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Two arrested at tree removal protest in Middletown

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MIDDLETOWN, DAUPHIN COUNTY – Tree trimming crews were met with opposition in Middletown on Monday as they worked to remove Linden trees that line South Union Street. Louise Sukle, of Middletown, chained herself to a tree outside the Press & Journal newspaper office protesting after the borough began tree removal efforts.

Last week, Middletown Borough officials voted to remove the trees on South Union Street between Emaus and Mill Streets. The vote came about after consultants told borough officials that Linden trees block store fronts and their roots have the potential to damage sidewalks.

Sukle says the borough isn’t doing enough to keep taxpayers informed about the project.

“All we’re hoping is that we could maybe delay cutting down the trees so that maybe we’re allowed to give some of our input,” said Sukle.

Chris Courogen, Middletown Borough’s Director of Communications, says the Shade Tree Commission meeting was posted on Middletown’s website.

“It’s removing the trees now so that we could put the right trees in. It’s so we can fix the downtown and revitalize the economy of the Borough of Middletown,” said Courogen.

Sukle and her brother, David Graybill, was arrested around 4:30 p.m. during the protest. Sukle was charged with disorderly conduct and defiant trespass. Graybill was charged with inciting a riot and failure to disperse.

Both were warned by officers three times to disperse before they were taken into custody.

A YouTube video entitled “Save Our Trees 1” is circulating the internet and captures the protestors arrest.