Cemetery commission prepares for election of new officers

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

There will be some open spots on

the Eureka Springs Cemetery Commission

this January.

At the commission’s Wednesday,

Dec. 13, meeting, cemetery superintendent

and commission chairwoman

Susan Tharp reminded the commissioners

that they will need to elect

new officers in January.

“You guys voted in me and [secretary

and treasurer] David Sallee temporarily

until the first of January,” she

said. “The election for new officers

will be in January.”

Commissioners Steven “Yip”

Vorbeck announced that he would

be leaving the commission once his

term is up in January, leaving a seat

open for anyone interested in serving

on the cemetery commission.

Also at the meeting, Tharp told

the commission she has spoken with

the city council about increasing the

hours for the head groundskeeper

position and transferring some of the

superintendent’s duties to that position.

“As far as what I’ve talked with

the city about, I asked for an increase

to be able to substantiate [the head

groundskeeper] at full-time status,”

she said. “That would enable him

to receive insurance and allow us to

transfer parts of the superintendent

duties to him as far as answering daily

phone calls and being there for the

opening of graves.”

The commission voted to table

action on new hours and salary for

the groundskeeper until the council

makes a decision.

Head groundskeeper Pat Lujan

presented the monthly groundskeeper

report to the commission, saying

someone has been cleaning headstones

in the cemetery without permission.

Commissioner Luther “L.B.” Wilson

asked if the person was doing

something wrong.

“Well, you’re not supposed to

clean them,” Lujan said. “There’s not

been a whole lot of damage, but there

has been some.”

He said a few headstones have noticeable

scratches on them from some

kind of knife or tool. The cleaning is

an issue, he said, because the headstones

are private property.

“It’s not our property, and we’re

not supposed to be doing that,” he

said. “The police department is adding

some extra patrols.”

“Who knows what they’re using?”

Vorbeck said. “The damage may not

show up for another year or two.”

Tharp said the commission should

probably consider some sort of camera

system when discussing next

year’s budget. Lujan said he would

be keeping an eye on the situation for


Also in the groundskeeper report,

Lujan said he has finally reached a

turning point with some of the leaves

and pine needles built up in the cemetery,

checking off some of the blocks.

“I want to give a shout out to Jim

Holland,” Lujan said. “He has helped

me immensely. Yesterday, he was

there with his truck hauling loads of

pine needles and leaves.”

Also at the meeting, Tharp announced

that Wilson had gotten a

donation station donated to the cemetery

and it had been set up by the

fountain. The commission discussed

what the sign on the donation station

should read, settling on “Donations

help to preserve our cemetery.”

Tharp said she would also look into

setting up a GoFundMe account for

the cemetery, which could be listed

on the donation box. Lujan suggested

she check with the city about the

legality of having an account.Tharp

also announced that cemetery sexton

Gloria Stevens had completed her updating

of the information in the cemetery’s

official book of records. Lujan

said Stevens was keeping track of the

updating process, providing him with

information for his record book immediately

after selling graves.

The commission’s next regular

meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 10, in the lobby of

the Auditorium.

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