CEMETERY CLEAN-UP DAY SCHEDULED ON SATURDAY, NOV. 5

CEMETERY CLEAN-UP DAY SCHEDULED ON SATURDAY, NOV. 5

The Doña Ana County Paupers’ Cemetery just east of the Road Department at 2025 E. Griggs will be the target of a community clean-up beginning at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, 2005.

Employees from several Doña Ana County departments have indicated an interest to assist their three colleagues in the Facilities and Parks Department who are charged with maintaining all of the county’s parks. Recent media publicity about the cemetery prompted County Manager Brian D. Haines to propose a day for the community to come assist in the clean-up effort.

“I drove by the cemetery, and I agree we need to get it cleaned up,” Haines said. “I’m proud of the county employees who already have indicated an interest to give up part of their weekend to assist, and I’m hopeful the community - including the media - will turn out to help tackle this project. We ask people who show up to be careful, because the grounds are desert, and there are lots of ants, goat-head stickers and mesquite thorns out there. The county will provide water bottles, gloves and trash bags, but if volunteers can bring shovels, hoes and other ground equipment, that will speed up the process for everyone.”

The cemetery - last used in the 1980s - holds the remains of people who died indigent and/or without relatives to claim the bodies. Doña Ana County now has contracts with local mortuaries and Masonic Cemetery to bury such bodies.

Doña Ana County’s three-person grounds crew is responsible for the regular maintenance of 51 parks, ball fields and other landscaped, county-owned properties in about 20 communities.

“These guys are stretched pretty thin,” said Facilities and Parks Director Armando Cordero. “We clean the cemeteries a couple of times a year, but if we can get community assistance to really knock out the weeds and held clean up the gravesites, I think we can do a better job of keeping them looking nice for the community.”

The cemetery clean-up will begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5 and will continue until the work is done. Volunteers are asked not to bring small children or pets to the project site.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229.