Cook Cemetery grave decorations removed, people speak up at town - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Cook Cemetery grave decorations removed, people speak up at township meeting

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TAYMOUTH TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (05/08/14) - Folks with loved ones buried at a Saginaw County cemetery were shocked to find their grave decorations removed and thrown in a pile.

Cook Cemetery is near Seymour and East Burt roads in Taymouth Township.

"Oh my gosh, this wasn't even done neatly," said Carol Hart of Taymouth Township, while getting her first glimpse at the pile. "The angels that people had on the graves, you can see they're just smashed."

People couldn't believe it; their decorations,carefully placed on a family members' grave, are removed and tossed aside.

"This is sacred," said Chris Mauro, who was visiting the grave of his son and his son's best friend.

Mauro comes to the cemetery as often as possible to clean their graves. He had decorations and solar lights set up.

"We had lights shining on here so he wouldn't be in the dark, you know," he said.

But that's gone now.

If you take a look at the sign at the cemetery gate, there's a note from the Taymouth Township board. It asks people to remove seasonal or unapproved items.

The date on it says April 3, but many say they never saw it.

"If for some reason they need to remove them because of mowing or whatever, contact the people or post it somewhere," Hart said.

Many want to know why they weren't personally notified.

"I wish they wouldn't have done it the way they did," Mauro said.

Wednesday, May 14, at a Taymouth Township board meeting, Mary Leyrer spoke up during the open forum segment about the recent incident.

She was not the only one who was upset. Several other people came forward as well. The meeting took about two hours to complete.

Leyrer told ABC12 she just wanted answers. Who authorized this destruction? Why did they do this? How did they intend on fixing it?

Leyrer says she does not feel like she got those answers. She says the board called this incident "routine maintenance."

Leyrer's mother is buried in the cemetery, but before her passing, she served the township. She use to cut the grass for the cemetery. This is why Leyrer says she knows this act was not "routine maintenance."

Leyrer says four of the five board members apologized for the destruction.

The board is also allowing for the community to volunteer on the committee that serves the cemetery. That way, in the future, they have the chance to be heard on decisions like these.

If you are interested in being part of this committee, visit Taymouth Township Offices.

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