Board made the right call on cemetery
Yazoo’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen took the only sensible course of action Monday by replacing Stacey Trotter as sexton of Glenwood Cemetery.
Aldermen Charles “Mickey” O’Reilly and Clifton Jones strongly objected, but I can’t help but wonder if they really believe the arguments their making or if they’re just standing by their friend until the end.
The arguments they made are preposterous.
First O’Reilly attempted to claim that the photo The Herald published was of just one section, and not the cemetery as a whole. Unfortunately I photographed many sections of the cemetery on that day. We selected the photo with the angel monument in the back because it is recognizable to most people familiar with the cemetery, and it helped put the height of the grass in perspective.
Then there is Mr. Jones’ argument that most complaints were dealing with the “tourism area,” and he claims that section is nowhere near that area.
I’m assuming Mr. Jones is referring to the “witch’s grave” and Willie Morris’ grave as the tourism area, which is actually close to where the photograph was taken. It was also covered in knee-high weeds on that day.
Tourists visiting because they are Willie Morris fans may also stop to look at the angel we photographed since he wrote about it in a magazine article “A Return to Christmases Gone” that included a photograph of the monument taken by his son David Rae Morris.
Morris even described how to find it.
“When you drive through the main entrance of the Yazoo Cemetery, make a right at the water fountain near the witch’s grave and then a left at the next curve and proceed down this road almost to the end,” Morris wrote. “You will come upon an angel. It will be on your right, only a few feet from the road; you can hardly miss it. Her name was Mildred, and she was three years old when she died in 1908.”
Of course most of the Yazooans who have been angry about this issue are much more concerned about the condition of the final resting place of loved ones than our city looking bad to tourists. We’ve talked to residents who have actually started maintaining their family plots themselves.
Jones and O’Reilly were both critical of this newspaper’s coverage of the problem, but the fact is that had we not aggressively covered the matter nothing would have ever been done.
In a final effort to shift the blame, Jones actually pointed the finger at Mayor McArthur Straughter for supposedly failing to supervise Trotter.
Straughter was the first to raise the issue of transferring Trotter to another department, and Jones knows that.
Many Yazooans are grateful to Straughter, Ward 4 Alderman Aubry Brent Jr. and Ward 2 Aldermen Jack Varner for doing the right thing and making a change.
Prentiss Young was a good choice for temporary sexton, and he should be given the opportunity to earn the job full-time if he is interested. He has previously served in that position and did a much better job.
This is a situation that should have never been allowed to get this far. Now we’ve just got to pay attention moving forward.