City almost beats Inquirer to the punch

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comMay 26, 2013 

By the time you read this, the problem you see pictured here will have been resolved. That has to be a record.

Credit goes to city Public Works Director Pat Biegler, who takes that job seriously, obviously.

It all started earlier this week when a Concerned Reader called to report a dangerous situation on Weems Road. A large pine had obviously succumbed to the pine beetles and most of it had apparently already fallen. But about 15-20 feet remained standing but leaning precariously out toward the sidewalk.

That sidewalk, by the way, leads up to Blanchard Elementary School, so it's frequently used by school children. That was what concerned our Concerned Reader most. Kind of.

"To be honest, most of them get on my last nerve," he said. "But I wouldn't want one to get hit by a falling tree."

Some of my boss's kids have gone to Blanchard, but I doubt they got on anyone's nerves … except their sister's.

Anyway, I drove by and was a bit alarmed myself, so I called Biegler. Her slice of the Consolidated Government includes not only Special Enforcement, but also Urban Forestry, the latter of which handles renegade trees.

I called about 3 p.m. Friday and Biegler said she'd send a crew right out there. She explained that if the tree did not present an immediate danger to the public, but an eventual one, the city would inform the homeowner that he'd have to get it taken care of, or be cited in environmental court. But if the danger were immediate, the city has the authority to take care of the problem. Well, I hadn't photographed the problem yet, thinking I'd do that later in the afternoon. So I took off at the closest thing to a run that I can approximate and headed north. As I parked my truck, I noted that a city forestry truck was already on the scene, but the tree was still standing, as precariously as ever. Hence, the accompanying photo.

Biegler called me a few minutes later and said they'd determined that the danger was such that the city was just going to take the tree down. Friday afternoon. So the children of Blanchard Elementary are safe, even the ones that get on people's nerves. And a city crew is cursing me for causing a late-Friday work assignment.

Update

Speaking of Biegler, while I had her on the phone she asked if I had been out to Pyburn Street, the site of a recent Inquirer about an "over-engineered" rain drain a city crew had installed. It had indeed halted the erosion and flooding problems the homeowner had called the city about, but it looked like a huge asphalt skateboard ramp in her yard.

"We took most of it out, and the lady is thrilled with it," Biegler said.

Thanks.

-- Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.

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