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Roanoke College to remove ancient 'Bittle Tree'

Wednesday - 4/24/2013, 4:10am  ET

SALEM, Va. (AP) -- A tulip poplar that dates to Roanoke College's founding president has been deemed a safety risk and will be removed this week.

First, there'll be a brief ceremony on the Salem campus Wednesday in honor of the "Bittle Tree." The ancient tree is believed to be more than 150 years old. Its name stems from the college's founding president, the Rev. David Bittle. He planted the tree, too.

At the ceremony, remarks will be offered by President Michael Maxey and others. One of the "baby Bittle" seedlings planted last year will also make its debut.

Several attempts were made to save the Bittle Tree after it was struck by lightning several years ago. Professional arborists say the tree's a risk and should be felled.

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