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Water, 'vandals' to blame for unlit tree

Get Lit to make repairs at their expense

Posted: January 9, 2014 - 11:05am

Conway’s Christmas tree is going to be taken back by its makers for a “fine-toothed comb” inspection and, where they can find problems, upgrades.

The tree had some problems with sections of light staying dark. Its manufacturer, Get Lit, said in a press release this week that water getting into the wiring was partly to blame, and so too were suspected “vandals.” Get Lit will be having a telephone conference with city officials at around 11 a.m. today, when they will talk about taking the tree back to Springdale “to go through [the tree], top to bottom, to find and repair any problem areas and upgrade or redesign components to be more robust where necessary,” according to the press release. The city will not be paying for any repairs or upgrades, according to Get Lit.

According to the press release, “a tiny amount of water getting into an electrical circuit can cause a ground fault and shut off one or more sections of the tree” via ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).

A GFCI is a device that breaks the electric circuit when triggered by an imbalance between the “hot” wire and the ground wire. An imbalance might be caused by part of somebody’s body making contact with the “hot” wire, and if this happens the GFCI is supposed to break the circuit quickly enough that the person won’t be electrocuted. An imbalance can also be caused by water getting into the wiring, and the press release says that people unscrewing bulbs from around the bottom of the tree have made the water problem worse.

It’s understandable that small children, who usually want to go up and touch the tree, might innocently meddle with the bulbs. However, the people at Get Lit say there’s reason to believe that some of the meddling was intentional, including one electrical connection that the release said “was burned by an external source.”

Summer Hull, chief operations officer for Get Lit, wouldn’t go so far as to say on Wednesday that it looked like some miscreant had gone after the plug with a cigarette lighter, but would say that it didn’t happen on its own. “Let’s just say [the state of the burned plug] was out of the ordinary from what we normally see,” Hull said.

Also, several of the plastic “branches” were pulled off. Some of these were stuffed back inside the tree structure and some were stolen outright according to Kim Williams, director of the Conway Downtown Partnership.

Another thing that will probably be discussed at the meeting is some sort of fence or chain around the tree to keep people from damaging it next year.

The idea of Christmas tree vandals adds a vile final chapter to the story of the tree’s first holiday in the city, but Williams said that she saw any number of happy children, two weddings and a half-dozen marriage proposals around the tree, “so there was a lot of good stuff too.”

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ckbryant84
9
Points
ckbryant84 01/09/14 - 11:36 am
3
0
What???

In the picture the tree is unlit at the very top. I guess somebody's kid climbed up inside of it and put water in a connection?

Budnmud
22476
Points
Budnmud 01/09/14 - 11:50 am
3
0
Sure

It was the water vandal - a very large long legged dog....

conwaygerl
5945
Points
conwaygerl 01/09/14 - 11:46 am
7
0
Suggestion

Another thing that will probably be discussed at the meeting is some sort of fence or chain around the tree to keep people from damaging it next year.

Or a 56 foot bullet-proof glass enclosure shipped from the glass-making country of Italy and lowered over the tree by 3 or 4 giant helicopters.

No bids please, just get it done.

rebecca
12
Points
rebecca 01/09/14 - 11:49 am
5
0
Refund?

I so appreciate our city decorating for Christmas, but I am wondering if we are are feeling buyer's remorse over this very expensive mono-setting tree, which malfunctioned on day one. Two questions: did we do test runs before the big reveal? And, is there a return policy, like we all enjoy at Walmart?

ucantbserious
30354
Points
ucantbserious 01/09/14 - 12:13 pm
7
0
Agreed

Take the tree back to Springdale and give us back the check.

ARBEAR
1320
Points
ARBEAR 01/09/14 - 12:19 pm
4
1
Tab's Tower

Our city officials wasted the taxpayer's money on this tree, and should return it. Then they can properly propose to buy a smaller less costly version of a holiday tree. There's a reason Tab's 65' $130,000.00 fake tree was the tallest in the Midwest. It's because no other city mayor wanted to waste city resources and that much money on a Christmas tree. Also, Tab's Tower will continue to cost Conway thousands of dollars in maintenance and costs for erecting and "un-erecting" it each year.

David
343
Points
David 01/09/14 - 01:20 pm
1
3
WOW

Let's take for granted that city officials knew the tree was going to be installed outdoors. You know, where there is weather and stuff like rain and snow and people can touch it. So they bought a tree that wasn't designed to be installed outdoors where people could touch it. Oops! Do you think they'll exchange it for one intended for outdoor installation? Maybe they'll apologize to the people of Conway. Then we can rename the tree from a Christmas tree to the Chrischristie Tree. City government can remain blissfully ignorant and saddened about all the mistakes that somebody else made. And sorry.

Elmer Fudd
4321
Points
Elmer Fudd 01/09/14 - 01:24 pm
7
0
Water

a problem? Hey Get Lit it rains in Ar. in the winter.

johnb
433
Points
johnb 01/09/14 - 02:29 pm
1
2
Sigh

Haters gonna hate.

angryrepublican
125
Points
angryrepublican 01/09/14 - 02:30 pm
8
1
Hmmm.

It's clear the logistics and execution of this thing was poorly planed, but that's what happens when you get in a hurry. If a 130,000 dollar investment is at the mercy of some punk with a lighter and rain while its up and in public view, what kind of storage are we going to have for it. How much damage could a family of raccoons do or mice. Do we need to invest in the biggest Rubbermaid tote in the mid west also?

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