Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

February 5, 2013

Altamont Council discusses cemetery ordinance

ALTAMONT — There haven't been many rules on how Union Cemetery in Altamont must be maintained.

"There is a cemetery ordinance, but it's been limited to cost and interment rules," said City Commissioner Jason Williams, who oversees the cemetery on behalf of the City Council.

Williams said, however, that increasing difficulty in maintaining the cemetery is causing city officials to consider new rules on what can be used as a decoration or planting. He added the issue is not a new one.

"We've been thinking about this for some time," Williams said. "It's been a point of discussion that we can do better."

Williams conducted a public hearing Monday on the issue that drew about a half-dozen residents. He told the group the revised ordinance will be aimed primarily at ground decorations, such as solar lights and memorial plaques.

"Ground decorations make it hard to maintain," he said. "We've looked at what other cities are doing, but we wanted to see what the public had to say."

As it turned out, members of the public who were there had few questions. Local historian Alvin Oliver said one thing that would enhance the cemetery's appearance would be to fill in the cemetery's low spots.

"There ought to be a program where you fill in the sunken spots," Oliver said. "It would make it easier to mow."

Oliver said one problem is that many families own six- or eight-person lots that only have two graves.

"You don't see big families any more and family members don't come back here to be buried like they used to," he added.

Resident Jerry Jones said he gets lots of positive comments about the cemetery.

"People ask me where people are buried and always make a comment on how good the cemetery looks," Jones said.

"Overall, I think it's a nice cemetery," added resident Charlene Calhoun.

Williams said floral arrangements on approved monument vases, as well as saddles on monuments, will still be allowed at any time, as will fresh-cut flowers in approved vases.

But ground decorations and potted plants will only be allowed five days before or after Easter, Mother's Day, Memorial Day or Father's Day. Williams said shepherd hooks were on the original list of banned items, but he said that ban would hurt the florist business. Instead, shepherd hooks will be limited to one per monument.

The ordinance would also include a ban on any planting without city permission. Moreover, the ordinance would ban anyone other than nursery or city personnel from planting. Resident Joan Fitzwilliam questioned that provision during the hearing.

"I know a lot of people who know how to plant a tree," Fitzwilliam said.

"We just want to make sure it's done right," said Williams.

Williams said winter decorations will be allowed between Oct. 31 and March 15. Moreover, he said, the rules will be relaxed for new graves.

"I think we need to have some compassion," he said. "We'll let people put fresh flowers on new graves. We're not going to be hiding behind the fence waiting for the end of the burial."

Williams said the city would, however, remove flowers on new graves after the flowers died.

Williams said the ordinance would be read at next Monday's council meeting, but would be held over for passage until the Feb. 25 meeting.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.

Text Only
Local News
  • Sports complex hand shake A win for sports complex

    After months of planning and fundraising, Effingham Park District officials finally solidified plans for the Richard E. Workman Sports Complex.

    The path to having a sports complex in Effingham actually began decades ago, but it was October of last year that Richard and Angie Workman revived the prospect by donating $5 million for construction of such a facility. Since then, the Workmans have donated an additional $1 million toward the project added to community donations of $3 million, a recent $500,000 contribution from the city and the park district's ability to issue up to $6.5 million in debt certificates that allowed the district to officially award a bid Thursday from Poettker Construction to construct the complex.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_9368.JPG Storm interrupts power to 1,000 Fayette County residents

    Southwestern Electric line crews worked into the early hours of Thursday morning, restoring power to 1,700 members after a small but intense storm swept through the area Wednesday night.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADM donates to Blessings in a Backpack Archer Daniels Midland Company recently donated $1,000 to Effingham’s Blessings in a Backpack program. The donation will go toward purchasing food for area students for the coming school year.“Support and partnerships with area businesses are a stron

    August 21, 2014

  • golf Golf benefit raises $36K The Friends of St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital’s 6th Annual Golf Benefit was held July 18 at the Effingham Country Club. The event, which evolved through a partnership with Jonathan Kabbes and “Golf for a Cure” held in 2009 and 2010, netted $36,000 t

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nursing students make dean's list Students who are enrolled in at least six credit hours at Lakeview College of Nursing and who achieve a GPA of 3.6 or higher on a 4.0 scale are named to the dean’s list for the semester. Students recently receiving that honor include the following: B

    August 21, 2014

  • Heartland hosts depression presentation Heartland Human Services will host the presentation "Fed Up With Depression? (Discover The Foods That Can Help You Heal)" at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26, by the agency's psychiatrist, Dr. Rhoda Gottfried, MD, entitled, along will her husband, Dr. Sam

    August 21, 2014

  • Stocks advance for third day, despite Fed minutes NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market rose for a third straight day Wednesday despite a report from the Federal Reserve that showed a growing chorus of central bank officials willing to raise interest rates sooner rather than later.In the bond market, pri

    August 21, 2014

  • $500K coming to sports complex

    In a 3-2 vote Tuesday, Effingham City Council narrowly approved $500,000 in hotel/motel tax revenue to help fund the construction of the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center during a meeting in which the council approved funds for other entities as well.

    August 20, 2014

  • Shimkus not taking anything for granted despite past electoral success

    U.S. Rep. John Shimkus  hasn't had a serious election challenge in more than a decade. But the longtime congressman said he's not taking anything for granted, even though his sprawling district appears tailor-made for continued Republican representation.

    August 19, 2014

  • Power out in Effingham subdivision; cause not yet known

    A small number of Ameren electric customers on the west side of Effingham were out of power this morning.

    August 19, 2014

AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.