This weekend, the Northfield News used a photo of the trees cut down on N. Linden St. to illustrate its Talk comes too late for trees story about the N. Plum St. trees, despite the fact that the trees on N. Plum have not yet been cut down. The photo was used for both the print and online versions of the story.
It’s not an insignificant issue, as the residents of N. Plum St. are still pleading (at last Tuesday’s Council meeting and online, e.g. here and here) with city officials to halt plans to cut down the trees, evidently scheduled to begin on Monday.
Although the text of the article doesn’t mention whether or not the trees have already been cut down, the accompanying tag line of the photo in the print version reads:
The widening of Plum Street cost residents decades-old trees.
The past tense of the verb ‘cost’ indicates to the reader that the widening and the cutting have already been done.
The print version of the story has the photo byline "News photo by Suzanne Rook." The file name/URL of the photo is 5-21-plum-street-trees.jpg
The online version of the story indicates that it was submitted by Managing Editor Jerry Smith on Friday night at 10:30:
Submitted by Jerry Smith on Fri, 05/20/2011 – 22:30
Also, the information provided in this paragraph is puzzling:
City maps show 12 trees will be removed during construction. Two are ash trees, which are susceptible to emerald ash borer, an invasive species known to be in Ramsey County. Another 24 ash trees may also be removed, while the survival of 132 trees is construction dependent.
The Plum St. tree map on page 8 of the city’s slide presentation on the project shows at least 29 trees marked with an X which the legend says means ‘Remove.’ Page 9 says:
31 trees are currently noted for removal with 32’ street width;
6 Trees could potentially be left with 30’ street width
I’m not implying that the Northfield New has any hidden agenda on this issue. But it’s difficult to see how the use of the photo and the accompany tag line could be just a simple mistake or oversight.