Tuesday, December 18, 2007


A New Hampshire city employee has been reprimanded in Manchester after getting a crew to cut a 50-foot spruce from a city cemetery for the downtown Christmas tree. The tree that's now on Elm Street, across from Veterans Park, used to stand over graves at Pine Grove Cemetery.

"It's terrible. It's like robbing from the dead," Manchester resident Jacqueline Flanders told WMUR-TV.

The mayor's office said it did not know that a Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries crew had gotten the tree from the cemetery. The mayor's chief of staff said the employee has been reprimanded and that a new tree -- not quite as big -- will be planted at Pine Grove.

"I was not aware that this decision had been made," said Chuck Deprima, from the city's Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries department. "(The employee) is remorseful. He realizes he made a poor decision."

The city said the employee looked to the cemetery after he failed to run an ad seeking the donation of a tree.

"I don't know the story about that," Deprima said. "I don't know if he forgot or didn't do it, but it wasn't done."

One environmentalist saw a bright side to the situation. "It's better than having (a tree) shipped from somewhere and wasting all the gas," said resident Andrew Languette.

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