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July 11, 2020

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Bluffton council meeting: More comments on both sides of the Shannon Cemetery issue

While several significant topics crossed Bluffton council’s Monday night agenda, Shannon Cemetery consumed one hour of the agenda with several comments from visitors taking both sides of the issue.

Ray Mumma formerly of Bluffton told council members that he had several objections to the cemetery improvement plan.

He asked council to explore obtaining a ground penetrating radar (GPR) to find the graves at the cemetery.

“We think there needs to be more research done to restore this cemetery,” he said.

To his comments, Roger Warren, council member responded, “Dick Boehr did something that needed to be done.  Rather than to complain about the Shannon Cemetery, the Village of Bluffton decided to take the cemetery into its possession. All our intentions were good. ”

Darrell Huber former Bluffton resident, told council that three of his ancestors are buried in the cemetery. “Don’t tell me I don’t care (about the cemetery). You guys have stepped into a real bag of crap. There’s no oversight (of the cemetery). Let’s get it done right and fixed.”

Tracy McIlroy former Bluffton resident, handed council a petition with over 400 names that she said represent persons from across the United States that were collected from a Facebook site, stating (sic): “Restore Shannon Cemetery, put back the headstones! Restore, Protect and Preserve this pioneer cemetery.”

Morris Groman of Bluffton, read a statement that Mr. Boehr should not be criticized and that he intended to make an honorable memorial of the cemetery.

John Murray of Bluffton, said, “I have ancestors buried there and when I heard about Dick’s plans I was thrilled. We need a memorial there.”

Steve Kindle of Ada, said that his Bluffton roots are deeper than most residents. “I can’t understand how the village council gave him (Boehr) that authority. It’s just as bad as all the vandalism or worse that has taken place over the years. I think he should know better than that."

Terry Downey of Bluffton, said, “What’s next? An amusement park? I’m hurt. I’m very sad. I can’t believer that this is happening in Bluffton.”

Other council action

Council approved the renewal of the first of a three-year insurance contract with Webb Insurance covering village property at a cost of $48,178. It also approved the first of a three-year accident and health policy for its employees at a cost of $4,825.

By emergency, council passed an ordinance to proceed with design and installation of a trihalomethane removal system that affects Bluffton water. It is part of a compliance agreement with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Council brought back a tabled ordinance to vacate an alley requested by Steve and Allison Mittendorf and Andy and Danielle Althaus. The first reading passed 5-1 with Warren voting no.

Council will hold a budgeting hearing at its July 6 meeting. Three committee meeting dates were set:
June 24 – Utilities, 7 p.m.
July 6 – Street and alleys, 7 p.m.
July 6 – Recreation committee, 7:45 p.m.