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Duke: Conway Christmas tree breaks its silence

Posted: December 26, 2013 - 3:16pm

Looking back over the past few months and thinking about this crazy Conway Christmas tree controversy, I kept trying to figure out what didn’t add up. I looked at the stories done inside these offices and outside in cyberspace, and it was clear that although the truth of the matter was always sought, maybe there were biases on both sides in reporting the process that brought the brand new $130,000 tree to Downtown Conway.

But do you know who never got to speak about this event? Why, the tree himself (or herself ... or itself).

So I took my trusty notebook and headed out to Rogers Plaza to get the story straight from the source of all this animosity.

Log Cabin Democrat: It’s been quite a month for you.

Tree: You’re telling me. I’ve never been a part of something so divided. Usually a tree goes up, and it brings nothing but joy and happiness. I’ve seen my share of that, but I’ve also gotten some stink eyes from some people driving by. And there’s not much I can do but stand here and take it.

LCD: Do you have a name?

Tree: No. Most people call me “Tree” or “The Tree” or “The Waste of Money.” I’d like to have a name, but that may have been part of the no-bid process. I’m not really sure because, as you can see, I’m a tree. I don’t have a brain.

LCD: Actually you’re not even really a tree. You’re a large metal structure with hundreds of fake plastic branches hanging off you.

Tree: Tell me about it. I’m like the reverse Pinocchio. He wanted not to be wooden. I’d give anything to be a real, wood tree.

LCD: Why is that?

Tree: So I wouldn’t have to come back here next year and deal with all of this again. I’d be chopped up for kindling. Do you realize that every time they bring me out of storage for the big holiday rush, people will murmur about how much I cost or how there was no competition. Listen, it’s not my fault. You have a problem with me, go see the mayor. Although from what I hear, he may not even be around these parts next Christmas.

LCD: You do understand that some people are upset that a city that is still in a financial bind in some areas would pay upwards of $130,000 for you and your decorative friends? They are also upset that this one company, Get Lit, was the only group allowed to sell the city your services.

Tree: Of course I get it. How do you think I feel? It’s like being the only contestant in a beauty pageant. I’d like to have won on my own merit. It’s a problem, I know. And I know the price is pretty steep. It’s obviously flattering to be told that you are worth $130,000. But remember, I can always help out if the city needs some extra money. All I really do is just stand around all day. Give me a bell and a bucket. I bet I could bring in some donations.

LCD: Some people are also upset that for all this money and all this hoopla, things surrounding your arrival would have gone a bit smoother.

Tree: What do you mean?

LCD: I mean, well, not all the lights came on during the big ceremony.

Tree: I was told we wouldn’t be discussing that.

LCD: It really needs to be addressed. Days after that, there have been reports that some of your lights haven’t been functioning properly.

Tree: Are you accusing me of not doing my job? Cause I have done my job! I’m out here every day doing my job, standing there, being all joyful and stuff. You know what? This interview is over. I’m out of here.

LCD: Wait! Don’t leave. I just want to hear your side of the story.

Tree: Well, actually you called my bluff. I can’t leave. I’m a tree.

LCD: You’re not really a tree.

Tree: Yeah, we covered that. Look, no one is more embarrassed than me when some lights don’t work. It’s like giving a speech and not wearing your pants. The Get Lit guys said they would take care of everything, and I think we’re back and running well again.

LCD: So as the holiday season winds down, what do you hope people will take away from your first year in Conway?

Tree: I just want to make people happy. Seeing little kids point at me and smile is just the biggest thrill. There seemed to be a lot of people coming in to see me. I hope they spent some money here at the stores. I think that was one of the reasons I was brought here.

LCD: What are your plans for the next 11 months?

Tree: I’m kind of like a vampire. I get boxed up and take a long nap. However, I wouldn’t mind if they rented me out in the off months to some other places, like Disneyworld. I could see myself there during the summer.

LCD: And it could bring some money into the city.

Tree: See, I’m trying to help.

(Ricky Duke is the Editor of the Log Cabin Democrat. He can be reached at ricky.duke@thecabin.net)

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lachowsj
3876
Points
lachowsj 12/27/13 - 08:47 am
4
0

Good story

I was waiting for the Log Cabin version of hard hitting investigative reporting. Now I know the truth.

Voter
286
Points
Voter 12/27/13 - 09:16 am
4
1

Could you just be a little curious

Seems to me had people not questioned the waiving of the bidding on top of all the functional problems of the tree the LCD would never have written about it other than the puff pieces . Investigative journalism might have led you to question various other companies and get their prices . Not too hard . Some interested citizens have done that.

The only contestant in the pageant is a great illustration . Wonder if that contestant has a relationship with any of the judges? Investigative journalism might have tried to find that out . Investigative journalism or ... Just normal curiosity would have led someone at LCD to ask if there really was " an emergency " in August or did you have time to get the same type of tree at a better price and get it there when you needed it ? Again, citizens have made some calls and are finding out some interesting things related to the tree.

BluHeeler
66
Points
BluHeeler 12/27/13 - 09:36 am
5
0

Functioning lights

I drive past the TREE absolutely everyday going home from work. There have not been more than 1-3 days the whole tree was lit. The lights are on every afternoon and it is a beautiful tree, but for that much money you would think the lights wouls work!! I have a $200 tree from Hobby Lobby and it's two yrs old, not ONE light has ever been out.
I think there is a major problem in City gov't. Someone thinks they have been in office too long to abide by the rulles & regs and it's time to get them voted OUT! This is just wrong to spend that much money and then turn around and out the city on strict budget. Crazy!!!

open book
519
Points
open book 12/27/13 - 10:30 am
4
0

Always thought Ricky was a

Always thought Ricky was a little peculiar but a nice guy. He's the only guy I know who can talk to a tree without a brain and make sense of it, sorta.

If the tree wants to move on....I hear the state was looking for a tree and department heads that works half the time, the tree would be a good candidate for either! Then again the tree could take a rest and become Mayor or Aldermen.

Ricky please ask and report back

Elmer Fudd
1520
Points
Elmer Fudd 12/27/13 - 12:53 pm
3
0

Now

if you can get the fountain to fess up. It has been out of sight since the arrival of the tree but not out of mind. Why don't you grab up Joe Lamb and you two hot shot reporters go down there and chunk some hard balls at that 7,000 lb. west coast invader. You know how much did you cost including transportation ,set up etc. If you turn up the heat the concrete monster might spill the beans. How about it?

Voter
286
Points
Voter 12/27/13 - 01:30 pm
4
0

Watch out @elmerfudd

People who question council will be targeted as complainers , grinches (LCD- I think said that ) . Forgot about the fountain. How much was that ? Was there bidding. ?

Ricker
4
Points
Ricker 12/27/13 - 07:25 pm
0
2

Big Bad Tree

Funny but does not take away from the fact $130,000 could have been better spent. How about council asking for a refund and applying $$ towards the city employees insurance increase. Suppose no one on the council knew about that coming. Yea right! Maybe the mayor will donate his salary if no warranty on big Bad Tree

Ricker
4
Points
Ricker 12/27/13 - 07:25 pm
0
2

Big Bad Tree

Funny but does not take away from the fact $130,000 could have been better spent. How about council asking for a refund and applying $$ towards the city employees insurance increase. Suppose no one on the council knew about that coming. Yea right! Maybe the mayor will donate his salary if no warranty on big Bad Tree

Raving Bear
455
Points
Raving Bear 12/27/13 - 10:52 pm
1
1

The saga of the tree has

The saga of the tree has revealed that the LCD aka Townsell Times has no idea what the term investigative journalism means...

is GetLit refunding our money since the Tree was basically broken 90% of the time?

Whose paying for the failed Fureigh Electric repairs?

Come on LCD, redeem yourself and at least try to be a group of honest hard working journalist.

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