Salem resident tired of cars damaging tombstones
BY BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
SALEM — Gene Stewart is tired of seeing tombstones damaged by speeding drivers.
Therefore, he asked the Salem City Council during the council’s regular meeting Tuesday to consider erecting a stop sign at the intersection of East Liberty and Washington streets.
“It may slow them (drivers) down and it may not,” Stewart said regarding the stop sign.
Stewart said grave markers have been damaged twice recently by vehicles. “The damage is a couple thousand dollars this time and was $5,000 last time.”
Salem city employee Dick Myers noted that Washington Street is jointly owned by the city and county and the city will check with the county before erecting a regulatory sign.
Stewart also briefed the council on the community’s veterans’ memorial, which will be erected this summer. He said that members of the committee have verified names of veterans in the two-town cemeteries. Another 128 veterans have signed up to have their names on the monument.
The memorial will include nine stones, eight of which will have the names of veterans and one which will identify the memorial and have the insignias of all the branches of military service. The list of names has been submitted for placement on the stones, he said.
Anonymous donors have paid for the benches and flagpole at the memorial, Stewart said. “We hope to have everything done by the first of July.”
Dillon Haynes appeared before the council to discuss the cars on his property. Haynes and the city have been at odds for a number of years over the vehicles. Haynes maintains the cars do not constitute a nuisance while the city says they do.
Councilwoman Mary Hoyer said she took pictures of the Haynes’ property and sent them to City Attorney Pat Brau for review. “I asked him (Brau) if there are violations but have not received an answer yet. We should look at it and see if it is a violation of the nuisance or junked vehicles ordinance.”
Haynes received permission last fall to erect a building to store the cars and said he has purchased the materials for the building but is waiting on constructing it until he receives an answer from the city on whether the cars are in violation of city code.
Fire Chief Steve Nichting asked the council if they had made any decision on turnout gear for the fire department. Nichting requested funds for new turnout gear several months ago and has been waiting for a response.
Salem Mayor Dan Patterson said the council is having a budget meeting tonight (Wed.) and he will give Nichting an answer this week.
In other agenda items, Patterson said that as of March 15, Hillsboro will no longer be purchasing its city water from Salem. Salem has been supplying Hillsboro with water for about 20 years. Hillsboro now will be supplied by the Rathbun Rural Water Association.
City Clerk Diana Sandy’s resignation was accepted. Alyse Kreiss was hired as the new city clerk and took the oath of office at the conclusion of the meeting.
Salem council members will meet again in regular session Tuesday, March 7, at 5:30 p.m., at City Hall.