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Feud focuses on disposal of 2 caskets

Just because the elections ended last month in the Town of Boston doesn't mean things have settled down -- not when there are grave issues still in dispute.

The board of directors of the Maplewood Cemetery Association in Boston has accused Supervisor William Eagan of taking a cheap shot at Herb Klein -- his opponent in the November elections and the president of the cemetery's board -- when television cameras were invited to watch as the Highway Department unearthed two discarded coffins from the town park.

That was a week before the election, which Eagan won by nine votes.

Then on Nov. 16, the cemetery was billed for the labor.

The caskets were damaged in 1995 when a boulder was removed from the cemetery, said cemetery secretary Lucille Gensel. A funeral home was called in, the family of the dead was notified, and the remains were placed in new caskets and reburied.

"At this point, these two caskets were just two pieces of metal, all dented and broken," Gensel said Friday.

Gensel wrote to the Town Board that the Highway Department moved the caskets in 1995 and used them as fill in a low area in the park -- along with "rusted culvert pipes, tires, tree stumps, road kill and other debris."

Bob Telaak, the Boston highway superintendent and parks chief, said the caskets never should have been put there in the first place.

"I don't know what's in those caskets," he said. "I'd be just as bad as the first person who put them there if I didn't get rid of them."

Eagan said Telaak told him, "Mr. Klein and Maplewood should have disposed of the caskets properly, and they should bear the costs."

Klein called it a case of dirty politics.

Meanwhile, Eagan is under attack on a second front as well. Businessman Ray Webber has accused Eagan and Town Councilman Richard Hawkins of retaliating against him after he removed their signs from his property.

He said after he removed their signs, he was told he needed a permit to bring fill onto property he hopes to develop. The board has since tabled his application, with Eagan asking he be cited for dumping without a permit.


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