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Ripon lighting up Christmas tree with LEDs

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POSTED November 20, 2013 1:08 a.m.

The City of Ripon Christmas Tree has a new home.

The Ripon Chamber of Commerce got the OK on Tuesday from elected leaders for use of the evergreen at the Veterans Museum on Locust Avenue and First Street.

“Since this is on city property we needed approval (from the Ripon City Council),” said Chamber Executive Director Tamra Spade. “It’s also great place and it’s centrally located.”

Last year’s event was held at Stouffer Park. Spade noted that the community-wide Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony was moved from Nov. 25 to Dec. 2 due in part to Thanksgiving Day being held later than usual.

However, her main concern was that of the 70-foot tree.

“The Public Works Department is not equipped to hang lights on a tree that size,” Spade said.

Enter David Murphy.

He’s the region manager, East Bay Division, of Commercial Tree Care. In recent years, Murphy’s company has undergone similar-type work for the City of Campbell coupled with Palo Alto and Menlo Park.

A certified arborist and tree climber, he plans to climb inside the Ripon tree with LED lights – Council also agreed to match the Chamber’s donation, chipping in $1,000 for 1,000 feet of energy-efficient lights from Schemper’s Ace Hardware – working from the top to the bottom. All told, Murphy will decorate a tree of that size, using 2,000 lights.

 “All I need is a power source, some volunteers on the ground and I’ll install the lights,” he said.

The LED lights will be serviceable for years, added Murphy, who plans to begin his work on the Sunday prior to the event.

“What will go on top of the tree?” asked Vice Mayor Chuck Winn.

Spade indicated that a large star will be constructed as the topper, using 250 additional lights.

The tree-lighting will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, at the museum. The family event will include voices of the Ripon Christian High choir and a blessing for the holidays from Pastor Glen Shirk of the Ripon Grace Brethren Church.

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