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What's wrong with this picture?

August 30, 2009

Editor's note: Each Monday, The Herald-Mail will highlight an infrastructure issue or other problem, and will try to find out what is being done to fix or improve the situation.

We will not tackle situations involving neighborhood or domestic disputes, or consumer problems.

The problem: In the southeast corner of the Funkstown Cemetery, dozens of old, broken headstones are stacked against a stone wall.

Who could fix it: Officials disagree on who owns the cemetery, but it has long been cared for by volunteers from St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Barry Warrenfeltz, president of the church council, said he thought the cemetery was officially the town's, while Funkstown Mayor Robert L. Kline said it was strictly the church's. "Historic Walking Tour" information on the town's Web site says Jacob Funk deeded the original section of the cemetery "to the residents of Jerusalem Town," the town's former name, in 1768. State records list its owner as "Cemetery Funkstown."

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What they say: Ted Morningstar, the church volunteer who maintains the cemetery grounds, said most of the headstones in the pile were broken off by vandals years ago.

"We don't know where they go, so instead of throwing them away, we have them in a pile there," he said.

Morningstar said he did not know whether records existed of who was buried where in the cemetery's older section.

Warrenfeltz and Kline said they would like to see the headstones restored.

"That'd be proper respect for people that passed away," Warrenfeltz said. "It's a shame they got in the shape that they're in."

Kline said the town would see if it could get someone to put some stones back where they go, but without records of burial plots, those broken off at the base would be a puzzle to replace.

How to reattach the stones poses another problem, Kline said.

"It's going to be a job," he said.




If you are aware of a safety problem, a major annoyance or a pet peeve that one of our governmental bodies, an agency or an organization is responsible for fixing, send the information, and a photo if you have it, to:

What's Wrong With This Picture?

c/o The Herald-Mail newsroom

100 Summit Ave.

Hagerstown, MD 21740

You can e-mail the information to lindad@herald-mail.com.

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