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Middle Finger Sculpture
EDS NOTE: OBSCENITY - A car rolls past a wooden sculpture on Ted Pelkey's front lawn on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Westford, Vt. Pelkey, who is in an ongoing dispute with the town over plans to move his truck repair and recycling business to his property, paid to have the sculpture created to send a message to the town. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

Man puts up sculpture of middle finger as a message to town

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By LISA RATHKE, Associated Press

WESTFORD, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont man who is in an ongoing dispute with his town has let officials know exactly how he feels by erecting a large wooden sculpture of a fist with the middle finger raised on his front lawn.

Ted Pelkey said Thursday that he has been trying for about 10 years to move his truck repair and recycling business to his property but has been unable to get a permit. He paid about $3,000 to have the roughly 7-foot-tall (2-meter-tall) sculpture carved with a chain saw. In November, he put it on a 16-foot (4.8-meter) pole with lights where it can be seen from the road.

"I wasn't trying to get fame out of it at all.... I'm just mad," he said. "I just got pushed in the corner, and it's just I'm done with it."

Since the sculpture went up, people have been stopping by during the day and even night to take photos of it and with it.

"Oh, God. It's crazy," Pelkey said. "People are out there at 11 o'clock at night taking pictures with their Santa hats on. It's wonderful, I think."

Late Thursday morning, three people pulled off of Route 128 to snap photos within an hour, including a woman from Maine who was in Vermont for work.

Westford Select Board Chairwoman Allison Hope said she could not comment on Pelkey's case. He has appealed a recent decision.

"So we're in the middle of an appeal that's been going on for a while," she said. "So I want to make sure that we use the process that Mr. Pelkey has a right to avail himself of, and I don't want to mess with that process."

She added that the town office has "a really great, really professional staff."

"In terms of other folks, they do a really wonderful job no matter who comes to talk to them about permit applications," she added. "They want to get to yes, but they also need to follow the zoning regulations that we have in town."

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