Starkey Citizens for a Clean & Healthy Environment
Santa Arrested at Seneca Lake!

Watkins Glen, NY – Carrying banners that declared “Christmas Against Crestwood” and “Methane in Your Stocking is Worse Than Coal,” nine area residents dressed as Santa Claus and his North Pole ensemble were arrested this morning and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct at Texas-based Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility gates on the shore of Seneca Lake as the ‘We Are Seneca Lake’ civil disobedience campaign enters week 9 of blockades to stop construction at the gas storage facility.

Santa Claus was the only one of the nine to be handcuffed and searched before taken into custody.

Mr. Claus (Stefan Senders of Schuyler County) was quick to assuage concerns that his arrest would delay his upcoming world tour, saying, “Don’t worry, boys and girls, I’ll be out of jail in time to deliver your presents.”

Chief elf Stephanie Redmond, who was not arrested on Monday, addressed concerns about outsiders participating in the ongoing protests, saying, “Some refer to us North Pole residents as ‘outsiders.’ But after Christmas is over, we elves vacation here at Seneca Lake. We like the wineries, and we come every year as tourists.”

Today’s arrests follow 28 arrests last Wednesday in a blockade lead by prominent local musicians. Members of the Irish folk band, The Grady Girls, along with acclaimed banjoist Richie Stearns and fiddler Rosie Newton, were among those arrested last Wednesday, along with assorted jazz, classical, and roots musicians. While blockading a large truck, the musicians sang, danced, played instruments, and held banners that read “This Land is Our Land” and “Gas/Water: Which Side Are You On?”

Referring to legendary folk singer Pete Seeger, singer and banjo musician Richie Stearns, 56, said, “When I was deciding whether to get arrested or not, I saw a sticker on my own car that said, ‘What Would Pete Do?’”

Singer Marie De Mott Grady, 29, of The Grady Girls, said, “Everyone has a duty to stand up and say something. Music inspires people, and people might pay attention if they know a musician is taking action.”

All total, 170 arrests have now occurred at the gates of Crestwood since the campaign began on October 23. There have also been multiple rallies with hundreds of people and numerous winery owners, local businesses and health professionals.
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