The North Bend Eagle

  Woodland Cemetery damage
Woodland Cemetery board members Steve Arneal and Ralph Diffey inspect damage done to the cemetery gounds by a vehicle during recent rains.

Local cemetery grounds defiled

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 9/30/15

On Sept. 23 Eva Roubal came home from a church meeting at 4 p.m. The lane to her house runs along the south side of Woodland Cemetery. She didn’t notice anything unusual at that time. At 6 p.m. her daughter-in-law, Karen Roubal, picked her up to go to the Chamber of Commerce steak fry and pointed out to her the muddy tracks on the east end of the cemetery.

“We slowed down to see what had been done,” Roubal said. “The ruts were very obvious.”

Roubal said she had not heard anything during the time she was home. She remembers that a light rain, almost a mist, was falling most of that time.

Ralph Diffey, secretary/treasurer of the Woodland Cemetery Board, inspected the damage on Thursday, finding deep ruts back and fourth across the east end of the community cemetery, an area reserved for future burial plots. He and cemetery board member Steve Arneal were back on Friday.

“They came in where the fence used to be,” Diffey said.

rutsThe drivers also tore up some local fields near the cemetery.

The fence north of the cemetery was removed in the spring with large cedar trees also removed by Standing C Excavating. In July the south fence was removed, with hopes that a new fence would be put in place shortly. A black chain link fence will be placed on the north and south sides of the cemetery and a black, ornamental wrought iron fence will be built on the west edge with an arch over the entry way. The cemetery owns the field on the east, extending back to the Roubal house, so no permanent fence will be placed there. The Roubals have a corn field there this year.

Diffey said the damage looks like one vehicle spinning its wheels on the rain soaked ground. Another cemetery board member, Dan Winkelman, has been out to inspect the damage.

“I think it was two vehicles,” Winkelman said. “I took pictures of tire tracks.”
“It’s kind of our fault we don’t have that fence up.” Diffey said. “Before, when the fence was here, if you were doing something like this and someone comes up here, you couldn’t get out. Now they can come and go. We hope to have that fence up before winter.”

Diffey said the damage is minor but shows a lack of respect.

“If they’d gotten into the main part of the cemetery, the tombstones, that would be really bad,” Diffey said. “That’s happened in Fremont. That would be lots of money. Some of the stones are irreplaceable. This is hallowed ground.”

The parking area was also tracked up this time. The vandal also drove along the irrigation lane in the field just north of the cemetery and had to have gotten pretty muddy. The vehicle couldn’t get out because the embankment was too steep so they drove back south along the ditch and along the cemetery parking area again.

Diffey said vandals have been out in the area before. They have not been inside the cemetery before but the parking area, as well as an area by the Kruger anhydrous storage tanks, was torn up after a rain Aug. 18.

Arneal, who farms the land north and south of the cemetery, has dealt with vandals before in his fields. A couple times snow mobilers broke an electric fence when cattle were in the field to the west. Another time a cell phone was found in the middle of the north field. He dialed the home number and found who the joy rider was that it belonged to.

“It shows lack of value for other people’s property,” Arneal said.

Roubal said they had someone drive through a cornfield east of her place a couple of years ago. Doug Wamberg flew over the place and could see the damage.

“Someone thinks they are having fun, but they are being destructive,” Roubal said.

Diffey was at the cemetery Thursday when he saw a cleaned pick up come in, really slow, with two young men. Diffey drove over and talked to them.

“They had the right kind of vehicle,” Diffey said. “I told them about my problem over there.”

The young men claimed not to know anyone who would do that, but would let him know if they heard anything.

“They seemed like nice kids,” Diffey said. “I hope this will deter any more damage to the cemetery.”

Diffey has reported the vandalism to the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department. Anyone with information about this act of destruction should contact the sheriff’s office at 402-652-3535.

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