Entries in Tree (3)


'Miracle Pine Tree’ Removed from Tsunami-Ravaged City in Japan

Sankei via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The tsunami-ravaged city of Rikuzentakata, Japan, has cut down the lone pine tree that survived the disaster 18 months ago and came to symbolize hope.  But there are plans to keep the preserved tree on display.

Crews began the delicate process of cutting the 270-year-old tree into nine different sections Wednesday morning, removing large branches by crane as residents looked on.

Some 70,000 pine trees dotted Rikuzentakata’s waterfront before the tsunami hit in March last year, but only one survived the destructive waves.  Residents called the 89-foot tree a “miracle,” but the saltwater that seeped into the roots proved to be too much.

Crews plan to hollow out the tree trunk now, and insert a carbon spine inside after treating the wood.  They will replace the original branches with plastic replicas, before returning the pine to its original place next February, just shy of the second anniversary of the disaster.

“This tree has had such a big role,” Mayor Futoshi Toba told reporters.  “Reconstruction is just beginning, and the process is a long one.  This is just a temporary move.”

The entire process is estimated to cost 150 million yen ($27 million) -- a hefty price tag considering the larger reconstruction projects the city is already tasked with.  A Facebook page was launched in July to raise money for the preservation project, and city officials said they have collected more than $330,000 so far.

Nearly 20,000 people died when the tsunami hit the Tohoku region in northeast Japan 18 months ago.  Hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced by the disaster.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Polish Village Enacts Unique Punishment on Speedy Driver

Antenna Audio, Inc. /Getty Images(LONDON) -- Villagers in Poland, annoyed by the reckless antics of a speedy driver, concocted their own unique style of revenge to teach the 24-year-old driver a lesson.

Forgoing the typical method of leaving a note or, perhaps, speaking to the driver directly, residents of Lubczyna, Poland, instead placed the driver's car atop a tree.

U.K. newspaper The Mirror reports that when the driver, Zbigniew Filo, walked out the door to take his white Ford Escort for a drive, he found it instead hoisted to the top of a willow tree.

"We received a call from a man saying his car was stuck in a tree, and that his neighbors had put it there," a police spokesman told the Mirror.

Filo had reportedly been driving his Escort recklessly throughout the village for months, and without a driver's license, so villagers decided to take action.

"Perhaps he'll think twice about his hair-raising driving and about getting a license or who knows where his next car might end up?" one neighbor told the paper.

The villagers are staying mum about who among them actually carried out the prank other than saying that it took a mobile crane to get the car to the top of the tree.

Filo, whose car was returned to him after he promised to drive more carefully, admitted the lesson was learned.

"I get the message, but I think it was a bit harsh," he said, according to the Mirror.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


33-Foot-Tall LEGO Christmas Tree Decorates London Train Station 

Vladimir Weiss/Bloomberg via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Even the merriest of Christmas celebrators can turn grumpy when it comes to the annual holiday rite of putting up the Christmas tree.

But the task of decorating a nine-foot spruce or even untangling an artificial tree pulled from the closet is nothing when compared against the latest in ultimate Christmas trees: a 33-foot-tall tree constructed entirely of LEGOs.

The tree, now on display at the St. Pancras International train station in London, is the tallest LEGO Christmas tree ever constructed.

Each of the tree’s 600,000 LEGO bricks, 172 Lego branches and 1,200 LEGO baubles were assembled by hand by just two men, Duncan Titmarsh, England’s only certified LEGO professional, and his business partner, Ed Diment.

The two men spent two months assembling the tree off-site, followed by two more weeks working at St. Pancras station to add the finishing touches to the tree.

Titmarsh and Diment completed their work Nov. 24, just as Americans celebrated Thanksgiving Day, and just in time for the holiday rush.

“Live builds are always fantastic fun as it always captures the public’s imagination and stops them in their tracks,” Titmarsh told the UK’s Surrey Advertiser.  “This tree has certainly created a lot of interest among visitors to St. Pancras.”

The tree’s 172 LEGO branches are decorated with 1,000 ornaments and a garland of LED lights.

Lego creations constructed by Titmarsh before the tree, his biggest task to date, include a LEGO greenhouse, a giant handbag for a British shopping outlet, a giant toothbrush and a map of the London Underground.

The LEGO Christmas tree will remain on display at St. Pancras International through January 3, when it will be taken down, piece by piece.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio