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      Tree-shaped cellphone tower in Hagerstown draws mixed opinions

      HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Opinions are mixed about a new, 150-foot cellphone tower near Eastern Boulevard in Hagerstown. The Verizon Wireless tower is disguised as a tall pine tree.

      The design is known in the telecommunications industry as a "stealth monopole" or "monopine."

      Verizon spokeswoman Melanie Ortel tells The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown it's the first tree-shaped tower the company has built in Washington County.

      Construction began in November and was completed last month. Ortel says such towers are well-suited for rural or forested areas.

      The tower extends well above the tops of trees growing along Antietam Creek behind Light Business Park.

      Washington County Historic District Commission Chairman Charles Stewart says "it looks kind of absurd."

      But Jim Stevens, who works near the tower, says it "blends in better" than a normal tower would.