July 18th, 2018

Man takes downtown tree into his care

By Mo Cranker on August 11, 2017.

Hatter Stephen Murray poses for a photo downtown in front of a chokecherry tree he feels is not being properly cared for. He has started taking bins of water downtown every other day to water the tree in hopes of seeing improvement in its health.--NEWS PHOTO MO CRANKER


One resident is doing everything he can to keep a downtown tree from dying.

Retired scientist Stephen Murray and his wife were eating downtown last week when they noticed a dying chokecherry tree outside the Local Public Eatery.

“Last Thursday we were at the Local eating and as the server came and took our order and asked if I wanted a glass of water,” he said. “I said ‘yes, and you can get the tree over there a glass of water too,’ she turned around and said that it’s a city tree.”

Since then, Murray has been going out of his way to get water to the tree with the hopes of keeping it from dying.

“Friday morning I figured I would come down here with two big pails and about three gallons of water in each one and watered the tree. I’ve been trying to come every other day.”

Though he is not a gardening expert or an environmental activist, Murray says he just has a soft spot for this kind of tree.

“I really do care about this particular tree,” he said. “I’ve made chokecherry wine for 30 years, so I thought I would help the tree out a bit. It’s a really nice wine. I have some fermenting right now.”

Murray says he has not contacted the city regarding the state of the tree, but will continue to water it for the time being.

“I’m going to do this for a while and I’m hoping to see it re-bud soon,” he said. “All of the other trees around this one seem to be, and look like they’re healthy. I’m not sure if there’s a broken irrigation line, if it hasn’t been treated well or if it’s all the cigarettes that are left there overnight, but I want to see someone take care of it.”

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