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Rules at Woodland being enforced

About a dozen citizens attended the Woodland Cemetery board meeting Thursday with concerns about decorations being removed from graves.

Friday, April 20, 2001

About a dozen citizens attended the Woodland Cemetery board meeting Thursday with concerns about decorations being removed from graves.

Over the past few months, some people with loved ones buried in the cemetery have been upset because items were taken off of graves. Board members, though, pointed out that the rules state that flowers and other items must be off the ground.

Ruth Williams of Kitts Hill asked why the board was enforcing the rules now. She said her son has been buried in the cemetery for 24 years and flowers placed on his grave were left alone up until two months ago.

Board member Arno Keyes said the reason this rule needs to be enforced is because items such as plastic flowers and gravel around the graves become a hazard when cemetery workers are mowing and trimming.

"When a lawn mower hits them, it’s like bullets," he said.

Though most of the rules have been in place since 1871, according to Bill Klaiber, the cemetery’s superintendent, all of them have not been enforced. When "things started getting out of hand", he said, the cemetery board decided to get a little stricter.

"Each year we have 300 burials," Klaiber said in explaining the need for enforcing the rules.

Linda Baker told board members that individuals waiting for headstones to be placed on a loved one’s grave have nowhere to put flowers. She said her husband died recently and she placed flowers on his grave because his headstone had not been completed yet. The flowers were removed, much to her displeasure.

Klaiber said he had advised cemetery workers to remove all flowers from the ground and did not advise them to leave the ones on graves without headstones. He said he would tell the workers to leave those flowers alone from now on.

Keyes suggested the board consider adding a clause to the rules that allows flowers to be put where the headstone would be until one is placed.

Jane Lawhorn of South Seventh Street asked the board if they would consider allowing flowers to remain on the graves for a few days during holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The board and Kliber said they would consider it, but when it comes time to mow again the flowers.

Mary Kliber, the cemetery’s secretary and treasurer, advised those in attendance the rules were published in The Ironton Tribune in late December. She also said a copy of the rules are given out with deeds to the lots purchased at the cemetery.

Donna Osborne of Third Street said the board should post the rules at the cemetery and then "if somebody doesn’t follow the rules they have nobody to blame."

After the audience participation portion of the meeting, board members said they would consider posting the rules at the cemetery, but they would have to decide on an appropriate place to post them.