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6 Investigates: Run-down Beeville cemeteries concern residents

Posted at 9:00 PM, Nov 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-29 22:57:06-05

BEEVILLE, Texas — Grace Lugo's husband is one of the many loved ones buried at Our Lady of Victory Cemetery in Beeville

Lugo's is among the families who said they have concerns about the upkeep of the cemetery, which is divided into Our Lady of Victory Cemetery No. 1 and Our Lady of Victory Cemetery No. 2.

“There’s lots of trash out, to where they need to come and do their job, if that’s what it takes to make it look better because at this point it does not look good,” she said.

Patricia Hernandez's father also is buried there, and she also said the upkeep wasn’t up to par. She and others KRIS 6 News spoke to especially are concerned with overgrown grass.

Lugo also wonders why the upkeep for cemetery No. 2 was being disregarded.

When KRIS 6 News arrived at cemetery No. 2 in October only some of the property was cut and trash cans were filled.

The two cemeteries are owned by the Diocese of Corpus Christi, but day-to-day operations are managed by a board of directors elected at an annual membership meeting.

KRIS 6 News reached out to board president Al Puga, who said the board did not have an annual meeting last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the cemetery had lost its caretaker recently. He said a caretaker has since been hired, but that the process had been delayed by the need to run a background check.

He also said the committee began cutting the grass when complaints began coming in, but ran into problems with equipment being damaged by items left in the cemetery.

Hernandez’s father is buried at cemetery No. 2. She said she never received a copy of the rules and bylaws, and they were never enforced until recently.

It was only after reading the cemetery's bylaws, however, that Hernandez said she realized that Article 12 calls for a caretaker, employed by the board of directors.

She also realized that the current bylaws do not allow families to leave trinkets at the gravesites, which is one of several rules she and others hope to have amended.

OLVC caretaker bylaw.jpg

“The cemetery has been here for a long time,” Hernandez said, “I’ve never seen it or (heard) of those regulations that they have implemented or that they are trying to enforce.”

Puga also says that plans are being made to amend the bylaws, but current regulations say those proposed amendments had to have been submitted prior to the September meeting. This was not done.

OLOV meetings bylaws.jpg

Hernandez says she plans to vote at this month's annual meeting, given her vested interest. The meeting, according to bylaws, is supposed to be held during one of the first two weeks of November. That meeting has not yet happened.

“Any person who has a vested interest in the cemetery association attending the annual membership meeting, shall have one vote each.”

Puga told KRIS 6 News only members of the church will receive a vote during the membership meeting.

Since KRIS 6 News' trip to the cemetery in October, the diocese and OLVC committee have made improvements to the cemeteries and the grass has been maintained.

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