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BHS trees will be spared after all

It's been said that cats have nine lives. Judging by recent events, three cherry trees at Bainbridge High School have shown a similar ability to outmaneuver death.

The trees were scheduled to be axed to make room for the coming BHS renovation project. Then they were nearly saved by concerned community members in an effort that ultimately came up short.

Or so it appeared.

The school district on Thursday announced the trees will be spared after all, with help from an island donor, a Seattle tree moving company and a local contractor, along with the group that made the initial effort.

The trees – given to the school district more than 70 years ago by members of the island's Japanese American community – will be moved to Sakai Intermediate School.

Preparation for the move, both at the current site and at the trees' new home at Sakai, began on Wednesday.

Because of the donation, the group will have the proper equipment to make the move, which improves the likelihood of the trees' survival, said plant pathologist Olaf Ribeiro. The trees now have about a 70 percent chance of survival, he said. Before the donation, he estimated that number at 30 percent.

"They should survive without too much trouble," he said.

The move itself will happen May 16, and will likely tie up traffic sometime between noon and 3 p.m. along High School and Sportsman Club roads, as the large trees make the short journey north. Police will be on hand should any temporary road closures be needed. An early dismissal was already scheduled at BHS for that day.

The school district plans to pay tribute to the history of the trees, the local Japanese American Community and the family who donated them, once they're planted at the new site.

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