Cemetery Admits Changes Needed

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SCRANTON -- Over the past few years, it's no secret the Washburn Street Cemetery in Scranton has had some issues with vandalism. Earlier this year, the cemetery reported the tombstone of Hillary Clinton's father was damaged. Now, there's more concern with dozens of tombstones turned over, or tombstones buried under a fallen tree.

Not as acts of vandalism but, what appears to some, as a lack of care for the cemetery.

"As I drive through, it just looks a mess. All the toppled tombstones and things like that, and my mom's is sunken in because they didn't take care of it, " said Jerry Brelish.

Brelish and her sister Gay Jewel, buried their mother at the Washburn Street Cemetery three years ago.

Since they have tried to get the cemetery and it's administrator to make some changes.

"I did call him a couple of times about the condition of the grave itself and the stone and i never got a call back," said Brelish.

Newswatch 16 was  able to get ahold of an administrator with the cemetery who said he didn't know about this toppled tree, and admits it is unacceptable. A work order has already been put in to get it cleared up.

However, as far as the toppled tombstones, he cited this, the cemetery's regulations. In the regulations it says the cemetery is, "not responsible for damage or maintenance on a monument."

"We are always looking for better ideas on how to improve the cemetery. I have only been her for about three years myself, and we have made a lot of improvements," said Washburn Street Cemetery Administrator Dominic Graziano.

Graziano wanted people with loved ones  buried at Washburn to know he is open to some changes.

"It's not the money thing, it's logisitics. For instance, we can gate the front of the cemetery but is that what people really want," said Graziano.

Graziano plans on setting up a website for the cemetery with his contact number, (570) 878-5862, people can leave requests for changes.

The cemetery administration will evaluate suggestions.




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