Board takes note of recent vandalism

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Alderman at-large Les Bumgarner on Tuesday appealed to thepublic for information regarding some recent vandalism, some ofwhich was at Rosehill Cemetery.

“If anyone knows anything about who did this, we’d like for themto please pass it along,” he said. “We can’t tolerate that kind ofdisrespect for our cemeteries.”

Bumgarner was referring to recent events where vandals spraypainted the words “Skull head,” the initials “SKG,” and the number900 on signs and tombstones at Rose Hill. The vandalism also wasscattered from the intersection of East Cherokee and Washingtonstreets through the cemetery and into the driveway of a residenceon East Congress Street.

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Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates was angry about some of the roadsigns that were vandalized as well.

“There were signs being painted on, and they were new signs,”Bates said. “They were changing 30s to 20s, and there were somekind of numbers and names on there, too.”

Bates said he had spoken with a local resident who said theymight know who was responsible for the vandalism to the area.

Bumgarner said that until the police have taken care of thevandals, he wants to see measures being taken to protect thecemeteries.

“Are we locking the cemeteries up? I realize these people areprobably on foot, but are we locking the ones that can be locked?”he said.

In other business, aldermen received a letter from BrookhavenFuneral Home Manager Lance Smith about the cost of having citycemetery workers open graves, saying they had just dealt with asituation involving an infant grave.

“The charge quoted was $300, which is the same charge as anadult,” Smith wrote. “I feel that charge is a littleexcessive.”

Smith went on to explain in his letter that most grave diggingservices that funeral homes use charge a discounted rate for thesmaller graves. Smith said it has been his experience that someservices do not charge at all, while some charged one-half toone-third of the cost of an adult grave.

“The time it takes to open an infant grave is about 1/3 of thetime it takes for an adult grave, so less manpower is needed forthis service,” Smith said.

Ward Four Alderwoman Shirley Estes said it may be good for thecity to spend some time looking at cemetery issues.

“It might be a good idea for us to take a good look at cemeterypolicy,” she said.

Others felt the policy might be fine as is.

“We have to look at what the city makes on opening and closinggraves,” Bates said. “They’re using the same equipment.”

The aldermen did not immediately take action on the suggestionsof the letter, but Mayor Bob Massengill suggested that the cemeterysubcommittee, which consists of Bumgarner, Estes, and Ward OneAlderman Dorsey Cameron, work together on a recommendation foraction.