Sheep Pen Cemetery photographs courtesy of Scott Andersen - September, 2011 and April, 2012

"A cemetery may be considered as abandoned when all or practically all of the bodies have been removed therefrom and no bodies have been buried therein for a great many years, and the cemetery has been so long neglected as entirely to lose its identity as such, and is no longer known, recognized and respected by the public as a cemetery. 1953 OAG 2978."

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Grave concerns -- Editorial by the "Columbus Dispatch" Columbus, Ohio


This is an important "Columbus Dispatch" editorial appearing today in the newspaper and online. Click on the title to read the full editorial. 

Thanking the "Columbus Dispatch" for their support on behalf of all of Ohio's Cemeteries.  
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The deteriorating conditions at many of Ohio’s cemeteries have for too long been ignored.  In some cases, even local folks have no knowledge such old burying grounds exist in their communities because the aged overgrowth now badly obscures what remains of gravestones still standing in them.

Unfortunately in Ohio, to register a cemetery it has to have had burials in the past 25 years.  This is important to understand bcause only registered cemeteries can qualify for filing complaints against those who are responsible for their care to the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission who can address the problems from the state government level.  Thus, since inactive and abandoned cemeteries are not eligible to be registered, they are therefore not eligible for the same protections as are active cemeteries.  This discriminatory situation is just one example of many issues that severely affect the circumstances that particularly impact Ohio’s earliest and most vulnerable burial grounds where many of the Buckeye State’s pioneer settlers were laid to rest.

Thanks to the creation of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force there is new hope for the future of all of the state’s cemeteries.  I encourage anyone who has an interest to improve the conditions for Ohio’s cemeteries and its gravesites to either contact the co-chairs of the task force, or attend an upcoming Ohio Cemetery Task Force meeting.  Thank you.    

If you go to the Department of Real Estate’s website at: http://www.com.ohio.gov/real/default.aspx and place your cursor over “resources” at the top of the page you will see the information for the Task Force.

 The next Cemetery Law Task Force Meeting is scheduled for:

May 16, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.
77 South High Street, 22nd Floor Hearing Room
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force Co-Chairs:

Anne M. Petit, Superintendent
Ohio Department of Commerce
Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing
Direct dial: 614-466-3411
Fax number: 614-644-0584
Office number: 614-466-4100

Anne.Petit@com.ohio.gov

And, 
Mr. Cory Noonan
Allen County Commissioner
Phone:   (419)228-3700

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