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Grinch steals prized spruce tree from Cass County farmstead

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Paul Vogel looks over the remains of a Colorado blue spruce that was cut down by vandals along 64th Avenue North in Cass County. Vogel and his father planted the tree 30 years ago.David Samson / The Forum2 / 3
Paul Vogel looks over the remains of a Colorado blue spruce that was cut down by vandals along 64th Avenue North in Cass County. Vogel and his father planted the tree 30 years ago.David Samson / The Forum3 / 3

CASS COUNTY, N.D. — Paul Vogel says he hopes he feels the spirit of Christmas again.

This, after a Grinch cut down a much-loved spruce tree this week at the entrance to his farm north of Fargo.

Vogel pulled up to the farm that sits not far from Hector International Airport, and his heart sank. "Why do you want a Christmas tree that reminds you of Christ, and you do something like this," said Paul Vogel, owner of the spruce.

The 20-foot tall Colorado blue spruce that had welcomed him and family here for more than 30 years is now gone.

"Vandals used a power saw to cut it down, leaving behind a few branches, a stump and memories galore," he said.

Vogel, who lives in north Fargo, stood in the farmyard that has been in the family for nearly a century. "He (grandfather) came in the 1880s," Vogel said.

Vogel's father, Sebastian, worked the soil with an old John Deere tractor and, along with Vogel's grandfather, filled this Cass County chunk of soil with crops and trees.

On Friday, Dec. 1, Vogel was thinking a lot about his dad. It was 30 years ago that he joined his dad in planting the spruce. "It was the nicest tree we had on the place," Vogel said.

It is going to be a different holiday season now, with something that meant so much to him needlessly taken away. "If you believe in Christmas, how could you go out and steal and vandalize somebody's property?" he wondered.

Cass County sheriff's deputies are investigating the theft, and Vogel said he's offering a reward of at least a few hundred dollars to anyone who can help solve the crime.

Kevin Wallevand

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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