SL tree trimmer issues apology

A tree-trimming episode that left a sour taste for some village officials and residents has taken a turn toward sweet with a written apology from the man who trimmed apple trees on village property next to his home.
Marie Havenga
Aug 28, 2013

And because Dr. Brad Masse responded to questions from the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department late last week, Police Chief Roger DeYoung said he will no longer pursue criminal charges for the local dentist.

Masse had contended that Village Manager Chris Burns gave him permission to cut the trees in mid-July after he complained that the trees dropped apples in his yard and blocked his waterfront view. Burns has maintained she never gave Masse permission.

Masse said he cut the trees in the park at the end of Alden Street on July 15.

Neighbors and village staff said they were concerned about the way the branches were “butchered” and that they were cut during the growing season, which could prove potentially dangerous for the trees.

Village Public Works Director Roger Belknap said four village workers spent two hours picking up and disposing of the branches that Masse left at the end of Alden Street, a labor value of close to $300.

DeYoung said Masse told a Spring Lake/Ferrysburg police officer that he would pay for the labor. Masse also agreed to pay for the trees to be replaced if they should die.

In a letter of apology that Masse e-mailed to the Tribune this past weekend, he also offered to hire a professional service to reshape the trees and refinish the park's benches and decking.

“I'm not sure exactly what happened between (Masse) and Manager Burns — I'm not sure if there was a miscommunication or what," DeYoung said. "We told him to own up to what happened, take care of it and move on. It's not like he committed a murder or something. He trimmed some apple trees. Just don't touch our trees anymore.”

Masse's letter to the Tribune, titled “An Open Letter to the Village of Spring Lake," is attached below (see RELATED FILES).

In the letter, Masse expressed “a sincere apology for all the emotions that my actions have aroused.”

DeYoung, Belknap and Burns said Masse did not send them a copy of the letter.

“The whole thing was unfortunate," Belknap said. "But whatever the future may hold for those trees, it sounds like that may be something he's willing to work with the village on. I'm just pleased that he's showing signs that he wants to make restitution.”
 

Comments

rukidding

Well I don't know you personally but I appreciate when a man steps up and admits a mistake and does what is necessary to make things right. I know you bore the brunt of many a comment and I believe the whole thing was blown way out of proportion. I stated the participants were acting like children and the ongoing expense and tax payer dollars for this charade was ridiculous. As adults we need to take ownership of our actions and you have done that. Thanks for manning up and should I meet you on some occasion I would be happy to buy you a scotch, 40 year old single malt.

Wingmaster

Ditto Ru....how about the officials owning up to their missteps?

rukidding

Absolutely, the whole bunch involved were behaving badly and this was handled terribly. The Dr. has saved face, in my opinion, the other "children" involved in this are hiding behind someone's skirt.

NoWay

A fine resolution. Admit you made a mistake, make restitution, move on.

Done and done!

great lakes chick

Well said.

Tri-cities realist

I still can't help but notice "four village workers spent two hours picking up and disposing of the branches that Masse left at the end of Alden Street, a labor value of close to $300." 8 hours!?!? It's not as though this was a 100 foot tall oak tree. Another example of inefficient use of our tax dollars.

rukidding

Well reiterated, I mentioned previously that the job skills of the clean up crew should be looked into. The Dr. has graciously agreed to pay for the wages in this incident; this issue is taken care of. I am more than concerned with the quality of personnel we are hiring if this is an example of their daily performance on the job. It took 8 man hours to clean up those branches; I'm old "er" and could have done it easily in less than an hour by myself.

ghresident

Agreed, the other thing is they were cut during the growing season, which could prove potentially dangerous for the trees? Yet the Village wasn't maintaining the trees because of budgets, so in effect the apples weren't edible since they weren't being sprayed for insects and worms causing them to fall prematurely.

One worker should have been able to clean up the downed branches in about an hour even without a chipper.

ghresident

Typical, 3 standing around while one does all the work. Pretty much a standard for all city workers....lol!

lakeman22

The good doctor has handled this with grace and class. I'm not sure I would have been able to withstand the attacks that he has endured and not lashed out with a greater venom that his obviously heartfelt letter would indicate. I for one tip my hat to him and question the political motivation of those who threw him under the bus and back over him.

lakeman22

The good doctor has handled this with grace and class. I'm not sure I would have been able to withstand the attacks that he has endured and not lashed out with a greater venom that his obviously heartfelt letter would indicate. I for one tip my hat to him and question the political motivation of those who threw him under the bus and back over him.

Goyo

I'm sure the guy is a "good doctor" and he has owned up to it, but maybe we shouldn't be in such a hurry to pat him on the back and say "it's ok, you'll be alright". He's not 12. Maybe it should be a lesson in "Doctors can be numbskulls too" and not turn your venom on the folks who had to come in and clean up the good Doctor's "boo-boo".

Hobie

I feel Dr. Masse was well intentioned from the beginning...just misunderstood and his reasons did not sit well with some. That little park has never been well maintained by the village and now it will have newly refinished benches and decking. Thank you Dr. Masse.

River Man

It is good to see this outcome.

Maybe now we should ask the question if these are the right tree and if not what should be planted. I totally agree that apple trees can make a big mess!

After reading Dr.Masse letter, I am encouraged to see that he is not trying to keep people away from the lake and limit access.

Maybe he should consider running for office in the village or the township!

It would be great to see a new supervisor who understand the lake is a resource for everyone and not something to hoarded.

By the way...did anyone look at the access point next to the current township supervisors house yet???

LessThanAmused

OK, I'll be the cynic....

It's always easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.

marta80

I like how this garden looks! I am going to arrange my backyard this summer. So far, I bought only landscape materials and supplies from RRockYard Store, but I don't have a clue how to put them together. So, I think that is better to hire a gardener to arrange it than to do it by my own.

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