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Controversy in Caledonia over figure hanging in tree

Controversy in Caledonia over figure hanging in tree

By Annie Scholz. CREATED Apr 24, 2012 - UPDATED: Apr 24, 2012

CALEDONIA- The person who put it up says it's not about hate -- but a protest over the power company.

Rudy Wendt has a figure, with a head and feet, hanging from a tree in his front yard.  He told TODAY'S TMJ4 it's supposed to represent We Energies making too much road noise. 

But others say it's racist and they want it gone.  Melissa Outlaw told TODAY'S TMJ4, "Things like that are the reason that old feelings can never die...It's definitely a big deal."

Melissa Outlaw is outraged at the sight of the hanging figure holding a sign that says "home sweet home."  It's hanging at Rudy Wendt's house.

Wendt claims it's a protest against noisy trucks coming from the We Energies plant across the street.  "Listen to this traffic, now it's quiet," said Wendt.  "As soon as you people leave, they're going to be starting with the loud exhaust again."

But the strategy isn't settling well with everyone.  "Hanging something like that from your front tree isn't doing anything with your traffic situation," argues Melissa Outlaw.

Wendt told TODAY'S TMJ4 it's a way to get attention.  But the attention he's getting may not be the kind he's looking for.  "You shouldn't have to see something like that just driving on your way to the grocery store on your way to work," exclaimed Outlaw.

Wendt says he had another figure at one point that looked more like a person and police asked him to take it down.  We Energies says they are aware of it and will do what they can to work with the community.