I have been a trustee of the Los Banos District Cemetery since 1999 and I too am very concerned as to the upkeep of the cemetery grounds.
I have nine family members that are buried in the cemetery, five are my family and four are my wife's relatives. I lost my first sister at the tender age of 28. My mother and second sister grieved tremendously over her death. Even though so many years have passed, I still grieve and wish they all were still here.
I am writing this in response to the public outcry of personal items that were removed from grave sites at the cemetery. The Los Banos Cemetery District consists of a five-person board appointed by the Merced County Board of Supervisors. Deborah Lewis was painted in your article as being a cruel person. It is the responsibility of the cemetery board of trustees to give her direction regarding our policies and she is responsible for carrying them out.
Unfortunately, during Darryl Henley's tenure people were allowed to do things that were not approved by the cemetery board, resulting in the issues we are facing today.
As trustees we have set policies in place, not just for safety of our staff and grounds equipment, but for the beautification of the cemetery for everyone to enjoy and be safe. All district cemeteries have policies for safety and beautification. What the cemetery trustees have set in place is not out of the norm.
I am only one trustee speaking out and asking the public to abide by our policies to help make this possible.
Tony Melillo Los Banos