Steel Advice: Holiday dilemma -- deciding between real and fake tree

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DEAR STEEL ADVICE: Big dilemma at our house at Christmas -- a real or fake tree?

DEAR CHOICE CHALLENGED: The silliest things get blown out of proportion at the holidays. Decorating decisions are the least of most people's worries. Environmentalists give a slight edge to getting a live tree or a live tree with a root ball that can be replanted. A live tree with its fresh pine smell is a symbol of a traditional old-fashioned Christmas. The fans of artificial trees love the ease and convenience of a fake tree. Allergies and needles aside, they reason, "What's wrong with a little more plastic from China?" Alternate a live tree and an artificial one. A tree choice is not a forever decision. This year focus on the mistletoe; guaranteed you will have more fun.

DEAR STEEL ADVICE: One of the neighbors has a very large dog. The owners allow the dog to run loose. The dog will come near other neighbors and bark at them. It can be rather intimidating. The dog also uses neighbors' yards as a bathroom. The owners never seem to notice or care. We thought we should collect the doggie doo-doo and deposit it onto their front step.

We need some advice on how to handle this issue!

We have a No. 1 problem with a No. 2 issue!

DEAR INTIMIDATED: Time to call the dog catcher. You need the help of animal control before the dog bites someone or knocks someone down. Your neighbor may be oblivious to the nuisance their dog has become for any number of reasons. No matter their circumstances, there is no excuse for this pet owner to make your life miserable. Put animal control on speed dial and call them every time the dog is on the loose. All of the other neighbors should do the same and be outspoken and persistent until the situation is corrected. Most communities have leash laws and fines for violating them. For obvious reasons this is not the time to beat around the bush.

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