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Doing The Right Thing

POSTED June 23, 2009 3:49 p.m.
Dear Editor,
After reading Ms. Evelyn Shatswell Herling’s letter concerning the condition of Oakdale Citizen’s Cemetery and Mayor Jackson’s disavowal of any interest in the cemetery on the part of the city, I realized there is more to the story that should be told.
Over two years ago, after hearing many stories about the deplorable condition of the cemetery and the large colony of squirrels living there, members of the Oakdale Garden Club, under the leadership of Brenda Peterson, took on the task of rehabilitating an area at the back of the cemetery where babies had been buried beginning about 1947. The area was overgrown and most of the graves were unmarked. Club members cleared the area, planted roses and began purchasing grave markers at a reduced cost thanks to John Robinson, owner of Corner Stone Monuments. Burk Hefley and his wife Mary undertook the task of repairing and installing a water system to keep the newly planted area thriving.  The Gilton Company furnished dumpster service to haul away the refuse.
What appeared to be an overwhelming task has begun to take shape. Forty-nine grave markers have been installed, overgrown and diseased vegetation removed and flowers planted. The Oakdale Garden Club members have increased their efforts and are now cleaning and planting the entrance area of the cemetery and have cleared and planted the flagpole area where Memorial Day Services are held.
As Ms Herling’s letter attests, The Oakdale Citizen’s Cemetery is far from being a place of pride, but thanks to members of the garden club, and contributions from local companies,  progress is being made toward making the cemetery an acceptable monument to our history. Just another example of good citizen volunteers doing the right thing.
Bob Taylor

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