"You'll have to chop me down before you chop my tree down"

Published: Oct. 4, 2018 at 4:37 PM EDT
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How far would you go to save a tree in your yard?

One woman in Lansing decided to get creative when she saw the Board of Water and Light (BWL) cutting crews on her street Thursday morning.

This all goes back to a story we brought you in September when people in the Colonial Village neighborhood complained that the BWL was getting overzealous in its trimming.

Thursday one of them called News 10's Alani Letang after she put up a blockade.

And all she used was her cars, a sign, and her recycle bin to block the BWL's contractors from physically getting to her tree.

"I said no you're not. You'll have to chop me down before you chop my tree down," said Stephany Burke, a neighbor trying to save her tree.

It's the wake up she didn't plan for.

On Thursday Stephany Burke learned the BWL planned to chop down this tree in her front yard.

Burke said, "it's just sad with what's going on here, they're just butchering the trees here for no reason."

So she parked her and her husband's cars and moved her recycle bin. Even posting a "DO NOT CUT THIS TREE DOWN" sign.

That was enough to stop operations for several hours and draw a crowd of BWL higher ups and Lansing police.

"I'm a fighter, and I'm not giving up," Burke said.

The BWL told Letang they get it, they understand why residents here are upset over the recent tree trimming but they say they have to have their customers best interest at heart.

"But because the tree is so intertwined in those lines, the health of the tree won't be maintained if we trimmed it, it just has to come down," said Amy Adamy, Communications with Board of Water and Light.

Neighbors in Colonial Village blame what they call over cutting on the BWL's attempt to play catch up after the 2013 ice storm.

the BWL doesn't deny it.

"It is true, it came out of the ice storm that we did need to do more tree trimming and that was evident of what happened," said Adamy

The BWL said Burke's tree is going to come down sooner or later. It's not saying exactly when.

For now, crews will keep working with the rest of the neighborhood.

This tree trimming is part of a five-year plan BWL came up with after the 2013 ice storm.

Many customers told the utility they wanted more trimming done to keep the power lines clear.