Naked City: How an Alien Ate the Shade

Thanks to a pesky beetle, a Chicago neighborhood prepares to go leafless

Less than 24 hours before the whirring chain saws and chippers descended upon Kathleen Winebrenner's street in the leafy Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago, the desperate homeowner was buttonholing government officials, pleading for clemency. Her 30-year-old Norway maple did not deserve to die, she insisted. "I thought this can't be. Where's the Pope when you need him?" she said, staring forlornly at the sprawling branches framing her living-room window for the last time. "It had to be a mistake since it wasn't on the original list."

But there was no 11th-hour reprieve. Her tree was among the first of 470 maples, ashes,...

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