Go! Christmas tree

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No, the Grinch did not steal the Christmas tree in front of the Washington County Courthouse.

Gusty winds over the weekend took their toll on the 30-foot evergreen, causing the trunk to shift and loosening one of the cables that secured the pine to the portico.

Although the tree was still standing atop the courthouse steps Monday morning, it was deemed to be too precarious to last through Christmas and into the new year.

So while some folks were likely festooning their trees just in time for the Christmas holiday, decorations were removed from the one outside the courthouse, and it was dismembered branch by branch.

City firemen helped the county position the tree when it was placed on the courthouse steps earlier this month after its trip from Candle Tree Farm on S Bridge Road. They straightened it once and were to be called to help again when the tree was deemed to be in danger of toppling.

“I would’ve loved to have seen it stay up, but we erred on the side of caution,” said Gary Bertosh, director of the Washington County Building and Grounds Department.

“If we can’t find a more stable support method, we may revert to again placing the tree inside the portico. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about the tree being out front.”

A series of wreaths remain on the courthouse doors, and a large tree stands on the landing in the courthouse rotunda. Several trees adorn county row offices.

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