Highland Cemetery explains clean-up policy following outrage fro - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Highland Cemetery explains clean-up policy following outrage from family members

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Relatives are concerned about their personal property being removed from gravesites at Highland Cemetery near Great Falls.

Emails and photos sent to KRTV show monument benches and statues that had been taken from the sites without families' knowledge.

Relatives say they found their belongings among other discarded monuments at another location on the property.

But cemetery staff say the cemetery rules have been posted for more than 40 years and are clear on clean-up deadlines.

They say all large items like figurines and monuments must be removed from gravesites by October 1st each year.

Property left behind can become buried in the snow, causing damage to maintenance equipment.

Officials say they have started to enforce deadlines after a new expensive piece of equipment was damaged last winter because property was left near a gravesite.

"Anything that's going to stand over six inches has a good chance of hurting our equipment because we will not be able to see it. And at the same time, we don't want to wreck their stuff, when we go to clean off graves for funerals in the winter," said Highland Cemetery assistant superintendent Walter Knaup.

Grounds crew staff replaced the old sign at Highland Cemetery in April.

The new sign clarifies maintenance guidelines and planting regulations.

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