Letter to the editor: The storm in La Jara


Now, a few days ago sittin’ at the kitchen table having coffee with the sis’ talking about the hellacious windstorm we had been through earlier in the week the town administrator happened to knock at the door.

The town administrator brought over some info about the weed spraying in La Jara. Now, my sis’ and a few neighbors are on a crusade to end Monsanto Roundup spraying in La Jara. We see Roundup with its main ingredient glyphosate as a clear and present danger. On the other hand the administrator sides with the majority of the citizens who see no harm spraying this poison on a yearly basis in our town. Now, that’s what he stated to me and my sis’.

The battle is ongoing folks, and in our small town it has to start somewhere. Do the research folks. It’s out there! But I digress.

As my sis’ and I discussed a bit about glyphosate, we continued the conversation before the town administrator had come a knockin’ — the hellstorm that hit the Valley a few days past.

“You should have seen the huge branch that tore off that ol’ cottonwood tree next to the town hall. Lucky no one was killed as it crashed onto the street!” I exclaimed in awe.

“Someone could have died in that debacle!”

“No!” my sis’ responded in disbelief.

“You wouldn’t believe it. This huge chunk of torn tree branches and all drug over to the empty lot across the street from the park, laying there like a dead elephant on the Serengeti National Park,” I told my sis’.

“Yeah,” I added. “Do you know that I’ve been tellin’ the neighbor, and you know he’s been a town board member, for several years, about these dangerous, old cottonwood trees, and the others, and how they’re goin’ to kill somebody one of these days. Every year I tell him about it. Same response out of him.”

“Uh, em, eh, yeah,” he responds. “Town has no money for it.”

“Well, they are dangerous, and the town board should pay attention, and the town has money!” I’ve warned him. Like I say, on a yearly basis I tell this board member.

Well here’s where it gets interestin’ folks. A few days before this hellacious storm that blew through Tuesday, April 17, scared the BeeJesus’ out of us, there was a milder windstorm had come through, and it had knocked down the rest of the neighbor’s cottonwood trees up the street from where I live. This cottonwood had lost some limbs in the past, and I knew it would be a matter of time before another accident, and it happened. All I can say is that it could have been a fatal one. Well, the town maintenance workers helped with the mess and piled the huge, heavy branches on the neighbor’s property. Another close call, I told myself.

The saga of the cottonwoods in our town doesn’t stop there folks. Well, a few days had gone by after the neighbor’s tree had come crashing down onto the street.

I had walked over to the fire chief’s house, saw him outside, and saluted and asked him a few questions about perhaps the fire department helpin’ out the farmers on the ditch canal that’s been givin’ the citizens of la Jara fits. We talked about maybe assisting in a brush burn along the ditch when conditions were proper and all. Well, he’d give it a study, he said, and see about the ordinances and such, and let me know about it. I said, “Good. It would be nice to help them out.”

“Oh, by the way,” I added. “See that cottonwood branch hangin’ up there” and pointed across the street from his front property up to the danglin’ branch, a good sized one. “That’s liable to fall and hit someone one of these days,” I cautioned.

Well, he looked towards where I was pointin’, looked and stared, and stated, “Oh, yeah,” nodded and that was the end of that. He went about doin’ his business, and I did mine.

Again, a few days went by, and the big storm hit on Tuesday, and I thought of that branch falling onto the street. With the ferocious storm how could it not come smashing down from its high perch, I had been thinkin’, as the storm raged on all day.

For sure, I thought, it’ll come crashin’ down onto the street, give the fire chief a wake-up call if it came down in front of his yard, I thought.

To add to this story a bit, the fire chief happens to be a member of the board. He’s perhaps the senior member of the board, a man with great experience about this small town of La Jara.

Now, day after the storm, and on my way to Jack’s Market, first thing I saw down the street that branch was still hung up, laid against the other hanging branches on that ancient cottonwood! Couldn’t believe my eyes. I guess that branch will come down when it wants, I said to myself. And the fire chief didn’t take care of it, I thought.

Now the elementary school is just a hop, skip and jump from this old, bruised cottonwood, and when they let school out some kids tend to walk near that old cottonwood. Hopefully, when that branch decides it’s time to slide off onto the street below those kids aren’t walking under it, I thought upset.

Now, like I stated earlier, the neighbor, town board member, said there wasn’t any money available for tree cuttin’ in this town, year after year. But checking the savings account of the town budget for this year, and their positive six figure numbers, I ain’t stupid! Ya’ better start thinkin’ about cuttin’ some of those trees and soon. Ya’ got the money, and people in La Jara KNOW, and we don’t need any accidents or deaths from the old burdensome trees in this town standin’ rotted alongside the right-of-way streets of La Jara, liability insurance or not — comprende!

Oh, and today is Sunday, the 22nd, and that branch is barely hangin’ on across the street from the fire chief’s residence.

Don’t you just love our alert town board members lookin’ out for us!

Adelmo R. Romero

Concerned citizen of La Jara

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