- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2012


Man who cared for famed old tree dies at 103

PORTLAND | Frank Knight’s decades-long battle to save New England’s tallest elm served as an inspiring tale of devotion, so it is fitting that he will be laid to rest in a coffin made from the tree he made famous.

Mr. Knight, who died Monday at 103, had affectionately referred to the 217-year-old elm nicknamed Herbie as an “old friend.” The massive tree finally succumbed to Dutch elm disease and was cut down two years ago.

Wood from the tree was made into a casket, a secret that was kept from Mr. Knight.

“To have them together like that is a wonderful thing. I feel like Frank took good care of Herbie. Now Herbie will take good care of Frank,” said Deb Hopkins, a close friend who succeeded Mr. Knight as the town’s tree warden.

Mr. Knight already was middle-aged and running a logging business in 1956 when he became the volunteer tree warden in Yarmouth, 10 miles north of Portland, just as Dutch elm disease was killing trees by the hundreds.

He realized he couldn’t save the town’s elms, so he focused his efforts on one tree, a giant with a canopy that could be seen from miles away.

When Herbie became afflicted, Mr. Knight couldn’t bear to cut down the tree so he instructed workers to selectively prune away diseased limbs. Later, pesticides and fungicides were applied. For five decades, Herbie survived 14 rounds of Dutch elm disease, thanks to Mr. Knight’s efforts.


Homework found at crime scene leads to teen’s arrest

OREM | An 18-year-old Utah man was arrested on suspicion of burglary after police say he left his homework at the crime scene.

Police in Orem say they tracked a USB drive found at the burglarized home to Dallas Naljahih. They say the computer hard drive contained his homework and was in a backpack abandoned in the backyard.

A 75-year-old man told police he was woken up by a light in his office, and found a man who was looking through a desk. The suspect punched the man and fled on foot.

Police say that Mr. Naljahih was found asleep at his house along with evidence connecting him with the burglary.

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