After members resign, Linwood Cemetery Committee dissolved

Alice Pickering
Linwood Reporter

Cindy Gruett resigned as chairman of the Cemetery Committee, and committee members Pat Crawford, Deb Parker and Lois Rustad also submitted letters of resignation, leading the Linwood Town Board to unanimously vote to dissolve the committee Jan. 28.

One of the committee’s main projects under Gruett was the conversion of hard-copy cemetery documents to an electronic database.

In a written statement provided to the Forest Lake Times, Gruett cited difficulties obtaining information from the township staff.

“I finally felt it was time to resign,” Gruett wrote. “Thank you to all the members who have helped throughout these 10 years and to Carol Searing, supervisor, who tried to get many things done for us.”

Linwood is one of only a few townships that have their own cemeteries. The committee was formed at Gruett’s instigation in 2004 because regulations were not consistent.

The Ayers family donated benches and trees for a reflection area. Other work includes development of a water supply for the site, a dirt-screening fence, annual cleanups and the use of commemorative flags for veterans and firefighters each Memorial Day.

Other projects include a complete, updated cemetery map, coordinated with burial records. Many reserved, but unused, plots were turned back to the township. Rules were established to determine who may be buried in the cemetery.

Gruett was most pleased with the project which transferred all written cemetery records to a digital record. She credited Sandi Lathrop with entering the data into the software program and keeping it updated. This is done when paperwork is obtained from township staff. Original records were bound and were to have been turned over to the Anoka County Historical Society.

It was also learned that Ray Broadbent, cemetery sexton, will soon retire. Township staff is to assume responsibility for the tasks of the Cemetery Committee.

Searing asked to write a letter of thanks to Gruett, to be submitted on the board’s behalf.

245th Avenue

Supervisors reviewed a feasibility report about improving 245th Avenue.

Engineer Craig Jochum summarized the project and indicated that total cost would be about $171,000. Linwood and Oxford townships would like to complete the street work as a joint project. If shared, Linwood would be responsible for $106,000 of the total.

Road and Bridge Chair Bob Beckman urged going ahead with the joint project. There would be no changes to the right of way and no culverts would be replaced.

The project may need to be postponed until Oxford Township can pay for its share. The improvements would be a big part of Oxford’s annual budget, which is about $185,000, according to Linwood Supervisor Phil Osterhus.

Supervisor Ed Kramer said the costs can be assessed back to the owners. He estimated costs to be about $5,000 per resident. Assessment requires proof of benefit to property.

Attorney Mike Haag is to check with the Oxford Township attorney to determine that township’s stance on the project.

2014 duties

A chunk of the meeting was devoted to annual reorganization. Phil Osterhus remains chairman of the board, with Mike Halliday serving in his absence. Liaison appointments were determined. Professional services remain the same for 2014.

License fees and fees for office services were approved. These remain basically the same as 2013. This information, plus access to township ordinances, is at www.linwoodtownship.org.

Other business

The board also:

– Learned the Linwood School and Community Forest Medallion Hunt begins Monday, Feb. 17.  Clues will be posted at Linwood Elementary and at Town Hall.

– Approved the appointments of Nancy Olson and Hank Senger to the Senior Advisory Board.

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