Wrecking balls and wrecking lives


For years, we’ve watched demolition crews bring down buildings in big cities to make room for newer construction, but now the same concept is coming to a residential neighborhood near you.

In hot real estate markets, home buyers with more money than sense are buying homes for the location, location, location – and then are tearing these perfectly good homes to build something more to their liking.

We’re not talking ancient and decrepit homes; we’re talking 3,200-square-foot homes built eight years ago. Gone. Outta here.

A New Jersey family tore down a $2.6 million home built five years earlier, the Wall Street Journal reports. On Lake Tahoe’s prime lakefront lots, new (new!), million-dollar homes have been torn down.

The National Association of Home Builders estimates that 2 percent of the new homes built each year, or 25,000 houses, are built on lots where other homes have been demolished.

“Homeowners who have resources can afford to reinvent their versions of the American dream as often as they want,” American Planning Association associate Marya Morris told the Journal.

There is something very wrong on the home front, I’d say.

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Being ‘free’ not so hot. Equally as misguided were animal activists affiliated with the Animal Liberation Front who freed 10,000 mink from a farm in Washington state in August.

Those liberated farmed mink swarmed area small livestock farms, killing geese, chickens and ducks and even attacked a Labrador retriever. The mink were killed on a local highway and neighborhood dogs also caught and killed many of them.

Some mink, starving and dehydrated, found their way back to the farm.

As of Oct. 1, approximately 1,000 are still missing or presumed dead.

The bigger problem now is that the recovered mink are no longer housed with their littermates and are now attacking, killing and cannibalizing their penmates.

The FBI is still investigating the crime, which is considered an act of eco-terrorism.

* * *

Weighty matter. Eastern Ohio is a hot bed of giant pumpkin activity. You might say it’s huge.

In late September, Wayne County grower Winston Wyckoff III set a new Ohio record and world record with his 1,279.5-pound pumpkin at the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival.

The record was short lived, however, as Geauga County grower Jerry Rose grabbed the bragging rights with a 1,370-pounder weighed at the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers weigh-off at Parks Garden Center near Canfield.

A few hours later, Rose watched his own title slip away, bested by a grower in Ontario, Canada, with a pumpkin just 3 pounds heavier.

In the end, it was a West Coast airline pilot that commandeered the day’s final record. Steve Daletas raised a whopper weighing 1,385 pounds.

Now those are smashing pumpkins!


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