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Sorrow greets the felling of an old oak


SOME FOLKS in western Howard County are unhappy about a tree that was cut down at Howard and Triadelphia roads.

Dee Tucker rode by the old oak on her way to and from shopping and appointments, she says. Her husband passed it every day on his way to work. On Sept. 1, she drove by and saw that the tree was gone.

"I cried," she said. "I couldn't believe my eyes. That tree had been there for a lot of years. Someone told me that the tree had been here since before the Revolutionary War."

Tucker went home to get her camera. County workers were cutting the tree into smaller, more manageable pieces when she returned to take pictures. Her photos captured the enormous size of the base of the tree. She measured it; the trunk was more than 7 feet wide, she said.

"Something that has survived that long, you have to respect it," Tucker said. "It's been in the middle of the road for a long time and it hasn't hurt anyone." What's left of the trunk varies from 5 to 7 feet in width.

James Irvin, director of the county Department of Public Works, said the tree had been there for "several hundred years." Irvin explained that Howard County tree care supervisor Steve Parker determined that the tree couldn't be saved.

"The tree was dead," Irvin said. "It was a safety hazard."

According to Chris Lentz, an operations supervisor with the county's Bureau of Highways, the land on which the tree stood is owned by Ken Warfield. "Mr. Warfield agreed that the tree was hazardous," Lentz said. "Ten years ago, we [propped] it up with cables, but last winter the top sections broke out and there was no way to hold it up."

Even if Warfield hadn't agreed to cut down the tree, Lentz said the county has a "prescriptive right of way." The tree's branches hung over the road.

The county typically mulches the branches of cut trees and sends the rest to its recycling center. But according to Lentz, Warfield owned the tree and chose to give the wood to a neighbor.

Glenelg resident Karen Mobley, who lives across the street from where the tree stood, said she was disappointed to see it being cut down. When she went over to investigate, "[County workers] said it was dangerous, that it was a hazard," she said. During the first storm last winter, Mobley added, a lot of branches were knocked down and fell onto the road and into her yard.

Mobley speculated on another reason the tree was cut down. "I guess it was a visual hazard," she said.

Losing the tree has changed the view from her home. She now sees a turf farm that used to be blocked by the oak.

"Hopefully, they'll plant another tree there," Mobley said.

Tucker isn't the only one concerned about trees being cut down in rural Howard County. When a convenience store was built two years ago, several old oaks were felled for a parking lot, she said.

Now Tucker wonders what the future of other old oaks in her part of the county will be.

"We might have to form a group to save the trees," she said.

Decorator Show House

Historic Ellicott City Inc. will open its 16th decorator show house, Cattail Farm, on Saturday. The 150-year-old house sits on 175 acres in Glenwood and will be decorated by area designers.

The event will feature gourmet catering, a boutique and a garden shop.

The house will be open for visitors from Saturday to Oct. 15. Tickets are $10 in advance; $12 at the door.

Information: 410-461-6908.

Notable library programs

Have you checked out the Glenwood Cafe, the new Glenwood Library's coffeehouse? You can relax and sip a latte from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and listen to keyboardist George Spicka. The award-winning musician will entertain with a repertory of jazz, rock and other styles.

Information: 410-313-5577.

Are you ready to howl with laughter? Listen to storyteller and champion folk musician Bill Wellington at 2 p.m. Sept. 30 at the library.

Registration, which is required, begins Sept. 21.

Information: 410-313-5579.

Back-to-school nights

Glenwood Middle School will hold two back-to-school nights. A program for parents of sixth-graders will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday; for grades 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Information: 410-313-5520.

Glenelg High School will hold itsback-to-school night at 7 p.m. Sept. 21.

Information: 410-313-5528.

Historic preservation

Preservation Howard County will sponsor a reception at Historic Waverly from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. The topic will be Historic Preservation Issues Facing Howard County's Future.

Information: 410-465-5001.

Tree Surgeons perform

The Tree Surgeons' Duo will perform from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 4300 Montgomery Road, Ellicott City. Admission is free.

Information: 410-203-9001.

The Highland group will perform songs from its new compact disc, "Witness," from 7:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 22 at Backdoor Amphitheatre, 7276 Mink Hollow Road, Highland. A bonfire is planned after the performance.

Bring a blanket and a picnic. Information: 301-854-2856.

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