Volunteers at Arroyo Grande Cemetery deserve praise for cleanup efforts

The Arroyo Grande Cemetery has installed video surveillance cameras to reduce vandalism.
The Arroyo Grande Cemetery has installed video surveillance cameras to reduce vandalism. ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

We offer bouquets of public service to volunteers helping to improve the once-woebegone Arroyo Grande Cemetery, to cemetery officials joining in the effort and, last but never least, to the trappers who at last count had caught 250 gophers.

Some background: On account of the drought, in 2014 the cemetery district decided to stop irrigating, and between the lack of water and the gophers, the grounds turned into a dusty field of potholes. That offended some residents who have loved ones buried in the cemetery, and they formed a group that’s been lobbying for changes. The group also has been sponsoring volunteer work days and researching what’s being done at other cemeteries in the drought zone.

It’s paying off. We’re especially impressed by the installation of video surveillance cameras to reduce vandalism and thefts. The A.G. cemetery district had considered cameras but decided they were too expensive, but volunteer Miriam Moustirats found less expensive options. Thanks to her work, the district found that it could install cameras.

Volunteers also have been clearing gravestones of dirt, planting succulents and putting flowers on graves. The rains also have played a big role in transforming the grounds — at least for now. Volunteers are pressing for a permanent replacement for turf, such as composite granite. We wish them well.

Upset families of people buried in the Arroyo Grande Cemetery are speaking out about the "eyesore" conditions at the parched property, a year after the cemetery was honored for cutting its water use.

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