Sure, we'll take a check

From Owen County, Ind., comes word that of the 50 bidders at a property auction last week, not one was willing to meet the $1,500 asking price for a plot of land. By all accounts, the county is a nice place - scenic, not overcrowded , and with a stable mix of people employed in the professions, the trades, and farming. So, what's wrong with the land that it didn't sell? Well, probably the fact that it's only an inch square. For starters, that makes it hard to find, even with a detailed map - although you're welcome to go for a look by appointment with county auditor Angie Lawson. And, of course, it's too small to be put to any use that wouldn't encroach on someone else's property. Said one of Angie's colleagues: "Forget about putting up a for-sale sign ; there's not enough space to put the stake in." The best guess is that someone bought it many years ago to qualify for fishing rights to a nearby lake, only to have it foreclosed upon for nonpayment of taxes. The $1,500 is the minimum bid Owen County can accept at auction. Angie Lawson admitted to an Indianapolis TV station she wouldn't encourage anyone to buy the, ah, parcel. Still, officials want it off the books, even if that means giving it away.

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