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KIDS CLIMB TREE TO SAVE IT

A group of children chanting "save the trees" perched in the branches of a mulberry tree and held off a removal operation even after the city forester and police were summoned.

A tree removal crew arrived at a condominium complex to remove the fruitless mulberry on Monday, but the youngsters, ages 8 to 15, refused to budge."We need these trees for shade and oxygen," said Melinda Dunn, who explained she'd been saving her allowance to help stop the devastation of the Brazilian rain forests.

But complex manager Jean Ellsworth said the tree was the last of 40 mulberries that had been removed over the past four years because they'd been planted too close to the structures and had begun cracking the concrete around them.

City Forester Mike Wyble confirmed the tree had been improperly planted, but in the end, the children won.

After negotiations between police, condo managers and residents, the tree escaped the ax but underwent a pruning.