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Milling demonstration

Two Lincoln woodworkers run a milling machine on Saturday morning to cut a log from a felled ash tree. The demonstration was part of an event put on by the South of Downtown Community Development Organization to promote alternative uses of trees cut down because of the emerald ash borer.

About 100 people gathered near Third and J streets Saturday morning to watch a saw whir to life and shave a 3-inch thick slab of wood off the top of an ash log.

The process, known as milling, prepares trees to be dried so they can be used.

Saturday's demonstration, led by the South of Downtown Community Development Organization, was held to show the public how simple the process is.

The emerald ash borer began infesting Lincoln's ash trees in early August, forcing the city to start cutting down the trees to prevent their structural failings from endangering people.

To this point, the majority of the trees have been mulched, but Jewel Rogers, one of the neighborhood group's community builders, wants to see the trees put to different uses. Saturday, she spoke of public benches and trash or recycling bins that could be created using the wood.

Along with the milling demonstration, four different woodworking booths were set up showcasing jewelry, furniture and other products that can be crafted with the already felled tree.

Many in attendance were amateur woodworkers. Bruce Sandhorst, a longtime Lincoln resident, said he wanted to see the wood given or sold to local creators, who could turn it into something.

"Ash is a great wood to work with," Sandhorst said. "If it was available, I would even pay to get it, but nobody is even making it available."

Sandhorst's son-in-law, Jon Jensen, also came to the event and was intrigued by what he saw.

"I actually think there are business opportunities out here with this," Jensen said. "There are community development opportunities here. It can be good for local business, in addition to being environmentally responsible. Creating beauty is an important part of it."

In addition to Saturday's event, the city is working with the Nebraska Forest Service to hold a community meeting Nov. 29 to raise awareness about the use of urban wood, including ash.

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Newsroom intern

Newsroom intern at the Journal Star.

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