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Silent protest from a tree stump perch

I was sitting alone in my lawn chair on my tree stump as the Glencoe Days parade passed a half a block away. It was my silent protest of the city’s latest efforts to beautify my area by sending in a bunch of lumberjacks to “clear cut” the nearby neighborhood trees.
To those who have never heard of clear cutting, just head to northern Minnesota’s logging country and you will find areas in the forests that have nary a tree standing. That, folks, is a clear cut.
So as I sat in my lawn chair atop the stump to take in the parade, I hoisted a cold beverage as the Mayor and his Mrs. passed by at the corner of 14th Street and Judd Avenue. It was my way of saying “thanks.”
I didn’t expect to get so close to make my protest, because the parade route was scheduled to turn a block earlier at Knight Avenue. It appears someone had mis-marked the route and forced the parade to turn at Judd Avenue instead.
If the mistake had been made a block farther west, it would have followed the original route that had been followed for years. If that had happened, the parade participants and onlookers could have seen the full impact of the city’s beautification efforts and the reason for my one-man protest.
A week earlier, I watched my beautiful shade trees come tumbling down. First it was the Neids’ tree on the boulevard near the corner of Judd, then the one between our lots and finally my mighty basswood that had stood for many decades.
As the lumberjacks were taking a lunch break from working on the formidable basswood that was nearly four feet in diameter, they noted that the tree must have housed several squirrel nests. How did they know that? One squirrel wasn’t quick enough. It got flattened when the tree was felled.
You snooze you lose, I guess.
The head lumberjack also predicted the basswood might be hollow because of its size, girth and age. A lot of them hollow out after all those years, he said, as he munched on his lunch while sitting on one of its downed limbs.
He was wrong.
When they cut down the trunk of the basswood, it was solid. The trunk was so large they had to get out a longer chain saw blade to try to slice through it. Even at that, they could not get it accomplished.
The old basswood was not going down without a fight, so there was some consolation for losing such a beautiful shade tree. I suspect the same could be said of the downed trees along Judd and Knight avenues as well as those along 15th and 16th streets.
The official excuse for clear-cutting boulevard trees is the roots will get damaged when the streets are reconstructed, and the trees will eventually die. The real reason is the contractor does not want to deal with tree roots.
So when the reconstruction is done and the new, bigger sewer lines are buried, the work crews will depart for sites unknown, but homeowners will be faced with the destruction left behind … for years to come.
The city has indicated it will replant the boulevard trees, and we will get a choice of what we want.
I pick a cactus. That best matches my prickly attitude toward the entire project.
Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014.