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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Riverside Cemetery Board Okays Purchases, Updates

Issue Date: January 30, 2020

The Riverside Cemetery meeting on Monday, Jan. 13 began with the annual meeting, followed by their regular meeting.

President Mike Swiatnicki stated, "The 2019 year was a very productive year for the cemetery and board as a whole. We worked very well together. We replaced the pickup truck and hired Assistant Grounds Keeper, Leonard Ziobron, who is working out very well. Several projects that were started and will be carried over into 2020 include the electrical update, mausoleum roof, tree trimming and tree removals. Rules and regulations of the cemetery were updated and will be printed, also very importantly, legal forms for grave sales and burials were updated." Swiatnicki also said, "I talked to Olson Electric and Bucksaw Tree Service and Patti Stibbe and I will be marking trees for them."

There are three trustee positions open due to the resignation of Board Member Amber Lynwood, Swiatnicki's term will expire in 2023 and they are operating short one member with that term expiring in 2021. There is a possibility of also adding one more trustee. Swiatnicki added, "We need to have a serious discussion of where we want to be with the number of people we want to have on the board. If adding people, we should have a recruitment to hire people." The discussion was tabled and put on the March Agenda.

The meeting then transitioned into the regular Cemetery Board meeting. Swiatnicki opened with "I would like to see us put together goals to discuss at future meetings. There are some items we have talked about in the past and would like to see us move forward with these items."

Some of those goals they want to address are use of an inmate worker, which Sexton John Garon agreed with, stating, the sooner the better. Complete current projects mentioned earlier, water/ bathroom update, a better plan for raising and leveling headstones, working on the cremation area and the roads and lastly thoughts on donations and fund raising.

In his President's report, Swiatnicki added, "The donation that was made for the fence many, many years ago no longer have any family in this area. It is now up to us to what to do with the damaged fencing. There was some work done there and it does look much better." Board Member Kathy Crabtree interjected, "We will need a lot of help this spring, can we get an inmate worker and give the jail a heads-up that we are looking for a helper." It was unanimously agreed to secure a worker from the inmate work program.

Lois Walters, commented, Treasurer Nancy Holtzberger, Crabtree and myself are on the committee and I spoke with the surveyor that did the mapping asking if we have a particular area we want to use for cremations. WE are wondering if, can we still use that area and he indicated it is up to the board to do whatever they want to do. "At this point we were looking at section C, the third edition new section by the river," Walters added. It was then decided to set a date to meet to move forward with discussing the cremation area.

Holtzberger commented, "If you have any input, please share. Any input you have will be very helpful." She also stated, "With less expenses this year and more burials, we have extra money do do more upkeep." She also advised the budget was never finalized and we should meet this month to submit the budget. Swiatnicki interjected, "There are Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) incentive programs out there, I will talk to someone to see if any grants or programs are available."

Garon reported, "I will be concentrating on Section A for selling of graves. It was a good year for sales with 28 grave sales. There were 35 burials with 16 of them being full burials and there are approximately seven more graves for Spring."

Garon also provided a quote of approximately $85 to $90 for chaps, helmet and head gear for use when using the chain saw and cutting and trimming of trees. This was discussed in prior meetings and the board agreed to go forward with the purchase of these items.

In other news, Garon also said the Gravely lawnmower blew an engine, the Torro lawnmower warranty is almost up and it is always hard to start and the John Deere is 23 years old. It still fires up but the tranny will start to go soon. He stated they used the backpack blower from the city and we might want to consider the purchase of one of those at a cost of $400. A probe was needed, but would like to thank Tony Matecki for making me one. He also said we could use a new generator for pumping out the graves. The backhoe is over 20 years old and will be bringing to the city for a good look at it.

After officers reports, the meeting shifted into election of officers. It was unanimously approved for all to keep their current positions. Swiatnicki added, "Everyone is doing a wonderful job and I appreciate what everyone of you do. Thank You for your support."

Committee appointments for 2020 were postponed until March for further discussion to determine who wants to be on what committee. Swiatnicki said, "Or if everyone is happy where they are at we can leave as is." Crabtree and Holtzberger then decided to be on the finance committee. Swiatnicki added, "Amber will be missed and I wish her the best. She did say that she will continue to do Notarizing for the Cemetery."

Walters wanted to add another item to the March meeting agenda. That is to create a committee to discuss assignments and an assistant for Garon. We need a plan of action for someone to help out in his absence. She addressed Garon saying, "We need to have where we can help you out and you can help us out, we need standard operating procedures." Holtzberger added, "We need a general list for Spring startup and also a start to finish from the time you receive a phone call and procedurizing through the steps so we know what to do in your absence of a vacation or illness."

Matecki, representing the American Legion and VFW commented they took down 26 flag poles at the front of the cemetery and they will be replaced with 13 flags of American POW's MIA's and Wisconsin flags. One to represent each the 13 stripes on the flag. Four poles will be lit up including a flag on each, POW, American Legion, VFW and Wisconsin. We will also have a three year contract to pay for the electricity of $25 per month. Swiatnicki commented, "This is perfect timing to incorporate in with the electrical work we will be doing at the cemetery."

Matecki added, There will also be a statue in the back of the cemetery with a rifle, boots and helmet to represent all Veterans in the Desert Storm Wars along with names of Veterans and Military. Mapping sheets are being made and will be available at the Peshtigo Fire Museum showing where all monuments are located. We will be putting up three flags at City Hall with motion sensor lighting including the Wisconsin flag in the middle with a POW flag on one side and a MIA flag on the other side.

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be held Monday, March 9 beginning at 5:30 p.m.


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