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MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2007
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Grave complaints
Local woman wants holes filled at family gravesites

By Chris Paschenko
chris@decaturdaily.com· 340-2442

Conditions of family gravesites at a cemetery have a Danville woman feeling disparaged and frustrated.

Standing underneath an umbrella in the rain Sunday, Autumn Hanners pointed to a 6-inch-wide hole next to her grandfather-in-law’s grave.

She calls it a sinkhole. It tunnels about two feet underneath Henry G. Tyler’s headstone.

Despite requests to correct the problem, Hanners said, Burningtree Memorial Gardens on Marsha Avenue near Interstate 65 in the Priceville area has ignored the situation for a year, which the cemetery manager denies.

Hanners’ infant daughter, Alexcia, is buried nearby, and a hole is forming next to her headstone.

“Hopefully the graves will be fixed,” Hanners said. “It was hard enough losing her at 24 days old and then to see a hole in the grave.”

Aside from other cosmetic deficiencies — broken, rusted and falling signs — the cemetery grounds are well-manicured. Stone statues, one of Jesus and another of the Bible, adorn the flat land.

Ginger Lane has managed the cemetery for about a year.

“Graves get holes from time to time when it rains, and we work on the grounds on a daily basis,” Lane said Sunday. “Headstones sink, and we have to raise them up and put dirt underneath them. We’ll probably fill it in tomorrow if it’s dry enough.”

Hanners said her dealings with different caretakers have left her soured.

“It’s very upsetting,” Hanners said. “Where I chose to bury my daughter has been an awful experience. They misspelled her headstone.”

Lane said Lawrence Group of Dallas, Ga., purchased the cemetery out of bankruptcy about two years ago and is working on improvements.

She said the company replaced the misspelled marker at its expense.

“We don’t call them complaints,” Lane said. “We call them an opportunity to serve and do everything we possibly can to keep someone from being mad.

“Anyone with any concerns they think we’re not addressing, I happily give them my bosses’ number. We’re upfront with everything, and most are satisfied with the job we do there.”

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