Tree Cutting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Chuck Lehman returned from vacation to discover a TVEPA crew had cut limbs from oak trees on his property in the Edgarwood subdivision. The Panolian photo by John Howell Sr.

Tree-cutting policy draws ire of resident

By John Howell

When Chuck and Edwina Lehman returned to their Edgarwood Road home earlier this month after a week’s vacation, they were greeted with “devastation in our yard,” he said.

Limbs from two large oak trees near the front of their property had been irregularly cut away from power lines and dropped to the ground on top of shrubs, Lehman said.

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The couple has spent “thousands of dollars and gallons of sweat” landscaping their property, an angry Chuck Lehman continued.

Lehman is a commercial pilot who moved to Batesville nine years ago.

Lehman said that he learned that a  right-of-way crew from Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association (TVEPA) had cut limbs away from its service lines.

“You couldn’t do destruction like that unless you were actively trying to do it,” Lehman continued.

“Nobody wants a tree cut in their yard,” TVEPA manager Brad Robison said. He described the right-of-way maintenance for the power lines “one of the most difficult aspects of our job.

“Nobody wants their lights to go out; nobody wants them to cut trees in their yard,” Robison added.

The TVEPA manager said that the cooperative’s right-of-way crews are steadily working throughout its service area to clear away extensive limb growth spurred by heavy summer rains.

The cutting crew’s main implement, called a Jiraffe, is a circular saw mounted on a 75-foot boom. A crew with a chipper follows the cutting crew to pick up the cut limbs, Robison.

“We’re always a day or two behind on the cleanup,” the TVEPA manager continued.

Lehman said that when he found the sheared trees and fallen limbs on his property, the leaves had turned brown. After he complained to TVEPA, a crew came out the next day in the rain to pick up the limbs, Lehman said. He said he refused to allow them to clean up the limbs.

Robison read a letter that he received from three TVEPA members praising the same crew that had also done the work on Lehman’s property. In the letter they stated that they had opposed the right-of-way clearing on their property until the TVEPA workers had explained its need to assure uninterrupted service. “We just want to tell you what an asset they are,” Robison said, reading the letter’s content.

The TVEPA manager said Wednesday he is contacting Lehman to try to assuage his frustration with the power company.