Questionable: What’s the policy on decorating graves?
Updated Wed., 5/30 – Each week we answer questions our readers have asked. What do you really want to know? Drop us a line; maybe we can help.
“What is the policy at our local cemeteries? I brought flowers last year in time for Memorial Weekend and they were gone by the next week! Is there a size restriction, and can people still put decorations on their loved ones’ graves?”
– Wendy, Rhinelander
The Star Journal asked Gunder Paulsen, cemetery sexton for Forest Home Cemetery and City of Rhinelander parks director. Paulsen responded:
“I am sorry about your missing decorations, and I understand the emotional value these items have at a cemetery. We try very hard to make sure every grave looks well kept, and work hard to make this cemetery look its best all year round.
“However, we do have a policy for the Forest Home Cemetery for when graves can be decorated. Winter decorations are allowed from Dec. 1 to April 1. By April 1 all decorations must be removed allowing for spring clean-up. All items after April 1 are subject to removal and disposal by cemetery staff. Graves can be redecorated beginning May 1. Summer decorations are allowed from May 1 to Oct. 15. By Oct. 15 all decorations must be removed allowing for fall clean-up. All items remaining after Oct. 15 are subject to removal and disposal by cemetery staff. Graves can be redecorated beginning Dec. 1.
“Unfortunately there are big issues with vandalism and theft with grave decorations. It happens every so often, especially with the high end decorations. This is a constant battle at the cemetery. We do call the police to patrol the area, but it is hard to keep these vandals out since it is a public area.
“In addition, I find that some decorations are poorly made, and these tend to come apart with the wind and fly all over the cemetery. Then those have to be picked up and disposed of. Also, no glass containers or breakable figures or statues are allowed.
“We need to remove all decorations during our clean-up days in the spring and fall to be equitable. It’s important that this chore is performed twice a year so we can keep the cemetery looking good. If this policy didn’t exist, then deteriorating decorations would make the area look unkept.
“Our policy also states that the cemetery will not be responsible for any damage done to any decorations on graves.
“There is a kiosk at the cemetery entrance that states the cemetery decoration policy, or if people have other concerns they can Google Forest Home Cemetery in Rhinelander and read the entire policy for themselves.”
Editor’s note: Send in your questions to Starjournal@jcpgroup.com, or mail them to the Star Journal, 24 W. Rives St., P.O.?Box 558 Rhinelander, WI ?54501.