Long Island woman chains herself to tree to save it

Last Wednesday Denise Casares decided to chain herself to a tree outside her family's Westbury home.

"I was like a lunatic. I wasn’t rational on Wednesday," Casares says.  "I told my husband later in the day, 'I’m going to chain myself to a tree.'"

Her husband dutifully took the family to Home Depot to buy a lock and chain.

"She’s my wife I have to support her," Marcelo Casares says.

That started a daily act of defiance.

"And then Thursday morning, I got up and that's when I started chaining myself to the tree," Casares says.

The impetus was village contractors wielding cones, ropes, and saws last week hoping to remove an at-least 70-year-old tree outside of the family home.

The village wants to repave and level a sidewalk before paving Ellison Ave.

In a Facebook post, Westbury Village's mayor explained:  "We’ve spent millions of taxpayer dollars paving roads and fixing drainage issues, and we have to make sure that it is done correctly.  Removing trees is not done arbitrarily.   It is not subjective or cavalierly decided.  We do so on the advice of experts in road design and drainage."

"I stand here and I don't go to the bathroom says," Casares says.

And she plans to continue standing there for nine hours a day with her waist chained to the tree that's stood in front of her family home since before her grandparents built it in the 1950s.

"I stand here and I don't go to the bathroom," Casares says.  "Until they tell me my tree gets to stay."

Or the police arrive with a set of bolt cutters and a pair of handcuffs to arrest her.

Until then, she locks herself up, leans against the hardwood giant, and collects signatures on a petition.

"I get some crazies who are yelling profanities at me, Casares says.

But for every angry heckler she estimates she receives hundreds of supportive honks.