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Vet: ‘How can you desecrate a grave like that?’

November 12, 2013
By DEANNE JOHNSON - Staff Writer ( , Salem News

LISBON - Some trees near some graves at the Lisbon Cemetery have been cut down, resulting in concerns by at least one resident living nearby.

Ernest Thomas said the cemetery is in his backyard and he was upset by the conditions he found some of the graves this weekend. A veteran himself, Thomas said he was upset about some of the trees left laying on top of several graves including at least one veteran.

"I was livid," Thomas said. "How can you desecrate a grave like that?"

Article Photos

Ernest Thomas took these photos of trees down at Lisbon Cemetery.

Big pieces of trees are laying next to cemetery markers where trees have been cut down. When contacted about the concerns, Barry James, chairman of the village cemetery board, said there was no disrespect meant by the actions of the board. The four trees currently cut down in the cemetery are part of a preventive action.

Last March, high winds knocked down some of the trees near the cemetery and caused damage to 10 grave markers, which the board had to repair. That led to board members taking a good look at the trees, many of which James said are dying from the inside causing them to hollow out.

Four trees were found to be sickly and cut recently. The trees have been cut into what James called "movable pieces" and one of the four have been removed. By the end of this week, James said the trees will probably all be picked up.

"It's not a case of disrespect," James said, "so much as it is wood we haven't been able to get cleaned up yet. It will be taken care of."

James said he feels the employees who handle the care of the cemetery do a good job and are currently also battling the fall leaves. He said he was glad someone noticed a possible problem with the downed trees, because sometimes things go unnoticed in the cemetery unless there is a burial that day or an event.

"We try to keep that place as if it's our own back yard," James said.



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