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Local Editorials

Editorial: City should make cemetery maintenance a priority

If you’re placing flowers at your mother’s grave this weekend in one of Newton’s two cemeteries you’ll more than likely be greeted with unsightly weeds.

Or you might notice the extreme population of dandelions indicates a lack of respect for our veterans who served our country.

Or you may notice a citizen has brought his own weed eater to maintain the grave of a loved one.

The City of Newton has long been working to promote its image. There is much to be proud of — our parks, schools, recreational opportunities, the big and small town feel of a county seat with 15,000 people and an amazing city staff who works tirelessly to make this a great place to live. These are all things that should be celebrated. As should our two city-maintained cemeteries.

The Veterans Affairs Commission prompted the Newton Daily News Editorial Board to pay a visit to our cemeteries on Thursday. The concern expressed by Veterans Affairs was notable from the street. The weed (dandelion) domination is extreme throughout Union Cemetery and trimming is clearly no longer a priority. However, a worker was mowing and it is surely looking better.

It won’t be for long. Not chemically treating our cemeteries for weeds is a mistake. Not hiring the staff to make this a priority is also a mistake. The city needs to dedicate the resources to improve some of our most sacred and beloved land.

Soon people will be flocking to their hometown of Newton for various events — Memorial Day weekend, Alumni Weekend and Newton Fest. It’s not uncommon for folks from out of town to pay their respects to their loved ones while they are here. What they discover during their visit is a reflection of the city.

We know the Newton Parks employees, also tasked with cemetery maintenance, do outstanding work. Let’s provide them with the backing and the budget to improve our cemeteries. Let’s make it a priority.

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