Removal of decorations in cemetery has loved ones upset

In a moment where logic meets emotion, loved ones of those buried in Riverside Cemetery were upset that decoration were removed from the cemetery and “dumped in a holler” according to one person.

The decorations were removed because they violated rules that are visible in the cemetery and led to increased costs in maintaining the grounds.

For board member and caretaker, David Dunaway, it was an action that had long been communicated.

“I have talked with almost everyone face-to-face over the past 2-3 years that they needed to clean up the grave sites. They simply ignored the rules,” he said.
In July 2017, the cemetery ran an advertisement in this paper listing the cemetery rules and has them prominently displayed within the cemetery. Also, Dunaway indicates that those who purchase a grave site in the cemetery are provided with a copy of the rules.

He referred to rule #2 that states, “Ground decorations (iron hooks, flowers, ornaments, lights, pavers, pots, benches, mulch or anything placed on or in the ground) will be permitted from November 1 until March 15 at which time all ground decorations will be removed and discarded for mowing season.”

While they were not removed at the start of the mowing season, people were upset when they were removed during the early parts of the week of August 6.
The stated rules continue to address such items: #4 Monument placement must be approved by the Board; #5 All monuments must be set on a board approved concrete footer; #6 All monuments, other than headstones, must be set at ground level.

“The past manager chose to ignore it, but we have focused on things that needed to be cleaned up,” said Dunaway. “They have chose to ignore the rules they don’t like.”

While the rules are clear, enforcement of rules have led to an unspoken acceptance to many who have loved ones in Riverside Cemetery and want to honor them.

Pendleton County Sheriff Craig Peoples’ son Evan is buried in the cemetery and a bench, a stone and some other decorative things were gone.

“They wanted it cleaned up fine but give me the opportunity to clean it up,” said Peoples. The items that are missing from his son’s grave site are not replaceable.

“Evan’s senior tassel is missing. An angel and plaque that his mom, Tanja, had placed there. Sand that people have brought back from around the world including Hawaii and Jamica,” he said.

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