Mary Lightheart, who was sitting in a tree to protest tree removal to build a shopping center in northern Fayetteville.Fayetteville police made their first arrest Monday evening at CMN Business Park II. Carrying two brown paper Marvin's IGA sacks, Ginny Masullo walked off the public right of way along Joyce Street, through the steel gates of CMN II and down the hard-packed clay roadbed that eventually will be Steele Boulevard. More than a quarter mile down the road, Masullo was stopped by a Johnson patrol car. After a six-minute conversation, she proceeded on foot, with the patrol car looping around to follow her with its blue lights flashing. Masullo was trying to take medicine and food to Mary Lightheart, the woman sitting in a tree to protest a decision by city officials to allow the removal of 55 old-growth trees in favor of a department store. CMN officials last week asked police to arrest anyone crossing CMN property to reach Lightheart. CMN officials said that installation of streets was at a critical stage and that trespassers were affecting that installation. On the southern end of the 300-acre business park is a 30-acre tract owned by Argus Properties, a North Carolina development company that wants to build a shopping center on the site, including a Kohl's department store. Lightheart sits in a tree on that property and, so far, has not been arrested as a result. The city's landscape administrator has said that the development does not meet the minimum standards of the Fayetteville Tree Protection and Preservation Ordinance, but the development was approved by the Fayetteville Planning Commission on a 6-3 vote and an appeal of the planners' decision was turned down by the City Council on a 4-4 vote. Since then, two informal groups have formed to oppose the decisions, one supporting Lightheart in her tree-sitting protest and a second passing petitions to seek a boycott of Kohl's department store, if it's ever built. Before starting the walk, Masullo told reporters she had never been arrested before, but that "I feel strong enough on this issue that I'm willing to break a law that I normally respect. ... Historically, civil disobedience has been more than one person." A mother of two boys, she said she hoped each of her sons would understand her effort was about standing up and being counted. Members of the media were called ahead of the walk and told that someone was planning to take food to Lightheart and would not turn back if told to leave.Masullo, a 51-year-old woman who has lived a little bit more than half of her life in Fayetteville, said she remembered hearing, not long after moving to town, about plans to raze the Old Post Office building downtown. "Why would we not want to preserve this old grove of trees?" she asked, pointing toward the Argus development more than a half mile away. The tree in which Lightheart is living is a post oak estimated to be more than 200 years old. Before taking her walk, Masullo prayed with friends and the Rev. Lowell Grisham. Masullo had not visited Lightheart before, although she had tried once to visit
without success. This time, Masullo never got close. Her bags of groceries and medicine, which included bananas, nuts and estrogen, were instead confiscated by the police. Masullo, however, was not the only person to try to visit the site Monday. Of her own accord, Diana Rivers walked out to the site about an hour and a half earlier to take food to Lightheart, who was finishing her 13th day of tree-sitting. Johnson police officers escorted Rivers to the CMN property line, but Fayetteville bike-patrol officers did not arrest her because they had not arrived in time to witness her trespassing. Rivers said she had raided Wal-Mart and bought a bag of food that included
chicken, cheese, crackers and orange juice, piling it into a backpack and hauling it to Lightheart. The fresh food likely will give Lightheart a break from the more sedentary diet she has had since CMN officials announced last week that people crossing to see her would be arrested. Interviewed by phone Monday evening, Lightheart said, "It's kind of strange eating habits, a lot of peanut-butter sandwiches. The medicine is a lot more important, though." Lightheart said she had enjoyed spending Sunday in the tree. "It was great yesterday," she told The Morning News. "It was sunny and nice. I climbed up on the branch." "It was special to be up here on Mother's Day," she said, "because I usually
spend Mother's Day outdoors, hiking or canoeing. My children and grandchildren called. ... I felt very connected to everyone." Lightheart, herself, has not been arrested because she is on Argus property, and
Argus still does not have building permits in hand. One support member stayed on
the site with Lightheart, but she said that she missed having visitors.
When told of Masullo's effort to bring in food, Lightheart said, "Bless her heart. Thank you very much for trying," Lightheart said to Masullo. She said she wasn't surprised that other people were willing to risk arrest. "This has touched everyone in some way. ... There's part of it that touches everyone. Whether it's right, wrong. Politics. Law. "It's a big issue," she said, imagining the dinner-table discussions occurring because of the protest. "I just hope things change so we can uphold the ordinance," she said. "It seems pretty cut and dried to me. 'Landmark trees shall not be cut if the development can be built around them,'" she said. "Kohl's can build a two-story store and avoid them." this old article ©2000 copyright of The Donrey
Old news Curtis Neeley found on the web:
Subject: 13 Arrested at AR Logging Protest
Police arrest 13 in protest by Grandmothers Stand Up For The Trees group
By SARA K. SANDERS
Forming a human chain and rallying to a reworded, pro-tree version of ?We Shall Not Be Moved,? approximately 25 grandmothers, parents and children entered the CMN Business Park II early Monday evening in what protesters called an act of civil disobedience. Only about one-half of the original Grandmothers Stand Up For The Trees marchers returned to the park?s Joyce Boulevard entrance where the protest began 20 minutes earlier. The Fayetteville Police Department arrested 13 protesters on trespassing charges as they reached patrol cars. Marchers were given the option to turn around and leave the property or walk beyond a designated point and be arrested, protester Nancy Harris said after returning to the park entrance. ?This thing is growing itself,? Grandmothers protest organizer Margaret My cue said. ?We?re no small vocal minority, we?re an invisible silent majority.? No food or water was taken to Mary Lightheart, the 53-year-old Goshen woman residing in a 225-year-old tree which is slated for removal to allow the Steele Crossing Shopping Center to be built on the property. ?It?s not just Mary who?s up in the tree,? Mycue said. ?We want a win-win for everybody. We don?t want to destroy the developers.?A letter sent to local media two weeks ago by Micki Harrington, the Springdale attorney representing CMN Properties, warned that anyone caught trespassing at the business park would be arrested immediately. When Lightheart first began her tree sit three weeks ago, the almost constant visits from supporters created liability and safety concerns for the property owners, Harrington said in the letter. In response, protesters issued a release Monday which states, ?In an attempt to force [Mary Lightheart] out, CMN properties has refused anyone access to her, including her minister, who might be supportive of her position. They have, however, allowed anyone adversely connected to her to come through.? Protest signs jutted from the crowd of around 75 Lightheart supporters waiting at the park entrance, reading, ?Mayor Hanna: What part of 15 percent do you not understand? The signs were written in response to an earlier City Council vote of4-4 with Mayor Fred Hanna refusing to break the tie which ratified the Planning Commission?s approval of a site plan preserving 10.29 percent of the existing tree canopy on the building site, though Fayetteville?s tree preservation ordinance requires a 15 percent tree canopy. ?As grandmothers, we feel so strongly about [the tree preservation ordinance we are willing to risk arrest to show support to Mary Lightheart and to emphasize the strength of our convictions,? the release stated .The 13 arrested protesters are the most recent addition to a string of trespassing arrests made on the CMN site in the name of Lightheart and the grove of trees. Ginny Masullo was arrested on May 15 for attempting to take food and medicine to Lightheart. On May 17, three other protesters followed suit, including mayoral candidate Subroto Lahiri. An additional three arrests were made May 18 on the site. Those arrested Monday include Mary T. Straub, 49, of Springdale; Nannette C. Simmons, 51, of Fayetteville; Margaret B. Mycue, 56, of Fayetteville; James R. Coker, 56, of West Fork; Mark Wayne Collins 46, of Elkins; Renee J. Johnson, 74, of Fayetteville; Susan D. Bolding, 54, of West Fork; Barbara A. Shaw, 66, of Fayetteville; Leslie J. Oelsner, 48, of Fayetteville; Linda L. Nelson, 52, of Fayetteville; Amy B. Keith, 28, of Fayetteville; and Sylvia J. Geddes, 53, of Fayetteville. ANDY SHUPE Staff Photographer A group of protesters walk arm in arm toward where tree sitter Mary Lightheart is positioned during a Grandmothers Stand Up For The Trees walk Monday at the CMN Business Park II site south of Joyce Boulevard in Fayetteville. Police arrested 13 protesters.