Mountainkeeper headlines SPARC dinner

| 22 Feb 2012 | 02:10

Blooming Grove — Wes Gillingham, a director of the Catskill Mountainkeeper and on the frontlines of the struggle to stop the gas mining process called “fracking,” will be the featured speaker at SPARC’s sixth annual Rudy Vallet Dinner on Friday, Oct. 29. The annual dinner honors the late Rudy Vallet of Goshen, a conservationist and longtime science teacher at Chester High School, who was instrumental in the years long fight to preserve the open lands around Stewart Airport. (The Stewart Parks Reserve Coalition is known as SPARC.) Gillingham said, “The decisions that New York will make about gas drilling are being watched by folks across the country and these decisions will shape how we meet our energy needs.” SPARC opposes fracking, in part because Stewart State Forest along with thousands of acres of other state land is unfortunately not off-limits to mining. Several environmental awards will be made at the dinner: one to Sharon Soons for her chairing of this year’s Stewart State Forest Bike Tour, one to Michael Serinsky on his retirement from SPARC’s board, and a third in memorium to Frank Reggero who fought to preserve the Stewart Lands on behalf of the Orange County Federation of Sportmen’s Clubs and SPARC. The dinner will be held at the Colden Manor at Spruce Lodge in Montgomery at 6:30 p.m. and includes hors d’oeuvres, a full buffet, and local homemade pies from Soons Orchards. The cost is $45 per person and reservations can mailed to SPARC, P.O. Box 90, Blooming Grove, New York 10914, emailed at or called in to 564-3018.