposed building a office complex on the site in 1988. The land was zoned residential, and to…

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At the March dinner, SPB welcomed Aaron Mair of the Arbor Hill Environmental Justice Corp., to speak about environmental justice. We learn something every day. We learn how dynamically we are all linked, our species, all human beings are linked to each other. We are also learning about unfortunate tradeoffs as well. Like sprawl. Sprawl is the unorganized growth, the unplanned growth of human settlements. Smart growth is organizing space. Accelerators of sprawl include new roads and widening old roads,…

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16-09 Sept-Oct Newsletter

16-09 Sept-Oct Newsletter Sept/Oct 16 No. 132 • 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY 12210 • email pinebush@mac.com • phone 518-462-0891 • web http://www.savethepinebush.org • Circ. 600 Vegetarian/Vegan Dinner Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 6:00 p.m. Climate Crisis and Practical Solutions Conor Bambrick Air & Energy Director, Environmental Advocates of NY will speak about NY Renews and practical solutions for transition to clean energy Mark Schaeffer who works with 350.org will speak about Overview of climate crisis and need for a political…

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Save the Pine Bush

by Tim Truscott   ALBANY: We enjoyed two presentations after the July 15 Save the Pine Bush dinner. The first presentation was by Jeff Heath of Stearns & Wheler Consulting Engineers, which is headquartered in Cazenovia, NY. Jeff’s presentation was on the Delaware County Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) composting facility, located near Walton, NY. Delaware County is a mostly rural county with no cities, only eight incorporated villages and 50,000 people. Because of its rural nature, most of the solid…

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Save the Pine Bush

Vote Primary Day – Tuesday, September 15, Noon to 9:00 pm   ALBANY: Six candidates for Albany City-wide races came to speak at the August Save the Pine Bush dinner. Four city-wide seats are up this year (as well as the entire Common Council). Running for Mayor – Corey Ellis; for treasurer – Kathy Sheehan; for Common Council President – Carolyn McLaughlin and Lenny Ricchiuti; and for auditor – Leif Engstrom and Darius Shahinfar. Jerry Jennings, running for his fifth…

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Making a Living as a Trash Picker The Landfill in Guatemala City

ALBANY: Mindy Whisenhunt and her daughter Alex spoke at the October Save the Pine Bush vegetarian lasagna dinner at the First Presbyterian Church. They have made two trips to the landfill outside of Guatemala City to volunteer with and organization called Camino Seguro or Safe Passage that helps the children of people who eke out an existence picking recyclables from the Guatemala City landfill. Volunteers such as Mindy and Alex go to Safe Passage for a week at a time….

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News from Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission

To the Editor: At a recent Albany Common Council General Services Committee meeting concerning the expansion of the Rapp Road landfill, three issues of concern were raised: the city hot line phone number established to report complaints about the smell emanating from the landfill; the little monetary reward the city realizes from the methane-to-energy project; and the lack of funding by the city to promote the three R’s of conservation — reduction, reuse and recycling. The General Services Committee was…

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Save the Pine Bush Sues Crossgates Mall

by Claire Nolan The first ski of the season was held on December 13, 2004. Although the snow situation did not look too good – we had enough snow at King’s Road for an excellent morning of skiing. On Saturday January 31 we had our second monthly ski trip. We met at Trail Head #7, near the Water Tower. We enjoyed a really terrific day of skiing. The conditions were absolutely perfect: powder enhanced by an early morning dusting of…

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Discovery Center

ALBANY, NY: The August Save the Pine Bush vegetarian/vegan lasagna dinner was the setting for Mike Venuti, the new director of the Pine Bush Discovery Center, to describe what the Pine Bush Discovery Center will be and the progress on the Discovery Center. Mr. Venuti began by briefly describing his background. He has worked with New York State Parks for 27 years, including working on a park in the Long Island pine barrens, and most recently working at the Saratoga…

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Save the Pine Bush is 25!

by Lynne Jackson ALBANY: Save the Pine Bush celebrated its 25th birthday at the February vegetarian lasagna dinner at the First Presbyterian Church. The dinner began by members telling stories about the early years. Save the Pine Bush was born in the middle of a snow storm on February 6, 1978. It snowed that day. It snowed so much that the offices of the New York State government closed down and stayed closed the next day. This is the only…

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Save the Pine Bush

Download a PDF of this letter Richard Nicholson, Planner City of Albany, Dept. of Economic Development & Neighborhood Planning 21 Lodge Street Albany, NY 12207 Re: Supplemental ~Draft-Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) Tharaidson Development Company Proposed Residence Inn project City of Albany, Albany County Dear Mr. Nicholson: Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) staff reviewed the SDEIS for this project which was accepted by the SEQR Lead Agency on June 16, 2008 and we have the following comments pertaining to that document….

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Action Guide to Citizens

Among the steps people may wish to consider taking are: 1. File lawsuits against the city for reduced property values. Contact your own lawyer or Save the Pine Bush lawyer Peter Henner at 768-8232 or peter@peterhenner.com. 2. Speak about dump issues at meetings of the Common Council of the City of Albany.  The Common Council meets on the first and third Monday of each month (when this regularly scheduled meeting falls on a legal holiday, the meeting is changed to the…

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Dunn Landfill

RENSSELAER, NY: Until mid-March, when the coronavirus slowed organizing efforts, the Rensselaer Environmental Coalition (REC) continued making steady progress towards its goal of closing the Dunn construction and demolition debris landfill in Rensselaer. This 99-acre operation is located right next to the Rensselaer public school campus, and between Rensselaer and East Greenbush neighborhoods. In response to considerable community pressure, and perhaps to avoid holding a public hearing, the NYS departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Health (DOH), held an”availability session”…

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Albany wants to Dedicate a Dump to the Preserve

by Lynne Jackson ALBANY: On October 19, Willard Bruce, Commissioner of the Albany Department of General Services, made a presentation to the Common Council about the proposed landfill expansion in the Pine Bush. During the meeting, he told the Common Council members that the City was no longer obligated to dedicate the Fox Run Estate (a mobile home park) to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. The City is proposing to expand the landfill onto the Fox Run Estate, the land…

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We Are Always Running After a Moving Bulldozer

At SPB’s April lasagna dinner at the First Presbyterian Church, SPB welcomed Helen Desfosses, President of the Albany Common Council to speak about Forces for Change in Albany’s Future. Ms Desfosses opened her presentation by noting that “we are always running after a moving bulldozer.” Albany has an incredible archeological and historical heritage. But look at Savannah: almost a thousand homes built before the Civil War have been preserved. People are surprised at the beauty of Albany and at how…

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Save the Pine Bush Sues Crossgates Mall

ALBANY, NY — Save the Pine Bush and the Alliance for Environmental Renewal filed suit February 2 in the United States District court for the Northern District of New York against Pyramid Crossgates over its violation of its waste water permit for the past three years. Pyramid Crossgates has a State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (“SPDES”) Permit 0107930 to discharge sodium chloride into the Krum Kill. During the winter months for the past three years, Crossgates has exceeded its permit…

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by Lynne Jackson ALBANY, NY: The July SPB veggie lasagna dinner at the First Presbyterian Church was a forum for a bevy of politicians. Everyone came out to support Pine Bush preservation, a welcome change from previous elections. Candidates from Albany, most facing primaries in September attended as well as Ken Runion, candidate for Guilderland Town Supervisor who faces his challengers in the general election. First to speak was Marggie Skinner, Democrat, running for Common Council in the 9th ward…

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Exploring Bus Service to the Pine Bush

Exploring Bus Service to the Pine Bush Exploring Bus Service to the Pine Bush by John Wolcott One can reach the Pine Bush from Albany by bus. However, it is, at one point, difficult and unsafe. At another point, it is awkward, and, as yet, uncertain. A couple of weeks ago, I tested part of the bus system in person. I took the Number 12 Crossgates bus to Wall-Mart on the Washington Avenue Extension. This is the nearest stop to…

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Honoring Lou Ismay at the April SPB Dinner

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: “If we lose reverence for any part of life, we lose reverence for all of life,” said Save the Pine Bush member Lou Ismay at the April 17th SPB dinner at which Lou spoke about his launching the Protect Your Environment (PYE) Club at SUNY Albany fifty years ago. He said many future members of Save the Pine Bush met each other through PYE. Before Lou spoke, Lynne Jackson read proclamations honoring Lou and his…

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How Can We Reverse the Tide of Trump’s Plan to Eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? — Part I

by Hugh Johnson ALBANY. NY: Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Director of New York State’s Region II, and until recently the first visiting Scholar at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, spoke at the Save the Pine Bush vegetarian lasagna dinner at the Westminster Presbyterian Church on June 21. Like many Americans, January 20 was a sad day for her. It was the day she lost her position in the EPA. “It was hard to leave the…

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Climate Change and Hell and High Water

Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Hell and High Water: New York Responds to Climate Change was title of the talk given by Mark Lowery at the November 16 SPB dinner. Mr. Lowery is a climate policy analyst in the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Office of Climate Change (OCC). He said OCC helps NYS mitigate and adapt to climate change. Prior to his talk, he told me he could speak for many hours on this topic. Toward the end of…

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Peter Henner

NEW SCOTLAND — A man of principle and passion, Peter Henner worked for causes he believed in with the same logic and commitment he used when playing chess. He tackled his legal work as he tackled mountains on climbs with his wife — with a sense of adventure. “He always told everything straight,” said Nancy Lawson, his wife. Mr. Henner died at his Clarksville home on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. He was 64. The pages of The…

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Former Albany County Legislator Tim Nichols: Politics & Tobacco

by Tom Ellis   ALBANY, NY: Carol Waterman introduced former county legislator Timothy Nichols at the January 20 SPB dinner saying Tim sponsored a bill vetoed by Albany County Executive Dan McCoy that would have blocked pharmacies in Albany County from selling tobacco products.  Tim, who was also Chairman of the legislature’s health committee, and lost a bid for a fifth term in November, said he might have won had he “been a little more savvy” but the defeat opens new possibilities for…

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Neil Gifford Brings Good News

by Lynne Jackson   ALBANY: Neil Gifford, conservation director of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, spoke at the Save the Pine Bush Earth Day dinner on April 22. He brought good news. Neil began by describing “young forest management.” Young forests are dominated by shrubs and saplings, and are often found where old farm fields and pastures used to be, in places regenerating from timber and in pine barrens. Many species of greatest conservation need live in these young…

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Chris Hawver of the Commission Speaks

by Tom Ellis   ALBANY: Albany Pine Bush Management Commission (APBMC or the Commission) Executive Director Chris Hawver was the October 15 SPB dinner speaker.  Lynne Jackson and I introduced him saying that Save the Pine Bush is very pleased that the Commission exists and is protecting the Pine Bush.  Lynne said the work of SPB has become institutionalized with the APBMC. Chris said he has worked for the Commission since 1993, first as fire management coordinator, later as conservation director, and, beginning…

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Public Advocate Dominick Calsolaro

By Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Former Albany First Ward Common Council member Dominick Calsolaro spoke at the June 18 SPB dinner about Environmental Issues in Albany.  He began thanking SPB President Rezsin Adams for her many years of friendship.  During the US-Vietnam War, he said, Rezsin often came into his family’s restaurant.  Dominick spoke about the many issues he worked on during his 12 years on the Albany Common Council, some of which he continues working on. He said the big issue in…

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Earth Day Update from NYPIRG and EA

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Laura Haight of NYPIRG and Katherine Nadeau of Environmental Advocates shared the podium at the April 16 SPB dinner.  They discussed the 2014 agenda they are lobbying at the state Capitol and the state energy plan. Laura said the annual statewide Earth Day Lobby Day will be on May 5 because the Legislature decided to take most of April off.  She said five issues have been identified as most compelling.  The first is fracking.  Ms. Nadeau…

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Don Reeb Speaks to Save the Pine Bush

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: After a rousing introduction by Carol Waterman, Don Reeb spoke at the February 19 SPB dinner about “Cities and the Environment.” Don, now 80 years young, is a retired University at Albany economics professor, was co-leader of the Stop Crossgates mall campaign, and has been President of the McKownville Improvement Association for many years.  He said he can remember the Depression well. He is one of 11 children; the family lived in a three-room apartment,…

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Horizontality and Consensus: Group Decision Making for a True Democracy at the

by Tom Ellis WASHINGTON, DC: 50,000 of us marched on Washington DC on Sunday, February 17, 2013, the largest climate demonstration yet, called “Forward on the Climate.” As Reverand Yearwood, who MCed the event said “ 50 years ago was very important, right here, Dr. Martin King marched. We marched for jobs and food. We marched for Equality. ….We all came together as humanity. But guess what? This rally 50 years later is as important or more important because, as…

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Save the Pine Bush Turns 35 in February

by Lynne Jackson     On February 6, 2013, Save the Pine Bush will be 35. I wanted to reprint the story of our formation (the extended version can be found on the website, http://www.savethepinebush.org) Save the Pine Bush came into being on February 6, 1978. It snowed that day. It snowed so much that the offices of the New York State government closed down and stayed closed the next day. This is the only time that I remember in the…

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Public gets say on Wood Road DCG project in Clifton Park

  CLIFTON PARK —The Planning Board has agreed to hold a public hearing on the second phase of a controversial Wood Road development project. At the July 10 meeting, the board voted 5-1 to hold the hearing at a date to be determined. The parcel’s owner, DCG Development Company, wants approval for a 16-acre expansion of its Wood Road Light Industrial shovel ready project. The company has already developed 25 acres of the 36.6-acre site under a previous approval. The…

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Sally’s Recycling Corner — New Year Green Resolutions!

from TheDailyGreen.com Give Up Plastic (and Paper) Bags Cost: $1 Do you opt for paper or plastic when at the grocery store? Neither is a good choice. Twelve million barrels of oil were used to make the 88.5 billion plastic bags consumed in the United States last year. And it takes four times more energy to make paper bags. The best choice is reusable shopping bags made of cotton, nylon or durable, mesh-like plastic. Put a few reusable shopping bags…

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No Frack-ing Way

ALBANY, NY -At the April 20 dinner, speakers from four different organizations addressed a cause that united them: keeping hydrofracking out of New York State. Roger Downs represented the Sierra Club, a membership grass roots organization. He said that he has never seen a movement attract so many people. For example, at a rally last week, 450 people registered to lobby and saw 180 legislators. In a first draft environmental impact statement, Mr. Downs said that the DEC had not…

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We Want Ward in Our Backyard!

by Tom Ellis As many readers know, Ward Stone, NYS DEC wildlife pathologist since 1969, has had numerous conflicts over the years with DEC higher-ups, most concerning Ward’s determination to learn the facts about how pollutants impact wildlife, and then reporting what he has learned. The latest of these battles is now in progress. This assault likely resulted from his taking and analyzing numerous soil samples downwind of the mercury spewing LaFarge cement factory in Ravena. During May the Albany…

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