Family seeks a resolution to access Pinkston Hill Cemetery

BEDFORD – The Pinkston Hill Cemetery is located in Indian Creek Township in a field west of Fayetteville Owen Road. The cemetery is listed in the Cemetery and Burial Grounds Registry of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and in the State Historical Architectural and Archaeological Research Database.

But family members of loved ones buried there and those wanting to be buried there are having a rough time accessing the cemetery because a property owner is not allowing them to use the current access to the property.

John Ratkovich addressed the commissioners about his concerns at Tuesdays’ meeting.

“It is just sad we can not access the cemetery,” he added. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Ratkovich said the cemetery is the final resting spot for many of his family members and friends. It was started in the Civil War era.

Greg Allen also shared Ratkovich’s frustration.

Bruce Buzek passed away in January and Allen said it was a nightmare getting him to his gravesite.

“We had to park in a field and walk about 300 feet to the gravesite because we are not allowed to access the cemetery,” he added.

Both asked the commissioners to help them find a resolution and get a road built to the cemetery with a small parking lot.

The commissioners were sympathetic to their plight.

“It is not that we are not sympathetic, but I don’t know what we can legally do,” said Commissioner Rodney Fish.

Commissioner Dustin Gabhart said the county does not build roads.

Dustin Gabhart

“The roads are built, then inspected, and then accepted by the county,” Gabhart added. “There is almost nothing we can do. We can’t use county funds to build a road.”

The families have asked the Indian Township Trustee Gary Scherschel for help but there are no funds to build a roadway.

“If someone wants to build and do upkeep to the road we will not restrict anyone from using it,” added Gabhart.

The families have considered starting a GoFundMe page to pay for the construction of a roadway.

“Personally, if someone is having a burial and needs assistance I would be willing to come and help with anything,” he added.

In other business, Community Corrections Director Chad Shew informed the commissioners that Amber Richard was appointed as a victim advocate.

He also requested permission to apply for a $25,000 grant with the Department of Corrections for the Lawrence County Juvenile Problem Solving Court.

David Holmes

Highway Superintendent David Holmes updated the commissioners on bridge projects. Work continues on Bridge 62 on Stonington Road. The deck was poured on Thursday, Sept. 9th, and crews are now installing guardrails and working on approaches to the bridge.

Letters were sent to residents near Bridge 150 on Mill Creek Road to obtain rights of way or access easements.

The contract for work on Bridge 172 on Slaughterhouse Road has been sent to INDOT for approval.

Holmes stressed to the public to not spray paint graffiti on the Williams Covered Bridge and the roadway leading to the bridge.

“Please please stop doing this,” asked Holmes. “We don’t need to graffiti the place up and have crews constantly cleaning it up. Please stop walking your dogs on the bridge and If you do clean up after them.”

Crews spent hours cleaning the bridge to get it ready for the annual Williams Covered Bridge Dinner held last Saturday. A crew also had to seal coat the roadway to cover graffiti that was painted on the roadway.

Sheriff Mike Branham reported there were 153 inmates at the jail this morning, of those 121 were males, 32 females, two Level 6 felons. There were no Department of Correction or parole holds to report.

Sheriff Mike Branham

Sheriff Branham says those numbers compare close to those of 2019 before COVID hit.

“We are in the same ballpark as then,” he added. “The Department of Corrections is coming and picking up inmates as needed. Typically we float around having 4 or 5.”

Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer said the emergency response training exercises held on September 10th and 11th at the Mitchell Community Center and Lehigh Hanson were a success.

Valerie Luchauer

She thanked Lehigh Hanson for “going above and beyond” with assisting in the exercises.

The commissioners opened two bids in August to approve communications with Lawrence County volunteer fire departments. However today, Luchauer asked the commissioners to reject those bids.

“We are rethinking the project at this time,” she added. “We are reevaluating the project.”

The first event will be held at the Mitchell Community Center from 9 a.m. until noon. The second, a chemical spill exercise, will be executed at Lehigh Hanson from 9 a.m. until noon.

Travis Norman

The commissioners this morning approved Travis Norman of SWS Development, plat plans, for a subdivision in Stonecrest Golf Community. The plat was for 4 lots and a cul-de-sac. Norman said he will probably return to seek approval to expand the subdivision again in the near future.

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