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MailTribune.com
  • Cemetery sits in disrepair

    Even after restitution is paid for vandalism, Central Point burial site has yet to be fixed
  • When Glenna Brewold visits her grandparents' graves at the Central Point Cemetery, she can't help but notice lots of dry, overgrown weeds and more than 40 grave markers broken and pushed to the ground.
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  • When Glenna Brewold visits her grandparents' graves at the Central Point Cemetery, she can't help but notice lots of dry, overgrown weeds and more than 40 grave markers broken and pushed to the ground.
    Vandalized more than a year ago by two boys, 10 and 11 years old, the markers have yet to be repaired, despite $5,000 paid in restitution to the cemetery owners, the Idiart Law Group.
    "This is so bad," said Brewold, 73, walking through the cemetery's tall weeds. "How would you feel if it was your mother under this tombstone?"
    Brewold, a retired schoolteacher who lives in Ashland, said she is angry that after the families of the vandals paid restitution for the damages last October, no one has actually repaired the headstones.
    Aaron Nadauld and Damian Idiart, both lawyers with the Idiart Law Group, are official owners of the 7-acre property, after acquiring it in 2007 from the Central Point Masonic Lodge.
    The pair formed the Central Point Restoration and Beautification Foundation, and said they hoped to get local families and churches involved in maintaining the historic cemetery, which has burials dating back more than 150 years ago.
    Nadault confirmed in October 2011 that the Idiart Law Group had received $5,000 in restitution from the vandals' families to repair the broken headstones, and said they would contract with Oregon Granite and Stone to make the repairs.
    "Unfortunately, the repairs weren't done," said Dirk Seidlecki, chair of the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries. "They've been sitting on the money."
    Seidlecki said that he wasn't sure why the restitution money hasn't been used and his attempts to get a straight answer from the Idiart Law Group were unsuccessful.
    "They claimed they were forming a beautification committee," said Seidlecki. "But the cemetery has never looked as bad as it does."
    Multiple calls and e-mails to the Idiart Law Group about the cemetery were not returned.
    Seidlecki said that having the cemetery in this condition would only make it the target for more vandalism.
    "I feel so bad for all the families that had markers damaged," said Seidlecki. "This has been a sore thumb."
    Brewold said that when she went looking for information about the repairs, the Idiart Law Group sent her to Central Point Public Works, who said they had no jurisdiction over the privately owned cemetery.
    "They lied by misdirection," said Brewold, who insisted she only contacted the law group looking for a way to help volunteer.
    "I wanted to help," said Brewold. "It's just sad."
    According to Seidlecki, the Idiart Law Group has had informal discussions with the City of Central Point about potentially turning over the land, but city staff said they wouldn't consider taking over the cemetery unless repairs were made first.
    "Until the owners get things in order, the city wouldn't take it over," said Chris Clayton, Central Point's assistant city manager.
    Clayton believes that the Idiart Law Group took over the cemetery with honorable intentions, but may have gotten in over their heads.
    "I don't know why they haven't been more proactive," said Clayton. "We would encourage them to make the repairs. We absolutely want it to get done."
    Brewold said she thinks the group is hoping the city will take pity on the cemetery's poor condition.
    "I think they're trying to drag their feet long enough that Central Point will be humiliated enough to take it over," said Brewold. "And I think Central Point would take it over, but they don't want to take it over in this condition."
    Brewold hopes that spreading the word about the cemetery's condition will put pressure on the owners to use the restitution money.
    "I can't believe those turkeys haven't used that money," said Brewold. "It's almost malfeasance."
    Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or tristow@mailtribune.com.
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