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After trees fall, a donation helps out

WILMONT -- The city of Wilmont will benefit from a donation of 100 trees that were initially intended to be planted in Worthington to replace trees lost from the early-April ice storm.

The trees, consisting of four different varieties, will be planted in Hilltop Park and around the Butts Probst Field in the community.

Susanne Murphy received a phone call shortly after the ice storm from former employee Dan Gronewold, who is now enrolled in the landscape and garden center technician program at Moorhead.

"It was a hometown boy, thinking of a hometown problem," Murphy shared. "It was pretty cool."

After hearing about the devastation done to the trees in Worthington, Gronewold asked his adviser if there were any funds available to help out his hometown. Through that request, the program offered to buy 100 trees for the city.

"I said that would be awesome, but then the watering ban came and we couldn't plant them," Murphy said.

The dilemma was discussed by the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Community Improvement Committee, of which Murphy is a member, and Cindy Penning suggested that perhaps Wilmont could plant the trees. Wilmont's trees also suffered extensive damage as a result of the ice storm.

Becky Remackel, mayor of Wilmont, was thrilled to get the trees.

"We took quite a hit with the ice storm -- it will be a nice improvement to our hilltop park and to our baseball diamond," she said.

For the past two months, the bare-root trees were stored in one of Murphy's ponds.

"I kept turning them so the roots got established, and that way we knew they were well-watered," Murphy said.

The trees were recently hauled up to Wilmont, where they are now kept in a city pond until workers are available to plant them.

"We're hoping (to plant them) as soon as we can get something lined up," Remackel said, adding that the Wilmont City Council had talked about organizing volunteers.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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