Tree-nappers fess up
Ryan Summerlin February 14, 2013
GRAND LAKE – The Town of Grand Lake is grappling with what to do about tree vandals, who recently confessed to cutting down the town’s Christmas tree.
During the Monday, Feb. 11, board meeting, trustees entered into an executive session and discussed the act of vandalism. But according to Grand Lake Town Manager David Hook, no public action resulted from the executive session.
So far, the town has not decided to press charges.
At a previous Jan. 28 board meeting during citizen participation, Dustin Barnes, Amber Feltz and Colin Sabo offered apologies to the board for being involved in the incident, which allegedly took place early in the morning of Jan. 16. They cut down the tree with all its lights and dragged it across town, leaving it in the yard of Trustee Tom Weydert’s house.
According to Hook, several strings of the town’s lights were damaged in the process.
Barnes and Feltz said in a letter to the board the act was a prank meant to follow a Grand Lake tradition of “harmless shenanigans” in the footsteps of respected townspeople from the past. “Our purpose was to hide the tree to see who could find it first,” the letter states, continuing, “We can see times have changed and pranks of this nature are no longer looked upon as funny.”
Every Christmas holiday season, the town’s tree is anchored into a manhole in the center of Grand Avenue downtown.
Each year, the town takes down the tree right before Grand Lake’s Winter Carnival the first weekend in February to free the avenue for races in the street.
“It came down sooner than when we were planning on taking it down,” Hook said, a week to 10 days early.
“Still, it was brought down with the act of vandalism.”
Barnes, Felts and Sabo each addressed the board, saying it was not in any way a malicious act against Weydert.
“Was it stupid? 100 percent yes,” Sabo said, according to town minutes. “I’m sure everybody regrets any participation in it. … People think they are funny at the time, then later on as time goes on you realize that it wasn’t funny to everybody.”
Sabo offered to participate in community service to “give back” in some way.
The tree was donated to the town this year from residents Robert and Nancy Lavington.