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Man vs. Machine

By Shannon in News on Dec 3, 2006 4:00PM

A man sleeps pleasantly inside his home. Suddenly a phalanx of backhoes rumble toward his property. The man, discombobulated and outraged, takes action and tries to block the machines the only way he knows how. No, the story we describe isn't the beginning of Hitchhiker's Guide, but it's just as surreal.

don't tread on meOn Friday morning, Monee resident Mark Baugh was awoken by his wife when a crew of Illinois Department of Transportation workers showed up at their doorstep, replete with several tons worth of heavy construction - or rather destruction - equipment. IDOT's ultimate destination? The site of controversial Peotone Airport, where more houses were waiting to be knocked down. Officials had deemed the oversized loads unfit for township road travel, so IDOT figured they could take a shortcut through Baugh's yard. After all, his neighbor had forked over land to IDOT; couldn't Baugh just be a sport and let them pass through?

Nothing doing, said Baugh. They hadn't even notified him of this little venture and he was none too pleased. When waving off the intruders did no good, he grabbed his gun instead, attempting to block their path. Taking little notice, the workers charged right on through Baugh's property anyway. We envision an astonished moment for the man, followed by the gun broken over his knee and a hat thrown on the ground and stomped upon, furiously. However, we've been known to let our imagination run away with itself.

IDOT may not even be within their rights to demolish those intended houses. After several complaints, they suspended destruction and vowed to check into the rentability of houses they'd bought up, since there might be money to be made while the airport languishes in limbo. State Rep. Lisa Dugan says they "broke their promise" and apologized to her for snuffing two homes. Baugh is expected to get a similar apology as well as monetary compensation for the new track of mud next to his house. We wonder if that will be enough to quiet the homeowner's boiling blood.

Image courtesy of paul goyette.