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Community cleans debris from snowed-under cemetery

DIAMOND BLUFF--After Old Man Winter left the Diamond Bluff Cemetery a tangle of broken trees and twisted vegetation, residents rallied to clean up nature's debris.

One of the past season's few significant snowstorms toppled the cemetery greenery by depositing a heavy coat of white on it the middle of last month. The scenic shambles was visible from the lower river road which fronts the location and soon local volunteers were organizing a clean-up day.

"It looked like a tornado went through," Lois Kask, a clean-up organizer, said Wednesday. "I don't remember a snowfall this bad down here," Kask added, mentioning rain that froze before the wet snow's arrival, measured as 17 inches deep on her home's deck.

A calling effort resulted in around 20 people showing up for a work day early this month, she said. Her son-in-law's Clean Cut Tree Service made chipper equipment and a bucket on a boom available to the project. Participants used chain saws, raked, carried and hauled in wheelbarrows.

"We ended up with two-and-a-half loads on the chipper box," she said, noting one man would climb a tree, another would be in the bucket and a third stationed at the chipper as the project progressed.

The cemetery, dating back to the 1800s, is populated by pines, Kask said. Their downed branches made some parts of the interior roads impassable. Several of the trees still remained last week to be taken down.

Workers were on the scene all one Saturday afternoon, each donating various amounts of time, she said. They included: Huggy Atherton, Maureen Atherton, Steven Atherton, Dallas Dosdall, Walley Erickson, Glen Freise, Cal Gilles and his grandson, Fred Haverlandt, Morris Jung, Ruth Jung, Stacy Jung, Linda Kinneman, Jack Lindstrom, John Norquist, Steve Swanson and Randy Thompson, besides the tree service crew of Dave, Nate, Nick, Tammy and Beth Dodge, plus Kask.

Many of the volunteers have family members in the community cemetery, like Kask, who said her husband and some of his relatives, her parents and brother-in-law are there. Cemetery board members are: Cal Gilles, Linda Kinneman, Wade Priest, Randy Thompson and Roger Wentz.

"Now, it's ready for the mowing season," Kask said.