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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Riverside Cemetery Meet Reviews 2020 Activities

Issue Date: January 13, 2021

Before the start of the regular Peshtigo Riverside Cemetery on Monday, Jan. 11, the annual meeting was held to review the 2020 year.

Cemetery President Mike Swiatnicki thanked the board for their hard work in 2020, especially for the major accomplishment of the purchase of the Columbariums. He also gave a huge thank you to Vice President Lois Walters for all of the hard work she put into helping to make the purchase of the Columbariums happen. Swiatnicki stated, "The reason for the purchase was to look at ways to make more revenue for the cemetery". He also thanked Sexton John Garon for all his hard work as well as Wes Olsen who was hired as a temporary employee after the unexpected resignation of Assistant Groundskeeper, Leonard Ziobron. We will discuss later how we will advertise for the position, but in the meantime, Olsen is filling in.

Later in the public comment section of the meeting, Olsen showed his interest in the position of the Assistant Grounds Keeper by commenting, "I don't think you have to interview, I am right here". The board appreciated his interest but explained they still need to go through the application and interview process and they will definitely consider Olsen for the position.

In her report, Walters added, "It was a very productive year and a great team effort by everybody. We were successful in the purchase of the Columbariums, mapping and signage was completed and the last of the posts were put up in the first addition and the old section. If there are anymore suggestions to help make the cemetery more user friendly for the public, we are always open to suggestions. In working with a limited budget, the Cemetery is always open to donations as well".

Secretary Sally Witak echoed Swiatnicki in thanking everyone for all of their hard work. She also announced the new bi-laws have been completed by the Peshtigo Times and you are welcome to take some after the meeting.

The annual meeting was then adjourned and the regular meeting followed opening with officers reports.

In his report, Swiatnicki stated he talked to City of Peshtigo Public Works Director George Cowell about equipment repairs for two lawnmowers and the backhoe. Cowell was open to doing the repairs and told Swiatnicki to bring them over when they can.

Swiatnicki commented, "If we should need the backhoe for burials while it is in repair we can either rent a backhoe or get a price from the business we used in Oconto in the past and Garon can assist them to keep the cost down". Swiatnicki will work with Garon on scheduling a time to bring the equipment to the city garage to be repaired.

Swiatnicki also gave an update on repair and service projects. The new line was run for electrical and we are hooked up and running on new electrical service. The electrician will be back in spring to complete the job. Tree trimming and removal was completed and the biggest item for 2020 was the new roof for the Mausoleum. Swiatnicki added, "I received an unsolicited call from the roofing company that did the unsatisfactory repairs and the company is discussing among themselves of how to proceed. Before we call an attorney, I would like to give them a chance to see what they come up with. If they don't respond back to me, I will call them and have an answer at our next meeting in March of how we will be moving forward".

Swiatnicki then discussed goals for 2021 saying, "Obviously the largest goal for all of us is road funding. If anybody has any creative ideas or further ways we can provide funding please share that with the entire board. I would also like to see what it would take to restore water to the bathroom area of the cemetery. At present the pump is disconnected and there is a major leak just south of the south garage. The leak is somewhere between a large hole that is there and the building. It might be something as simple as putting a new point down or could be more complicated. I won't know until we do further investigating. I have a contractor coming in spring to give us a quote. Eventually we will lose pressure and not be able to provide water to that section.

Lastly, Swiatnicki added, "I would like to look at doing a detailed design for the cemetery. We have nothing right now, other than it says Peshtigo Riverside Cemetery. I would like us to come up with a nice logo". Treasurer Nancy Holtzberger echoed Swiatnicki's idea and also said, "We definitely need something, everything including the letterhead looks so blah".

In her report, Walters had an idea for updated projects for 2021. She asked, "Is it possible to have the Facility Operations Committee look at an office / bathroom upgrade? John meets with clients and we need something that is more of a presentable, appealing area to meet with clients. It would be nice if we had an established area. If there is anyone who has or knows of someone who may have either a small utility construction trailer or something rectangular to donate or to purchase at a reasonable cost that can be converted into an office area that can have air conditioning and fit a table and chairs, we could make that work".

Treasurer Holtzberger reported, "My main goal for 2021 is that I would like to see completed the second cremation area that we have staked out". She also added, "I provide a condensed summary of the Treasurers report at the meetings for printing purposes but if any trustee or officer at anytime wants a breakdown of each line item I can provide that. All you have to do is ask and I can get you a line by line breakdown".

Elections were then held with no opposition and the same officers remained in the same positions, including Mike Swiatnicki as President, Lois Walters, Vice President, Sally Witak, Secretary and Nancy Holtzberger, Treasurer.

Committee members include: Finance, Nancy Holtzberger, Amber Polzin and Kathy Crabtree; Facilities: Patty Stibbe, Kathy Crabtree and Mike Swiatnicki; Mapping and Signage: Lois Walters and Kathy Crabtree; Personnel: Sally Witak, Lois Walters and Patty Stibbe.

Walters noticed the fence on the East side by County Road RW is in need of repairs. Swiatnicki said he talked to someone that works in fencing that told him if we can get a group of volunteers together he would see what they can do to make some repairs.

Polzin discussed the possibility of having an email setup for people to have the ability to email the Cemetery for any questions or concerns. Polzin stated, "I think people are more comfortable emailing rather than calling and it can also be used for those who may just be looking for information or it may be another way to reach out to people who may have interest in the cemetery in whatever regard. It is a good way to communicate for us and the public". Polzin offered to maintain the emails/website. Holtzberger agreed to setup a separate email address to be maintained by Polzin.

In his sextons report, Garon advised there were 42 burials for the 2020 year with five most recently from Nov. 20 through Dec. 14. The 42 burials consisted of 31 full burials and 11 cremations. There were 25 grave sales and 8 prepaid burials.

The Columbarium Committee met in December and came up with prices that they think are reasonable. Holtzberger also created a draft of the brochure. The committee still needs to meet to finalize the forms for the Columbariums. They also decided to go with Menominee Granite Works for engraving to insure uniformity that they are all the same.

There is more clarification and definition that needs to be discussed about the Columbariums. The committee will finalize everything and bring it back to the March meeting for further discussion and approval. Once everything is finalized, there will be a press release and a grand opening.

Holtzberger then brought up the idea of having a Public Relations Committee stating, "It is always good to have a way to communicate and remain open to public suggestions, complaints and comments". Polzin added, "It also gives us the opportunity to send brochures and information immediately through the internet versus mailing or people having to pickup in person". Another comment was, In going along with Public Relations, there could also be a Fundraising Committee. Polzin agreed to take on both additional committee roles.

As always the cemetery is always open to donations, suggestions and trustees to join their board. Anyone interested can call Lois Walters at 715-582-3370.

The next meeting will be held on Monday, March 8 at 5:30 p.m.


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