Dear readers: Bail me out of jail

There is an old but tried saying that you can’t fight City Hall.
I have found it indeed true. In fact, because I have been fighting a utility instead of city hall – but it is the same thing – I may be in jail by the time you read this. If I surrender, which I shall have to do, I might not be.
But I will make my presence emphatically known when a minion of Ohio Edison comes July 10 to cut down my beautiful silver maple tree at the end of my driveway. I have been told if I interfere, I will be arrested.
It matters not that the tree is on my property. “They” say it is on their easement. According to my dictionary, “easement” is “an interest in land owned by another that entitles its holder to specified limited use or enjoyment.”
If “they” own it, why don’t they pay the taxes on it? Why don’t “they” keep it mowed? That easement was apparently effected long before I came to this property 60 years ago.
The reason “they” are going to cut it down is because I refused to let them trim it. I have seen their butchering trims before. And they are admittedly annoyed that I have dared to defy and expose them.
One of their own actually said, “They are like the bully in the playground.”
How did I defy them? I wrote a letter to the editor of the daily newspaper about their bullying. They painted a red mark on my tree, indicating it was to be trimmed. When I refused, they turned the mark into an X, indicating it would be cut down.
I should note that the actual butchers – who cut seven huge oaks across the street, with permission of the owner – is Penn Line Service Inc. of Scottdale, Pa., which is employed by Ohio Edison to do the work.
Their reason? The trees are too close to their power lines. And they have the power to do anything they wish.
But they can’t stop me from standing or sitting in my driveway while they do the deed. They can’t stop me from having my barking dog on a leash and since this is supposed to be a free country they can’t stop me from telling this story.
Now they’ll really be angry.
A recent Baxter Black column in Farm and Dairy was on the theme “It’s easy to be green.” Not so easy, alas, when the “powers that be” ride rough shod over those of us who are not powerful.
I hope a reader will bail me out of jail, if it comes to that.
* * *
Sadly, all this disruption is just before my sister’s son, Joseph B. Mick, and his wife, Marilyn, are coming July 7 from South Natick, Mass., for a visit.
My sister, whose 88th birthday was June 24, continues in an almost vegetative state in a nursing home near Joe and Marilyn. Barbara suffered a massive stroke on Thanksgiving Day and there is no recovery evident.
This has not been my best year. It could have been worse, as they say.
(Editor’s note: After she submitted this column, Janie Jenkins called to say, yes, you can fight city hall, and the utility companies. The key players have backed down and so far the tree is spared.)

About the Author

A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More Stories by Janie Jenkins

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