Seeing the trees through the forrest, and catching up on other Peabody news

7 Mar

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Catching up on some things today while taking a break from writing about the state rep special election.

Capital punishement for Peabody trees?

Capital punishement for Peabody trees?

Turns out that Massachusetts’ ban on capital punishment doesn’t extend to trees.

Jennifer Pinkham Davis, Peabody’s Director of Parks and Recreation, recently told the City Council’s sub-committee on Legal Affairs that — under state law — any citizen can have trees on city property cut down at any time and at taxpayer expense.

Davis says that, if a citizen asks for a tree to be cut down, the city must go out, examine the tree and determine if it’s a danger to the public. In some cases, the roots of these trees make sidewalks impassable, and potentially dangerous. But it doesn’t stop there: Davis says that, if the city determines the tree is healthy and no danger to public safety, citizens can still petition and have it removed. And most times, the citizen wins.

But here’s the rub: Many times completely healthy trees that pose no danger to the public are cut down, and it can cost the taxpayers up to $8,000 per tree.  And … sometimes the resident’s reason for cutting down the tree can as frivolous as “the leaves are making a mess on my lawn.”

To stop this process, Davis is hoping the City Council can create an ordinance that would send that $8,000 bill to the person demanding the destruction of a healthy tree.

Stay tuned.

Peabody Police: Alert on a utility scam

ppdThe Eye is running the following alert from the Peabody Police:

This is a regeneration of an alert sent 02/21/2013 regarding National Grid. PMLP has received customer reports that they are now calling alleging to be from PMLP.

They tell the customer that their account is delinquent and to avoid power shut off they must pay now via credit card. They then use the credit card data to make fraudulent purchases. If you get a call from someone stating they are from PMLP collections, report it to PMLP and the Peabody Police Department. PMLP does not collect over the phone nor threaten shut off in this manner. If you can capture the originating phone call on caller ID please report the number.

Free parking for veterans coming to Peabody?

Postal worker Daniel Heafey has asked the City Council’s Legal Affairs Sub-Committee to pass an ordinance that would provide free parking for veterans in Peabody.

Heafey, a Cold War veteran (1974 to 1978), who blames some hearing loss and a bad knee to some tough work as a military police officer, said he was parking downtown recently and was troubled when he could only park for 15 minutes after putting a nickel in the meter.

“I put a nickel in the meter,” Heafey said. “I was gone for 15 minutes, and I got a ticket.”

No details yet on how the city would enforce this possible new ordinance.

 Tickets still available for St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast & Roast

Ttickets remain for the City of Peabody’s First Annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast and Roast,  which will take place on Saturday morning March 16th from 9:00 to 11:00AM in the Frank L. Wiggin Auditorium at Peabody City Hall.

“We have gotten a terrific response for this first St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast and Roast,” said Mayor Ted Bettencourt, “Judging by the demand for tickets, this event is destined to become a longstanding Peabody tradition.”

The public is welcome to attend the breakfast, which will feature Irish music by “McGeney and Moore” and good natured roasting of some of the city’s best known politicos. The cost is $30 per person and all proceeds benefit the Haven from Hunger. Tickets must be reserved in advance as there will be no tickets sold at the door to the event.

Those interested in attending the breakfast should contact Mary Bellavance at 978.538.5704.

7 Responses to “Seeing the trees through the forrest, and catching up on other Peabody news”

  1. Anonymous March 8, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    I have a question for Ms Davis or anybody that may know the answer. firewood is going for $300 a cord and more. where does all that wood go when the city guys take a tree down ? it’s not left on the job site. isn’t that the taxpayers wood ? I hope a few lucky city employees aren’t profiting off of our wood. the city should be selling that wood at a discount to Peabody residents. more income for the city of Peabody and not just a few tree guys.

    • Anon March 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      Good Questions!
      Last I saw they shredded the smaller trees to chips.

      I asked some questions about that. Didn’t really get a straight answer.

  2. Sean McCrea March 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    As the city’s Tree Department foreman for the past six years I can shed light on where the wood ends up after city removals.

    We chip branches and limbs into mulch. The wood from the removal is then fallen in log-length. We pick up the logs with a log-loader grapple and transport it to JD Raymond at Farm Ave. JD Raymond processes the wood for its own purposes (mulch or factory-fuel). They do not charge the city for taking the wood, which is beneficial to the city. Working in the private industry previous to my city employment, I know that the costs associated with getting rid of wood can run very high. Especially when the quality of wood is compromised, such as it tends to be when dealing with urban trees.

    As far as cutting wood up for residents, I will do it on-sight if asked and if I am confident that the home-owner is intent on removing the wood quickly from the site. We need to keep in mind that leaving anything at a work-sight unattended could legally be considered an “attractive neiusance” and make us liable to injuries sustained.

    As far as creating a firewood supply for residents, I would be very skeptical that the labor and cost involved in transporting the wood to a particular location, unloading the wood, and cutting the wood up in firewood length would be in the overall interests of the taxpayer. Cutting wood takes time. It is not a magic act. And with our department relying on a small-crew to handle a large landmass, it would tie-up our time significantly. Chainsaw cutting is not a task that you want in the hands of seasonal part-time kids, or anybody without considerable experience. Department efficiency and liability is always at the foundation of our policies.

    So, yes, if somebody catches me at the right time, I will cut up wood for them. But to make a habit or a policy of it would impact our productivity in a negative direction. And, I can promise you, we do not as employees profit from wood sales. We here at the Forestry Deprtment enjoy our work and have in our interests the long-term continuance of our employment with the City of Peabody.

    • Anon March 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

      Thank you for your input.

  3. Anonymous March 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Lynn brings there wood to a city owned yard. Lynn residents can go and get it when they want. p.s. I’ll bet you guys have wood stoves at home. you may not be “profiting” but your saving a $h!tload !

    • Anon March 11, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

      I, personally, have no problem with city employees utilizing material that would be wasted. Good for them! as long as they are not profittering from it.

    • Sean McCrea March 12, 2013 at 7:22 am #

      Interestingly enough, none of the Forestry employees burn wood at home.

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