Colby cemetery looks for partners in payment dispute



Ralph Ottum, senior vice president of Colby VFW Post 2227, lays a wreath in honor of those who died in the line of duty at a monument at Colby Memorial Cemetery last Memorial Day. The association that runs the cemetery requested $2,200 in funding from Clark County to pay for the upkeep of military veterans graves, but that request was denied.

Attorney Tom Harnisch, when speaking to his clients on the Colby Memorial Cemetery board of directors last week, said he recently coined an expression to drive home the importance of maintaining cemeteries, especially those with the graves of military veterans.
“You can judge a community by the way it takes care of its young, its old and its dead,” he told the board members.
Caring for the dead — specifically, military veterans — has the potential to become a political and legal issue in Clark County and throughout Wisconsin.
For the past couple years, the Colby Memorial Cemetery Association has been trying to convince the Clark County Veterans Service Office to contribute more money towards the upkeep of veterans graves, as required by a state statute.
In February, the county’s Veterans Affairs Committee voted to deny the cemetery association’s 2016 funding request and also declined to seek an attorney general’s opinion on the matter, as requested by the association.
Members of the cemetery association are hoping to recruit support from around Clark County — and possibly in other parts of Wisconsin — for a potential ...

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