Local expresses concerns about Blan cemetery management


BLANCHESTER — A local expressed concerns at the latest village council meeting about the management of the Blanchester Cemetery.

At Thursday’s meeting, Dwayne Dearth, a local businessman, told village officials he saw damages on gravestones and memorial decorations being “scattered to the winds” by the lawnmower tending to the cemetery.

“Now, I don’t know who it is you have maintaining the cemetery since the village has taken it over, but you need to get rid of them,” said Dearth. “I’m sick and tired of seeing decorations being run over with mowers, scattered to the four-winds. (Gravestones) getting hit.”

The Village of Blanchester became the official owner of the cemetery after the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) transferred ownership to the village in April 2022. The reason for this was because the IOOF dissolved the Blanchester chapter of the organization.

Dearth told the council he advised council member Don Gephart about his concerns. He said they traveled out to the cemetery and Gephart saw the damages Dearth had mentioned. Dearth told the council how damage had been done to his daughter’s gravestone in the past and is tired of repairing it.

“There’s too much of this stuff going on, it needs to be controlled,” he said. “I do not want to have to go through this again.”

Blanchester Mayor John Carman apologized to Dearth and expressed sympathy for him. Carman discussed how, without excusing the damages or mismanagement, handling the cemetery was new to them.

Dearth acknowledged the village got handed a “handful without instruction,” but felt that he had to say something at this time.

Carman told the News Journal they’re planning on scheduling a committee meeting in the near feature to address these issues.

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

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