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The Battle Of The Trees

By J.N. Cheney

The Village of West Winfield has in the past shown indications of radicalism in the past as made evident by the late-1934 student walkout.

That particular event, however, would at the most take a day and a half to reach a resolution.

Nearly 36 full years later, West Winfield became embroiled in another struggle, this time encompassing the village as a whole in a more protracted fashion.

In the spring of 1970, rumors of a major change to the foliage along Route 20 began to ruminate.

In mid-April a piece from Bruce Ward, then a contributor to the West Winfield Star, spoke briefly on the possibility of a plan for the State of New York to cut down several trees along Route 20, also affecting the village’s Main Street.

The following week, it was confirmed that the New York State Department of Transportation/Highway Department would be embarking on the tree-cutting campaign, designating 30 to 35 trees to be initially removed from the village.

The trees were said to be in a dilapidated state.

Soon after though, the number of planned removals would skyrocket, soon after sparking a strong opposition to the cutting campaign from several within the West Winfield community.

The April 30 issue of the Star published a letter to the editor sent in from one Alice Hiteman that put out a call to action for the citizens of West Winfield.

Hiteman called for the Village Board as well as regular citizens to engage in efforts to save as many trees as possible, citing four main reasons for such an


The first being the preservation of the natural beauty that the trees provided the village and its outskirts, even speaking of visitors from other countries being surprised at the presence of trees due to the image of a United States morphed into a complete concrete jungle. ...


The full story is in this week's edition of the newspaper. 

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