A Tree Goes in Vernon

The huge, but long-suffering tree on Center Road, damaged during a sidewalk project, was finally taken down on Wednesday.

A short time after 7:30 Wednesday morning, a bucket loader from Distinctive Tree Care drove up to the intersection of Center Road and Crestridge Drive.  It pulled into the driveway of the classic colonial house across the intersection and then back up into the street.

It was soon joined by a few Department of Public Works trucks, Tree Warden Jeff Shambach, a vehicle that loads large limbs onto trucks and a large construction crane.

A crane?

Yes. It was time to take on THE TREE.

The tree, a massive elm located in the front yard of the home, close to the road, is - or was - arguably one of the largest in town. It was damaged several years ago  when a catch basin was installed as part of a project to improve sidewalks along Center Road, a community with a lot of students who to and from school with the exception of special education and afternoon kindergarten buses.

Over the years, the tree received deep-root fertilization treatments but it became clear over the past, say, two years that it was dying a slow death and do not resuscitate was being highlighted on its chart.

Somehow, it survived the winter of 2010-11, Hurricane Irene, an alleged earthquake in the area (some residents say they felt nothing), and the winter storm of October.

A huge tree limb just down the hill fell across the road during that storm, but the huge tree did not flinch.

But it was still dying and some of its branches spanned the entire width of Center Road, right over several wires. When the brush clearing from the snowstorm was under control, Schambach turned his focus to the Center Road tree. It is technically not in the municipal right of way, but the reasoning behind the town taking care of its removal was related to it being damaged during a town construction project, he said.

One woman did stop to yell at him for that, and he politely explained the situation to her.

South Windsor-based Distinctive was secured to do the work and Schambach set a goal of 2 p.m. to get the tree down, which was accomplished so there was no disruption in the school bus routes.

OK, there was one.

Schambach said he alerted the bus company that residents, buses and emergency vehicles would be let through the road closure barricades, but the bus company decided to honor the detour and two afternoon kindergarteners had to scramble their way up the hill from the Crestridge stop to Winding Brook Trail to get the bus to Center Road School.

The families and the bus driver seemed to get a good laugh over it all.

Just before 2, the street sweeper made its last pass. The tree was officially down.

On Thursday morning, as the last few large logs were being loaded into a dump truck, Schambach took the official trunk measurement - 48 inches. It is close to 5 feet in one section that flares out.

Schambach said at one point, the tree was considered one of the oldest standing elms in the state, but he was still trying to confrim that this week with state officials.



Rocky April 19, 2012 at 10:40 AM
Mr. Dehnel, the picture of the oak tree across the wire is impressive. That part of the mess hanging into the street was cleaned up. Today and still that same tree has broken branches hanging and ready to drop into the street and on to traffic. Please go out and take a look at it, take a couple of pictures of it. It seems odd that this other problem tree has not been addressed. I saw it driving by last night, it is a problem that should have been addressed by someone with their eyes open.
Chris Dehnel (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Rocky, to my knowledge they have been working on that tree. I was back there this morning,
Alan Humphries April 19, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Congratulations on a job well done to the Tree Warden, Town of Vernon Public Works and the tree service! Damaged tree, did everything possible to save it and took the right action. In the interest of appropriate disclosure I am Jeffs' Brother-In-Law and have a great respect for his work ethic and approach to resolving any issue he comes up against. Well done Jeff.
Mark Kalina April 20, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Regardless it's sad to see a grand old tree cut down.
Rocky April 20, 2012 at 10:34 AM
@ Alan, since you are related to "Jeff ". Consider providing him with some constructive criticism. Make a personal request to " Jeff ", ask him to take off his blinders and perform a better job addressing his tree warden job. There are a lot of standing dead tree's throughout the town that are easily visible by residents and are not addressed. How Mr. Jeff Shambach cannot see them is amazing, is that because he does not reside in Vernon! Perhaps the time has come to replace him as tree warden.
Ronald Burke April 20, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Rocky: that was a cheap shot
Chris Dehnel (Editor) April 20, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I can sense where this might be headed. I don't want to have to call a technical foul so let's keep the game civil please.
Rocky April 20, 2012 at 11:15 PM
@ Ronald Burke. I can understand why you may consider it a cheap shot. A disclosure such as Mr. Humphries made was as Mr. Kalina stated regardless. I also agree with Mark that it is sad to see a grand tree suffer a fate it did. I stand behind my claim that there are many trees in town that are is sad shape. Last Octobers storm damaged many healthy trees that are in public ways. There are many more that are standing dead and pose an expensive liability to the town and the taxpayers are the people that pay the premiums for insurance coverage the town is required to have. Many of these trees have been visible for years. They need to be addressed or else the liability will continue to be an expensive problem.
Mike Howell April 20, 2012 at 11:56 PM
MR HUMPHRIES,i have nothing but respect for a man that makes sense and does not use bogus names such as(rocky) on a sensitive subject! such as a tree decribed on center rd.as a vernon taxpayer and yes (rocky)a vernon resident .if our current tree warden deams it unsafe then GOOD JOB MR SHAMBACH
Bert April 21, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Rocky - How many of those trees that you say need to be cut down are on Town Property and how many are on private property. The tree mentioned here was clearly within the right of way belonging to the town. Most are not.
Rocky April 22, 2012 at 12:57 AM
@ Bert. The removed tree has been dead since last spring / summer. It took about a year to address removing it. Can anyone answer that From a proactive stand point, if any tree near a public way qualifies as a hazard, the tree should be addressed. When the tree fall into the public street or side walk the the town will clean up the mess. Hopefully nobody gets hurt in the mean time.
Bert April 22, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Be reasonable! The tree came down in time. I'm sure that DPW has been aware of the tree and got it down before it became a danger. When a tree falls into the public road way, the town will clear the road way and the sidewalk and if it is on private property, they will leave the mess for the homeowner to take care of.. As you may notice as you drive arount town, some homeowners still haven't gotten around to cleaning up damage debris from the storm. You sure find a lot to complain about Rocky. It took over three million to clean up from the storm and I am sure there is more to be done but give DPW a break! How do you know that Jeff hasn't assessed a lot of trees around town and has a plan to deal with them in good time? When was the last time you remember someone in town getting hurt by a falling tree that DPW did not address? I don't think we have a problem here.
Vernon Taxpayer April 22, 2012 at 05:29 AM
Thanks to Jeff and DPW. They seem to have addressed many of the trees in town. There still may be some trees that need to be looked at and as always Jeff and the DPW take these situations seriously. With spring now here it will probably be easier to see what trees may be salvaged after last year’s storm. I believe that if you have a concern on a particular tree the responsible thing to do would be contacting DPW and give the location of such tree or trees. 860-870-3500
Rocky April 22, 2012 at 01:19 PM
I want to thank all of you for your comments. By taking the placed bait, hook, line, and sinker, you spoke up. Your additions to the Vernon Patch have done exactly what I wanted, open eye! @ Vernon Taxpayer, by providing the DPW contact number, you helped the taxpayers directly. Thanks again all of you!


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