Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Educated, devoted' reply to 'arrogant, uninformed' letter

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Re: City workers bite twice at my bark (June 22). Writer Ed Lehmann appears to need some clarification on a few matters. As City of Winnipeg urban forestry employees, a large component of our job description is educating the public on Dutch elm disease and its threat to our elm population.

Mr. Lehmann, the DED Program employs a number of university graduates whose degrees run the gamut from forest ecology and biochemistry, to law and engineering. This disparity in education orientation is overcome by a superior on-the-job training program which ensures that new employees gain the ability to easily discern deciduous (elm) from coniferous (tamarack) piles of firewood. The pairing of experienced employees with new hires maintains the integrity of field training, while explaining why there were four people in the truck that you saw at the beginning of our season. Please do keep in mind that the City of Winnipeg's urban forestry department does not have an infinite budget which would allow a truck for every employee, and that one truck per employee would not be environmentally responsible in the least.

Further, the storing of elm firewood is a major contributor to the transmission of Dutch elm disease. We hand out hundreds of firewood notices to citizens every season.

Your arrogant, uninformed and condescending letter obviously attempts to undermine a program which continues to receive a great deal of positive feedback from the public on its proactive and pioneering approach to Dutch elm disease control. On behalf of your educated, passionate and devoted municipal employees, we of the DED control crew are extremely proud of what we do. And if you think we don't work hard enough, Mr. Lehmann, we'd be pleased to have you come along for riverbank surveillance in August.

Dana Tucker

City of Winnipeg

Urban Forestry Dept.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 27, 2009 A17

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