The disgrace that has fallen on Garden of Memories and Memorial Park cemeteries may be coming to an end. The cemetery owners have long abandoned the maintenance at the two local cemeteries and now find themselves in legal troubles throughout the country. The Sikeston City Council this week took action to absorb the maintenance of the cemeteries and will send the owners the bill. But that's just the beginning.
A local lawsuit has also been filed against the cemetery owners that seeks class action status for all of those who have purchased plots or have family members buries there. It's feared that the company is insolvent and the purchasers will be left holding the bag.
Thanks primarily to efforts by Buck Smith of Sikeston, the Council took the emergency action this week and has begun providing long-neglected mowing and other cleanup services at the two cemeteries. Smith provided an impassioned plea to the Council this week to enforce the weed ordinance provision of the city and to take over the cemeteries' maintenance. His presentation struck a chord with the Council and they immediately took Smith's advice and began the cleanup.
The class-action suit is an attempt to put Sikeston on track to recover some of the funds that have been paid by residents here to receive the services of the cemeteries. Other suits have reportedly been filed in other states. Just last month Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon also took action against the cemetery owners.
There will be an judgment day for the cemetery owners. They will either answer to the courts or to a higher authority. But rest assured, their actions or lack of actions will soon return to haunt them. And well they should.
We commend the Council, especially Mayor Mike Marshall, for his swift action and passion toward this disgrace. We commend the Blanton law firm for their hard work in filing the class action litigation. And finally, we commend one lone citizen - Buck Smith - who decided that enough was enough and took actions into his own hands.
It's that type of citizen involvement that marks the character of a community.