David Shepherd: News Blog

Journalist's Notebook

A City Councilman and an Attorney Erupt Over Trees; Unfolds With Our Cameras Rolling

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com]


A fight over city trees is drawing big attention.

Mike Ellis recently purchased a vacant building at the intersection of 6th and Wabash in Terre Haute.

Ellis says he hired someone to trim the trees outside of his building.

“We’re trying to spruce up downtown.  I was hoping someone would send us a a thank you card.”

But Ellis didn’t get a thank you card.  Instead, he was confronted by angry city leaders and members of the city police department.

Police responded Saturday when the work began, issued the worker a warning and told him to leave.  But he was out Sunday…trimming

Tempers Flair

 again…again without a permit.

(David Shepherd) :”So you need a permit to do this?

(Mike Ellis): “To trim them down?  I don’t so.”

(Shepherd): “They say you do.  So do the police.”

(Ellis): “Well, I don’t know.”

A sergeant with the Terre Haute Police Department told me the man hired by Ellis to do the work was issued a citation Sunday and will

Both Sides Go Head-To-Head

 need to appear in court.  A sign this dispute is far fromover.

(Ellis): “You’re a downtown businessman.  You ought to be happy…nuts.”

(Todd Nation, downtown business owner and city councilman): “The eight public trees at 6th and Wabash that have been illegally cut on in the last 48 hours, that’s happened without permits.”

(Ellis): “He’s a tree hugger.  He’s never met a tree he didn’t like.”

(Nation): “What would change this current situation is if the rules were followed, that are on the books, that everyone else follows.”

(Kal Ellis): “There are also rules on the books that you can’t have two foot weeds growing.  Yet, we have two foot weeds growing in downtown Terre Haute on City property.  The city should be cited for having two food weeds in Terre Haute.”

Ellis says he’s trying to improve the city…something he claims city leaders are not doing.  Nation says there is a right way and wrong way to do it.

(Shepherd): “What’s going to make this go away?  What’s going to make this stop?”

(Mike Ellis): “The city finding the budget that will pay for the things that need to be done and the citizens not having to do it themselves.”

August 23, 2010 - Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Nice reporting Dave.

    Comment by Juan | August 23, 2010 | Reply

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