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Story Last modified at 2:44 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24, 2011

MEA Clearing

Dear Editor,

Your article on the front page of the Star by Mike Nesper ("Neighbors upset with MEA clearing," Aug. 18) prompted me to write the following:

This a repetition of MEA's behavior from last year on Kantishna Drive.

I came home from work and my spruce tree of 20-plus years was GONE! I've lived here for 22 years now and the tree was here when I bought the house. The only notice my wife and I had was a notice, I think doorknob notice, early in the summer. The notice said that MEA crews would be trimming trees close to power lines in the Eagle River Area. I've seen them doing this before, NOT removing, especially trees that weren't "hiding" boxes. So no big deal and forgotten quickly due to having underground wiring on Kantishna Drive.

So imagine our surprise when we came home and our 30-foot-plus tree was gone with nothing left but a unsightly stump! This stump by the way still has the roots left and, according to the story, "anything with woody roots can create problems." I talked to the tree crew that was up the street cutting other trees and they shrugged their shoulders and said they would call a supervisor to come explain. He came with, as he explained, a trainee in public relations to learn how to handle complaints. For at least an hour they stood in front of my house and had a reason or excuse for every complaint I had.Your article copied every one of my complaints to a "T." Their answers are basically the same also even to the attitude of "there is nothing you can do about it".

I would only add my additional comment to the "right of way easement" discussion. In my case, I measured and checked my "asbuilt." It showed their box to be 23 feet onto my property, whereas the easement is only 10 feet from the road/street surface edge. An additional 13 feet! Since I don't have deep enough pockets to take them to court we will never know how the court would rule. However, If I was running a company like MEA, the least I would have done was dispose of the ugly stumps and projected a more "friendly attitude" to their customers. If they weren't a monopoly, I would change companies, just because of their atrocious customer business attitude. Their spokesperson, last year and now, obviously needs to go back to school and retake "Public Relations 101."

Her being "sorry" doesn't begin to make up for MEA's projected attitude. To blame prior management for their "negligent" behavior is a sorry excuse for their present day attitude and poor communication skills. I would love to join a class action suit to correct their attitude and get my stump removed!

~ Morris L Pickel Jr.

Eagle River

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, August 24, 2011.