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Hunters cause disturbance at cemetery
At the end of December, a family gathered at Sunset Cemetery in Galloway for a service for their loved one.
Instead of peace, according to general manager Eric Lutz, family watched as a hunter and his dogs walked the property adjacent to the cemetery, shotgun in hand.
At a meeting Jan. 14, Lutz asked Prairie Township board members to review a permit that allows hunters on the adjacent property to the east of the cemetery, located off West Broad Street past Alton Road.
According to Lutz, on Dec. 30, during a service, a “disheartening” situation arose during a service. A hunter appeared in “plain view,” with a shotgun and dogs on the adjacent property. Deputy sheriffs were dispatched to the scene. The hunter did produce a valid permit to hunt on the land, and Lutz acknowledged hunters have had permission to hunt on the adjacent land for years. However, he expressed concern over safety.
“I’m asking you to review that policy and consider the safety concerns I’m bringing to the board,” Lutz said. “I feel someone is going to be injured because of the proximity.”
Hunters are required to apply for permits to hunt on the property in question, according to board of trustees vice-Chairperson Steve Kennedy. He is familiar with the cemetery and the property surrounding it as he lives nearby. Kennedy is aware of hunters on permitted property and has never had a problem or heard of a problem with hunters, he said.
Trustee Nicole Schlosser understood Lutz’s complaints to have a deeper meaning.
“It sounds as if the issue is respect of what’s happening while they are hunting,” she said. “The hunter is not having respect of what’s going on in the cemetery. If we can help to address that issue, would that help?”
Lutz stressed the safety aspect, and again asked trustees to review policies regarding the hunting.
While trustees agreed to review the policies, Kennedy also suggested the trustees consider putting restrictions and guidelines on the permits in regards to the cemetery. He suggested noting the cemetery is off limits, and to be respectful of services taking place in the cemetery.
Organization for the new year
Also at the Jan. 14 meeting, trustees held an organizational session. Doug Stormont was elected chairperson of the trustees, replacing Schlosser. Kennedy will take over Stormont’s position as vice-chairperson in the new year.
Clarification of the books
Kennedy made a correction to an announcement made at the last meeting of 2008. In December, Kennedy commended the township on its third year of fiscal responsibility, noting the township was waiting on $26,000 in revenue from investments. The financial records for the year 2008 closed Jan. 8. But due to a large roofing bill which had to be reflected on the books for 2008, the township ended the year with a $2,400 deficit.
According to Kennedy, the roofing bill cost $22,000, and though insurance will cover almost all of the bill, the township did not receive the bill in enough time to submit to the insurance.
The township is bracing for a rough year economically, said Kennedy, as state and local government funds are being cut by nearly 10 percent. That, Kennedy added, equates out to about $70,000 a year.
Kennedy apologized for being misleading at the last meeting, but added the township will still work toward a good financial standing.
“I’m still proud of how we’ve managed the finances over the last three years,” he said. “We’ve increased the rainy day fund by $300,000. We pledge to be fiscally responsible and don’t want to be misleading.”
Galloway resident Pam Williams commended the township on its fiscal responsibility.
“When I see and hear news on state and Columbus making cuts, it makes me so thankful, truly, that I live in Prairie Township,” she said. “It’s truly amazing what you guys have truly done.”
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