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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Impact of single branch

Sometimes, one of the most important issues concerning a community can come down to a single item.
In this case, a tree.
Berlin’s Town Council discussed one particular tree on private property and how it seems to be leaning further and closer to power lines. Berlin has apparently been in touch with the home owner, who it was reported at the meeting, isn’t interested in cutting limbs back.
Without getting into names in this space, we really do wish that the homeowner reconsider. It is absolutely not the homeowner’s fault that the tree is growing in a direction deemed threatening.
But the weather we’ve been experiencing the past couple of years can be called “dramatic.”
It’s not just a case of having a thunderstorm. We seem to be getting more and more severe thunder storms. Remember in June, 2012, most of us had never heard the word “derecho” before. But watching the news coming from the Baltimore area, we learned quickly as trees were snapped like toothpicks and power lines were dangerously hanging from damaged utility poles. Then, of course, the drama got literally colder this past winter when many of us couldn’t dig out of our own streets to get to work in the morning.
It is we believe a civil responsibility for a town and its neighbors to keep trees trimmed appropriately so that we stand a better chance of not sitting helplessly in the in the dark for days.
And we don’t know what the circumstances are for some of our neighbors. Perhaps health reasons require the air conditioning to be on constantly. There are many frail and elderly people who are made that much more helpless without electricity or heating fuel.
So, yes, it’s not a town’s right to demand from a homeowner that they trim back a particularly threatening tree. But as Mayor Gee Williams said, “with the way technology is today, we don’t want to have to react to a problem that we can prevent.”
Sometimes that prevention should come from a town’s citizens without awaiting the municipal government to step in after the fact.
A single broken branch can change the quality of life for an entire grid of electric customers. Trimming branches like it is a job worth doing.