FROM THE NEWSROOM: Deforestation that can be seen when driving by Tourtellotte Memorial High School is an unnerving change for some Thompson residents, many of whom have contacted town officials with questions and concerns. Trees were recently cut down on the hill leading up to the school through funding from a state security grant meant to provide unobstructed views between the road, school and sports fields. However, some residents have expressed their disapproval of the now barren hillside that is littered with stumps and debris, and have also voiced concerns about safety issues that may rise from the jagged stumps themselves – which they say may pose a hazard to students walking up and down the hill. After-school Coordinator Darlene Tretheway also mentioned that the deforestation has also ruined an Eagle Scout-created walking trail in the back of the school building. The trail is now “demolished, except for the footbridge, and there are no trees left to one side,” she said. As for concerns about possible future erosion of the hill, school officials are not worried. “Over the past 50 or 60 years its all been overgrown,” said Board of Education Chairman Bill Witkowski. Over half-a-century ago, the hill had been just as barren as it is now, just with less stumps — the roots of which would secure the hillside, if anything. In addition, school board member and member of the Thompson Historical Society Joe Lindley stated that the schools namesake Mrs. Tourtellotte had petitioned to the town in 1906 to keep the hill free of trees so that “the children of the millworkers, store owners, and firefighters could see actual higher education,” with a view of the Quinebaug River and the town of Thompson laid before them. Some citizens have also questioned whether the town is receiving any money for the harvested lumber. Witkowski assured that such prospects had already been looked into over the years, but due to foreign objects embedded in the trees and the grade of the hill, no lumber companies would pay for the timber. Its only a matter of time before eyes adjust and undergrowth overtakes the unsightly stumps, and the current state of the hill is not much more than a transition phase, say town officials. Tune in for the full report.
Posted on: Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:57:02 +0000
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