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The Trees Are All Right

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Dear editor:

Although not quoted in Ben Joravsky's July 15th "Neighborhood News" article on the possibility of trees being damaged by street repaving machines, I was contacted early in his research and provided him with some general information on this issue.

I do wish he had mentioned his plans to include allegations that the city's Bureau of Forestry ignored a complaint from a local resident on this matter, since I would have welcomed the opportunity to respond within the article itself.

The Forestry Bureau did react to Madeline Kanner's call and sent a certified arborist to conduct an inspection. This was done in the normal course of business, before the Reader article appeared and without any knowledge that her complaint was the subject of Mr. Joravsky's piece.

Contrary to Ms. Kanner's assertions, the "hardest hit" trees on North Sacramento, West Agatite, and West Eastwood have not suffered any permanent damage. It is virtually certain they will bud again next spring and leaf normally.

I also doubt Mr. Joravsky's own statement that "many" environmentalists disparage Mayor Daley's tree-planting efforts. Chicago's commitment to trees has been nationally acclaimed by the forestry/arborist community. The lone "environmentalist" mentioned to the contrary, Bob Wulkowicz, suffers from dubious credibility following his major public gaffe several weeks ago in another newspaper.

Finally, no one has to take us on faith that the trees will be fine; the paving machines were used last year with similar effects and those trees are back in full bloom for all to see.

Terry Levin

Department of Streets and Sanitation

Ben Joravsky replies:

I thought Levin might appreciate the latest chapter in the saga of Madeline Kanner's ordeal with Forestry. One month after she first called Forestry, and, coincidentally, one day after my story ran, a Forestry investigator finally called. He said that according to his investigation the trees near her home were fine.

But what, Kanner asked, about that particularly scorched maple on Agatite? I didn't see that one, he replied, because to tell you the truth I only drove down the block and never got out of my car.

A performance like that leaves me confident to say that Wulkowicz--whose "gaffe" was actually a disagreement with Levin conducted in an exchange of letters in the Sun-Times--is not alone in his assessment of the city's tree-care efforts.

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