FOCUS: Decisions - How will your decision affect others?

This is one of the hardest articles I have written since I began writing Focus in 2003. I write this column with sadness in my heart. I have seen many decisions finalized that include all those who will be affected with the decision made. However, in today’s world, most decisions are made without consideration or notification of those who may have information as to why and how the decision will not be a benefit to those it will affect. Consideration for all involved should include discussion and notification as to who, why, how and with whom the decision was made. Consideration for all involved should be the goal. Notification should be at the top of the list. With discussion, many problems will be resolved as those involved have history and solutions to complete the decision without questions and issues that complicate the decision made. Those making the decision should ask what complications might arise that will bring consequences for those who know nothing about what this decision will bring. Some decisions can be reversed, but in this case, no one knew what was going to happen and did not have the opportunity to discuss or make a change for the best result.

I do not understand why a decision was made without the consideration of sharing the decision with those who will have to live with the consequences of said decision. I am still sad when I think of how this decision was made and never passed on to those who live on Silica Drive. I will always remember how I felt when I observed the actions taking place on Monday, February 21,2022.

I will never forget Monday, February 21. I live in Tennerton beside the Middle School. I have lived there for twenty-two years and have enjoyed the trees along my drive that have been there for many years before we moved there. I know the decision was made because the property owners decided they knew best. However, the owners did not discuss or notify the neighbors of the decision they had made. Without notification, my private drive was not in use for five to six hours. The result of this decision left the neighborhood with all the beautiful pine trees cut down never to be seen again. The decision made to cut down the trees left a huge ugly mess along my private drive and across the road from an apartment home. Will the owners decide to revitalize the strip between the neighborhood and their property? Well, I move on with what happened next.    

Sometimes when the weather is nice, I walk to get the mail located down my private drive to the left before you enter Route 20. This morning I woke up to the sound of saws which did not bother me as Tennerton has had a lot of building and cleaning up in the area. It was nice out, so I put my coat on and walked to the driveway leading down to the mailbox. I had forgotten that this was President’s Day. The school was not in session and no mail delivery was to be made for the holiday. I looked down my road and realized the saws that I had heard were cutting down all the pine trees beside my private drive. I was struck with a sadness I have never felt before. All the pine trees were being cut down. I was so shocked that I felt ill. These beautiful trees had been beside my private drive for decades. I loved to walk down the road and see the birds in the trees, flowers planted around the trees during the spring and summer and the apple trees with apples that grew into fall. They were all gone. I stopped to question the gentleman in charge of the contract business who was working for the Power Company to trim or cut trees below the power line. I asked him who had given the permission to remove all the trees. I was told the Board of Education had given the order. I have lived in this area for over twenty years and the trees have been trimmed when they got too close to the electric line. Now they were gone. This decision was made without giving notice to the neighbors and myself. Tree limbs as well as parts of the trees were blocking the road. Some of the neighbors could not get out to go to work until some of the mess was moved. The tree limbs were being churned up in a machine, the tree chunks being cut were laying everywhere. I also wondered why the trees were cut down in chunks instead of long pieces which could be cut up into lumber for building material. I had a lot of questions but only one question was answered. The Board of Education had decided to have the trees removed instead of trimmed. This was a total shock to me and to my neighbors.

This decision was made without notification that our beautiful trees would be no more. Decisions are made by those who do not know the people who live in the area. Decisions are made without thought as to the consequences that may come after the decision is made. The trees brought shade, blocked some of the sounds from the school and gave us something nice to look at. The trees gave us some privacy, provided a sound barrier and became homes to the beautiful birds who lived in the trees. Was a thought given to those who lived in the area?

Unfortunately, many decisions are made without knowledge of the area and without ever talking with the people who live in the neighborhood. What has happened to our world? Do we not have compassion for those who should be involved in decision making? Decisions are made without the history that will be changed because of the decision made. If someone had taken the time to talk with the neighbors and listened to the reasoning for tree trimming and keeping the trees maybe some trees could have been saved. If some of the trees were in bad shape or diseased, those could have been cut down. Could the trees have been cut to sell them for lumber? Was this ever a consideration?  Why was there no communication from those making the decision to destroy all the trees with the neighbors who felt the trees were safe, healthy and special for the area. My next question is what is the plan to remove all the chunks of trees left on top of the roots? Will the roots be taken out of the ground along with the tree stumps? I also would like to know what the plan is for cleaning up the area where the roots are? Will flowers or maybe dog wood trees be planted in the area where the tree trunks stand? It would be nice for those making the decisions to include the people who will have to walk or drive or sit on their porch to look at what is to be improved with the strip of land that has been destroyed. This mess is so sad to look at that I want to cry every time I come or go from my home. How long will we have to look at the pieces of our trees before something is done? I was told that the trees belonged to the Board of Education because they were on their property. The decision to cut down the trees was never shared with anyone who owned property beside the Middle School. Those owners were never considered when the decision was made.

When making a final decision, discussions should be the answer. With the discussions, reasons on both sides are shared and when the decision is made, those who were a part of the decision know what is happening and when and if one needs to plan to stay at home or leave early before the project begins. I would like to be involved in the decision of what is to happen after this mess is cleared so I can be pleased to see something new and beautiful in the place that I have loved for over 22 years. I would imagine my neighbors might like to participate as well.

Decisions can make a community and can destroy a community. Decisions can be made with both sides sharing ideas. I have always tried to be positive with the children who attend the Middle School and have even opened my private drive for the children to be delivered by their parents safely off Rt 20. I love to hear their laughter and like to see them playing sports in the fields. I am not mad at anyone. However, I am really disappointed with this decision made without any thought to those who live on Silica Drive.

While the school board may not need to be consulted for the trees to be trimmed, I would think the entire board would be involved in the decision if the trees were to be cut down to have the opportunity of receiving funding for the lumber. The trees were in good condition but will not be worth much for the chunks that are piled up on the tree stumps and roots.

When the school board meets, decisions should be made by the entire board, and they should listen to those who share concerns. School boards make decisions on their property. Those school board members need to share property issues with those who live close to the schools. Listen to all who want to share ideas and then, make the decision for the best result. Decisions made may be changed; however, sometimes the decision made by a few will be the wrong decision for many.

As I get ready to send this article to the newspaper on Monday Feb. 28, the work crew from the Board of Education is loading up the chunks of pine trees to take them off the area where the trees were located. I want to thank them for removing the remains of the trees that were cut down last week. More work needs to be done but I look forward to the area looking nice again.

I leave you with these thoughts. Don’t mourn bad decisions; overcome them with good ones. Learn how to live in agreement, even if it means you disagree agreeably. Never regret a day in your life.

Good days give happiness. Bad days give experience; the worst days give lessons. The best days give memories.     Author unknown

When you have a concern about an issue, go to the source, find out the details and discuss what can be done to make the situation better.


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