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Lisbon solicitor: Secure open burial sites abetter

October 23, 2012
Morning Journal News

LISBON - The village solicitor believes cemetery workers should do a better job of securing burial sites to prevent the living from falling into open graves.

Virginia Barborak raised the issue at Monday's council meeting, which was attended by cemetery board president Barry James to update them on development of job descriptions for new cemetery employees.

Barborak questioned the practice of placing sheets of plywood across dug graves the day prior to burial, saying the plywood needs secured in some fashion to prevent someone from climbing or falling into the grave.

"Is there a better way to secure it?" she asked, adding her concern is about the potential liability to the village since the plywood can easily be moved. Barborak suggested placing "something heavy" on the plywood.

James said sometimes they secure the plywood, depending on the circumstances, but most of the time they do not. He said the policy is to dig the grave the day before burial rather than do it the same day "because it's easier on us."

"Some cemeteries leave the hole open. Some cemeteries dig the grave up the day of the burial. We don't think that's the best thing to do," James said.

As for any potential liability associated with anyone moving the plywood and falling or jumping in the open grave, James said the cemetery hours are posted and anyone there after dark assumes that risk. He said they lack the resources to monitor the cemetery for pesky juveniles during the daylight hours.

"If someone really wants to play games in there there's no way around it," he said.



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