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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • A storm's blessing?

  • Riverside Cemetery board members are hoping volunteers are willing to come by the grounds and remove the wood. Some have done so recently when dead trees were brought down in the winter months and left for anyone in need of fire wood.
    But what to do with the tree trunks still standing?
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  • Wrath from the May 20 storm is still visibly clear inside Hannibal's historic Riverside Cemetery.
    Tree limbs are dangling, snapped off, and in some cases, top halves of the trees broke off completely.
    They landed atop headstones centuries old. They're lying still like fallen soldiers on the battle field.
    Riverside Cemetery board members are hoping volunteers are willing to come by the grounds and remove the wood. Some have done so recently when dead trees were brought down in the winter months and left for anyone in need of fire wood.
    But what to do with the tree trunks still standing?
    Well, if Riverside Cemetery Treasurer Shirley Jackson's proposal goes through, the historic bluff-top burial ground would be more than just a place to pay respects to historic people laid to rest there.
    Jackson plans to ask the board to consider reaching out to a volunteer sculptor who could take the remaining trunks and turn them into attractive wooden statues.
    "It'd be nice," Jackson said.
    The idea was sparked by her son, Doug Jackson, who noticed carved tree trunks depicting religious and symbolic images at Mount Lebanon Cemetery in the St. Louis suburb of St. Ann.
    There are angles, a soldier, a lighthouse, even a perched Cardinal. Mount Lebanon was hit hard by a tornado in April 2011. Just like at Riverside Cemetery, debris and downed trees covered the grounds. That is until Ryan Meyer, who was highlighted in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article in August 2011, took his chainsaw and carved several different images.
    "I thought it was pretty genius," Doug said.
    And it is similar sculptures Shirley plans to propose to the board when they meet at 7 p.m. today at the Frist Methodist Church on Broadway. The hope is to find someone who will donate their time to take what has been broken by the storm and mended into an attraction.
    "All of those (carvings) were beautiful," Shirley said.
    She emphasizes the work would be considered donation in kind which the cemetery would compensate with a tax deduction.
    Those interested in the work or who know of anyone are encouraged to attend the public meeting.

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