Hold put on tree trimming

Published 11:12 pm Wednesday, April 27, 2005

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Niles City Council has put a stop to tree trimming by Indiana-Michigan Power's representative here - at least for the next month.
The council took the action at the request of Niles Mayor Mike McCauslin on Monday night, and after hearing problems Niles resident Kathy Zeider and her family allegedly had after encounters with employees of Asplundh Tree Experts Inc., hired by the power company to trim trees here.
The company apparently removed two trees without having permission to do so, as well as "butchered" trees they were supposed to only trim on the Zeider's property. Those trees were later removed at the Zeider's request because of their fear that in their lop-sided condition, the trees created a property hazard.
Zeider praised the council for their efforts before the tree trimming project began to safeguard Niles residents and the city's trees from just the type of experience she and her family suffered.
"Thank you for trying to work with these people and their cunning, conniving, horrible business practices," she told the council.
Zeider pointed out most residents who have trees removed or trimmed at their property don't know they are entitled to stump grinding for trees removed, as well as vouchers for replacement trees for their property.
McCauslin said when the city learned about the pending tree trimming project, "we worked in good faith with AEP or I&M-whatever they are calling themselves today-to try to protect our community. We wanted them to understand our needs.
"I spoke to Mr. (Jim) Teague and found him to be not at all concerned about my needs," he said.
In addition, McCauslin said he found a notice on his property about tree removal hung in a less-than-noticable place on his fence, and found his neighbor's similar notification also on his fence.
McCauslin said tree trimmers have "no authority to come on your property without your permission."
McCauslin asked the council to approve the 30-day moratorium on tree trimming by I&M and its representatives "to give them an opportunity to meet and better discuss the desires of this council and community."