2011 was a meteorological reversal of fortune for many grounds crews including Harrisville’s Cemetery agent Meredith Pancake. The previous season the grounds were dry while in 2011 steady rains inundated the towns Cemeteries and common public areas. True to the form she has exhibited over the past two years, the grounds were immaculate. Meredith brought an extra flair to the landscape as she consistently dealt with soggy areas and unexpected landscape problems including many downed trees. Additional measures were taken by the Committee and Meredith to provide a consistent theme to funerals of dignity. New parking standards were established and a system developed to be able to react quickly to the passing and burial of someone. The town owes Merry a debt of gratitude for her efforts in presenting the public areas of Harrisville in a well kept manner, and honoring those interned and their families by respectfully going about her work.
The Committee had its busiest year to date regarding the number of citizens who passed away and were buried in one of our three locations, 14 people from Harrisville were put to rest in 2011-12 cremations and two full burials. We also honored a few more passing and buried elsewhere, we remember their contributions and celebrate their lives.
Our Veterans in the cemeteries were honored twice this year as a better system of locating the plots and ensuring each Veteran had a new American flag for both Veterans and Memoial Day. The Committee thanks local groups who lead this effort and encourages families of Veterans to contact us with any concerns. The Committee developed a plan in 2011 to honorably dispose of weathered flags and has additional flags on hand for future needs.
The planned improvements of Island Cemetery’s entrance began in earnest in June after several public hearings,which were poorly attended despite being posted throughout the town. The large White Pines and several other smaller trees were removed and the stumps ground without incident. The crews reported many people thanked them and expressed that the area looked much improved. Work on the area will continue in 2012.
From a financial standpoint, the Cemetery Committee Budget is healthy and saw no increase. The new equipment purchased at the end of the 2010 season provided a noticeable increase in productivity. Again the weather kept the labor line item of the budget from being used to full potential, however, the number will remain relatively the same based on a typical season of ground care. Citizens purchased 1 Cremation Plot in the newly opened area of Riverside, 7 cremation plots were purchased in Island, and 2 full burial plots were sold in Willard Hill.
The Committee would like to thank Meredith Pancake for her efforts and wish her well as she will be retiring from the position. As mentioned, she completed her duties consistently and provided the taxpayers of Harrisville with excellent service. Additionally, her husband Keith will not be listed on the ballot in 2012 after his term expires, he will remain on in a volunteer capacity to train the new agent and assist Leslie Downing. The Committee has openings and Leslie Downing has been a pillar for years and is a joy to serve with.