2018-07-08 / News

Chesaning Twp. Board discusses Wildwood Cemetery, patriotism

By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter

CHESANING TOWNSHIP – During the July 5 meeting, the Chesaning Township Board focused on Wildwood Cemetery and talked about the absence of patriotism in the schools and the community at large.

COLUMBARIUM

Plans for installing a columbarium for ashes at Wildwood Cemetery are moving forward. Township Clerk Fran Kukulis said the cemetery committee had two meetings with the contractors who want to bid. She explained that there will be walkways where wheelchairs can get through. Each niche will hold two sets of ashes.

Sealed bids are due before the township board’s August meeting.

Township trustee Ken Hornak asked about the stone color issue discussed at the last meeting. Contractors had recommended buying the entire project at once, otherwise the color of the stone wouldn’t match.

Kukulis responded, “It’s definitely an issue. Bill (Hedrich) suggested we purchase four one color, and (later) four another color.”

Trustee Pete Hemgesberg said, “It’s a lot cheaper to haul several (columbarium units) at once than haul one at a time.”

Township supervisor Bob Corrin said, “We’ve been talking about doing this for three years.”

Treasurer Cathy Gross said she talked with another township that installed a columbarium. They’ve sold 40 niches since 2009.

Kukulis said, “We don’t sell a ton of graves either.” But she added that if they were to expand Wildwood Cemetery, it would be necessary to clear land.

RETIRING AFTER 50 YEARS

As of Aug. 15, Joe and Elaine Zelinko will be retiring from digging graves at Wildwood Cemetery and the adjacent Catholic Cemetery. The Zelinkos have been digging graves in the area for 50 years. Joe helped Chesaning Township officials working through the transition.

Three applicants were considered by the cemetery committee. Jeremy McAllister was recommended by the committee. McAllister agreed to the same grave digging contract as the Zelinkos.

McAllister has approximately 15 years of experience working with Brady Township and has helped out at other cemeteries. He already owns the right equipment for the job, a small custom Bobcat.

“It should be a smooth transition,” he told the board. McAllister is already vested in the community as co-owner of Heritage Monument in Chesaning.

Chesaning Township Supervisor Bob Corrin told McAllister, “I know records are important.”

McAllister said it’s not a problem.

Hemgesberg advised McAllister to make sure he finds out where the waterlines are located. Trustee Bill Hedrich said, “I can help him with that.”

The board voted unanimously to award the grave digging contract to McAllister under the same contract as the Zelinkos.

The board also added a $25 administration fee to the fee schedule for burying ashes; since under the Zelinkos, the township had not been receiving the administration fee that covers the cost of township recordkeeping. The new fee goes into effect Aug. 16, when Zelinko’s contract ends and McAllister’s contract begins.

MEMORIAL DAY AT THE CEMETERY

Toward the end of the meeting, Supervisor Corrin talked about the low attendance at the Memorial Day ceremony at Wildwood Cemetery. During the June meeting of the Chesaning Union Schools Board of Education, Corrin asked why students aren’t participating in the American Legion’s Voice of Democracy contest. School officials did not respond. In years past, local Voice of Democracy winners would give their speeches at the Memorial Day ceremony in Wildwood.

Corrin said something needs to be done so people don’t forget what Memorial Day is about.

Clerk Fran Kukulis said Chesaning students have participated in the past. She added that there was extreme heat on Memorial Day this year. Corrin said students haven’t participated in about three years, he is concerned.

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