October 25, 2014

Woodmere Cemetery vandalized

Tim Barnum
These two headstones have seemingly fresh flowers planted by them, which means the family members may be able to be identified and informed regarding the act of vandalism.
Tim Barnum
This headstone was victim to vandalism, the broken seal that attached it to the foundation can be seen, as well.
Tim Barnum
This tall grave monument was tipped over and broke by vandals.
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By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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STANDISH — At least four headstones or grave monuments were knocked off foundations in Woodmere Cemetery some time last weekend. The affected gravesites were all located in the Southwest corner of the cemetery.

“I think it’s terrible that people would do it. … It’s very disturbing and I really find that totally outrageous,” said Standish City Manager Mike Moran. “I’ve had these types of situations before (while working in other cities) and every time it just angers me.”

According to Moran, there isn’t much that can be done to nab the vandals responsible for the vandalism, which Moran says he discovered Monday morning, May 11.

“City police looked at it and we took some pictures. There’s not much more we can do right now,” he said. “Unfortunately these things usually go unsolved.”

As for family members of the buried whose graves were desecrated, Moran says steps are being taken to find out how to inform them, but the age and condition of the headstones is complicating things.

“They’re (headstones) very, very old so whether or not we’ll be able to contact the families is questionable. … With that older area (where the graves were vandalized), the records are kind of sketchy,” he said, adding genealogy tracing will be done to find out who can be contacted.

He also added that a couple of the graves appeared to have fresh flowers placed on them, which may mean family members of buried individuals in those sites will be easier to reach or still in the Standish area.

Moran says Standish Department of Public Works (DPW) employees will be instructed to attempt to re-set the headstones without doing further damage to the stones, and added that the seals that attach them to the foundations will also need to be redone. Moran says he is unsure if the DWP has the proper equipment to perform the lifting and reattachment.

Moran says no evidence, besides the photographs taken of the act, was discovered. Anyone with information on the vandalism can contact the Standish City Police at 989-846-9588.

This is the second act of vandalism in a public setting in the Standish area in the past three weeks, the first taking place in Standish Township at the Standish Nature Preserve, located on Bordeau Road. The story of that vandalism was reported in the April 29 edition of the Arenac County Independent.

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