The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

June 6, 2014

Rage against a tree | Malicious mischief along Menoher Blvd.

JOHNSTOWN — “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity ... and some scarce see nature at all.”

– William Blake, 19th century author.

Apparently, someone believed this tree was more of a hindrance than a beauty, that it stood in their way.

The Bradford pear, planted about 10 to 12 years ago as part of a beautification project along Menoher Boulevard, was girdled recently. About two feet of the bark has been stripped off, and it appears some primitive carvings had been started.

“It was uncalled for,” Darby Sprincz, director of Johns-town’s public works department, said in a telephone interview.

Often, beautification projects are funded by private individuals, and it must be disappointing to them to see how their donations are being abused by others.

Sprincz said he was notified by an individual who contracts with the city to trim trees around town.

“He saw a person stripping the bark as he drove by,” Sprincz said.

The tree trimmer notified the police.

Sprincz said the individual, if apprehended, can be charged with defacing public property.

In our eyes, this is a senseless act by an uncaring person. An attempt to beautify a section of the city has been marred by someone apparently with nothing better to do than to damage public property.

It appears the tree was being taken care of by a property owner. Bark mulch had been spread around the base, and a yard decoration added a splash of color.

Sprincz said he is hopeful that the tree will survive, but such actions frequently will kill a tree.

We can’t begin to fathom why someone would attack a tree. But if caught, perhaps a fitting sentence for the individual would be to help remove dead or dying trees throughout the city and replant new ones.

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