Families want more notice of removal of decorations from cemetery

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CASA GRANDE — Some family members of loved ones buried at Casa Grande Cemetery felt there was insufficient notice for the removal of decorations at the burial sites.

At Casa Grande’s Mountain View Cemetery, Alex McCaslin regularly comes to visit those she has buried. Recently, she has noticed more changes to the tombstones than she would like.

Between in-laws and immediate family members, she has eight relatives in the entire cemetery, some of whom are military personnel.

Some members of his family were buried earlier than expected, such as his son John Issac McCaslin II, who died aged just 22 in a motorcycle accident.

Above the headstone, she says she placed a hook that belonged to her late grandmother and a lantern ‘because he loved the green lantern’, but it was recently removed, she says, by staff .

Flowers, hats, keepsakes, crosses and candles were placed in a corner of the cemetery along with decorations from other families, some wrapped in plastic bags.

“They didn’t just take a sentimental item, they took a religious item from us,” McCaslin said.

Photo courtesy of Alex McCaslin.

“All those things they threw away were sentimental things that belonged to loved ones,” Amber Tellez said.

Tellez has generations of family interred throughout the cemetery.

“All the mourning we do to bury our loved ones is heartache,” she said.

ABC15 raised the concerns with Janet Warren, one of the cemetery owners who spoke on the phone several times on Friday.

She said that when the decorations start to pile up, the wind blows them around the cemetery and that too has led to separate family complaints.

She said some of the decorations were from holidays long gone.

Their rules state that these items must be removed after the holidays or the staff will remove them.

Other key rules include: No glass items and nothing on the grass for staff to clean, disinfect and mow.

Warren said she posted these rules and regulations at the cemetery and also in a local newspaper.

Photo courtesy of Janet Warren.

Some families said that the notice was not enough and that they would like to be informed on social networks.

“Nobody saw any documentation at the cemetery,” Tellez said.

Warren said the cleanup has been suspended until next Monday to give families more time to collect any items or decorations left at the cemetery.

She declined to be interviewed, but stressed that the cemetery was trying to do the right thing and be fair to all families.

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