The Burlington Hawk Eye reports that, across the river & up a few miles, in Oquawka, the houses of two squabbling neighbors were consumed by flames last night, while neither was at home.
The ill feelings, it seems, had been going on a long time, and had aggravated virtually everybody in the small community:
[Jeff Tee] and his neighbor [Mahdi Cezar] have had differences on home additions made to Cezar's home over the past five years. According to Tee, Cezar kept building additions without always securing the necessary permits.
In defense of Cezar:
In a March 21, 2001, newspaper interview, Cezar claimed to be the target of racial discrimination in Oquawka. But the official complaints filed against him were for building his amorphous structure without permits (Gaudi he is not), and violating noise regulations by doing his own construction work late at night.
The townsfolk were hoping the whole mess would just go away. Nobody likes to hear that there's a possibility of bigots (on either side of the issue) in their community. And everybody around here wants to live a quiet life (everybody over 25 years old, that is).
But if arson is suspected (the article doesn't say), I'd be (laughingly) looking at another neighbor:
Kenny Miller, who owns the home north of Cezar's, said that Cezar was seldom at home and no one knew what he was doing.
"This is the best thing that's happened to this neighborhood in the last 10 years," Miller said.
Then again, maybe he's right. With both houses burnt to the ground, the reconstruction will have to be done by professionals, and both Tee and Cezar will have to shut up and learn to live with their neighbors, or they can buy property elsewhere with their insurance settlements, & nobody will have to listen to them bicker again...
Peace along the Yellowbanks?