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New London - Wind gusts snapped the Christmas tree at Parade Plaza in half Friday, leaving the city with no choice but to turn it into wood chips.
"Wow, that is something,'' said Russ DiNoto, a retired city police officer who donated the tree to New London Main Street earlier this month. "I was hoping people could see it for Christmas."
For years, DiNoto held parties for neighborhood kids in his yard on Washington Street around the tree. When he moved into the 1763 William Coit House, the evergreen stood at just over 6 feet. Eventually, it grew too big for his yard.
He gave it to New London Main Street when the organization announced it had no money this year for a community tree.
Because the top of the tree broke off from the bottom, it could not be salvaged. Public Works crews arrived Friday afternoon with heavy equipment. They sawed off the branches and fed them into a wood chipper, leaving a pile of sawdust, pine needles and unlit Christmas lights.
But DiNoto was philosophical about the tree's demise.He was present when the tree was lit Dec. 1 and took pictures.
"I have it on my cellphone and on my Facebook page,'' he said. "It's all right."
- Kathleen Edgecomb