Town tree gets brightly lit facelift

By: 
Alastair Baker
News Editor

Photos by Kaaren Robbins - The Red Lodge Christmas tree (left) before and (right) after it’s make over.

Photo by Alastair Baker - (Left) Santa gets ready to cut the ribbon to usher in a new era for the Red Lodge Christmas tree. Far left is Beverly Parker, owner of the Flower Garage, and far right Red Lodge outgoing mayor Mike Schoenike.

The fir tree beside the Red Lodge Carnegie Library got overhauled in time for Christmas last week when Beartooth Electric (BEC) personnel replaced the present forlorn looking lights with 1,400 feet of LEDs. The sprucing up of the tree won’t just make the town look more colorful but the new lights will only cost 16 cents a day to run for 12 hours and use only 214 watts as opposed to the older incandescent lights that used up to 10,500 watts a day and cost $7.86 for the same period.
The new blubs rest on 60 strands that crisscross the tree. The whole operation took approximately 6 hours with 2 hours devoted to removing the old lights, some of which had been zip tied or grown into the branches. The tree also had to be trimmed, as it wasn’t symmetrical.
A lighting and ribbon cutting ceremony took place during the evening of Dec. 21 to mark the occasion and was hosted by Beartooth Electric and the Red Lodge Chamber of Commerce.
Prior to the ribbon cutting Julie Lindgren, BEC board president, explained that the idea to do this only occurred the week before.
“My ideas person Beverly Parker suggested doing something about the tree,” said Lindgren. “I said I have a connection. You’ve gotta love small town and the cooperative principle of being involved in the community.”
Kevin Owens, BEC general manager, praised his team. ”The old adage, many hands make little work. I’ve got an incredible crew I work with down there at the co op.”
Also contributing to the refurbishment were Kaaren Robbins, BEC communication & member services; Cliff McCaulou and Greg Bennett of Davey Tree who donated the use of their 70-foot bucket truck to enable the BEC crew, Eric Elton, line superintendent; Lee Hauge, sub-foreman and James Pihl, Journeyman Lineman to work on the tree.

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