I Wanna Know

PW exposes the tricks, scams and truth about the powers that be.

By Heather Duffy
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jun. 9, 2004

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Q: I'd like to know if the Fairmount Park Commission will help a homeowner remove a tree in a property's back alley. The tree has gotten so big that it's beginning to knock down the backyard wall.

A: The short answer is no, but since that's not very satisfying, let's get into the details. The Fairmount Park Commission (FPC) has jurisdiction over only park and street trees in the city, of which there are roughly 2 million. The FPC, on its website and over the phone, instructs city residents to contact the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) for problems with alley trees and trees on private property. L&I says its concern lies with property damage--in this case the backyard wall--not with the tree. "That's [residents'] own responsibility," says L&I's acting commissioner Robert Solvibile. He says alleyways are common easements and suggests homeowners "look at their deed" to determine the course of action--whether they alone are responsible for tree removal or if they can seek assistance from their neighbors. Those wishing to report a tree that's causing property damage--and to get a violation notice issued--can reach L&I at 215.686.2463. And if the errant tree is on your property, you're responsible for its removal--just as you'd be in the 'burbs.

Q: What are these "Novasoy isoflavones" Archer Daniels Midland is always talking up?

A: The Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company is a longtime supporter of National Public Radio, specifically the program All Things Considered. ADM has been in the soybean business for more than 30 years, and Novasoy, a powdered soybean extract, is one of its trademarked products. Isoflavones are plant-based estrogens that make up 40 percent of Novasoy, according to ADM's website www.admhealth.com. "Because the benefits of isoflavones were first recognized as part of a daily diet of soyfoods, the composition of Novasoy is meant to assure that the potential benefits of its isoflavones are provided in a form as close as possible to the nutrient profile of soyfoods," reads an explanation on the website. So if you're still one to turn your nose up at the mention of a veggie burger, the benefits of a soy supplement may be worth discussing with your doctor. Novasoy isoflavones are available in supplement brands found at drug and vitamin stores.

What do you wanna know? Send queries and complaints to Heather M. Duffy at hduffy@philadelphiaweekly.com

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