Tifton Gazette

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April 30, 2007

Neighbor says church members destroyed her yard

TIFTON — Shonda Statini is a nature lover. She loves all the pine trees and the azaleas and green growing things. She loves the birds and the squirrels and the rabbits. It is the beauty of the world of nature around her that makes her smile and gives her peace. That is, it did until last Tuesday.

Statini came home from work Tuesday afternoon and was aghast at what had happened to her yard. It looked like a tornado had blown by along her property line on the east side of her house.

The seven-foot red tip hedge, trees and shrubbery were all gone. They had been there that morning when she left for work at Herring CPA Group in Tifton and were gone when she returned to her home on Church Street in Alapaha later in the day. Poof!

Statini said she knows who was responsible for what had happened to her yard that had always brought her so much joy.

“They were sitting there having a tailgate party, laughing,” she said.

“The logger and backhoe were still there,” Statini said of the equipment that had been used to demolish her property.

Statini said the people responsible were members of Alapaha United Methodist Church. The church is next door to Statini’s home. The church’s parking lot abuts Statini’s property on the east side.

Statini was so upset about what had been done to her property, she cried for days.

Statini and her husband moved to south Georgia from Tempe, Ariz. She doesn’t think that people here understand how much “the greenery” meant to her.

“Where I come from we had rock yards,” Statini said. “Everything was dirt and rocks, nothing green.” She said the greenery everywhere was like a tranquilizer for her.

“I love all of it,” she said, “I love the trees and flowers and the wild life.”

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