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Memorial scheduled for Pion willow

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By Gabriel Vasquez

Sadly, the tree must go.

The iconic willow tree at Piñon Elementary School has caused serious damage to utility lines running from the main building to the kindergarten wing, officials say, and must be uprooted to prevent further costly damage.

“We did come to the conclusion that we’re going to have to take the tree down,” said Kate Thomas, soon-to-be assistant superintendent. “But not without a memorial service.”

A meeting held Monday afternoon to discuss the tree’s fate concluded with a mutual agreement by school officials and community members that the tree had to go.

“Like everybody in the room, I was sorely disappointed that we couldn’t save the tree,” said Heather McClenahan, whose daughter Emily started a petition earlier this month to save the tree. “But everything was handled very well.”

Overall, McClenahan and other community members were pleased with the tone of the meeting and the actions taken by school administrators to correct the communication problem.

“I would just like to say how pleased I am with how the administration has really respected the efforts of the students,” she said. “They haven’t dismissed them, but they have listened to them and tried to work with them.”