Aug 11, 2008

New Graveside Tears

Today the Morning Call printed an excellent story about conditions at Fairview Cemetery.* On July 31, I met reporter Brian Callaway and photographer Denise Sanchez at Fairview. We were joined by a family, which had commented on this blog about their negative experiences with the cemetery operator. I was hoping after waiting over a week, the story would have appeared yesterday, in the widely read Sunday paper. After lobbying the paper for 15 months to write a story, I would have preferred a day with more than monday's small circulation. This is a problem which needs publicity. The cemetery owner admitted he increased care after several public complaints last summer. In the article the owner says "If Molovinsky's offer of money is genuine, the cemetery will accept it." My offer was always genuine, but in the last year I learned of people who paid for care which was not performed. An organization is being created to "adopt" and maintain the Jewish section, I hope the owner will agree to this arrangement.

* http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-b1_5cemetery.6523914aug11,0,7499886.story

8 comments:

Bernie O'Hare said...

MM, Whether 9n a Sunday or Monday, this story would not be told at all without your persistence.

Anonymous said...

Agreed - hopefully Boyko will not be able to avoid the issue any longer. I see in the article that the records say he didn't get any compensation for running Fairview - I don't believe that. He's not an idiot, there's something in it for him, just don't know what - free use of the crematorium maybe? Just a guess, nothing to back that up.

MM, did you get any traction on your idea of getting the local congregations of all faiths involved?

The Banker

michael molovinsky said...

banker, i have heard from about 8 families who have been frustrated by the owner in their attempts to upgrade the care given to grave-sites. I do believe mr. boyko that the balance sheet is weak. i will organize a meeting, "Friends of Fairview", to try and unite families and the owner with some possible solutions.

Anonymous said...

MM -

I seem to remember a similar problem with the Union and West End Cemetery in Allentown.

My recollection is that a group formed to help with both fundraising (for maintenance) and volunteer organizing (for more basic tasks). I even think a local monument company donated some time and equipment to right some of the toppled headstones in that cemetery

I'm not sure how much success they had or if the group is even still around. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from what that group experienced, and it might be worth trying to contact someone from that group.

Good luck and thank you for bringing the issue to light.

Anonymous said...

While I'm at it, shame on the Trexler Trust for not stepping up to the plate.

Their approach of taking care of the General's grave while letting the rest of the cemetary around it deteriorate is all too similar to what is going on in our city.

Glenn said...

I've posted the following also on TOPIX.

As you know Michael.. TOPIX is the bottom of the blogger sphere. However as I have stated on here before. By coming in here and taking 10% of the decent posts, it stimulates me to do research. More importantly the art of patience.

That said.. one of my best friend's grandfather was the care taker there years ago. Even then money was tight. What is a shame that records were lost. The best bet was to mail families and if each (who were able) could tend each of their own sites at least a goodly portion would be in far better condition. Unfortunately that is not the case.

We tend in a small way three other gravesites which our families are buried in already. It's a bit of showing personal responsibility and respect for a family member. This, like so many aged cemeteries fall into disrepair as families fade away or move from the area.

Perhaps a long term solution for this and all the other aging plots is some umbrella organization. One similar into the way the 'Garden Club' tends the rose Garden. Or give some of our 'community service' required offenders/prisoners an opportunity to apply some of their time to these.

I believe strongly 'welfare' recipients could be required to earn off part of their benefits. This could be a good project for them to take kids along and not to have to dress up, etc. Sadly until things change at the state or federal levels this cannot be done. Too bad!

Patti from California said...

My family is buried at Fairview and 2 weeks ago I visited and was appalled at the horrible conditions and total lack of maintenance throughout the cemetery. I have been trying to reach Loretta or David most of the summer and was told they had taken an extended trip out of the country. (business must be good) They seem to be back now - but still no way to actually talk to them.

My mother is 97 - plans to be buried there with her parents and my Dad. I could cry at the thought ....

I googled Fairview and was led to your blog. Loretta told me in May I could get our plot maintained if I invested in their endowment for $1000. After seeing the total lack of care there, I feel like I would be throwing the money away. What do other people think or do about this appalling condition?

michael molovinsky said...

patti, i'm afraid i don't have anything very reassuring to tell you. unless you or some family member will be living here in the area, i don't know what you'll get for that extra money. i believe conditions there are now better than they were two years ago. even local people who agreed to pay extra have been disappointed. i think i will take your comment and soon make a short post on the subject to keep pressure on the boyko's.