Grave markers, monuments damaged during tree removal - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Grave markers, monuments damaged during tree removal

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(08/28/12) - Trees are being removed from cemeteries operated by the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.

Work began last week, and some of the trees are coming down on grave markers and monuments.

ABC12 got a phone call from a viewer who was upset that a grave marker of a loved one was damaged, but the diocese says it will replace any damaged headstone.

St. Patrick's Cemetery is in Bay County, just east Bay City Central High School. It's an older cemetery, with old trees - some of which have to be taken down before they come crashing down on the grave sites.

But that's what has happened. As a tree-cutting company was taking down some of the trees, some did fall on the grave markers, knocking a few over and damaging others.

The remnants of the trees are left behind, but there is a good reason. Tim Muter of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw says the workers from Sunset Tree Company in Bay City had to stop work and leave the area because of bees.

The trees were infested with bee hives, and one worker was stung more than 30 times. Muter says the clean-up work will continue as soon as possible.

In the meantime, a local monument company is helping out. Mark LaForge of Wright Gregory Monument Works says his company is helping remove the tree stumps.

"They are taking some of the trees down that are dangerous," LaForge said. "They have already had some fall because of the wind."

LaForge says tree removal in cemeteries is difficult work, but it has to be done. He hasn't received any complaints from people whose loved one's grave markers or monuments have been damaged, but he is sure repair work will be done, or the headstones will be replaced.

"They either contact us to have them set back up or call the Diocese," LaForge said.

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is also having trees removed from the Calvary Cemetery in Kawkawlin.

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