Breckenridge cemetery

Residents in one Mid-Michigan community are angry, saying workers are disrespecting the final resting places of their loved ones.

The issue is grave decorations that were ripped out and thrown away.

“We had no idea about this, that they were going to do this to the graves,” said Denise Cline, Breckenridge resident.

She said her father’s grave doesn’t look the same thanks to the staff at Ridgelawn Cemetery.

“They’ve torn our graves apart,” she said.

Cline is one of many residents who reached out to TV5 demanding answers.

Kay Seward is furious that so many decorations at the cemetery were taken away.

“It’s just a drab old cemetery that is not inviting,” Seward said.

Breckenridge Village Manager Jeff Ostrander is standing behind his actions.

“I’d call it social media nonsense and it’s terrible that somebody can get upset about something and start this nonsense frenzy,” Ostrander said.

Ostrander said this is part of routine cleanup that has been done every October since 1908. He said there was also a new ordinance adopted in May, which changed the type of decorations allowed at gravesites. He said he went to great lengths to inform residents of the new rules.

“They need to read the rules. We have signs posted on both ends of the cemetery. We have them online. They can come to the office. Read the rules. We even have a sign that says read the sign to read the rules. We’re trying to get the word out that this is a maintenance issue,” Ostrander said.

He said he also has family members buried at the cemetery. He said to imply that he doesn’t care about the final resting places for so many just isn’t true.

“My father is buried right behind me. My grandma and grandpa are buried right behind me. I take a lot of pride in this cemetery,” Ostrander said.

Seward and Cline are adamant the village should leave what is left at the cemetery untouched.

“You pay for that plot. That’s yours. Am I wrong? Is that not ours,” Seward said.

“Leave our family’s plots alone. We bought them. He didn’t. We want to be able to have our stuff on our loved ones’ graves. There was nothing wrong with them,” Cline said.

Copyright 2018 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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