by Lisa Tome
Bob Phillips is about to have a big new project.
Phillips, a 90-plus senior and wood worker in Charlestown, will be making miniature crosses from one of the town's historic trees.
The tree, a maple which is estimated to be between 100-150 years old, is being removed from Town of Charlestown property because fallen branches and limbs have caused property damage in the town.
"We're having tree and stump removal done. No one can remember that tree not being here," said Charlestown town administrator Wib Pumpaly.
In late August during a storm, while a meeting was going on inside St. John's United Methodist Church, the tree dropped branches onto vehicles parked in the church parking lot. Pumpaly said the town's insurance company handled claims from the owner of a damaged car and truck. The Town then dealt with three tree companies, all of whom came and evaluated the tree. All recommended that the tree be removed. In late September, another large limb fell from the tree. No one was injured and nothing was damaged, but the limb was large enough that someone could have been seriously injured if it had fallen on them.
On or about October 7, the tree will be removed by Bob the Tree Guy. "It's for health and safety reasons," said Pumpaly.
"People can have the wood, if they come and take it that day. The Boy Scouts are taking some. It will be first come, first served," said Pumpaly. Phillips will also take some of the wood for the crosses which will be sold as a fundraiser for St. John's UMC.
Church members were out at the tree last week, discussing that fact that it will be removed.
"It's sad. It's a landmark and nobody knows how old it was," said RoseAnne Sipe.
"I've been coming here (to the church) for 30 years. It's a nice tree for the squirrels. It gives us shade and on Halloween, we do things here (at the tree)," said Alice Neel.
Amy Immekus said that Vacation Bible School activities were held beneath the tree this year.