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Geocaching Topic At Cemetery Meeting

Issue Date: May 12, 2021

The Peshtigo Riverside Cemetery meeting on Monday, May 10 began with President Mike Swiatnicki commenting on how nice the cemetery looks for this time of year. With assistance from Mother Nature with the nicer weather we had this spring, work at the cemetery was started earlier than other years.

Swiatnicki continued, "There were a few minor leaks in the water system but those were taken care of. There are some major leaks that I will be meeting with PHC to get those taken care of. We also may need to have a special meeting to discuss the roof on the Mausoleum. A letter will be drafted by Attorney Dave Spangenberg releasing the roofing company from liability and also from us not having to pay for the roof repair. We will need to rebid the project for a different contractor to do repair to the roof".

"The electrical upgrade is up and operational, but Frank of Olson Electric will be back to complete a little work on the outlets and switches. Also, the backhoe and lawnmowers were gone through by City of Peshtigo workers", Swiatnicki added.

In his report, Sexton John Garon stated there were three full burials, two cremations and five grave sales. Garon also said, "I talked with someone about the Columbarium's and they said it will take about a week to complete". Garon also stated, "There are about four or five people interested in purchasing niches at the Cemeter,". Board Member Lois Walters added, "I will help you with making the first sale".

Secretary and Personnel Committee member Sally Witak advised the board that after advertising for an Assistant Grounds keeper position, there was only one inquiry from a gentleman that never responded back. Witak said, "I had met with Wes Olson at the Cemetery and interviewed him. Olson is very interested in the position, is a hard worker, he likes working at the cemetery and working with Garon. I recommend to hire Olson to work with Groundskeeper Garon as assistant grounds keeper". Later in the meeting as an agenda item to discuss action regarding Personnel Committee recommendation for that position, it was unanimously approved to hire Olson as the Assistant Grounds Keeper along with retro pay from April 1, 2021 forward.

Witak announced we received a letter on the cemetery website from Breanna Camps asking for permission to place a Geocache container somewhere in or around the cemetery. In her letter Camps said, "Geocaching is a real world outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the Geocache container hidden in that location. Geocaching encourages interest in local history and Cachers practice cache in, trash out, meaning not leaving any trash, but picking up litter found near that sight. The container will be small and hidden and we encourage cachers to be respectable of mourners and avoid destruction of grave sites. The cache container will not be placed near any grave markers. The purpose is for the container not to be easily seen or found by usual visitors". Camps had a video and link for the Geocaching website with additional information on this activity which is practiced around the world. Camps added, "There are currently hundreds of Caches placed in cemeteries throughout Wisconsin as part of a venture called Wisconsin Spirit Quest. I would like to continue this journey at the Peshtigo Riverside Cemetery. I am interested in this site because I lived in Peshtigo nearly my whole life and have family resting there".

In discussion, Member Amber Polzin added, "The library did this as a project. They hide a small container with a log book in it and when a Geocacher finds it, they log their name in the log book that they found it. There are 157 Geocachers around the Marinette area. Holtzberger added, "I think that is a really nice idea to get some people coming in there and I have never heard of anyone trashing anything. Those people interested in doing this are respectful". Walters disagreed with that saying "With it being sacred grounds, I believe there are public parks and other locations that it can be done at". Member Kathy Crabtree added, "They don't do it by the graves, they do it by the cedar trees and away from the gravesites. They are very respectful of where they are at and they don't bother the mourners. There aren't a lot of people at one time". Polzin added, "These are people that are interested in the area that do biking or hiking and it is not young people and it could bring people in from out of the area as well". Holtzberger said, "I don't think it is any different than people coming in looking for different graves, different names or do grave etching tracings. It might get people interested in the cemetery and they may find it a good spot to come to". Polzin interjected, "I think we should request where the Geocache is located and if we have issues in that area we can address it then".

With the item not being on the agenda it could not be voted on, rather, it was discussed to touch base with Camps and see if this is something they wanted to start right away that a special meeting may need to be set up for discussion or if it can be brought to the next meeting of July 12.

Walters brought up the issue of a discussion that was held at a prior meeting in regards to getting a new landline phone system. A suggestion was brought up to check with Cellcom for their service for a landline with being between $15 and $20 or between $180 to $240 per year versus the $700 per year that is being paid now for a landline service.

The last item on the agenda was how to move forward with what to do with the 2016 Gravely lawnmower, with the engine being shot. The options are to put out for bids and sell it for parts, get a new engine installed or use it as a trade in for a new one. Garon mentioned that when Joel Guay was Sexton, he would get a front cutter lawn mower and trade it in every two years and that way, there would be a good trade in amount with not much left to pay towards a new one.

After discussion it was decided to put the Gravely out for bids and whatever they get for it would be put into the contingency fund to be applied towards the purchase of a new mower.

Following the Cemetery meeting, a short Cremation Development/ Columbarium Committee meeting was held to discuss the landscaping options for the Columbarium units.

The general consensus was to keep it simple with minimal landscaping, not to make it look too cluttered and if there should be benches as well. At this point, there will be a half circle in front of each Columbaria with planters and benches between the two units. There was also discussion about an angel statue that would need to be secured to the concrete if they would be using it in that area. Crabtree and Holtzberger will be donating the planters for the Columbarium's. Member Steve Walters mentioned to view other cemeteries to see what they have for landscaping to get different ideas.

The bench option was discussed to go with wooden or composite benches and if they should go with benches made by the Eagle Scouts and if Scouts are able to construct them from composite material or if they have to be wooden. Further discussion will be continued at their next meeting after exploring the options and opportunities.

The next Cemetery meeting will be held Monday, July 12.


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