MAPLEWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) – Alice Hezel says she’ll plant five – “No, make that 10” – native plants in her yard in the 3600 block of Cambridge Avenue every month to celebrate her ultimate victory over City Hall.
She’s making that declaration now, nearly three months after the City of Maplewood dropped its complaint about her yard just before a trial was to start in St. Louis County. She’s ready to put the whole thing behind her.
Hezel, who became known far and wide as Maplewood’s “Weed Lady,” says it’s all anyone asks her about – even during inappropriate times such as funerals.
She adds that she’s still recovering from her five-year-long slugfest with Maplewood over whether the many plants in her yard constituted weeds and violated city ordinance.
“You know, I’m suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder just like anybody else that goes through a battle,” Hezel says. “And when you’ve got a kangaroo court and you’ve got no place to go for help, its very stressful.”
KMOX put in a request for comment from someone at City Hall and is awaiting for a response.
Meanwhile Hezel is still wondering what put her on the city’s radar in the first place.
“I don’t know, to me it’s a mystery … why my yard?,” she says, adding that she doesn’t believe any of her neighbors complained about her plants as it’s sometimes suggested.
Hezel does say she felt like the city was keeping her under house arrest.
“Because they were going to come over here…they threatened that they were going to send their public works department over here,” she recalls. “They were going to tear out all of my flowers, including my vegetable garden in the backyard.”
Despite her claims of unfair treatment by city leaders, Hezel says she’s never considered pulling up her roots and moving elsewhere.
“I like Maplewood, it’s a wonderful town,” Hezel says. “I’m 71 years old, all my friends are here, all my doctors are here. The people are nice and I enjoy the cameraderie. You don’t just get that anywhere and for me to duplicate that I don’t know where I would have to go.”